Monthly News November 2017 – Damien Peile
This month we have news from Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Wentworthville. I am pleased to let you know that Paola Yevenes has agreed to accept the role of liaison person in the parish. Paola brings much experience and enthusiasm to this role and will be a great part of the team.
‘My name is Paola Yevenes. I’ve been a parishioner of Wentworthville for 20 years where I am the current Pastoral Associate. I love working with our school, families and parish teams, and feel blessed to belong to the Carmelite family.’
Paola will be joining Neal Crossan from Whitefriars College Donvale, Sr Miriam from the Carmelite Monastery at Kew as Liaison people for the Carmelite Family.
Denis Andrew & Paola have mentioned two initiatives in the parish to explore and deepen Carmelite spirituality.
During Friday nights of Advent and Lent there will be quiet prayer in the narthex of the church in the Taize tradition. It will go for about 50 minutes with the Taize chants being interspersed with silent prayer, gospel of coming Sunday and intercessory prayers.
The second initiative exploring Carmelite spirituality are sessions being proposed for 2018 and will involve Paul Gurr O. Carm and Anthony Scerri O. Carm. Both of these activities sound great opportunities.
The annual 8th Carmelite Pilgrimage – a 40 km bush walks through the beautiful Yarra Valley – was held on the weekend of November 10th. This year there were 27 pilgrims of which 14 were new and we were fortunate to have as our Spiritual Guide, Paul Sireh O. Cram. Paul encouraged us to ‘open our eyes and hears, to see and hear’ the grandeur of God’s creation
There were many highlights over the three days but two in particular standout. The first one was having an ornithologist amongst the pilgrims whose knowledge of the world of birds, their habitat and behaviour was remarkable. Martin was a storeroom of information and never tired of being asked questions; his passion for his craft was obvious. Martin also had a capacity to help other people feel in-tune with God’s creation and draw attention – as Paul did- to the experience of stillness and wonder. This awareness of nature reminded me of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, 17th century Carmelite monk from France, whose eyes were also opened to see the grandeur of God’s created order.
‘In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, waiting silently and patiently for the sure hope of summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped for the first time the extravagance of God’s grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he himself was seemingly dead, but God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree “first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God,” and a love for God that never after ceased to burn’. (Ref, www.carmelites.net/news/brother-lawrence-of-the-resurrection September 18, 2012 | Leopold Glueckert O.Carm.)
‘In the deep of winter, Herman looked at a barren tree, stripped of leaves and fruit, waiting silently and patiently for the sure hope of summer abundance. Gazing at the tree, Herman grasped for the first time the extravagance of God’s grace and the unfailing sovereignty of divine providence. Like the tree, he himself was seemingly dead, but God had life waiting for him, and the turn of seasons would bring fullness. At that moment, he said, that leafless tree “first flashed in upon my soul the fact of God,” and a love for God that never after ceased to burn’. (Ref, www.carmelites.net/news/brother-lawrence-of-the-resurrection September 18, 2012 | Leopold Glueckert O. Carm.)
The pilgrimage was a rich experience of what it means to be part of the Carmelite Family. The time away to reflect on nature, to celebrate the grandeur of God’s creation, to develop our sense of belonging and to share in the hospitality at Sancta Sophia Meditation Community at Warburton with Fr Ken and Sr Kathleen.
Carmelite Librarian Suggested Reading – Philip Harvey When Professor Bernard McGinn visited Melbourne in 2015 he confided to the large audience at his lecture that he likes the sacred number seven, which is why he still has to write the seventh volume of his ‘The Presence of God’ before he dies. Volume 6, Part 2 is almost Volume 7. It has just been published, containing many good things including a revised version of that same lecture, ‘Teresa of Avila: the Contemplative in Action’. Those of you who were there will remember the clarity, honesty, and depth that Bernard brought to the subject. This is authoritative scholarship at its best.
Volume 6, Part 2 is subtitled ‘Mysticism in the Golden Age of Spain, 1500-1650’ (ISBN: 978-0-8245-0090-0), a period that produced reformers, visionaries, teachers, missionaries, and mystics. Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s work is identified as “a mysticism of apostolic service”. Some two-thirds of the book is devoted to Carmelite spirituality, so if you wish to read some of the latest, most informed and insightful writing on Teresa, Saint John of the Cross and other Carmelites of the period, this is the place to go. Philip Harvey
Monthly Musing – Nature
‘As we were walking in the bush near the house, we passed a fallen tree. The tree looked as if it had fallen some time ago, but was flourishing with new green foliage along the length of the fallen trunk…………new life was forming…………perhaps in places where foliage doesn’t normally grow. Our Church in Australia is in a time of crisis and transition…many turn to anger or even reject the Church. But like the fallen tree now is the time to root ourselves ever more firmly in Christ, to be patient and to maintain hope.’
Ashleigh Green wrote in ‘Australian Catholics’ (2017, Vol 25, No 4)