So we enter the season of Lent again. Yesterday was both Ash Wednesday and a quiet day here in college. For the first time since I came to college I really enjoyed the quiet day. This in part was because I knew what to expect and so had planned carefully how I would spend the day. partly I think as well because I was so ready to have a quiet day.
The day started actually the evening before with compline and short address. Then yesterday after breakfast we had morning prayer and an address 9 on Poverty) from one of the Sisters of the Begbrooke convent. The sisters will be moving to live in a new building here at Cuddesdon. I spent the next couple of hours rereading my journal and making fresh reflections in it. Then we were back in church for Ashing and Eucharist. This was accompanied by a second address on Obedience then while everyone else moved to lunch I went out of college to spend 4 hours away on my own- walking along the Thames. Returning I read a book about fresh expressions in a cathedral. Then it was on to church and the evening prayer with address about chastity. We had a silent evening meal, and at 9.30pm there was an optional compline which had a Taize base- a lovely end to a peaceful day with God.
What I have taken away from yesterday was the need to prepare and plan for quiet days/retreats and that I need this time out with God regularly. I'm looking forward now to the three days of pre-ordination retreat in the diocese.
Today I've spent the day out from college visiting a number of churches to do research for my dissertation. I took a checklist of things I was looking for and then made comments on what I observed. This will now be written up into a chapter for my dissertation of 20000 words! I also took loads of photo's so they can find their place in it as well. I'm not as far on with the dissertation I was hoping to be- partly because I've allowed myself to be distracted easily. With that in mind my lenten disciplines are going to be - no TV before 7pm - I'm easily hooked on Countdown and escape to the Country!! And I'm not going to look at Facebook, Blogs etc until the evening. I will check emails during the day because most college communication is through email. I will also try and blog a reflection each day as I did last year- but not until the evening!!
In the meantime I'm going to watch the programme about the training of catholic priest and see how different it is to my training.