Brother Bede Daleyborn 27th November 1912entered 1950Professed 1956died 27 January 1989Brother Bede John DaleyBr Bede, John Daley, was born at Houghton-le-Spring, Co. Durham, 27th November 1912. His parents, John and Susan, had four sons and three daughters. He is survived by brothers Felix, Michael, and Anthony. John was a foreman baker. Active in Catholic life, his vocation to become a monk grew from a sense of dedication. He took part in the national Cross Pilgrimages to Walsingham in 1949. His reading of Thomas Merton, ‘Elected Silence’ drew him to the Cistercians and Nunraw. Before he entered Nunraw in 1950, he went to Fatima and experienced the faith and devotion to Our Lady in a way that was to remain with him. Cheerful and adaptable he joined the growing community of Nunraw and made his final profession in March 1956.The construction of the new abbey was in full swing. After his first years as dairyman he moved on to the building as a stone mason. Later he undertook the beekeeping and that was followed by service in the wardrobe, where he became the community tailor. He advocated learning handicrafts, as occupation for later years, and made moulds for the production of statuettes. In fact he was busy as full time tailor to the end.Br Bede suffered from high blood pressure. Although the circumstances were rather sudden, a cerebral stroke, his death was peaceful and seemed to express a response to the Lord’s call, ‘Come share your Master’s joy’. Community Chronicle27 January 1989 - At just around 8.55 p.m., Br. Bede went forth to his eternal reward. He was roughly 76 years old. He had knocked on the wall for help and Br. Kentigern, his neighbour went in to see him. It was a cerebral haemorrhage, mercifully swift. The Abbot, Br. Philip and Fr. Raymond were there and recited the prayers for the dying. Br. Philip had already tried to feel for the pulse but there was none. Dr. Fortune came from Haddington to certify the death. The chronicler will miss him in the kitchen for he always came there to collect the trolley with the bowls and desert; the washers-up will miss him for he was the extra man, drying up and making pawky humorous remarks; the choir will miss him for, when on form, he had a strong clear well pitched voice; Fr. Stephen will miss him for the two would, on most afternoons, be seen walking up and down outside the Reception area; Br. Aelred will miss him because he was assistant to Brother who was our tailor; the community will miss him because he always encouraged the brethren, attended every community affair he could, and above all because he was a man of prayer and of God and of Our Lady. May he now rejoice in the Beatific Vision, Alleluia, Alleluia!28 January 1989 - The community Mass, presided over by the Abbot was for the repose of the soul of Br. Bede. So ‘the thread has broke’, - on being asked how he was, his health was precarious for some years, he would answer, “Ah, hanging together by a thread.” Sometimes he would laughingly say, “Me and my state of health.”. He loved a good barney, warding off all arguments with good bluff humour and a hearty laugh. He was a sick man yet he never complained and frequently was more concerned about other folk than himself. In fact, if it hadn’t been for his purplish hands, any stranger would have been excused for thinking that he was in good health. He was one of the former lay-brothers who signed on for the Office twenty years ago and remained wonderfully faithful to it, as he was to his daily Stations of the Cross and the Rosary. For a long time he was a cantor. On occasion he would bluff his way through an Antiphon’s opening phrase.After Compline we crowded into the small room where Br. Bede’s remains lie, and overflowed into the corridor to recite the Rosary for his repose. There is something very comforting in how we gather around a deceased brother’s remains and give a final plea of his behalf that he will be forgiven any offence and be granted the Beatific Vision. When Br. Ninian, in hospital, heard today of Br. Bede’s death, there were tears in his eyes. Certainly we miss his cheery greeting.29 January 1989 - Br. Bede was interested in making mead, a side line to his bee keeping. For a time this was his cure-all, the last word, no more pills, a first class nature cure. How many of us were pressed to imbibe it is not known. One victim succumbed to Br. Bede’s obvious kindness. It must be added that Br. Bede never tasted his blending of cider and honey. He just mixed the two ingredients with a goodly shake, and that was that. At that time Br. Philip, the Infirmarian, was pressed to take a bottle of the ‘mead’. It was put in the dispensary near a radiator. During the night, there was heard a tremendous crack; the ‘mead’ was all over the room, for it was powerful stuff. Fr. Benedict says that Br. Bede’s death was the happiest one he has experienced either here or in Roscrea. Br. Bede never criticised anyone, he wasn’t a restless man in any way, content with the present moment, content with his place in it, a well-rounded personality. Visitors who met him on rare occasions were always attracted to him. He just was plain good.1 February 1989 - Today we celebrated the funeral Mass for Br. Bede. It was a lovely Mass. Dom Donald was chief celebrant, Br. Bede’s brothers Frs. Felix and Anthony assisted him. Cardinal Gray was unable to make it. There were perhaps over 100 in the congregation. We had a new selection of hymns; “Abide with me” for the Entry, “In bread we bring you, Lord” for the Offertory, “O Love, that wilt not let me go” for the Communion, and “Now the green blade rises” for the Procession to the cemetery. The singing went well. In the Homily, our Abbot seemed to liken Br. Bede to an express train roaring past one standing on a country station, for a little while after it has gone, its presence is still with one, but then of course Christ is the Express train par excellence - His Presence is with us always.2 February 1989 - The Presentation of the Lord, 43rd Anniversary of Nunraw’s founding. We had a record during lunch, Handel’s Messiah. Just before the close of the meal, we heard being sung, “I know that my Redeemer liveth”, quite poignant with Br. Bede’s burial yesterday, and a lit candle at his place in the RefectoryPanegyric - by Abbot Donald‘Come share your Master’s joy.’We were not hearing voices, and Br. Bede’s death was quite undramatic but I cannot find any words that better express the peaceful finality and joyful fulfilment which we feel at the end of his life of loving service of God and his brethren in the monastic vocation. He found in this vocation his hidden treasure.In the place that Br. Bede came from, a familiar and loved figure on the calendar of Saints is the Venerable Bede of Jarrow. The prayer of St. Bede is particularly appropriate as we commend one who took his name in the monastic life and we give thanks to God for his life. In the words of the prayer:I pray you good JesusThat as you have given me the graceto drink in with joy the Wordthat gives knowledge of You,so, in your goodness, You will grant meTo come at length to Yourself,The source of all Wisdom,To stand before your face for ever.As the liturgical feast of the great Saints come round, we talk of celebrating the passing of the Saint. Even our greatest liturgical celebration is that of a passing. The Paschal Mystery of Easter linking up with the Jewish Pasch marking the passing of the Lord in the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt.Have you ever stood on the platform of a quiet country railway station and suddenly been hit, as it were, by the thunder of an express train rushing through? The effect can be so powerful that for several seconds it is as if it were still present - its passing contained so much power that it almost leaves part of itself pervading the air.The greatest belief of Christians is that the Son of God has passed through this world. We cannot believe that such a passing could be over and gone without a trace. Christ Jesus passing through this world could not but be so powerful that his presence had to remain, some echo, some slip stream, some shadow.Since the Sacraments are given for the visible and tangible expression of great invisible and intangible mysteries, I will take the example of the Blessed Sacrament. When I think of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament in countless tabernacles throughout the world I cannot but think that it is hardly less than what one would expect, that His passing remains a presence. That is the only example, a very central and important example of Christ remaining present with us - Christ who remains in His Church, who is present in His Word, who is encountered in his members, and whose presence must never loose that character of a mighty rushing of divinity come among men.“Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ the Son of god, the one who has come into the world.” (Jn 11:26).When it comes to our own passing or the passing of a brother and friend we have all too many reminders of the fleeting transitory nature of our life. But if the glory of Christ’s passing among men means anything it must be our conviction that every life has a lasting significance, and even a continuing presence - that it must share also in that quality of Christ’s life, Christ who died and came to life again that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.We are not always aware of the uniqueness of our Christian faith, some might say its odd-ness. Sometimes it takes someone from a completely strange religious background to point out just how unique. A Buddhist said people of most world faiths can dispense with their founder, the Prophet, the Buddha, and still remain a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist. Only the Christian cannot do without Christ. Without Christ the Christian does not exist as such.Let us put it another way. Without Christ the Christian is nothing. But on the other hand with Christ the Christian is everything.And as in everything else this applies very especially to our own Christian death. What we call our passing is transformed and in so many ways shares in Christ’s passing which is not a passing but a lasting, a presence.As St. Paul puts it, “Christ, once raised from the dead, will never die again - so are the dead raised again and set free from corruption and will never again see death.”In pointing to the Blessed Sacrament as ‘an-only-to-be-expected’ form of a presence which could not be terminated even by death, I like to think that Christ’s faithful, sharing in His mystery, in various ways ALSO leave us signs or sacraments of their presence. It may already be quite unconsciously stamped on our lives by the love, the inspiration, the influence they have had in making and shaping us as we are. We have to think of the special debt we have to some very dear ones who have passed on.St. Bede’s prayer has just two important elements which sum it all up - the gift of the present; the promise of the future; the one contained in the other. The grace already given by the good Jesus- the WORD that gives knowledge of You; an experience of life that Bede can only describe as that of drinking with joy.The promise to come at length to the face to face encounter.At both stages it is, not even for the super intellectual the Venerable Bede, a conceptual cerebral exercise but a personal affair, a love affair.It is the WORD that gives “knowledge of Joy.”It is the VISION face to face of YOURSELFChrist is Christianity. It is not some kind of abstraction, Christianism, an ‘ism’ of philosophy or theology. It is Christ, the Christ Person of Faith.Before he died Karl Rahner, the theologian, was asked a question about Our Lady, “How could he explain so much aloofness towards our Blessed Lady today in so many places.” His answer was very striking. He said, “I think Christians too often today are making Christianity an abstraction, an ideology,”. Then he added, “And you know abstractions do not need a mother!”The faith we saw lived and practised in the life of our Brother Bede, who has gone to share his Master’s joy, very definitely had a Mother. He appreciated it when the preacher succeeded in conveying the presence of Jesus in the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament, and the personal love of the Mother of Jesus in simple terms and was one of those who did not hesitate to say, “That’s what we want, give us more of that.” You have no idea how encouraging it could be just to have him say so - just as he was encouraging to people in so many other ways.We are confident that Bede’s prayer is being fully answered. “Good Jesus, as you gave me to drink with JOY the Word that gives knowledge of You - GRANT ME TO COME AT LENGTH TO YOURSELF, TO STAND BEFORE YOUR FACE FOR EVER. Amen.