Spiritual Journeys

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Most sensitive people are liable to suffer from emotional obsessions sometime;  like for example, the feeling of being in love with someone who is hopelessly unavailable.  These kinds of  obsessions affect our whole lives, including our moral and religious lives. What we do in the pain and paralysis of obsession rarely does us proud, and is often far from a free act. In the grip of an emotional obsession we cannot think freely, pray freely, decide things freely, and we are prone...
Incense burner in stained glass at St Ignatius Church Chestnut Hill Massachusetts
Francis – Created by Excelsis to celebrate the Petrine succession of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, Pontifex Maximus, 266th Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Francis is an engaging, fresh fragrance with a citrusy top note of bergamot and a soft, woody drydown of sandalwood. Smooth and soothing, A grand aftershave.One wonders what Pope Francis would make of this advertisement for the Excelsis Fine Fragrances Company’s latest creation, ‘Francis Eau de Cologne’. The...
Kogai children in Columbia
For July 2015, the Holy Father’s Evangelisation Intention draws our attention to the poor in his native Latin America. Coming to us in the month in which he made his first return to his own continent since his election, it’s timely that he asks us to pray thus: “That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society”. Here in our own supposedly prosperous country, increasing poverty, particularly among children...
The Sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar
Novice Richard Webster is currently undertaking a pilgrimage between Manresa and Loyola in Spain, following in the steps of some of the early Jesuits.The Rule of Saint Benedict contains some beautiful instructions on how a monastic community should welcome guests: [Let them] be received like Christ, for He will say, “I was as a stranger, and you took me in” (Matthew 25:35). … In the reception of poor men and pilgrims special attention should be shown, because in them is Christ most truly...
Mary, Bernadette and Brigitte share their perspectives on coming together as women at JRS UK for their regular prayer and peer support sessions.The initial aspect for the prayer circle is that the women want to come together to have some expression for their faith. For all of the women this is very important. They have a very strong belief that God will see them through. Also too there is a whole sense of they always want to pray for needs of their families wherever their family members are,...
The spiritual quest starts with our desires, asking, "What do I really want  in my  life?"  St Ignatius  Our  desires  are pivotal  to our search. We often look for the right things in the wrong places, and some pay for it the rest of their lives. Unlike what many people think today, Ignatius would not rate "being happy" as the most important desire to have and possess.  He was not against joy;  it’s just that he would argue against what we...
The funeral of Fr Francis Joseph (‘Joe’) Laishley SJ (2 July 1933 – 1 July 2015) took place on Tuesday, 14 July 2015. The Gospel at the Requiem Mass was from chapter 3 of St John’s Gospel, verses 1 to 18, when Nicodemus came to Jesus “by night”. The following homily was preached by Fr Michael Barnes SJ.Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus ‘by night’?  He was a devout Pharisee and was probably a little embarrassed to be seen talking to Jesus – even a tentative conversation in a quiet corner....
Eternity has more kinds of rooms than this world does.  We may know, or at least know about some people whose way of life would seem so reprehensible that it’s hard to imagine that they could ever make it to heaven.But as Christians, we believe that, as part of the Body of Christ, we have been given the power to forgive each other’s sins and that, because of that, indeed anyone’s love can pull their beloved into heaven whatever their faults and failures may be.Our love for each other is a...
"He could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them."As a doctor, I have always loved the last line of this reading. It seems like - for St Mark - just healing a few sick people doesn't really count as a miracle! He takes it for granted that healing is a natural part of God becoming really present in a human life.Well, a few days ago I had a young man in my office with his girlfriend - both much in need of healing. Both of them had just tested HIV...
 I recently had the privilege of attending a course at St Beuno’s Retreat Centre in Northern Wales, exploring ideas around what it means to live and work "in an Ignatian way".I only discovered (or did I get discovered by..?) Ignatius and his spiritual legacy in the last five years or so, but I have found it resonates deeply with my lived experience. It has empowered me in this faith life journey I am travelling and I thank God that this man, living 500 years ago, stuck in a bed with only...

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