gift

Photo by Hian Oliveira via Unsplash
“God never allows the good to be permanently lost,” writes Peter Gallagher SJ, reflecting on the parable of the Prodigal Son. The well-known story of disobedience and restoration sends a powerful message of hope, a premise of the story of salvation through Jesus. We praise God for finding and restoring to us gifts which he gave to us but which we have lost. We are happy in the Lord’s company but sometimes we mislay the gift of his friendship. Through the work of Christ all such losses are...
A sign pointing toward happily ever after - photo from Unsplash
Some years ago, I knew a young woman, a teacher, whose dearest wish in life was to be married and to have a large family. However, her first problem was that she couldn’t find a “good man”. Apparently there is a widespread shortage of “good” men. There are lots of men around, but apparently not many “good” men. But, eventually, when she was 32, she found a possible candidate. After only two years of courtship, agonised decision–making and huge telephone bills, they were married and settled down...
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...
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...
Jesus and the Apostles by Ben Sutherland on Flickr
A homily given at the Jubilarian's Mass on Easter Thursday.We Jubilarians are celebrating our many years of Jesuit life and ministry, and it is my privilege and challenge to be the representative in this homily. When you are in your eighties such a request may challenge your confidence more than it used to. But here goes! Some of us are celebrating 60 or 50 years since entry into the noviceship, some 60 or 50 or 25 as priests (including Dermot.) There are some who couldn’t be with us, but are...
A Child's Baptism on Flickr by Joe Green
'Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.'What does it mean to be “baptised in the Holy Spirit”?Well, if you ask a theologian, they’ll tell you that it is just simply what it is to be a Christian – to have one’s entire life imbued with the Holy Spirit not just in the next Life, but in this one – to have the Holy Spirit live...
A helping hand at during the London Marathon
Just recently, I met a priest who had run a marathon. I’ll call him Tony. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Marathon is a running race of 26 and one-third miles. And it is very different to most races – for three reasons.First, because it’s a lot longer than most races.And second, because most of the contestants don’t actually want to win it: the very great majority are happy just to get through it in one piece.And third - and this is the bit I didn't understand...
Assurance sign
In His farewell discourse, Jesus contrasts two kinds of peace: a peace that he leaves us and a peace that the world can give us. What is the difference?  The peace that the world can give to us is not a negative or a bad peace. It is real and it is good, but it is fragile and inadequate.It is fragile because it can easily be taken away from us. Peace, as we experience it ordinarily in our lives, is generally predicated on feeling healthy, loved, and secure. But all of these are fragile....