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Friday, 26 December 2008

Icons, cakes and mulled wine

St Stephen's Day has been a special day for me in recent years. After our Altar servers' Mass - which is always a joy - I join the community at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster for their "extended recreation" to celebrate Christmas. This year, we were treated to an explanation of a typical icon of the nativity. After this and a few carols, the refreshments were ready.

One of the brothers had prepared some mulled wine; there were mince pies and Indian snacks: non-meat since meat is never included in the diet there. (The flasks contain tea and coffee.) I do not get a chance to talk to most of the community through the year, only the novices and simply-professed who come to my classes, so it is a welcome opportunity to greet and talk to the more senior monks whom I only see in choir at Vespers. They all take a keen interest in what is happening in the Church and in the world, making me feel even more grateful for their prayers.

When the bell struck four, there was a quarter of an hour for me to reflect on the icon while the monks went to say the little office of Our Lady in cell before assembling in the Church for Vespers of St Stephen. On the way to my car, I caught this scene of the terminum lucis.

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