Benedictine spirituality is a sacramental spirituality. It holds all things – the earth and all its goods – as sacred. In our twenty-first-century view of life – through the lens of the Rule of Benedict – we know now in new ways that the earth and all its fruits are not for exploitation, they are for our care. We are co-creators with God of what creation had left unfinished. What has been left in embryo is left for us to develop. What can be developed God trust us to bring to full potential. But not for ourselves alone. Co-creation the human commitment to continue the work of God on earth, requires us to tend the land and conserve the waters, to till the garden and protect the animals, to use the things of the earth in ways that enhance all life now – and preserve them for later generations, as well. The human-centred view of creation is a stunted one. It fails to recognize the oneness of creation, the symphony of life forms that depend on one another to bring the universe, pulsing and throbbing with life, to a wholeness that is mutual, that reflects the full face of God rather than simply our own. The male-centred view of creation is an incomplete and inadequate one. It fails to recognize women as equal agents in the development of creation and so ignores half the resources of creation in the decision-making process of life. Benedictine spirituality seeks a balanced life. One in harmony with all its parts – earth, fire, air and water, animals, plants, female and males – all alive in the heart of God. To allow ourselves to become digital chips in an electronic world, isolates in a interdependent universe, women and men out of touch with the life pulse of a living God, indifferent to creation, concerned only with ourselves. And still call ourselves good – is to mistake the rituals of religion for the sanctifying dimensions of spirituality. The Monastery of the Heart by Joan Chittister OSB.
On this weekend when the Universal Church celebrates Youth Sunday, it is a fitting moment to express our appreciation to the many young people who belong here in our Parish family. When you have so many calls on your time from School, family & friendships, we are blessed that you join us here as often as you can for our weekend Masses, & be assured that you are held in love & prayer here, along with your parents who, like us, deeply value your commitment to our shared faith & its commitment. I would like to think, as a vital part of a possible Parish reformation, we could encourage an additional weekend Mass at a time & content which helped your growth in faith, & by connection, the ongoing growth within the wider Parish. Perhaps 8pm on a Sunday evening once a month, with you bringing your musical talents & voice? Please pray about it & let me know what you think. Pope Francis visits Myanmar & Bangladesh this coming week at a crucial moment for the future of the Rohingya Muslims who have been the victims of ethnic cleansing by the leadership in Myanmar. Please pray that the Pope’s intervention may result in an acknowledgment of the atrocities & a genuine spirit of remorse on a journey towards eventual reconciliation. Our Monastery Infirmary moves into its temporary quarters in the West Wing this coming week, as part of the overall project of refurbishing the Monastery. As we found last month when the active Community moved to Bolton House, it was a fundamental change for us when we rely so much on stability & routine in our work & prayer. It will be a particularly difficult time for the elderly, infirm & gravely ill members of the Community to make such a move, especially in winter conditions. Please keep the Matron, Karen Harrington, & her staff in your prayers, as they continue to give us their every care. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.