“All countries & cultures have three basic institutions. There is the economy, which is about the creation & distribution of wealth. There is the state, which is about the legitimisation & distribution of power. And there is the moral system, which is the voice of society within the self; the “we” within the “I”; the common good that limits & directs our pursuit of private gain. It is the voice that says No to the individual “me” for the sake of the collective “us”. Some call it conscience. Freud called it the super-ego. Others speak of it as custom & tradition. Yet others call it natural law. Many people in the West spoke of it as the will & word of God. Whatever its source, morality is what allows us to get on with one another, without endless recourse to economics or politics. There are times when we seek to get other people to do something we want or need them to do. We can pay them to do so; that is economics. We can force them to do so; that is politics. Or we can persuade them to do so because they & we are part of the same framework of virtues & values, rules & responsibilities, codes & customs, conventions & constraints; that is morality. Morality achieves something almost miraculous, & fundamental to human achievement & liberty. It creates trust. It means to the extent that we belong to the same moral community, we can work together without constantly being on guard against violence, betrayal, exploitation or deception. The stronger the bonds of community, the more powerful the force of trust, & the more we can achieve together.” [Morality; restoring the common good in divided times ; Jonathan Sacks]
We have just finished listening in the Monastery Refectory Jonathan Sack’s book on Morality, & how appropriate this extract from it seems to be for us as we enter a third period of Lockdown in an attempt to reduce the infection rate of covid & take some pressure off the NHS as it finds itself overwhelmed by cases & deaths. Our contribution is to continue to celebrate public Masses, a privilege for those who feel able to come, & a sacrifice for those many of you who have kept safe in a continuous lockdown since mid-March, who I know feel some supportive unity with us as you think of us & pray alongside us from your homes at our regular Mass times. Our united sacrifice will save lives be sure, & we pray that our example, as we redouble our efforts to keep to the wise advice, may encourage others to join us in trustful adherence to the guidelines, thus saving more lives “the more we can achieve together”
The latest news on Martin Browne, who fell outside his cottage before Christmas & fractured his skull, is promising; progress is better than expected & he is now fully aware, speaks on the phone & can get some exercise. He will be in Wd 29 of YDH for some time yet. Please keep him & Sheila in your prayers; she had her second covid vaccine injection on Tuesday & is with her daughter Felicity in York at present. It is promising to hear of a number of the elderly from the Village & locality who are now receiving their second injection at Malton.
Breaking news from St Benedict’s RC PS is uplifting. Due to re-open last Tuesday the Prime Minister’s announcement that evening of School closures was followed by an email later that evening from Mr Eddy, our Headteacher, to all parents apologising for the short notice & saying School would be closed for the day on Tuesday; parents co-operated willingly & with good grace, & on Wednesday we welcomed 10 children of Key Workers & those children deemed vulnerable. Remote learning has restarted, using the excellent home-learning package we used last year, which attracted teachers from other schools throughout the Academy & the Diocese to come to see it in action. We are deeply grateful to Mr Eddy & all his staff for their significant extra work the lockdown brings, teaching in school during the day, then arriving home to mark home-learning work & set work for the next day.
We had 58 parishioners at our three Masses last weekend, some 50% of our pre-covid numbers, which is significantly higher than many Churches where 20% is more the norm. The rapidly increasing numbers of covid cases have understandably caused increased anxieties to some of you who had returned to Church, & some are withdrawing for the time being. Do please continue to pray for each other & keep in touch with a housebound neighbour through a phone call or a short note.
Our Parish continues to provide food through the Food Initiative at a cost of £200 a month. I hope those in our own Village who may be struggling to provide food for their children in this ongoing & increasing crisis in health & in the economy, will be warmly encouraged to benefit from our Food Initiative, where it is possible to approach Ray & Deb in the Village Shop, & quietly ask for a bag of food essentials which will be delivered to your door. This has been working well since the lockdown began, & it could be more of us in the Village will find themselves in ever deeper need of help, & we would encourage them to ask..it isn’t charity, it is basic good bread & butter Christian discipleship which, at such times of crisis, is asked of us in our plenty. Across the Village there is deep appreciation for the good natured & generous service given by Ray & Deb throughout the crisis, who regularly go the extra mile for us. Food donations to Middlesbrough Food Bank via cash in envelope to Parish House or direct via firstname.lastname@example.org
With my love & prayers, as we celebrate this weekend the Feast of Our Lords Baptism, the Sacrament of belonging as, be it at home or in Church, we are reminded of our need & responsibility for each other as in prayer action & conversation we complete our togetherness.. Fr Bede