A white empty sheet is a threat to the writer. Sometimes it would be a blessing for the writer and the reader if that sheet remained empty. Words rush in and invade the room of silence upsetting the mind like a boat in a storm. As we approach the first anniversary since the canonical erection of the Personal Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham many questions and half answers are multiplying like clouds covering a blue sky.
Issues of Patrimony, second waves, buildings and money are raised and tossed about from those who consider themselves friends and foes of the concept of the Ordinariate alike. Some try to justify, others defend others attack or condemn. Why is it that people are afraid to keep still in the stillness of the presence of God? Why is it that people want to make up customs that were never real? Why is it that some cannot or won’t understand that Rome writes to the world, and that the word Patrimony will mean different things in different countries? The Ordinariate is not a religious order; it cannot claim its own distinct spirituality. The Ordinariate is a non-geographical diocese. Every diocesan priest is incardinated in a diocese but shares the universal spirituality of the priesthood, just as every layperson belongs to a diocese but shares in the universal spirituality of the laity. The context in which these people serve will determine the emphasis of any applicable part of that universal spirituality. It is the same in the Ordinariate. Priests and laity share the universal call to holiness and the universal spirituality of the diocesan priest or layperson. It is not healthy to reinvent the wheel. The semi or non-geographical concept that we inhabit together with the experiences of our shared journey will shape us if we are gracious enough to give it time. We need to be gracious enough to accept in humility the early difficulties as we are already enjoying the first signs of a wonderful spring. If only we are courageous enough to accept with grace the challenges that may arise and see them as opportunities rather then problems.
As we approach Christmas we listen afresh and with intensity that wonderful canticle of Mary: the Magnificat. Mary is not the sacred author of this canticle, if you want she is the compiler. All the words of the Magnificat are words of the Old Testament. Mary is the woman of Scripture. She allows this word of God to have deep roots within her and in her humble stillness becomes a stream for these roots to flourish. It is then that the bible comes alive in her, the Word of God in her womb and the written word in her whole being. She collects from the extensive repertoire of the Scriptures to sing to God in the company of Elizabeth. Mary is immersed in Scripture and thinks and prays with the inspired text. Mary, one of the poor of the Lord, reads the scriptures in the light of tradition and realises that the prophecies of old will come to pass. Mary reads with trust and lives in silence and joy. Mary journeys far, maybe in a caravan, and believes what she hears, and lives what she reads. God was at her core. That must be the greatest preoccupation for us, that God is the only centre of our life, that his word is like the pulsating heart within us and that we never loose sight of Jesus. Mary is calling all Catholics today, and in a special way those new ones of the Ordinariate, to be still and not allow the hustle and bustle to avert our gaze from Christ, the Eternal Word made flesh. In silence and stillness we may bring our white empty sheet and allow Him to write as He wills and when He wills. This is what I really wish to my brothers and sisters in the Ordinariate, to those getting ready to take the plunge, to established Catholics and also to those who decided not to share our journey: Let our souls focus only on magnifying the Lord, the rest will look after itself.