Hi Everyone – just wanted to share a few thoughts with you –
We have now come to the climax of the Easter season with the feasts of Ascension and Pentecost and as I wonder on what to say I have tried to take as a basis “ taking up the challenge of living the Gospel values”. These values are of course very familiar with us and we can almost forget some of them without thinking, each day we try to live out the values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness etc and these are of course just some of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. These fruits, alongside the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are the foundations in which we can build a life of Holiness. Just a little over a year ago we celebrated a wonderful celebration for the Vigil of Pentecost with 4 readings and taking the form of another Eater Vigil – (the occasion being my Abbatial Blessing Day) and it has been a somewhat very challenging year both for me and for the Community! It has been said that I have had ‘a Baptism of an introduction to the task of being a superior’, and it no doubt will continue to be!
Pentecost was originally called the Feast of Weeks and was an agricultural feast which was celebrated in May or June in way of Thanksgiving to God for the grain harvest, (but we can offer ourselves to God instead), it was celebrated 7 weeks (or 50 days) after the feast of Passover. This feast was developed somewhat by the time that Our Lord was living, the Feast of weeks had acquired a new meaning. Since it followed 50 days after the celebration of Passover which commemorated the exodus, Pentecost as it was now called, had become a commemoration of the giving of the Covenant and Law at Sinai after the Exodus. The wind from heaven and tongues of fire in Acts echos Exodus which describes the thunder and smoke on Mt. Sinai when God gave the covenant. It is at Pentecost that we see God’s gift of the new Law, and that new law is the Holy Spirit.
This is something which we are all called to do as Jesus taught us a way by his example, he left us help on the day of Pentecost, we receive this help first at our Baptism, then at our Confirmation but have to continue through life’s little journey. Just as these are the foundations (the gift’s & the fruit’s of the Holy Spirit), for our lives which calls us to a continuous renewal of the way we live. We need to take a step back occasionally and look at the foundations of our rule and see how we can get to the spirit of what and how St. Benedict asks us to live. Our vow of Conversion asks us to be continually open to this and to keep that renewal at heart.
So going back to living the gospel values, we should go back to 14 short weeks ago when on Ash Wed we were full of zeal to give up everything and anything to do that bit of extra for the Lord in an attempt to better our lives. During these 6 weeks or so we ready for anything, knowing that at Easter all our attempts will come to an end in one sense. But where has that left us now? Have we become too slack again and drifted away? It is a time to be open to the Holy Spirit and to ‘Listen’ as St. Benedict tells us to with the ‘ear of our heart’ as well as our ears and mind, and to deepen our commitment to God through a renewal in ourselves and let the Holy Spirit flow through us – being able to sing along with the responsorial Psalm for Pentecost ‘Send forth your Spirit Lord, and renew the face of the earth’.
It has been wonderful to journey this last year with you even though its been difficult at times, I hope that there is something inspirational in what I am writing. Thank you all for your prayers and support!