Spiritual Journeys

Parent holding baby's hand
We all know that if something is too good to be true, then it probably isn’t. We’ve all been fooled at some time and none of us wants to be fooled again.Most people have more sense than to believe things that cannot possibly be true. Things like, if you have seen a man killed before your own eyes, seen him dead, you are not going believe that he is alive, well and going around doing miracles unless you see at least the same quality of evidence put before you. That’s why all of...
George C Scott as General Patton
Obscure half-forgotten films can sometimes be the source of rare gems of wisdom.One afternoon in the late 80’s, lazily watching afternoon TV instead of writing a theology essay, I became engrossed in a fine little TV movie called “The Last Days of Patton”. It was a sequel to the legendary film, “Patton” and also starred George C. Scott reprising the role of General George S. Patton which earned Scott an Oscar in the original 1970 movie.Patton was a remarkable leader of men; arrogant and half-...
The Last Supper by Andrew White, detail
Artist Andrew White describes the spiritual journey he took as he painted and shared his epic work In Memoriam, of the Last Supper, which was displayed at the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham now hangs at Farm Street Church, Mayfair, London.  This painting was the inspiration behind the “imaginative conversations” between the disciples which we have produced for Holy Week.      It is January 2011. We sit, wracking our brains as to the most profitable way...
Close up of an older mans' face - by Neill Kumar on Unsplash
A long time ago when I was a hospital doctor – long before I became a priest, and if I’m honest, when I was not necessarily at my most Christian – I once knew an old man called Harry who taught me, if not the meaning of life, then the meaning of his life.I happened to be the doctor on call when Harry came into our hospital very ill with what is called a femoral embolus. That means that the main artery in his leg had been blocked by a blood clot, so that his leg had lost its blood supply and was...
Easter Island heads  Credit: Arian Zwegers
A friend of mine rescued a dog that he felt sorry for. The dog was called Elvis.  After a week he gave the dog a new name. He called it Pavarotti.  It wasn’t Italian, it couldn’t sing tenor, but as it Howled all through the night, it reminded him of Pavarotti’s great song None shall sleep. Nessun Dorma.  The top note in Nessun Dorma comes on the great cry ‘I shall conquer, Vincero.’  I have often tried to hit this note, but have got it once or twice only.  There is an...
Whenever she heard the story of the woman who was taken in adultery, my mother always used to ask – with some anger in her voice – “What ever happened to the man who was taken in adultery?”I don’t profess any great expertise in the matter, but even I know that adultery is a crime that takes two. So, what ever happened to the other one?Well, of course, we shall never know – the scripture does not record - but I always wonder if that is part of what motivates Jesus in challenging the hypocrisy of...
Credit: Benji Aird via Unsplash
In March, we want to pray with Pope Francis for families – “that families in need may receive the necessary support and that children may grow up in healthy and peaceful environments". It’s a prayer we want to make at this time of Lent and in this Year of Mercy. As Pope Francis said, last year, "All families need God: all, all! They need his help, his strength, his blessing, his mercy, his forgiveness". This month’s universal intention of the Holy Father brings that need to our attention,...
Father teaches his young son to ride a bicycle
I was told this one by one of the fathers in a Parish where I used to work - I’ll call him Tom.He told me that many times in his life, his own father had told him that one of the happiest days of his entire life had been the day he taught Tom to ride a bicycle. A small thing perhaps, but to Tom’s Dad, it symbolised everything that he had hoped to pass on to Tom in wisdom and wealth. It was a symbol - a brief encapsulating vignette - of everything fatherhood had meant to him.Tom loved and...
On retreat at St Beuno's
It’s been just over a week since we got back from making the spiritual exercises during our long retreat and us first years are now away again doing our short experiments. I’m down in London, working in a hospice, which is something that definitely pushes my boundaries – it is very much outwith my life experience to date.The long retreat was much more intense than I expected. Spending 30 days in silence and with God is both wonderful and deeply challenging and it has taken me quite a few days...
A man clutches his ice cream
I am sure that, this morning, as soon as we awoke, all of us had just one major concern in our minds – would Ireland beat England at Twickenham this afternoon?When I was very young, my mother’s most annoying favourite saying was: “Offer it up for the Holy Souls in Purgatory”. Usually she said it to me when I was filled with righteous indignation at some major injustice that had been perpetrated against me – such as an unequal division of the ice cream. It is not, you understand, that I could...

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