Monday, 31 August 2009

Month Commemoration of Deceased

Once a month, we keep a Day of Commemoration of those of the Order and relatives, friends and associates who have died.

This evening, I learned, of the death of Adrian, a member of a family associated, and we will remember him especially .

In the Vigil Reading, Romano Guardini deepens our faith in the vision of heaven


A Reading about Heaven,

from a Book by Fr. Romano Guardini*

WHEN is Heaven truly and completely present?

When all heaviness is gone. When all sluggishness has been overcome, all wickedness, coldness, pride, irritation, disobedience, covetousness. When there is no danger any more of falling away. When grace has made one's whole being open up, body and soul, to the ultimate profundities. When there is no further danger that it will all close in again, become hardened in ways of evil. When all work to be done on earth is finished, and all guilt has been paid by repentance. What all this means is: After death.

After death - when time is no longer; when everything is in the everlasting Now; when nothing can change any more, but the creature is standing illuminated by the light of eternity, before God - at that time, everything will be open, and will remain so. That is being in Heaven.

The day He left this earth Jesus went to Heaven, His body and His soul.

All earthly heaviness vanished. All limitations of being in this place or that place dropped away. Every burden of earthly need fell away. There was nothing more closed off; not even for the body. Everything was open. Everything about Him made its way in the overmastering presence of His Father.

But here is the mystery: the very moment that He leaves us, He returns (Jn 14, 28): "I am going away" to the Father; but He added immediately "and coming back to you." And in Matthew (28, 20), He told them: "Behold I am with you all the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world." And the one statement is made true by the other. He went away from us, His body also, to Heaven, to the pure and open presence of His Father which He has directed towards us. He Who was the intermediary between the Father and ourselves, "the way, the truth and the life," has entered completely into this love. Now He is everywhere the Father's love is, and so He is with us. He is gone from the visible, transient here and now. But not from there, and because He is there, He can, through the love of the Father, be with each of us and with the Father also. He is within us, closing in upon us, bringing with Him the Presence of the Father, Heaven.

"See where I stand at the door, knocking; if anyone listens to my voice and opens the door, I will core in to visit him, and make my supper with him, and he shall sup with re" (Ap. 3, 20). "Supper" is the extravagant superabundance of God's accessible Presence bursting in, blessed, satisfying, making drunk with all the drunkenness of love.

This is how we properly understand Heaven:

It is that close Presence wherein the Father stands in relation to Jesus Christ. And Heaven for us will be participation in this intimacy of love.

This condition is already beginning; it approaches closer; now in peril, it is fought over, lost, won back again. So it goes with our Christian life.

*Jesus Christus, Chicago 1959, 109-111.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Aidan Lindisfarne

Friends called this afrter noon.

The grand small child is called Aidan. And I was impressed how little Aidan enjoyed the motions at the steering wheel.

It was only Vespers that I found that tomorrow is the Calendar Date of Saint Aidan. The feast of St. Aidan will be celebrated during the Night Vigil and the Day.

Blessings for young Aidan.

St. Aidan, Bishop of Lindisfarne August 31st.

Aidan, a monk of Iona, became the first bishop and abbot of Lindisfarne, an island off the coast of Northumberland, when he came to England in 635 A.D. Nothing is known of his early life except his Irish origin; Bede is virtually the only source. He died in 651 A.D. in Bamburgh and he was buried in the same year on Lindisfarne.

Oswald, King of the Northumbrians, had been baptized when he was in banishment among the Scots" and when he was on the throne he sent to the elders of that nation for a Catholic Bishop. They sent him a man called Aidan, a monk of great meekness and godliness, from the monastery of St Columba on the island of Iona; and to him Oswald gave a Bishop's See on the island of Lindisfarne. Now Aidan could not speak English well, and when he was preaching the Gospel, there could often be seen the lovely spectacle of the king himself interpreting the heavenly word to his own officers and servants.

Aidan had no thought of seeking or loving anything in this world.

He went about everywhere on foot, and when he met any, if they were hea­thens, he entreated them to receive the sacraments of the faith; if they were faithful, he exhorted them to almsgiving and good works. It was from his example that the monks and nuns of that time took the custom of eating nothing until after three o'clock in the afternoon on all Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year except the fifty days of Paschaltime.

In this man, said Bede, there are many things which I recommend for the imitation of my readers. He was a profound lover of peace and charity, of self-control, and of lowliness; his soul had risen above anger and avarice; he looked down upon pride and vainglory. He was very diligent in working and in teaching, firm as became a priest when it was his duty to rebuke the proud and mighty, very tender in comforting the sick and relieving the poor. In short, I may say, he never left anything undone which he knew from the Evangelists, or the Apostles, or the Prophets, that he ought to do.

He died in the seventeenth year of his, episcopate, and was buried on the island of Lindisfarne on the right hand of the altar, as an honour due to such a Bishop.

Sources: Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Book Ill; cap. XVII. The Oxford Dict. of Saints by David Hugh Farmer.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

John the Baptist - Herals of the Gospel

The Beheading of St John the Baptist

Is 49:1b-2

The Lord called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand.

He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

On Thursday we had two gloriously robed Visitors in the regalia of the members of the Heralds of the Gospel.

They look quite splendid in their robes - they make the rest of us look tatty!

(See: Google Heralds of Gospel).

On the Memorial of the Beheading of John the Baptist we see the echoes of the new Evangelii Praecones, called the Heralds of the Gospel.

See below:

From a homily by St. Bede the Venerable, priest

Precursor of Christ in birth and death.

Heralds of the Gospel

The Heralds of the Gospel (also known as the Evangelii Praecones, abbreviated to EP)[1] is a Roman Catholic International Association of Pontifical Right based in Brazil.[2] Founded by Msgr. João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, the organization is active in fifty-seven countries.[3]

The Heralds of the Gospel is an International Association of Pontifical Right, the first established by the Holy See in the third millennium, on the liturgical feast of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22nd, 2001.

Comprised mainly of young people, this Association is established in 57 countries. Its members practice celibacy, and are entirely dedicated to apostolate, living in separate houses designated for young men and young women.Their life of recollection, study and prayer alternates with evangelizing activities in dioceses and parishes, with special emphasis placed on the formation of youth.

Three essential pillars: The spirituality of the Heralds is based on three essential points: The Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and the Pope.

These points are represented in the emblem that distinguishes them.

Their charism leads them to strive for perfection, while always searching for the pulchritude in all their daily actions, even in the most private ones.

Seeing in culture and art efficacious tools of evangelization, the Heralds characteristically place special emphasis on both choral and instrumental music.

Hence, the Heralds have formed various choirs and symphonic bands to bring their message of faith, incentive and confidence to today’s humanity.

The principal musical ensemble of these neo-evangelizers – the International Choir and Symphonic Band – was started in São Paulo with members united from diverse nations.

This musical ensemble has traveled numerous cities, states, countries and continents, giving presentations in churches, auditoriums and stadiums full of people thirsting for beauty and spirituality. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

From a homily by St. Bede the Venerable, priest

Precursor of Christ in birth and death

As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendour of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

There is no doubt that blessed John suffered imprisonment and chains as a witness to our Redeemer, whose forerunner he was, and gave his life for him. His persecutor had demanded not that he should deny Christ, but only that he should keep silent about the truth. Nevertheless, he died for Christ. Does Christ not say: I am the truth? Therefore, because John shed his blood for the truth, he surely died for Christ.

Through his birth, preaching and baptising, he bore witness to the coming birth, preaching and baptism of Christ, and by his own suffering he showed that Christ also would suffer.

Such was the quality and strength of the man who accepted the end of this present life by shedding his blood after the long imprisonment. He preached the freedom of heavenly peace, yet was thrown into irons by ungodly men; he was locked away in the darkness of prison, though he came bearing witness to the Light of life and deserved to be called a bright and shining lamp by that Light itself, which is Christ. John was baptised in his own blood, though he had been privileged to baptise the Redeemer of the world, to hear the voice of the Father above him, and to see the grace of the Holy Spirit descending upon him. But to endure temporal agonies for the sake of the truth was not a heavy burden for such men as John; rather it was easily borne and even desirable, for he knew eternal joy would be his reward.

Since death was ever near at hand through the inescapable necessity of nature, such men considered it a blessing to embrace it and thus gain the reward of eternal life by acknowledging Christ’s name. Hence the apostle Paul rightly says: You have been granted the privilege not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for his sake. He tells us why it is Christ’s gift that his chosen ones should suffer for him: The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.

Concluding Prayer

O God, it was your will that John the Baptist should be your Son’s forerunner in both birth and death.

Just as he fell a martyr, witness to truth and righteousness,

so may we fight fiercely to proclaim your teaching.

Through our Lord . . .

Friday, 28 August 2009

Arms of Nunraw

"Pebble from the Nunraw stream"

I have been rummaging in a drawer of the Porter's snuggery and came across a heraldic paper of the late Hugh McKay.

He was a one time Minister of Duns and used to spend some time on Retread at Nunraw.

He liked to make reproductions of the Coat of Arms of Sancta Maria Abbey.

One is this old rather tatty scroll opposite.

The red writing is rather faded - typing below.

And a second one, is a stone Paper Weight which is still on my desk.

Hugh McKay died some years ago. It will be worthwhile find
ing out some of the memories of the life of his ministries and friendships.

Some study of Hugh's version of the heraldic details is of interest.

The Lord Lyon, King of Arms', Extract of Matriculation may be rather different.

The Arm of Sancta Maria Abbey Nunraw.

The fleurs-de-lys and the blue-&-gold diagonals – derived from the arms of the Dukes of Burgundy, stand for the Abbey of Citeaux, where the Order began. The eagles’ heads and stars, against the black-&-gold fur call peàn by heralds, represents Mount Melleray*, Mother House of Nunraw; the silver fleur-de-lys represents the pre-reformation house of the Cistercian Nuns at Haddington, who owned the fortalice of White Castle – or Nunrawm as it came to be known.

The black Ecclesiastical Hat with three tassels on either side, is the emblem assigned in Scots heraldry to an Abbot, as are the silver crosier with the flowing, tasselled sudarion; the incurved crook (in heraldry) signifies the limited jurisdiction of an Abbot, as distinct from that of a Bishop, whose golden crosier is drawn with crook turned out.

During the Middle Ages nearby Haddington boasted a great Church which men called “The Lamp of Lothian”; the Motto – UT LUCEAT OMNIBUS – echoes the hope voiced by Nunraw’s first Abbot, the late Dom Columban Mulcahy: the some day this Abbey might merit the title “Lamp of the Lammermuirs”.

Hugh McKay

*not Mount Melleray

but Mt. St. Josesph, Roscrea.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

It is a Hard Saying

23 August [21st Sunday of Ordinary Time]

John 6:60-69

I always found a resonance to the words “it is a hard saying, and I cannot listen to it”, and, as Jesus succeeded, I reacted. At the point of John’s Gospel, 6:60 John, the net result of so many commentators about the words of “it is a hard saying” write longer and longer responses. Contrary as usual I prefer to focus on the verses of this 6th Chapter of John.

As happens, the Spirit seems to be fascinating on one particular verse. This morning for me this morning is Number 65, as Jesus says , “No one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father”. The Lectionary Readings give us the text of the passage selected. The use of the Bible itself always gives us the benefit of the Number of each individual verse. And so Verse 65 gives me enough with the personal voice of Jesus and resounds with the Father.

In this mode, the introduction to the Mass concludes with St. Peter’s words, (68 )Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

That was all very well then, until the actual reading of the Gospel.

I found myself taken aback by the version.

The two verses, John 6:60 and 6:65, shall appear rather stricken in their parallels.


Gospel John 6:60-69

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’

Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you?

What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.

He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’

After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.

Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’

Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life,

and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

(Jerusalem Bible)


Gospel John 6:60-69

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"

But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?

Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?

It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.

Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?"

Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life;

and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

(Revised Standard Version)

John 6:60 multi ergo audientes ex discipulis eius dixerunt durus est hic sermo quis potest eum audire (Vulgate)

John 6:65 et dicebat propterea dixi vobis quia nemo potest venire ad me nisi fuerit ei datum a Patre meo (Vulgate)

ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 6:60: Πολλο ον κούσαντες κ τν μαθητν ατο επον· Σκληρός στιν λόγος· τίς δύναται ατο κούειν; Greek Orthodox Church

ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 6:65 και ελεγεν δια τουτο ειρηκα υμιν οτι ουδεις δυναται ελθειν προς με εαν μη η δεδομενον αυτω εκ του πατρος Westcott / Hort, UBS4 Variants

After hearing the version of the Passage, Jn. 6:60-65, from the Jerusalem Bible, I wondered if the translator is not a native English writer.

In a check of the original Jerusalem Bible (La Sainta Bible) in French it reads, (60)“Ce langage-là est trop fort! Qui peut l’écouter?”, (65)”Voilà pourquoi je vous dit quenul ne peut venir à, sino par un don du Père.”

The French version seems inoffensive.

What remains are the remarkable words, ‘This is intolerable language,’ and “unless the Father allows him.’

Someone mentions, similarly, the case of 'the Beatitudes' in the English Jerusalem Bible.

Perhaps we await a new Lectionary.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Bartolomew in no guile

24 August

JOHN 1:45-51

Nathanael (called "Bartholomew" in the synoptic gospels) was skeptical when Philip told him that Jesus was the promised Messiah of God. The scriptures said that the messiah would come from David's city, Bethlehem in Judah (Mi 5:1), not from a lowly place like Nazareth in Galilee. Philip invited Nathanael to come and judge for himself. Jesus overcame Nathanael's doubts by a demonstration of supernatural knowledge, knowing his thoughts and actions: "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree" (v 48). Jesus said that Nathanael was guileless, a "true Israelite" like Jacob, the first to bear the name "Israel" (Gn 32:29). Even though Jacob was a man of deception, he witnessed angelic beings ascending and descending to heaven (Gn 28:12). Nathanael would see even greater things in the death and resurrection of Jesus .(Kay Murdy).

Saint Bartholomew.

From the various Readings in the Monastic Lectionary, John Henry Newman, Saint Bede Theaphanes Cerameus and St John Chrysostom, I found the writing of Saint Bede affectionate with the guileless ness of Bartholomew/Nathanael.

From a homily by Saint Bede (Horn. I, 17: CCL CXXIl, 123-124)

When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him he said of him:

Here is a true Israelite in whom there is no deceit. Notice here that when God who knows our hearts praises anyone, he affirms that that person is free from deceit, but not from sin. There is no one on earth so righteous that he always does what is good and never sins, but we read of many who have been without deceit, that is, who have lived in simplicity and purity of heart; indeed, this is how all believers are taught to live. Scripture says: Think of the Lord with uprightness, and seek him in simplicity of heart; and the Lord's own words are: Be as cunning as snakes, and as guileless as doves.

Such was Job, a model of patience, of whom it is written that he was an honest and upright man. Such was the patriarch Jacob, of whom it is said: Jacob was an honest man and lived in tents. And because since his conscience was clear and blameless he deserved to see God, he was called Israel, which means "one who sees God." Such was our Nathanael. Because he followed the same blameless way of life as the patriarch, the Lord deemed him worthy of the patriarch's reward. Here, he said, is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit. Here is a true descen­dant of the patriarch who saw God, one who is found to be guileless like the patriarch himself. What a fine omen for one coming to God and longing to see him! Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is no deceit. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. And this man who desires to see God is praised for his purity of heart· by none other than God himself who tests our minds and hearts, and he is declared to be an Israelite, that is, a descendant of the man who saw God.

Oh what a great hope for us Gentiles who have come to the faith, for these words of our Redeemer make salvation accessible to us as well! Since the true Israelite is one whose life is free from deceit, all those Jews who have fallen from the simplicity of their patriarch by holding guile in their hearts have now lost the name of Israelite even though they are Israel's descendants; and we ourselves have been adopted as Israel's offspring because despite our Gentile origin we follow in his footsteps by true faith and purity of mind and body. For according to the Apostle's teaching, Not all Israel's descendants are true Israelites, nor are all Abraham’s descendants his real children. Scripture says: It is through Isaac that your name shall be carried on. In other words, it is not those born in the course of nature who are God's children; it is the children born in fulfilment of God's promise who are regarded as Abraham's descendants.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Stone of Foundation

D.O.M, - Per Matrem Eius Mariam in festo Immaculati Cordis Illius, 22 Augusti 1954.

Today, 22 August, we celebrated the Queenship of Mary.

In fact it is a special anniversary for Nunraw Abbey. It marks the historical day of the laying the foundation of the monastery on the 22nd August 1954. The calendar of the date of that day recalls a much more important celebration. As the Octave of the Assumption we celebrated the three Nocturns with 12 Lessons of Feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. The Readings commented on the words "his mother kept all these things in her heart" by Bernardine of Siena, Serm. 9 of Visitation, and Bede the Ven., Hom.1st Sun. after Epiph.

The evolution of the titles of Mary is very interesting, even rewarding in the significance of the outlooks in Marian understanding.

The Most Pure Heart of Mary, the Immaculate heart of Mary, and today the Queenship of Mary.

Most of interest and significance to us is the Feast of the 22nd August as it is engraved on the Foundation Stone dedicated, D.O.M, (Deus Optimus Maximus) Per Matrem Eius Mariam in festo Immaculati Cordis Illius, 22 Augusti 1954.

The memory remains fresh for so many who came to make it the Marian Year Pilgrimage of 1.500 of the faithful. It was an open air Mass and apart from a tarpaulin over the altar we were all drenched by the heavy rains.

In a recent years, one of the later elderly Knights of Columba ushers for the occasion, produced a memorable document, he had saved from the debris mud when tidying up after the 'rally'. It was the text of the Homily of Dom Columban, the First Abbot, who preached. (The text is contained in the Necrology page of the Website).

The Gospel that day was:

Luk 2:48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously."

Luk 2:49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

Luk 2:50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them.

Luk 2:51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.

It could not be more appropriate to the Heart of Mary, “the mother who kept all things in her heart.”

Feast days (history note from Wikpedia)

Main articles: Pope Pius XII Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Sacro Vergente

Fatima Statue of Pope Pius XII, who consecrated Russia and the World: Just as a few years ago We consecrated the entire human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, so today We consecrate and in a most special manner We entrust all the peoples of Russia to this Immaculate Heart…

In 1799 Pius VI, then in captivity at Florence, granted the Bishop of Palermo the feast of the Most Pure Heart of Mary for some of the churches in his diocese. In 1805 Pius VII made a new concession, thanks to which the feast was soon widely observed. Such was the existing condition when a twofold movement, started in Paris, gave fresh impetus to the devotion. The two factors of this movement were, first of all, the revelation of the "miraculous medal" in 1830 and all the prodigies that followed, and then the establishment at Notre-Dame-des-Victoires of the Archconfraternity of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Sinners, which spread rapidly throughout the world and was the source of numberless alleged graces. On 21 July 1855, the Congregation of Rites finally approved the Office and Mass of the Most Pure Heart of Mary without, however, imposing them upon the Universal Church.

During the third apparition at Fatima, Portugal on 13 July 1917, the Virgin Mary allegedly said that "God wishes to establish in the world devotion to her Immaculate Heart" in order to save souls from going into the fires of hell and to bring about world peace, and also asked for the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Letter of 7 July 1952, Sacro Vergente consecrated Russia to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary.

On 25 March 1984, Pope John Paul II fulfilled this request again, when he made the solemn act of consecration of the world, and implicitly Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before the miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary of Fatima brought to Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican for the momentous occasion. Sister Lucia, OCD, then the only surviving visionary of Fatima, confirmed that the request of Mary for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was accepted by Heaven and therefore, was fulfilled. Again on 8 October 2000, Pope John Paul II made an act of entrustment of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the new millennium.

Roman Catholic feast days

Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1944 to be celebrated on 22 August,[5] thus replacing the traditional octave day of the Assumption (compare 22 August in the Tridentine Calendar with the same date on the General Roman Calendar as in 1954). In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to the day (Saturday) immediately after the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This means in practice that it is now held on the day before the third Sunday after Pentecost.[6]

At the same time as he closely associated the celebrations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Paul VI moved the celebration of the Queenship of Mary from 31 May to 22 August, bringing it into association with the feast of her Assumption.

Those who use the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal as an extraordinary form of the Roman Rite continue to follow the practice institued by Pius XII in 1944.