Feasts and Saints

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern
For most of us it is not easy to believe in the resurrection of Jesus: most of us are not in the premier league of beloved disciples: most of the time utter joy and bliss and absolute faith in the God who loves us eternally and unconditionally aren’t obvious to us.  As Christians we see acts of faith around us, we receive compassion and support, we pray together for the people we love; but we also witness lack of faith, resentment or even hatred towards Christians, simply because of what...
Schindler's Factory in Krakow Schindler's list installation from wikimedia commons
‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’Tertullian, writing in the 2nd Century, says that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church. And, since he was there at the time, I guess we have to take his word for it.One thing that only occurred to me recently: martyrs are only canonized with hindsight, and usually a few hundred years after the event. In any culture, at any time, there are only a very few people with the integrity and foresight to...
On Palm Sunday 2005, in one of his last public appearances, St John Paul II addressed his beloved young people gathered to celebrate International World Youth Day.  He invited them to respond to a very high calling, namely to joyfully embrace the cross.  “Dear young people”, he said, “I realize more and more how providential and prophetic it was that this very day, Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord, should have become your Day. This feast possesses a special grace, that of joy...
Pelican Shamrock Banner
With the celebration of St Patrick’s Day today, (17th March), our chosen object has an appropriately Irish theme. This processional banner comes from a collection with 7 others, which were used at Stonyhurst on the Feast of Corpus Christi.On that Feast Day, through much of the 19th and 20th centuries, the College would make a procession with the Blessed Sacrament from the Fronts to an altar placed in the gardens to celebrate Mass. Along with a guard-of-honour from the CCF and OTC, many banners...
Menologion of Basil, Presentation of the Lord
The Feast of the Presentation has many meanings. It represents a staging post in the liturgical year – the traditional end of Christmastide. It symbolises the moment at which the Christ-child is presented to the world. Although, as we know, he had already been visited by shepherds and magi after his birth, Jewish tradition demanded that as first-born he be brought to the Temple and consecrated to God, and a sacrifice be made (of a lamb, or of pigeons or turtle doves). According to Jewish...
A composite image of Thomas More and Edmund Campion SJ  facing each other
The Martin Scorcese film Silence now on general release. It highlights a time in the Church’s life in Japan when many Christians were martyred for their Christian faith. Jesuit priests and Catholic men and women were tortured in the hope that they would deny their faith in Christ and in His Body, the Church. It might seem very remote from our own time and experience and yet, today, we hear extraordinary stories of Christians in the Middle East, of Jesuits and Christian men and women,...
Older woman holds her head in her hands - by Christian Newman on unsplash
This Sunday is Christmas day, a day when, by long tradition, all over the world, Christians wake up happy – thankful for all of the good things they have been given in life. Not just the good things they have been given this morning, but all of the good things they have received from God’s hand throughout their lives. And thankful most especially for the people they have been given to love and people who have been given to love them. This is a day for rejoicing in all that God has...
Two hands holding scrabble letters that spell forever: Photo by Gabby Orrcutt
“Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come.”Do you believe in love at first sight?When I was at college I had a friend called Mark. And, one evening, we went out to dinner with a group of other students. At the dinner he met a young lady called Laura and they seemed to get on very well together. And, as we walked home, he told me that he had fallen in love with her. This was the woman for him, there would be no other. They would get married, live...
Margaret Hassan (Fitzsimons)
Around about this time twelve years ago, you may just remember, the whole country was talking about Margaret Hassan, a middle aged woman from Dublin who worked most of her life as an aid worker in Iraq and, that winter, was tortured and killed on television. Her horrific death brought her fifteen minutes of fame and subsequent oblivion. I want to briefly to remind you of the story of her life, because I believe it is the best expression I know in action of the words of this Gospel.She was born...
One human family and refugees welcome banners
As the days really shorten and darken in the nations of Britain and of the northern hemisphere, the monthly Universal Intention of the Holy Father, commended to the church though his Prayer Network, keeps us mindful of the awful suffering of refugees, many of whom have come to these nations to escape persecution and violence. We are invited, through prayer and reflection, to grow in compassion for all displaced people, most of whom experience great need and pain. We have a powerful reminder of...

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