Sally has joined the crowds venerating Therese of Lisieux (whose relics are currently on a kind of royal progress around the UK) and moved on to consider other brushes with the transcendent and holy...She asks
How about you, where do you find God's peace and presence, is there:
1. A place that holds a special memory?
The wonderful chapel of Our Lady at Llan, the retreat house in the Shropshire hills which was my favourite spiritual bolt-hole during training and curacy...With its long windows looking out over the valley, beautifully simple furniture and the presence of the Sacrament, it was somewhere that I never failed to encounter God...Llan was very much a "thin" place. On arrival, I would always go down to touch the trunk of the great tree I could see from the windows of the little sitting room in the guest wing, and as I did so, would know myself safe home.
The house closed 2 years ago, and I've yet to establish that same sort of connection. Perhaps I needed a reminder that such things are only for a season - though I know that my recent lack of retreat has more than a little to do with the nagging feeling "It won't be the same without Llan".
Of course it won't, nor should it be - but the memories are indeed special.
2. A song that seems to usher you into the Holy of Holies?
There are so many I could list, it's almost impossible to choose one. My faith became real for me as I sang my way through innumberable Evensongs as a Cambridge chorister...I guess William Harris "Faire is the heavene" might be The One - but what about Palestrina "Sicut Cervus" ? or Victoria "O Quam Gloriosam..."? or...?or...?
3.A book/ poem/ prayer that says what you cannot?
When I run out of words the psalms make all the difference, and I thank God that in the Daily Office I get to pray them regularly...and to supplement, or confirm the truth that I know, - George Herbert. Always and completely.
"You must sit down", said Love, "and taste my meat"
So I did sit and eat"
4. How do you remind yourself of these things at times when God seems far away?
I think the answer to that lies in the answers to the previous questions...And a walk in the hills too.
5.Post a picture/ poem or song that speaks of where you are right now in your relationship with God...
Well now, if I knew that....[will try and get back to you on this one]