We were kindly invited by our neighbours at Douai Abbey for the simple profession of Brother Anselm (photo-left). Douai is, like us, in the Portsmouth Diocese. We are a diocese rich in monasteries, since to Farnborough and Douai must also be added Quarr, Ryde, and East Hendred. We are a forty-minute drive from Douai and have many friends there, indeed our abbot and Fr Alban are old friends from their student days. We were interested to see the profession rite of the English Benedictine Congregation. The novice signs his chart at the altar, does not sing the Suscipe, and is given the cowl. In our own tradition the chart is signed on the altar only at Solemn Profession, and the cowl is given only at solemn vows. A fine tea followed in the guest refectory and we were able to catch up with Douai’s news and chat with old friends.
On 30th November, Feast of St Andrew, Sr Desirée of Jesus made Solemn Vows in the Carmel of the Most Holy Trinity, Notting Hill, London. Our Fr Abbot presided at the Mass and preached the homily.
The Fathers of the London Oratory have long been friends of the monks of Farnborough. Many of the fathers make their retreats with us and they come to us to prepare for ordinations. Recently Fr Edward Cong. Orat. was ordained. Three of us went to attend the ordination.
Fr Abbot laying hands on Brother Edward:
The altar prepared for the Solemnity of Christ the King.
We were blessed with a visit from our friends the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer yesterday. They visited us for the afternoon and evening, Vespers and Benediction, then they stayed with us to eat. Fr Abbot dispensed the silence at supper so that we could use the limited time of their visit to hear their news and catch up with their progress. Their community uses the 1962 Missale Romanum and their spirituality and observance are rooted in the early vision of St Alphonsus Liguori. Their monastery is on a remote island in the diocese of Aberdeen. God bless our friends
, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer!
TheHoly Father this week has exhorted the faithful to embrace the Liturgy of the Hours. Why not pray part of the Prayer of the Church the Benedictine way?
http://www.farnboroughabbey.org/press/dirunal.php This edition is a handsome book and has the texts in parallel in Latin and English. It gives all the Day Hours of the monastic office. We can also direct you to a number of websites where you can listed to the office chanted as you pray it, and also a site which gives daily instruction as to which page you should be on!!! What better way to heed the advice of the Holy Father, improve your life of prayer and support a community of monks? – with just one little purchase!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
PRAYING THE PSALMS ENRICHES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
VATICAN CITY, 16 NOV 2011 (VIS) – During today’s general audience in St Peter’s Square, attended by over 11,000 pilgrims, the Holy Father imparted the final catechesis of his cycle dedicated to the Psalms. He focused on Psalm 110, which “Jesus Himself cited, and which the authors of the New Testament referred to widely and interpreted in reference to the Messiah. … It is a Psalm beloved by the ancient Church and by believers of all times”, which celebrates “the victorious and glorified Messiah seated at the right hand of God”.
The Psalm begins with a solemn declaration: “The Lord says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool”. Benedict XVI explained that “Christ is the Lord enthroned, the Son of man seated at the right hand of God. … He is the true king who by resurrection entered into glory, … higher than the angels, seated in the heavens over all other powers, … and with all His adversaries at His feet until the last enemy, death, is definitively defeated by Him”.
God and the king celebrated in the Psalm are inseparably linked. “The two govern together, to the point that the Psalmist confirms that God Himself grants the regal sceptre, giving the king the task of defeating his adversaries. … The exercise of power is a task the king receives directly from the Lord, a responsibility which involves dependence and obedience, thus becoming a sign to the people of God’s powerful and provident presence. Dominion over enemies, glory and victory are gifts the king has received, that make him a mediator of divine triumph over evil“.
The priestly dimension, linked to that of regality, appears in verse four. “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind ‘You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek’”. This priest, the king of Salem, had blessed Abraham and offered bread and wine following the victorious military campaign conducted by the patriarch to save Lot from the hands of his enemies. The king of the Psalm “will be a priest forever, mediator of the divine presence among His people, a catalyst for the blessing of God”. Jesus Christ “is the true and definitive priest, Who will complete and perfect the features of Melchizedek’s priesthood”. In the bread and wine of the Eucharist, Christ “offers Himself and, defeating death, brings life to all believers”.
The final verses portray “the triumphant sovereign who, with the support of the Lord, having received power and glory from Him, opposes his enemies, defeating adversaries and judging nations”.
The Church traditionally considers this Psalm as one of the most significant messianic texts. “The king as sung by the Psalmist is Christ, the Messiah Who establishes the Kingdom of God and overcomes the powers of the world. He is the Word generated by God before any creature, the Son incarnate, Who died and rose to heaven, the eternal Priest Who, in the mystery of the bread and wine, grants forgiveness for sins and reconciliation with God; the King Who raised his head in triumph over death by His resurrection”.
The Psalm invites us to “look to Christ to understand the meaning of true regality which is to be lived as service and the giving of self, following a path of obedience and love ‘to the end’. Praying this Psalm, we therefore ask the Lord to enable us to proceed along this same journey, following Christ, the Messiah, willing to ascend with Him on the hill of the cross to accompany Him in glory, and to look to Him seated at the right hand of the Father, the victorious king and merciful priest Who gives forgiveness and salvation to all mankind”.
Finally, the Pope explained that, in the course of his catechesis dedicated to the Psalms, he had sought to focus on those “that reflect the different situations in life and the various attitudes we may have towards God. I would like to renew my call to everyone to pray the Psalms, to become accustomed to using the Liturgy of the Hours, Lauds, Vespers, and Compline. Our relationship with God can only be enriched by our journeying towards Him day after day”.
As is usual in England, we celebrated a Requiem Mass for the dead of the wars at the Abbey on Remembrance Sunday.
Fr Abbot has been to Scotland three times so far this year. The first visit was for the episcopal consecration of Abbot Hugh Gilbert of Pluscarden as Bishop of Aberdeen, the diocese in which Pluscarden Abbey is situated.
The second visit was for the Provincial Chapter of the English Province of our Congregation. This meeting is held every four years. The term ‘English’ is a bit misleading. ‘English’ includes Scotland, the United States, Mexico, Ghana, and now Germany. In the course of the Chapter, Abbot Anselm Atkinson (below) was re-elected as Visitor for eight years. Our own Abbot Cuthbert was elected to assist him as a member of his council.
The third visit to Pluscarden was for the abbatial blessing of Abbot Anselm. Brother Michael, ever eager to find friends in high places, managed a quick snap with Cardinal O’Brien.
Our Father Magnus celebrated his Golden jubilee of priesthood. He was ordained at Pluscarden Abbey in 1961. There was a rare sighting, for the general public, of Fr Wulstan, who will be 99 later this year at the grand luncheon prepared by Dom Michael for the event. Fr Fabian Radcliffe OP who was at the ordination, came from Leicester, where he is Prior.
The image below shows Fr Magnus on his ordination day. We were able to have a short film of the ordination transferred to DVD for the occasion. It made fascinating viewing, not only for sightings of a young Fr Mario Conti and Fr Fabian OP, but also of monks who have long since died, and the liturgy of an ordination on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.
His Lordship Bishop Jarrett of the Diocese of Lismore, Australia came to spend a week with us. He has done this for the last ten years and is a great and faithful friend of our community. The bishop was on his way to visit the Holy Father for the Ad Limina in Rome.