This will not be my usual Christmas greetings – but rather a crude, hurried, little notice to say some personal things.
First, I mean to announce that, throughout Christmastide, Kim and I will be offline as much as we possibly can.
This means that we are unlikely to blog at at all during this time (with the possible exception of one largely already written blog, which just might go up to mark 1916). And it also means that we will be even further delayed in our correspondence and responses till after the end of Christmastide.
It is just possible I will be slightly active on social media like Facebook and Pinterest – but then only very little.
The reasons are twofold. First, Kim and I, since we became Catholics, have always found the twelve holy days of Christmas to be the most profound time of the year. Every year, we look forward to this as a time of becoming truly still.
Thus, we not only go to Confession just prior to these Holy Days and, of course, ensure that we get to Mass daily – we also go very regularly to Eucharistic Adoration and try to devote mornings especially to prayer. We burn frankincense in our home in the quietness of the Irish countryside and turn inwards to God …
That has been a yearly discipline for many, many years now. And long-time readers may remember my stressing it before – as I truly believe it is a time of very special graces.
If you are suffering, dear Reader, or facing major decisions in the coming year ahead, I cannot emphasise enough how much prayer can be deepened in this time and graces received …
However, in addition, to this annual discipline, Kim and I have other pressing reasons for needing time out.
Unusually, I actually mentioned these at this blog recently, when I wrote:
This is an intense time for Kim and me. There is a certain difficult intensity for both of us, connected to two dear souls I will call P and Q, both dearly beloved family members suffering intensely. Best I not say more. Yet we would be grateful for any prayers you might say for Roger and Kim’s beloved souls: P and Q. Thank you.
So this Christmastide is like years past in that it entails spiritual discipline with unusual intensity. But it is different, in that we are facing some real difficulties in our family. Again, any prayers for our family would be most appreciated.
We will certainly be remembering many of you, whose situations we know of personally, in our prayers.
Finally, I wish to express some very deep gratitude. For truly I have been unprepared for the extent of warmth, support and appreciation that has greeted the publication of my book The Gentle Traditionalist.
For I tend to live as a a ‘married hermit’ with comparatively little contact with the world. This pattern is, I think, necessary to the prayer, study and writing to which I feel I must devote the remaining years of my life. (Lest that sound ominous, I hasten to say that I am only fifty-two now, yet I feel increasingly conscious of the need to make the final years or decades of my life count for as much as possible.)
Also, as I have mentioned before, I suffer some very minor physical coronation problems – as a result of which I could never learn to do some very ordinary things like swimming, driving – or typing. Kim, by contrast, is good at those things, but suffers from a vision problem which means she can hardly look more than a few seconds at a computer or television screen. And thus I upload everything for her.
Needless to say, this makes both of us very slow in ways that hardly fit with our increasingly fast-paced world!
For these reasons and more, I have used social media and the new technology far less than most people in the West today.
But recently I became active on Facebook like never before and what with that, plus private emails etc., I have felt bombarded with appreciation.
It has actually been a dramatic experience! I am simply not used to it.
But personal warmth is a most important thing, by which we mirror, however falteringly, God’s own love for us.
I really thank you all, friends known and unknown, for all your manifold kindnesses, which include sharing news of the book on Facebook and Twitter.
In some cases, I have still yet to respond and beg for your patience with me, particularly in regards to what I have indicated with P and Q above.
Thus, I will shortly retreat into my little domestic hermitage to pray for healing and solutions in the New Year for my family and also for you, yours and the World Family of Christian souls everywhere …
May you all receive abundant blessings from the tiny, yet infinite, heart of the Infant King born this night.
(Note: one more little post will shortly go up – but it will simply be a list of extracts from my book, which may be handy for people who want to familiarise themselves with it, if they are thinking of buying it.)