"The wine is mourning; the vine is pining away, all glad hearts are sighing. The merry tambourines are silent, the sound of revelling is over, the merry lyre is silent. There is lamentation in the streets: no wine, joy is lost, gladness is banished from the country. Nothing but rubble in the city" (Isaiah 24). This quote from the Old Testament captures for a moment in time, the moral and emotional devastation that has been inflicted on France with the terrorist attacks. We are all in our different ways endeavouring to come to terms with this so that we can begin to understand how to proceed. There are the obvious answers, such as increased security measures, better community cohesion ( a longer term solution), but as we engage with community efforts, we realise that we are moving into a different level, away from a materialist response, to one where values, ethics, and reason begin to emerge. "We are the Mother of Christ when we carry Him in our heart and body by love and a pure and sincere conscience. And we give birth to him through our holy works which ought to shine on others by our example." (St.Francis of Assisi). Christian teaching particularly emphasises the importance of a creative and reflective stance to our daily actions, wherever or whoever we are. Therein lies the step forward and upward from our being imprisoned in either depression or hatred as we struggle out of the after effects of the French calamity. As Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1280 AD.) said, 'When you drink the waters of sorrow, you shall kindle the fire of love with the match of perserverance. This is the way to dwell in the desert." In short, when we are in tumultous times, it is critical for our sanity to seek out and to hold onto, a compassionate love of all, even if this may be excrucionatingly difficult.

Thank you.  Tom Baxter.