Thursday 18 November 2010

November ~ A month of memory.

November always begins with an attitude of remembering. St Augustine of Hippo says that when we remember we make present the past. So remembering is a good and holy thing. The feast of All Saints reminds us of our heavenly home. The place that has been prepared for us is brought into our present as we remember those who have gone before us in faith and are with God. The commemoration of All Souls is the day we remember those who have died and are in that final time of being made ready to be with God for ever. We remember them in prayer and hope that our prayers and care, assist them as they let go off all those attachments and attitudes that prevent them from seeing the full beauty of God and of themselves.

On the 14th and 15th of November, the Carmelite family bring these feasts into a more local and personal context as we remember those of our Order who have died. To the left of the Relic Chapel at Aylesford is the Chapel of the Carmelite Saints. If you look carefully at the ceramics that decorate that chapel you will see in the midst of those Carmelites recognised ny the Church as saints, a nun without a halo. She represents all those faithful members of our family who are with God.

The Solemn Blessing for the Feast of All Carmelite Saints, reminds us that this is a feast of our future

May God, who set apart the Carmelite Order
for the honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
clothe you with her virtues
and make you worthy of her service. Amen.

May he who endowed Carmel
with the spirit of the prophet Elijah
make you fervent in prayer
and zealous for his honour. Amen.

May he who has blessed Carmel
with a host of saintly sons and daughters
make you their worthy brothers and sisters on earth
and partakers of their everlasting fellowship in heaven. Amen.

On the 15th of November we remember All Carmlite Souls. I always find the feast of All Souls and All Carmelite Souls, quite beautiful. I find these words of the Dominican friar Bede Jarret a great comfort.

We seem to give them back to you
O God, who gave them first to us.
Yet as you did not lose them in giving
So we do not lose them by their return.
Not as the world gives, do you give, O lover of souls.
What you give, you do not take away
For what is yours is ours if we are yours.

And life is eternal and love is immortal
And death is only a horizon
And a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, Strong Son of God, that we may see further.
Cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly,
draw us closer to yourself that we may know ourselves
 to be nearer to our loved ones who are with you.
And while you prepare a place for us
Prepare us also for that happy place
That where you are we may be also, for evermore.

The names of those of our province now buried in our provincial graveyard at Aylesford

May the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
Saints of Carmel, pray for us.


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