Spiritual Journeys

A wall of Sandals in a shop - Photo by Adam Jang on Unsplash
If we are going to dedicate ourselves to being disciples of Jesus Christ what do we need, what must we take with us?  What can we dispense with?  He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses.  They were to wear sandals, but, he added, do not take a spare tunic. Simplicity is clearly the order of the day.  Let us get rid of what is unnecessary. Let us cut down; let us retrench; let us detach ourselves...
Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash
 I hope this will not seem disrespectful, but do you ever wonder what it must have felt like to be Jesus?- to have the power to heal people just by touching them...“Do you feel sick?” – I touch you – and immediately you get better. No fuss, no bother, no drugs, no side-effects, no operations, no clinical commissioning groups, no Health & Social Care Bills – you just get better right away. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to be able to do for people?I often wonder that because, during...
Bishop Hudson and Kensy Joseph SJ during the ordination
“I will give you shepherds,” we hear the Lord promise on the lips of the prophet Jeremiah. And today we see that promise marvellously fulfilled. As Kensy and Philip are ordained here in Stamford Hill, the ordination of six more priests draws to a close this afternoon a few miles from here in Westminster Cathedral.Eight more men for the mission! How their forebears, the likes of Saints Edmund Campion and Ralph Sherwin, who led the mission to England and Wales four hundred and thirty-five years...
Credit Brandon Wong via Unsplash
Every priest, at some point, will recognise this statement, usually uttered in all innocence: “Ah, but Sunday’s your busy day, isn’t it, Father?” Rarely would this be said with any malice although maybe with a little touch of gentle teasing. Priests work hard and wouldn’t complain  They feel sure that it’s part of their vocation, but some do work too hard and risk burning themselves out, even permanently damaging their health. The Pope is well aware of this and has selected, as his...
A woman makes a gesture of quiet with her finger over her lips - Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
We are surprised by Jesus’ strong insistence to Jairus that he not tell anyone about his daughter’s recovery. The miracle is surely a persuasive sign of Jesus’ power and goodness. Shouldn’t everyone who hears of it have their faith strengthened? Some people were scornful of Jesus at the time: their laughter must have been silenced by the miracle: isn’t it good to confound those who scoff at faith? The calling back to life of the little girl is a sign of Jesus’ divine authority: isn’t it...
View of Guyana from a small plane
About twenty years ago, I learned the meaning of the word ‘fear’. It was my first flight in a small plane in Guyana in South America.When I first went on the missions I had fond imaginings of trekking up through the jungle like the last of the Mohicans, so I felt a bit disappointed that it turned out just to be a flight in a small plane. But, if I had wanted a test of courage, I don’t think I could have chosen better. It turned out to be an ‘Islander’ – a twin engined propeller-driven job which...
Aloysius de Gonzaga as a boy
AMDGThe patron saint of young people, and of Jesuit scholastics (students for the priesthood), we celebrate the life of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga SJ in a special way this year with a Jubilee Year to mark the 450th anniversary of his birth. Why is his life worth celebrating?Aloysius, or Luigi, gave up a privileged background to enter the Society of Jesus. While studying for the priesthood, he died while caring for plague victims on the streets of Rome. Rather than flee the daunting realities of his...
Seeds resting in a persons hands - Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash
‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’Right after I was ordained, I spent five years working in the Amazon in South America. The area I worked in is called the Rupununi. That’s an area of Guyana about...
A window left slightly open - Photo by bady qb on Unsplash
No one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle the property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.  If Satan is the Strong Man, then Jesus Christ is the burglar who robs the house. The Lord steals back from the Evil One those who have been ensnared by his wiles. Jesus immobilises the Enemy. The Redeemer ties up the Strong Man.  The Saviour rescues the victims whom the Devil has kidnapped.  We are the beneficiaries of Jesus’...
Homily by Fr Provincial Damian Howard at the Final Vows Mass of James Conway SJ, 8th June 2018.It is traditional for a Jesuit to take his final vows on some notable Jesuit feast. Fr Jim Conway has chosen the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion championed early on by the Society of Jesus and one which has given its name to so many of our parishes and other works around the world. The revelation given to St Margaret Mary Alacoque takes us right back to the very heart of the Christian message,...

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