Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Starbridge insight

One of the things that I have done with my sabbatical time is re-read the six Starbridge novels of Susan Howatch. I first read them in 1994, and I am sure they played a large part in driving my unconscious towards realising my vocation. They have been equally stimulating this time. I particularly liked this description of Jon Darrow, with whom I was once compared by a colleague and friend, and with whom I do identify myself somewhat (especially given these sorts of thoughts):

"Let me now say something about the qualities that made Jon such an original priest. He was a mystic - by which I mean he was one of that army of people, existing in all religions, who understand themselves and the world in the light of direct experiences of God. Such people do not fit easily into conventional ecclesiastical structures, as their individuality is at odds with institutional life, but the best Christian mystics, the ones who have been able to explore their special knowledge of God to the full by attaining a holy, disciplined life, are always those who have managed to integrate themselves into the institutional life of the Church. The mystic who insists on steering his own course runs the risk of isolation, self-centredness and delusions of grandeur, and this is never more true than for those mystics who are psychics..."

Some of my resolutions from the sabbatical are: a renewed commitment to attaining a holy and disciplined life, an acceptance of the institution (for better or worse) and, indeed, a desire to avoid isolation, self-centredness and my delusions of grandeur.

God is good.

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