Carmelite Monastery, Wolverhampton
The Midland Carmel
Holy Week Notes

Notes made by one of the sisters on a Sermon given by Archbishop Vincent Nicholls during Holy Week 2005:

Our world has its own gospel and message of salvation. In our culture today, as in the air we breathe -

  1. God is absent from our affairs and not missed.
  2. We are autonomous.
  3. Salvation is found in our self-fulfilment. ("Freedom" from all constraints from others and free choice for "me".)
  4. History is looked upon as the story of progress, the inevitable unfolding, year on year, of better and better circumstances and prosperity.
  5. Success is seen in prosperity, a release from need and dependence.
  6. Truth is what we decide, and we give meaning and justification to any course of action that we choose to follow.
  7. This freedom, autonomy, progress and personal truth are the things for which the world gives thanks; and in all honesty, all of us have drunk deeply of this message. We see quite clearly that we have done so every time we complain about the circumstances, the demands and the consequences of our obligations which seem to constrain us in our pursuit of these aims.
A better, more God-centred, attitude to life might mean that:
  1. Our thanksgiving is directed entirely beyond ourselves and achievements to the Father, the Source of our well-being.
  2. We give thanks in Christ and through Him to the Father; the highest form of thanksgiving is through the Eucharist - Christ's sacrifice, death and resurrection.
  3. When we take this cup of salvation we reject the success and the thankfulness of the gospel of the world. We give thanks instead for what we are given, not what we have gained.
  4. We are thankful to follow the Father's Will; thankful that we are marked with weakness and suffering, enabling us to be more open to the goodness of the Lord. We are even thankful for persecution.
  5. A successful moment - God's gift.
  6. Our duty/obedience - not a burden but an opportunity.
  7. Our tasks and sufferings - a road to deeper union with the Lord.
  8. Instead of interpreting unjustified criticism in the manner of an offended victim, seeing it rather as an opportunity to depend on God more completely.
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