Marble Arch is a busy place in London, the traffic constantly flows around it, the streets there are always busy with pedestrians.
Only a hundred yards or so from Marble Arch itself, on the Bayswater Road is a simple doorway, where, through the day and into the evening, people of all kinds pass. I went through it a few weeks ago and entered the silence and stillness of Tyburn Convent chapel. Here enclosed nuns pray, as the saying goes, 24/7 – all day everyday there is at least one sister praying before the Blessed Sacrament. It is a remarkable place of peace, an oasis in a busy place. It is even more remarkable. At this place for six centuries criminals were hanged, including many who died for their faith in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A downstairs chapel at the convent honours these martyrs. This place has now been taken and sanctified by the holiness of prayer and devotion. A place where one can stop and reflect and come away refreshed.
Recently Mtr Kim told us a simple story during her sermon at Mass:
The farmer asked the children for help and promised a reward. The children searched every inch of the barn but didn’t find the watch. Just when the farmer was about to give up one of the children asked for a second chance. He went into the barn by himself, and after many minutes came out – with the farmer’s watch.
Amazed the farmer asked the boy how he found it. The boy said ‘I sat in silence until I heard the ticking of the watch then I followed the sound.’ A still peaceful mind often works better than an anxious or busy one.
This Lent at Church we are thinking of prayer. The sisters at Tyburn and the boy in the barn, invite us to find time to be still, and listen wherever we are.