Tablet Newsletter

Tablet - November 2011

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This year in my role in The World Community for Christian Meditation I have been meeting with our national coordinators in six regions of the globe. We began with South East Asia and the Pacific in January followed by meetings in  three European regions. We have just finished the regional meeting with N. America, Mexico, Haiti  and the Caribbean countries and I move on now to the last of this series in S. America.

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Tablet - October 2011

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Several of the sixteenth century frescoes of the life of St Benedict that are in the cloister at Monte Oliveto, the mother house of the Benedictine Olivetans, portray an easily identifiable devil.

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Tablet - September 2011

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If there were Londoners who wanted to escape the tensions of their city in recent weeks they might have been well advised to go northwards to the now peaceful lands of their ancient enemies, once the terrorists of their day.

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Tablet - August 2011

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When he was ten Agostino was in the field harvesting with his family when the retreating Germans arrived. They brought their horses into the field and Agostino understood that this meant that the winter provisions would be lost.

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Tablet - July 2011

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Sometimes, when people tell you their story, you hope what they are saying is true. But even if it isn’t you’re still grateful for their sharing it and for the fertility of their imagination. In fact though, after some stimulating moments of doubt, I believed him.

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Tablet - June 2011

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The retreat was over and there were just a few of us left saying goodbye and heading for the cars. Here day and night change shifts without the ceremonies of twilight; between one goodbye and another it had become dark. There is a sweet sadness in separating from those you have been with after the bonding that happens during a silent retreat. 

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Tablet - May 2011

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What’s the price of a smile? This question was suggested by a speaker at the seminar who flashed a particularly attractive and disarming one. Smiles transmit so much just by stretching a few facial muscles and turning on a light in the eyes. They work over large distances, even to the back of the hall. Try to fake a smile but you won’t convince others it’s for real when it isn’t.

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Tablet - April 2011

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The interfaith chapel in this northern prison is a quarter of a mile walk from the first of the series of locked gates. With each one clanging behind us, we walk down bare corridors with inmates’ art displayed bleakly on the walls. At each stage you feel more cut off from the outside and more controlled by the world coming into view on the inside.

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Tablet - March 2011

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In the mosque some men seated on the floor, looking in different directions, chant the Qur’an. The sound is not as mellifluous as plainchant but fills the hall with intense emotion and the heart’s desire for God. Outside in the courtyard porticos other groups of men also looking in different directions talked or listened to each other or to the ambient noises of Marrakech. They were all blind.

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Tablet - February 2011

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At dinner I sat next to the French philosopher with whom I was sharing the platform for the weekend and found to my relief that he was earthier than I had imagined. He loved his food and washed it down with plenty of red wine even just before he was to give a talk. He listened attentively, laughed heartily at the good jokes, enjoyed his freedom of spirit and was comfortable with his own eccentricities.

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