Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A Time of Hope

Advent is of course a time of hope and expectation. In a world filled with darkness and evil, whether we look at Zimbabwe or the Congo or survey the financial crisis all around us then hope seems illogical. Yet it is at the heart of the Christian message. We are all called to be a people of hope, to hope even there seems no hope.

For instance people are often dismayed by the collapse in the number of those entering religious life in this country. Yet it is not a hopeless situation. This summer, for example I was in France and visited the Abbaye de Maumont which is a community of some 55 Nuns following the ancient Benedictine rule. They seemed to be of all ages from their mid-twenties to their nineties. Some communities clearly are still showing signs of vitality and life. In our own diocese we had a recent visit from the Community of St John to lead a parish mission and retreat in Rottingdean near Brighton. This is a growing community with over 500 brothers and 450 sisters across the globe and a couple of the brothers originally come from this diocese . Last summer also saw the simple profession of Sr Joanna Harrison (pictured above right) from Brighton in our diocese as a Cistercian Nun at Holy Cross Abbey in Whitland, Wales. There are many examples of new and ancient religious orders that are flourishing in this day because their charism responds to the needs of our time even as other orders diminish. These religious offer a life of hope in our hopeless world.

'Those who hope in the Lord renew their strength, they put on wings like eagles'. (Is 40:31)

1 comment:

  1. There are also a couple of communities of (Bernadine) Cistecians in England - near Carnforth in Lancashire and near Stroud in Gloucestershire. visit their website