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supreme-humility

Shortly after coming to St. Alban’s nearly seven years ago, I built a small chapel in an unused classroom on the far side of the building.  Over the years it has been used as a penance chapel as it has our confessional, as well as a tabernacle for the Reserved Sacrament (Altar of Repose) during Holy Week.  Otherwise, it has gone largely unnoticed.

Several weeks ago, Fr. Seraphim came from St. Simeon’s skete in Kentucky to lead our pre-Advent retreat for the diocese here at St. Alban’s.  He brought to us the powerful teachings of the Remnant Rosary. Information about this teaching, which is at once a devotion, meditation and spiritual discipline, can be found on the pages of the  Nazareth House Apostolate, of which the skete is the physical part.  It is a must visit site, and I urge all who follow the like to carefully read all of the pages and then make a generous contribution to this extraordinary work of Christ.

Now, that I have gotten the advertisement past, I want to note that a number of the retreat participants already have adopted the Remnant Rosary into their spiritual practice.  It is not easy at first to do so, but nothing that really builds one up is.  Surely, the prayers of the beads are not hard to learn, but the difficulty comes in their convicting nature.  In this upcoming season of Advent, the enormity of the Incarnation is not easy to face if taken seriously, and the Remnant Rosary calls those who sincerely pray it squarely into the sheer power of the event and of the race that Jesus would run for us-a race that led up Calvary to the Cross and beyond the grave.

So it was, over these last two weeks, I sort of “fiddled about” with the beads that Fr. Seraphim had given me and the small booklet that accompanied them.  One can “breeze” through a regular Rosary in a way that can become quite wrote and perfunctory. (One should not, of course, but familiarity can result in laxity.)  However, the Remnant Rosary invites the person that prays it into a deeply personal entry in to the Holy Mysteries.  One is called to internalize the Mysteries and to “take in” Jesus in a way that is quite profound-Eucharistic in a very meaningful way.  It is that sort of intimacy, I believe many people are uncomfortable with even though Christ invites us into that level of relationship.  One need only to examine how many people receive the Sacrament in a perfunctory manner to get my point here. (Here, I invite you to think about the “receive and run” folks who don’t even wait for the Benediction to head for the parking lot.  If, however, this describes you, stop it!)

So, after Matins, I felt sufficiently prepared to take on and engage the Remnant Rosary, and, for some reason, was drawn to the little chapel for a first attempt.  If you already pray the Rosary, the Mysteries are familiar.  The depth of the meditations, though, are not.  Taken seriously, this combination of prayer and meditation moves one swiftly from chronos (actual time) to kairos, (God time), just as the Remnant Rosary book notes.  To borrow from Fr. Seraphim, “Ultimately [this] Rosary has no goal, only depth.  The mysteries are a shoreless ocean, we are a wave ant the Rosary is the current rooted in the depths….Here we ‘see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep’ (Ps. 107:24).”

As I prayed the Joyful Mysteries, I happened to glance at the icon of Supreme Humility and that sense of depth cane home with incredible force.  It is a sense that the shadow of the Cross hangs across the Christmas crib, and both bind Heaven and earth together in the life of Christ.  Advent heralds Good Friday which, in torn, anticipates the Resurrection, all bound up in the life of the Master expressed throughout in Supreme Humility.

This Advent, I would invite you either to “try out” Remnant Rosary or to pray the familiar Rosary with a new attention to its depth.  Include short meditations on each bead, rather than breeze through the devoting to rest satisfied in the fact that you simply have “gotten through” another set of Mysteries.  Personalize each bead, and take in the enormity of each event.  Any worry of time spent (which should not be a concern in prayer) will simply disappear when you let down your spiritual net into the depths for a draught.  And always keep before you the vision of the Supreme Humility that has redeemed the world.

 

 

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The Diocese has scheduled a Lenten Day of Witness for Saturday, March 26, 2011, at St. Alban’s Pro-Cathedral, Richmond Virginia.  The event will begin at 10:15 AM with Morning Prayer and Holy Eucharist celebrated by the Bishop.  Following the Eucharist, there will be a session of workshops/discussions.  Lunch will be at 12:20, followed by afternoon workshops beginning at 1:45.  The day will close with Evensong at 2:45 PM.  The Bishop has requested that all Diocesan clergy attend the Day of Witness, unless excused by him.  The cost will be announced shortly.
TENTATIVE SCHEDULE
10:15 AM Matins and Holy Eucharist
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
First Session</strong
Evangelism: What we’ve learned-Canon Nalls
Music for Anglicans -mr. Bernard Riley
Vocations – Are you Ready?
12:20 PM – 1:20 PM Lunch NOTE: Please allow the members of the Executive Committee to go through the line first.1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Second Session A Whirlwind Trip through Lent-Archdeacon McHenry
DMAS Campers Reunion-Fr. Weaver
The Permanent Diaconate-Canon Nalls
2:45 PM Evensong

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PARISH QUIET DAY RETREAT-SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18th

Saint Alban’s Advent Quiet Day Retreat of prayer and meditation has been moved to Saturday, December 18th beginning at 9:00 a.m. The three meditations will focus on the nature of prayer, proper ways of praying and the thoughts on maintaining a good prayer life. Meditations will be loosely based on the short book Prayer: A Field Guide by Canon Nalls, but no prior readings are necessary for the retreat. Copies of book, will, however, be available for purchase after the retreat with all profit going to the ACC’s Society of Saint Paul to support mission work. The retreat schedule is as follows:

0900-Matins
0930-Coffee
0945-First Meditation-Why pray?
1045-Break
1100-Second Meditation-Problems of prayer: what if God says, “No”?
1200-Benedictine Lunch (Soup and Bread) with a Reading
1300-Third Meditation-Prayers to redeem the time.
1400-Break
1415-Evensong

Silence will be kept throughout the day, including break times, except for the readers and during Matins and Evensong.
Please e-mail the church office at stalbansacc@gmail.com or ring 804-262-6100.

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Saint Alban’s Advent Quiet Day Retreat of prayer and meditation has been moved to Saturday, December 18th beginning at 9:00 a.m.  The three meditations will focus on the nature of prayer, proper ways of praying and the thoughts on maintaining a good prayer life.  Meditations will be loosely based on the short book Prayer:A Field Guide by Canon Nalls, but no prior readings are necessary for the retreat.  Copies of book, will, however, be available for purchase after the retreat with all profit going to the  ACC’s Society of Saint Paul to support mission work.  The retreat schedule is as follows:

0900-Matins

0930-Coffee

0945-First Meditation-Why pray?

1045-Break

1100-Second Meditation-Problems of prayer: what if God says, “No”?

1200-Benedictine Lunch (Soup and Bread) with a Reading

1300-Third Meditation-Prayers to redeem the time.

1400-Break

1415-Evensong

Silence will be kept throughout the day, including break times,  except for the readers and during Matins and Evensong.

Please e-mail the church office at stalbansacc@gmail.com or ring 804-262-6100.

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