Sunday, November 28, 2021

Some thoughts to get you started this Advent


Our short lives on earth are sowing time. If there were no resurrection of the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing. How can we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains of our lives are in vain, vanishing in the earth with our mortal flesh and bones? Because God loves us unconditionally, from eternity to eternity, God cannot allow our bodies - the same as that in which Jesus, his Son and our Saviour, appeared to us - to be lost in final destruction.

No, life on earth is the time when the seeds of the risen body are planted. Paul says: “What is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable; what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful; what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). This wonderful knowledge that nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

The wonderful knowledge, that nothing we live in our body is lived in vain, holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

- Henri Nouwen (Bread for the Journey, Harper San Francisco.)

Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope . . . It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger 1986 (Pope Benedict XVI) - Seek That Which Is Above (Ignatius Press)

The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature, descended into his own universe, and rose again, bringing nature up with him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left.

- C.S. Lewis, “The Grand Miracle” - God in the Dock

Saturday, November 27, 2021

A two minute refresher on Advent . . .

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

This Coming Sunday - A Service of Advent Music and Readings

 (Click on flyer to enlarge)

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Remembrance Sunday at All Saints' Benhilton


Evelyn Underhill's MISSA CANTATA


Since my teens I have been blessed by the writings of Evelyn Underhill (1875-1942), a widely acclaimed Church of England spiritual director who more than deserves to be rediscovered. An Anthology of the Love of God, published after her death, is a good initiation into her work.  Each chapter begins with a poem, many of which come from Immanence, published by Underhill in 1912. Immanence is available FREE for downloading from the internet. I love this particular poem, a deeply moving burst of praise to the Lord for his sacred presence in the Holy Eucharist:


Once in an Abbey-church, the whiles we prayed 

All silent at the lifting of the Host, 

A little bird through some high window strayed ; 

And to and fro 

Like a wee angel lost 

That on a sudden finds its heaven below, 

It went the morning long. 

And made our Eucharist more glad with song. 

It sang, it sang ! and as the quiet priest 

Far off about the lighted altar moved, 

The awful substance of the mystic feast 

All hushed before, 

It, like a thing that loved 

Yet loved in liberty, would plunge and soar 

Beneath the vault in play 

And thence toss down the oblation of its lay. 

The walls that went our sanctuary around 

Did, as of old, to that sweet summons yield. 

New scents and sounds within our gates were found ; 

The cry of kine. 

The fragrance of the field, 

All woodland whispers, hastened to the shrine : 

The country side was come 

Eager and joyful, to its spirit’s home. 

Far-stretched I saw the cornfield and the plough, 

The scudding cloud, the cleanly-running brook, 

The humble, kindly turf, the tossing bough 

That all their light 

From Love’s own furnace took — 

This altar, where one angel brownly bright 

Proclaimed the sylvan creed. 

And sang the Benedictus of the mead. 

All earth was lifted to communion then. 

All lovely life was there to meet its King ; 

Ah, not the little arid souls of men 

But sun and wind 

And all desirous thing 

The ground of their beseeching here did find ; 

All with one self-same bread. 

And all by one eternal priest, were fed.