...on a warm, sticky evening with thunder rolling around the London suburbs.
Auntie has spent much of the week in the West Country, attending to sundry family responsibilities (prayers, please, for elderly relatives in poor health...). Traditional Maundy Thursday and Good Friday devotions at a small church in a seaside town. The Maundy Mass was not well attended, but Good Friday saw a very full church,the traditional prayers and Reading of the Passion gathering us all in solemnity...and the children of the parish placed a cross in the garden, and later rolled a stone across the mouth of a little garden-tomb...
Newspapers today are full of the Royal Wedding. Somehow it all has a slightly unreal air - or is it the thundery weather, and the sense of stillness that Holy Saturday always brings? I travelled home through countryside smothered in heat-haze.
This Holy Week and Easter have a solemn feel. There has been the dramatic and joyful welcoming into the Church of the new Ordinariate groups - I'll be putting up a link shortly to a feature I have written about that, following the beautiful and unforgettable evening in Kent as some 70 people were recieved into full communion. Tonight the Easter Vigil at our local parish will be packed and joyful, people squeezing up to make space, choir in good voice.
But for millions of people in Britain the greatness of this season is a barely-noted sideshow. It's just a holiday time, with more to come as the R. Wedding approaches.
The words of the Holy Father at the Rome Chrism Mass echo here: "Is it perhaps the case that the West, the heartlands of Christianity, are tired of their faith, bored by their history and culture, and no longer wish to know faith in Jesus Christ? We have reason to cry out at this time to God: "Do not allow us to become a ‘non-people’! Make us recognize you again! Truly, you have anointed us with your love, you have poured out your Holy Spirit upon us. Grant that the power of your Spirit may become newly effective in us, so that we may bear joyful witness to your message!"