Monday, December 20, 2004

Fourth Week of Advent

I have been meaning to blog all weekend about my experience Friday at the salvage yard trying to find replacement headlight and turn-signal assemblys for the victim of the deer attack (see here) . However I spent so much time at the salvage yard waiting, that this story will not see the light of day for a while. Suffice to say, most people don't go to the salvage yard (or at least this one) just to get auto parts. It resembled old home week - and I suspect this is how it always is. It does slow you down. You can either fume for 2 hours, or take it in and see how some people appreciate life.

But this is the 4th Week of Advent. It is the week of several Curley family traditions. I will write of two of them this morning. The third I will leave til Thursday.

First, early in the week we always make videos for the grandparents in Massachusetts with Christmas greetings. We wait for the 4th week in Advent because before this we don't have a Christmas tree. We will sing some Christmas Carols. Some years the kids do a Nativity play. This year much of the video will be taken up with a tour of the 'small holding' as most in the northern wings of the family have not seen it.

The second traditional activity for the Curley family is in example of the protomartyrs of Henry VIII's persecution. From the eyewitness account of Dom Maurice Chauncy (hopefully to be a Requiem Press publication in the near future):

Then he (Prior John Houghton) exhorted them (his brother Carthusians of the London House) to prepare their hearts by a general confession to God, and gave leave that every one should choose any confessor in the convent whom he liked, and he gave to all power of plenary absolution,— and having done this, on the following day he said : "Because in many things we offend all, and every one is debtor to his brother, and because without charity neither death nor life profit anything, let us be reconciled to one another …" When the first day had passed, our Father's most salutary counsel having been followed and the day of reconciliation being at hand, and our Father having made a long and most devout sermon on charity, patience, and firm adhesion to God in adversity, treating those first five verses of the Psalm: "0 God, Thou hast cast us off and destroyed us," (Ps. 59) concluded his sermon thus : "It is better for us to receive a short punishment here for sin, than to be kept for eternal torments." Then he said: "My dearest Fathers and Brothers, what you see me do, I beseech you to do likewise." Then rising, he went towards the senior of the house, sitting next to him, and kneeling before him, humbly begged pardon and forgiveness for all his excesses and sins at any time committed against him in thought, word, or deed. And in the same manner the other did to him, begging pardon for his. And so the Father, going first through his choir and then to the other, made the same request to each separately, down to the last Lay-brother, weeping bitterly over each. In like manner all followed him one after another, each from each begging pardon.

Typically during the latter days of Advent and Lent, the Curley family gathers; makes a family examination of conscience; begs God's forgiveness with an Act of Contrition; and then in the example of St. John Houghton, one by one we ask each other forgiveness for the wrongs we have done. We usually try to have gone to Confession in proximity of this reconciliation. In this way we try to prepare a clean space in our hearts for the coming of the King of Kings.

From the small holding in Bethune ...

Oremus pro invicem!

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