Saturday, 17 March 2012

A week in the life ...

Fr Damian, (standing) with some friends
from the Craig Lodge Community

Fr Damian Cassidy, O.Carm., is the co-ordinator of our Carmelite outreach to young people and is the editor of this blog. Today he looks back at his week on the road.
This week I was asked a simple question – What is a normal day in the life of a Carmelite friar like? My initial reaction was ‘What is a normal day?’ My days seem so different. Take this week on Monday I should have been heading up north, but that trip was postponed by one day. So, an unexpected free day! Tuesday I was in north London to meet with Stephen and Sara from Ten Ten Theatre with whom I would be spending the next four days. Then we had a long drive up to the Lake District. The days then followed this routine

5am                       Alarm goes off. Shower, shave, get ready for the day
5.30am                 Mass and Prayer
6.15am                 Drive to Schools
6.30am                 Set up staging for drama. Meet with school staff who have arranged the day
8.50am                 First Drama and discussion
10am                     Second Drama and discussion
11.05am               Third Drama and discussion
12.15pm               Lunch
1.30pm                 Fourth Drama and Discussion
2.45pm                 Strike the staging and sound system. Check with School Staff that all is well.
3.30pm                 Drive to next lodging
5pm                       Arrive, eat, pray and collapse!

 The drama’s presented by the Ten Ten theatre look at relationships and how complex they can be. We have three plays that we have been using recently and all are geared to a particular year group and level of maturity. The conversations that we have after the plays on relationships can be really amazing and full of insight. Also, working alongside professional actors and seeing their gift of communication is a real blessing. The teamwork required on such a trip is also something that I enjoy.

 On Friday evening we had a longer drive back to London, so I finally got home to Aylesford at 9.30pm. Today I meet with a person who is wanting to know more about the life of a Carmelite friar, tomorrow I will be celebrating Mass for a group of religious sisters and with any luck popping in on my mother for mother’s day. Every day is different, but every day needs a rhythm. For us as Carmelites an essential part of the rhythm is prayer. For us it is as important as breathing. Without prayer my day will not be fruitful. This is even more important when prayer is hard and seemingly pointless. I won’t make the decision to stop breathing; neither can I make the decision to stop praying. If there seems to be no time for prayer, then I make time for prayer – even if t means getting up at 5am!

 Next week I am with my community, We have that same necessary rhythm of prayer, community, teamwork, communication that is essential for our life.

 You can meet Fr. Damian and some of our other friars next week at the CYMfed Flame Congress in Wembley.

 God Bless.

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