Friday, 31 January 2014

The Ear of God

January has been a  gloomy month hasn't it? The wet weather has set the tone. I've had a problem with my little toe - isn't it amazing how so small a bit of our body can cause such disruption? Thank goodness we have excellent nurses at our local surgery who are taking care of Father... 
Then we have had rather a large number of deaths in our 3 Churches too. Someone else who died recently was Monsignor Ralph Brown of Westminster archdiocese. He has been what you might call the godfather of canon law in Britain for several decades, the top man in the little world which I inhabit when wearing that particular one of my hats. He asked Archbishop Stack to preach at his Requiem at Westminster Cathedral, and specifically asked him to quote a well-known passage from Cardinal Hume's book "To Be A Pilgrim". As I find it an inspiring passage too, here it is.
“Judgment is whispering into the ear of a merciful and compassionate God the story of my life which I have never been able to tell. Many of us have a story, or part of one at any rate, about which we have never been able to speak to anyone. Fear of being misunderstood. Inability to understand ourselves. Ignorance of the darker side of our hidden lives, or just shame, make it very difficult for many people. The true story of our life is not told, or only half of it is. What a relief it will be to be able to whisper freely and fully into that merciful and compassionate ear. After all, that is what he has always wanted. He receives us, His prodigal children, now contrite and humble, with an embrace. In that embrace we start to tell him our story and He begins that process of healing and preparation which we call Purgatory”

Saturday, 18 January 2014

I Surrender

I was talking about Blessed Charles de Foucauld to a parish group yesterday. He was a big influence on me when, as a seminarian in Rome, I met the religious congregation inspired by his spirituality, the Little Brothers of Jesus. You can read about de Foucauld (not to be confused with the famous scientist) and his spiritual legacy here. The site includes a brief video of his life. He explored the spirituality of the hidden years of Jesus at Nazareth, and reached depths of commitment that led him to write a prayer that has become well known, as the "Prayer of Abandonment". I call it a "dangerous" prayer, because if we mean the words, then the Lord will quite likely take us up on it! 
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

The words "I Surrender" tend to be taken as a sign of weakness, but for the Christian, surrender to God is a sign of strength. Here is a video from the well-known Hillsong people which puts some of this theme into a worship song.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Holy Water

Another great video from Outside da Box, this time on Baptism

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Baby Is Comin'

Another great video from Igniter...