The crib grows every year!

christmas 2007 crib john baptist
The Baptism of the Lord - John the Baptist on the river Jordon
With Joshua crossing the Jordan on the right and the dancers at the wedding of Cana behind him.

christmas 2007 crib elijah

 Elijah - Old Testament type of John the Baptist, here seen being taken up into heaven on a fiery chariot and leaving his cloak to Elisha.
 On the next platform is Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise, with below them the Old Testament Trinity. Below Elijah is Solomon and the Queen of Sheba

Advent 2007

advent 2007 our lady of the front door

Mair Mam Duw
Mary Mother of God
Waiting under the porch to welcome visitors

1st December 2007

1 dec 2007 our Lord J
Or part of it!

Reader 1 Welcome! Blessed be the hour! It is the eve of the first Sunday of Advent. We have come together to celebrate time. That is why we bless this evergreen wreath with its four candles, so that we can count the time to Christmas and, symbolically, so that we can remind ourselves that time is just that - temporal; it will come to an end.

If you concentrate and listen now you will hear the clock ticking in our choir (pause). Time is passing, and one day it will end: in glory and life - real life - will begin when time will stop pushing us around!

Reader 2 On the front gate it says ‘Poor Clare Colettines! Some of you come here for the feast of St Colette. St Colette was very much concerned with time and absolutely possessed by life. her motto was : ‘My sisters remember death. You cannot remember death if you are not alive! And you cannot live on this earth without time. And time has no meaning without eternity.

Colette wrote the prayer Blessed be the hour, that you have read in your program. This is how she came to do so.

Narrator Colette was a hermit to whom God gave a vision of the huge waste of human energy in war, greed and exploitation; in brutality, manipulation and broken relationships at every level of society. She saw her world; the 14th century of the hundred years war, the Avignon papacy, serfdom and the sale of men and states. But misery is the same in every age. It is always rooted in turning from the challenge of happiness and love that God offers us freely, to the the world of buying, possessing and defending our false illusions. It is turning from the civilisation of life to the culture of death.

To the 23 year old who saw all this, God did not say ‘start a revolution’ or ‘begin a war with a more worthy objective’. He said: go and reform the Franciscan Order - Go and reform the Poor Clares; remodel them on the Good news. And she did! Never think that one person can make no difference - or he might call you to do what Colette did!

It is near Christmas in one of the Poor Clare communities that Colette founded. There is a wall round the monastery and the the city. Outside the wall is a Burgundian army - the same army that sold Colette’s friend and contemporary, Joan of Arc, to the English. Colette has no side, she has founded monasteries in all camps. The defenders on the walls are alert for any movement out on the plain of Moulins and wary of any treacherous sign from inside.

That Poor Clare Colettines get up to pray in the middle of the night, is well known. They are better known for falling asleep at the wrong time than waking up to soon! But it does happen. What has woken the sister whose duty it is to ring the bell is hard to say, but convinced that she has overslept she runs down to the church without looking at a single clock and starts ringing the great bell (bell rung fervently) Unfortunately, it is nine in the evening . Unfortunately, to the defenders on the wall this is not a joke. Soldiers with spears and naked swords in their hands are running, shouting, down to Colette’s Monastery. They think she is signalling to the enemy. They think the enemy will be pouring over the wall. Colette and the sisters come to the great Door Colette raises her hand, unavailingly, to explain. Then, suddenly all the bells in the city begin to chime the hour ....nine, ten eleven, twelve. It is midnight, the Midnight of Christ’s birth. Colette kneels and begins to pray. The sisters and the crowd repeat her prayer after her.

Blessed be the hour
in which our Lord Jesus Christ,
God and Man was born.

Blessed be the Holy Spirit
by whom he was conceived.

Blessed be the glorious Virgin Mary
of whom the Incarnate Word was born.
May the Lord hear our prayers
through the intercession
of the glorious Virgin Mary

and in memory
of that most sacred hour
in which the Incarnate Word was born,

That all our desires may be accomplished
for your glory and our salvation.
O good Jesus!
O Jesus our Redeemer,
do not abandon us as our sins deserve,
but hear our humble prayer
and grant what we ask
through the intercession
of the most blessed Virgin Mary
and for the glory of your Holy Name.

Reader 1 Blessed be the hour. The poet who wrote the second chapter of Genesis describes creation as a living thing

Reader 2 “These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up -- for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground, then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

Reader 1 In the beginning God created Time
and then he created Life

Reader 2 St Augustine said that, “The distinction between eternity and time is that without motion and change there is no time and in eternity there is no change.... Thus the world was not created in time but with time”.

Reader 1 Some sixteen hundred years later and, fortuitously, just 100 years ago, Einstein came to the same general conclusion. As he put it in his inimitable way: where v multiplied by t is the co-ordinate speed at co-ordinate time, t, and x, y and z are orthogonal spatial co-ordinates, Time, therefore, equals the sum of: the square root of 1, minus t, multiplied by v squared, divided by c squared, multiplied by d multiplied by t, which is the same as saying that time equals the sum of the square root of 1, minus 1 divided by c squared, multiplied by, dx divided by dt squared plus dy divided by dt squared plus dz divided by dt, squared, all multiplied by d multiplied by t. If you know what I mean.

Reader 1 (these were slide cues)
Time and life.
An hourglass galaxy
and the first two cells of the human mammal
The highly theoretical agglomeration of particles on earth’s orbit
and a three day old foetus

Blessed be the hour when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens
Blessed be the hour the first lichen adhered to the tepid rock crust
Blessed be the hour when life came into being
Blessed be the hour I was conceived
Blessed be the hour I was born

Reader 1 Blessed be the hour in which the Incarnate Word was born
What is the Incarnate Word?

Reader 2 “In the beginning was the Word.....and all things were made through him” (Jn1:1-3)
All things were made through Jesus, through the Word
Without Jesus, without the Word we wouldn’t even be here, neither would Mt Everest, orchids, sunny spells or plastic dustbin lids.

The world created through the Word “tells of the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1) .
We are part of that created world, not only that, we are made in the image and likens of God, we too “tell of the glory of God” by our sheer existence.

If you have a conversation through an interpreter, the interpreter illumines, makes clear what would otherwise be beyond your reach.
Jesus is our interpreter, through whom we are given the created world, which helps us to understand God more.
Through Jesus, the Word, we are given an invitation to enter into dialogue with God and creation.

This invitation reaches greater depths when Jesus, the Word, becomes human like us. .
Through Jesus Christ the person and his mission and life on earth God’s plan for his creation is revealed in a unique way - through his words and actions he lives God’s will.

The prophets long ago, spoke of God’s will, God spoke through them to his people.
Jesus lives God’s will. Jesus is God’s word.
The apostles through their witness proclaim God’s will by pointing to Jesus.
Both the prophets and the apostles speak God’s word.

These words are united to Jesus - the Word - in sacred scripture - written under divine inspiration - the bible is the Word of God.
The scriptures bear witness throughout (New and Old Testament) to Jesus the Word.

This witness, this continuation of God’s will carries on in the Church. The Church proclaims the Word - and lives it - this will ultimately lead to the fulfilment of God’s plan for creation.

God’s revelation through Jesus and creation when preached in the Church can truly be called the Word and will draw us to God.
And its all in scripture! St Paul’s letter to the Romans Chapter 1.

“The sacred writings contain preliminary reports by the prophets on God’s Son. His descent from David roots him in history, his unique identity as Son of God was shown by the Spirit when Jesus was raised from the dead, setting him apart as the Messiah, our Master. Through him we received both the generous gift of his life and the urgent task of passing it on to others who receive it by entering into obedient trust in Jesus. You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ! And I greet you now with all the generosity of God our Father and our Master Jesus, the Messiah.” ..........

1st December 2007
Recent Publications

Read Saint Paul  
Letter to the Philippians  
1 dec 2007 st paul recent pubs

Read up for the Year of St Paul!
This is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.
Excerpts from his letter to the Philippians in the Message translation - with cartoon illustrations.  Straight of the local press:
Also now available:  
• Clare the Bright Light Saint
• Round the Clock with St Colette
£ 1.00 each plus p+p

15 August 2007

Song of Songs  
15 aug 2007 s of s
A community day of recollection on the Song of Song - at the end we sang it! The work of our musicians and artists: all holding residential Labour Certificates, see below!

11th August 2007

Feast of  Saint Clare

Our Annual retreat with Mother Damian and Sr Agatha on the saving meaning of work - at the end we all received this magnificent Certificate of Employment!

11 aug 2007 meaning of work

28 July 2007

Springs of Water bless the Lord

On our arrival here in Hawarden, we were treated to a conducted tour through the cloister. As the building had been erected in the days when wood was cheap and plentiful, understandably and sensibly the door frames had been constructed out of beautiful pinewood, showing a pale and dark grain in their finish. Imagine our surprise that midway, each door frame sported a rather protruding, sometimes rusty nail. To us, having learned the value of wood it almost seemed like an act of vandalism, which naturally prompted us to ask - why the nail? But before any answer could be offered to us we came to a door which not only had a nail but a Holy Water stoup suspended from it - light began to dawn.

This was the evidence for a beautiful old custom, much cherished, to help the Holy Souls in purgatory by blessing ones self with Holy Water on entering and leaving a room. Probably not many will remember this custom now, but perhaps it would be worth our while to reflect on the meaning of taking Holy Water.

From time immemorial Catholics have taken Holy Water on entering a Church, reminding themselves of their baptism. By making the sign of the cross and calling on the Holy name of the Blessed Trinity they prepared themselves having been cleansed in this mini-baptism to appear before the Real Presence of the Lord, which just leaves one with the question, should one - or should one not - take Holy Water before leaving the Church?

15 June or thereabouts 2007

Typical scenes from reorganising the Library

15 june 2007 library15 june 2007 library 2
29th June 2007

29 June

st paul banner 29 june 2007

Saint Paul (and Peter)

It was announced that the Holy Father, Benedict XVI was going to have a “Year of St Paul”. Well, it figures! As the Lord has had His Great Jubilee, St Paul and all the other Apostles will have their millenniums of birth coming up.

We took the announcement at face value, and artists sketched feverishly to produce a banner of St Paul striding purposely along with scrolls tucked in his belt and an avalanche of flame falling down from heaven. The flames suggest the descent of the Holy Spirit and Paul's well known text our God is a consuming fire. He is wearing the sandals of the Gospel of Peace and the two scrolls next to his heart indicate the old and new testaments

The artists working on this were living like II Corinthians - sleepless and dinnerless - to get it finished for the feast of St Peter and Paul, 29th June. They were still feverishly sewing the lining fifteen minutes before the opening of Vespers.
Our celebration began in that room in our house called Ephesus and we processed to choir, banner unfurled, singing a new St Paul hymn (slightly rap!).
The banner was run up the choir wall to a fanfare of flutes. We were sublimely conscious that at that very moment our father, Benedict XVI, in the Basilica of St Paul-Outside-the-Walls in Rome, was announcing the Year of St Paul.... Well. He was. He announced that it will begin next year, 2008, on this day!
The following Monday we hauled our banner down, amid muffled laughter, and put it away for twelve months!

ClarTuesday, 16 September 2008
10 July 2007

Take one three times a day!
This medication contains a basic teaching of Holy Mother Church, a description thereof and an application.

The best kept mystery

Many years ago I was commissioned by my Novice Mistress to impart some useful bits of information to my fellow postulant, newly received into the Church. Without any further hesitation I suggested we would talk about the Hail Mary.  "No!"  She said, rather firmly, "Tell me about the Blessed Trinity."  I heaved a heavy sigh and said  "It is a mystery."  "Yes?", came the rejoinder "And it is such a well kept mystery that no one ever seems to talk about it."  Stung by this rather shrewd observation I launched forth beginning with the procession from the Father which we call the Son..... or if you like the Father has an idea of himself..... it was plain to see that my listener was bored.  After some prodigious yawning, she looked at me and said  "What does it all mean to you?"  

Never, ever have I felt so exposed and challenged!  I became aware that I had never given it one thought - that my listener had put a finger on the right spot; which is to say: that a truth never reflected on remains unreal.  I tried a few feeble explanations to no avail.  We should have stuck to the Hail Mary!

And the lesson to be learned: make three times a day, a conscious effort to give glory to the Father, glory to the Son and glory to the Holy Spirit,  because praising God is our mission here on earth.