doldrumsI get the impression the Doldrums have arrived at this beginning of October. I don’t know whether it’s just me or more generally. I thought of the subject the other day when I took the boat out and the wind dropped, leaving slowly flapping and hanging sails. I look around my “usuals” most mornings with my coffee and cheese and Marmite (an English habit my French wife hates! 😉 ) on toast.

News about the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis can be found from different partisan points of view, and I just don’t feel inclined to enter the discussion. From the gentle Jesuit father conducting a retreat and hearing confessions to concerns about the liturgy. I’m just not part of it and it just isn’t in my life.

We are indeed far from heady days, and I get the impression that we are sad (in the northern hemisphere) with the declining days, the leaves on the trees changing colour and the timid sun rays through the heavy cumulus clouds. In a few short weeks, it will no longer be possible to go sailing except perhaps a day here or there on an inland lake or out of the Port of Saint Valéry en Caux to avoid the breaking waves on the beach. Winter is ahead of us … Brrr! And the long range weather forecasters are talking of a severe one this year!

All the same, we carry on practising our religion as priests or lay people. Even when devotion wanes and distractions enter our prayer, we persevere and do our duty for God and our neighbour. It is at such a time when prayer is at its purest. Without sensational news, we get on with deeper things like reading philosophy and theology, refreshing and building our knowledge and curiosity, discovering and making new landfalls. It is a time when I can be actually reading the books Dr William Tighe keeps sending me! I have a whole series on Gnosticism by Elaine Pagels and some more orthodox / biblical points of view. It’s fascinating stuff.

The wind will rise and the sails will fill, and there will again be eddies of water around the rudder. Sometimes we have to wait – or get the oars out and row – and everything comes to he who waits.

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6 Responses to Doldrums

  1. Dear Father Anthony,

    Very much enjoyed reading this post. As a Dutch born Priest now residing in Australia my heart yearns sometimes for the European seasons as such. We are now turning the other way with months of scorching sun around. Indeed our work as Priests never ceases , but I can feel the homesickness from time to time even after all these years being in this part of the world.

    With every good wish in Christ,

    Father Ed Bakker

  2. Hello Father Anthony,

    “with my coffee and cheese and Marmite (an English habit my French wife hates! 😉 ) on toast.”

    I can think of nothing better to set the day in perspective. I once had an American friend staying for a few days, he agreed to try the ‘black stuff’ – he turned green at the first bite of his toast.

    Happy reading for the Winter!


  3. Rdr. James Morgan says:

    I love Marmite! but the Aussie version [Vegemite] is just too salty for me. And I’ve never seen a 1 lb jar of the stuff, not even in Victoria or Vancouver BC (Probably looking in all the wrong places!). It is a fine food and appropriate for the fasting seasons.

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