The Beast And A Divine Eruption

Electors throughout Europe, America and the Philippines are hitting out at the established order. They are replacing political parties with a ‘Me First’ movement. A former leader of a UK political party describes this, in a newspaper interview, as the emergence of ‘the Beast’. He quotes’ Yeats’ poem The Second Coming: ‘The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere /The ceremony of innocence is drowned/The best lack all conviction while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity’.

Is a new Dark Age approaching? Social cohesion and well-being sustained by selfless and transparent values fragment until anything goes. In the gathering gloom people look for a way forward.

The Dark Age of the First Millennium was transformed into a Golden Age through monastic communities which seeded social care and creative learning rooted in daily prayer and universal values of honesty and compassion. One of our first guests at my first Holy Island house returned this week. He spoke about reciprocity as a basic Christian way of behaving. A person, and a country, needs to give and take, build trust by making sacrifices for others, and so develop partnerships. Britain and other European lands are in danger of returning to the days when the lack of reciprocity allowed a Hitler to be elected. Our way of life is to knit together peoples in sacrificial love.

Could a new third millennium monasticism for people in all walks of life offer a way through a new Dark Age? In the first millennium the standardised Orders of the West created zones of stability but are less suited to an age of universal education, travel and choice. The monastic communities in Eastern and Celtic lands which preceded Benedict were in some ways more flexible. Each had their own character and reflected the natural patterns of the people. They were earthed in relationship more than in regulation. Contemporary movements that draw inspiration from these show promise of a new monasticism that, flowering in a thousand expressions, can transform a second Dark Age into a new Golden Age.

One of our dear members in Africa has been extremely ill. He asked God, in his mercy, if he would continue to heal and make his bone marrow whole and to heal the ‘shingles frazzled’ nerve ends in his head, face and eye. A fellow member, in a letter, quoted some words given by Andrew John in an address at Bangor. Referring to God’s intervention Andrew spoke of ‘the eruption of the divine.’ The long suffering patient writes ‘I do believe that I have experienced ‘an eruption of the divine.’ So too, Russ Parker wrote of St Columba’s Holy Well high on the mountains at Glen Columcille (where the pilgrims prayed for our patient) as ‘an extremely thin space with potency of presence and promise of blessings to come and to follow.’ Light, hope, healing in dark times. There better be. For Kevin and Lesley have just arrived at Whitehouse before it has its new kitchen and I slither off from High Rigg Annexe to Stavanger.

Posted at 03:25am on 21st September 2016
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