Brother Ninian McCafferty born 11 October 1915 entered 1 November 1952 professed 8 May 1958 died 8th May 1991 Brother Ninian, Charles McCafferty, was born in Kirkintilloch on 11th October 1915. He enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders in 1940. Later, in the Signals Corps he saw service in India, the Middle East, the Desert and in Italy. He kept in contact soldiers with whom he had formed a lasting friendship right to the end. After the war he took an active part in the life of the parish. In fact his interest was so lively that he was chosen to attend courses at Plater College in Oxford as part of the Catholic Social Guild program. But in 1952, perhaps to the astonishment of his friends who knew him as a very articulate and sociable person he chose to join what was then known as the 'Silent Order'. He began his training as a monk at the same time beginning a new apprenticeship, as a stone mason. For many years he was engaged in building the new abbey. He made his monastic profession on the 8th May 1958. After many years of building the new abbey, he was afflicted with poor health. Brother Ninian discovered and preserved a simplicity and singleness of vision in his vocation. He was not one for complexity. With his customary humour he would recall how he was thrown out of his stride when he was introduced to complex schemes of prayer and contemplation. They only confused him at the beginning until he discovered the Jesus Prayer. He adopted it because it echoed all that he already knew and practised. It was echoed in his words when the was asked had he any special wishes at the end; 'to be quietly forgotten and left to rest in the arms of God who made me.' Community Chronicle Wednesday 8th May 1991 Br. Ninian died at 7.10 this morning in St. Joseph's, (Little Sisters of the Poor), Edinburgh. He had had a peaceful night, at 6.30 am he had a drink and he then declined and passed away, "Like a candle going out", said Mother Gertrude, the Superior. He was born on the 11th October 1915. His remains will be received at the Church door at 7.15 p.m. and the funeral will take place on Friday morning. First Vespers of the Ascension. It is a sad 33rd anniversary for Br. Stephen of the Solemn Profession, which he made with Br. Ninian. They were very close, both old soldiers. Rosary after Compline for the repose of Br. Ninian. Friday 10th May 1991 Br. Ninian was buried today. Some 150 visitors came for the funeral, including our Archbishop, Keith Patrick, who had re-arranged his schedule to come. The Mass went beautifully; Brother's request for the hymn 'Christ be beside me" was sung as his remains were borne to the grave. The Archbishop paid tribute to Br. N., recalling days long ago, helping to build the new abbey, when Br. N. Taught him to work! He acknowledged Brother's humour as being second to none - most would agree with that. The Abbot, in his Homily, remarked on Brother's deep dedication to his monastic life in spite of a lot of illness - over the years he had six stomach operations and his spleen removed! He drew attention to Brother's homing in on and making his own, the 'Jesus Prayer'. During the buffet afterwards, many remarked how he had helped them at certain moments. Final Appreciation: Funeral Mass - Br. Ninian Homily - Abbot Donald "Father. I have glorified your name on earth. I have accomplished the work that you gave me to do - Alleluia." When a life on this earth is ended our thoughts turn more easily to what we call the 'Second Coming', i.e., the second coming of Christ, to complete, fulfil and perfect all things for His faithful just as He has already accomplished His work for His father. But at this time of Ascension we should remember the SECOND FAREWELL. ON THE EVE OF HIS PASSION AND DEATH JESUS TOOK A VERY PROFOUND FAREWELL FROM HIS DISCIPLES - and in His farewell discourse expressed the great mysteries of His love which was the utmost he could do to carry them through the pain and the doubt and the darkness of his death. In spite of all that, His first task after His Resurrection was to take up the story again and to remind them of the whole scheme of His mission of love and redemption. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus, for example, could only express their disappointment and sadness to the STRANGER who met them on the road - until Jesus began to recall the Scriptures to them, setting out the full perspective of God's plan culminating in the intimate and moving recognition, "They knew Him in the breaking of bread". For forty days, as the Acts of the Apostles recount, He encouraged, instructed and inspired them to carry on His work. This He did UNTIL his SECOND FAREWELL which took place at the Ascension. It was farewell with a further dimension, a deeper relationship, a great love, stronger faith. As we learn a great deal about Jesus and His relationship with His disciples, I feel that we came to know Br. Ninian at a new depth through the time of his long illness and recurring crises. Imperceptibly we came to recognise the man of faith and unwavering commitment. When, in the course of his many illnesses, he was asked his wishes regarding 'extraordinary means of preserving life he said, "You must be joking! Preserving life? I am looking forward to MY REAL LIFE in Eternity." As to what he would call his temporary life, the story of his life was marked by two great influences. One, the lesser I think, which he shared with many of his generation, was the Second World War. He enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders in 1940. Later in the Signal Corps he saw service in India, the Middle East, in the Desert in North Africa and in Italy. The current conflict in the Gulf brought him reminiscences of his time in Persia. Among those he wished to be informed, when he had passed on, was at least one of those soldiers with whom he formed a lasting friendship. Someone who is himself ailing and unable to be here today. No one can have been through those historic years without gaining in experience and humanity. But the second great influence in his life was already underpinning his reactions and giving him that sense of purpose, which would eventually inspire his dedication to the religious life - that is the influence of his FAITH. After the war he took an active part in the life of the parish. And in fact his interest was so lively that he was singled out and as part of the Catholic Social Guild he was chosen to attend Plater College in Oxford for a course in Social Studies. In 1950, perhaps to the astonishment of his friends who knew him as a very articulate and sociable person, he chose what was then known as the 'SILENT ORDER'. He came to Nunraw Abbey and thirty three years ago, to the very day of his death; he made his Profession as a monk. On the morning of 8th May 1958 Br. Ninian expressed, by his commitment to the monastic way of life, the most important option of his life. Professionalism is a valued attribute in our efficiency oriented society and yet by a strange paradox it has the element of a superficial part of life. People like to distinguish their professional life from their private life. In terms of success the higher you standing as a professional sportsmen or actor or academic the great the premium on your services. And in a way that is justified in so far as such a professional career is often of very short duration. But while it lasts, the more ostentation the trappings of that profession the better because soon they will have to be put aside - and as often as not that is not the real life of the individual. The decisions which affect REAL LIFE are by contrast very often hidden and sometimes even imperceptible. But their bearing and significance is evident in their depth and life long effect on one's story. The PROFESSIONALISM OF THE MONK is just the opposite - the more hidden, and less exhibition about it, the deeper it is. It is not something separate and broken off from real life. It is life directed to that which one believes in most deeply. BR. NINIAN discovered and preserved that simplicity and singleness of vision in his vocation. He was not one for complexity. He could eloquently and humorously describe some of the complex schemes of prayer and contemplation he was introduced to when he first entered the monastery. They only confused him, or for a moment knocked him out of his stride in prayer which he already knew. Then he discovered the 'JESUS PRAYER', beloved of the Orthodox tradition- the simple direct repeated turning to Jesus. "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner." And that he adopted because it echoed all that he already knew and practised and he kept to it to the very end. In fact it coloured his own words when it came to the end. He was asked for ant special wishes he might have and he said, "to be quietly forgotten and left to rest in the arms of God who made me - with all my faults and failings; but who redeemed me in His precious Blood. I beg pardon for all the times I've offended the Brothers. Yours in Jesus, Ninian". He was asked at the same time what hymns and so on he would like at his funeral. He named only one and that was, "Christ be beside me", which is the hymn we shall sing on the procession to the cemetery. Br. Ninian had many occasions to remind us, because of his long illness and suffering, of the real significance and importance of life. In his own way he was confirming the truth of faith, the confidence of hope and the reality of love which Jesus taught to those two disciples, on the road to Emmaus, in their moment of searching. Jesus took up their story where they ended. It was not the end of the story. He opened their minds. In Jesus telling of the story it certainly was not the end. Even the illness beginning took on a new light as He explained the Scriptures to them. "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer and so enter into His glory." Ever human story is the account of a journey. On their journey to Emmaus Jesus showed the disciples that the one who had died was alive. SO DEATH DID NOT HAVE THE LAST WORD AFTER ALL. "O Death, where is your sting." - "Christ be beside me." When al is said and done, it is only Christ's story that makes sense of ours - glory achieved through suffering and death. Christ's resurrection opens all our lives to the prospect not only of a good ending but a GLORIOUS ENDING. The last word in each of our lives belongs to God.