If anyone loves me he will keep my word
and my Father will love him
and we shall come to him
and make our home with him(Jn 14:23)

These words from the Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Easter Cycle C and which were spoken by Jesus on the night before He suffered and died, remind us of the wonderful mystery of the indwelling of God -imagine God desiring to come and make His home in us His often sinful and disobedient children!

Reflecting on this theme of ‘making a home’ gives us with an opportunity to introduce you to our feathered friends in our cloister garth –

In the Spring of 2008 when the dawn chorus was ushered in with a magnificent Alleluia, the tits and the robins, the thrushes and the blackbirds, and all the other feathered folk put on a wonderful show, each trying to outdo the other in praising their Creator, and filling us all with joy.

One day along came two wagtails who made a thorough survey of our small cloister garth — was it a safe place? — would their little ones be made welcome? Apparently we passed the test—and Lua and Louis came to stay. As we watched them building their new home it was both comical and touching to see them carrying bits of twigs and straw to the feet of St Dominic, and especially towards the end bringing soft down to line the nest. It was fun too to see the father bringing food to his ‘lady love’ sitting on the nest.

As the time drew near for the little ones to be hatched out, our anticipation and excitement grew until the great day came when the shells were shattered and out tumbled the tiny fledglings. We looked on with wonder and affection, but unfortunately someone else was surveying the scene too, and one day a large grey crow swooped down —- that was the end of the dream.

How sad Lua and Louis were at their loss —we can only guess, but I like to think that the feathered world love and care for their young.

However that’s not the end of the story.
Spring 2009 came with a repeat performance of the dawn chorus. Wagtails were furthest from our thoughts as we carried the many sad happenings in the world, in our country and in our Church, in prayer to our Father in Heaven who sees and loves all his children. Then into these days Lua and Louis returned and to our amazement built a new nest close by the old one and hatched out a new brood. It gave us great joy to watch them caring for their young until they were ready to fly away – but they managed to get the young out and flying away unnoticed!!

They are extremely private and nervous little creatures – not like the swallows who build their nests as we look on!! – one of them will walk back and forth on the pavement while the other keeps watch on the overhead roof until they feel safe to go to the nest. We have discovered that they even know when we go to the chapel and then they have the place to themselves but as soon as we appear then once again they play safe.

As we write they are in the process of building again but it is quite difficult to get a close up picture of them – we hope that their efforts will be successful and that they will have the joy of taking their fledglings safely to the skies in due course.

Are these little birds saying something to us humans—something about forgiveness and hope and trust. They returned to the same area where they had been so cruelly treated and decided to hope that this time all would be well –and so it was. As we continue to make our homes here on earth, as the wagtails did, can we remember Jesus’ invitation ‘Abide in Me’ It is a cry from the very depths of His heart because He knows that this ‘Abiding’ is the source of everything for us. It is a call into the innermost life and home of the Trinity as He invites us in the Gospel:

“If anyone loves me he will keep my word
and my Father will love him
and we shall come to him”
and make our home with him”