Spiritual Journeys

Fist bumps over open lap tops
Pope Francis is renowned for breaking new ground. He encourages all of us to “go to the frontiers”. He goes there too - in his preaching and teaching, in his travelling, but also in the topics that he raises. He wants the light of the Gospel to shine on so many varied areas of human experience. He reminds us that it must. This month’s Universal Intention is a great example: he invites the whole people of God to pray with him that “social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which...
Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash
Moses said Put this question to the ages that are past.  There is a way in which on Trinity Sunday we are all like Moses. We are urging each other to draw on the experience of all those who have ever believed in God. We want to understand God better.  The knowledge and love of God: these are what we are after:  Loving God is the most important thing in our life. Along with love goes some understanding, some knowledge.  Do we think of ourselves as reaching out to God? By the...
The good shepherd icon
Philip Harrison SJ and Kensy Joseph SJ have chosen the image of Christ as a Good Shepherd for the invitation cards for their ordination on 30th June.  They explain the significance of their choice.       The image of Christ as a Good Shepherd appears in some of the earliest Christian art. In this Russian  Orthodox icon from the nineteenth century, Christ is shown with a sheep around his shoulders. It is a gesture drawn straight from the Gospels,...
A single flame in the darkness
The red vestments of Pentecost first remind us of the flames in which the Holy Spirit descended.  In the  Acts (2.3) we hear: Tongues as of fire appeared among them and a flame rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability. The red cloth the sanctuary on the Feast of Pentecost is a sign of the glowing fire of the Holy Spirit rendering all of us stronger in our faith and able to...
Looking out of the window
Why are you men of Galilee standing here looking into the sky? (Acts 1.10)The two in white put their question to the disciples. Why are you standing here looking into the sky?  If we were those disciples we would surely have quite a reasonable answer to the question.  We focus our attention in the direction in which Jesus has ascended in order to pray.  Upwards towards heaven is the direction of our prayer.  We treasure the memory of Jesus and we lift up our hearts and minds...
Fluorescent cross in Liverpool
The truth I have now come to realise is that God does not have favourites.The life’s work of each of us is to prepare ourselves for eternal life with God.  We are to be happy forever in God’s company. The grace of God prepares us for that heavenly happiness in many different ways.  It helps that we are disciples of Christ.  We are helped also by the Sacraments, the Scripture and the teaching of the Church.  Another help is that we live in a community of those who believe. We...
Love thy neighbour Credit Nina Strehl via Unsplash
As we move into Mary’s month, and the beginning of the northern-hemisphere summer, our Holy Father points to the mission that we all share as baptised followers of the Risen Christ – the Mission of the Laity. Pope Francis asks us to pray with him this month that the lay faithful fulfil their specific mission by responding with creativity to the challenges that face the world today. In Mary’s month, we could surely ask her prayers in support of ours, as we pray with the Pope for this intention....
Kensy Joseph SJ at his diaconate ordination with Rt Rev John Arnold, Bishop of Salford
Kensy Joseph SJ explains why it affirmed a vital part of his ministry as a deacon when he was recently told, ‘you’re a student – you’re one of us!’After delivering a Sunday homily recently at the Holy Name Church in Manchester, I was chatting with some students when one of them commented on my ‘both/and’ situation as a deacon. On the one hand, I am on the team of the Jesuit-run Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy, ordained to specific liturgical ministries (among other things) such as...
Sheep on the mountainside
Some people, even some Christians, wonder whether being a Christian really matters and whether having a Church and a priest and people going to Mass every Sunday really makes any actual difference in the world. I admit that I occasionally have those doubts myself. But then I think of the flocks of sheep that I have known without a shepherd.You see, I once saw an actual flock of sheep without a shepherd. It was in the Rupununi in South America. I don’t know how it had happened, but a group of...
 A young woman gazes upwards. A cross is behind her.
“Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” [John 20.9]“So, what exactly is the point of the ‘bodily resurrection’?”I was once asked this question in a pub by a journalist. And, as always, when I find myself talking in a social environment with a journalist, I hear somewhere off in the background the words of the Police caution… “but anything you do say may be taken down and used in evidence…”But drink had been taken, so I did...

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