Abbed Daniel van Santvoorts minneord over biskop Gran


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Emeriterte biskop John Willem Nicolaisen Gran OCSO av Oslo døde skjærtorsdag, den 20. mars 2008. Her følger abbeden ved Caldey Abbey, p. Daniel van Santvoort, sine minneord ved rekviemmessen for biskop Gran i St. Olav domkirke, Oslo, den 1. april 2008:

My dear brothers and sisters,

As we are gathered here in the name of the Risen Lord, our hearts and minds are with our dear brother, friend and Pastor, Bishop John Willem Gran.

His many faceted life has in one way or another touched the lives of all and each of us and the lives of so many who are unable to be with us today in person but undoubtedly are united with us in spirit and prayer.

We give thanks to God for allowing us to know the precious life of Bishop John, who once shared his life with the monks, his brothers, on Caldey Island, that wind-swept island off the coast of West Wales.

Only a year ago he was among us for a period, living out his original vocation as a monk inn all the Hours we spend together in prayer, in joining the discussions in our chapter meetings, and helping the brothers with doing the dishes and the packing of shortbread.

The reason why I mention these simple and down-to-earth facts is because they sum up the man who throughout his life was ever eager to know and to do the will of the Lord, his Lord. Bishop John was very passionate about the Truth and never rested from pursuing this Truth. Only a few years ago I asked him to return to Caldey Abbey, as we regard him as a member, a precious member, of our household. He willingly accepted my invitation and planned to join us for a couple of times before making his final decision. As I said earlier: When he was among us, Bishop John lived fully the monastic way of life and with great enthusiasm. There was lightness about him and a wonderful sense of humour tha affectes us all.

Then, shortly after he left us, there came this letter in which he wrote the following:

"I cannot honestly say that I feel called to return to the monastic life for good. I must face the facts, that after having been ordered by Rome to leave my community, and to be no longer subject to monastic obedience, having only an obedience to the Pope binding me (to a Pope that never tells me what to do)... this makes an authentic return to the monastic life impossible for me in the long run. I do not honestly wish to use Caldey (or any other monastery) for an `old people's home'. This could easily be a temptation: a neat way out of the problem what to do when the day arrives (hopefully never, though) when I can no longer look after myself. I honestly don't feel there could be a blessing in partaking in common life on an `as if' basis, knowing that I'm in reality free to do anything I want to, should I so choose..."

Dear brothers and sisters, these words are very personal words that welled up from the heart of bishop John, words that moved me deeply and still do... I choose to share them with you today because they show us his radical passion for truth, they show us that his heart, his very life was meant to belong solely to Jesus, his Lord, to the ultimate Truth who alone is able to set free. And, instead of being dependent and not being able to look after himself, the Truth responded graciously to Bishop John's truthfulness and took him to himself...

Together with you all, brothers and sisters, I thank the Lord for thos `gentle-man' in the real sense of the word - Bisop John was truly an upper-class highly cultured man who managed to be gentle and honest at the same time. May the Lord grant him forever and always his heart's desire.

Fr. Daniel van Santvoort, abbot of Caldey

Oslo, 1st April 2008, Requiem Mass of Bishop John Willem Gran

KI - Katolsk Informasjonstjeneste (Oslo) (4. april 2008)