Spiritual Journeys

Daniel Sturridge, Liverpool footballer prays on the pitch
“Blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.”I wonder if anybody here has been following the football. If you have, you will know that my team, Liverpool, haven’t really been doing all that well. In fact it would not be too much to say that this season so far has probably been the worst ever performance by a Liverpool team in the history of the Premiership. It has already cost our manager, Brendan Rodgers, his job.But what struck me was the reason that...
Tender Mother by Robert Cheaib on Flickr
Each day in the middle of our routines, anxieties and disasters, the liturgy brings its work of healing.  ‘It binds up the wounded soul’, gives us food for the journey of our lives and renews us in the truth that only faith can see and sustain. It carries us when we need to be carried and celebrates with us when we mark those moments of joy and thanksgiving, weaving them all into the fabric of God's own eternal life, sanctifying our life in its everyday ordinariness.In the rhythm of the...
Pope Francis hugs a young man during a visit to a rehab centre
Each month, we share the Holy Father’s concerns for the world and for the spread of the Gospel. He entrusts his concerns to the Pope’s Global Prayer Network, the Apostleship of Prayer, and asks us to invite all people of good will to pray with and about these intentions. Here we are in December and, of course, we’re in the Christian season of Advent, so perhaps our prayer with the Pope might have an added dimension of hope and expectation so characteristic of this holy season! And there’s more...
God has a bigger plan for me than I have for myself
“I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness.”A few years ago, I walked into a Church and I found that there was a little service going on. So I sat down at the back and joined in. It was the reception into the Church of a young woman. It was a very nice ceremony and afterwards the people gathered for tea and biscuits in the presbytery. And I got to talk to her.Being – as you all know - the shy retiring sort, my first question was: “why did you want...
Pope Francis opens the Holy Door at Bangui Cathedral, L'Osservatore Romano
The Catholic Church throughout the world formally begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy today, 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Francis invites the whole Church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love. “Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy,” Pope Francis wrote in the document Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy) in which he announced the Jubilee Year. He...
Novices 2015
After a few rather static weeks in the house, I’ve noticed a shift in pace once again as we build to Christmas and the very different shape of novice life in the new year which will be focused on our experiments, including the spiritual exercises in January, our first ‘short experiment’ in February/March and then a likely pilgrimage in the early summer.We’ve only been told this week where our short experiments will be. I’m going to be working in a hospice in the east end of London and living...
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,...

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