Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, Sunday 28 January 2007
Time is a funny thing. Usually it seems so firm and fixed, as though my wrist watch is measuring a substance that is actually there. And then suddenly it slips and slides out of our normal frame of reference.
On Thursday of this week two events both stretched and compressed time for me. In the late morning we had a grand celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ordination to the Priesthood of our Resident Tony Cayless. Then while the banquet was still in progress, Br Scott, Br Kevin, Br Bernard and I left for Princeton, New Jersey, where we had a gathering of people who had come to hear about our Capital Funds Campaign.
Both events were wonderfully successful, each in its own way - lots of people, lots of joy, lots of conversation and catching up. Tony's celebration carried us back 50 years to the island of Barbados where he was ordained, and to a world that, in many ways, was completely different from the present time. The event in Princeton carried us forward to the hopes we have for the next 50 years in buildings that are equipped and ready for the next half-century of ministry.
Days like last Thursday excite me - I have always been a fan of the history of the places I live in and the people I live with, and I identify easily with the events and circumstances that created our present life. Members of the monastic community sometimes comment on how I will talk about the community and refer to something that "we did" when I am referring to an event that happened long before my birth.
My life span doesn't limit my identity. Hearing and knowing where we have come from never ceases to interest me. And because I am responsible for the leadership of this community, the future is also of vital interest - Where are we going? How are we going to get there? I know a lot about the history of the Order of the Holy Cross, and together with this community I am growing deeper into our future as well as we engage in visioning, planning and dreaming.
And so last Thursday was my day to be stretched through a century of life, from a time I remember distantly to a time I can barely imagine. All that time belongs to me, from events that occurred before my birth to those that will happen after my death. I am part of them all, and this is one of the gifts I receive from the monastic life, because my community's life precedes my life and continue after it. My community stretches me beyond my lifetime, and I treasure this gift.
Brother Bede Thomas Mudge, OHC
(c) Order of the Holy Cross, 2007