This week has seen the simple profession of our novice Charlie who was clothed on St James’s Day 2020. Such occasions do not fall frequently, certainly not as frequently as one might like, but they are good occasions when they do, seeing celebrated not only the public commitment to God and to the Community of one tested, but also the relationships of family, friends and the wider community.
The rite follows closely the procedure which St Benedict knows in chapter 58 of his Rule, but lacks the singing of the line from Psalm 118, ‘Receive me O Lord according to your promise, that I may live’, which is now used when the monk ratifies finally what he has just begun. Nevertheless, it expresses a commitment for three years, open for ever, which has been tested and can only be followed by the help and mercy of God, before, after and during. A real joy.
It was a moving rite, the more so as it was on the Feast of the Transfiguration, with its twin theme of the blinding light of the godhead of Jesus and the draw of humanity to that great mystery. It was also a delight to have Charlie’s parents, brothers and sisters and their families around. The smallest of the children delighted much in the space and echo of the church, but then added to the solemnity of the occasion, in quieter moments, by resting into perfectly regular and contented hiccups.
The festive collation which followed was very happy; this was aided by Charlie’s family having brought a gift of very good sparkling wine from Reims.
The weather has been dry and warm, but not here have we experienced the immoderate temperatures of the south. A gentle breeze has made outside work less gruelling that might have been the case. Though the terrible damage to our climate is alarming, it has afforded a mulberry crop the like of which has not been seen here before. It used to be read in gardening books that it was not possible to grow mulberries to their black ripeness so far north. It is with very mixed feelings – very mixed – that I have to say that this is no longer the case.
Fr Thomas CR