.“..& now priests, this is a warning to you..” ..for me, as your priest, there is no comfort of anonymity in 1st reading..it is not “us” it is directed at “me” “you Bede have strayed from the way ; you have caused many to stumble by your teaching” .I am often reminded of, & remember in prayer, those many who used to come here, but in the course of my 5yrs here, have stumbled or fallen, those who have strayed to the Abbey or to other local parishes, & those of you who have remained among us..hurt disappointed wounded.. a moment of personal self examination, of contrition, & hopefully eventual healing & reconciliation.. “..& now priests, if you do not listen..” ; Lord have mercy “I will send the curse on you, & curse your very blessing..” ; Christ have mercy “..you have not kept to my paths, but have shown partiality..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..you must therefore do what they tell you & listen to what they say; but do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach.” Fr Prior gave our Community a spiritual conference last Tuesday as we start our conventual life in Bolton House, our home for next 2yrs..”there is a continuity in the way of life we have been leading in the old monastery, but at the same time a newness to our life..we have to ask ourselves daily “how am I following Christ? am I simply in a groove? how am I responding to the challenge of the gospel today?” coincidence or Holy Spirit he should say it as our Catholicism this wk celebrates 500yrs since the Reformation..& last Monday leading a retreat for 35 primary school teachers from our Catholic cluster I spoke of the mission statement of our Catholicism “semper reformanda” [always reforming]..clocks changed in chronos time; a new home; a challenge to respond spiritually & practically; to heal wound in my own life between fertile words & desert practice..a poor practitioner & a disappointment to many of you..share with you words of Fr Daniel O’Leary his classic book on spirituality for priests “new hearts, new models”..“the priest farms the fields of dreams. He divines that underground spring, the secret spark of every heart. He knows that behind the veneer of our external lives, the eternal is at work. Within us there is a secret immensity that we seldom even glimpse. In its subtle wisdom the eternal artist carefully designs a unique destiny for each person “before I formed you in the womb [ Rose Marguerite Mary Hewitt whom we welcome this weekend with great joy at her Baptism ] I knew you..” to be born is to be chosen..there is a task that can only be accomplished by each particular heart; the task of grounding, focussing & nourishing the creative longing of the divine within everyone is priestly work.”..amid the emotional physical & spiritual turmoil of now moving my bedroom, having downsized my parish office & then my workspace at the Abbey in last two months, the builders have been noisily at work outside my office this week grounding themselves onto the site..the wonderful green space outside West Wing has been dug off, the topsoil heaped at one end & area size of football pitch sheeted stoned compacted..by huge rough & ready builders who operate slow cumbersome excavators with the skill & precision of a wise surgeon.. essential preparatory work messy dirty for the creative work ahead..restoring refurbishing upgrading all that has, for 200yrs, cut the mustard, but now needs refounding reformation as monastic life is organically nourished fit for purpose, the Holy Spirits purpose for next five generations..a profound moment on my doorstep up there..a field of dreams..dreams soon to be realised in stone & far more importantly in spirit truth & love in a community responding to the challenge of the Gospel today..when wise prudent voices would have urged us, in face of an absent Abbot, an impending enquiry into sexual abuse within the Church, & the huge financial commitment for a Community whose purse is empty, to hunker down & see out the storm, the Holy Spirit whispers differently..& book we are reading in our new monastery refectory?..chosen by Fr Prior or Holy Spirit?..”new wine in new wineskins”..echoing Fr Donals book title “new hearts new models” & three huge words..grounding, focussing, nourishing..”& now priests, this warning is for you..if you do not listen, if you do not find it in your heart to glorify my name..” our gospel, the emerging story at the Abbey & Bolton House, two major feasts celebrating saintliness achieved & in progress, & three retreats with a Parish Council, teachers & then Yr 11 students each & all on journey of grounding focussing nourishing their faith & life story, & my own inadequacy in serving this your beloved community, I wonder if this is the moment..the kairos divine moment..to refound our Parish?..to farm again “the field of dreams, to divine the secret spark of every heart, to dig off the topsoil the veneer of our external lives, & to rediscover the eternal at work within us”..a task, an exercise in humility, as Holy Spirit invites your active corporate cooperation with divine grace in a refoundation, allowing me to listen watch & accompany you..[ 31stSunYrA;Mt23;1-12]