Feasts and Saints

Shamrock courtesy of unsplash.com
The story of the Shamrock is one that everyone half knows. The half that everyone knows is the bit where St Patrick is trying to explain to the ancient Irish the Christian doctrine of the Trinity and was - like many preachers before and since - having a bit of a struggle with the whole business of how God could be both One and Three at the same time. Then he chanced upon a tiny plant - the Shamrock - which had three leaves, individual, different & distinct - but was united in a single plant...
image of Remembrance Day parade in Enniskillen bomb 1987 from bbc.co.uk
What exactly is a ‘Spirit’?I remember once hearing a child of 11 being asked that question. It was a Holy Communion catechism class and she was meant to give the answer that the class had been told the previous week. The only problem was that she had not been there the previous week, so she had to make it up. She said: “The spirit is the bit of you that lives on after all is rest is dead and gone.”I thought that was pretty good on the spur of the moment.As you may be...
The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance (Confession). This window depicts a Priest raising his right hand in absolution of a penitent in Confession. James Bradley on Flickr
“‘You see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses to this.’”I have a friend who is a politician -but don’t hold that against him. He is really not like other politicians, at least as you may have read about them in newspapers. For one thing, he’s not actually very good...
Sun breaking through the clouds
If you have problems with prayer, read on. The God we imagine and then try to meet in prayer is generally thought of as pretty lifeless, dull, flat, colourless, genderless, sexless and lacking in humour, creativity and understanding. We feel that our friends and our distractions are more interesting and life giving than God. We would rather spend time with our friends and our amusements and interests than with God, rather take our chances with them than with God. That is understandable, given...
crib with crocodile
It was childish, I know, but…Many moons ago I worked in an office where the construction of a small, simple crib, placed on a narrow mantle-piece, was one of the marks of the upcoming Christmas. It was a traditional scene – Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus etc… You can probably visualise the regular cast of characters.But somewhere in its journey this particular crib had become home to a small plastic crocodile. The Crocodile – a small toy – had its origins in some long-forgotten game or display,...
A cross
Jesus revealed his glory to the disciples to strengthen them for the scandal of the Cross. His glory shone from a body like our own to show that the Church, which is the Body of Christ, would one day share his glory.' Preface of TransfigurationIn other words, the transformation of Christ is a sign of the transformation open to all Christians. As we hear in the Canon of this Mass, beyond the horizon of death 'we shall see you, our God, as you are; we shall become like you and praise you for ever...
The more we use a prayer formula, the less we attend to the words used: what counts is the thought or intention or just the feeling that happens to go with the formula. However, from time to time it pays to reflect ("meditate" St Teresa would say) on the actual words being used. And the "Hail Mary" can serve as an example. One can try to reformulate the familiar words in terms that echo the way we speak today. Different people will search for different expressions. But here is one person's...
A statue of our lady with a crown of 12 stars
At a parish church where I often go on a Sunday, we have a big Portuguese community. And in the Church, they have put up a big statue of Our Lady of Fatima. It’s a statue of our lady Queen of Heaven, so the statue has an enormous gilt crown, a big red heart (which glows in the dark after you put the lights out) and a small white plastic rosary. And every Sunday, they put an enormous number of flowers and candles around it. And on special Marian feast days, they put extra ornaments on it – I...
Suscipe
At the garden exit, where you are invited to go after this Mass to enjoy refreshments and typical Farm Street socialising, you will see a fine statue of St. Ignatius. He looks steadily ahead, serene, strong, trusting in the Lord. He holds an open book on which is printed AMDG- Ad maiorem Dei gloriam- to the greater glory of God. Many of you here learnt to write those initials on your school or college exercises. The book he is holding really represents two books: the Spiritual Exercises, a...
This year marks the 155th anniversary of the opening of the Jesuit-run Church of the Sacred Heart at Lauriston Street, Edinburgh.Looking back 300 years, the position of the Jesuits in Scotland, and indeed the Catholic Church, was not such a happy one:‘The monasteries nearly are all in ruins … churches, altars, sanctuaries are overthrown and profaned … No religious rite is celebrated in any part of the kingdom, no Mass is ever said in public … and none of the Sacraments publicly administered...

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