|Father Vincent McNabb OP|
8th July 1868 - 17th June 1943
But grumpiness, in this instance, was part of his spirituality. Fr McNabb had his mind set on God; not just for a few hours each day in front of a crucifix or the Blessed Sacrament, but a full on 16 or 17 hours of his being awake was dedicated to deep meditation on the Almighty. If a fellow monk passed him in the cloisters, Fr McNabb would respond testily to any greeting or approach of any kind. I wonder what form that took? I doubt it would have been along the lines of "Push off four eyes and leave me alone!" More like a grunt of disapproval at being interrupted; a harumph or growl like noise designed to keep further conversation at bay. After all, it was interrupting a conversation with God Almighty; who would not issue a harumph or two if faced with an inane "Morning Father" from some young novice when you were deep in a debate with the Lord.
Monsignor Ronald Knox once said of Fr McNabb:
His great friend, GK Chesterton wrote of him: 'Nobody who ever met or saw or heard Father McNabb has ever forgotten him." That statement was certainly true of his period as an orator at Hyde Park's Speakers Corner on a Sunday afternoon. Those were the days of emerging communism in Great Britain and Fr Vincent was adept at cutting down to size any red who had the temerity to heckle from the safety of the crowd.
In 1913 he embarked on a successful lecture tour of the States and just four years later he was rewarded by the Master of Divine Theology degree. He taught, from 1929 to 1934 at the London University Extension where his subject was the Summa of St Thomas.
He wrote over thirty books including 'Where believers may doubt', 'The decrees of the Vatican Council' and 'Eleven Thank God!' an account of his Catholic mother and upbringing.
Fr McNabb held somewhat unorthodox beliefs regarding the social and economic structre, he abhorred technology and yearned for a countryside that could produce food and clothing with a high level of employment and a quality of life for all - not a bad philosophy at all and well summed up by this comment from him:-
Faced with an oncoming death he said:
"I don't see why I should make a tragedy of this; it's what I have been preparing for all my life. I am in the hands of my doctors, or better, in the hands of my God."
This prayer is one of many composed by the great man.....
Lord Jesus Save Me
I have lost Thee.
I cannot find Thee.
I cannot find Thee.
I have lost my way.
Thou art the Way.
Find me, or I am utterly lost.
Thou lovest me.
I do not know if I love Thee;
but I know Thou lovest me.
I do not plead my love, but Thine.
I do not plead my strength, but Thine.
I do not plead my deed, but Thine.
The one whom Thou lovest is sick.
I dare not say:
The one who loves Thee is sick.
My sickness is that I do not love Thee.
That is the source of my sickness which is approaching death.
I am sinking.
Come to me upon the waters.
Lord Jesus, "the one whom Thou lovest is sick."