Janet`s August 2020 letter to the Community


I had a phone call last week from an old friend.  She reminded me of a prayer we both love.  It’s the final prayer of Compline, or Night Prayer, in the season of Lent, and can also be used on Fridays during Ordinary Time.  It runs:


May God bless us,

that in us may be found love and humility,

obedience and thanksgiving,

discipline, gentleness and peace.  Amen.


Love is a quality that we all aspire to.  It is the nature of God and we are called to be transformed into the image of God.  Humility is the grace to see ourselves as we really are, neither better nor worse.  Obedience is a traditional monastic virtue that we often misunderstand.  It is about being open to be formed by the word and the Spirit of God, not clinging obstinately to our own wills, but responsive to God’s hand on our lives.  Developing a habit of thankfulness turns us into people others want to be around as we recognise the good gifts that God has given us and acknowledge the source of our good fortune.  Discipline – an interesting addition to this list – not one we might automatically think of as a blessing, but one that helps us to form habits of goodness.  Gentleness shows itself in our understanding of our own and others’ weaknesses, not asking too much of ourselves or others, treading softly on God’s work in shaping the character we are, and the characters of those we rub shoulders with.  And finally, peace, which is not simply the absence of conflict, but a state of inner harmony, of being “at peace with ourselves”, and enabling us to value and respect those around us.

What I love about this prayer is the recognition that these qualities are blessings from God.  To be able to manifest love, humility, obedience, thanksgiving, discipline, gentleness and peace is a gift – something to pray for, and to be willing to allow to grow in our characters.

Perhaps especially at this challenging time, as we come to terms with the effects of Covid-19, what this episode has meant for us and what it might mean in the future, we need more than ever to open ourselves to God, and to ask him to bless us with the gifts we need to develop his character in our lives.  What a blessing is a good friend, who reminds me of what is really important in my life.


May God bless us.    Janet 

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