At fixed times all the abbots/abbesses come together. They discuss there the salvation of their own souls and of those committed to them. They take measures regarding the observance of the Holy Rule and of the Order where there is something that needs to be corrected or added. They foster anew among themselves the benefit of peace and charity. They devote themselves to maintaining the patrimony of the Order and safeguarding and increasing its unity. (C.77)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peace Maker

  • What did Dom David say about pace makers?
  • Pace makers? Who? When?
  • In his homily - ?

Oh, it was just the Australian accent. In Europe and America we say PEACE makers.
The language is a continual challenge. Some of us didn’t even notice, being used to hear an Australian pronunciation of the English language. But yes, being peace makers we a theme and a prayer from this morning’s homily about forgiveness. Dom David, the abbot of Tarrawara in Australia, took his inspiration from St. Cyprian of Carthage:

  • St. Cyprian taught his people in Carthage that Christian prayer is prayer in the plural. He was commenting on the Lord’s Prayer and highlighted this in the words Jesus gave us: Our Father… give us…our daily bread… forgive us as we forgive.. and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”….reminding his people that they were a “people united in the unity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The truth that the Father, Son and Spirit have desired to share this one life and one love with the human race is the amazing significance of the presence and action of God in the world. God, our Father , our Savior, our Sanctifier, is lovingly and actively present in our world drawing us into unity, into community.

Dom David reminded us of the situation in St. Cyprian’s Carthage after the persecution – a far from idyllic one, with the church divided between those who had lapsed and those who had been faithful and suffered – between the “them” and “us”. And it is in this situation he reminds the Christians that they are to be peacemakers of one mind and one heart, with the prayer “Our Father… forgive us our trespasses as we forgive…”
In this Sunday High Mass we remembered all those died in violence since the attack on the Twin Towers ten years ago. But coming to the Our Father in the liturgy, it was a different language: Pater noster qui es in coelis…

In earlier General Chapters the Mass has been celebrated in different of the four official languages of the Order: English, French, Spanish and Japanese. This year it was decided to celebrate Lauds and Mass in common for the whole assembly, not split into language groups, the same for Tierce and Non prayed in the Aula, and split into language groups only for Vespers. It certainly is a nice and strong experience that we celebrate Mass together, not letting the confusion of Babel divide us. And it is interesting to experience how well it works with the common of the liturgy in Latin, the proper sung and the readings read in various languages. Still Latin is well enough known to have a unifying effect, although there are also some for whom it is completely alien.

This morning it was the Region of the Oriens who was responsible for the liturgy of the Mass, with the readings in Japanese and another oriental language that is not one of the official ones. The homily given in English was also printed in the other languages, so everybody would follow.

The theme of this Sunday’s readings and Dom David’s homily is well illustrated in the work of the MGM these last days. We are moving into heavier work, looking at areas that need special attention, action and prayer. “On this special day of Sunday we will work as normal, “says the moderator, praying that our lives may be signs of peace. And for this to happen, we need to address those areas that are not peaceful and do not build up peace. For peace to reign, truth is needed, and this demands careful listening, knowledge and wisdom. Part of this is also acknowledging hurts and shortcoming. Dom David expressed it like this in his homily:

  • St. Benedict too, knew both the monastic community’s high call to unity in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and its fragility and daily need of reconciliation…

We have heard special reports on special problems in certain communities, and are now working in the commissions addressing this on a local level. Called to be peace makers.

Sr. Hanne-Maria of Tautra