On the eve of the Coronation of King Charles III, Cardinal Vincent delivered the Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2.
I can just remember the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. As a seven-year-old it was the first time I watched television. But never did I imagine that one day I would actually take part in a Coronation! Yet tomorrow I do so.
I can recall the grandeur of that 1953 Coronation, those grainy pictures in black and white. The grandeur will be there again tomorrow: the parades, the golden coach, the splendour of Westminster Abbey. But amidst all the grandeur, something else lies at the heart of tomorrow’s ceremony.
You see, after the initial greetings, the King processes to the high altar of the Abbey and there bows his head in silent prayer. In raising his mind and heart to God at this moment, the tone is set for the entire ceremony: the seeking of God’s blessing on our new King. A little later, at the very heart of the ceremony, the King prays that he may be ‘a blessing to all thy children, of every faith and conviction, that together we may discover the ways of gentleness and be led into the paths of peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
I hope that everyone who joins in this great and solemn event is touched by this reaching out for God’s blessing. Sitting at home we may not be surrounded by splendour and ritual, but I hope we can all find a moment of stillness and let the inner longing of our hearts find expression in a word of prayer: for the King, for our countries, for the world.
Maybe these lovely words of the poet (ee cummins) can help us. He writes: ‘I am a little church (no great cathedral)…Winter by spring, I lift my diminutive spire to merciful Him Whose only now is forever’. So it is!
God save the King!
✠ Cardinal Vincent Nichols