Day 11

I cannot believe it is almost two weeks. The routine is now set and very comfortable. I think with time I will adjust it to the context but it is something I can live with.

I have updated the About me? page. Why? To bring it up to date and also to sweep out some of the old. To make it present. I cannot live my life looking backwards. The past is the past, time to move on.

There is a difference between being in touch with the past and being dominated by it. Some people (me included) make a fetish from the past and want to shift their life into the 1950s. So no more of that!

I may write some more later as I am now completely out of things to say.

Day 10: the past?

Today was a busy day (so far). And here are two insights:

I cannot allow the past to define me. There are parts that describe me but they do not define me. Only the Heart of Jesus defines me. It defines me as someone who is loved and who loves.

We all make mistakes. That is what makes us human. I live in and through forgiveness.

Day 9

I thought I would sit down and write a little before the day gets ahead of me.

It has been a hard start: I could not get the words out for Morning Pray, found no peace during meditation, and was very distracted during the streamed Mass. I have had two days of being with people so maybe it is a “people hangover”?

I was hoping to sit down today with my friends Soren, Julian, and Thomas. (And of course, with my friend Jesus.) But at the moment my mind is racing and my heart is all over the place.

So I am fighting the urge to eat for comfort, or to simply watch TV for the rest of the day. Please pray for me today and especially tomorrow.

Heart of Jesus, have mercy.

Day 8

A normal start to the day: make tea, feed the cat, pray, and meditate. And, in addition today, I watched the daily Mass from one of the local Anglo-Catholic parishes (streamed). I do very much like the Anglican tradition especially when it is expressed in its more “catholic” form. Not saying that I would change parish over it (or much less argue about it) but it is a rite that I feel very comfortable in and that I have experienced in the past. And I think I will reflect on some of the Anglican prayers in a future post.

But there are many things about the more “catholic” form of Anglicanism that bother me. It can be cold and distant. It makes me think of the medieval church in that I very much feel like I am watching through a squit at the “sacring”. There is no standard way of saying Mass (something very “catholic”) so it is “catholicism” according to the celebrant of the Mass. And, in my experience, the preaching in that context is often weak or myopic. (That being said, the best preacher I have heard has been in the context of a Anglo-Catholic diocese.)

It means, in the end, that I would like a charismatic contemplative “catholic” Mass at which I may fully participate. Of course, a good sermon!

Also: I have a theological question, “Am I absolved when I watch a Mass which is recorded? When it is live?”.

Anyway: Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.

Day 7

It has been a week.

Today I went to church. Nothing unusual in that. I help a little with the technological side which allows me to sit in a box apart from the congregation – a little like an anchorite of old.

I got ink for my pens and food for the week. Unfortunately I have a few things that will require me to leave the “anchorhold” this week but I am hoping (praying) to keep my normal routine as much as I can.

I am hoping to add a morning daily Mass to my routine (via a stream from a local Anglican parish). Very much like a “squit” called Facebook.

Yesterday I read more of Underhill’s Practical Mysticism. While her Neoplatonism sometimes shows. I like the book. I think, for me, the experience is more like Buber’s “I and thou” – a movement from “it” to “you”. It is fundamentally a relationship in which I rest, like sitting with a loved one in silence. It is the moment of intimacy that reveals the real me to the “You”. It is the moment when the You is more the sum of its parts. It is a personal encounter that moves me from experience to participation.

Ok, too much fluffy theology! Time to think about Evening Prayer.

Day 6

I really do not feel like writing today but I think it will do me good.

Yesterday was very hard! I endured and, at the same time, enjoyed the outside world. I have had little sleep as a result but I am somewhat clear in my head where to go from here.

But there is the fundamental problem of my life: my head vs my heart. I mean heart in the sense it is used in the Bible – the very inner core where I am who I truly am. My heart has been broken for a long time, trampled on, and belittled. So it is often hard to see past the feelings of brokenness and the “monster within”. My head knows who I am (alas, very poorly) but my heart is still catching up.

I was thinking this morning it is a little like the Knowledge Argument – Mary has all knowledge on colour in a black and white world and then gets to experience the world of colours. Underhill, in her book Practical Mysticism, makes the point that contemplation (in a general sense) is more like taste, touch, smell than thinking and hearing – the “I” is always involved in the process and there is never a time when the “I” is a spectator. Of course, Kierkegaard also says that in many places and he said it earlier!

Anyway, my heart needs to experience beyond the boundaries that my mind has placed on it. No good knowing everything about a subject but never experience the reality. In my relationship with Jesus that is a desire to be in communion with him and to have union with him beyond language, signs, and “religion”.

So from “I do not want to write” to the end of the post!? TMI!

Day 5

Yesterday, for the first time this week, I had a face-to-face meeting. The people are nice but I was glad when it was over.

Being alone – solitude – makes me very cranky when I am not. Yet another character flaw. Some yesterday lamented that “being alone” made them depressed. One even mentioned that being alone for an extended period of time made them try to take their own life. I feel for people who live in the darkness without a way out. Yet I wanted to say that being with people is what makes me depressed! I think I am somewhat of a people-pleaser and I feel pressure to act a certain way. I have learned not to act like I think I should but rather to be me.

The realisation is that, for me, the sacrifice is not being alone – solitude – but rather being with people. Maybe I am completely selfish?! I will make the sacrifice for Jesus but I will also value and protect my solitude for Jesus. The natural rhythm of prayer, meditation, and reading gives me a peace that is beyond understanding.

It has taken me over 50 years to come to that conclusion and I know that I have responsibilities. But being alone recharges me!

Day 4

I have settled into a routine – prayer, meditation. reading and writing. But ….

My pen has run out of ink and my Kindle is out of power. So, in freedom, I can change my day round. I have a meeting tonight so I am going to relax a little this morning, do some other things that need doing, and start again with Prayer During the Day.

Last night, before going to sleep, it dawned on me that I had not thought about my death for the whole time here. I mean, wanting the pain to end. I feel settled and, for the first time in a very long time, balanced. I still have one foot in the world (especially in trying to close some past chapters) but I like having time to pray and meditate. And I have slept much better!

On meditating: it gets harder with time! Even in the nothingness of my life there is lots to plan and organise. So silence of mind is very hard for me at the moment. Maybe it has always been hard because I have lived my life in my head rather than my heart? But my heart has always been stronger and so there is no balance.

Heart of Jesus, I trust in you!

Day 3

I have been thinking about a number of things but I am not ready yet to write about them publicly. So I wanted to share the introduction paragraph from A Handbook of the Religious Life on Solitaries:

There have always been some who believe that they are called by God to dedicate themselves by a vow and to live as consecrated celibates, whose primary concern is to build up the body of Christ in unity and love, though without living a community life and a common Rule. This autonomous vowed life has been recognised in the Eastern and Western Churches from earliest times as an authentic Christian vocation.

The modern Anglican vocation of being a solitary is somewhere between the medieval anchorite (if it is lived purely as a contemplative) and the modern Roman vocation of Consecrated Virginity (which cam be mixed, true active, or true contemplative). The only “vow” is to celibacy – singleness. I do not like the term celibacy or singleness. They appear, to me, to be negative – something is given up. I think the vow is to live for Jesus only forsaking all others – only his love and friendship. A solitary can be lonely (due to the absence of people) but that is given new meaning by the presence of Jesus.

The aim is simple: ” to build up the body of Christ in unity and love.” Beyond this there is freedom. It is not life according to a community rule or traditional rule but, of course, it can include such elements. And the freedom is its strength – all for Jesus all of the time.

So in the freedom of today I would like to meditate on these issues: diet, space, confession, silence, work (building up the body of Christ).