Church Unity and Contemplation in Action

January in St. Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn is the month in which we join our hearts together with the whole Christian family in praying for church unity. This year’s octave for church unity was marked particularly here at Glencairn by our annual get together and Vespers with Rev. Dean Paul Draper and our Anglican brethren of the Church of Ireland parish in Lismore during the Octave on January 24th. Chanting the psalms together in choir, listening to the Word of God and offering intercessions for unity among Christians and all humanity is always a privilege for us and a special event.

Dean Paul, reflecting in his homily at Vespers focused on the theme of our human need of contemplation in the face of life’s pressures. The Dean quoted the words of advice from one spiritual director to his over-busy directee who had come for guidance, that he must “ruthlessly eliminate hurry from his life”. We can be busy, Dean Paul noted, but not hurrying. Hurry is a sickness of the soul in which we skim the surface of our life and fail to go deeper. We can even develop the illusion that everything depends on us.

The silence and solitude to be found at St. Mary’s Abbey, Glencairn, he observed, reminds us of Mary’s great example of this stillness of the soul in silence, a silence in which God’s will can be revealed. “She never relinquished the rhythm of prayer which we feel in this place”. We too must not relinquish that quiet space, and there to hold before God the unresolved issues of our lives and our world, the Dean concluded. Words of wisdom for the year ahead.

Our sincere thanks to Dean Paul and all our Anglican neighbours for their attendance for this event, and our thanks too to Jason Turk, friend of the community here for many years and gifted musician, for his organ recital on the occasion. Pictured (left) together with Mother Marie enjoying a cup of tea after Vespers!