In the article she frankly admits to the Abbess that her habits of prayer amount to nothing and her faith is “vague” to say the least. But after soaking up the atmosphere, she is genuinely impressed by the transcendent and yet very human lives of the nuns. Aida’s admiration is typical of many today who look from afar and are drawn to a quality of life that is sacred and thoroughly human, but for whatever reason, find it hard to integrate it into their everyday lives. Only a few maybe called like the Abbess, to a life separate from the world, to live as she puts it: “a more radical commitment to God, to become intimate with him, to discover what it means to be fully human and to persevere in a life of prayer” .
But for all disciples of Christ, the Abbess’ words are a powerful summary of the call to follow Jesus. We have expressed this in Carrigrohane Union through our statements on Purpose …to be centred on the life and teaching of Jesus and Values …whole life spirituality (see above). As we seek a new vision from God in 2014, this value of whole life spirituality touches deeply our thinking and praying. How can we be more effective in equipping everyone for a life of surrender to God in a world that is busy, noisy, wonderfully good and yet painfully evil, full of fun and laughter and yet seared with so much suffering?
It is the very challenge that our young people take up at the confirmation service on the 2nd March. Given their youth, it feels as if we are throwing them to the lions!! Thank God that we have Matt and Katie and their team on hand to nurture the life of the Spirit to save them from the lion’s den! But it is not just the work of the “specialist” – all of us have a role to play in creating the kind of church that is safe and yet exciting, earthed and yet heavenly, welcoming to all, overflowing from confidence in the Gospel of grace. In short a radical community, living lives that are at home in the world and yet not of it. This is the kind of church we need to be for our young people, so that they discover, not in the cloisters of a holy order, the quality of life that is sacred and thoroughly human, and integrate it into their everyday lives.
Do come along and celebrate with the Confirmation candidates as they take this enormous step, and in the meantime please pray for them: Jack & Becky Casey, Gilllian French, Chris Hockey, Cian Jenkinson, Chriss Masheti, Sinead McKeown, Alex O’Donovan, Amy & Aida Salim, Roisin O’Dea, Grace Wood. Every prayer and blessing, Ian