23/February/2009 Filed in: Jottings
The community has been very busy these last few days, preparing for Lent. As we keep all correspondence to a minimum during Lent itself, dozens of letters and emails have been composed at great speed. There are also signs of Spring Cleaning being undertaken in various parts of the house, while the gardening nun has been glimpsed looking wistfully at the greenhouse and the seed trays while dutifully working at her computer. Today's feast is a reminder that we can get too caught up in activity, neccessary though it is. Polycarp was one of the "hearers of John", a saint who takes us straight back to the apostolic age of the Church. The account of his Martyrdom is gripping stuff, a thriller avant la lettre, but his Letter to the Philippians and the Letter of Ignatius to Polycarp are important sources for our understanding of early Christianity. Polycarp's faith and life can be summed up in a sentence he himself penned: "Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, 'firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,' helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man." Something to ponder as we press on with our work.