Archbishop's notes: November 2020

By Archbishop Malcolm McMahon

Some years ago, I was described as an ‘extravert’ by the person who conducted a Myers-Briggs personality test on me.
My first reaction was to say that you have spelt it wrong – it should be ‘extrovert’ to be correct. Maybe I am an extrovert – that’s for others to judge – but it seems that I am also an ‘extravert’ which is a word with a technical meaning and not just an alternative spelling.

An extravert is someone who draws their energy from other people. This rings true with me, and the way I used to put it was to say that I was not good on my own. In fact, a maximum of two days of my own company is as much as I can endure. Fortunately, I live with a priest who is my secretary, so the recent months have been bearable, but I feel for those who have to self-isolate and who don’t have the life-support systems that are available to me.

The tradition of hermits in the Church has given meaning to isolation. A hermit lives on his or her own so that they can be alone with God. The beauty of this is that in our Christian tradition, as the individual journeys deeper into their understanding of God, God reveals himself as a set of relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

As we are all called into this relationship, which is another name for holiness, it becomes apparent that God is sufficient for all our needs. The problem for me is that holiness is still a long way off, and I depend on others to reveal God’s love to me present in his people.

I imagine that this is the same for most of us, so even if we cannot meet up like we used to, at least let us connect by praying for each other.