Saturday, 30 June 2007

Nunraw Chronicle recommenced

We are now into Ordinary Time but some of the Saints put in an interesting appearance in the liturgy of these weeks.

Saint Irenaeus Thursday 28 June 2007

In this introduction, Fr. Thomas refines his focus at Community Mass.
One of the written works of St. Irenaeus, whose feast we keep today, was called "The Presentation of the Apostolic Teaching".It is a handbook of Christian teaching for the faithful in the 2nd cent. St. Irenaeus says there: the teaching of the successors of the Apostles, ie, the bishops, is a safe norm of truth, but since their teaching is sometimes difficult to find out, it is sufficient to quote the teaching of the Ch. of Rome. Irenaeus says that every Church should agree with this Church - because of its pre-eminent authority .And that is our faith today. Irenaeus died for his faith in the year 200.
Note: Irenaeus was taught by St. Polycarp, who was himself a disciple of St. John the Apostle.

Solemnity of Peter & Paul

If the feast the Holy Day of Peter and Paul may be celebrated because it is the end of the school term, and the day is often also the occasion of Ordinations to the Priesthood in Cathedrals, in the monastery it is felt by monks to have a real sense of a joyful mid summer season. At the community Mass this morning, Fr. Mark, Prior, had us smiling at his description of St. Paul. It did not need an illustration to have a graphic image of Paul.
". . . Paul too had a difficult and complex personality. He seems at first sight to have been quite an unattractive character.
An early Christian document called 'The Acts of Paul' describes him as 'small of stature, balding, with bow legs, eyebrows meeting and nose slightly hooked.' We know from his autobiographical remarks throughout his second letter to the Corinthians
that he was hypersensitive to criticism of any kind. But in his letter to the Romans we are given an insight into a deeper level of his mental anguish. 'This seems to be the rule,' he writes, ' that every single time I want to do good it is something evil that comes to hand. In my inmost self I dearly love God's law but I can see that my body follows a different law that battles against the law which my reason dictates.' (7: 21-23)".
This exce
rpt from Fr. Mark brought out a smile to faces and a lift to our thoughts.
"Like Peter and Paul we, too, encounter the risen Jesus. In this Eucharist, for example, we meet Christ, risen in the power of the Spirit. We enjoy the opportunity to have our lives transformed, consecrated and made holy."

Friday, 29 June 2007

St Peter and Paul day

Peter & Paul Day 29 June 2007 - Commercial
On the Internet, for $21.45, you can get a Peter and Paul T-shirt, explained by the producers as follows, "The Catholics started a holiday in the names of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. We are just continuing the tradition in the only way we non-Catholics know how. Being Radical".

Benedictine Spin on Peter & Paul Day
As on all Solemnities we have a Community Homily in Chapter given by one of the monks in turn. This morning it fell to Fr. Hugh to preach on Ss. Peter and Paul.

Having paid all honours to these Pillars of the Church he rounded off with a good Benedictine spin on the celebration.
"St. Benedict has a Chapter on Silence. If he were writing his Rule today would he be giving us a Chapter on dialogue? How discussions should be chaired, how to put over one's point of view, how to listen and react to those who think differently to ourselves? And also how to reach a conclusion? Should the principles of dialogue be taught in the Novitiate? No doubt one can find the answer to some of these questions dispersed throughout the Rule, especially in Chapter 3 on "Calling of the Brethren to Council".
Peter and Paul needed each other. The one pastorally concerned with the Jews, Paul with the Gentiles. Two different types but both utterly devoted to the same Lord.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

A Very Catholic Sermon

This morning also at the Abbey Guesthouse I had the daily Mass. After the Homily I was told by Charles, Camerlengo and Cook, "That was a very Protestant sermon". I had taken the words of Jesus giving the keys of the kingdom to Peter and the grace to bind and to loose with their full significance of his primacy as head of the Church. As Pope he represents the Church of Rome and the people of God. But this great gift was also given to the members of Christ's Church in their particular place. We have each been given the keys of heaven and the grace to bind and to loose when see the cursing and blessing in ordinary speech and attitudes. We can bind or we can loose in our relations with others especially in prayer. Having thought about it, I have concluded that it was in fact a very catholic sermon.
No wonder the thought had already been planted in my head by reading from St. Augustine on Peter and Paul. 'It was not to one man but the whole Christ, which received the keys. Peter's prominence was acknowledged inasmuch as he stood for the one, universal Church when the Lord said to him, 'I will give you' the power that was given to all. That you may understand that the Church received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, remember that the Lord said to all the apostles, 'receive the Holy Spirit' . . .
Bringing our ideas of Pope and People together makes 'a very Catholic sermon'.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

47th Anniversary

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Picture: At the Nunraw Guesthouse Dom Donald hosting pilgrims from St Columba Viewpark 19 May 07 Nunraw

Sunday 24 June 2007 was the 47th anniversary of my Ordination to the priesthood. On Solemnities one of the monks marks the occasion with a Homily in community. On this day it fell to me to celebrate the Feast of St. John the Forerunner as the Orthodox name the Nativity of John the Baptist.
The following is a shortened version of the talk.
There is a Russian Orthodox Church in California dedicated to Saint John of Shanghai & San Francisco
The Parish Bulletin tells us that, "Among the Church's feasts, there are three in honour of God's saints which in their significance stand out from the others devoted to the saints and are numbered among the great feasts of the Church of Christ. These feasts glorify the economy of God for our salvation.
These three feasts are the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner, his Beheading, and the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.
It is the title "John the FORERUNNER" which is most apt for this Solemnity which we share with the Orthodox.
To speak of John the Forerunner brings us into not only the dynamic mode in referring to the Nativity of John the Baptist but into the framework of 'a kingdom not of this world'.
John the Forerunner starting from way back in the Patriarchs Prophets and reaching way beyond into countless generations is not an isolated individual but is united in the one lineage of Sacred History and in the future bonds of the Body of Christ.
The announcement of the holy Archangel Gabriel to Zechariah in the Temple begins the New Testament Gospel. The announcement of the same Archangel Gabriel six months later in Nazareth to the Virgin Mary concerning the birth from Her of the Son of God, Who was to become incarnate, is a continuation of the revelation of the Pre-eternal Counsel concerning the salvation of the human race.
Mary, the older second cousin of John, gets nothing like the spotlight that is accorded to Zechariahs' son. In liturgical history the feast of Nativity of John the Forerunner is celebrated as early as can be. Only much later is the Nativity of Mary given a similar status. St Bede does not seem to have known about it in his time. Joachim and Anne were the only real heralds of Mary's Birth and of course the immediate family but all in a very low key. On the other hand the birth of John has all the ritual of sacred ceremony of the Temple, the Priest on duty, the choosing of name for the child, the mother Elizabeth having an inner conviction, and final prompting of the father Zechariah reiterating the Name to be chosen for the child, John, "Yahweh is gracious".
In the climax the father's lips are released and he utters a special prophecy which resounds, from that day to this, proclaiming the role of the FORERUNNER. Lk 1-76, "And you little child, you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him".
The Acts of the Apostles also clearly registers both Forerunning and Arriving in almost a word, "To keep his promise God raised up Jesus as Saviour, whose coming was HERALDED BY JOHN" (13-23/4).
It is all the more dramatic, then, to read in the fourth gospel: "On the following day John stood there again with two of his disciples. Jesus passed. John looked hard at him and said, 'Look! There is the lamb of God!' Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus (Jn 1:35f). A business man would say he was ruining his own trade! But that was the greatness of John: that he was able to recognise greatness in another. For such a strong rough man, John himself appears as gentle as a lamb. That has the stamp of truth on it; all posing and posturing is from the ego. John, said Jesus, was the greatest man that ever lived.
- - - But do not forget the trailer to those words, "even the least in the kingdom of God is greater"