This young women , who had grown up in a small town household that was more bigoted than pious, & who did not even liberate herself from those surroundings when she entered a convent (which her 3 sisters has also entered in turn), had probably never seen an atheist at close quarters in her life. She writes in her diary when her haemorrhaging on Good Friday caused her to realise that she herself was already nailed to the Cross of an incurable disease & close to death “she did not believe that there existed any atheists.” She has simply considered them to be those who “contradicted their own convictions.” Indeed that is how even now many continue to react when they hear of atheists: they cannot even imagine that such an attitude is possible. But then, she continues, Christ revealed to her that there really were people who lived entirely without faith: that atheism was not simply an illusion, sinful self-delusion & deception of others & had to be taken very seriously, all this was confirmed when she was deprived of her own certainty of faith. Therese declares that she perceives unbelievers as her brothers, with whom she sits at the same table & eats the same bread. Unlike them she is aware of the bitterness of this bread, because, unlike them, she has known the joy of God’s closeness (even though the memory of it now only deepens her pain), whereas people indifferent to God are generally unaware of the burden & tragedy of their situation. In fact, it is only thanks to her previous experience of faith that she is able to experience in depth the real drama of abandonment by God, as well as discover & experience the hidden face of atheism, which many accept with a casual matter-of -factness. [“Patience with God” Fr Tomaz Halik ]
Thank you to the small band of parishioners who came to our Cemetery Mass last Sunday to pray with & for our deceased relatives, friends & fellow parishioners buried in our graveyard. It is a precious aspect of our Catholicism that we remain in full unity, prayerfulness & love with those who have gone before us on the journey towards Heaven. On Wednesday this week we are hosting the village Harvest Festival at 7pm followed by a simple Harvest Supper. It is one of the few occasions when we gather for prayer & fellowship with our brothers & sisters from St Hilda’s, so I would warmly encourage as many as possible to join us in offering hospitality to Rev Catherine Reid & her flock. A simple supper will be provided. Earlier this summer I explained that St Benedict’s Primary School was to become part of the St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Academy Trust, with 3 lead Secondary Schools, St Augustine’s Scarborough, St Francis Xavier Richmond, & All Saints York, together with 21 Catholic Primary Schools. The parents of our pupils have been invited into a process of consultation about the initiative which closes this coming Friday 28th Sept 2018. As former pupils, parents or grandparents, & as valued parishioners with a collective responsibility for the furtherance of the faith & academic growth of our children, it is important you be given the opportunity to take part in the consultation process. At the back of Church you will find a useful compilation of frequently asked questions together with a response form which is to be handed in, posted or emailed to the School office by 5pm on Fri 28th Sept. I would warmly encourage you to offer your wise counsel. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.