As long as Moses kept his arms raised, Israel [ the goodies ] had the advantage in battle; when he let his arms fall, the advantage went to Amalek [ the baddies ] Moses, as Gods agent, prefiguring Jesus, & his arms raised on the Cross, opened to give all believers the advantage.. & today Angel of the North the work of Anthony Gormley, a fellow Ampleforth Benedictine of ours, as if blessing advantageously the people of the north east, & particularly at this time of battle/ crisis, as 25,000 or more who rely on the Nissan car plant remaining open after crucial decisions of next few days; no deal no car plant;
& has Catholicism a place in the European debate?..indeed it has..the Common Market brought to birth out of the gospel imperative of the Common Good.. & through the power of prayer, a solution may yet be found..can you believe that?..that the prayer of this little congregation in rural North Yorkshire could change the course of events across Europe?..indeed we can..
“..proclaim the message, & welcome or unwelcome, insist on it..” ; Lord have mercy “..refute falsehood, correct errors, call to obedience..” ; Christ have mercy “..do it all with patience, & with the intention of teaching..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
This is World Mission Sunday; DSP for the Missions; & who pray, of all possible saints has the Church chosen to be the patronness of Missions?..an enclosed Carmelite nun St Teresa..a strange choice until we appreciate at heart of all outreach to others is prayer..”to pray continually & never lose heart”..Jesus said it to his inner trusties & you & I ; his closest full time professional disciples like you & I..they/we don’t switch our faith on/off; as husband in his working day miles from home thinks of & thereby prays for his beloved wife; a mother thinking 84 times/day about her teenage daughter at school, or out in York with questionable friends for night out..a 13yr old lad thinking 20times/day of good pal who shared with him a crisis he is going through..“pray continually” & we do..& “never lose heart” understandable natural to meet doubts/uncertainties “if there is a God where is he? “ in Syrian/Turkey conflict, in Brexit & in our own crisis in Community at Abbey.. we need to keep faith with the call, the message & the assignment..& “is every prayer heard?..is every prayer answered?..ask & it will be given you..the one who asks always receives” do you believe that?..”but when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?” pessimists hesitate hedge their bets “just in case I’m proved wrong” & say “perhaps”; fence sitters, the most difficult uncomfortable & unrewarding place to be ..to be caught in or to choose middle ground in any relationship, densely populated by the timid angry or disappointed; the disaffected, each with a story to tell of what Sr Vincent said to me 60yrs ago which still haunts me; a victim, a Good Friday Catholic, whereas if we pray continually as Our Lord did, & particularly in his own dark faithless moments especially in Gethsemane ”Father, take this cup of suffering from me” bereft haunted a Good Friday victim, until, in his kenosis moment, emptied of self belief & his belief in his God, losing his faith but not his heart, & that allowed him to come back like prodigal son “let it be as you not I would have it” & heartfully he went on to face Good Friday, the void of Holy Saturday & a first glimpse of daylight in an Easter morning..two weeks ago on Look North a weather watcher “high lions from Ampleforth” showed sunrise to die for ..my sister asked “did I see it?” & I was at prayer distracted by prayer when a resurrection moment, Christ rising in our valley, was happening outside my room; easy to lapse into being the loyal dutiful monk, fully compliant, yet missing sacrament of present moment; “pray continually” our call is to be prophets; to challenge & to inspire; “continually” it takes us out of this Church, as it did with St Teresa, out of her enclosed cloister, & into a seven day a week shift of prayer..prayed & lived spirituality..prayer & communion in here, prayer & communion out there, this Body of Christ on its knees & making a difference in market place..Joan Chittister OSB ”the temptation is to refuse the invitation to really follow Jesus; that is, to be in our time as he was in his, to really feed the hungry or contest with the practices of oppression or deny the piety of sexism, racism & economic slavery. In fact, we often ignore, resist, reject the idea that, like Jesus, we have a role to play in righting a world whose axle is tilting in the wrong direction. We refuse to accept that to turn the compass points of our worlds back to the true north of the soul is what it means to be truly spiritual. Our task we argue is to be “obedient”, to keep the laws, the fasts, the dogmas & the feastdays. But the question we so often fail to ask is “obedient to what & obedient to whom?” our task is to be obedient all our lives to the will of God for the world; & therein lies the difference between being good for nothing & being good for something, between religion for show & religion for real. Between personal spirituality that dedicates itself to achieving private sanctification, & prophetic spirituality, the other half of the Christian dispensation.”..“when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth?” yes, without doubt, “because our corner of the world becomes a better place because we have been there”..a better place because we have been here, in prayer & communion, before we go out in few minutes on mission, to make our world a better place “praying continually”.. [29thSunYrC; Lk18;1-8]