Monday, 27 May 2013

There and Back Again - A Lenten Tale

I prepared this some time ago but felt I could not publish its contents as my spirit was so low.  However friends coaxed me into going ahead and recommence blogging, so here we go.


This year's Lenten journey began simply enough but little did I know what the Good Lord had planned for this year!  Giving up the usual things such as chocolate treats, fasting and abstinence, (including blogging of course), were very quickly superseded by more important events.  Lent was not about the little worldly bits of me which have routinely been offered up, but, as it should always be, about my Faith.

First was the total shock in learning of our beloved Pope Benedict XVI's abdication.  He had given so much to us and the church and had so much more to offer.  Next was the eye-opener concerning our Cardinal, which is still reverberating around Scotland and beyond.  Closer to home we learned of our ex Vicar General leaving the priesthood to get married and finally the departure of one of our diocesan priests, of whom the less said the better.      

It was as though the whole Catholic Faith in Scotland was imploding upon itself.  We, the pew fodder, could not even look to our Bishops for guidance and support as they appeared to have gone into a silent Lenten retreat such was their silence.  Without doubt they too were sorely grieved.

As Lent continued so too did further revelations until I began to seriously doubt my faith.  Even the election of the new Bishop of Rome, Francis, as he seemed to style himself, brought little true joy especially during his inauguration Mass when, at the end of Mass, I clearly observed one Cardinal punch his fist in the air with a “Yes, we’ve finally got our man elected” type glee.  Not what one would expect from a Prince of the Church.  Pope Francis’s tag line of “the poor” seemed to be fixed on their material poverty, which was not too surprising coming as he does from a third world continent.  Of course the media loved this but what about the poor in spirit, the poorly formed seminarians, the poorly catechised children; surely their poverty is more pressing to the Church.  In the Gospel of Matthew 26:11 we hear Our Lord say “For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always”.

With a heavy heart I started Holy Week.  I had been asked to serve during the Easter Triduum and so travelled daily to Edinburgh giving the MC apoplexy as I fumbled my way through.  It was during the Good Friday service gazing of the Cross that I re-awoke from my pit of sorrow, one could say almost a cathartic moment, and once again found the meaning of Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross.  The feeling was so profound my eyes welled up with gladness, sorrow, wonderment, humility, unworthiness to be given such a grace.  Now I began to understand the meaning of Lent.

Thank you Lord for being so patient with one such as me.


  1. Thank you for this humble and moving post. You might enjoy this beautiful sacred 'song' -'Crown of Roses' by Tchaikovsky. Best wishes.

    1. You are very kind thank you for your comments and also for the link to some very good music.

  2. Thanks for these thoughtful and candid reflections. The Carthusians have it about right with their motto: Stat crux dum volvitur orbis. I shall be in Aberdeen next weekend; where, would you say, is the most congenial place to hear Mass?

  3. You are very gracious Ben, thank you. Indeed it is such a grace to hold fast to the eternal truth whilst all around is changing.

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