After another hectic week I had almost decided I wouldn’t manage to write the Log this week, but then yesterday, as I was leaving Carfin after the AGM of the Conference of Religious in Scotland, I got chatting to an elderly Mill Hill priest who asked me my name; when I told him he asked me, “are you the man that writes the Logs?” “I am,” I said. He then went on to say he enjoyed them and so I began to feel guilty about reneging. I decided that the following day I would somehow find the time to get something down, and so here I am.
It had been a good day in Carfin. The morning time was given over to a talk by a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Andrew’s and Edinburgh, Fr. Anthony Lappin, who gave a summary of the six chapters of Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si”, leading to round table discussions and feedback. In his encyclical Pope Francis has a critique of what he calls the technological paradigm, in other words how our use of technology affects our way of living and affects the planet, our earthly home. Ironically, the opening part of the meeting was hampered by a failure in technology. Fr. Lappin couldn’t get his laptop to connect with the overhead projector for his PowerPoint presentation. I imagined God, and Pope Francis, smiling. This meant that the first three chapters of Laudato Si were summarised in a simple talk without PowerPoint. The technology was sorted for the summary of the next three chapters, using the PowerPoint, and I must confess I found it much easier to listen without the PowerPoint, but then I’m just an old Luddite. Either way, the talk was very good and I enjoyed the round table discussions with Religious who had lived and worked in every corner of the globe and had a great variety of experiences and wisdom to bring to the table.
After Mass we had some lunch; which was a reminder to us of the recent closure of the cafeteria in Carfin. At previous meetings we would have had a hot meal option provided by the catering staff, but this time it was sandwiches, sausage rolls and cakes, but everyone was happy enough and well satisfied. I think that St. Mungo’s was one of the last big groups to make use of the cafeteria as, in this jubilee year of the 150th anniversary of our church, we brought a bus load to Carfin for a pilgrimage day and thoroughly enjoyed soup, steak pie and apple tart for our lunch. Hopefully Carfin will find a good way forward as it really is a lovely pilgrim place to visit, but it’s always nice to be able to feed the body as well as the soul.
At the time of writing we are preparing for another event to celebrate our jubilee year. Tonight (Friday) we are holding a dinner dance in the National Piping Centre. It’s an opportunity to come together and enjoy some social time together as friends and lovers of St. Mungo’s. I think the last time I was at a dinner dance I was working in Olivetti and the annual dinner dance used to take place in the Eagle Lodge in Bishopbriggs, which of course is just a few minutes’ walk from where the Passionist community now lives. This dinner dance has been planned to take place on the eve of the Feast of St. Paul of the Cross, the founder of the Passionists and, once we have finished celebrating our 150th anniversary of the church, we will be moving on to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Passionists next year, 2020; 1720 being the year that St. Paul of the Cross first put on the Passionist habit, revealed to him in a vision by Our Lady, and then began a 40-day retreat, during which he wrote the first Passionist Rule, in preparation for gathering companions to join him in this venture, and who would later on become the Congregation of the Passion – the Passionists.
Christ Crucified is a work of love. The miracle of miracles of love. The most stupendous work of the love of God. The bottomless sea of the love of God, where virtues are found, where one can lose oneself in love and sorrow. A sea and a fire or a sea of fire. The most beneficial means of abandoning sin and growing in virtue, and so in holiness.
(St. Paul of the Cross)