Friday, 21 March 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain: practical prayer!

I was rather pleased that one of the recent reflections in Magnificat (on 14th March) was by the Metropolitan Anthony Bloom.

Anthony belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church and died in 2003. I met him in about 1977 when he was living in London, was known as Archbishop Anthony Bloom and came to Aylesford Priory to give our students and novices a coupe of talks. What remains with me especially, apart from his gentleness and humility, was his holiness. Sanctity seemed to be oozing out of him and it was an absolute privilege to be in his presence.

This reminds me of the colleagues of St Francis saying of him, “Seeing Francis is seeing oratio: prayer in action”. In one of the talks Anthony told us, “Make your prayer practical. I mean, if you are a rather hot tempered individual, don’t get up in the morning and tell God ‘Dear Lord, I will never be angry again’. No instead pray, ‘Dear Lord, I will try not be angry for the next half hour! Say that several times a day and be aware of the Lord’s presence. You will soon notice the enormous difference it makes in your life”.

So here is a great Lenten exercise for you: Attack your predominant fault! What is it: Pride?, Arrogance?, Intolerance?, or one of the key idols: Sex, Power and Wealth? Such an exercise sounds to me much better than giving up a bar of chocolate! Of course doing both is better still!  Have a fruitful Lent.

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.  

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