A Prior Meeting by Graham Kings

A Prior Meeting

by Graham Kings

“Solvitur ambulando”

around the ‘cloister’ meadow

of Grey Friars, Canterbury.

Five days in Bec, Normandy,

now, beckoned and called,

four days, silent, in Canterbury.

Cassock forgotten,

now vested from the vestry,

a gift, it turns out, from Bec.



is God.

Quite a thought from Anselm,

a Prior and Abbot of Bec

and Archbishop of Canterbury,

echoing around the cloister

and through the centuries.

God cannot be thought of

as non-existent

without contradiction.

It seems too neat:

perfectly to define God,

in effect,

with the property of existence.

Kant couldn’t.

If conception is not earthed

is it real?

God was conceived and earthed

in Nazareth.

Maybe ‘meeting’ is the clue

which coheres?

The co-inherent meeting,

of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

of Word and flesh,

of God and people.



is God.

So, God-who-meets is

co-inherent not incoherent,

and cannot not be met.

A meteorological argument

to show whether

God exists?

Hail God, well met.

Quite an adventure,

coming across God,

in the meadow,

in the cool of the evening.

Grey Friars, Canterbury

28 July 2010

Note: St Anselm, who was born in Aosta, northern Italy in 1033, wrote Proslogion during the years 1077-78 when he was Prior of the monastery at Bec, Normandy. In it, he propounded in a logically 'a priori' way what later was referred to as his 'ontological argument' for the existence of God, defining God as 'something-than-which-nothing-greater-can-be-thought'. In 1078 he was elected Abbot and in 1093 was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury. He died in 1109.

The Franciscans first came to Canterbury in 1224, to Grey Friars (another name for Franciscans). In 2003, the Anglican Franciscans (Society of St Francis, SSF) returned to Grey Friars.

'Solvitur ambulando' is a Latin saying meaning literally, 'it is solved by walking' and implying 'the problem is worked out in the doing'.

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