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Good Friday – Veneration of the Cross

A short video clip from our veneration of the Cross during the Commemoration of Our Lord’s Passion today.


As I wandered round our garden, a few days ago, looking sadly at our 鈥渉osts of golden daffodils鈥 which had given us so much joy and delight in recent weeks, but now were withering and dying in the bitter April winds that were sweeping across the lawns, Isaiah chapter 53 came spontaneously to mind :
鈥淪ee my Servant鈥︹

as the crowds were appalled on seeing him, so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human鈥

Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground.

No look to attract our eyes,

without beauty, without majesty we saw him鈥.

a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering.鈥
There, in the dying daffodils, I could visualise Jesus writhing in pain, being bent to the ground, buffeted by the wind 鈥 his skin drying up鈥. many flowers had already fallen 鈥 rejected 鈥 no longer any use to decorate our altars or tables. Yes, there he was, crushed for our sins, symbolically portrayed by the dying flowers. And as I looked around and saw all the other rows of daffodils 鈥 another line of Scripture came to mind, this time from Matthew 9 :

鈥淎nd when he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them, because they were harassed and dejected like sheep without a shepherd.鈥

So many sad and broken people in our country, in our world 鈥 hungry 鈥 yes, for food, but deeper still a hunger and yearning for 鈥 they know not what.
They have never heard or, having heard, rejected him 鈥 the One who died for us all, only to rise again after three days in the tomb, in a glorious resurrection giving radiant life to his little children.
Yes, the daffodils too will […]

5th Sunday of the Year

 LIGHT for the World… YOU! This morning in all the readings at Holy Mass, we heard that the effect and the fruit of all our acts of charity is light.And throughout the books of the Bible, we come across this idea or image of light as being always something by which we can see the truth, see in truth.  Light and truth, then, go together … and when we meet Jesus, at last, in the Gospels … and when we are aware of His nearness to us in our own lives – we know that Light and Truth are a Person:the One who is our God. So, God who is Light, is also the Creator of all light, and in this morning’s Gospel, Jesus said to His disciples: “You are the light of the world …No one lights a lampto put it under a tub …” These words are very striking and powerful if we put God in the place of the “one” who “lights a lamp,” because in doing so, you see …锘匡豢 YOU are the lamp He has lit – YOU are the light of the world …  God did not ‘light’ you up so as to hide you under a tub!  God created you to shine, and to shine for everyone. So, it seems that in a world where belief in God is not often highly regarded and is at times even scorned – for us who believe, Jesus is setting before us an invitation and a challenge.    We are to believe fearlessly and unashamedly in the Light – Light that is Him, and also Him in us.  We have been so filled with Him that He cannot be contained in us.  He dares us to know, […]

By |February 9th, 2014|Liturgy|0 Comments

The Baptism of the LORD

This is better late than never – a reflection on last Sunday’s Gospel, on the feast of the Baptism of the LORD.鈥淎nd yet you come to me.鈥 The wonder of God.  When JESUS came to John the Baptist at the Jordan, John said to Him, 鈥淚 need to be baptised by you, and yet you come to me!鈥  And yet you come to me! At the end of the season of Christmas, what after all could be a more perfect transition to the Ordinary Time of the Church鈥檚 year, than to wonder at the feast of the Baptism of the LORD?  It seems to sum up all that we had been longing for throughout all of Advent, and in each encounter with the LORD in the feast days of Christmas; and this day seems also to equip us for the journey ahead 鈥 how we must live and how we are to imitate Christ. And yet you come to me! Even the greatest man to have been born of a woman, did not understand the God whose coming he had to proclaim.  It is encouraging, in a way, to realise that God confused and perplexed even the greatest saints.  And yet you come to me! Still, these words of St John encapsulate the whole mission of Christ: even before His birth, while still in the womb of His mother, He would come to Elizabeth and her unborn baby; He would come to be born and laid in a manger far from the busy-ness and distractions of a restless town, so that at His coming He might be found 鈥 and in being recognised 鈥 He might be wondered at.  He chose obscurity and littleness, not by accident but by […]

By |January 19th, 2014|Liturgy|0 Comments

First Sunday of Advent – 2013

 Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5                 Romans: 13:11-14                 Mt24:37-44 锘縏he Mass readings for this first Sunday of Advent provide us with a wake-up call: St Paul tells us 鈥測ou must wake up now鈥 and in the Gospel Jesus tells us to 鈥渟tay awake!鈥 while the Prophet Isaias invites us to 鈥渨alk in the light of the Lord.鈥  So as we begin a new Church year we are invited to come into the light 鈥 to remove the blinds from the windows of our hearts and to let the light shine in 鈥 remembering that the true Light is Jesus Himself.  He is the True Light shining on us and who desires to penetrate and posses our inmost being.  The struggle between light and darkness is a perennial one – it is the struggle in which we are all engaged 鈥 the struggle to keep our hearts free and not to allow ourselves to be enslaved by false attractions 鈥 the struggle to keep our hearts free for God alone.  It is the struggle about which Paul speaks in the letter to the Romans: 鈥渘o drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness and no wrangling or jealousy.鈥 And he advises us: 鈥淟et your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ; forget about satisfying your bodies with all their cravings.鈥   Today there is a lot of darkness in the world around us – at times it would seem that the powers of darkness are let loose but we know that the light will eventually triumph.   More than ever before it is necessary for us to 鈥済ive up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark and arm ourselves and appear in the light.鈥 We must let nothing enslave […]

By |December 1st, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

Pentecost Sunday 鈥 2013

In the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday, we hear the words 鈥渢he Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name鈥 鈥 I would like to share an extract from a recent homily of Pope Francis on praying in the name of Jesus 鈥 and as it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can do that, it is surely applicable to this great Feast.  The quotation is taken from last week鈥檚 L鈥橭sservatore Romano:鈥楯esus鈥 wounds are still open on this earth.  If we are to recognise them we must come out of ourselves and reach out to our needy brothers and sisters, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor and the exploited.  Pope Francis pointed this 鈥渆xodus鈥 out in his homily at Mass on Saturday morning, 11th May, in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.鈥淚t means coming out of ourselves鈥, made possible by prayer, 鈥渢o the Father in the name of Jesus鈥.The prayer that 鈥渂ores us鈥 is always within us, like a thought that comes and goes, but true prayer is鈥oming out of ourselves made 鈥渨ith the intercession of Jesus, who shows his wounds to the Father鈥.But how can we recognise Jesus鈥 wounds?  How can we trust in them if we cannot identify them?  The Pope was explicit: 鈥淯nless we can come out of ourselves towards those wounds, we shall never learn the freedom that brings us to the other way out of ourselves, through the wounds of Jesus鈥.Hence the Holy Father鈥檚 image of the two 鈥渨ays out of ourselves鈥.  The first is 鈥渢owards the wounds of Jesus, the other is towards the wounds of our brothers and sisters.  And this is the path that Jesus wants us […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7

Guy Bedouelle o.p. provided me with a starting point for my reflection on St Dominic. In his book 鈥楾he grace of the Word鈥 he has this to say:When Dante called St Dominic 鈥渢he passionate lover of the Christian Faith鈥 he referred to the entire life of the Father of Preachers, to his unflagging eagerness to bear witness to this faith, to defend it and to transmit it. If St Dominic yearned to penetrate Catholic teaching through study, to be able to expound it in persuasive terms, if he aspired to affirm it in every way in order to 鈥渟trengthen his brethren鈥, it was because his own faith was flawless and intense.鈥滺e goes on to say thatChrist is the centre of faith and its source. It is through Him that we embrace all that the Church believes. The theology of St. Dominic, if we may speak of the theology of one who left no written works, seems based entirely on Redemption through Christ, from which everything else in Christian teaching radiates.The Christ who had saved Dominic, this Jesus whom he contemplated, followed and preached was the Son of God, the Redeemer. When Dominic exhorted his brethren to prayer he said only this 鈥淟et us think of our Saviour鈥 (Bolognia, 41)鈥淟et us think of our Saviour.鈥 Through this little phrase we see into the heart of Dominic and get an insight into the source from which all his apostolic zeal and activity flowed. Dominic鈥檚 eyes are ever on Jesus. 鈥淗e spoke only to God or of God鈥 we are told. Dominic always turns us towards Jesus; to make Jesus known and loved is his sole preoccupation. He spent his nights with Jesus in prayer and his […]

Something about JESUS

We鈥檝e come out of Retreat (well, a week ago now) and I鈥檝e noticed again how it happens that the sense that I haven鈥檛 even begun to know the Lord, is so strong. How do you meet Jesus, at that level or in that place where we most need to know Him, and to meet and be reached by Him?The Sermon on the Mount (cf Mt 5) 鈥 I decided to start again at the 鈥榖eginning鈥 and try and meet Him again. 鈥 鈥榟is fame spread throughout all Syria 鈥︹ (Mt 4:24); 鈥 鈥楢nd great crowds followed him 鈥︹ (Mt 4:25) What would it have been like to have been one of the crowd? How did it happen that a person became one of the crowd: if they followed him not because they were sick or in need of any kind of healing? What was it about Him that drew so many people to Him?It can be a lonely business, choosing God even when at the same time, on the other hand, it is a most wondrous and joy-filled experience 鈥 that moment when you say 鈥榶es鈥 to Jesus, because you just know that what He wants is not anything you can do or be, but purely and simply you. And He understands the loneliness: He鈥檚 in it too.There鈥檚 something about Jesus.There 鈥 on the 鈥楳ount鈥 鈥 surrounded by the crowds of people, telling them who they are: building them up and encouraging them to keep reaching out for what it was they sought, that something that compelled them to go after Him. And He said:鈥楤lessed are the poor in spirit 鈥; those who mourn 鈥; the meek 鈥hose who hunger and thirst for righteousness […]

Christmas Reflection

Below is the text of a Christmas reflection given by one of our sisters.(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). 鈥淲ith the Lord there is unfailing love; great is His power to set us free鈥 鈥 Vespers II of Christmas. The human heart longs for freedom 鈥 it is boundless in its aspirations for we were made in the image and likeness of God and are destined to live eternally with Him in love. He has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. (cf Confessions of St Augustine). A glance at our newspapers or TV news demonstrates this restlessness 鈥 this past year has witnessed the eruption of violence in many parts of our world 鈥 all seeking freedom of one sort or another. Left to ourselves, we humans, seek freedom apart from God and in the wrong places. Adam and Eve wanted to be like God 鈥 yet through fear, they hid from God. I have been very struck by the frequency of this theme of 鈥榝reedom鈥 in our Advent liturgy 鈥 where we cry out to the Lord in such phrases as: 鈥渃ome and set us free鈥; Lord may your Son bring us freedom鈥; Come Lord, make no delay! Release your people from their bonds鈥. This theme of freedom resonates with the vision of monastic life as being 鈥渇ree for God alone鈥. Freedom always implies a 鈥榝reedom from something鈥 and a 鈥榝reedom for something鈥. We have a good example in the Book of Exodus: Moses asked Pharaoh to set the people free so that they could go to the desert to […]

By |December 25th, 2011|Liturgy|1 Comment

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

The following is a homily which fr Terence Crotty OP preached during the celebration of our Sunday Eucharist in our monastery chapel – 9th January, 2011.We hear a lot about power in the Church nowadays. Laypeople say that priests have all the power in the Church while priests say the bishops have all the power and so some priests recently formed an association, the 鈥淎ssociation of Catholic Priest,鈥 so as to get their hands on a bit of it. So the bishops seem to have all the power but, you know, when you look at them they seem completely powerless. The long and the short of it is that we鈥檇 better warn the ESB to start rationing the national grid before it collapses under the strain of so many people looking for power. The Bible too speaks of power: when Jesus is about to ascend into heaven he tells the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they are 鈥渃lothed with power from on high鈥 (Lk 24:49). What is the content of this power? Well, St. John tells us that 鈥渢o all who did accept , he gave power to become children of God鈥 (Jn 1:12). This is the power a Christian looks for: not the power to dominate and rule, but the power to become children of God. For St. Luke, that promise of Jesus to clothe his disciples with power from on high is fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. For St. Paul, the primary effect of receiving the Holy Spirit is that we can call God Father (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6), so that St. John, St. Luke and St. Paul are all in agreement that the Holy Spirit […]

By |January 10th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments