Sunday, 24 August 2008

Day in Walsingham

Yesterday I went to Walsingham for one of the days of the Youth 2000 retreat there. It's often a good place to replace my spiritual batteries and remember what I'm at seminary for! I took a few people from my placement parish, one of whom was a young Italian sister who does not often have a chance to meet young religious in our rural parts... In the morning we heard a talk from Abbot Christopher Jameson from Worth Abbey (of BBC 'The Monastery' fame) who gave a talk on prayer, particularly from a monastic perspective. He started off saying how many people claim to be tone deaf as an excuse for not singing, though the excuse is not at all true, as human speech relies on and is understood by tone. Similarly, many Britain claims to be 'tone deaf' to spirituality, even if they believe in some form of God. He suggested that, as with singing, we need to recover a culture of prayer which once flourished in Britain, at home, in church, in public communities, etc. I wonder if this will encourage praying in the shower?

There were much fewer people attending this retreat than in previous years, perhaps because it is post-World Youth Day. But actually, that suited the small shrine nicely. As Fr. Stephen Wang said in his homily for the Mass at the shrine, Walsingham is not about recurring apparitions, or an explicit message to the world, but a small wooden hut which was built to resemble the Holy house of Nazareth, where Mary first said 'Yes' to God's plan for humanity. It is, he said, the only shrine that points away from itself, telling pilgrims to go to their own homes and love there.

1 comment:

Matt Doyle said...

Allusions to Medjugorje by Fr Stephen Wang perhaps?