Friday, 31 December 2010


The Carmelite Community wish you all an very Happy and Holy New Year.

God Bless you in 2011

A New Year Prayer


The Angel of Aylesford

Holy Father,
God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows.
We praise You for Your unequalled greatness.
Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead.
Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more.
To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them.
To teach others to love by loving them.
Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us.
So that Love could be with us, and we could know You.
That we could share Love with others.

Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise,
in the song of the birds in our gardens,
in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children.
Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs,
so that we may know You better and better.

We rejoice in the world You loved into being.
Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day.
We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others.
Forgive us for falling short this past year.
We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the unknown new year knowing You will go with us.
We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what's ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want..
I say it again, we rejoice!

In Jesus name, Amen

Monday, 27 December 2010

Chrismas at Aylesford

The feast of Christmas began with Evenning Prayer of the Church on Friday evening. Then the community and our guests sat down for our first feast - a Portugese Christmas Eve supper, prepared by Br Tiago. The meal was of salt cod, potatoes and cabbage. Some of the community then celebrated Mass for Christmas at the local prison and convent.

A large number of people braved the cold and the ice for Midnight Mass celebrated by our prior, Fr Brendan. Mince pies then were served to all comers in the Pilgrims Hall.

Christmas morning heralded another international themed feasting. Br Torsten prepared a German breakfast of cold meats and breads. Delicious and abundant. Fr Kevin went to help with Mass in Walworth, Fr David Fox to Faversham and all gathered again in time for our community Christmas Dinner prepared by Fr Damian. The community meal was blessed with much laughter and fun. Many hands helped everything run smoothly. Many visitors came to see the crib and enjoy the peace of the priory during the afternoon.

During the week some of the friars will be having a break, others will have family and friends come to spend some time with us. Whatever you are doing in these days, know of our prayer for you and rest well if at all possible

Friday, 24 December 2010

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

The Carmelite Community wish you all a Happy and Holy Christmas and many joys and blessings for the coming year


A Reflection for Christmas
We are a people of memory, and in the darkness of the night we have gathered to celebrate not just a memory but also an ongoing reality. Our celebration is very familiar. We have sung carols; we have made our crib and have placed the Christ child in the embrace of the manger. We have undertaken those little rituals particular to our own families. The drink left out for Father Christmas that my father always used to insist was a good tot of whisky! The slippers left on the hearth. Our senses over the last weeks have been assailed with familiar sights, sounds, smells, and tastes. We have gathered in our families and communities to feast and express our love for one another and if you’re anything like my family you will probably have a row as well. We have expended a lot of energy deciding whether Granddad would mind another set of hankies, and mum some perfume from the body shop, or queuing for the ‘must have’ toy of the moment. But in the midst of this frantic activity we have gathered to connect with the real reason for our feasting and gift giving. So relax, unwind, forget about the turkey and how long it will take to cook and immerse yourself in the total and passionate love that God has for you. For today we celebrate a concrete, consuming and enduring love

I can clearly remember the first time I was allowed to go to Midnight Mass. I was about 7 or 8, and to stay up that late for me was a great adventure. We came here to the Friars.  It was a very cold night and we walked to the friary and our breaths made a fog in the night air. We heard the readings and sung the carols that we have sung and proclaimed today. That Christmas night was magical for me because when we came out of the church the landscape had been totally transformed. During Mass the countryside had been covered with a thick blanket of snow. As I rekindle that memory I realise that there is a lesson for us to learn here. Forget the familiar but think of what this feast really means. God breaks into our human story in a new and vibrant way. God becomes a human being. Not born in grandeur, but in a stable. Not warmed by a fine blanket, but by straw and the breath of cattle. When Mary becomes pregnant with Jesus and gives birth to him in Bethlehem the whole landscape of our future is changed. This is our story; it impacts on each one of us. And this, my friends, is the real message of Christmas and it is not comfortable, but challenging. God becomes human, he has our flesh, he is bones and blood and muscle and sinew. Why? Why did God find it necessary to do such a reckless thing? Look at the crib. There in the manger we begin to understand. God is revealed to us by coming in the lowliest of possible places.

The Good News of Christmas is here to bring us light in the midst of any darkness, poverty, rejection, emptiness, sinfulness we experience. By reminding us of where and how God comes, the Good News is also a revelation of who we are. We are the people who walk in darkness. We are people who experience parts of our lives as dry and unwelcoming as that hay. We are people who, on our own, not only fail to know and understand; we are capable of tremendous infidelity and stubborn independence.

We get our word ‘manger’ from the Latin root, which means simply ‘to eat’. Jesus comes, into the greatest place of our poverty, not only to be with us but to nourish us. The manger can be the place we go this Christmas to be fed with the acceptance, love and peace that we need. There is no place of darkness in which we need ever feel alone. There is no situation, no loss, or tragedy that need ever leave us empty. There is no sin, no matter how selfish that need ever leave us apart from God’s love.

We are living in times of uncertainty, our finances are uncertain, our job stability is uncertain, the ability of our young people to continue in education is uncertain. Our weather is very uncertain! We are now living life without certainties but some remain. In these times of bleak headlines, when our news updates seem to be but litanies of hopelessness, we are called to be different. We are called to be men and women of the good news, men and women of peace and reconciliation. We are called to be hopeful for our future and our Christian faith and the feast that we now celebrate give us the means of our hope, but this hope carries with it a responsibility. God becomes a human being in order that we might know what it means to be really human. God is with his people. He is Emmanuel. Jesus becomes human in order that we may know that we are precious in the eyes of God, and made in his image and likeness.

The attitudes of Jesus are to be our attitudes. This means that when people are isolated we must seek them out and include them in our community. When people are sick and in pain we must accompany them. When people lead lives of violence we must resist, not with a more ferocious violence, but with peace. The way of Jesus is a way of peace, a way of relationship. When God is most powerful in history it is when he is most vulnerable – the crib and the cross. If we want to celebrate this feast well let our hearts be changed by God’s love for us. What a gift this would be for our world. We would see one another with new eyes. The news of Great joy, that God loves his people passionately and intimately would be visible on our faces and in the way that we relate with one another. God is not a distant lover. God has taken the reckless step of loving us whom he has created and this love is ours for the taking. It is pure gift, undeserved and freely given by a generous lover. This is the cause of our joy. May Christ be born in each one of us this day. And may we all have a happy, holy and peace filled Christmas


From the Roman Martyrology

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Clever Contemporary Telling of the Christmas Story


The wonderful soundtrack is by a band called 'Folk Angels' and is a lovely re-working of an advent classic

O Magnum Mysterium


To get you in the mood ...

Pope Benedict XVI to give 'Thought for the Day' on Radio 4 on Christmas Eve

Pope Benedict XVI will deliver the Thought For The Day on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas Eve morning.
The Pope recorded Thought For The Day in Rome on Wednesday.
Gwyneth Williams, the controller of Radio 4, said: 'I'm delighted Pope Benedict is sharing his Christmas message with the Radio 4 audience.'
'It's significant that the Pope has chosen Thought For The Day to give his first personally scripted broadcast - and what better time to do so than on the eve of the biggest celebration on the Christian calendar.'
Thought For The Day is broadcast within the Today programme at 0745 from Monday to Saturday.

Penultimate Day of Advent


O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Last Wednesday of Advent

O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Final Tuesday of Advent

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Last Monday of Advent

O Key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent


O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay
Magnificat Antiphon
19th December

The church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace.
St Charles Borromeo
XVI Century

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Mass Times ~ Christmas 2010

CHRISTMAS EVE.

Mass: 12 noon.

Carols & Midnight Mass: 11.30pm

CHRISTMAS DAY.

Mass: 8am & 10.15am

BOXING DAY ~ Feast of the Holy Family

Mass:10.15am

Monday 27th Dec - Saturday 1st January

Mass 12 noon

The Final Days of Advent II


O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your mighty power.

Adonai: a Hebrew name for God meaning 'Lord'

The Creator, the Wisdom of God, draws near, the midst of the prophet’s promise is dispersed.
Joy clears the skies,
Truth is resplendent,
The dark shadows are dispelled,
The gates of Eden are opened,
Adam dances in exultation:
Our Creator wills to fashion us anew.
Orthodox Liturgy

ADVENT RECONCILIATION SERVICE TODAY!
2pm. THE RELIC CHAPEL

Friday, 17 December 2010

The Final Days of Advent

O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way of truth.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

A Story for the World

The Christmas edition of the Radio Times carried this thought provoking article from the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is well worth a ponder

"Travelling as Archbishop brings some pretty surreal moments at times; the most surreal in my recent memory is from a trip to India in October. I was invited to give my blessing to the kitchen staff of a hotel on the occasion of their starting to mix the batter for the Christmas cake. Along with a venerable Indian bishop, I dutifully poured honey into a trough of mixed fruit about the size of a snooker table, said prayers, shook hands and walked out into the tropical heat, accompanied by a deafening blast of Jingle Bells over the loudspeakers.

Christmas is one of the great European exports. You’ll meet Santa Claus and his reindeer in Shanghai and Dar es Salaam – a long way from the North Pole. More seriously, the story of the Nativity is loved even in non-Christian contexts. (I discovered that one of the best and most sensitive recent film retellings of the story was made by an Iranian Muslim company.) The weary annual attempts by right thinking people in Britain to ban or discourage Nativity plays or public carol singing out of sensitivity to the supposed tender consciences of other religions fail to notice that most people of other religions and cultures both love the story and respect the message.

It isn’t difficult to see why. For a start, the story is a compelling and a dramatic one. A long journey through a land under military occupation; a difficult birth in impoverished accommodation. And alongside these harsh realities, the skies torn open and blazing angelic voices summoning a random assortment of farm labourers to go and worship in the outhouse; or a mysterious constellation in the heavens, triggering a pilgrimage by exotic oriental gurus to come and kneel where the farm labourers have knelt.

The story says something is happening that will break boundaries and cross frontiers. The most unlikely people will find they are looking for the same thing and recognise each other instead of fearing each other. There is something here that draws strangers together. It’s what some of the old carols mean by the ‘desire of all nations’: as if what human beings realy wanted was not revenge, endless cycles of miserable scoring off each other, but to stand together in shared astonishment and gratitude, held together by something quite outside the usual repertoire of human events. By something just inviting is to recognise we’re loved – if we could only stop and see it.

The clutching had of a baby is, for most of us, something we can’t resist. The Christmas story outrageously suggests that putting our hand into the clutch of a baby may be the most important thing we can ever do as human beings – a real letting go of aggression and fear and wanting to make an impression, and whatever else is going on in us that keeps us tied up in our struggle and violence.

Even more outrageously, the story suggests this particular baby, the one born in the outhouse, who is rescued at the last moment from a village massacre like the ones that happen so regularly in forgotten civil wars today in Congo or Sudan – this baby is the place where the power of the Creator of the universe is completely present. What on earth might it mean to say that the ultimate power in the universe is more like a baby clutching at us in blind trust than it is like a president’s bullet proof motorcade?

Well, all that is to go a bit beyond the story itself, of course. Christians believe it and not everyone else does. But it still ought to make us think. The fact that this story of defenceless love – even when wrapped up in all the bizarre fancy dress of Christmas as it’s developed over the centuries – touches something universal should, at the very least, make us think twice about giving up on the human heart’s capacity for goodness and faith, however deeply buried.

One horse open sleighs in southern India are surreal, all right; but surreal things can connect us with some surprising realities."

Most Rev. Dr Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury

Men and women of ceaseless hope

"You must be men and women of ceaseless hope, because only tomorrow can today's human and Christian promise be realized; and every tomorrow will have its own tomorrow, world without end. Every human act, every Christian act, is an act of hope. But that means you must be men and women of the present, you must live this moment - really live it, not just endure it - because this very moment, for all its imperfection and frustration, because of its imperfection and fristration, is pregnant with all sorts of possibilities, is pregnant with te future, is pregnant with love, is pregnant with Christ."
Walter J Burghardt

Monday, 13 December 2010

Feast of St Lucy

 SAINT LUCY (SANTA LUCIA)

Tradition tells us that Saint Lucy was born of noble, wealthy, Christian parents in Syracuse, Italy. Lucy had few memories of her father, for he died when Lucy was an infant. As a young girl, Lucy took a secret vow to consecrate her virginity to Christ. Thus her mother was quite dismayed when Lucy, as a teen, refused marriage to a young pagan. When Lucy's mother developed a hemorrhage, Lucy persuaded her to visit the tomb of St. Agatha to pray for healing. When her mother was healed, Lucy revealed her vow of virginity and asked permission to bestow her fortune on the poor. Joyful at her cure, Lucy's mother agreed, but Lucy's pagan suitor was incensed. With the persecution of the emperor Diocletian at its height, the jilted young man accused Lucy, before a judge, of being a Christian. When Lucy refused to relinquish her faith, the judge ordered her to a brothel. However, guards who attempted to drag her to the house of sin were unable to budge her. Similarly an attempt to burn Lucy to death failed so she was dispatched by thrusting a sword into her throat. The date of Lucy's martyrdom was December 13, 304.
SAINT LUCY ASSOCIATED WITH LIGHT

According to the Julian calendar, December 13th was the shortest day of the year. The change to the Gregorian calendar altered the date to December 21st, but did not change Lucy's feast day celebration, and she is forever associated with lengthening days and more sunlight.

As early as the sixth century, Lucy was honored in Rome as one of the most praiseworthy virgin martyrs, and her name was inserted into the canon of the Mass. Possibly because of her name, which means "light," Lucy was invoked by those who suffered from eye trouble or blindness. Due to this connection, various legends arose. One legend claimed that her eyes were put out by a tyrannical government official or by her jilted boyfriend. Another declared that Lucy tore them out herself to discourage her pagan suitor. In every story, however, the Lord restored her eyes to her, more beautiful than ever.

CELEBRATIONS OF SAINT LUCY'S DAY

Saint Lucy's Day, December 13, is celebrated by several European nations.

In Sweden, the oldest (or youngest) daughter in each household traditionally carries a tray of coffee and traditional pastries called lussekatter (Lucy cats) to her parents before they arise in the morning. She wears a white gown, scarlet sash, and a crown of greens and four, seven, or nine lighted candles . Her brothers, wearing white shirts and tall, cone-shaped hats decorated with stars, and her sisters, all in white and carrying lighted candles, follow her. In many towns, a Saint Lucy is chosen to carry coffee and buns to each house. She and her followers, each bearing a lighted candle, sing carols as they traverse the dark streets while St. Steven, represented by a man on horseback, leads the way. The procession is done in memory of Saint Lucy's traversing darkened woods to bring bread and other food to the poor.

In Switzerland, St Lucy strolls around the village with Father Christmas, giving gifts to the girls while he gives gifts to the boys.

In Venice, folks celebrate the Feast of St. Lucy by enjoying fried cheese.

Italians eat small cakes or biscotti shaped like eyes, light huge bonfires, and conduct evening candlelight processions, all in honor of Saint Lucy.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Third Sunday of Advent

Waiting for God is an active, alert - yes, joyful - waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes." 
Henri Nouwen

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all!
Philippians 4: 4-5

Friday, 10 December 2010

Day of Prayer for Human Rights

 10th – Day of Prayer for Human Rights



The Carmelite community gathered for our celebration of the Eucharist and morning prayer in the Cloister chapel this morning and had as a focus of prayer the anniversary of the declaration of human rights. This year the focus is on the freedom of religious belief. During the Mass, a candle was lit that will burn throughout the day to call us to prayer.

"We dedicate our Day of Prayer on Human Rights Day this year to the theme of freedom of belief. This Prayer allows us to reflect on the right of freedom of belief as it is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration and as it is enunciated in the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is a right that is related intrinsically to the dignity of the human person. It pertains to the human quest for Truth.

We dedicate our Day of Prayer on Human Rights Day this year to the theme of freedom of belief. This Prayer allows us to reflect on the right of freedom of belief as it is enshrined in the United Nations Declaration and as it is enunciated in the teaching of the Catholic Church. It is a right that is related intrinsically to the dignity of the human person. It pertains to the human quest for Truth."


Oh God,
all peoples have their origin in you and it is your will to gather them
as one family in yourself.
Fill the hearts of all people with your love and the desire to ensure justice for all their brothers and sisters.
By sharing the good things of the earth, may we secure justice and equality for every human being, an end to all division, and a human society built on love and peace.
We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen



Thomas Merton

On December 10th 1968, the Trappist monk, Thomas Merton died. For many he was an inspiration. His candour and honesty combined with his ability to articulate beauty and wisdom with great simplicity has nourished the faith of many.
At a very difficult and dark period in Thomas Merton’s life he penned this prayer that has been such a help to so many people:

O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.


Nor do I really know myself,
And that fact that I think
I am following Your will
Does not mean that I am actually doing so.


But I believe
That the desire to please You
Does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire
In all that I am doing.


I hope that I will never do anything
Apart from that desire to please You.
And I know that if I do this
You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.


Therefore I will trust You always
Though I may seem to be lost
And in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
For You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me
To make my journey alone.

Source: Thomas Merton, Pax Christi, Benet Press, Erie, PA.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

St Anne, Mother of Mary, bearing the infant Mary and the Infant Jesus
From St Anne's Chapel, Aylesford Priory
The Theotokos has been revealed on the earth in truth,
Proclaimed of old by the words of the prophets,
Foretold by the wise patriarchs and the company of the righteous.
She will exchange glad tidings with the honour of women:
Sarah, Rebecca, and the glorious Hannah, and Miriam, the sister of Moses.
All the ends of the earth shall rejoice with them,
Together with all of creation.
For God shall come to be born in the flesh,
Granting the world great mercy.
Orthodox Liturgy

Hail Mary, the most beautiful dove, which carried the word of God for us; we greet you with the Archangel Gabriel saying: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Hail, O Virgin, the glory of our race; you have borne Emmanuel for us. We pray that you will remember us before the Lord Jesus Christ, that he will forgive us our sins.
Coptic Liturgy.

Let us pray,

Father, the image of the Virgin is found in the Church.
Mary had a faith that your Spirit prepared
and a love that never knew sin,
for you kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception..

Trace in our actions the lines of her love,
in our hearts her readiness of faith.
Prepare once again a world for your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Roman Missal


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I'm waiting

I’m waiting …

I am sitting in my room on a cold December morning. The frost is heavy on the windows; People are walking around the friary, the bustle of the house continues. The world is not still. We are now in the second week of Advent. A time for stopping in the midst of our busy lives and a time to simply ask, ‘what do I yearn for?’ Maybe the economic uncertainties of our world at this time can give us the opportunity to begin to seek what our hearts yearn for, to seek out what we need to live, rather to want what makes our lives comfortable.

Advent is my favourite season in the Churches year. It just seems to follow the climate of our land. As the nights draw in we seek light and warmth. We hear in our liturgy of the long waiting of people for God’s promise to be fulfilled. The themes that are presented to us are expectancy, hope, and joy. The church invites us to ask for and live in a Spirit of expectancy and joy that our salvation is not only close at hand but faithfully present. That for which we wait this Advent is our deeper reception of this gift, wrapped in flesh for us and for the whole human family. Jesus, and the presence of Jesus in our lives, is the cause of our rejoicing and should also leave us a little bit bemused.

As we prepare for the great feast of Christ’s birth, forget the familiar but think of what Christmas really means. God breaks into our human story in a new and vibrant way. God becomes a human being. Not born in grandeur, but in a stable. Not warmed by a fine blanket, but by straw and the breath of cattle. When Mary becomes pregnant with Jesus and gives birth to him in Bethlehem the whole landscape of our future is changed. This is our story; it impacts on each one of us. And this is the real message of Christmas and it is not comfortable, but challenging. God becomes human, he has our flesh, he is bone and blood and muscle and sinew. Emmanuel – God is with us.  The Good News of Christmas is here to bring us light in the midst of any darkness, poverty, rejection, emptiness, sinfulness we experience. By reminding us of where and how God comes, the Good News is also a revelation of who we are. We are the people who walk in darkness. We are the people who hunger and thirst for God’s presence. The Advent season and the feast of the Nativity give us an opportunity to express our need for absolute love and vitality, and to be reminded by God, that he is with us, the fullness of life and love.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Community Advent Calender

Br Tiago & Br Torsten have been flexing their creative muscles and adding to the Advent atmosphere of the house. They have taken the idea of an Advent calender and married it with reflections and scripture passages to guide us in our mental prayer throughout the day. A very simple idea that captures the essence of Advent, marking the passage of the days, and heightening our anticipation of the solemn feast of the Nativity of the Lord

The Community Advent Calender

Previous entries

Today's addition

Today's messgae
Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Second Sunday of Advent


Well all the community have arrived safely home following their trips to various parts of the country. Thank you for your prayers. The novices enjoyed their week with other novices from various communities around Britain. They were meeting to discuss the meaning of the vow of obedience. Fr's Brendan and Joseph returned from their conference in Derby with many tails of digging the car out of the snow ( Brendan) and prayer. (Joseph). It seems that both these activities took place at the same time! We keep in mind during these days of snow and ice those whom the cold affects deeply. The poor, the homeless and those left isolated.

Father in heaven,
the days draws near when the glory of your Son
will make radiant the night of the waiting world.

May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy
which moves the hearts of all who seek him.
May the darkness not blind us
to the vision of wisdom
which fills the mind of those who find him.

We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. 
The Roman Missal, Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent

Charm with your stainlessness these winter nights,
Skies, and be perfect!
Fly vivider in the fiery dark, you quiet meteors,
And disappear.
You moon, be slow and go down,
This is your fill!

The four white roads make off in silence
Towards the four parts of the starry universe.
Time falls like manna at the corners of the wintry earth.
We have become more humble than the rocks,
More wakefull than the patirnt hills.

Charm with your stainlessness these nights in Advent,
      holy spheres,
While minds, as meek as beasts
Stay close at home in the sweet hay;
And intellects are quieter than the flocks that feed by stralight.

Oh pour your darkness and your brightness over all our
solemn valleys,
Your skies: and travel like the gentle Virgin,
Towards the planets' stately setting,
Oh, whte full moon as quiet as Bethlehem!
. Thomas Merton, OSCO. From The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton. 1968

Thursday, 2 December 2010

ATTENTION ADVENT SERVICE

With regret, the Ecumenical Advent Service due to take place at Aylesford Priory on Friday 3rd December, has been cancelled due to inclement weather.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Aylesford ~ A Winter Wonderland!

Some pictures of the priory taken at 7.40am

The Old Courtyard from the Prior's Hall

The Main Shrine from the Cloisters



The Old Courtyard from the Community House

Main Shrine


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advent happenings

Last weekend we had our annual Christmas Craft Fayre. On the Saturday afternoon children from around the diocese told the nativity story through mime, music, dance and theatre. They were helped along by our friends from the Cabrini Society and Southwark Catholic Youth Services. It was a wonderful afternoon and the children were splendid. Joy, pride and tears all around.

The Star of Bethlehem suspended over the Shrine

Bishop Paul Hendricks, surrounded by children and families, braves the cold!


Telling the story

Br Torsten and Br Tiago, wrapped up in some old cloaks against the cold. Fr Paul Saleh, a Carmelite from Australia, stands to get a better view

Fr Brendan, being ... Fr Brendan

During the weekend went to lead St Joseph's parish in Bromley in a time of retreat. Whilst there he met with Bishop Pat Lynch who had just finished Fr Joseph's book 'Let it be', and was full of praise of its simplicity and wisdom. A hundred or so people from the parish gathered for the retreat. Kent was hit with the promised snow on Tuesday morning and although beautiful, the snow slowed everything down. The return journey from Bromley to Aylesford took Fr Damian 5 hours, much longer than the 40 minutes it took to get there!

Fr Brendan and Fr Joseph have braved the roads to drive north for a conference in Swanwick. Fr Kevin, Br Torsten and Br Tiago have braved the A14 to attend an intercongregational course for novices. We hope they all arrive home safely and with not too many tales of hazardous journeys.

Meanwhile enjoy some of the views of a snowbound Aylesford.

The Main Shrine

The Apple Grove

The Community House

The Shrine Jesse Tree

The Piazza
Fragile Beauty
If you are travelling - be safe and patient. Let us remeber in prayer all those for whom this weather is a tremendous burden and just complicates already difficult circumstances.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

ADVENT

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
Help us to be ready for you...to see you and love you in the circumstances of our lives, in the people who surround us. Help us to be ready to give you whatever You ask, whatever you need of our poor treasures to enrich the poor....whatever you need of our lives and energies to bring hope to the hopeless.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!



Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ: he is Emmanuel,

 God with us, the hope of the peoples
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Saviour of every nation.
Lord God, let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. AMEN.


 

Friday, 26 November 2010

Preparing for Advent V

Prayer in the Days Before Advent
My brother, Jesus. It happens every year. I think that this will be the year that I have a reflective Advent. I look forward to Sunday and this new season, Jesus. But all around me are the signs rushing me to Christmas and some kind of celebration that equates spending with love.
I need your help. I want to slow my world down. This year, more than ever, I need Advent, these weeks of reflection and longing for hope in the darkness.
Jesus, this year, help me to have that longing. Help me to feel it in my heart and be aware of the hunger and thirst in my own soul. Deep down, I know there is something missing in my life, but I can’t quite reach for it. I can’t get what is missing.
I know it is about you, Jesus. You are not missing from my life, but I might be missing the awareness of all of the places you are present there.
Be with me, my dear friend. Guide me in these weeks to what you want to show me this Advent. Help me to be vulnerable enough to ask you to lead me to the place of my own weakness, the very place where I will find you the most deeply embedded in my heart, loving me without limits.

Source: Daily Reflection Calender

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Preparing for Advent IV

How sour sweet time is
when time is broke and no proportion kept!
So it is in the music of men's lives.
And here have I the daintiness of ear
to check time broke in a disorder'd string:
But, for the concord of my state and time,
had not an ear to hear my true time broke.
I wasted time, and now time doth waste me.
William Shakespeare.