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Showing posts from April, 2009

A visit from 3 French Brothers/friends of mine

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One of the great things about being a member of an apostolic religious congregations is that you get the chance to meet, study with, live with in community people from different backgrounds, cultures, etc... and though like in any form of life where people are thrown together in a situation, personalities may sometimes clash, there is on the whole such good will, generosity and friendship that you come to feel part of one very large family...

Well, that is at least my experience. During my training to be a Brother in the 1990s, I was blessed with the chance to spend 5 years in France (we, the De La Mennais Brothers were founded in Brittany in 1819 - now in 24 countries). During that time I got to know many French Brothers. Whenever I visited a community, for whatever reason, the warmth of fraternal love with which I was welcomed (whether or not I had met the Brothers before or not) would bowl me over. I still go to France for various reasons a few times a year and it is always a joy to…

Handing over your life to Christ - radically living out the vow of Obedience

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I posted the following text on this blog 2 years ago in relation to the 3rd Sunday of Easter, Year C of the liturgical calendar (we are in Year A at the moment). It is a reflection I wrote in relation to one of my favourite Gospel passages: John 21 - Peter + other apostles going fishing, Jesus appearing to them and the events that followed. It came to mind because its theme of handing over control to Christ has become more and more pertinent for me in recent months with a change of community lined up for me this summer. I will write more about this at a later date. For now I will just say that I don't actually know which of 2 possible communities I will be going to yet. I have to trust that in handing over total control of my life to Christ through the medium of my Superiors within my congregation (vow of Obedience) I will end up where God wants me to be. Of that I am sure, though never in my life have I felt myself living out that abandonment and handing over of self as radically…

Warp drive - far ahead of its time...

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With the impending release of the Star Trek franchise reboot at the hands of tv and film mogul J. J. Abrams ("Lost", "Mission Impossible: III", "Alias", "Cloverfield", etc... as one or more of these: producer, co-creator, director, writer, composer...) the following fascinating article from Universe Today (see below 3 paragraphs down) plays down the chances of us ever finding an equivalent to the form of faster-than-light space travel propulsion used in the Star Trek universe: warp drive.

Even so, it will always have currency, I believe, in science fiction for the possibilities it allows in terms of speeding up the drama (excuse the pun). Other, nearer-future dramas such as the films "Alien" + "Event Horizon" seem to manage with the more feasible idea of cryogenic sleep, but they are sci-fi thrillers based primarily on atmosphere and suspense (with the possible exception of James Cameron's "Aliens" i.e. "Ali…

Easter Hymn

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Resurrexit sicut dixit!!
Here's a lovely Easter poem by A. E. Houseman sent to me by a friend:
Easter Hymn

If in that Syrian garden, ages slain,
You sleep, and know not you are dead in vain,
Nor even in dreams behold how dark and bright
Ascends in smoke and fire by day and night
The hate you died to quench and could but fan,
Sleep well and see no morning, son of man. But if, the grave rent and the stone rolled by,
At the right hand of majesty on high
You sit, and sitting so remember yet
Your tears, your agony and bloody sweat,
Your cross and passion and the life you gave,
Bow hither out of heaven and see and save.


Historical evidence - Simon of Cyrene

As a follow up to my story I posted last week, here's an interesting article in the July/August 2003 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, page 51 about an archeological discovery made in 1941.**********************************Archaeological evidence may confirm the historical reality of the Bible's Simon of Cyrene
The Bible records that when Jesus was on the way to be crucified, the Roman soldiers forced a man called Simon from Cyrene to carry his cross. (Matthew chapter 27 verse 32, Luke chapter 23 verse 26). It also tells us that this Simon had sons called Alexander and Rufus (Mark chapter 15 verse 21).Cyrene was the capital city of the province of Cyrenaica, which was in the eastern part of present-day Libya.In 1941, the Israeli archaeologist Eleazar Sukenik from the Hebrew University, and his assistant Nahman Avigad, discovered a rock tomb in the Kidron valley in eastern Jerusalem.(Sukenik would later become famous for acquiring the first Dead Sea Scrolls for the State of …

Some good advice for the Triduum from Bible Geek (Mark Hart)

Over at lifeteen.com Bible Geek has given sound advice for us to get more out of this year's Holy Week readings:
When it comes to Palm Sunday and Holy Week, in general, most people operate from memory when it comes to the Passion. That is to say that many people “know the gist” of the story, but fail to really enter into it, spiritually.

Many of you reading this have heard the Passion account dozens of times (if not more). But when was the last time you sat down and read it? Normally, for most of us, we hear it proclaimed (which is very important) but we don’t really read it as part of our own prayer.

This year, try something different.

Sit down and read through the different Passion accounts from the different evangelists. Note the differences. Pay attention to the verb choices, adjectives, characters and details of each gospel.

Nothing is there by accident. Every word you read and every verse you pray was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I promise you that if you do this your Holy Week w…

Simon of Cyrene - a short story for Easter

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A few years ago whilst on retreat during Holy Week, at the request of the person leading the retreat, I started to reflect on a few of the peripheral characters in the Passion story. One in particular stood out for me: Simon of Cyrene. I was initially interested in the fact that this foreigner (Cyrene was in N. Africa) is mentioned in Mark 15:21 as the "father of Alexander and Rufus", suggesting that not only did he himself become known (and possibly a bit of a celebrity) in the early post-resurrection communities, but that his sons were prominent figures too.

What was his back story? How did he end up there at that precise moment? What effect did the experience of helping to carry Jesus' cross side by side with him have on Simon? All these questions and more began to fascinate me. One evening during the retreat, I began to write... that is how this story was born.


Simon of Cyrene

Bro. J. A. Hayes (Easter, 1994)

That year, Simon felt strangely compelled to make his first eve…

Archbishop Vincent Nichols - new Archbishop of Westminster

My prayers go out to Archbishop Vin today that he may have the strength, courage and determination to stand up for our Church and our faith in the midst of ever increasing pressure from Govt. and media that seek to undermine Catholic belief and practice in this country. He is going to need our support and prayers in the weeks and months ahead.


Vincent Nichols from Catholic Westminster on Vimeo.

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Just heard ++Vin interviewed by Peter Allen on BBC 5 Live. Our man came across as passionate, pastoral, dealt with Allen's curve balls with consummate ease. Inevitably ended by tying in his allegiance to Liverpool F.C. and how he would be at their Champions League game against Chelsea on Weds.

Overall, rather impressed. Left with the impression that this is someone who will indeed fight our corner publicly with dignity and passion.