Spiritual Journeys

The design of the All Souls’ Chapel in the church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon is remarkable.  Approaching it, perhaps the first thing to notice is the reredos.  On this vividly carved altarpiece, the artist, Drysdale, was trying to show the diverse multitude of souls approaching Christ for mercy. The countless dead.  The carving shows the Holy Souls marching towards a place just below a Christus who is the Sacred Heart. This march is not a danse macabre: Drysdale introduces no...
Credit Shalom Mwenesi via Unsplash
One of our innovations, as we have been redeveloping the Pope’s personal prayer network, is our popular Click-to-Pray online service. It is the Pope’s app that connects your prayer with the world. Tens of thousands have downloaded the app while others visit the website daily to “Pray with the Pope”. Each day the app offers a different set of short and accessible prayers. The first is to start off the day, as we pray to make ourselves available for Christ’s mission; a second one, very brief and...
Cap Blanc-Nez, the ‘Cote d’Opale’ west of Calais
Jesuit Scholastic Chris Brolly has spent six weeks in Calais working alongside migrants and refugees. He reflects on how entering deeply into another’s lived experience has energised his faith journey.While my first five weeks in Calais were full of rewarding experiences, towards the end of my stay I became frustrated at my inability to make deeper connections with the people of the migrant communities I was serving when on distributions  or hospital runs.This was partly due to how I had I...
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
The imitation of Christ is our mission.  To be like Jesus is the task he has given us in the world: the cup that I must drink, you shall drink.    This imitation is much more than copying or mimicry.  To be like the One who came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many is to become him. It is to live in his life.  The imitation of Christ is feasible for us.  This is not an aspiration to be like someone who is so different from us, so far above us,...
This month marks the 170th anniversary of the opening of St Beuno’s, a College dedicated to the 7th century Welsh Abbot, confessor, and patron saint for sick children and against diseased cattle. To celebrate this occasion we have taken a look back at the rich history of the former Jesuit College-turned-Retreat centre, found within material in the archive.Completed in October 1848 St Beuno’s was built to relieve the growing numbers of prospective Jesuit priests putting a strain on Stonyhurst...
Nick Hanrahan reflects on his vocational journey with JRS and his hopes for the synod on young people. Hundreds of bishops from around the world will gather this month to participate in the 15th Ordinary Synod of Bishops. The Synod will examine ‘Young People, The Faith and Vocational Discernment’; a topic that, as a young Catholic, has prompted me to reflect on what faith and discernment means to me.My own faith came alive through an experience that made me realise for the first time that...
This month Pope Francis has declared an additional, urgent intention.The Holy Father asks all the faithful for a greater effort in our personal and community prayer. He invites us to pray every day the Holy Rosary with the intention that the Virgin Mary help the Church in these times of crisis, and to pray each day to St. Michael the Archangel that he defend us against the attacks of the Devil.During these last years and months, we in the Church have lived through difficult situations, brought...
Padre Pio used with permission
The 23rd of September is the Feast of Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. He died fifty years ago on this day in 1968.  For fifty years before that, Padre Pio bore on his body, the stigmata. The stigmata are the marks of the sufferings of Christ. The five precious wounds are the holes in the feet, in the hands and in the side. The stigmata are the marks of the nails and of the centurion’s spear.  The strange miracle of the stigmata, which seems like the very opposite of healing, was...
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
The Sixth Station of the Cross: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.  An act of kindness on the road to the crucifixion leaves a physical memorial: an image of the face of Jesus is vividly impressed on a towel or veil.  The name Veronica is sometimes said to mean ‘true icon’, ‘true image’ although it could also be a form of Berenice. True images of Jesus Christ can be imprinted by compassion.  Acts of tenderness towards those who are suffering are icons of the loving kindness...
Photo by N R on Unsplash
Pure unspoilt religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.  The pure version of our faith, according to St James, is all about two aspects of our relation to other people: first, we are to help them in their need, and, second, we are not to be corrupted by them.  The demand that we help people is challenging, it calls out of us love, charity, compassion, when perhaps we are...

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