“We are told that we can believe in God when we meet people who love us so much that they bring a bit of heaven down to earth. But what of the great mass of people who have never had such an experience? The question recurs again & again. We are taught that we can believe in God when we see how the wounds life brings can be transformed, & when severe suffering becomes open to life. But what of those who have never had such an experience in their own lives? Are there not people who have never encountered anything like salvation or a healed life, whose lives apparently consist only of misfortune, & who seem to be called to experience a living death in the darker reaches of existence? John’s Gospel closes with a deeply disturbing saying placed on the lips of the Risen One;” blessed are those who have not seen & yet believe.” It is possible never to have had such an inner vision of the overcoming of death, the transformation of pain, or the victory of love on earth with one’s own eyes, & still there is in our hearts the longing & desire for this message to be true; & otherwise life would not be life for us. It is possible to believe others when they say they have had an experience like the disciples told of on that first night in the upper room. Another who was not present may be inclined to think it is only pious talk or mere wishful thinking, perhaps even a kind of callous blather that ignores the reality of suffering & death. We have a right to be mistrustful of the pomp of smooth words. So much nonsense has been spoken in the name of God, & God knows there has been too much glossing over of things here on earth. It is a good thing that there are people like Thomas who can say “show us; until we see it we are not going to believe” & who don’t allow any faith to be imposed on them if it does not show how life can be restored in its core values, beyond all the damage & deadly wounds that have been done to it. Thomas saw & felt, but after him came whole world that asked the same question, & it did not receive the new vision of its own.” (The Open Tomb: Eugene Drewermann)
My gratitude to all of you, to your families, & those of our wider family who, for all sorts of reasons are not with us on a regular basis, for being with us for our Holy Week & Easter Services. A usual & steadfast group of 70 celebrated the Easter Vigil here, with over 200 at our Easter Day Mass, when we welcomed baby Willow Harrison into our Parish family with great joy. Again I would like to thank those of you who took part in the spectrum of ministries which are so vital week in & week out, & particularly so at times of special celebration. Following our Parish Forum on Sun 25th Feb at which I gave a comprehensive report on the life of both our Parish & St Benedict’s Primary School, recording my other ministries of retreat work & responsibilities within the Abbey & Diocese, which necessitates my work among you to be “part time”, those attending asked for an opportunity to respond & to contribute to all that was shared. We are to meet again this coming Sunday 15th Apr at 11.15am in the Parish Hall to try to see where additional help on ministry within the Church, on governance, finance & administration may be forthcoming. Please do try to come to this important meeting as we together shape the future direction & ongoing wellbeing of our Parish. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.