This has been a good but troubling week. I'm still struggling with this question of sine proprio - without possessing, as I think it ought to be translated.
It's remarkable how, every time I think I've decided that my call is just to prayer, something else comes up. Only this week the Lord did it again, and I've been asked by two of the people whom I most respect as Christians and as friends to consider taking a quite significant step in terms of ministry. It would be very much what I chose to make it (at least, that's what they say!) but it would involve a fair bit of, well, stuff, as Wimber used to call it.
I think I'm getting caught in a trap of my own making, really. I have been praying so much for this community, that we'd be shown how the church can most effectively serve this rural yet deprived area, with all of its very disparate areas of need, and its uniquely rural forms of alienation... I've always said that one has to be prepared to be at least part of the answer to one's own prayers...
Now, is my longing (a longing St Francis had throughout his life) just to be alone with God, to be close to him, near him, to know him more and more, something that, however good it may be in itself, is ultimately selfish, akin to the disciples' longing to make dwellings on the Mount of Transfiguration?
Judy's sermon yesterday on John 15 struck me all of a heap. She said that when we do abide in the vine, thoroughly, we don't have to struggle to find things to do to serve the Lord. We just have to live in the situations in which we find ourselves, and respond. Respond out of that ingrafted vineiness that is the life in Christ, respond out of the love with which he has filled us, and in which we abide. Let it overflow. Don't mind about the mess. Let it slop out all over.
Perhaps I am being called to risk more of myself, not to protect my time (which half the time I then waste...), not to possess even that. Sine proprio as radical in its own way as Francis' and Clare's physical poverty?