The Observance of Lent

At no other place in the Rule does St Benedict devote a specific chapter separately to a season of the Church’s year.  Certainly in dealing with the scheme by which the Work of God should be fulfilled the entire year is embraced in a sort of microcosm, and within that “holy Easter” is certainly highlighted. Continue reading “The Observance of Lent”

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th – 25th January

Following the guidelines offered by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, we ask you to consider and pray, individually or together with family or friends, these biblical reflections and prayers to accompany the annual call for Christians to acknowledge our discord and to hear again Christ’s call that we may be one as heContinue reading “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th – 25th January”

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Celebrating this feast, which is effectively the first Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have an opportunity to celebrate, in a sense, our own baptism, not as a single celebration locked in a past moment of history, but as a dynamic reality shaping our Christian witness, vocation and action.  It is as a good a chanceContinue reading “Feast of the Baptism of the Lord”

Late Advent with the Cistercian Fathers – O Antiphons Revisited

The octave before the feast of Christmas has always been marked by the singing of the Great “O” Antiphons, usually with the Magnificat (Song of Mary) at the office of Vespers.  These wonderful antiphons, short but rich texts, draw together phrases from the sacred scriptures of the Old Testament, a prophetic voice looking forward toContinue reading “Late Advent with the Cistercian Fathers – O Antiphons Revisited”

29th September – St Michael and All the Angels

Cistercian writers have been acutely aware of the presence of the angels since the Order first began to take shape after its foundation in 1098.  And this should be no wonder – St Benedict places the role of angels, and their palpable presence at key moments, at the heart of his Holy Rule.  A numberContinue reading “29th September – St Michael and All the Angels”

14th September – The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Hans Urs von Balthasar: The Cross is the midpoint of saving history, all the promises are realised in it, every aspect of the Law, with its quality as curse, is dashed to pieces on the Cross. The Cross is the centre of the world’s history, for it transcends the categories of ‘elect’ and ‘non-elect’ by reconciling all human beings in the crucified body which hangs there. It is the midpoint, too, of all creation and predestination, inasmuch as we were predestined, in Christ’s blood, to be the children of God before the foundation of the world. Paul himself simply intends to carry out the ministry of preaching, by way of service to the reconciliation of the world to God in the Cross of Jesus.

St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 28th August

We keep the memory of the greatest convert in the Church after St Paul.  St Augustine – monk, bishop, theologian, preacher, writer – appeals universally to everyone with a God-seeking heart.  Listening to him exultant in his Confessions (Bk X.38) we might make his own new song our own today: Late have I loved you,Continue reading “St Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, 28th August”