Saturday, 26 March 2011

Inspiration from St Ambrose

I found today's reading in the breviary very helpful:
Hold fast to God, the one true good
Where a man’s heart is, there is his treasure also. God is not accustomed to refusing a good gift to those who ask for one. Since he is good, and especially to those who are faithful to him, let us hold fast to him with all our soul, our heart, our strength, and so enjoy his light and see his glory and possess the grace of supernatural joy. Let us reach out with our hearts to possess that good, let us exist in it and live in it, let us hold fast to it, that good which is beyond all we can know or see and is marked by perpetual peace and tranquillity, a peace which is beyond all we can know or understand.
...These good things are promised by Scripture to those who are faithful: The good things of the land will be your food.

We have died with Christ. We carry about in our bodies the sign of his death, so that the living Christ may also be revealed in us. The life we live is not now our ordinary life but the life of Christ: a life of sinlessness, of chastity, of simplicity and every other virtue. We have risen with Christ. Let us live in Christ, let us ascend in Christ, so that the serpent may not have the power here below to wound us in the heel. ...
Since God is our refuge, God who is in heaven and above the heavens, we must take refuge from this world in that place where there is peace, where there is rest from toil, where we can celebrate the great sabbath, as Moses said: The sabbaths of the land will provide you with food. To rest in the Lord and to see his joy is like a banquet, and full of gladness and tranquility.

Let us take refuge like deer beside the fountain of waters. Let our soul thirst, as David thirsted, for the fountain. What is that fountain? Listen to David: With you is the fountain of life. Let my soul say to this fountain: When shall I come and see you face to face? For the fountain is God himself.

St Ambrose's Treatise on Flight from the world
We might note that in the introduction on the Buckfast Abbey website we read that deer have found the Dart valley a safe place to dwell and that Buckfast might mean a place where deer feel safe. As St Ambrose encourages, let us take refuge in Christ, and let us thank God that at Buckfast Abbey some of us entering the Ordinariate have there found refuge like the deer. Thanks be to God.
St Ambrose pray for us.

Ian Hellyer, Pastor Buckfast Group

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Mary - Mother of God, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church

Statue of Our Lady with Christchild in the Lavender Garden, Buckfast Abbey
Today the Buckfast Group met in the Upper Room with Abbot David for catechesis.  We focused on Mary whom we call Mother of God, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.  The Church has accorded Mary special honour in her unique vocation as the mother of Christ our Saviour, the Son of God.  We do not worship or adore Mary but we do venerate her unique example, and we ask for her intercession in our every need.  Although this was not new to us, Abbot David helped us to reflect much more deeply to see that the specific doctrines relating to Mary are doctrines of Christ and the Church.  All this was very fitting as we realised we were meeting on the Eve of the Annunciation of our Lord.
We look forward to our next session on Thursday 31st March, at 2.30pm in the Upper Room, and this time we will reflect on the Sacraments and Christ.
Ian Hellyer, Group Pastor

Monday, 21 March 2011

Greeting and invitation from Bishop Budd

Bishop Christopher Budd of Plymouth has sent us a letter of greeting, welcome and invitation.  He greets us with these words:
Firstly may I say what a joy it was to welcome you and your people to the Rite of Election on the 1st Sunday of Lent.  The spontaneous applause which greeted you spoke for itself and hopefully gives you some indication of the warm welcome awaiting you.
He goes on to invite us all to the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral on Wednesday 20th April at 5pm.  There will be refreshments in a marquee after the mass, so we will need to know how many are likely to come.  Please let your group pastor know if you are coming so he can inform the Bishop's secretary.

The Chrism mass is an opportunity to celebrate the gift of priesthood from Christ to His Church. Usually all priests in a diocese will attend the Chrism mass together with some of their people to show their support and thanksgiving.  As the future clergy of the Ordinariate look forward to their ordination as priests in the Catholic church, so we would value the support of any of the laity who could manage to come.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Lent 2 The Transfiguration of our Lord

The Buckfast Group gathered once more for worship at Buckfast Abbey.  This week the Abbey's voluntary choir were leading us and we had a short practice of the psalm response before Mass began.  The hymns were traditional and were very familiar to us: "Forty days and forty nights", "Father most holy, gracious and forgiving", and "Sweet sacrament divine".

As we heard in the gospel reading, it was indeed good to be there - to be at the Mass of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, in this wonderful place hallowed by God and manned by the Benedictine community.  One cannot help but begin to feel the benefits of being in the shadow of the wings of the Catholic Church already.  One is left in no doubt that this is the Church and only now begin to realise that while before one believed in what one was doing, there were doubts, and growing doubts at that.  Here now we have a sense of freedom based on confidence - this is the Church of the Apostles in communion with the successor of he whom Christ named the Rock: Peter.  This doesn't mean the Catholic church is perfect, nor full of saints, but we can be confident that our life lived within it, is able to fully avail itself of the grace Christ intended. And we can be confident of the doctrine of the Church, that it is indeed that which Christ taught His disciples and which the Holy Spirit has continued to reveal to the Church down through the ages.
Deo Gratias.

Ian Hellyer, Buckfast Group Pastor

Postscript:  My sons were very pleased that now there are tadpoles in the pond.  Next week they will be hoping for some legs on the tadpoles: a transformation week by week.

DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)