Dear Mothers, Fathers, Aspirants, Associates and friends of the Sodality,
I slept for twelve hours last night and still managed a post-lunch nap. Perhaps I am just getting old. Holy Week and the Triduum are exhausting physically and spiritually, this morning’s simple, low Mass always comes as a relief. I hope as well as satisfied exhaustion you are also feeling renewed, even if refreshment may have to wait for your post-Easter break.
The Easter Masses in the Collection of Masses of the BVM provide rich fare for meditation. For us as a community of priests Mass 17 “Our Lady of the Cenacle” is especially suitable. Some words from the Preface to that Mass:
“How wonderful is the example you have given us
Of harmony and prayer in the Church at its beginning:
You show us the Mother of Jesus
As she prays with the Apostles
In oneness of mind and heart.
She who waited in prayer for the coming of Christ
Is still at prayer
As she calls upon the promised Paraclete;
She who was overshadowed by the Spirit
At the Incarnation of the Word
Is once more filled with your Gift from on high
At the birth of God’s new people.”
I am sure you will join with me in gratitude to Fr Simon for getting the daily prayer feed set up on Facebook again and the prayer cycle prepared as well as the daily Manual post. Praying for one another and our shared lectio on the Manual are fundamental to what makes us a community, even though we live and minister far apart. I am always glad to see requests for prayer in our private group on Facebook and like many others ensure that I do pray these intentions. Whatever is happening in your life please share it with us. The great thing about a community such as ours is that we don’t have to be competitive. In a time when almost all institutional church life is diminishing and in decline being ‘undefended’ in our ministries is especially significant.
Our annual Residential Chapter is close now, please pray that it is a fruitful time for us. If there is a compelling reason for not attending please ensure that I have received this and do your best to keep the dates free for next year. Fr Paul has asked us to look at the dates at the Chapter so we will know by the end when the 2020 Chapter will be. Fr Michael is very keen that we make a pilgrimage to Loretto which would be wonderful.
Next week I shall be attending (and leading a seminar) at the On Fire Mission with several other priests from the Diocese of Liverpool. I will be praying especially hard for Catholic renewal in our time. Maintaining our unity of purpose and prayer with other Catholic Anglicans is especially important.
I am more convinced than ever of the importance of celebrating Mass each day. If you are not yet doing that I hope you will be planning on ways that you might be able to do so. It may have no apparent practical value but its ability to convert us and to challenge the forces of darkness cannot be overestimated.
My current (re)reading includes Fr Bill Kirkpatrick’s “The Creativity of Listening”. I had forgotten how good it is. His reflections on priesthood bear frequent re-reading. I met him several times and on a few occasions had really very good conversations with him. He is a link to the contemplative tradition in Anglo-Catholicism through Fr Gilbert Shaw, especially as that tradition expresses itself in action for social justice. A challenge to each of us.
As usual this note comes with my prayers and deepest love,
in the Two Hearts,
Fr Richard SMMS