Spiritual Journeys

Winter Sun from Unsplash.com
Prepare a way for the Lord,make his paths straight.Every valley will be filled in,every mountain and hill be laid low,winding ways will be straightenedand rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.There were four of us in our noviceship - Matthew, Chris, Tony and myself. And in the summer of 1999, just after we had all been ordained and were about to be sent our separate ways, we all decided to have a reunion. And it happened that this was the time of a total...
Christ and the woman taken in adultery Pieter Breugel, Courtauld Institute
Before embarking on the retreat in daily life, I was feeling more and more like my Christian faith was trapped in my private mind, only popping out briefly for discussions and at Sunday Mass. This was very ironic because, as a student of Theology, I was constantly being reminded by great thinkers that Christianity is not a private experience or about a weekly fix of grace. It was an insight that my prayer guide, David (David Stewart SJ), would later sum up with the phrase, “the sacrament of the...
Credit Stefan Kunze via Unsplash
“Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.'”There are many parts of the Mass that I love, but there is one moment in our Eucharist that I have now come to love as much as any of them - it is that moment when - as part of our Offertory procession - a member of the congregation, one of the people of God,  brings up to the altar, along with the bread and wine, the Petitions Book. Along with the...
My time so far in the noviciate has had a Tardis–like quality: it seems in many ways to have flown past, but equally I can’t believe how much we have managed to squeeze in.  Life seems fuller, yet simpler, on the inside of the noviciate.It has been a period of settling in and finding routine, but also a time of change. We’ve built on some strong foundations and there is a good buzz around the place. People are putting their whole selves into the work that we do, including, as an example,...
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...
Branch in the Sunshine by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash.com
“Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.”One of the things I have to do from time to time in my work as a doctor is to tell someone they are going to die.Well, in one way, that is no great surprise. Sooner or later, we are all going to die. And we will all die of something. But it always comes as a shock to anyone to know that they now have the disease which will probably kill them.Telling someone that he is going...
Pegs hanging out on a clothes line
‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’The year I was ordained, they put me into a parish in North London. I was young, keen and enthusiastic, so they thought they had better put me somewhere safe, where I couldn’t do too much damage.And when I arrived, I unpacked and the first thing I did was to...
Hearts on Fire banner created by St Anselm's parishioners
Many of us from the tape-recording era used to compile tapes made from our favourite tunes. Today we’d call it a ‘mash-up’ (combining in one, things from different sources) which is quite a good analogy for the Mission held at St. Anselm’s Jesuit parish in Southall from 3-10th October.Take a team from the Mount Street Jesuit Centre made up of spirituality volunteers, staff and Jesuits: mix it with parishioners and Fr David Stewart SJ leading on the Apostleship of Prayer and what occurred was an...
Credit Gotik Treffen
We share the Holy Father’s concerns for the world and for the spread of the Gospel. Each month he entrusts his concerns to the Apostleship of Prayer, the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, and asks us to invite all people of good will to pray with and about these intentions.This month, his concerns are:For the whole world, Dialogue: That we may be open to personal encounter and dialogue with all, even those whose convictions differ from our own.Near the beginning of his famous “Spiritual Exercises...
Love Thy Neighbour
          “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength and with all your might... and you must love your neighbour as yourself.”When I worked in the Amazon in South America, I met a young lad called Jonathan and heard his story.When he was ten, his mother died. Three months later, his father abandoned him and his two sisters, emigrated to a rich country and was never heard of again. The three children were taken...

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