“At the door of the monastery,” the Rule reads, “place a sensible person.” “This porter will need a room near the entrance so that visitors will always find someone there to answer them,“ “the Rule reads. “As soon as anyone knocks or a poor person calls out, the porter will reply, “Thanks be to God.” Thank God, you’ve come, Benedictine spirituality says to the stranger – disturb our perfect lives. Without guests, life here is just one more instance of securing ourselves in the midst of our people, our kind, our type. But the guest refuses to allow us to become snug & secure in our little monastic cells. The guest intrudes on our schedules & makes demands on our energy& pries open our closed minds& stretches our hearts to the breaking point. The guest refuses to allow us to see the spiritual life as an exercise in making neat & tidy schedules for ourselves. Guests save us from counting as holiness the ironclad world of the self we have managed to construct & structure so well. Guests bring us God in the guise of the immediate & the urgent, the uncomfortable & the unknown. They expose our emptiness of heart& total self-centredness, when we may not even know ourselves that it exists. The guest in Benedictine spirituality is a visit from the God of Surprises who comes upon us at our most vulnerable & breaks us open to a new part of ourselves as well as to the needs of the other. Guests bring the world in, place it at our feet, & dare us to be who & what we say we are. They are a blatant sign for all to see that any group that calls itself a Monastery of the Heart – but exists only for itself & its own kind - is really not a real community at all. A Monastery of the Heart is a community with stretchable, permeable, illimitable boundaries made up of anyone who happens to come into it at any time, & always saying, “We are here for you.” The Monastery of the Heart by Joan Chittister OSB.
Our Village Carol Service will be held this Sunday evening, starting at OL&SB at 7pm, moving on to the White Swan, & finally to St Hilda’s. We hope to finish by 8.15pm. It is an opportunity to include many in our Village with no allegiance to either Church to join us at this moment of Advent expectancy. Please encourage a friend or neighbour to join us.
The Advent AoS Shoe Box Appeal finishes this Sunday, & we hope to transport the shoe boxes to Hull docks early next week so that your Christmas gifts to seafarers can be distributed to enable them to be opened at sea on Christmas morning. Please keep all seafarers & their families in your prayers, as well as the work of the Chaplains in each port. On Tuesday evening there will be an opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, when Fr Bede will be available in Church between 7pm & 8.30pm.
In recent years, we have tried to accommodate all who come to our Christmas Masses in Church, rather than make use of the Parish Hall as an overflow; hence our two Christmas Masses on Christmas Eve at 6pm & 8.30pm. The arrangements have worked very well, with both Masses filling the Church. It would be helpful if you could perhaps keep to your usual choice of Mass time so that we can avoid having to use the overflow facility on such an important moment. Please encourage a family member, friend or neighbour who doesn’t come to Church on a regular basis to join you & us, & thus make our Christmas complete.
Our 3rd Alpha Course finished last week, & we are deeply grateful to the Alpha Team for their steady work & prayer which has borne rich fruit in deepening the faith of some, restoring the faith of others, & welcoming new enquirers into faith. We are to begin a day Alpha Course on Wed 17th Jan 2018 at 9.15am, (to 11.15am) to enable young parents with children at school & the elderly among us to have the opportunity to enjoy exploring some questions in life & faith in a relaxed & informal setting. Please let us know you are coming via email@example.com With love & prayers, Fr Bede.