Humility Humility & contemplation are the invisible twins of the spiritual life. One without the other is impossible. In the first place, there is no such thing as a contemplative life without the humility that takes us beyond the myth of our own grandeur to the cosmic grandeur of God. In the second, once we really know the grandeur of God we get the rest of life, ourselves included, in perspective. Reaching the moon told us how really insignificant we were in the universe. We begin to rethink all our daily held notions of human consequence. Humility leads directly to contemplation. Humility enables me to stand before the world in awe, to receive its gifts & to learn from its lessons. But to be humble is not to be diminished. Humility & humiliations are not the same thing: humiliations degrade me as a human being, whereas humility is the ability to recognise my right place in the universe, both dust & glory, Gods glory, indeed, but dust nevertheless. The Rule of St Benedict reminds the Monastic to pray with the psalmist “I am a worm & not even human.” What might sound to a me-centred generation like the destruction of human dignity is, in fact, its liberating truth. I am not, in other words, everything I could be. I am not even the fullness of myself, let alone a pinnacle for which my family, my friends, my world, the universe should strive. I am only me. I am weak often, struggling always, arrogant sometimes, hiding from myself most of the time, & always in some kind of need. I cover my limitations with flourish of course, but deep down, where the soul is challenged to confront itself, I know who I really am & what, on the other hand, however fine the image, I really am not. Then, the Rule of St Benedict says, we are ready for union with God. It is not when we become perfect that we can claim God. It is when we accept the callow material that is ourselves that we can come to see beyond ourselves. It is when we cease to be our own god that God can break in.” (to our empty tomb) “Illuminated Life” by Sr Joan Chittister OSB.
As I prepare these words & prayers of Easter greeting at lunchtime on Maundy Thursday, our Triduum journey towards the empty tomb has already begun with a most moving Mass of the Lord’s Supper & Washing of Feet with St Benedict’s Primary School. We are indeed blessed to have such a fine Primary School within our Parish as they regularly share the voice & the face of Christ with us. On behalf of Fr Abbot (who tragically is still away from us) Prior Gabriel & our Community. I would like to wish you all a very happy Easter & Easter season, as you now discover the Risen Christ in person in family, locality & Parish. I am often asked “have you ever seen God?” & my challenge then & to you now is “how often, so far today have you seen the Risen Christ?” I hope you enjoy every minute of the counting. On our behalf could I please thank all of you who have contributed in the various ministries of service for the Parish during Holy Week. The generosity, devotion & reverence of our liturgies is always profound, & the washing of the feet of 6 of our own disciples on Maundy Thursday evening expressed our humility & gratitude for all they do for us within the Parish & beyond. Our Easter Day Mass this year will be extraordinarily special as we “welcome with great joy” Willow Sarah Emily Harrison into our Christian family. Please could I ask you to pray for a young couple, Nichola Clark & James Sloan, who are to be married here later this month. They & their families live in Northern Ireland. They have a love for North Yorkshire, saw our Church & heard of our Parish through our website, & asked to be married here, bringing both families in number across for their special day. Never underestimate the effect we have on the wider Church through our prayerfulness, devotion, mutual support, & outreach. It is hoped that the roof repairs to the Parish Hall, long delayed since last September, will be started this coming week. The contractors will do everything possible to avoid inconvenience, & please be aware of the need to take extra care whilst they are on the roof & surroundings. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.