Spiritual Journeys

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In today’s gospel the people of his home town turn against Jesus, and try to do away with him by pushing him over the brow of the steep hill that there town is built on. No-one has ever tried to push me over the brow of a cliff! Don't get me wrong - most of the time I'm very grateful for that; but I do sometimes wonder why not. I’ve been, for the best part of forty years, a Jesuit, a very public follower of Jesus. But no-one, in all that time, has ever attacked me for this in the way they...
Beautiful flowers dying by Daria Shevtsova
The philosopher and spiritual writer, Raissa Maritain, died some months after suffering a stroke. During those months she lay in a hospital bed, unable to speak. After her death, her husband, the renowned philosopher, Jacques Maritain, in preparing her journals for publication, wrote these words:     “At a moment when everything collapsed for both of us, and which as followed by four agonizing months, Raissa was walled in herself by a sudden attack of aphasia. Whatever...
Hands on a piano in the dark - used with permission from unsplash.com
Music is the most mysterious of all the arts because the symbols it uses are remote from our immediate experience. In literature we are using words that have a meaning fixed in advance.  In painting we are using forms from the external world with which we are fairly familiar.  But in music we are using tones that seem to have a life of their own, apart from the external world;  and the rhythms seem strangely independent of natural rhythms, though there are analogies here.And yet...
A girl bends forward towards a flower bush
Have you ever been entrusted with a sacred responsibility?I remember the day somebody first gave me a job. It was when I was about six. My grandfather had a clothes shop in Omagh in Ireland. And my job on Saturday mornings was to watch my grandfather serve customers in the shop. And then when one of them bought something my grandfather would take the money from the customer, write the receipt and very solemnly hand both to me. It was then my solemn responsibility to carry the money and the...
Photo by Bill Williams on unsplash.com
Happy New Year! - I think it’s still not too late to hope!So, actually, how exactly do you turn water into wine?Just about this time a year ago, I was asked that question by a small boy at the back of a church a little way from here. He obviously felt that, being a priest, and having just preached on the topic I was supposed to know about these things.Playing for time, I asked him why he wanted to know and he said that he wanted to know because he wanted to be able to do it himself.‘Oh’, I said...
 Our Father
We live in a world in which violence forms much of the news each day.  Yet we hear Jesus saying ‘you must love the Lord your God with all your hearts and your neighbour as yourself.’  Matt 23, 37-39.  This kind of love includes everyone, even our enemies.  Matt 5.44   Love of God and love of neighbour cannot be separated.From the Christian viewpoint, those who love others, but do not believe in God, are none the less honouring him. But those who claim to love God...
Pope Francis Meme
So, how are the New Year’s resolutions getting on?Well, maybe better we just don’t go into that.As it happens, the Church has a new year’s resolution given us by our Holy Father. It is one of Mercy – to bring reconciliation into the life of every single person we can.Of all things that I ever do in my life, I believe that the most useful to humanity, is hearing confessions. I think there is no suffering, no pain, no anguish in life that is greater than guilt – the knowledge deeply felt of all...
Here we are at the beginning of a new calendar year, 2016, which everyone enters with a tangle of hopes and fears, plans and qualms, strategies and anxieties. Catholics, indeed all people of good will, enter it knowing that they have already crossed the threshold, gone through that Holy Door with Pope Francis, of not just another calendar year but also of a special Jubilee Year, the Year of Mercy. Every month the Holy Father gives us two specific concerns and invites us to join him in praying...
Sun breaking through the clouds
If you have problems with prayer, read on. The God we imagine and then try to meet in prayer is generally thought of as pretty lifeless, dull, flat, colourless, genderless, sexless and lacking in humour, creativity and understanding. We feel that our friends and our distractions are more interesting and life giving than God. We would rather spend time with our friends and our amusements and interests than with God, rather take our chances with them than with God. That is understandable, given...
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...

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