As Lent approaches and in preparation for overcoming temptation I am trying not to spend all my spare time in the Bramhope Deli and the Fox and Hounds and all our spare income at Wilkinson’s butchers. But it is difficult.
We have been living in the parish for just over four weeks. We have a lovely new home and most of the rooms are nearly as we want them, with just the spare room and garage packed high with packing boxes. Helen and the boys have a slightly longer commute to work and to school but we are settling well into new routines now. I am already feeling happy here and enjoying this lively village community and friendly Church family.
As a parish priest I have spent not a little time, in the Psalmist’s words, going around ‘grinning like a dog’ and (not in the Psalmist’s words) wagging my tail for approval. I am also aware that my ministry is not to be perpetually busy but to be someone who has learned how to be still. Monica Furlong writes that “priests are justified only by their powers of being and seeing”.
We all find it hard to come to terms with silence and to practise the presence of God. Being still and doing nothing can make us feel guilty. Lent can be a time to redress the balance and to not feel the slightest bit guilty about taking quality time out to be and to see. Perhaps you might be able to take time out from other things to come along to this year’s Lent course at St Giles, to prioritise being reflective and still so that you are in the best possible position to be able to grow in faith?
With best wishes