Holy Saturday

55595069-64DC-4F98-AD66-AC23835BB778Today is all about living with not knowing. Living with enforced stillness. Wondering how things can have gone so differently to the way we expected. A time of shock, even before grief sets in.

INTERCEDING

On this day lift before God:

  • All who are grieving.
  • All who struggle with stillness.
  • All who are perplexed by the paths their lives have taken.
  • All who wonder whether there is any hope left.

World Downs Syndrome Day 2018

INTERCEDING

 

On this day lift before God:

  • Every person gifted with an extra chromosome.
  • Every person whose life is enriched through contact with the Downs community.
  • All who work to improve the lives and opportunities of people with Downs Syndrome.
  • All who will find their lives changed by Downs Syndrome in this coming year.

St Columba – 20th March

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This reflection and icon come from  Mull Monastery.

For a few centuries during the first millennium, St Columba’s Monastery on Iona was not only the heart of the Christian Church in Scotland, but also a major centre of art and culture. Iona’s cultural influence extended far beyond the Celtic Isles through the beauty of the illuminated manuscripts written by the monks on Iona. The Book of Kells itself, one of the greatest treasures from that time which is still in existence today, was painted in St Columba’s Monastery.

The Saint himself copied texts and created many manuscripts throughout his entire life. In fact, the very reason for his presence on Iona had something to do with such a manuscript. In his youth, St Columba was involved in a dispute over the rights to keep a manuscript he had copied from an original that belonged to St Finnian. This dispute escalated into a real battle, which led to the death of several people. As punishment, St Columba was exiled from Ireland, which is why he sailed North, to the Scottish Isles. Tradition tells us that his remorse was so great that he purposely kept sailing until he reached an island from where, looking back, he could no longer see his home country. This island was Iona.

This is how we arrived to the idea behind this commission: St Columba working on an illuminated manuscript. However, the really interesting aspect to me was the personal one. As he grew older, as he sat in his cell on the tiny hill close to the monastery church, copying some text or another, was that remorse still with him? Did that terrible fall in his youth still cloud his soul?

These are the thoughts that we hoped to show in the gaze of this humble, old monk. Because these are questions that affect all of us, and we all must – sooner or later – face this anguish. How does one relate to past sins? How does one face old age still carrying the weight of a fallen nature? How does one look forward to the Resurrection while also looking back to one’s past sinfulness?

We started from the intellectual idea of an icon depicting St Columba working on a manuscript. Prayer took us to the end of this journey, where we discovered that what was given to us was, in fact, something much deeper: as icon of repentance. This holy old monk contemplating the sinfulness of his youth is endlessly more relevant to our life than the historical reality of the depicted scene. The spiritual struggle of one’s inner life remains relevant regardless of age. Through this commission, St Columba revealed himself as a teacher of repentance, one who can lead us into old age and help us bring our repentance before Christ in a way that leads to our salvation, not to despair or abandonment.

INTERCEDING

On this day lift before God:

  • all who are haunted by sins or faults from years ago.
  • all whose work is careful and painstaking.
  • all who find Iona a thin place.
  • all who are wary of resurrection this Passiontide.

St Benedict of Sept Fonts aka St Benedict Joseph Labre.

St Benedict appears a puzzle to the catholic community in which he is venerated. The orthodox would, I believe, recognise his charisma as a Fool for Christ.

Follow the link to a well written and thought provoking reflection on his life and ours.

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https://livingchurch.org/covenant/2015/03/11/no-thought-for-the-morrow-the-extravagance-of-christian-perfection/

INTERCEDING

On this day lift before God:

  • All who are homeless.
  • All who do not know where their next meal will come from.
  • All pilgrims.
  • All whose health prevents them following their first calling.
  • All whom the world perceives as failures.
  • All who see themselves as failures.
  • All who are thought to waste their lives on God.

Baldred, Apostle of the Lothians – 6th March

Saint Baldred is sometimes known as “the Apostle of the Lothians”.

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He was a monk at the monastery at Lindisfarne. At some point in the first half of the 700s he established a monastery at Tyninghame which owned large estates covering much of the coastal plain of East Lothian.

St Baldred himself undertook frequent retreats to a hermitage and chapel he had built for himself on Bass Rock.

Echoes of St Baldred occur throughout the area of East Lothian in which he lived and worked. St Baldred’s monastery at Tyninghame was destroyed by the Danes in 941 and the following century the remains of St Baldred were moved to Durham. However, in the 1100s St Baldred’s Church was built on the location of the monastery and this still stands today in the grounds of Tyninghame House.

From the 1300s miracles began to be reported by people drinking at St Baldred’s Well, at Whitekirk. This quickly became a major centre for pilgrimage. In 1413 someone took the trouble to count 15,563 pilgrims visiting St Baldred’s Well, to the considerable benefit of the church established there.

A Papal Bull of 1493 records the Pope’s consent to build a chapel on the site of St Baldred’s own chapel on Bass Rock. This is overlooked by the beautiful beach at Seacliff. St Baldred’s Cave, where he is said to have lived from time to time.

INTERCEDING

On this day lift before God:

  • All whose stories have grown after their deaths.
  • All who live quiet lives devoted to prayer.
  • All who find caves and wells thin places.
  • The people of the Lothians.
  • The Community at Lindisfarne.

The grateful Aspie

Another, in my Nick King inspired series. This time, after Luke 17.11-16:

On the way to Inchcolm Abbey, a nun was walking through the region between Glasgow and Edinburgh. She was filled with the Spirit of God, giving thanks that she might serve as part of Jesus’ body on earth. As she entered a village, ten people wracked with anxiety and despair approached seeking prayers for healing. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Pray Jesus, your Master, to have mercy on us!’ When she saw them, she said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to your priests.’ And as they went, they were made calm.

Then one of them, an Aspie, feeling the calmness seeping into all the extremities of his body, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He lay down at the Nun’s feet and thanked Jesus for taking away his anxiety, his shame about needing the help of a carer and the overwhelming pressure to be independent.

He was thrilled with gratitude for the knowledge that we are all made to be interdependent and that he has an important role to play in drawing God’s people together.

Then the Nun asked, ‘Were not ten people made calm? Where are the other nine? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this one man?’ Then she said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith and God’s love have made you well.’

 

INTERCEDING

On this day lift before God:

  • All who are wracked with anxiety.
  • All who seek healing.
  • All who do not recognise healing when it is given to them.
  • All who are grateful for their own sense of purpose or vocation.