Sunday 20 January 2008

Extreme Pilgrim

I watched the programme on BBC2 on Thursday, despite the slating it had in The Times TV Guide. I decided that St Anthony's Monastery and a hermit was well worth seeing and I could choose to screen out the vicar bloke if he got too tedious. I didn't watch the other two programmes because I'm not interested in other religions to that extent.

As it turned out the I just felt sorry for the vicar as he was in a mess and admiration because he did stick it out for three weeks. It certainly proved that you could live somewhere very beautiful and be deeply unhappy and then live up a mountain on your own and actually get somewhere. (Aided by the offices he was saying six times a day and the help of the resident hermit.) He had a beautiful garden in Sussex. (I was imagining orchards, cottage gardens, rows of veg... Think of the dinners you could cook with the produce, but I digress.) He was separated from his wife and children and that was obviously a great sadness.

Fr Lazarus, the hermit, was of the shining with holiness variety of person - wow. He also spoke highly educated English, was very light hearted and physically very strong as well as having a perchant for coffee.

The bedouin who took aforementioned English man to the monastery were also very impressive and into camels in a big way. Two humps being the thing apparently.

I wanted to see St Anthony's Monastery because one year I happened to go to Mass at Westminster Cathedral on his Feast Day. No special reason, just randomly there. I was early, so thought I'd catch the end of Vespers. Instead, it being Christian Unity Ocatave, it was the Choir and clergy of St Paul's Cathedral and I was surprised to see a woman 'priest,' who kept going on about woman. This I found rude and then they left the tremulant on the organ so it was like having a helicopter in the place. We ordinary folk sat in silence waiting for the Mass to start. Resigned politeness.

After all of the fuss and noise of what had gone before a very elderly, frail and small priest appeared, tiny in the huge building. The Gospel I seem to remember was the rich young man asking Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. The Priest said that that was what St Anthony had heard and responded to, which for some reason really struck me, that what I was hearing was just what he had, only he actually went and acted on it big time.

No comments: