Spiritual Journeys

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...
Credit Pixabay
I was instantly attracted to the week of guided prayer advertised in the parish newsletter because of its description and emphasis on ‘daily life’.  Having recently become a mother for the first time, my life and its daily rhythm have changed dramatically. During the first months of my daughter’s life, she rarely allowed me to put her down at all, let alone maintain my previous routine of quiet prayer and reflection. Amongst all the preparation for our new baby, my...
Hands holding a light bulb lit up
Sometimes, you only find out what you have when you meet someone who hasn’t got it.When I was working in South America, I had a friend who worked in the electricity company. It’s called ‘Guyana Power and Light’. And he was in charge of what they called the “Rural Electrification Project”. That meant that it was his job to bring power and light to villages which had never had it before. He told me that it was the best job he had ever done.Wherever he went, he...
Refugees Welcome, printed on concrete
Welcome the needyCan our world ever have been more divided than now? In the lifetimes of many of us, we have not known such pain and division. An ugly licence to hate and to exclude is in the air; attitudes and behaviours that are usually, by common consent, unacceptable have been unleashed. It has shockingly become quite alright to despise the other, to embrace selfishness and to act with indifference towards those who come, in need, to us and to our countries. Narrow nationalist populism,...
A hand holding two small flowers, one yellow one lilac
Peace – like love - is not an event, but an action. It is not something that is dropped on us from above, but something that we do, something that we choose.The Gospel teaches us that we are called, each one, to proclaim in word and deed that God’s Kingdom is about being centred in God, caring and compassionate toward others, living the Beatitudes. Then, as Arundhati Roy said: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing....
Join the Pope in prayer every day throughout 2017
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has been growing and developing in many innovative ways over the past year. The ministry itself continues the work, of many decades, of the Apostleship of Prayer; but there’s a new name, a new energy and new methods of presenting the message. This does not mean that the previous work has been replaced, but developed, not least in the light of so much change and innovation in the world around us.The Second Vatican Council (1962-65)...
A composite image of Thomas More and Edmund Campion SJ  facing each other
The Martin Scorcese film Silence now on general release. It highlights a time in the Church’s life in Japan when many Christians were martyred for their Christian faith. Jesuit priests and Catholic men and women were tortured in the hope that they would deny their faith in Christ and in His Body, the Church. It might seem very remote from our own time and experience and yet, today, we hear extraordinary stories of Christians in the Middle East, of Jesuits and Christian men and women,...

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