No doubt someone will ask why Colophon is quoting from the Book of Common Prayer, but "the kindly fruits of the earth" is an apt and beautiful phrase to describe the plentiful harvest we have enjoyed from our own garden and those of our friends. At the moment, the thought of food is still a little unwelcome to the community, but with that selfless determination characteristic of Benedictines, we thought we should enter into the spirit of World Food Day (a pity it didn't coincide with CAFOD Family Fast Day on 2 October) and spend a moment or two reflecting on how we share resources with others. We are usually quite good at sharing what we have in the way of facilities, food and drink, time and so on, but whether we always do so in a kindly manner is more debatable. It is possible to "perform an act of charity" in such a way that there is nothing "charitable" about it, especially when we're tired or harrassed or just plain out of sorts. Zeal is sometimes double-edged, and feelings of guilt, like feelings of shame, do not often lead to conversion of heart but rather trap us in negativity.
One area where we acknowledge that we ought to do more concerns those whose plight is largely ignored by the media. We have already commented on the persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. Just yesterday we received an appeal from Faith Without Fear concerning the 50,000 Christians forced from their homes in Orissa, India, last year. There are still 4,000 displaced and persecuted. We continue to hold them in prayer, but can we ask you to go to the Faith Without Fear web site and sign the petition? It is a small thing to do, but as we have been reminded many times during the progress of St Thérèse's relics, life is made up of small but significant acts. Perhaps our photo is worth a second look, too, as we think about the Orissa Christians. Some have predicted that in years to come shortages of food and water will lead to increasing strife among peoples. If we have not begun to learn to live peacefully with one another before then, how shall we celebrate the "kindly fruits of the earth" we are meant to share? Scroll down to comment.