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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 16 January 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1, International Policy Framework and Priorities 2018, Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Bill: Financial Resolution, Decision Time, Scottish Sports Association


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader today is Father Andrew Garden, priest of St David’s Catholic church in Dalkeith and St Luke and St Anne’s, Mayfield.

Father Andrew Garden (St David’s Catholic Church, Dalkeith, and St Luke and St Anne’s, Mayfield)

Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you for this time.

CS Lewis tells us that, if we are to act well, reflection must always come first. He says that, when you wake up each morning,

“All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice ... letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”

What a beautiful description of the purpose of reflection:

“letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in”.

CS Lewis knew that it did not just happen, that it really was a job, a task. It was being attentive not to the noisiest voice but to the true voice.

Queen Margaret of Scotland understood that as well, just up the road in the castle, nearly a thousand years ago. The court of Malcolm must have been a noisy place with so many voices and influences clamouring for attention, but Margaret took time each day to reflect: to listen to that other voice and let that other life come flowing in. She found that voice, that life, in the gospels, the accounts of the things that Jesus said and did. Her book of the gospels can still be seen in a library in Oxford.

It was in reflecting on that book that Margaret found the inspiration and the energy to act as she did every day of her life, finding people who had nothing, not keeping her distance but washing their feet, giving them food and clothing, filling the hall in the castle with people she had found and giving them warmth and nourishment.

Invite those who cannot repay you—she had read that in her book. It was not just a voice to listen to but life, a stronger life. It was not just an idea but the energy to carry that idea through.

King Malcolm watched Margaret, and he saw a precious new light coming into this country through her. There is a story that Margaret was once unable to find her gospel book. Eventually she came upon Malcolm, just sitting holding the book in his hands. Although Malcolm himself was illiterate, unable to read, somehow he knew that the book was precious. It made his wife the person she was. She listened to the voice that she found there. As he held her book, Malcolm somehow began to sense the value of reflection for Margaret and for Scotland.

The Presiding Officer

Before we move on to our first questions of the day, I am sure that the chamber will wish to join me in welcoming to our gallery the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, the Hon Dave Levac MPP.