Loneliness & Poetry

On Wednesday we have a Requiem mass for Sue Davidson. Sue has no family. She called the parish her family. When she was able her carers brought her to Saturday evening mass in her wheelchair, but for some years she has not been able to come and has received Holy Communion regularly at home and visits from the SVP. Through those visits, the parish newsletter and her prayer she always felt one of us.

Will you come to her funeral if you are free? Sing her favourite hymns for her, rejoice that her suffering is over, she is reunited with her mother and father whom she loved so much.

Sue was not lonely even though she lived alone. She welcomed all who came and made them feel at home. There are others in the parish in similar situations. Would you like to be involved? Tell us of anyone who would like to be visited, who would be willing to visit.

It isn’t easy. I visited a block of flats. Five of our parishioners live there. They each told me they were lonely and that people from the church should visit them. I suggested they were the church and might visit each other. None of them wanted to! Theirs was a self-inflicted loneliness. I asked several people if they were willing to visit. They weren’t. They were too busy (all retired) to make any commitments. Would they expect visits when their activities slowed down? If we don’t want to visit why would people want to visit us?

We all understand shyness, fear of feeling unwelcome, told to go away, being boring. We also know that we reap what we have sown. Some people are a joy to visit (Sue was) but others are full of grumbles and criticisms and visiting them is depressing – but please consider how we might help those who are lonely.

How has your Lent begun? More time for God, other people, sensibly for yourself? Prayer, reading, longing for God – might be ways of allowing the Lenten season to flow. George Herbert, a poet of the 17th century, wrote of feeling unworthy to approach God: “Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back, guiltie of dust and sinne. But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack . . . drew nearer to me . . .”

Religious poetry can be inspiring for prayer. Discover religious poetry during this Lent. Our Watermead bookshop has beautiful books . . .

God bless you,

Fr John

(10th March 2019)