Spiritual Journeys

Schindler's Factory in Krakow Schindler's list installation from wikimedia commons
‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’Tertullian, writing in the 2nd Century, says that the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church. And, since he was there at the time, I guess we have to take his word for it.One thing that only occurred to me recently: martyrs are only canonized with hindsight, and usually a few hundred years after the event. In any culture, at any time, there are only a very few people with the integrity and foresight to...
April’s First Intention of the Holy Father, commended to all of the people of God for their prayer, points towards a big topic that will become even more prominent next year, at the next meeting of the Synod of Bishops in Rome. The preliminary work has already begun towards that next gathering, which will deal with young people’s concerns and vocations. For this month, Pope Francis asks that our prayers be joined to his, that young people may respond generously to their vocations and seriously...
Bread and Flowers from Unsplash
“I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” [John 11.25-26]Most Jesuits, in fact I think most people who have done the Spiritual Exercises, will tell you that the most difficult time is the three days which Ignatius asks us to spend in company with the Lord in the Tomb – the distance from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.It is a cold, hard, lonely silent place, sitting in...
Mothers empowered - on a tea plantation in Darjeeling. Jesuit Missions
The 4th Sunday in Lent, is Mothering Sunday (also known as Mothers' Day). Jesuit Missions’ Volunteer Communications Assistant, Betsy Snyder, reflects here on the strength of mothers around the world: those who even in the depths of suffering will do anything to give their children a chance at a better life. As Mothers' Day approaches, I find myself reflecting on the journeys, both figurative and literal, that I have travelled as a mother over the last 13 years and that have brought me to...
Credit Ng30950 via Unsplash
Who or what is God is a question that is perhaps implicitly as old as humanity itself, and is in one sense as unanswerable as the question ‘what is the real meaning of infinity?’ We are dealing with subjects that are objectively beyond human comprehension. However well we may be able to argue with another, arguments to prove the existence of God will not by themselves ever convince anybody sufficiently to seek God, because arguments are ultimately merely competitions. The only victory for God...
A Bicycle in the grounds of a cloister or church
Why is it that we fast? Is hunger a good thing? Certainly starvation is one of the world’s great evils. Around the world, 200 million people will starve today. I come from a country where - not so very long ago - eight out of every 10 people were lost to probably the worst famine there has ever been - anywhere. Don’t try to tell us that hunger is a good thing!But a little hunger can be a good thing. A little hunger reminds us that human food and drink sustains us only for a short time. We need...
There’s a question I always love to ask my homeless patients. Usually I try to sneak it in near the end of a consultation when they’re not really expecting it. And when they have to respond quite quickly without having too much of a chance to think about it. And it is this: “when did you like yourself the most?”And pretty much always, it makes them stop and think and not really want to answer.Because generally by the time people get to meet the homeless GP, they’re not feeling very good about...
Bishop Hudson with the ordinands at St Ignatius Church
There was a parish which invited a famous actor to come and recite some of their favourite writings.  The actor recited all different kinds of texts.  As the evening neared its end, he said he would recite just one more.  They asked him to recite Psalm twenty-three, “The Lord is my shepherd”.  “I will,” he said, “on one condition - that the lady over there recites it after me.”He recited it; and everyone applauded.  She recited it; and everyone cried.“What was the...
Crucifix Pixabay free images
At the beginning of this month we mark Ash Wednesday, when we ourselves are marked with ashes in one of the best-known Catholic traditions of all. Churches are busy on Ash Wednesday. Something about the simple liturgy of the “Imposition of Ashes” calls to us in a deeper place in our souls. What might that be? Might it be its reminder that we, in the words of one of the prayers that can be used, are “dust, and unto dust we will return”?Or perhaps it’s Lent’s call to repentance and renewal,...
Piggy bank surrounded by coins
It was when I was in the second year of the Jesuit Noviceship that I got to be really quite ambitious. I had the chance to get a job that I really wanted to have. It was the job of House Treasurer - the man in charge of the money. It wasn’t, you understand, that I particularly wanted to be in charge of the money - simply that, three afternoons a week, the Treasurer got to sit warm and comfortable in an office with a three-bar electric heater, while the other novices had to go out into the wind...

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