Giving space for creation

Last autumn when I was clearing away the dead summer flowers and making some efforts to tidy up the garden I saved a bowl full of wildflower seeds and threw them on the cobblestones of our back alleyway. (Its a place no-one uses anymore except to fly tip rubbish! I would love to have the time and energy to tackle the fly tipping, but in reality I can only do a clear up on occasion and much of what gets dumped needs to be cleared by the council and so rarely gets shifted.)

My little action of seed bombing has created a haven this spring for bees and other pollinators – the wildflowers easily took root in between the cobbles and we have a small meadow in this undisturbed area.

In the front garden we have also done some ‘rewilding’ leaving a nettle patch and brambles, and the increased insect population has encouraged nesting birds; we have three different nests – magpie, sparrow and blackbird.

It makes me realise how simply we can make a little space for nature.

A prayer for our earth

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.

Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.

Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

Laudato Si #246

On the brink of Pentecost…

How good it is to reach this moment in the life of the Church as we once more stand on the brink of Pentecost. I find my heart is full of longing for the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. Isn’t God so good to offer us so many new beginnings? I notice I am filled with a child-like joy at the thought of tomorrow’s feast. Happy Pentecost to all who read this post. May each one of us receive all we hope for – and even more as the Spirit comes to us and renews us.

I am with you always

These weeks since Easter we have walked with the Risen Jesus and listened to his constant encouragement to live with love and to share that love with others. On the Feast of the Ascension we heard Jesus’ promise to be with us always. For me personally this is a promise I will hold on to forever and it gives me the courage to live the Gospel as well as I can.

Hints from God

The road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35) is a delighful story of of an unexpected encounter with the Risen Christ. We were treated to this reading on Sunday 23rd April. Since then I have been looking out for signs of Christ and he has not disappointed me. I had a deeply touching experience a few days ago when a family we have helped for some years came to visit us bringing a gift to say thank you. The lovely tin of biscuits so generously given to us would have cost this family dearly. I doubt they would enjoy biscuits like this very often. This was a truly heartfelt thank you. I have thought about this family often over the last few days and each time I find I draw a little closer to God. There is no limit to the tender beauty of God.

Resilience is rooted in love

I have recently been spending some time with my elderly parents as one of them recovers from surgery. As I watch them together in these days I have been reflecting on the virtue and practice of resilience.

  • Resilience grows with time. Years of experiencing yourself coping with adversity enables you to face adversity and not be daunted.
  • Knowing that you will not struggle alone gives you the courage to struggle without being overwhelmed.
  • A problem shared is a problem shared. The pain might be yours, but you aren’t the only one who is carrying it.

I love watching my parents support each other, laugh together, enjoy the simple things that come their way. Their individual resilience is based on the mutuality of their relationship. And more than that… they have taught us (myself and my siblings) resilience too by simply being a loving, stable presence in our lives.

Receive peace and the Spirit – forgive

Last Sunday’s Gospel reading, from John 20: 19-31, is a potential feast for deep reflection, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to prayer. On this occasion I have found myself drawn to the first few verses. It is lovely to keep on claiming Christ’s gift of peace, to be able to breathe in the gift of the Holy Spirit and to feel healed, strenghtened and encouraged to forgive others. I hope there is something in this beautiful reading for all of us.

Looking for the Lord in new places…

The Gospel reading for Tuesday 11th April (Jn 20: 11-18) is a much loved one for many of us. The thought of the encounter betwen the Risen Christ and Mary Magdalene is a delightful one. That simple and yet potent phrase ‘I have seen the Lord’ stays with me and invites me to look out for signs of the Risen Christ in daily life. What joy when I discover how much he is present. I hope that we are all able to see signs of resurrection in many places.

Finding God through song

This Sunday, Palm Sunday, the local group I belong to in my parish is responsible for leading the singing at one of the Masses. We have had a good number of practices in recent days. It has been good to have the opportunity to learn the hymns in good time and to feel confident singing them. One of the hymns we will be singing is a version of the Anima Christi/Soul of Christ, a prayer much loved by St Ignatius of Loyola. When singing this hymn last week I suddenly discovered that I was no longer simply singing but that I was truly encountering Christ. I found myself carried into a kind of contemplation. Something similar has happened each time I have sung that hymn since then. I am so grateful for this unexpected touch of God.

Trying to see as God sees

I found myself really inspired by last Sunday’s Mass readings (1Sam 16:1b,6-7,10-13a; Eph 5:8-14; Jn 9:1-41), they all seemed to be saying the same thing to me – to shift my perspective and to try and look at people, situations and things in the same way as God looks at them. I have spent the last week trying to do exactly that and it has been quite revealing to me. Suddenly, I find myself a little more open to new ideas, a little less judgemental, and even a little more patient when dealing with difficult moments. I have tried to extend my ‘seeing’ even further by trying to look at complex world issues as God would look at them and thus with greater objectivity and compassion. As a new Sunday draws near, and possibly a new inspiration from the day’s readings, I hope I can hold on to this new way of seeing.

Snippets of Contemplation

This morning between washing up the breakfast dishes, sweeping the floor and sitting down at my desk I went out to the garden to plant some thyme. I was joined by Berry, our @conventcat, who watched and purred as I dug around in the soil. The sun is shining but the air is still crisp – its one of those early days of British spring time that are full of promise of warm weather to come!

I only had 15 minutes to spare between tasks, but taking that time to do something regenerative was a blessing. I find real value in these snippets of contemplation and connection interspersed in the busyness of a working day.

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