Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. – Matt 10:34
In preparation for the Solemnity of Our Holy Father Augustine on 28th August we have just finished our annual canonry retreat, this year led by Fr Bede Rowe, of the Diocese of Clifton and chaplain to Chavagnes International College, France, on the topic of spiritual warfare.
In his conferences Fr Bede, who has led our retreat before, took us through the many and varied ways that Satan tries to attack us: as community, as individuals, in the Holy Mass, and in the Divine Office; he directed us to be aware and alert for Satan’s wiles in all of these areas for our salvation and the effectiveness of our apostolate, the salvation of souls, are at stake. Preaching at the conventual Masses Fr Bede focused on the readings from 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Luke 12:49ff), “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Fr Bede reminded us of the dangers of false irenicism, the danger of a purely worldly peace that is, in the end, impossible, and encouraged us in our supernatural vision to see the reign of Christ the King extended through all time and space.
Fr Bede who knows our community and order well finished by commending to us the many arms that God has given us to fight Satan. Remembering OHF Norbert, who drove out many demons by the power of the Holy Mass, we find our strongest aids in the sacraments entrusted to Holy Mother Church by Our Lord and Saviour. As sons of St Norbert we also call upon all the angels, especially our guardian angels, and the saints of our order to come to our aid never forgetting great, of course, the Immaculate Queen of Our Order, Mary, who crushes the serpent’s head beneath her feet.
During the retreat our prior, Rt Rev Hugh Allan o.praem., re-consecrated our canonry to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; asking our Lord to “abide with, guide, and protect our Order” founded “to promote devotion to the Holy Eucharist”. Finishing with Sext today we also prepare for the Solemnity of St Philip Benizi, patron of our canonry, as well as the Solemnity of OHF Augustine, Solemn Profession of our confrere Br Stephen Morrison, and the clothing of a new novice!
We ask all of our readers to remember our community in their prayers, particularly Br Stephen Morrison as he prepares to make solemn vows as a Premonstratensian, and our postulant as he begins his life in our order. Finally, I recommend to you all two prayers that formed part of our retreat. Firstly, the full prayer to St Michael the Archangel written by Pope Leo XIII and commended to the world as a protection against the evil one; secondly, the Litany of OHF Norbert that we prayed during exposition each day of the retreat in thanksgiving for St Norbert’s life and in supplication that we might be more and more like him.