Speaking to the soul

Wow – Wells Cathedral

For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.
Psalm 92:13 NLT

A desert Father once visited fourth-century priest and monk Abba Moses, in search of enlightenment. Abba Moses simply said to him: “Go, sit in your cell, and your cell will teach you everything.” When the government took the step to move the UK into lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19, it felt very much as if we were all being told to return to our cell. The jury was out on what this would teach us.

I had the joy of spending more time in the Oratory. We have a lovely garden and the spring sunshine accompanied this prime ministerial edict. My only challenge was that all my retreats and other face-to-face work ended suddenly. So I’d need to focus upon God for my welfare.

However, while the law restricted us to bricks and mortar, I’ve learned that Abba Moses’ original injunction was neither spatial nor material. Each one of us is a temple of the Holy Spirit. We can find the house of God wherever we go. I learned some time back that one reason monks have hoods on their garments is so that at any time they might enter into their cell. They simply raise their hood and cover their head. It’s a sign they are turning their full attention to God. I own a number of hoodies and will raise the hood when praying, so Jayne knows I am locked in with God for a time. Prayer is the soil which nourishes the rootball of our life and produces the fruit of grace. It also quells our fears and strengthens our resolve in remaining with God alone. It is only from a deepening relationship with God that any one of us can flourish in life, discover who we were created to be, and become comfortable with ourselves, others and our circumstances.

Flourishing requires overcoming obstacles, drawing upon the right nutrients and remaining focused upon your purpose. Like Abba Moses, I must flee to my cell, kneel and welcome my saviour whose nature is always to rescue me.


Do you have a cell in which to focus on God?


Whether busy or not, may I find you today, Lord.