So we've started the Year of Faith. I attended the talk in our Cathedral on the special day, 11th October, anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, given by Fr Stephen Wang. I'm a fan of his blog, "Bridges and Tangents", and he didn't disappoint. Very clear, he developed themes from Pope Benedict's letter for the Year. It's the image of Christ crashing through the roof of the chapel at Allen Hall seminary, where he teaches, that stays in my mind. You can find the text of that part of his talk in his current posting for 19th October.
In our deanery we are compiling a list of events for the Year of Faith. Colleague Fr Garteh Leyshon at St John Lloyd's parish is giving a series of ten talks entitled "Catholic Roots : Why we believe what we believe". There will be one each month through to July. By some strange coincidence, just as the Year begins, our deanery has floundered in its efforts to plan for the future in the city parishes. The project "Facing the Future" has been going for several years, but seems to have reached something of an impasse.Against this background I have been wondering how I can make some contribution to the Year of Faith. I have been homing in on a project that bears a distinct resemblance to that of Fr Gareth - but a different topic. I would like to lead a series of monthly reflections on Gospel passages. How can my faith make that journey from the head to the heart? Each talk will describe an encounter between Jesus and an individual, and the plan is to call it "Meeting the Master." I hope to start in November and run through as far as I can right until the end of the Year next autumn.
My idea is to try and join together our faith and our life by watching how Jesus did it in the lives of those he met. Meeting Jesus made a difference - it did then and it does now. So, how and where might we meet him? And what might happen if I do meet him?... We would hold it in church, give a talk about the passage, a brief time maybe for sharing, then a time of prayer to absorb and reflect. Perhaps we could finish with a cup of tea in the hall.
Meanwhile, I picked up this short film on another good blog, "Da Mihi Animas" called "The Pursuit". It's based on the beautiful 19th century poem "The Hound of Heaven" by Francis Thompson, a favourite of my mother. The film seems to have been sponsored by the diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia - very enterprising. Watch out for the dark figure on the stairs at the beginning...
You can get the text here, and hear Richard Burton reading it in the video below. To get both together you could open a second window.