Monday, 29 March 2010


If we do and read nothing else on the abuse scandal this Holy Week we could do no better than  firstly pray for the Holy Father and secondly read this Then perhaps try and expose the way the media and large national companies abuses the young everyday through it's exploitation of their innocence by hard selling, advertising and marketing methods that have no recourse to ethical standards of behaviour or reporting whatsoever. Praying also for those few brave journalists and advertising people who are prepared to apply the lost arts of logic, philosophy, reason, the search for truth and  proportionality to a screaming world that revolves around quick sound bites and a lemming-like ability to get it wrong 'if it sells and gets a snigger'. The biblical reference that comes to mind is of swine going over cliffs perhaps.....

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Passion of Jesus Christ

Here is the musical meditation for the Passion of Jesus Christ.

Chrism Mass

Some thoughts on the Chrism Mass which was celebrated today at Holy Nativity Church, Bristol, UK. The Bishop of Ebbsfleet welcomed us Welsh pilgrims currently orphaned of a Father in God (although our retired 'father' Bp. David was there at the altar and despite some health problems in fine form). Apart from the mobile ring tone of Bp. Andrew going off at noon for the Angelus (therefore very forgiveable) it went without a hitch!! There were 60 priests robed (about 26 Welsh) plus some further 18 priests in the congregation of around 360 faithful. A moving and poignant occasion not least because it will be the last for many as Church of England and Church in Wales Anglicans. One doubts that there will be another of this type and scale again. Thanks to the 'pastoral care' of the bench of Welsh Bishops and the soon to follow-suit diktats of the General Synod this will not happen again on this scale if at all. But we were not sad, not defeated, quite the opposite. In the words of S. David 'be joyful keep the faith' was in our hearts. There is a lovely air of caravan moving through the desert atmosphere at the moment. For what can we fear if we know that the call of God is with us. The things not of God will not have any fears for us and each will discern what the Spirit is saying to him and his vocation. Is it real? Is it of God? Where am I being called to decide on my future place in Your Kingdom? Our vows renewed, the Holy oils and the oil of gladness replenished we are now fortified for now by Holy Church to fight the world, our sins and the devil to proclaim the wonders of salvation won for us by the crucifixion of Christ in these coming days of Holy Week and the resurrection festival of mighty Easter, when soon we will be able to proclaim the 'A' word from the rooftops again! New hope, new spring, new dawn. Perhaps the most beautiful words of the season other than the forthcoming Exultat are these from the consecration prayer of the Holy Chrism the Bishop having movingly breathed three times the breath of the Holy Spirit onto the oil soon to become Holy Chrism.
God our maker, source of all growth in holiness, accept the joyful thanks and praise we offer in the name of your Church. In the beginning, at your command, the earth produced fruit-bearing trees.
From the fruit of the olive tree you have provided us with oil for holy chrism. The prophet David sang of the life and joy that the oil would bring us in the sacraments of your love.  
After the avenging flood, the dove returning to Noah with an olive branch announced your gift of peace. This was a sign of a greater gift to come. Now the waters of baptism wash away the sins of men, and by the anointing with olive oil you make us radiant with your joy.
At your command, Aaron was washed with water, and your servant Moses, his brother, anointed him priest. This too foreshadowed greater things to come. After your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, asked John for baptism in the waters of Jordan, you sent the Spirit upon him in the form of a dove and by the witness of your own voice you declared him to be your only, well-beloved Son. In this you clearly fulfilled the prophecy of David, that Christ would be anointed with the oil of gladness beyond his fellow men.  

And so, Father, we ask you to bless + this oil you have created. Fill it with the power of your Holy Spirit through Christ your Son. It is from him that chrism takes its name and with chrism you have anointed for yourself priests and kings, prophets and martyrs. 

Make this chrism a sign of life and salvation for those who are to be born again in the waters of baptism. Wash away the evil they have inherited from sinful Adam, and when they are anointed with this holy oil make them temples of your glory, radiant with the goodness of life that has its source in you. 
Through this sign of chrism grant them royal, priestly, and prophetic honor, and clothe them with incorruption. Let this be indeed the chrism of salvation for those who will be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. May they come to share eternal life in the glory of your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Christ Our Future 2000.

Do you remember that amazing day on 10th June 2000 when over 800 priests 40 Bishops and Ten Thousand faithful celebrated the 'Christ Our Future' Millennium Mass at the London Arena? I'll never forget the joy, the singing and the optimism of it all! The chief celebrant was Archbishop Hope of York and the Bishop of London preached. Sadly not many of those Bishops or Priests and Deacons will now be travelling in the same direction or at the same time as we did when we all united on that great day. But the power and the guidance of The Holy Spirit from that occasion surely continues to breathe and ignite the Anglican catholic movement these ten years later and in ways which we only would have dreamt of then. I hoped that there might be a marking of the tenth anniversary of that magnificent day with something similar but now Christ our future is, even better, calling us through Benedict XVI to celebrate our catholicity as Anglicans from all over the world and in great numbers too, at another venue. This time the procession will lead not to London but to the mother church in Rome! Those dockland martyr priests who fought the fight for the Anglican church to recover her Catholic roots will surely be there, and watching over, to greet us. Here is the prayer we prayed for three whole years leading up to the great Millennium Mass, who can deny that prayers get answered and often in unexpected ways!!

Father all-powerful, creator of all things, judge of the living and the dead, you have raised our Lord Jesus Christ from death to life, resplendent in glory as the King of all the ages. Open our hearts to Christ who is our Future; free the whole world to rejoice in his peace, to glory in his justice, and to be made new in the power of his love, who lives and reigns.....Amen.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Lent 2

We are already well into the second week of Lent and it has taken me a little while to adjust to the new spiritual 'regime' which word in French, as I said in last Sunday's sermon, means 'diet'. Indeed the new spiritual diet excluding the wordly items given up has thankfully included extras in the way of studying in the Lent group Basil Hume's 'Seven Last Words' booklet but I have just finished Dom Luke Bell's ''Deep and Subtle Joy'' from Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight, Hampshire, UK. This can be read on a number of different levels but exudes peace and clarity, vision and hope. An EXCELLENT read for Lent and for ongoing study and for insights into the doorway to salvation and eternal life. The publisher is Hidden Spring and the forward by Tony Hendra. Here is an extract from page 133 on the Readings.....
.''Faith comes by hearing. We could just scan our eyes over the texts silently instead of hearing them read, but it would not be the same. The readings make a more vital impact on the heart if they are heard. The human voice is a more intimate instrument than the written word''
And page122, on God as 'Home'....
''But to have God making his home with us is not just communion with all of creation, it is also communion with him. It means sharing his joy his bliss'' . 
How beautiful is that for Lent! An excellent read for laypeople and clergy alike. Get the book!