Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year thinking...

How to live life with more rigour?

Is this going to be a good way to sustain prayer life?
Does anyone else use it?

Can I be Roman Catholic in an Anglo catholic sort of way?

I think I am trying to avoid this:

A very large number of the people who attend our services and partake of the Sacraments are disassociated personalities. They are one person on Sunday and another on Monday. They have one mind for the sanctuary and another for the street . . . It is the piety of the disassociated personality. The churchwarden who owns slum property; the devout layman who will not face the problem of war; the earnest brewer who presents a chalice to the church in the suburbs bought with the profits of the drink shops in town; the Christian workman who helps the vicar, and perhaps serves at Mass, and leaves his mates to strive for an improvement of conditions which he knows is short of justice and humanity, and takes gladly when he gets it, though he will not work for it. Don't you know him? The good, respectable fellow who keeps to himself, minds his own business, and is too Christian to be unselfish. All these -- and even the pious lady who attends daily Mass and evensong, and draws her dividends from goodness knows (but she doesn't know, nor care) where -- all these are disassociated personalities, and are not . . . on the road to salvation. (Here)

Role on 2008!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #9 THE LAST ONE

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
(Reading from Mass)

Finally the day has arrived – one sleep until Christmas!

But today, Noah (my boy) is not too flash.

He has had a funny tummy for a few days and today it has hit him hard.
He has spent most of the day on the couch.

But the festivities are for him too aren’t they?

They are for the entire world

For children and parents, for young and old.

For singles and families, old friends and strangers.

For followers, and those who struggle.

Especially those who are sick, tired, forgotten, lonely, small, broken, or outcast.

And since of all of us feel that way at least sometimes,
then tomorrows feast - Gods coming and dwelling ammong us - is more than ever for you and me!

Thanks for travelling with me these last few days.
I hope they have been of some help on your journey.

Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #8

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins’ . . . When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home and, though he had not had intercourse with her, she gave birth to a son; and he named him Jesus.
(Reading from Mass)

Two days to go!

Feeling the pressure yet?

Or are you ones of those ultra mega anally organized folk who had it all done by the end of November?

I think Joseph was one of those really organized ones too.
Especially with a wedding coming up.

Family and Friends invited? Check Synagogue booked? Check.
Met with Rabbi? Check.

Then a rocket to send him reeling out of this illusion of control.

Mary, by all accounts a godly girl, is pregnant.
Completely against the social standards of the time and, no doubt, Joseph’s wishes.

But God yet again turns human values on their head.
Joseph is instructed to act with compassion and love, not by law or worldly wisdom.

His friends probably saw him as stupid or at least misguided.
After all, how can you trust a girl “like that”?

And even then - could one bloke honestly tell another he had been visited by an Angel and expect to be taken seriously. . . ?

I think I’m liking Joseph more and more.

Wants to do the right thing AND listens to God.

Acts with loves and talks only a bit. (Maybe I’m reading into this a bit!)

Seems like the kind of Guy to make up his mind, stick to his guns, and just get on with the task at hand.

I could use a bit of that I think - Bit more stoic and less flighty.

And I could definitely talk less!

Anyway that’s it for today. Last one tomorrow.

See ya

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #7

Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy – according to the promise he made to our ancestors –of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
(Reading from Mass)

I love a good sing! And when I spend time with my friends the monks, this prayer is sung each evening at Vespers. Often it is sung in Latin.

But however it is recited, I have grown into the Magnificat – this song of praise of Mary.

Mary sees herself in God plan. God is working within history and time to bring in the Kingdom –a plan enacted through prophets and people back to time of Abraham.

I have grown into the Magnificat by beginning to see myself in Mary’s song.

I am the proud who needs to be shown Gods sovereignty.

I am the hungry who God has filled.

I am the one who has received God’s help and mercy.

But the Magnificat is also more than just Mary’s and my song.

It is also a challenge.

It challenges me to live in trust of Gods plan - to see myself in the line of Gods people through history, and as Mary does, to trust in Gods ultimate control.

It challenges me to work for Justice to bring in Gods kingdom through my actions, my prayer and my relationships

But most of all, at this time of year, I can join in Mary’s song, praising God for the birth of Jesus, and all of the hope, joy and new life that brings.

All of which is a good cure for grumpiness.

Travel safely friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #6

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you,
he will renew you by his love;
he will dance with shouts of joy for you
as on a day of festival.
Zephaniah 3:14 – 18
(Reading from Mass)

This is not a cop out!

God is in our midst.

That’s enough for me today.

Bit tired.

Hope you’re well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Magi Video

What I did yesterday video

Grumpy Advent Reflections #5

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her,
‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour.
Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus.
(Reading from Mass)

Here she comes . . .Mary!

Mary? Pretty hard to have the Christmas story without her.

Mary? The reason people most often gave me as to why I should NOT become a Catholic.

Mary? Do I really understand her, see behind the history, see the woman?

I chose to write about this today because Mary doesn’t have much of a place in my theology or my spirituality.

In Catholic tradition though Mary features fairly prominently – but Marian devotions (Eg the Rosary) have never done much for me.

I’m not anti or aggressive. More ambivalent.

After selecting the reading today, I dug out my commentary and tried to get in behind the text.

Nazareth was a town of about 150. Talk about small. Talk about insignificant.

Talk about an insignificant fifteen-year-old girl in an insignificant place being propelled into the big league of changing the world!

Mary then is the model believer who says “yes” to God, despite her circumstances and her physical/social/political position.

And (I love this bit) she is the beginning of the rogues gallery of believers, like sinners, women, little people, the outcasts, who no-one of that time would have considered suitable to respond to Gods revelation.

Perhaps then Mary can be become a starting point of inclusiveness for me.
If God can include Mary in his plan (and we rightly remember her for this) then maybe I can really believe that God can include me too – and those other who give me the whoops!

Hail Mary!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #4

Nothing grabbed me from the readings today.
But I read this :http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/reflection/
A Benedictine Monk who writes a daily reflection. Set me thinking

For me as a Christian the assurance that God cares for us, that life has meaning, all this is inseparable from belief in Christ. The basis for my hope and trust is what God has done through the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. I know that there are people who are hopeful, positive, able to face whatever life brings without that belief.

I wonder how you negotiate this time of year with those family and friends who are not “Christian” – even in a nominal sense?

I guess I am assuming that since you want to read this stuff that the Christian faith is relatively important to you!

It is very easy for me to set up a ghetto faith for most of my life - where for most of the time I don’t have to dialogue with people outside my belief system.

But when it comes to those closest to us, especially at big festivals like Christmas, the issue becomes more complex doesn’t it?
It can be harder to ignore the divide between those involved in the “religious activities”, and those who aren’t.

If we are going to celebrate with integrity then it requires us to know the “Whats” and “Whys”
and to be able to communicate with others if (and hopefully) when they ask.

The problem for me is that this can lead to “evangelism” in the traditional sense of
“we have the answers – come follow us and you’ll be right mate!” - which really doesn’t work for me.

At a deeper level, I have a lot of trouble believing in an “in/out” God who would co-create a life, a brain, a soul, a wondrous creature capable of incredible feats, only to say “There’s one way only to me”

Its not about my “doing” this work anyway.
It’s about God - God becoming fully human so we can know God better.

Does all of this wondering prevent me from being happy to talk about why Christmas is special
and from celebrating it with gusto (and the odd High Mass if I can get it?)

Of course not.

My part is to know myself, my tradition and be ready to listen and speak with love and honesty and openness.

Does it lead me to want to understand other peoples traditions and thinking and beliefs?

You bet.

And if God can become a baby so we can understand what its all about,
then I can lean to be quiet long enough to do the same to my fellow humans!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #3

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.
Philippians 4:4 - 5
(Reading from Vespers)


HA! So much for Grumpy reflections!
I’m supposed to be happy all the time? AND Tolerant?
WHAT THE ?!?!?!?!

Actually right now, Happiness and tolerance are easy.
Coralie has taken the kids to swimming lessons and all through the house is silence and peace . . .

More seriously, I often find myself getting grumpy at this time of year.
Maybe it’s the pace at which December accelerates.
Maybe it’s the shopping.
Maybe it’s just the end of the year.

Am I “Happy” at this time of year? Often not.
Do I need to be? What does “happiness” mean anyway?

The NRSV translates happiness into “Rejoice” and tolerance into “Gentleness”. I like it.

The NJB (often referred to as the One True Bible in our house…) translates happiness into “Joy” and tolerance into “Good sense” – Even better!

It is too easy for me to start feeling guilty about not being “happy” at this time of the year. But if I can be joyful, rejoicing, gentle or occasionally even show good sense, I can do these things even when I feel grumpy and exhausted.

However, I need to choose to.

It’s about being. Not doing.
Perhaps even about an action, not feeling.

I’ve always been someone who has to “act into” a new way of being.
Pretend to be something new while I work out if it’s me or not
Think in a new way until I see if it fits.

Perhaps if I did a bit of rejoicing, spread a bit of joy, and was gentler –
even if I didn’t feel like it - my grumpy December self might have less of a chance to get in.

Christmas is a time for all these things:
Rejoicing. Happiness. Tolerance. Good sense. Joy. Gentleness.

However we get there, I hope we all can feel at least some of them this year.

For these might just be the best gifts we can receive.
And they seem to be what God would like to give us!

Peace to you.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grumpy Advent Reflections #2

May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 - 24 (Reading from Vespers)

Preparation. Don’t you love it?!

Baked the Christmas cake yet?
Finished the shopping?
Got the cards out?
Cleaned the house/ bbq / kids/ Dog ?

Over the years I have heard a few homily’s about how preparing ourselves for Christmas is somehow like preparing for the birth of a new baby.

However for me, the only similarity is that no matter how much you are prepared, you really don’t know what you are getting yourself into and no matter how much you do it usually isn’t enough!!!

I know I can fall into the trap of seeing the preparations as the main event, and of putting my trust in “being organized” rather than allowing joy and love to unfold naturally and beautifully.

If the tree becomes more important than the children,
The meal more important than the guests
The present’s more important than love
Then I’ve really missed the point haven’t I?

In tonight’s Vespers reading, the writer asks that we might be prepared for the coming of the Lord in spirit, soul and body.

Not a bad wish for ourselves at this time of year is it?

Think I might take this challenge today. Do a quick stock take to see how I am going and look after my physical, spiritual and psychological self in these busy days.
Get enough sleep. Take a walk. Read a book. Talk with a friend.
Write an Advent reflection …

Its not avoiding what needs to be done, but finding balance within it so I can be present to those I love and the God whose coming we celebrate.

Worth a shot I think!

Grumpy Advent Reflections #1

Chris decided to write some Advent reflections for the week or so before Christmas, based on a Reading of the day from the office.

Here they come!!

‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see?
(Jesus was asking this to John’s disciples)

Christmas is 9 days away.

Now you’ve stopped hyperventilating, this is a challenge for us isn’t it?

The closer we get to the actual day, the busier we seem to become, the “magic” of Christmas just disappears, and celebration becomes a chore.

Often in the days just before Christmas, I find myself feeling flat and asking myself,
“What was I expecting anyway?”
“What do I hope to see?”

Fun?
Love?
Gifts?
Transformation?

Of course this question can come from many places:

Am I just too busy?
Am I fed up with all of the commercialism and wanting that seems to go with this time of year?
Do I allow moments for the divine mystery to touch me?

I remember being a kid and how Christmas was all lights and fun and magic and love and presents and joy.

I want that again.

So this year I am trying something new.
I am ignoring my usual big picture way of thinking and trying to see life in the small and insignificant moments:
A smile from a child when I’m out shopping.
The chance to sit and have a drink with friends.
Trying to cherish each and every card that I receive.
Making 5 minutes possible to sit still and wonder

If at Christmas I keep my eyes open and my heart loving, Jesus, vulnerable and needy, will appear, in each moment, event and interaction of the day.

If I forget my expectations, and allow moments to speak, then perhaps the “magic” of Christmas will return –deeper and richer than before, not from outside in lights and gifts and Santa, but inside with love and hope and thankfulness.

If I allow some moments for silence, then maybe the peace of a newborn sleeping, the peace of friends together, the peace of God with us, might just a little bit, touch me.

Seems I need some new expectations this Christmas.

Peace friends.
Chris

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nice weekend

Chris, Phil and Jason spent a great weekend, from Friday night to Sunday Lunch, with our brothers in New Norcia.


We spent our time eating, resting, going to the Liturgy of the Hours, raiding the monastic library and studying the rule of St Benedict.

Particularly this visit, we spent a a few hours with one of the monks discussing finding balance in our lives, focusing on who we truly are - not the image created by our profession.

We used an excellent resource designed by the Good Samaritan sisters for their oblates.

Thats all for now!

(The picture is Abhishiktananda, whose biography was being read in the refectory during our meals)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Movember!

In great aussie cricketing tradition, the Community gentleman will all be growing moustaches for Movember, an Australian started, now international, charity event raising funds for Prostate research and Men's mental health.

If you would like to sponser Matt, Jason, or Chris leave a comment or fire us an email and we can provide you with details.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Urgent Prayers

Community member Michelle was involved in a very nasty car accident on Monday evening.

She is home from hospital now, but please pray for her healing - physical and emotional.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

last night

Last night was good, fun, and deep.
A meal, a wine or three, a chat about how we were traveling, scripture, lots of laughing, lots of love.
Nice

PS. Chris, Coralie, Michelle, and Matt have joined the seemingly unstoppable snowball called facebook.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Monastic Solidarity















Monastic tradition in action . . .

October 7, 2007
To the Buddhist monks of Myanmar/Burma:

In these days when we are so aware of the suffering you have been enduring, we are writing to express our heartfelt solidarity and concern for you.

We are Christian monastic women and men who for many years have been regularly engaging in dialogue with our Buddhist brothers and sisters here in North America. We are inspired by your courage and dedication to nonviolent resistance in the face of brutal repression. Such engagement for the sake of the betterment of your people is a wonderful contemporary example of the Dharma.

Please be assured of our prayers during these trying times.

The Board of Directors of Monastic Interreligious Dialogue

Monastic Interreligious Dialogue is the North American branch of Dialogue Interreligieux Monastique/Monastic Interreligious Dialogue (DIM/MID). an international network of Benedictine and Cistercian monks founded in 1978 to promote interreligious dialogue, giving special attention to the dialogue of spiritual experience. The history and accomplishments of MID, as well as past and current Bulletins, can be found on the MID website: <http://www.monasticdialogue.org/>.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Heard this before?

What is it you want?
A church without mystery, stripped of ... learning, tolerance and dignity... ?
A church without humility in the face of the ineffable mystery and love of Almighty God?
Services with banal hymns, a debased liturgy
and the Eucharist conducted as if it were a parish bean feast?
A cool church for cool Britania?

(Father Sebastian to Archdeacon Crampton in Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James)

No!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's True

things are just easier when you pray,

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Brokenness

My new job is at a school with a 100 year history of education in the Edmund Rice/Mercy tradition.

I have three weeks this term with no teaching, so I have been using the web to get to know the spiritual traditions of the school.

These are some great links I found :

Sister of Mercy Australia

Edmund Rice Centre Mirrabooka

Edmund Rice Centre Fremantle

God bless the founders of these orders, and all those, clerical and lay, who continue their struggles to recoginze and care for the poor and outcast, and bring about a more inclusive society

Sunday, September 09, 2007

prayers

I start my new job tomorrow here.
So pray!

Whats going on?


I go on camp for a few days and when I come back Pavarotti and Madeleine L'Engle have both died.

No more camp for me!
(We are ALL well by the way - things are a little hectic in community life at present.)


Friday, August 17, 2007

Being a contemplative and ritual orientated group, I really enjoyed these stories of other groups practices and rituals from the Bede Griffiths Sanga newsletter. I would love to hear other stories of how you meet, live and celebrate the mystery together.


Shirley du Boulay wrote:
Our group is held at my flat, which is quite small so we cannot easily have more than eight people. Before they arrive I light a candle and some incense, switch off the telephone and put some music on. I leave the door on the latch so there is no need to ring the bell and people can arrive quietly to an atmosphere that is already peaceful. We try not to engage in conversation yet,though, as we have become good friends, this is sometimes hard!

At 5 o’clock one of us strikes a bell and we sing the Gayatri Mantra and settle down for 30 minutes meditation, each of us following our own practice. This is the heart of our meeting and themain reason why we are there together, but after the meditation we also read sacred texts such asthe Upanishads. At about 6.15 we stop talking and end with ten moreminutes of meditation, so that our discussion is framed by silence.


Thérèse O'Neill wrote:
We started getting together nearly five years ago, we are a small group, our numbers have fluctuated and there are now five of us; living in the country we are all rather far apart. We meet once a month at 12.30 and usually begin by celebrating a "Kiddush" (sharing bread and wine after the jewish tradition). It includes a reading (chosen by one of us in turn) and reflection on the text, and bidding prayers or intercessions. After the Kiddush we enjoy a meal and the opportunity for sharing our problems, joys, family events or "putting the world
to right". We end with a period of silence and meditation.

Once during the summer, we have a picnic outside an old and beautiful small church, an idyllic setting, and this has become a sort of tradition!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

Experiences of Church and Worship

I keep updating this - so its worth a look at the latest entries at the bottom ...

Every Friday the community play a game. I send out a Friday Question on the email - which is sometimes silly, sometimes political, sometimes spiritual. Our friends and families play along too.
Today's question was:

What is the most profound experience of "church" (Whatever that means these days...) that you have ever had?

These were some of the responses:

It would have to be the first time I went to the Easter service in New Norcia. That was a great experience! Even the drive to Seabird and the Lectio on the beach in the sand dunes...also the walks through the scrub with Dom John and the boys.
- Jason

One of the fondest is the our homegroup doing a bible study one night in 30+ degree heat, with out legs dangling in the pool. And about a year later two of the group being baptised there.
- Phil


Probably Easter, Good Friday. Very goosebumpy. Sometimes during a song at church I'll get the same feeling. Sometimes during the prayers too.
-Coralie


Same as Jason for me - especially when I was confirmed and received into the Roman Church. If I had to pick another, there were some moments when we did the early Dom John retreats in his little prayer room that were spine tingling - the Lectio, the Taize, the silence, the candles, the wooden cross onthe floor, the falling apart room...
- Chris

"Life in the Spirit" Seminars held at St. George's Reservoir many many years ago, but I'll never forget the experience, nor the lessons of God's great gift and love for us, learned at that time. My first experience of a New Norcia Easter comes close, too.
- Hilary

For some reason I think of an easter communion time west of Bourke in NSW around a big gidgee wood bonfire on a red dirt plane. Cold as.... clear early morning sky and as the Sun rose the full moon set ... 70% of God's communication, like ours, is non verbal.
- Mal

One of my most profound experiences came totally by surprise. I was running late to pop in on a workmate's wedding at the St Hilda's chapel. Very posh and I really popped in out of a feeling of duty to be honest. As I sat down right at the back someone got up to read 1 Cor 13 (the love passage) and I thought "oh this AGAIN" - you know, because you hear it so often at weddings. Anyway somehow I either REALLY listening or God REALLY turned up the volume because I heard it properly for the first time, and well, it is so utterly magnificent and I just wept. And really really felt my unlovingness but was so thrilled by God's amazing love for us. As if that wasn't emotional enough the reading was followed by a superb boy soprano, one of the teacher's (she was getting married) students. So more Kleenex. Sigh.
- Sally

Liturgical Common Sense

In the midst of all the liturgical talk from Rome thse days comes some common sense from an Australian Source.

Elizabeth Harrington writes an excellent article here about how to interpret Liturgical documents in these times of much pain and confusion.
I especially like this bit:

The way that some people use these documents to attack others causes me great concern.

“Love one another as I have loved you”... if we’re not prepared to act by this commandment, what good will all the liturgical laws in the world do us.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hmmm

Ever get tired of being grown up?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Another Universe?

Last night watching Dr Who I had a thought about the church.


Maybe the church runs at two levels.
The established church of formality, programmes and professional clergy and a broad underground church of grassroots community care love and transformation. I am pretty sure our little community walks a line between the two.

How I got this out of watching the Dr fight against the Daleks I don't know!

But browsing the net this morning I came across this great book
"Radical Compassion: Finding Christ in the Heart of the Poor" which seemed to give more credence to my thinking.

This would seem to be an issue across denominations and theological viewpoints.

The big questions are:
Does it matter?
Where do we fit? and
If we are wanting to live on the edges of church life, what are we doing about it?

Still thinking about answers to this one.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Benedicitine Vows

Fr Dwight Longenecker writes a cool little series here.
http://gkupsidedown.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Benedictine%20Way

Kids in Church

As a community, we have changed from having couples and singles to now also having children from 7 years old and downwards with us.

A question we have discussed is "How do we best meet their needs as part of our community?"

I think we have taken a very Benedictine route, by incorporating them into our prayer and community life so that there is no adults vs children's meeting, but merely families and singles meeting, eating, praying and travelling together. We learn and teach faith by participation, discussing, rite, routine, observation, practice and love.

I hope that as they get older, the unique relationships which my children will form in our community will help them to travel along life's journey with some additional security and more wisdom than just mum and dad's.

Interestingly, Andrew Hamilton and Alan Creech have also written about raising children in the faith at their sites. Check 'em out here

http://www.backyardmissionary.com/2007/07/but-what-about-your-kids.html

http://www.backyardmissionary.com/2007/07/but-what-about-your-kids-ii.html

http://www.backyardmissionary.com/2007/07/if-you-dont-believe-me-then-listen-to-an-expert.html

http://www.alancreech.com/2007/07/train-up-child.html

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

More blooging

by Chris here.
(Although of an arty farty nature...)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Linkage

Chris has written some birthday and music refelctions here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

An Anglican View of the Motu Proprio

Good little Article here - worth checking out.
A few great remarks, many of which echo my own beginning and unformed thoughts on the subject.

"In an increasingly secular would, there is a drastic need to rediscover a sense of the numinous, an echo of the power of the wind which blew over the waters at the beginning of time."

"What I am suggesting is that HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEAM, this IS my body, is a real and true statement, as we Catholics in the CofE believe, and therefore what we have is the life of the world as the centre of our lives, so we need to find a way to celebrate that."

"The Motu Proprio is, in essence, about tolerance and sharing the central truth of the resurrection with as many people as possible, in a way which brings them close to the Wellspring of Truth."

"The Mass is the Mass is the Mass, whether Book of Common Prayer, Common Worship, Novus Ordo, English Missal, the focus is Christ. We know this, because we have seen,like Thomas. Let us show our unity in diversity of expressions of Faith, but let the Christ be evident in our actions and in our worship and in our lives - and stop bickering about stylistics! "

Happy St. Benedicts Day

Happy St. Benedict's Day!


It is a day of celebration in monastic circles, with whiskey, ice cream and chocolate been the order of the day at my favourite monastery!

What does St Benedict, and the order he inspired, mean to me, and us, as a community?

Primarily, for me, it gives us the outline for living the Christian life. In a world which shouts persistently to "do it my way", St Benedict's words speak clearly and persistently - with a lot of common sense.

Listen. Pray. Listen. Work. Listen. Sleep. Listen. Study. Listen. Eat. Listen. Drink. Listen. Speak. Listen. Be silent.

Secondly, it gives me tools for exploring the mystery of God.
The office and liturgy. Being Humble. Lectio Divina. Spiritual Direction. Living in community with all the hard work that entails. Centuries of thinking, delving, reading and writing into the reality of God.

Lastly, St Benedict connects us to a world wide community of people who are seeking after God. My relationship with the monks, and what they have taught me, is strengthened by meeting and talking with people of like mind. Being present at a monastery has introduced me to a world of authors and thinkers previously unknown.

It is Christianity which is deep, and relevant, and fun.

I wonder if Alan, NWC, Dom John or Bryan have anything to say on the matter?

God bless you!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Thoughts in the quiet

Hello friends!

Still here, but insane times of manic buisiness with the end of term upon us all.
I've also been busy applying for a new Job as a campus minister at a local Roman Catholic school, so prayers would be appreciated!

Links for today

Anglo-Catholic Socialism an awesome resource of links and articles from the Anglican left.

If anyone knows of similar groups operating out of the Catholic Left, could you let us know?

Pax Christi the international Catholic peace organization

St Benedicts table a groovy church from somewhere in Canada (Thanks AH!) .... Great name!

and the of course the Pope has let the Latin Mass be used a bit more.
Not sure what I think about this

Bless you!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Spirituality and Pastoral Care

I have just finished reading this excellent book. I know it was excellent because apart from making me critique my inner life, it made we want to research and read about other writers, prayers and places mentioned in the book. If you've read Kenneth Leech before, you know that he is an incredibly sane and well educated voice on the social justice and spirituality junction point. If you haven't read anything by Ken, do yourself a favour and seek out his works. Enough review. A few short quotes which captured me:

Prayer and meditation ... are not some species of personal hygiene by which individuals isolate themselves from anything that might ruffle the still waters of their inner tranquility. It involves undertaking that inner struggle which is our personal share of the search for the wholeness in its corporate living by the community at large.

Much contemporary spirituality is non-biblical, and it is important to read- the Scriptures in an attitude of silence and struggle. Struggle: so that the Word of contradiction, the Word which is sharper than a two edged sword, may cut through the illusion, the falsehood, the idolatry of our culture and ourselves. Silence: so that we may taste the Word,
digest it, absorb it until it becomes part of our being and transforms us.

Sleep and Prayer are closely realted.
Both call for slowing down, a relaxed conditon, an abandonment to trust.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Tree of Contemplative Practices


I thought this was kinda cool. You can check out the site it came from by clicking the post title. (Click on Pictures for a larger view!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whats your Theological World View?

You scored as Roman Catholic, You are Roman Catholic. Church tradition and ecclesial authority are hugely important, and the most important part of worship for you is mass. As the Mother of God, Mary is important in your theology, and as the communion of saints includes the living and the dead, you can also ask the saints to intercede for you.

Roman Catholic

96%

Emergent/Postmodern

71%

Neo orthodox

68%

Classical Liberal

54%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

50%

Modern Liberal

39%

Reformed Evangelical

29%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

11%

Fundamentalist

11%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com


Catholic then Emergent! Sounds Like me, er, us!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

After Mass

Feast of Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) today.

Simple, beautiful High Mass (as in with incense, procession, organ and cantor, sung responses) with a great homily from Abbot Bernard, linking all the readings with the contemporary celebration of the Eucharist.

Much reading and borrowing books about the Jesus Prayer/Prayer of the Heart. I have found it welling up in me lately, and almost praying itself. So I need to understand what is happening.

Blessings and Love

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New Norcia Round Up

Very quiet here in the Monastery.

We came up at short notice and the guesthouse was full for Saturday night but having being fairly regular visitors here the Prior gave us "The Deluxe Rooms!" (as he called them) - the Bishops rooms.
Lovely large spaces with an en suite and shutters overlooking the enclosure, which was covered with mist this morning.
Talk about being spoilt!!

Apart from the retreat group (who aren't coming to the office or eating in the Ref.) there are only five monks, two observers and my friend and I here.
Liturgy in this setting is intimate, gentle and kind.
Exactly what my friend needs and not bad for me either....

I've raided the Library, being for a walk with my friend Dom John, prayed lots and just about finished my reports.

More in the morning.

Friday, June 08, 2007

A Quick Round Up

Not much on the site at the moment but lots happening...

I am applying to Study my MATS degree (Master of Arts in Theological Studies) here - with a double major in Pastoral Theology and Monastic Spirituality.


Earlier this week I spent two days with brain guru John Joseph. If you have kids, check out his site. If you teach, check out his site. If you want to live smarter and deeper, check out ... you get the idea!

On the second day we heard from local mega church pastor Phil Baker (hmmmm) who was OK, and then an integrated health expert, Ian Wee. As above, check out his stuff as it is life changing.

Finally I have been ploughing my way through "Mary for Evangelicals" which is an excellent introduction to Mariology and the history of Marian thought from scripture through patristic writers up to later Vatican pronouncements.


and tonight I am off to visit the Monks in New Norcia with a friend who is having a difficult time of late.


Pray for us.


Hope all is well in your worlds.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Still Alive and Kicking

We are still alive and kicking!

Congrats to Matt and Linda on the birth of there baby boy Levi - born this afternoon after 20 hours of trying!
4.5 kg and lots of hair!
Mum and son doing excendingly well!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Nice Story

A story of a conversion to Catholicism is by Alec Guinness, known to most of us as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the mega-hit Star Wars. While acting the role of a priest in Father Brown in Burgundy, France, he tells the story of a late-evening shoot that attracted a fair number of local folk, including children. In his autobiography he writes:

A room had been put at my disposal in the little station hotel three kilometres away. By the time dusk fell I was bored and, dressed in my priestly black, I climbed the gritty winding road to the village.

In the square children were squealing, having mock battles with sticks for swords and dustbin lids for shields; and in a café Peter Finch, Bernard Lee and Robert Hamer were sampling their first Pernod of the evening. I joined them for a modest Kir, then discovering I wouldn’t be needed for at least four hours turned back towards the station.

By now it was dark. I hadn’t gone far when I heard scampering footsteps and a piping voice calling, “Mon père!” My hand was seized by a boy of seven or eight, who clutched it tightly, swung it and kept up a non-stop prattle. He was full of excitement, hops, skips and jumps, but never let go of me. I didn’t dare speak in case my excruciating French should scare him. Although I was a total stranger he obviously took me for a priest and so to be trusted.

Suddenly with a “Bonsoir, mon père,” and a hurried sideways sort of bow, he disappeared through a hole in a hedge. He had had a happy, reassuring walk home, and I was left with an odd calm sense of elation.


Continuing my walk I reflected that a Church which could inspire such confidence in a child, making its priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable could not be as scheming and creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, longabsorbed prejudices.


From a link here

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I quite like this...

The rosary becomes a bond between heaven and earth.

One learns to see earth with the eyes of heaven, and heaven seems as near as earth.

The Mother of god prevents one from looking at one's whole life as a failure,

from grieving over the mistakes made,

the opportunities missed

the things not accomplished.

Adrienne Von Speyr.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Singing, Liturgy, Worship and Feelings

Great discussion on the way home in the car today from the Anglican Church where my wife works.

I commented (in a stirring sort of way!) that I didn't enjoy singing three songs at the start of church, and wondered why we needed to do it. Our travelling companion Michelle said she found it helpful to sing for an extended period as a way of settling into worship.

I retorted that if we followed the liturgy, which is not often followed in its completeness at this particular church, the opening rites of hymn, greeting, confession, and collect lead us into worship better than three songs.

Michelle quite rightly shot back that she felt that different ways appealed to different people, and that Church should be able to accommodate this.

To which I replied, we put aside the Liturgy of the Church, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, at our peril, especially if it just to include 15 minutes of singing at the start of the Liturgy.

Two different approaches, two different answers.

What you think? Can the two co-exist?

I enjoyed these comments on Elizaphanian on "Why Liturgy?" which seemed to reinforce MY position!!!! (I've edited it a bit, so check out the post for the whole thing...)

Why liturgy?

So that I can learn how to speak; and pray; and praise.

So that I can be taught the truth.

So that I can be shaped by the church; so that I can be made into a disciple.

So that the centre of gravity does not lie in my own feelings and vocabulary but in the expression of the church.It is not important how I feel when I say 'Glory be to the Father...'; nor is it important how wholeheartedly I believe what I say. It is a question of obedience - feelings and thought will ebb and flow in my life, but the persistence of discipleship is primarily manifested through obedience.

The point is to maintain the faith and trust in the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud, whether it is day or night within me.

Liturgy assumes
a) that I don't yet know all that I need to know about Christianity,

and b) that the church has learnt some of what it needs to know about Christianity.

Liturgy is how that learning is passed on, and developed.

Liturgy is a whole body activity; when done correctly, liturgy is also an ecstatic, out-of-body activity.

There is no greater tyranny than the tyranny of choice.

I need to fall in with something that is more important than my own perspectives, within which I can find myself.

Liturgy is the spacious room in which the Lord has set my feet.

Liturgy is mystery.

Becoming Catholic causes BIG trouble...

Apparently, the head of the Evangelical Theological Society, Dr. Francis Beckwith, has re-entered the Roman Catholic Church, in which he was raised as a child.
You can read the story here at his website. I wish him well.

As you can imagine, the members of the ETS are NOT pleased.
James White posted his reactions here.
Hmmm.

Apparently everyone seems to have forgotten Jesus' injunction to "love one another".

Some good blogging opinions here and here.

I am very aware that in posting this sort of thing I will just stir the pot more, but I truly believe events like this are a wake up for ALL Christians to be vigilant to pray for unity, and for love and respect between denominations of Christians to be on all of our agendas.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Odds and Ends

Into Great Silence start here in Perth on May 17th.
You can be sure we will all be going along to Cinema Paradiso to see it!

I have really been enjoying the writing at Hypersync.
Anglocatholic, thinking, concerned and relevant.

I have been reading lots of sites about the Book of Common Prayer, especially the 1928 edition.
I am also experimenting with praying Morning and Evening Prayer using these offices - but they sure are longer than the Roman ones..!
Tracing the journey of John Henry Cardinal Newman, I have been wondering what would happen to me if I prayed in some of that language for a while, and perhaps even read the same readings he did on the same day...
This is a work still in progress, but I am intrigued as to what exposing myself to Elizabethan English daily over a long period of time will do my thinking, praying and being...
Some great BCP sites here, here and here.

Oh, and according to one community member, there are no knobs in the Book of Common Prayer...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hmmm

Apparently, Someone was going to post about the language of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Hospitality

I have been reading "Radical Hospitality: Benedict's way of love" since I got back from the Abbey.

It is a relaxed and chatty book, two authors writing their shared story, as well as their own monastic and lay experience of living out a spirit of hospitality. A great example:

"When we create a life surrounded by people exactly like us, it is a very narrow life. We will not be challenged by such a life ... letting ourselves believe that our experience constitutes normality and that other ways of life (and I add, belief) are abnormal, is both delusional and dangerous"

I love the idea of hospitality. It is easy to open my door to the people on our street, the community, to family. To people I agree with. But to those with whom I disagree? To those who make me uncomfortable? Where do I draw the line?

The Benedictine way is to welcome the stranger, the other, and to care for them as if you are seeing Christ in them, which of course, if we look the right way, we are. By meeting their needs, making them comfortable, feeding them, speaking kind words, we show hospitality, and love.
We need not go out of our way to find the stranger, the other. Our lives throw up opportunities for care every day. Our spouse. Our children. Our neighbour. The postman. All can be welcomed in their way as Christ.

But what a Challenge!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Overheard Yesterday...

An older lady to a young inquirer..

"Are you going to be a nobbit in the munkery?"

Maybe she meant hobbit?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A word with the Abbot

This afternoon with the Abbot...

A good shooting the breeze conversation about Catholic Traditionalists, Jon Sobrino, raising children, Olivetan Benedictines, my dad, praying when you feel disconnected etc

You know, a good ole yarn which is great for the soul.

Actually, I think this was perfect spiritual direction today. Just being. No Agenda. Hanging out.

Cool.

This morning

Up at 5 for Vigils, rudely awakened by by alarm.

Breakfast, Lauds, Mass and then a few hours of good reading and writing, puntuated by a mid morning nap.

Off to Sext now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reading afternoon

First, Humility Matters by Meg Funk

then another chapter of Oxford Apostles ( A Book form the 1930's trying to psychoanalyse the Tractarian movement)

and now some Lectio on Ecclesiastes..

At the Abbey

Off at New Norcia for a few days time out.

A note from the abbot, lovely quiet novice room, fabulous fish lunch and the throwing out of my readng plans and agenda.

Seems God wants me just to rest a while.

Pax,

Chris

Monday, April 16, 2007

We all belong together

Antony has been reading and commenting on the Charles de Foucauld posts, as has a lovely lady called Maria.

Interestingly, Antony quite rightly notes that Carlo Caretto is the foremost of writers/monks following on in the Foucauld tradition.

And in the 1970's Carretto got together with a young French Catholic priest to bring the desert to "the heart of the city" - it was Père Pierre-Marie Delfieux and the order which came for their thinking was Fraternité Monastique de Jérusalem - whom you know I love.

And the order based its structure on?
A modified Benedictine rule!

See how it all fits together!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

All Over the Place

In a physical sense we are all over the place this weekend and next week.

Coralie is off singing at the fairbridge folk festival this weekend, so I have taken my kids to visit my parents in the near by city of Mandurah.

Michelle has been working on Kids Camps.

On Monday, Coralie and kids drive four hours south to her parents in Augusta, and on Tuesday morning Chris goes to spend a few special days with the monks in New Norcia (Link on the left).

Pray for safe travel and arrival.

Meanwhile, for the rest of the community, children have to be cared for, babies are ready to be born, jobs and houses need attending to....

And more on Charles de Foucauld in the near future...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Day 3 with Charles de Foucauld

Evangelical preference for the poor

Let us not worry about those who want for nothing, those who people think of, let us worry and be concerned about those who lack everything, those nobody thinks of. Let us be the friends of those who have no friends. (Letter to Louis Massignon, April 1916)

How do I behave towards someone whose physical appearance put me off?

What sort of interest do I take in people in need of others ... the elderly, sick people, those with no fiends or acquaintances?

Who does this refer to in our society?

Who are the little, the poor, the disenfranchised?

Who misses out on goodness merely because of who they are, what they look like, where they live, their ethnic background?

My immediate reaction as a teacher, and parent, is children. Although in the West at least, children have never been more materially wealthy, the reverse is that they have never been lonelier nor more rejected. Homes packed with everything but love. Foods of every description available, but more obese and under nourished children than ever. Educational opportunities only dreamed of a century ago, yet dissatisfaction and anti-social behaviour continue to grow.

Loving children as the poor, really listening to them as little ones through whom God can speak, requires my openness and readiness to become little myself. Their openness to themselves can speak to me, casting aside my adult mask and sophistication. To listen to children is to bring in the kingdom of God, the place where real love and communication can take place, where openness and transparency can begin.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Day 2 with Charles de Foucauld

To be poor with Jesus

"Even if God desires us to remain rich, it is solely to allow us to become the treasurer of the poor, to live as one of the poor, and only to make use of our possessions in the service of souls and bodies"

What are the attachments that prevent me from allowing God to act in me?
Responding to the appeals of my brothers and sisters?
How do I imitate Jesus poor in my life?
What are my relationships with other people?

An at the keyboard meditation.

Oh dear, I can be a little hidden one, but today it is right "in the face" time.
Does what I/we own, what I fleetingly possess, bring me closer to God through it use, or drive me further away?
Is my/our life style cutting me off from others, or opening doors?

In our affluent west, these questions are of urgent importance.
What do I have to offer someone in Dafour, Iran, East Timor - apart from my gift of aid?
But is this too easy?
Send off some excess cash and feel better.

What about the poor and needy in my neighbourhood,or in my own family?
What about those in our affluent west who are spiritually poor?
How do I respond to these people?
Do my possessions, my lifestyle, hinder my connections, or the possibilities of contact?

Not much more than questions today, and a pricked conscience.
Allowing Jesus to act with my hands, my lips, my heart.
This requires some emptiness, some putting aside.

And all of this requires some thought and prayer.

Chris

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Day 1 with Charles de Foucauld

In the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth?

"We ought to work for the salvation of souls, go out and meet them, involve ourselves with them, live with them in familiar and close contact"
(Tamanrasset Notebooks, 1903)

How do I/We live in the imitation of Nazareth - in our family, in our work, in a non-Christian environment, in my behaviour?

I have always loved the days after Easter, and looking over the blog entries of the last few years, it has been a time for me to do a lot of reflecting on my own life, and our life as a community. This may be because it is holiday time here, or because usually we have been up at the monastery and I have come home with a slew of new books. But I suspect it is because, in the light of the Resurrection, I can see who I am, and how I am going, and head into that light, trusting and trying.

Our Nazareth is our daily life.
Our family. Our work. Shopping. Cooking. Washing. Consuming. Struggling with prayer. Paying bills. Normal stuff for normal folks. The Scriptures of Jesus' life in Nazareth point to the same reality - Visiting family, Travelling to the temple, reading and learning, fishing and probably working with dad in the tool shed.

Yet this simple, hidden family life becomes the building block for a universe changing kairos event - God entering our world and transforming it in this seemingly ordinary and quiet man.

My Nazareth experience needs to be to be a normal, little one, a hidden one of God.
"Taking the humblest place" St Benedict would call it.

Not seeking attention, but paying attention.
Not talking on endlessly about God, but listening to him in silence, in scripture, in Liturgy, and in others.
Caring for my family and things as gifts.
Not killing myself in pursuit of "vain and empty things".
being able to say know.
Loving those who cross my path.
Being happy with what is.

Working in the Arts does not always make this easy -as we pursue individuality instead of anonymity, seek to make OUR contribution or make OUR statement.

But for us to be fully human, we need moments of self negation, of renunciation and above all, of simplicity, to keep us centered with each other. And as St Benedict shows us, and Br Charles echoes, we do this is our ordinary life, day by day.

That will be our Nazareth.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Living Easter Joy


Lent is over and Easter Joy has begun!

How to enter into this joy?

How to bring this joy to those around us?
My reading of the Jerusalem Communities (See the links all through this site) and the communities who follow the work Charles de Foucauld has awakened my spiritual senses, to think again why we as a community follow Christ in this way.

We meet together because we know that we find Christ in each other, in joining in simply being with each other, sharing the journey, encouraging, crying, rejoicing, living the mystery day by day.

We pray together with ancient words and rites, connecting to the generations of Christians before us. We strive to make our prayer silent, simple and beautiful, as silence, simplicity and beauty can evangelize and bring others, as well as ourselves, into God's presence.

We reach out to others by sharing their journeys with love.
What will happen, will happen in God's own time.
We simple speak of Christ with love and respect and openness.
Over these Easter weeks, I am going to be reading and studying a reading paper produced by the Lay Fraternities of Charles de Foucauld. Feel free to enter into dialogue with me/us about it!
Blessings

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter

Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever
(From the Te Deum)

Happy Easter to all our friends and visitors from all of the community.
May the light of the Risen Christ be with truly with you this Easter season.

Today we celebrated a lovely picnic in Kings Park with extended family and friends.

And you know we love them!
The Jerusalem Communities have a lovely Icon mediation in French here - but it is worth watching just to get to the lovely hymn at the end.

Blessings rich and abundant to you all.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear...


From Vigils.

I feel very alone today. Spiritually, emotionally, liturgically.

Ready for resurrection.



Thursday, April 05, 2007

Maundy Thursday

Did you know what "Maundy" meant?

As I cruised around this afternoon I came across this definition:

The Holy Thursday liturgy, celebrated in the evening because Passover began at sundown, shows both the worth God ascribes to the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water (a symbol of baptism) in the Mandatum, or washing in Jesus' washing the feet of His disciples, and in the priest's stripping and washing of the altar.

Cleansing, in fact, gave this day of Holy Week the name Maundy Thursday.

Deep within us all is the desire to be cleansed, to be washed and restored.
To be made new.
This is a major theme of the action on the cross - Jesus, as the saying goes, "Washes us whiter than snow" (Or as "white as the inside of a coconut" - but that's a long story...).

I need these three days to be cleansed, to be washed, to experience, through the power of liturgy, word and sacrament, the power of Jesus in the mystery of his death, and resurrection.

God Bless you.

Have you downloaded a Holy Week Background yet from the Jerusalem Communities?
Go on - You know you should!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Passover communion and us

Today I celebrate passover twice:

Once with my children at school - as a teaching tool about the last supper, and a way into beginning the great three days.

And tonight with the community gathered, we celebrate a more detailed ritual, with our children, a lamb roast, and at least four glasses of wine...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tuesday of Holy Week

The apparent failure of Jesus, this seeming end, brings me to my own failures, my own hurts, my own struggles, and to cry "Into your hands, I commit my spirit".

Faced with my own littleness, I see the littleness and longing in others.
I become the excluded one. The disenfranchised one. The outsider.
I see how much I don't belong.

After the cross, no longer is there in or out.

Merely our vocation to be fully human, through our littleness and weakness, with the whole world, living out of love for Christ.

The passion of Christ forces me to see humanity, the whole of creation, with new eyes.

When he was placed on the level of evil-doers, definitively excluded on pain of death, I was also there, watching from afar. Who was still thinking of the Kingdom on that day? He was erased from the list of the living:
"Not my will, but yours be done. Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. Why have you abandoned me?"
But another excluded person who still believed in it, gave the only word of consolation,"Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom". (Here)



Jerusalem Communities have some lovely screen backgrounds available for holy week
(One for each important day) here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday of Holy Week

Holy week, culimnating in our Lord's passion, is a chance for me to experience my own littleness, my own weakness and powerlessness.

We desire to share the life of the poor, the little ones, to be with them as 'one of them', not first of all in order to help them out, but because Jesus was poor, because littleness is the condition to know Jesus (Here).

Pray for us.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Sharing in God's preference for the little ones

If you read this blog regularly you might notice our slightly split personality.

On the one half, very monastic. valuing silence and liturgy, valuing times apart and a contemplative sense, as well as community life.

But there is another side, and it is not the dark side!
Our other side is being close to our suburban communities, our neighbours and, as they cross our path, the stranger.

Bringing Christ to them is the other half of our community life. By our sharing of their life, joys and struggles, and when the moment arrives, to discuss the Love of God, without pressure or fear.

The last post focused on the monastic tradition, new and old, and people who draw great riches from it.

I thought it may be good to also list some of the other ideas which have influenced us/me in gentle ways as we seek to be authentically Christ like.

The Jerusalem Communities live in inner city rental accomodation, work part time, and bring contmeplative space to the urban sprawl.

French Worker Priests (three links there!) were an awesome experiment which should have probably continued...

The communities inspired by Charles de Foucauld spend life with the poor and in contemplation. Their approach of spending an hour before the blessed sacrament, or an icon, is a key element of their spirituality. I have been beginning to pray this way for a while.

Hope you find all of this interesting!

In the diverse ways of life ... BEING WITH may become a simple presence, among people who surround us, commitment to the liberation of humanity and/or the proclamation of the Word of God.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Neo Monastic emerging bloggerama

Over at Prodigal Kiwis they're doing a link fest to emerging/ missional bloggers who may have shot under the radar. I thought it would be cool to do the same with the neo monastic communities groups and individuals, but also including some interesting links to articles etc.

To participate, copy this list into a new post on your own blog, and add the names you have to the bottom of the list, and encourage others to do the same.

When you’ve done that, leave a comment here so I can keep track of who ends up participating.


As you can see I am desperately out of the loop!

Chris

Coming to the Quiet
Bryan Sherwood
ThPM
Alan Creech
Christianity Today The New Monasticism
Houston Catholic The New Lay Monasticism!
The New Lay Monasticism
Fides Quaerens Intellectum, Credo Ut Intellegam

Favourite Monastic Sites
Community of Sant'Egidio
Elm Grove Community
Jerusalem Communities
The Grandchamps Community
Brothers and Sisters of Saint John.
Taize
Beatitudes Community

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Helpful?

The Latin Theology likes to put everything in its proper place and keep it there. It touches nothing that it does not petrify. It is forever distinguishing, isolating, antagonizing what are really complementary. It must have things fixed and settled for good - - else it feels that all is confusion and uncertainty. It holds to Tradition - - which is the Inspiration of the past, handed on - - in such a way that it cannot recognize Inspiration in the present. Growth is alien to its spirit; every change seems a disturbance; every movement of new life an evil wrecking of a comfortable and settled balance, or an intrusion of a hostile force.

Gilbert Binyon in The Christian Socialist Movement in England

Ten Years

Me and the missus have been married ten years today!

You can check out her very un -up -to-date blog here.

I'll write about us over at afternoons soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Last post...

No this is not the last one!

The Litugy Wars post has caused some to defend their position quite strongly so comments moderation is on.

It has all made me a little sad that Christians are getting stuck into each other over this stuff, which to my mind seems a lot less important than trying to follow Jesus...

More later as I am feeling abit down about alot today.

C

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Liturgy Wars

With the release of Pope Benedict's Apostolic Exhortation " Sacramentum Caritatis" (sacrament of charity) this week, the blog debate has been absolutely full on. I may be new to this, but the vitriol on both sides of the debate is incredible - especially in a church where we should be able to be truly "Catholic" and have reasoned discussion without constantly criticizing each other meaninglessly and questioning the "validity"of whatever rite, ritual or service we are discussing. And of course, I have probably just identified myself as a raving liberal (which I'm not) and half of the people I am about to link to, and/or discuss, will ignore me ( which is too bad really...)

The argument seems to go like this. Since Vatican II, Liturgy has fallen into a woeful state - mainly because of secular liberalism and other such nasties creeping into how priests and liturgists approach the liturgy. Everything has gone wrong - not enough silence ( I agree) , Bad Music (I am still agreeing), Clergy not sticking to the rite down to the letter of the law (Sometimes good, usually bland), Liturgical Dance (Never seen it done well, but heard about a ballerina who blew peoples minds as an after communion reflection), using glass eucharistic vessels (seem to be missing the point with this one...) - and so the list of supposed, and real, atrocities, continues.

The solution offered by many is simple. Back to the Tridentine rite. Only "Classical" music (especially chant). Use Latin more often (if not all the time). Celebrate the Eucharist with the Priests back facing the people. Its out with the "Community" approach to Liturgy and in with an older "God-ward one" (Personally I think we can have both). Punish those who don't think or do like we do, who ignore the rubrics of the rite, especially because obviously we are the holders of the truth...

True and ... Not true. I became a Catholic because of my experience with the New rite. Not the Tridentine. I have heard truly bad "classical " music at a mass which left me angry and shaken, and been lifted by a simple folk trio who performed with love, skill and reverence. I have yet to hear consistently good homilies anywhere. And I can't imagine trying to take a 5 and 7 year old to a Latin Mass...

So the truth continues to be that we can exist with a multitude of practices, but that all of us should be willing to try and improve our celebrations. And Sacramentum Caritatis gives good guidance in that respect.

I love what Amy Welborn wrote about it "There's a sense in which we are being asked to think about these things at a different level, to focus on the central doctrines, and most especially on the Person at the center of it all." So true - and necessary.

My main concern is how the two sides don't seem to able to communicate without really digging the knife in - not that I don't agree with some of what they say (on both sides), just how upset and angry they seem to get with each other, and then do a blanket exclusion of "Them and their kind"

Check out some of these and let me know what you think.

http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/

http://closedcafeteria.blogspot.com/2007/03/fr-rohrs-approximation-of-mass-at-re.html

http://paramedicgoldengirl.blogspot.com/2007/03/from-mail-mahony-conference.html

http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2007/03/emphasis-on-personality.html

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Our Friend, Mike Done

Mike Done, legendery local music artist (he once sang with Chris De Burgh!) is running three websites at the moment

Michael Done's Extremely Creatively Named Blog

"Snoggie the Snail & Jesus" - A Slow Moving Story

and

"The Five Dangerous Graces"

Especially check out this last one for Mikes spiritual journey.

Thanks for sharing Mike!