From Religious Wars To Monastic Peace?

Christmas Newsletters contain treasures. Abbot Stuart of Mucknell Abbey writes about Justin Welby: 'On the evening of his Enthronement the Archbishop said that amongst the greatest hindrances to the proclamation of God’s love were the historic divisions in the Church – divisions which had begun in particular historic circumstances which had very little, if anything, to do with the situation where we find ourselves in the twenty first century. The divisions are now so entrenched, particularly at the institutional level, that the only way he could see of addressing the problem was for each denomination to have within it a renewed and vibrant monasticism, because monastic life goes deeper than the divisions and monastics are already united in their common practice...We are aware of our need to develop and strengthen the bonds of friendship with other communities...'

I was thinking that part of our CA&H journey might now be to establish deeper relationships with other communities when Tom Martin Berntsen rang to tell about his stay with Min ? Coptic monastery in Egypt and Athanasius’ cell and Anamcara’s (CA&H Norway's) ever closer links with Bishop Thomas and the Coptic monastic churches which seem to be prospering and hoping to play a part in Egypt’s evolving democracy. I wonder if the time might now be riper to build closer links with Coptic, Irish and other communities.

Dana has come to the island. She comes quarterly for spiritual direction. She suddenly learned she has very advanced cancer. Sally Steen accompanied her. It is truly off season, but we embraced her. The Open Gate is closed. Ruth and Graham went to Hexham for her hip operation. Carol is on holiday. But Ellie invited our guests to tea, Jamie for lunch, and we all enjoyed a Christmas eats evening at the Scriptorium with the Fleesons. I have met with them several times. We explored some of the suggestions in my book 'Before We Say Goodbye': making a review of one's life, clarifying things to say, resolve, do and write for example. Dana uses the Caring Bridge Web site CaringBridge [services@caringbridge.org] to share her news. This saves her from having to repeat it a hundred times and allows anyone to post a prayer or message.

New and old monastics live out of the realness and vulnerability of facing that in the midst of life we are in death. There is a glory and a fruitfulness in this that self-made people cannot comprehend. This is the Advent Hope. The daily news is about religious wars. A monastic expression of religion can lead us into an age of peace.

Posted at 10:22am on 14th December 2013
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