Yesterday I was sitting in our busy tearoom my two youngest grandsons age 10 & 11 were holding a patio sale selling toys & clothes raising money to buy some new Lego they politely approached each table encouraging people to came take a look when they had finished their tea  and cake one lady said ‘what are you raising money for?’ They answered ‘we want to buy new Lego but also give some money to our charity Monos’ lady said ‘what is Monos Thomas replied to my surprise ‘it’s another word for alone’ she said ‘and what do you do in Monos’ Thomas answered again to my surprise ‘ we tell people about the Monks who live up the road about their life’ and Isaac joined in ‘ and the people from the YMCA like to come and we look after them and take them a walk to the monastery ‘ the lady was quite impressed with these two little entrepreneurs and so was I “out of the mouth of babes “simple and straight to the point. Freshness and simplicity food for the soul. Let’s keep trying to live the Gospel real, fresh and simple .

 

Thomas Merton: The Wisdom of the Desert…

“The flight of these men (The Desert Fathers) to the desert was neither purely negative nor purely individualistic. They were not rebels against society. True, they were in a certain sense “anarchists”, and it will do no harm to think of them in that light. They were men who did not believe in letting themselves be passively guided and ruled by a decadent state, and who believed that there was a way of getting along without slavish dependence on accepted, conventional values…”


The flight of these men (The Desert Fathers) to the desert…

The  (not yet proven statistically)rate of suicides coming out of Covid is allegedly higher than the amount of Covid deaths at the moment and there are more males succeeding in killing themselves. How can the structure of the ‘Way for living’ of the Bethany Community support mental health? I personally have found that I have successfully journeyed through the pandemic by focusing on one prayer in lockdown; one when we were fearful of imminent death  ‘as i walk the road that leads from earth into glory’ and in the second I wake up praying the ‘in the name of the father i thank you for the dreams’ from evening office etc… This robust liturgy is a great support and easy to remember when i have no words….What has helped others during this time?.

The loneliness epidemic is so bad that world leaders have been forced to intervene . In January 2018 the British Prime Minister Theresa May appointed the worlds first ‘Minister for Loneliness’.

Harry Harlow was a theorist that completed experiments with monkeys on social interaction or lack of it ….Harlow wrote that “the monkeys kept in isolation wound up ‘profoundly disturbed, became emotionless , staring blankly into the distance , rocked in place for long periods, circled their cages repetitively and self harmed frequently .’ Those who had been in isolation the longest were the most irreversibly harmed. Twelve months of isolation almost obliterated the animals socially. “

These findings are particularly concerning as much of the Western world is currently living in isolation due to The COVID 19 pandemic. It makes you wonder how we will emerge from this period, what invisible harm has been caused and how it will contribute to the loneliness epidemic?