‘Who has known the mind of the Lord…?’ is one of the apostle Paul’s searching questions addressed to the church in Rome. It is an entirely mysterious postulation, not least to one contemplating the next three years of his life as a member of CR! Lord, what is going on? Religious life is still a largely unplumbed area in terms of vocation and ministry. We might do well to paraphrase Elizabeth here, ‘Who am I [that my Lord should give this possibility to me?’] Paul, in his charismatic wisdom, knew far better than to proffer an answer. The answer is inherent as with any rhetorical question. We cannot and do not know God’s mind. Like Elizabeth, the mystery of it all had to suffice for him. Both of them trusted. And both were fully delivered. (In the fullest sense of the word!)
There is a lesson here. I honestly haven’t got the answers to any of the potential ponderables that seem to rise to the surface of this squally sea of discipleship; often this is a disappointment to those minded enough to ask. People are interested; people are happily interested. ‘Why are you here?’ ‘What were you doing before?’ But who am I to answer the question(s) for them? God – himself his own interpreter as William Cowper tells us – turns the whole pursuit for truth on a pinhead, declaring that He himself is it: way, truth and life. The answer is staring us lovingly in the face because God is longing for us. We’re the ones who are the question-marks upon the pages he opens. We have, like advancing students or those craving ‘the pure spiritual milk’ (cf. 1 Pet 2.2), to be the setters of our own questions seeking their single solution: the one who is Jesus Christ. If our searching for pearls isn’t yielding the one of great value, we need to look somewhere else. In October 2015, I knew I had to come and look here.
I don’t know why the religious life and profession in the Community of the Resurrection are the context given me on my journey towards the mystery of God, but can only trust. Because I love God, it is natural that I should seek to trust him. I have let God down many times in discovering this way of the religious life, and will continue to do so. I am a sinner who cannot argue the point. But God, who cannot deny Godself, remains faithful says our friend St Paul. (2 Tim. 2.11-13) He hasn’t left me on my own, and as yet hasn’t put it in mind to send me away. Rather, what has come is a call to persevere: to work with the God who calls this complex question of Br Marc Voase to the context of the religious life in CR.
I cannot know his mind, but I can seek a share in its outworking through this place and its people, my brothers and sisters solving their own questions by my side and sharing in the divine mystery. On March 12th, I will seek to make my temporary profession by making vows for the next three years. I ask for His grace and your prayers; may the Kingdom of God grow ever closer to us all as the answer to the question of ourselves reveals Himself more and more.