“Spring & Easter; a conspiracy between nature & religion, creation & redemption, to make newness, to thaw things out, to rejuvenate & re-virginalise, to make sunshine, to warm frozen places, to produce new buds on the trees & new enthusiasm in the heart! The season of Resurrection; sometime after the first equinox, God is hard at it, melting earth & melting hearts. Like nature needs spring each year, so too we need regular resurrections. Much in us lies frozen, crucified & lifeless. It is possible to be dead & not know it, to be asleep & think we are awake, to be bitter as a slave & still think we are loving. For most of us there is a long series of crucifixions, diminishments & losses. In this we follow the pattern of what happened to Christ, who came as God’s perfect image, the most precious, the most sensitive, most special human being ever. It was that, the uniqueness & goodness which was crucified. This perfect image still gets crucified, in us. It is precisely in those areas of our lives where we bear God’s image the most perfectly, where we are most precious, most sensitive & most special, that, invariably, we get crucified. What’s calloused, tough, & homogenised, survives, living on, helping us got through the motions of life; our automatic pilot in death. But what is most precious in us ends up in a tomb; a dream crucified, a Christ entombed, a winter set in, a human being frozen over. Before being buried in our graves we are, largely, buried in our lives. Mainly because of this we begin to sin. Our infidelities, our lack of gratitude, our lack of prayer, our propensity to misunderstand & to hurt each other, our need to lie & to rationalise, & our excessive pre-occupations, occur mostly because what’s best in us, the image of God, lies frozen & lifeless inside us. Our poverty & bitterness come from that, & so we begin to settle for second best. We make do; a life without enthusiasm, without fire, with passion quieted, with joy frozen. We despair by protest, protesting that our lives are without new possibilities. “if you really knew what my life was like, you wouldn’t tell me I could be happy!” bitterly we accept our limits “this is the way I am, this is the way things are, this is the way it has always been & will always be so!” nothing can surprise us anymore. We live on, far from fully alive, on automatic pilot, the Christ in us lying in the tomb..& then..every spring a warm sun reappears, & we are given the opportunity to unthaw, to resurrect, to resurrect daily, to leave behind us a string of empty tombs, to let our crucified hopes & dreams be resurrected so that, like Christ, our lives will radiate the truth that, in the end, everything is good, reality can be trusted. Love triumphs over apathy & hatred, togetherness over loneliness, peace over chaos, forgiveness over bitterness. We need regular resurrections, to let ourselves be unthawed, to think young again, to give the child in us freedom again, to be open to new possibilities, to surprise, to a new frolic under the sun after a cold bitter time of it.” [the Passion & the Cross; Fr Ronald Rolheiser]
Last weekend we had 50 at our two Masses, 35 at 10am at OL&SB & 15 at 4pm at OL&HA, with 19 of the 50 of university age & under. In the last week of term, just before Holy Week, KS1 in St Benedict’s RC Primary School sent out Easter cards & KS2 sent out letters to 27 of our elderly sick & housebound in the Parish in Ampleforth Gilling & Coxwold, as a continuing means of keeping in touch. Many of the recipients have written replies back with warmth & deep gratitude, helping to cement the links between the elderly & the young, the two groups in extremes of life to whom St Benedict, in Ch 37 of his Rule, encourages us to offer “tender concern” & “loving consideration”. When the initial lockdown was implemented in March 2020, our classes for our First Holy Communion candidates had to stop. Whilst we could have considered an on-line course, the nature & value of our Saturday morning sessions in the Parish Hall were too valuable & enjoyable to lose. In consultation with Mr Eddy & Mrs Lally in School, the course will recommence in Sept 2021 for the two year groups now in waiting in Class 3, with First Holy Communions on Sunday 21Nov 2021, the Feast of Christ the King, fittingly Youth Sunday. Please keep the candidates & their parents in your prayers.
Please remember John Wilkie’s mother Anne, who died peacefully in Scarborough on Wednesday morning, aged 99, & for John & the rest of her family.
This Saturday 24 April Ryedale Christian Council host a day Conference “the Climate Change Crisis; what on earth can we do?” 915am to 415pm a free zoom event with four keynote speakers & choice of nine topic workshops. To book www.rccconf.org. On this Vocations Sunday weekend, Pope Francis’s words in Laudato Si challenge us “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have shared responsibility for others & the world, & that being good true & decent are worth it. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true & beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to his grace at work deep in our hearts. I appeal to everyone throughout the world not to forget this dignity which is ours. No one has the right to take it from us. May our struggles & our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”
As we begin this very week to explore another planet, Mars, will humankind trust us to respect what we find there, & become stewards of, that which is good true & beautiful, when so far we have so evidently misused the paradise entrusted to us by God & earlier generations? With my love & prayers. Fr Bede