Archive for April, 2019

Pilgrimage to Lindisfarne

April 30, 2019

A group of us have just returned from a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne. I have walked this route many times over the last number of years,  stayed in the same Bunkhouse, visited the same churches and holy sites.

What I discovered about pilgrimage this time is that there is a real truth to the idea that we can visit somewhere that we have already been, and yet see it as if for the first time. As we take part in a pilgrimage the external landscape may remain largely unchanged, but the internal landscape of our lives shifts significantly. Who we are with, what is happening in our life, what our purpose is… all of these are what really make up the pilgrimage.

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

T.S. Eliot

Here are some images from our days of walking.

PRAYING FOR SRI LANKA

April 21, 2019

What heartbreaking scenes we see as we watch the shocking news of the bombings in Sri Lanka. We are surely all grieving such terrible loss of life and that so many people are injured. It is hard to make sense of such brutal acts and yet we must hold on to our belief in the innate goodness of people. Already so many people have responded with such generosity, kindness and courage. Love and goodness is ultimately greater than hatred and violence. Wherever we are let us pray for all those affected by the attacks in Sri Lanka and let us work that bit harder to spread more love in our world…

Notre Dame de Paris

April 17, 2019

I am sure that the terrible sight of parts of Notre Dame de Paris engulfed in flames was shocking and heartbreaking to billions of people. I wept as I watched the tragic story unfold. Notre Dame is surely one of the world’s most beautiful and treasued places of prayer. For over eight centuries it has stood out majestically against the Paris skyline, a symbol of God’s constant, gentle presence in our world,  a channel of love and a place of peace, consolation and sanctuary for all. We have only to think of Notre Dame to know that Paris; France; the whole world is placed under Mary’s care and protection. As awful as it was to see so much of the building damaged there is a sense of relief and wonder that it was saved in time thanks to the courage and heroism of the firefighters. Suddenly people of good will from all over the world pledge themselves to the mission of restoration. This disaster has also given birth to a miracle. It has shown that love of beauty and love of the sacred can bring us all together. Notre Dame continues to catch our hearts and attract our love. We all want to see her rise again in renewed beauty and dignity. It is like we are embarking on a pilgrimage carved out step by step in stone and wood. I am grateful that I can witness the restoration. This slow and careful work in the hands of the world’s best craftsmen and women will show how many forms love can take. Notre Dame de Paris…Pray for us.

INSPIRED BY A GROUP OF NOVICES

April 10, 2019

This week Sofi and I are in taking part in a course on the vows. This course is especially for novices. There are forty two novices from ten religious congregations here. We will live together in community for a full week. Everyone has a part to play. All participants take part in giving presentations, performing role plays, leading prayers and in moderating sessions.  Fr Paul Suparno SJ will give input in the second part of the course. As I watch presentations and engage in lively question and answer sessions I find myself greatly inspired by the enthusiasm and earnestness of the novices. It gives me hope to think that they will all be making vows at some point of this year and moving out to be of service to others. Let us pray for them and indeed for all young people setting out in life in the hope of doing good. May the love of God sustain them and may they spread love and goodness far and wide.

 

 

 

Holiness is charity lived to the full

April 3, 2019

Last week we celebrated the funeral Mass for our lovely Sr Victoire. I say ‘celebrated’ because that is what it was – a celebration. Of course we were sad, and we will miss her, but her funeral was testimony to a life well lived.

As we have walked with her over these last months, much of what Pope Francis says about holiness has been in my mind. Holiness is about loving, about becoming more and more caught up in the God who IS love. Its about constantly seeking to express and share that love.

Holiness is nothing other than charity lived to the full. (Gaudete et Exultate 21)

All of us have our ups and downs, our vulnerabilities and sadness. This is what makes us human – and this is what we were created to be! Fully human! We can get very caught up in trying to be perfect. We can feel that one mistake, sin or wrong choice places us beyond reach… but in fact it is human to make mistakes, to feel afraid or doubtful. We are called to be human. Pope Francis suggests that it is in seeing the entirety of someones life that we understand its meaning.

Not everything a saint says is completely faithful to the Gospel; not everything he or she does is authentic or perfect. What we need to contemplate is the totality of their life, their entire journey of growth in holiness, the reflection of Jesus Christ that emerges when we grasp their overall meaning as a person.(Gaudete et Exultate 22)

Our Sr Victoire died peacefully at 91 years of age. She was extraordinary. She allowed herself to be transformed over and over again. She loved deeply and was herself to the very end.

crocus

May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life. Let yourself be transformed. Let yourself be renewed by the Spirit, so that this can happen, lest you fail in your precious mission. (Gaudete et Exultate 23)