from Br. Robert Magliula, Superior, Order of the Holy Cross

Dear Brothers,

In C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, the author, Screwtape, writes to his junior tempter-in-training named Wormwood. He instructs him that his task is to darken the heart, to train “his patient” to love things worldly and reject God by keeping him self-involved and clueless about who he is. He advises him “to keep him spiritual and not practical, as it is the practical that often brings people to God. Encourage him to pray for tangible, desired ends and so direct his prayers to objects and not to God. Allow him to be oversensitive until everything grates on their nerves. Keep his prayers formless, as they are easier to manipulate. Turn his gaze away from God toward himself.”

The aim is to create people who are defined by selfishness and insincerity, pettiness and pride, fear and a need to control. None of us are strangers to the temptations Screwtape offers, pride, vanity, selfishness, and apathy—all flowing from distraction from God’s purpose.

We turn the expansive freedom that is ours in Christ into ideologies of freedom that keep self at the centre. What we conveniently forget, or mightily repress, is the subtlety of distraction. Where there is no realistic acknowledgement of our capacity for self-centeredness and our ability to rationalize whatever we desire, the result is not human flourishing but brokenness. Yet even then, God responds not with justice but with unexpected mercy.

Lent is the time for adopting and practicing the disciplines of prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and study as avenues of loving more fully with heart, mind, and strength. All have within us a yearning to be in union with God. Closeness to God involves conflict and struggle that will lay bare our deepest passion and loyalty. There are many detours on this journey into desire. How we long to be seen, known, and come to that place of abiding. When we are not afraid to enter into our own centre and concentrate on the stirrings of our own soul, we come to know that being alive means being loved.

Lenten penitence engages the dark places of our lives that we may come face to face with them, name them, understand them, and seek forgiveness for them. It is not about guilt. It is about freedom from the control that our fears and insecurities have over us all. It’s about amendment of life and new beginnings.

Br. Robert Magliula



In the Priory’s Christmas 2019 newsletter, Br. David Bryan writes:

“Throughout the Christian liturgical calendar we revisit the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus and his ministry amongst God’s people. Doing so we are challenged to discern God’s continuing presence in daily life.

“Although at Christmastide we are drawn to the remembrance of the birth of Jesus we also have opportunity to celebrate daily his continuing presence with us. Jesus’ teaching about the Kingdom of God affirms that the Kingdom of God is amongst us (Luke 17:21). In Paul’s letter to the Romans he writes that “the word is near you, on your lips and in your heart” (Romans 10:8).

“The vision of St. John the Divine of a world redeemed and purified includes these words: ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples and God himself will be with them – see, I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:1,3,5)”

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an excerpt from the newsletter by Fr. David Bryan Hoopes, Prior:

“Archbishop Rowan Williams said of religious orders that they were ‘the heart of the Church.’

“The human heart is a small organ not visible to the eye; religious communities in our Anglican Communion tend to be small. In some parts of the Communion such may not be known. In Canada at this time there are three residential traditional religious orders – the Community of the Sisters of the Church, the Sisterhood of St. John the Divine, and the Order of the Holy Cross. The Society of St. John the Evangelist maintains a foundation in Canada and is generous in providing resources for spiritual growth. There are other expressions of the religious life such as the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, the Society of our Lady St. Mary, the Third Order of St. Francis, the Worker Brothers and Sisters of the Holy Spirit, Contemplative Fire, the Brotherhood and Sisters of St. Gregory, and several newly emerging communities.

“At the centre of all religious communities is prayer. In fact, prayer is the first responsibility and privilege of those who choose the religious life. Prayers are offered daily for the Church, the world, special intentions, the sick, those in special need, the departed, and for thanksgivings. Prayer requests are honoured. There are no ‘vacations’ for prayer.”

Download the full newsletter at

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You Are Cordially Invited To Join The Community of Holy Cross Priory, Toronto
In Celebration of our Patronal Festival

Saturday, September 14, 2019
at 11:00 a.m. (Light Reception to Follow)
Please RSVP to or 416-767-9081 (press 3)

HOMILIST: The Rev Jason McKinney is a theological educator, a community-based priest, and longtime resident of Parkdale, Toronto. His work, like his life and family, is rooted in the neighbourhood.  He serves as Associate Priest-Missioner for The Church of The Epiphany & St Mark, Parkdale, and is an adjunct professor of theology at Trinity College. He holds a PhD in Religion from the University of Toronto.

St. John’s Anglican Church, West Toronto
288 Humberside Ave, Toronto

St. John’s Church is two blocks north of Bloor St., just west of High Park Ave at Humberside. Nearest TTC Station: High Park Station. A 12 minute walk from High Park Station or a brief bus ride, (No.30, Lampton), north on High Park Ave. Street parking available.

Poster download (pdf): Invitation — Holy Cross Day 2019

Holy Cross Priory is An Anglican Benedictine Community in Canada 204 High Park Ave, Toronto, ON M6P 2S6 416-767-9081

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

at 11:00 a.m.

The Community of Holy Cross Priory

Celebrate our annual patronal festival with us.
Join us in worship and stay for a light reception.
Please RSVP by email at or give us a call at 416-767-9081 ext 24

Download poster here

Guest Speaker: The Rev’d Louise Peters, Vicar, St. James Cathedral, Toronto

The service will be held at St. John’s Anglican Church, West Toronto , 288 Humberside Ave, Toronto.

St. John’s Church is two blocks north of Bloor St., just west of High Park Ave at Humberside.
Nearest TTC Station: High Park Station. A 12 minute walk from High Park Station or a brief bus ride, (No.30, Lampton), north on High Park Ave. Street parking available.
St. John’s is wheelchair accessible.

We hope to welcome you on September 15th at 11am.

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