“It will always happen that people will try to imprison other human beings, even put guards before their tombs & forbid any disturbance of the quiet within which life is stirring, to put a stop to any interference in the routines of non-life. These guardian spirits are now, for the first time afraid. They are like the dead when life breaks out, & it is suddenly clear that from this time forever it will be impossible to imprison a human reality in any kind of tomb. People will not be able to do it & nature certainly not, because God who created us desires that we should live; otherwise we would not exist. It took all of eternity to produce something as precious as each individual one of us. We will be able to live for all eternity. On this morning that truth is clear in the hearts of two women who behold the face of God, which is powerful enough to wake the dead. It is terrible to seek the Beloved as the Crucified One, apparently defeated, shamed & destroyed but we no longer need to seek life in the abode of the dead. We no longer need to feel that our love has been defeated by the course of events. Externally, they may be what they will be. This event will not be written down in Pilate’s scribal records. It will not even enter the annals of humanity outside the New Testament. It will not be recorded as such in the history books. But it is powerful enough to change our hearts forever. In the future we can approach one another, no longer with a message of despair, but turning from the tomb & toward others, those we want to see as Jesus’ disciples see & say to them “you need no longer believe in fear or in the power of the means used to bring people to their knees. You, too, can believe in life.” If we take the road this way, in each other’s company, this Gospel tells us that the Lord will come to meet us – the one we love, the one we know to be the foundation of everything that makes this life worth living, & we will fall at His feet & kiss them, worshipping Him.” (The Open Tomb; Eugene Drewermann)
Please pray for the teaching staff of St Mary’s RC Primary School Malton & of St Benedict’s RC Primary School Ampleforth who, instead of a normal training day, are to share a Retreat Day with me at the Abbey & College this Monday. It is a fine example of the growing spirituality within both schools that the staff should ask for such an opportunity. Please also remember our 11 young disciples in the final few weeks of their preparation towards First Confession early next month, & then their First Holy Communion among us on Sunday 2nd June at our 10am Mass.
As part of the series of gatherings to mark Mary Sturges’ 80th birthday, & to acknowledge her sterling service in the Parish in various ministries, we will celebrate the moment with coffee & cake after 10am Mass next Sunday.
Sadly another of our lighting bollards in the graveyard has been vandalised in recent days. Over the last 2 years we have incurred damage to perhaps 5 or 6 bollards, some of which we have repaired at significant cost, with others being safely capped off with loss of the lighting. Please pray for the perpetrator who seemingly has a grudge against the Church or against me. We need to hold a firm line against such wanton damage & we will be arranging for the damaged light & those others out of use to be reinstated in the near future.
Sunday 12th May is Good Shepherd Sunday, a day of Special Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood & Religious Life. I still have close links & friendships with St Comgall’s Parish in Bangor, Northern Ireland, where, until recently, I used to visit for a week each Lent to give retreats both in the Parish & in their 2 High Schools. To mark Vocation Sunday, the Bishop of Down & Connor, has asked for a Novena of Prayer up to 12th May in all Parishes in the Diocese. It begins this coming Friday 2nd May & includes a profoundly beautiful reflection & prayer for each of the 9 days. Whilst we do pray for vocations at our Holy Hour each Saturday morning, this is a fine opportunity, especially given our drastic decrease in numbers in our own Community & at Stanbrook, & also in the Diocese, to pray specially & in unity with the wider Church for some of our young people to be inspired & encouraged to take up the divine invitation to “come follow me.” The daily prayer will be available at each Mass during the 9 days, & I would encourage you all to take home copies so that we can be fully united in Church or at home in this vital moment of opportunity. With my love & prayers, Fr Bede.