This book is a collection of Year A homilies (sermons) by Fr Mark Hartley O.C.S.O., a Cistercian monk of Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, Leicester.
One day, a simple question was directed at Fr Mark: ‘What do you do with your sermons when you have preached them?’ Fr Mark’s answer was ‘file them away’. The seed was sown for this book.
The title of the book, ‘I have to come up with a sermon…’, was one of Fr Mark’s regular cries. This will resonate with many preachers and will bring a smile to those who knew Fr Mark.
Fr Mark’s preaching is fluent and spontaneous and his gentle, unflamboyant style will appeal to many. Despite his apparent isolation in a monastery, Fr Mark had an ability to connect his spiritual insights with what was going on in the world. He kept abreast of current affairs and events, and had a genuine understanding of the lot of ordinary people. Fr Mark may not have been in the world but he was certainly of it and this comes across in each of the sermons in this book.
Having done two six-year stints as guestmaster at the Abbey, Fr Mark was acutely sensitive to the needs, concerns and problems that people encountered; and the wise advice and counsel he gave to thousands of visitors to the Abbey over many years comes through in this small collection of his sermons.
The homilies in themselves are simple; but since they were written by one person, in one place, over a period of fifty-six years, they reflect a harmony and continuity of thought and style which are quite remarkable.