Our Concentor Br Simon’s Evensong Responses will be sung at Evensong on Friday, June 30th for the first time.
The Prior, Fr Mark said,
“When we thought of creating the post of Concentor our hope was that this musician being soaked daily on the liturgy of prayer would write some settings for us to use in the Priory. I am excited to hear the first of these on Friday.”
Br Adrian reflects as he moves from Holywell Community to Mucknell Abbey
As we awake to the dawn chorus on this most Holy, Trinity Sunday getting prepared for the Office of Readings and the singing of the Te Deum and Te Decet Laus we all the more come to reflect on the one true God who is above all things, through all things and within all things. The True and Living One, the Trinitarian Godhead who is above all things for he himself was not created but is the creator, who continues, through the word, to create afresh and who’s word becomes real and active in us through the Holy Spirit.
Br Adrian & The Principal of St Padarn’s Institute
This then brings me to a point of reflection on the Monastic Life which I wish to share with you today, as I embark on the next stage of my personal journey of faith towards understanding, accepting and fully embracing the Divine Mercy of God.
I first wish to take a step back to the origins of Christian Monasticism to that of the Desert Fathers in Egypt. People who left their very comfortable, and to a significant extent, secular surroundings to live by themselves in simplicity, to get away from the temptations and distractions of the world and to go into personal combat with the Devil. This was not an escape into an idealistic Utopia of relaxation and enjoying one’s own company to the detriment of social interaction and supporting the needs of those around them but instead came from a desire to embark on a voyage of discovery to truly understand all their own frailties and from owning these and combating them daily grow into a full embracement of their utter dependence on God and his Mercy and to become a complete person in God. Far from the ignoring of people they attempted to embody that pure relationship of love in which the other was always first and they could therefore completely give themselves to those needs of others and embrace the True and Living God who is innately social in character. One cannot fully appreciate who they are in God unless they fully embrace the rest of Humanity in love and this was the pinnacle of the journey for those early Hermits in Egypt and then for the Cenobites in Pachomias Monasteries.
Fr Mark & Br Adrian
This is true for the Benedictine Monks of today, by living in community we engage in that ever more intense boiling pot of social engagement, personal reflection and prayer and in doing so come into closer focus with our true selves and together take up that eternal combat against the vices and distractions that separate us from God. It is an invitation to have that close relationship with God that leads us into that crucible of white heat of joy that is to truly be as you are meant to be in God. Listen! Is the first word of the holy rule and this embodies all that being Christian is about and what the Monastic life, through the rhythm of the day in prayer and through constant working together and in contact with each other helps us to grow into. We all need to continuously listen to each other, listen to God with that ear of love. This is not something for us to just do at the time of the office or at 8am or 11am on a Sunday morning but to listen and be alert at every moment of the day to God’s presence and forgiveness with us, the DNA and fingerprint of the triune God is in all of creation. In struggles he’s there giving us perseverance, in good times that insatiable joy that when in prayer we come to tears at the shear redemptive power of God, in times of weakness when we come face to face with temptation and God is there with his divine Mercy and gives us the strength to battle on and grow in faith so that we come to fully know our utter dependence on him. Listening is what leads us into love of all and it is at the core of the vow of Obedience. It is the call to deny our own desires because we care much more for the needs of our Brothers and Sisters. It has become important for me because it is important to you and you have a need. Conversion of Life is currently for me a promise and intent that one remains open to listening and to God’s grace so if weaknesses in our character are pointed out this is taken in love and an opportunity to grow in love and turn to God so we become more fully human. Stability then enables the foundation of a loving community around us that know us so we can support each other and live out the Commandment to love one another as Christ loves us it also embodies that social essence of God mentioned earlier, we need each other to grow.
It is an absolute privilege and very humbling to be part of that joint journey here at Mucknell and being invited to be a Novice and to further explore the love of God and the significance of the vows I may be taking in the future is exciting and I’m filled with joy and anticipation as I continue to try to listen and allow God to reveal himself in unexpected ways to myself and the work of the community in this next chapter of my life.
Having been on secondment to Mucknell Abbey since November, it has been announced that Br Adrian will be clothed as a Novice of the Community at Mucknell on the Feast of our Holy Father Benedict. which falls next month.
The Prior sending his blessings to Adrian said, “It was obvious when I visited Adrian earlier this year that Mucknell was where God had called Adrian to be”.
Previously a manager of Statisticians, Chemometricians and SAS programmers at a Pharmaceutical company, he attained an MSc in Biometry at the University of Reading and went on to read Genomics for my PhD, although he didn’t complete it. Before joining the Community he had been an active member of the church community of St Nicholas, Harpenden.
Our Sub Prior will leave the Community this Summer to take up a full time post as a Prison Chaplain. She is currently part-time Chaplain to Prisons in SE Wales.
Sarah taking a selfie?
The Priory, Fr Mark Soady thanked her for her service to the Community , ” She has been key in establishing the Holy well Community in its early years. We wish her God’s Blessing in her new role”.
The Community will be on retreat at St Non’s from May 3rd- 5th. There will be no Monastic Offices said in St Mary’s Priory during this period.
We are grateful to Fr Harri Williams for leading our Retreat and to the Sisters at St Non’s for hosting us.
At a Joint Incumbency Service, held today at Holy Trinity Church we remembered the work of Christian Aid among refugees . During the service we acted out a play in which we imagined would it would have been like for the baby Jesus, if rather than fleeing to Egypt as a refugee in the first century he was fleeing to the UK today.
Deacon Jeff leading today’s service as LLM Gaynor looks on
The Preacher at the Service was Huw Thomas, Head of the wales Office of Christian Aid.
Brs Michael & Samuel collecting at the Market last May
This Year Christian Aid Week celebrates its 60th Anniversary. As in previous years we will be out collecting again for Christian Aid
As Br Michael leaves us so Deacon Kingsley joins us to see out the year.
Deacon Kinsgley originates from Sri Lanka, where he and his wife run an Orphanage.
He comes to us for a couple of months from his post in Qatar in the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf.