baptism and religious

The Religious life is way of living the Christian life. It is a particular way of living out the call to be a Christian and for a person to live out their baptismal promises. It is not therefore something exotic. At root this life is a call to prayer and service. God has called many people through the centuries to the life of a ‘Religious’. To those who hear such a call, it is demanding yet joyful, a way to find God and relate to the challenges of our 21st-century society.

What is a vocation?

religious life

Fr Henry Power Bull was Superior General of the Society of St John the Evangelist and the following is from the First Anglo-Catholic Congress:

The Religious Life is that state, or form, of life in which, obediently to the inspiration or call of God, a soul is consecrated to God in Jesus Christ under perpetual vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. There are many forms of this consecration, as there are also many objects with which is it is undertaken; and the Church has need of all. But strictly for the Religious state, as it exists in the Catholic Church, there is required the entire and permanent surrender of self, according to some fixed and recognised rule based upon the Evangelical Counsels, that is, upon the observance of a real spirit of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience.

And about the enclosed life from the Cowley Evangelist:

It is no self-centred idle life, no dream of prayer, or following of self-will. It is a burning desire of love to die to self and to live to God, in great humility, and with an ever increasing intensity of worship and self-oblation.

more of less?

What could you do less of?

I think the answer is pretty simple for me – feeling sad. It is still a regular part of my life. Not a part I rejoice in or celebrate. But it is part of me. To be honest, it helps when I have a solid plan for each day. Maybe what I could do less of is define myself by other people and what they expect of me? Or, maybe, I could stop feeling things so deeply?

Yes, I take medication. But the medication is not the answer – it only stops it from bubbling to the surface where it becomes uncontrollable. I have a general feeling of uselessness and being a “third wheel”. I no longer think about ending it. That is a positive!

I cannot change others, I can only change myself. So this is my problem and not someone else’s. I can try to escape into the arms of other people and hope they can fix it. But I have tried that and it was a disaster. I keep saying that everything will become clear but to be honest, I no longer believe that.

Sorry that is a little bit of a downer first thing. It is a positive that I know what my negative is?!

The Anchorage

What big events have taken place in your life over the past year?

I moved into The Anchorage. There are plenty of other things but that is the one I chose to remember. The last two years have been a rollercoaster ride of emotion and self-discovery. It has been far from pleasant or edifying. I often wonder if I can keep going even now.

I am testing my vocation to the solitary life within a parish context. In the past, I may have been called an anchorite – in the English sense rather than the Orthodox. I pray, meditate, and read. I also have a few things I do within the parish related to my life as a solitary. I am often amazed at how ordinary my life is really. But I am only testing my vocation! For the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking about the traditional monastic orders and wondering if I might be called to community. That is for another day!

So the major event is my move to The Anchorage. I dearly love this place. I have a house guest – Fred, the rabbit. But otherwise, I am alone. I have been trying to work on my mental health and my relationships.

wild animals

Do you ever see wild animals?

Another prompt! Do I see wild animals?

Well, I see birds in my front yard – they make a lot of noise, especially in the spring. The birds remind me of St Anthony and his time in the cave. When he wanted to fast, the birds brought him bread to eat. Silence is not an absence of noise.

I also have a rabbit, Fred, who is not really wild but who keeps me company. He has become very comfortable in The Anchorage. He likes to run and jump – as rabbits do.

But I see and hear people who come home from various night spots every weekend. Are they wild animals? Not really – just people living a life different to mine. Sometimes they make a lot of noise. But often they sing or talk while they walk back to their cars.

the oratory

I am going to use the WordPress prompts for posts. So there is today’s:

Do you have a favorite place you have visited? Where is it?

I am going to be really corny and say, “my oratory”. It is right in the middle of The Anchorage. It is small and extremely hot or cold. It only has a kneeler, a chair, and an “altar”. It has candles but I rarely use them. The altar doubles as storage for some of my liturgical books and items. It also has “relics” – a few things that were given by people that have a special meaning for me. It has a crucifix that was given to me by my vicar when I moved in – it used to belong to the Society of the Sacred Advent. There is a very small book on the altar with all the people that I remember every day – my benefactors. I have a prayer bench that I use for my meditation time.

I use it to pray especially for saying the Hours. It is not very catholic in the Anglican sense. I have icons around The Anchorage but none in the oratory. I really like the silence when I pray. Sometimes I move into another room to pray, sometimes I go outside. But I always return to the oratory to say Compline.


I like to escape. I want to run into other people’s definitions of me. Maybe I just have no idea who I am? Perhaps I am afraid of who I am? If I can wear a uniform I am happy. When I can fall into a role I can actually do I feel a sense of security. What when all of that is no longer available? Find a role? Create a role?

I have a comfortable rhythm to life at the moment. But I can hear the voice that questions everything. And the idea that I need to complicate things to make them real. Or, maybe, to make me real?

I have been thinking about my “religious past”. I feel drawn to a more “catholic form of Anglicanism”. Yes, I go to Mass and I like the formal terminology for clergy. I cross myself and I like kneeling. I like crucifixes. Is all of that an escape? Or is there something very personal about it all that touches me on a fundamental level?

Sorry for all the questions this morning. Anyway, a slow start to the day!