Spiritual Journeys

Thatched_roof_houses_in_Guyana
“I tell you that her sins, her many sins, must have been forgiven her, or she would not have shown such great love.”The best – the very best - church leader I have ever known is not a priest, or a nun, or indeed any other kind of “professional” religious. He is an Amerindian lay church leader and he works in a Church community in a little village in the Amazon, many thousands of miles away from here. Perhaps I should explain: in the Rupununi, there are about 30,000...
Stephen B Whatley's the Sacred Heart of Jesus - part image
I have been telling many of our students here at Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy,  that when we die God is not going to be interested in how you did in this module, or what mark you got in this exam.  However He will be interested in how much love you shared in your life. Today the church focuses on the mysterious way that God manifests his love for us through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is a beautiful devotion that has been part of the Church’s...
For many years I lived in South America in a place where most of the people aren’t Christians. And so it would often happen that many of the people who would come to Mass wouldn’t actually be Catholics. They came because they wanted to feel close to God and they felt that in Church. And also, if we are honest, they came because it was free. In their religion, you had to pay at the door, so they couldn’t get over the fact that here, you only had to put into a voluntary...
As students all over the world enter exam season – are we putting them under too much stress?  Exams and anxiety go hand in hand, we all want to do well when we face a test. Jesus’ ultimate test was when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane and we are told that he sweated blood as he prayed before his arrest.  This is no exaggeration – sweating blood  is a medically acknowledged phenomenon, Hematohidrosis, that has been observed in times of great stress....
Credit: Unsplash
If we feel drawn, this June, to praying with Pope Francis for the concerns that lie in his heart, we can definitely make our prayer richer and more consoling if we unite them to Christ’s heart, too.This month has traditionally been devoted to the heart of Christ, the Sacred Heart, and it’s at the beginning of the month, when the church – you and I – mark the feast-day properly known as the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart. Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics "to renew,...
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...
jesuit london marathon runners
As most regular readers will know, one constant aspect of my first year in the Jesuit novitiate thus far has been preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of Jesuit Missions. On Sunday 24th April I completed the marathon and so now it feels right to reflect on and share what I have taken from this experience.The Day Itself:For the running enthusiasts reading I should start by recommending running the London Marathon. It was an incredible experience from start to finish. A lot of it is a blur...
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...
praying with the rosary
In this month of May we’re asked to pray with Pope Francis for respect for women: that in every country of the world, women may be honoured and respected, and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed. The pope’s Evangelisation Intention concerns the Holy Rosary: that families, communities and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelisation and peace.It’s well known that, not long ago in our own history, women had to struggle for the most basic of...

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