Alleluia Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!
Such an unusual and incredible week we have all experienced together, in our local communities and throughout the world.
Churches have been closed, corporal communities dismissed. We had to imagine how to be the Church in a different way.
As I reflect on the Day of the Resurrection, I wonder how important the life of a community has been to me throughout this week.
I have been isolated now for about two weeks, living day by day with the other brother of the community, Nathaniel.
We followed our regular pattern of prayer, gathering in the chapel in the morning, midday, evening and night. We consciously and carefully followed the liturgical calendar and joyfully sung all the hymns of Holy Week.
The opportunity to deliver parochial magazine and bulletin to parishioners was an incredible source of strength to me. I deepened my knowledge and understanding of what it means to love one another, to help those in need and to really take care of the most vulnerable.
As I discern my vocation to the priesthood, the current situation nurtured deep inside me a pastoral heart of love towards my neighbours, for my fellow parishioners for whom I am a joyful servant.
Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us that there’s more love and happiness when we give and serve than when we receive and are served. This has been my reality.
Now, being part of a community is a huge responsibility. We belong to one another as the Body of Christ and we must take care and look after the well-being of our fellow citizens. St Paul teaches us that when one member of the Body suffers, the whole Body suffers. When one of us is in need, we must do something, even if we think what we do is small.
Throughout the week, I have increased the awareness of the needs of others. I have understood more deeply the bounds of love which unite us all. Within my own house with Brother Nathaniel and outside, I felt the presence of God working inside me, transforming me by the imperative of live, of sharing the joy of Christ with one another.
Life in community is broad, deep, exciting, demanding, exhausting. I suppose all kind of life including people around us is greatly enjoyable. It brings many graces.
As a Christian, however, I must say that the life of this community, both the Holywell Community and the parish community (including the citizens of this town) must be supported first of all in our prayers.
Each day, Brother Nathaniel and I gather in our chapel to offer to God our hearts and lives. To make our spiritual sacrifice to the Lord, presenting our needs and contrite hearts. It is an enormous privilege and joy to know that we are joined by Fr Tom from his own vicarage and by so many throughout the world. Our individual or communal prayers are joined by the constant prayers of the whole Communion of Saints, alongside all these monks, nuns and friars who hold the same pattern of daily prayer.
Life in community is broad, but first of all local.
The work that the community has been able to do during the last couple of days enlightened the great reality of the life of Christ within this town.
People are thirsty for Christ. They love him. They need him. As I do. Every single day of my life.
Life in community can be incredibly challenging. I have been used to live alone for a great part of my life. By it, I don’t mean I consciously withdrew myself from any social life, but as far as I am concerned, no one was really under “my care”. Now, time changed.
Today, I belong to the local community of Abergavenny. I devoted myself to the true and living God, to the spirit of the Rule of St Benedict, to obedience to my superior and care to my fellow brother.
This is freedom. Terrific. Demanding. Gorgeous.
As we enter into this great season of Easter, may we continue to love one another, to support one another, to serve one another.
St Francis of Assisi prayed “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”.
So be it.
Loving God, help me to love as you love us.
Redeeming God, transform my heart to become a true disciple.
Creator God, nurture in me the life and mind of a potential priest.
Living God, hold us all into your almighty hands of love.