“we alone know that, in the circling of spheres & the course of nature, we will exist only once. What kind of response is given us against the power of death to quench us? Only one; that even beyond the world there is in God, the world’s Creator, an absolute will, an endless love to which we owe our existence; there is a will that desires us to be, & there is a love that desires us to live. The course run by humanity as a whole is the same as that destined for every individual. A genuine person is formed only in relationship to another person who is absolutely devoted to us, & who will not let us go until the rind & the husk fall away. Such people are like the Jesus whom the disciples knew & whom the women on Easter morning sought again, beyond his death. There are people who enter our lives like an awakening out of a long sleep, like a call from death to happiness, like being torn out of bitter dreams & opening our eyes to the light. There are people who enter our lives & bring about a transformation of everything, so that growing older is like being reborn & like a new beginning, so that the vanishing of the years shapes itself into ripening rings of happiness, contentment, & the beginning of joy, & the old fetters, the prescriptions of fear, the constrictions of environment, the role prescribed by others, all cease to have any meaning. Jesus must have entered the lives of these women with that kind of force. They left their marriages, their families, their previous callings; they gave up their incomes, broke every tie, laid themselves open to public shame; but they knew they were indestructibly wed. Mary, the woman from Magdala, can represent all those whose lives have been shredded & devoured by seven evil spirits until they are no longer recognisable. If someone asks us who we are, one spirit after another will talk & talk..who we were as children, as teenagers, as young adults, as grown-ups..& we always had to exist but dared not live, we were always steered through life & had no chance to develop a real self. But here is the truth of an indestructible beginning, the initial moment of an eternal happiness. In that power, life begins to open out for us like a road, & it is as when sparks are born from stone, & grain from the earth, & fire from the dust. Enthusiasm, passion, joy, fantasy begin to consume our lives like torches. Suddenly the endlessness of our lives does not seem to enclose us like a trap or a prison. Suddenly the confidence that these few decades of life are a beginning of eternity begins to grow. What does the tomb then have to say? Dust & the earth may encompass the dead bodies, & the sarcophagus may wrap the firmament with all its stars like a linen shroud, but our real life, beginning & ripening in love, will be indestructible. Even now, we can gather the fantasies born of our dreams & longings, the hints of life as eternal & indestructible, when only the truth of the soul, the purity of the word, & the infinite power of love are valid..that is the goal toward which we can live.” [the Open Tomb; Eugen Drewermann]
On behalf of Abbot Robert & our Community I wish you all a very Happy Easter week, with grand Yorkshire weather, snow flurries bitter wind & spring sunshine, very honest! We had a remarkable Triduum in the Parish, six Masses/Services in the four days, with Good Friday 3pm & Easter Day Mass 10am full with 43 at each; 181 over the four days. The Bishop advised simpler liturgies & they worked very well, simpler shorter yet somehow with a deeper spirituality & prayerfulness. Our musicians excelled providing music at all five main Masses/Services, with different families leading different days, a fine variety of music & song. The Church was beautifully decorated by the ladies flower group, & I must express gratitude for the little band who stay behind after each Mass to sanitise the benches. The readers seasoned the Triduum with fine confident sharings. A highpoint for me was the presence of so many of our young people; at each Mass/Service half of the congregation were of university age or younger, over 20 of them, fully engaged & contributing. I thanked them specially at each Mass explaining there would be no Parish in the UK with such numbers of young people; we have something special here we need to nurture as we step into an impressive future with such a group of committed young disciples. As I left the Sacristy after our Easter Day 10am Mass, one of the youngsters, 10yrs of age, made a point of meeting me quietly to say “Fr Bede, thank you for saying what you did about us at the end of Mass”; thanks be to God for each & every one of them, & for the way they have been schooled in the faith by parents grandparents & parishioners.
This Thursday, 8th March 2021, is a World Day of Special Prayer for the prevention of, & healing from, child sexual abuse. Please do take some special moments in prayer on the day to join in the intention. We do still & always include a special prayer in our prayers of the faithful in the Parish each weekend for all victims, remembering specially those who suffered abuse at the College. I sit as the monastic presence on the Survivors Engagement Group, where we offer help in whatever ways are necessary to anyone who has been a victim of abuse, wherever that took place; please pray for our work as we accompany in presence & prayer those who are struggling to come to terms with their situations.
Please continue to pray for those who still feel it is too soon to return to Mass in the Parish as their fears & anxieties over the virus persist. There was a deep sense of unity between those in Church over the Triduum & those many still isolated at home, as we prayed for them & they for us. Our young disciples in St Benedict’s RC PS are again doing sterling work on our behalf as they write individual letters to some 25 of our elderly housebound parishioners, a ministry of servant discipleship which is deeply appreciated.
Easter People “we are Easter people & our song is Alleluia !! [Pope John Paul II] “..never forget you are Easter people, called to become witnesses to his Resurrection.”
“this is easily my favourite place” said mole “why?” asked the boy “because you are all here” with my love & prayers. Fr Bede