Saturday 14 April 2012

Courage to build anew

Br. Michael McMullen & Fr Malachy Lynch

The Carmelite Province AGM is over and the participants have gone home to the different parts of the country, except of course for the members of the Aylesford community. It was a good meeting at which we looked towards the future, which is in the hands of God. There are always problems when we look ahead but these do not set the agenda for the future. We are called into God’s future which God is creating out of our present but we are asked to cooperate with our ideas and our work.  

Carmelites are mendicant friars, which means that we are brothers living among the people and we depend on the providence of God. With that in mind we tried to plan for our future ministries. Aylesford is one of the most important and ancient houses in the Order and a lot of things go on here. The Carmelites came here first in 1242 and then after the Reformation, returned in 1949. Then a great period of building ensued and the shrine took shape. It has served many thousands of pilgrims over the years.  The community has had to adapt to changing needs and must adapt again. We want to help whoever comes here to be that bit more open to God whether they come for a retreat, a conference or just to feed the ducks. There are many people who work alongside us to serve the people who come. We will have to do some serious repair work on the buildings in the near future, which is a bit daunting, but no doubt the Lord will show us the way.

In 1949 the community came into a building much of which was in ruins. Fr. Malachy, who was the prior then, had a famous phrase: “Courage to Build Anew”. We need that same courage now to face into the future that God has in mind for us. Please pray with us and for us that Aylesford, which is a prayer in stone, may continue to speak of God to people in the future.

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