Spiritual Journeys

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“Have you said your prayers?”When I was a child, my mother would ask me that each night before I went to sleep. Perhaps yours did the same.So the idea of praying as speaking words to God came to me early on. Later I read in the gospel about a time when his disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. “Say this when you pray”, he said, and taught them the Our Father.Reciting set prayers can take you a long way in building your relationship with God. For Catholics, the Our Father, Hail Mary,...
Image by Peter Oswald used from unsplash.com
I remember very clearly the day when I realised that I was just not cut out to be the medical director of a Christian hospital. It was the entire day that I spent trying to allocate fairly four prime car-parking spaces between six senior doctors. It was a huge issue involving wounded pride, insulted egos and bitter recriminations that never – even after the expenditure of vastly disproportionate time and all the charm I was capable of - reached any satisfactory conclusion. And the one thing in...
JPII Statue in Mexico by Jorge Zapata on unsplash.com
Some people will have just one vivid memory of the 2nd April, 2005. It was the day Pope John Paul the Second died – the greatest and best shepherd of our lifetime. That is the only thing that most people remember about that day.But the other thing that I remember from that day is that it was also the day I heard of the death of Dennis, the greatest church leader I have ever met personally. (Admittedly, I never met the Pope.) Not one, but two very great shepherds died that day.Our Holy Father’s...
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Generations of Catholics have long known the month of May as Mary’s month. Ignatian spirituality provides us with a wonderful way of combining the Pope’s First Intention of this month, “that Christians in Africa, in imitation of the Merciful Jesus, may give prophetic witness to reconciliation, justice, and peace”, with our particular devotional focus this month.  St Ignatius recommends, in his Spiritual Exercises, that we take our petitions to Our Lady and ask her to present them to her...
Fire with grilled fish Pixabay
Held within the octaveToday still stands within the Easter octave. The Church marks its most important feasts and seasons this way. I think it is also doing something more.There is something about the strange liturgical stretching of time, beyond the normal measuring and the pressure of the immediate, into the prolongation of the now: this moment, this place, which has no boundaries.Through we can count and distinguish the appearances, there is really only one resurrection moment. They are all...
The incredulity of Thomas who places his finger in the wound
Thomas’ problem is one that we all have – he speaks beyond his knowledge; he judges before he has considered; he condemns what he has not understood. Which of us has not done that?I once lived with a saintly old Jesuit. You’ll be pleased to know that we still have one or two. In his late eighties, he was incapable of even the simplest work, so he was sent to the noviceship to be a good influence on the wild young men that we once were.He loved it. He said that he was now too old to be anything...
Empty tomb Flickr photo sharing
The resurrection of Christ is the most fundamental belief of the Church and has been from the very beginning. St Paul’s comments on Christ’s resurrection are still valid: ‘If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. And those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, then we of all people are most to be pitied.’From the time of the confession of faith of Simon Peter and the disciples, the gathering of...
Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern
For most of us it is not easy to believe in the resurrection of Jesus: most of us are not in the premier league of beloved disciples: most of the time utter joy and bliss and absolute faith in the God who loves us eternally and unconditionally aren’t obvious to us.  As Christians we see acts of faith around us, we receive compassion and support, we pray together for the people we love; but we also witness lack of faith, resentment or even hatred towards Christians, simply because of what...
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...

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