The Monks of Papa Stronsay: Orkney, Scotland

Following on in the theme of faith lifestyles, here is a short documentary featuring a monastic family local to myself…on the fabulous Orkney Isle of Papa Stronsay…

Papa Stronsay 1

Papa Stronsay 2

Excerpt from a documentary series featuring the Transalpine Redemptorist monks of Papa Stronsay, Scotland – a congregation of traditionalist Catholic Fathers and Brothers of both Eastern and Western Rite from all over the world. The documentary was filmed in September 2003 and originally aired on Channel 4 (UK) in 2004.

The congregation was founded in 1988 by Fr Michael Mary and Fr Anthony Mary on the advice of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. Their aim was to found a new Redemptorist congregation which observed the original Rule of Saint Alphonsus and ignored the reforms adopted by modern Redemptorists following the Second Vatican Council.

The congregation moved from the Isle of Sheppy in Kent, England, to Papa Stronsay in 1999. The island was considered ideal because of its seclusion from the world and ancient connection with the monastic tradition. As well as producing their own newspaper, the monks raise their own cattle and sheep and they produce most of their own food.

For more information visit:
http://www.papastronsay.com

From papastronsay.blogspot.com:

I, Hugh Gilbert, O.S.B, by the grace of God Bishop of Aberdeen, decree that the community known as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, be erected as a Religious Institute of Diocesan right in accordance with c 579 of the Code of Canon Law 1983. The Institute will be subject to all other applicable norms of the said code and governed by the statutes of the said community previously approved by the Holy See.

Given this day 15th August in the year of Our Lord 2012

Silence: The Language of Eternity

The louder our world today is, the deeper God seems to remain in silence. Silence is the language of eternity; noise passes.

Gertrud von Le Fort

Adam and Eve Day: Christmas Eve

Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

 

According to the Bible’s Book of Genesis, God created the first man and woman and invited them to live in a heavenly place called the Garden of Eden. This couple, known as Adam and Eve, lived there in bliss until they took the advice of a serpent and disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. As punishment for their disobedience, God expelled them from the Garden, thus compelling them to work for their living, suffer pain, and eventually die. Medieval Christians honored Adam and Eve as the father and mother of all people and commemorated their story on December 24, the day before Christmas.

Eastern Christians, that is, those Christians whose traditions of belief and worship developed in the Middle East, eastern Europe, and north Africa, were the first to honor Adam and Eve as saints. Their cult spread from eastern lands to western Europe during the Middle Ages, becoming quite popular in Europe by the year 1000. Although the Roman Catholic Church never formally adopted the pair as saints, it did not oppose their veneration. Commemorating the lives of Adam and Eve on December 24 promoted comparison of Adam and Eve with Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Medieval theologians were fond of making such comparisons, the point of which was to reveal how Jesus and Mary, through their obedience to God’s will, rescued humanity from the consequences of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Indeed, the Bible itself refers to Jesus as the “second Adam” (Romans 5:14). Whereas humanity inherited biological life from the first Adam, it would imbibe spiritual life from Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 45, 49). Some theologians took this to mean that Jesus’ coming could restore humankind to a state of grace lost when Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden. In like manner, Mary would undo the effects of Eve’s disobedience. When the angel Gabriel visited Mary and delivered the message that she would bear a divine son, Mary replied, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, also Annunciation.) Medieval commentators relished the fact that in Latin, Eve’s name, Eva, read backwards spelled Ave, meaning“hail.” Ave Maria, or “Hail Mary” were the first words that the angel Gabriel spoke to the Virgin Mary. The spelling of these two shortwords seemed to them to symbolize God’s plan to reverse the consequences of Eve’s deed by bring a savior into the world through theVirgin Mary.

Medieval Christians celebrated Adam and Eve’s feast day with a kind of mystery play referred to as the paradise play. This little folk drama retold the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It ended with thepromise of the coming of a savior who would reconcile humanity with God. The paradise play was often staged around a single prop called a paradise tree. Actors adorned an evergreen tree with apples and sometimes also with communion wafers. Decked out in this way it served to represent the two mystical trees in the Garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.Although the church officially banned the performance of mystery plays in the fifteenth century, the people of France and Germany’s Rhine river region kept on decorating paradise trees for Christmas. Some writers believe that the paradise tree evolved into what we now know as the Christmas tree. Indeed, as late as the nineteenth century people in some parts of Germany customarily placed figurines representing Adam, Eve, and the serpent under their Christmas trees. In some sections of Bavaria, people still hang apples upon their evergreens at Christmas time and refer to the decorated trees as paradise trees.

As the Middle Ages receded into history, so too did the western European feast of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve have retained a bit more of their ancient importance among certain Eastern Christians. The Greek Orthodox Church still honors Adam and Eve on the Sunday before Christmas.

A Good Christmas with Bishop Rowan Williams with Link that Works

The previous link did not work so am re-posting one that I hope will. Thanks to Michael Marsh who first posted this though. Some of you will obviously get this through twice!

Prayer And Love:Thomas Merton

Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
Thomas Merton

Veni Sanctus Spiritus: Come Holy Spirit

I offer this to gently lift our hearts and minds, on the feather light wings of the Holy Spirit. May we mindfully join with our Soul in its eternal song of Joy and Praise. May we find peace in these troubled times, may our gentleness act as a grace within our world and our compassion heal wounds of the human experience. Let us rest in the grace of God and know each other as family no matter how different we may appear on the surface. And may we have the courage to Love.

One commentator on this said the following: ‘Come Holy Spirit and inflame the hearts of nations. Forgive our differences, enlighten our hearts and minds that we may see our common brotherhood as children of the one true God.’  

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Veni Sancte Spiritus 

Latin Text.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium. Veni, pater pauperum, veni, dator munerum, veni, lumen cordium. Consolator optime, dulcis hospes animae, dulce refrigerium. In labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium. O lux beatissima, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium. Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium. Lava quod est sordidum, riga quod est aridum, sana quod est saucium. Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. Da tuis fidelibus, in te confidentibus, sacrum septenarium. Da virtutis meritum, da salutis exitum, da perenne gaudium. 
Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light. Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart. Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation. In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace. O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful. Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded. Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes  stray. Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts. Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

 

 

Mothers Day: Love at First Sight

Mother

Today is Mother’s Day here in the United Kingdom. Mine are all grown up now with children of their own. I was busy for a while, with 3 daughters under 3 and then twin boys arrived…so I ended up with 5 children under 7, our farm to help run and a hectic schedule leaving me little time to ponder anything much other than groceries, playgroups, school schedules and nappies.

Today all those years on is very different. We had a sharp frost overnight and the sky is blue with not a cloud in the sky. At 8 am my own mother now aged 89 rang to thank me for her card and present, and tell me what a wonderful daughter I am, how blessed she is to have me and my sister and how much she loves us. My father aged 93 made her breakfast.

I opened my cards leisurely with a cup of coffee. The house is quiet. My choices as to what to do today are largely my own other than a lunch out with my husband, a lovely treat. So I went for a walk in the woods on the hill nearby, smelling the fresh earth and scent of the Spruce, the Scots Pine. To my delight I heard first one woodpecker, then his mates reply…one either side of the track, hidden in trees but still well aware of each other. And I thought of how that remains the truth for us “grand”mothers; no longer frantically paddling just to keep our heads above water, with the noise of youngsters fretting, arguing and playing; we now walk at a slower pace, yet remain attached to our children, no matter how old they are or how far away they live from us.

When we gave birth to them, we did not have our children to hang onto them or keep them forever by our sides. We offered them the opportunity of life, to live as they choose, as they must, making the most of the potential within themselves each and every day. We fretted and worried over them, we sat by their beds soothing their brows, we commiserated over errant boyfriends and girlfriends, we chewed our nails to the quick as they went out on motorbikes and then cars, never really sleeping until we heard that door click safely, telling us they were back. We defended them and tried to guide them, ignored the hurts and accusations they hurl at us of “not understanding” them. We ignored the “you love them more than me” accusations, gently reiterating that we love them all the same. And I thought how Godlike that all is. God gave us all the opportunity to live, and to do what we will how we will, hoping we come home safely and negotiate all the dangers and pitfalls that freedom involves. We rant and rail at God, sulk in corners trying to ignore or hide, we think we know best, take a tumble in life and then wail loudly at how unfair it all is. And God just stays calm and constant, soothes our brow, mends the hurts and then pushes us gently in the direction of the door again. Like the woodpeckers, we are always connected, the call, the answer and the safety of knowing we are never lost.

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but today is overflowing with potential.
Allan Lokos
Through the Flames