Over the past few years I have tended to view my Log as a light hearted journal of mostly mundane happenings, both past and present, designed to reveal, for me at least, but I believe also for everyone, how God is present, and there to be found, in the ordinariness of everyday life, in the routine things, people and events that make up the quotidian existence of most of us. I would actually be quite surprised at the number of people, and even the variety of people, who would tell me they regularly read it and enjoy it, and even more surprised that now and again someone takes the time to send me a comment. It is really quite humbling.
This past couple of weeks though, the Log has taken on another dimension, with readership increasing and the number of comments multiplying. It seems that, in some simple way, this is because of a felt need and longing, as family of faith, unable to gather with each other in the usual way, to really know how we are all getting on in these extraordinary and even frightening times. People seem to appreciate knowing how life is for us as a Passionist community in this time of lockdown, how we are functioning each day, and how does that compare with how life is for each of you at this time too. Somehow it brings us closer together in a shared experience and concern for each other while holding each other in prayer.
Since last week’s Log Father Lawrence has been laid to rest. It took place last Friday 28th March. Just eight family members plus myself and Father Antony were present. At our Passionist plot in St. Kentigern’s, Lawrence was placed in the same layer as Father Anthony Behan and Father Eustace Cassidy. In a letter I had received from a Cross and Passion Sister who had worked with Lawrence in Botswana, at the mission in Tsabong, way out in the Kalahari Desert, she had enclosed a packet containing some sand from that part of the desert. After the coffin was lowered and the initial prayers said, I poured this sand into the grave as we recalled that we are dust, and unto dust we must return. It seemed appropriate to do that.
Since last week also, we have managed to find a way of streaming Masses and other services, not from the church, but from the oratory at our house in Bishopbriggs. So far, so good. We stream Mass at 12.15pm Monday to Saturday, and at 7pm on a Sunday. Holy Week will be different so keep an eye on the website to know what’s happening, and when. We still celebrate in the church and keep an eye on things. Antony and I alternate the streamed Masses and, last Tuesday, when I was in at the church, I tuned in and heard Antony preach a lovely homily on the Mysterium Iniquitatis (the mystery of sin). He then finished Mass with a bit of Swahili. I was reminded of a quiz show I sometimes listen to in bed on BBC Radio 4 on a Saturday night. It’s called the 3rd Degree and in it, University Dons take on their students. One of the rounds is called Highbrow, Lowbrow as, on any given topic, the competitors can choose to try and answer a really intelligent question or a very simple question. As someone who just about manages in English, I was thinking that our daily Masses may be Highbrow, Lowbrow, one day Antony, the next day me, with no prizes for guessing which is which. Seriously, though, it was a really fine homily he preached, but don’t tell him I said that!
Father Justinian stays at home as advised; I make my daily trips to my brother to provide essential care; while Father Antony goes out for an evening walk as his daily exercise, often stopping at the back door of his mother’s house and speaking to her from the safety of the garden. Father Gareth remains in Wales. Commenting on last Sunday’s Gospel of the raising of Lazarus, he told me that his mother shared with him that she believed that Martha knew Jesus would find a way out of the tomb for her brother, just as he will find a way out of this crisis for us who trust in him at all times. Who needs theologians? Thank you, Gareth’s mum.
So; keep safe and well everybody, protect yourselves, protect others, and protect Christ in your lives through prayer, and why not do that together with us in our streaming service?