Spiritual Journeys

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...
the_lord_s_prayer_by_navalatanjjnn
After explaining the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer,  St Augustine goes on to speak about answers to prayer.We do not know how to pray as we ought. You may still perhaps ask why the apostle Paul said, 'We do not know how to pray as we ought'; for it is impossible to believe that either he or those to whom he was saying this did not know the Lord's prayer. The apostle shows that he himself is not exempt from ignorance. He hardly knew how to pray as he ought when, to prevent his...
A wise old man's face with glasses
When I was working in the Amazon in South America, we had a lot of people come in to us with eye problems. Many of them just had simple things like short- or long-sightedness and we could help them with eyeglasses. Doubtless for good genetic reasons, there was one particular Amerindian tribe – the Wapisana – who had a very high prevalence of presbyopia – long-sightedness in old age. And that meant that in that whole tribe, almost no-one over the age of thirty could see within hand-distance. And...
One of the many small details that make up the bigger picture of daily novitiate life is when we are invited to pray the Examen. This takes place twice daily, one around midday and the other before bed, thus providing a neat Ignatian framework within which we set our lives as novices.Prior to arriving at the novitiate I was aware of the Examen and, trying to be a good candidate to the Society, I attempted to build it into my daily life with limited success. I found it a useful exercise in...

Pages