Monday night saw me staying in London at my sister's house prior to my appointment. She has a nice place. It is expensively furnished and stylish. I like my own house, but it really looks shabby next to hers. My furniture is mainly veneer and chipboard and from crap shops and I'm not interested in objet d'art.
Being prepared for the tedium of my extended investigations at hospital, I'd taken my monastic diurnal with me, these visits can become retreats of sorts. I can't claim to have been able to pray the hours regularly, but Summer holidays and hospital stays usually mean I can commit to more regular devotions. So there I was, in my sister's spare room saying Compline when the Collect came up and hit me in the head and heart.
Visit we beseech thee, O Lord, this dwelling and drive far away from it all the snares of the enemy; let Thy holy Angels dwell herin, who may keep us in peace, and let Thy blessing be always upon us.
It was incredibly difficult and draining to say. Not through lack of belief, but simply hard to say. My sister's house was not used to prayer. The house was not used to having angels summoned to it. It came as quite a shock to realise just how much God expects us to do; how much we who claim to be Christians are expected to do in terms of blessing the houses of those who are strangers to God, in return for their hospitality.
To end with, here is a picture of a hospital ward from the near mythical past when the NHS had no internal market and patients got beds and outside air was allowed into the wards rather than sickly air-conditioning.