Wednesday, April 9, 2014

In The Garden

In the garden where I love to go
There are lilies standing in a row,
All their faces shining bright,
Oh, what a wond’rous beauteous sight.
                   ~ Alfred Montrose

           “There sits Mother,” commented Alfred to himself, “and Abbot Wigbert beneath the blue wisteria, chair by chair, Mother with her Prayer Book upon her knee, and seraphic Abbot Wigbert with a gentle smile upon his face.”

            Half an hour previously Alfred had stepped out of the solarium onto the garden path with a tray bearing afternoon tea. The Brown Betty teapot with Scottish Blend tea, three Royal Standard Fine Bone China Floral cups and saucers, and a dainty dish of McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits. What a fine repast for a springtime afternoon.

            Abbot Wigbert had caught Alfred’s eye and with an almost imperceptible nod and had warned him away. It was Mother’s time and she had serious business to do with God, with Abbot Wigbert, and with her troubled conscience.

            Alfred nodded to the Abbot, turned about face, headed quietly back to the kitchen, and put the tray back down on the kitchen counter. He looked out the window briefly at Mother and Abbot Wigbert, then averted his eyes and stood in awe, amazed at the grace of God. Who would have thought that Mother would actually make a confession to God in the presence of the Abbot? Will wonders never cease?

            Alfred poured himself a cup of tea, picked up three McVitie’s biscuits, and headed to the study with Pippa the frou-frou dog trailing behind him. As he sat at his mahogany 19th Century Partner's Library Desk he briefly bowed his head and said a prayer for Mother. Truth be told Alfred was quite pleased. He loved Mother dearly and he knew that she wasn’t quite easy in her mind over that business with Paolo Vizzini years ago.

            Alfred had never felt the need for a formal confession. Goodness knows that he had spent many hours pouring his heart out to God in his own private prayers, and what few things  that still nagged him he had shared with his good friend Horace Whittington. It was wonderful to have a trustworthy friend.

            In their own ways both Mother and Alfred had truly discovered that it is good not to be alone with their sins, and the pains, of the past.

 “Examine your lives and conduct by the rule of God’s commandments, that you may perceive wherein you have offended in what you have done or left undone, whether in thought, word, or deed. And acknowledge your sins before Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life, being ready to make restitution for all injuries and wrongs done by you to others; and also being ready to forgive those who have offended you, in order that you yourselves may be forgiven. And then, being reconciled with one another, come to the banquet of that most heavenly Food.

And if, in your preparation, you need help and counsel, then go and open your grief to a discreet and understanding priest, and confess your sins, that you may receive the benefit of absolution, and spiritual counsel and advice; to the removal of scruple and doubt, the assurance of pardon, and the strengthening of your faith” [The Exhortation in the Book of Common Prayer, p. 317].

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