Such an attitude to unbelievers was alien to the church of her day, which regarded atheism as error, delusion, & above all sin. There were possibly some nuns who prayed for the unbelievers & made sacrifices for them out of desire to be mothers to them & the godparents of their conversion. Therese, on the other hand, wanted to be their sister and regarded them explicitly as her brothers. The French church at that period was absorbed in desperate defensive action against burgeoning atheism. The more it failed to realise & acknowledge the extent, to which its dry-as-dust theology contributed to the secularism of its age, the more desperately it sought our external enemies & their undercover agents within its own ranks. Everything was the fault of a worldwide conspiracy of Jews & Freemasons. A paranoid campaign against “modernism” was unleashed within the church, rejecting any other approach to modern thinking but “circular defence.” At a time when many priests were writing apologetic treaties & preaching outraged sermons against atheism- either because it was part of the job or because it drowned out their own doubts- this young woman form Normandy was showing solidarity with atheistsin a remarkableway & seeing atheism as a cup of pain, from which she now drank deeply in her own night of Gethsemane. In Francois Mauriac’s Life of Jesus, where he describes Jesus praying at Gethsemane, perspiring blood while the apostles sleep, he writes “the Sun of Man became a pendulum between man’s torpor & God’s absence-from the absent Father to the sleeping friend.” Therese likewise became a pendulum between an unbelieving world & a deaf heaven - & that is her message, that is the lesson of this doctor of the church of our times. [“Patience with God” Fr Tomaz Halik ]
On behalf of Rev Catherine Reid & myself we would like to warmly thank the small band of parishioners (25 in total) who came to celebrate our Harvest Service together in our Church last Wednesday. It was a most prayerful & enjoyable moment for the Village, & we shared a splendid supper afterwards in the Parish Hall. Our Harvest collection totalled £131.50 which goes to Christian Aid. We are very keen to share time, prayer & fellowship together on a regular basis, & we are to share a Quiet Day at Stanbrook Abbey this coming Saturday between 10am & 3.30pm, where Rev Catherine & myself will facilitate the day. Lunch will be provided, & we will ask for donations to cover the cost of the day & our use of facilities at Stanbrook. Please do make an effort to come. A list for names please at the back of Church. We are holding a Parish Forum this Sunday at 11.15am in the Parish Hall to further the discussions from our Forums earlier in the year, when, as well as identifying the urgent need for help in a number of practical ministries within the Parish, the emergence of a Vision Group has led to much thought, prayer & discussion on a regular basis in recent weeks, & the Forum will give a timely opportunity for us to engage in this vital initiative in planning for our future together. Our Bishops are currently in Rome for their 5 yearly “ad Limina” visit, & their meeting with Pope Francis today (Friday 28th Sept). On Tuesday they issued a Statement from Rome summarising their reflections on the impact of the recent reports containing revelations of child sexual abuse within the Church. They ask that the Statement be read or be made available this weekend in all churches. I would ask each of you to take home a copy to read, to reflect on, & to pray about in the coming weeks, as collectively we give priority to the victims as they seek to be heard with compassion & love. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.