Dismas is the name by which we know the repentant thief who was crucified with Jesus. He saw Jesus die and spoke to him at the last. There are many references to Jesus eating with sinners, including the call of Matthew. But read Luke 15, 1-7 which leads to the parable of the lost sheep. Saint Luke also tells of Dismas in 23:42.
I know this man. I met him before : you must have heard how he ate and drank with sinners. I was there, of course. I invited him.
That was when I began to forgive myself. He forgave me. He did not turn away. He will not turn away now.
Jesus, remember me, when you come into your Kingdom!
Let us kneel and pray in silence.
And sing : Jesus, remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.
Crucifixion in Winchester Cathedral.
The other evening we had a Pilgrims’ shared prayer and meal evening, ten or so of us members of L’Arche Kent. We prayed:
Father in heaven,
May the holy season of Lent
bring us your blessing and your forgiveness
and the gift of your light.
We had hearts printed on card and filled them with light, and pictures and words to represent our homes and the people we wanted to share in God’s blessing and light. Art in L’Arche.
My reflection afterwards was more on the practical details (it’s important to get these right!) so it was good to be recalled to the joys of Art in L’Arche by someone hiding behind the name interwebconvos who has been writing about her/his experience of art in L’Arche. S/he also shared these blogs:
It was good to be reminded of these events, and to remember encounters and conversations in my own life with L’Arche. I won’t start now, I’ve given you enough reading material for one day!
The pebble heart was from another friend, one we ought to introduce to L’Arche some time!
Laetare Sunday: more than halfway through Lent, and it’s time for a breather from the rigours of the season. The fact that God doesn’t get a mention in this story does not mean he didn’t get a look-in. I hope you enjoy our afternoon almost as much as we did. Will.
It began as a walk to post a letter, but once at the postbox we were halfway to the level crossing, so we went there.
There was a train trundling into platform 1, but between the tracks were stop signs and red flashing lights at ground level. No trains towards London today. ‘Red means stop. Train not go past,’ said Abel.
It was as long as it was short to walk home past the station, so we went there.
The train was pulling out of platform 1. In half an hour it would leave from Platform 2, so we stayed to watch the shunting. When that was completed, Abel discovered the metal grids covering the gutters along platform 1. They made good tracks for him to drive his imaginary train along.
By the time we had spoke to the kind station man, who gave Abel half a dozen blank tickets on a roll, there was only ten minutes before the train left. We had enough money for a ride to the next station and back, so we went there.
We had to use the lifts and press the buttons on them and on the train. On the way we saw the other level crossings and some swans and the river, and the moon beginning to shine.
The next station is built across the main road – one platform on one side, one on the other. The road was so busy Abel had to be carried over. A kind man stopped his car and waited for us to cross safely. Just a few minutes before the train left from platform 1, so we went there.
When we got off the train, after more button pressing, the moon was really bright, and an aeroplane went by with its lights on. We were nearly at Grannie and Grandad’s house, so we went there.
But not straight away. In the park the gutter down the middle of the path was waiting to be a railway track again. Abel was ready to run up and down for another half hour, so Grandad found a red bike light to use as a signal. Abel put it by the track like the lights at the station. But when he wanted to move on he said ‘red means stop, yellow means get ready, green means go.’ And off he went.
Eventually we arrived at our destination.
There was one crumpet left, so we had it with Marmite; and Abel ate three-quarters.
It was almost time for Abel’s Dad to collect him, so we played for a bit, then Abel got in the car and went home in the moonlight.
He was asleep when he got there.
Another station, another time … between Belfast and Larne, July 1969.
So Happy Feast Day for Saint Patrick on Saturday!
This reflection is from Sri Lanka; it challenges us at the most basic level. Do we know that the tea (or coffee) we drink is produced by slave labour or free? The reflection and prayers based on it can be found at the Anglican USPG website on their Pray with the World Church page. Reflection by Fr Lakshman Daniel, of the Church
In the mid-nineteenth century, poor Indian Tamil plantation
workers were brought to Sri Lanka, then called Ceylon, to
sustain the tea industry, mainly in the central hills of Sri Lanka.
Today, this community is held in a modern form of slavery,
facing many socio-cultural and political concerns. The Church
of Ceylon is doing what it can to help children, who are the most
vulnerable group within the tea estate communities.
Our Estate Community Development Mission runs nursery
schools and after-school centres for some of the most vulnerable
children. The children are given a meal and teachers provide
activities which help the children educationally and socially.
This work is helping to change a culture of dependence:
rather than depending on the employment of tea estate owners,
children are being prepared for a formal education. And we
are pleased to report that children from many tea estates
have been supported through A Levels and even provided with
scholarships so they can attend university.
It is not the will of God that anyone should live as slaves. Therefore, we are taking every possible step to support
sustainable development to ensure peace and prosperity in this
community, with both material and spiritual growth.
Afterword from Pope Francis:
Modern forms of slavery … are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame – within the most prosperous of our societies …God’s cry to Cain, found in the first pages of the Bible – ‘Where is your brother?’ – challenges us to examine seriously the various forms of complicity by which society tolerates, and encourages, particularly with regard to the sex trade and the exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children.
Janet and I were discussing matters theological over dinner. What is communal living, like L’Arche, about? I recalled the suffering manifest in some core members from the early days of the community, people who had left incarceration in hospitals and had to learn that they could live a life where they were valued.
From their suffering we moved to talk of the Crucifixion, where Christians have some explaining to do. It’s not difficult to imagine people concluding that a God who demanded the sacrifice of animals, let alone human beings is a cruel god, not a loving shepherd. Janet shared how the Franciscan Richard Rohr takes sacrifice, building on the work of his confrere, John Duns Scotus, in this reflection from his website: Atonement not atonement .
Well worth reading during Lent. Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God, as Friar Richard says, not the other way about.
Once again we see how a sense of humour was essential for living with Saint Francis, and how the community balanced its loyalty to Francis and loyalty to Brother Masseo.
SAINT FRANCIS, desiring to humble Brother Masseo, to the end that he might not be lifted up to vain glory by the many gifts and graces that God gave him, but by virtue of humility might grow therewith from virtue unto virtue, on a time when he abode in a solitary
place with those true saints, his first companions, (among the which was the said Brother Masseo), spake on a day to Brother Masseo, before all his companions:
“O Brother Masseo, all these thy companions have the grace of contemplation and of prayer; but thou hast the grace of preaching the word of God, for the satisfying of the people : wherefore to the end that these may be able to give themselves up to contemplation, I will that thou perform the office of the door and of alms- giving and of the kitchen ; and when the other brothers eat, thou shalt eat without the door of the House; so that whosoever shall come to the house, thou mayst satisfy them, ere they knock, with some good words of God ; so that then none other need go out save thee; and this do for the merit of holy obedience.”
Therewith Brother Masseo drew back his hood and bent his head, and humbly received that obedience, and continued therein for many days performing the office of the door and of alms-giving and of the kitchen. Whereat his companions, as men enlightened of God, began to feel in their hearts great remorse, considering that Brother Masseo was a man of great perfection, even as they and more so, and that on him was laid all the burden of the House and not on them. For the which cause they all were moved with one desire, and gat them to the holy father and besought him that it would please him to distribute among them those offices, sith their consciences could in no wise endure that Brother Masseo should bear the burden of such toil.
Hearing this, Saint Francis yielded him unto their counsels, and granted their desire; and calling Brother Masseo, said unto him: “Brother Masseo, thy companions desire to have share in the offices that I have given thee, and therefore I will that the said offices be divided.”
Quoth Brother Masseo with great humility and patience: “Father, whate’er thou
dost lay on me, or wholly, or in part, I deem it altogether done of God.”
Then Saint Francis, beholding their loving kindness and the humility of Brother Masseo, preached unto them a marvellous sermon on holy humility ; setting forth unto them that the greater the gifts and graces that God giveth us, the more humble should we be, as without humility no virtue is acceptable to God. And done preaching, he distributed the offices with love exceeding great.
Just a gentle reminder about L’Arche’s fundraising for our sisters and brothers in India. If you cannot make it to the event, and would like to send a donation, the postcode for the L’Arche Office in St Radigund’s Street, CANTERBURY is CT1 2AD .
Good afternoon everyone!
L’Arche Kent are hoping to raise some money this Lent to help L’Arche in India. You may have seen news letters from L’Arche India published in the last few months. This flyer advertises an event to be held in Canterbury on March 8th; if you can’t make it, but would like to send a donation, the postcode for the L’Arche Office in St Radigund’s Street is CT1 2AD .
This pilgrimage will take place at Saint Maurice in Switzerland on June 3 2018. It will focus on Charles Lwanga and his 21 companions, the Martyrs of Uganda, canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1964.
The Abbey of Saint Maurice (which houses the relics of Saint Maurice and his companions of the Theban Legion, Africans who were martyred here in Roman times) invites you to join in this event.
A dozen African choirs from French and German speaking will lead this prayerful gathering.
The Programme will include:
from 9:00: Gather at the Parish Church of Saint Sigismond, in Saint Maurice town.
10:00: Opening of the Pilgrimage by Fr Jean Scarcella, Abbot of Saint Maurice. Address given by Fr Gerard Chabanon, former Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa and former provincial of Uganda.
11:00: Prayer and Praise, Sacrament of Reconciliation.
12:30: Bring-your-own picnic in the dining room of St Maurice’s College.
14:30: Procession to the Basilica of Saint Maurice.
15:00: Marian Prayer, Litany of the Saints, Festive Celebration in the Abbey Basilica.
16:00: Sending forth on Mission
Prayer Vigil in the Basilica, Saturday June 2, from 8.00
Contacts : Marie-Christine Begey email@example.com
Chanoine M-A Rey firstname.lastname@example.org P. Claude Maillard email@example.com
M. Ferdinand Ilunga, coordination des chorales firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by MMB.