I keep thinking of the monks in the London Charterhouse on Christmas Days in the late 1520’s. How amazing that there was a contemplative monastery right next to Smithfield meat market. How noisy the market must have been in the days coming up to Christmas: the rumbling and squealing of carts, the bellowing of frightened beasts, auctioneers racking up bids, butchers shouting. Then suddenly how silent, as the great Christmas feasting of late Medieval England began. The monks would have sung their beautiful liturgy in the depths of the night, and how full of joy their hearts must have been, as the hearts of Christians are on Christmas Day, and most especially those of contemplative Christians. How little they were aware that in not much more than a decade their monastery would be dissolved, and, like the beasts butchered in the market, they themselves would be hanged. drawn and quartered.
So tragedies, however prophesied, steal on us unawares, for humans have little capacity to envisage and imagine the onset of the catastrophes that so often engulf them, and once begun so often unfold with such amazing rapidity. So will it be, given the dire and solemn warnings of so many scientists and the resolute refusal of humanity to heed them, with the great climate catastrophe that will now almost certainly engulf us all. We should cherish Christmas Days, for days of wrath are coming.