Reflection on 6th Sunday: 16th February

Beyond wrongdoing and rightdoing

“We can too easily forget that the law is more about relationships than it is rules. When that happens we’re in grave danger of keeping the rules and losing the relationship.”

M.Marsh

“Laws can inform us but they cannot transform us. Law is a necessary stage one, but if we stay there it actually becomes a stumbling block. It often frustrates the process of transformation by becoming an end in itself. Torah, or Law, is the best and most helpful place to begin but not the best place to stay, and surely not the best place to end.

Juridically, law is an end in itself, absolutely good and necessary for social order. Spiritually, law is a means, not an end at all. What is the law really for? It’s not to make God love us. He does love us and we are powerless to change that one way or another. The purpose of spiritual law is simply to sharpen our awareness of who we are and who God is, so that we can name our insufficiency and, in that same movement, find God’s fullness. Spiritual power is the ability to influence others and events through our very being. Spirituality is a concern for our real inner Source, as opposed to any primary concern for our ‘doing’. Doing will always take care of itself when our being is right.

When telling his Jewish followers to be faithful to their own tradition Jesus strongly distinguished between essentials and non-essentials, and then pushed it even further. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus uses six repetitions of the same phrase: “You have heard it said . . . but I say. . . .” I call this the “yes/and” approach: yes the law, and there is something more, which is the real and deep purpose of that very law. Law is never an end in itself.”

Richard Rohr. Adapted

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

Rumi

Calendar Update: Women Together

Lynne Moore and Kathy Slater are holding a series of Women’s wellbeing sessions over the next few months under the title “Women Together”.

Lynne says “Let us create together a tranquil environment in which to laugh, experience deep connection, care, share and explore a range of nourishing practices.
We will have the time to respond to our bodies, to our inner selves, to each other and to recognise the resourceful, spiritual women that we are.”

You are warmly invited to these sessions at the Xaverian Centre. They run from 11.30am until 1.30pm in the conference room on the following Fridays

  • 21st February
  • 13th March
  • 3rd April
  • 24th April
  • 29th May
  • 26th June

A suggested donation of £5.00 will go directly to the Xaverian Centre

The facilitators are Lynne Moore and Kathy Slater, both are experienced in counselling, Hakomi, Yoga, Mindfulness practice and are both currently partaking in the Capacitar training.

ALL WOMEN WELCOME

Any queries please contact Lynne using the form on this page.

Oh what a Night!

Rabbie Burns walks into a bar and the Barman says “Am not serving you, you’re Bard!” (That’s poor!!)

Last Saturday, February 1st, more than 90 people came to the Xaverian Centre for the Annual Burns Supper. This was the first time we had hosted it here at our new place and it was a great success.

The tradition of Burns’ Supper go way back and it was an attempt to keep the songs, poems and writings of Scotland’s National Bard, alive, relevant and vivid.

As Xaverians in the UK, we have used this opportunity to generate funds but, more importantly, to have a little bit of a cultural night where we could bring people together and share laughter, friendship, joy and love.

The format of the evening is steeped in tradition. And we tried to adhere to it, if only loosely!

We began with the welcome, the Selkirk Grace and then proceeded to enjoy the first course of ‘Cock a Leekie’ soup with Scottish bread.

Next the Haggis was piped in by our two pipers, Justin Halpin, who never got a note wrong and Fr. Willie Hattie, who never got a note right! We all then recited “Address to the Haggis” before toasting the haggis with a wee dram of whisky – and as the knife stabbed the Haggis, so our rendition of Burns murdered his works!

Next up was the Fayre itself! Haggis, with whisky sauce, neeps, tatties, roasted stirk (square sausage) and then followed by Tipsy Laird and shortbread. The food was excellent and our thanks go to Alex and Kathy Possamai who worked tirelessly all day in its preparation. Thanks also to the servers, our volunteers who ensured the food arrived piping hot and on time to the tables, under the watchful eye of Tina McGrath, our maître d’.

The speeches then followed the usual pattern of “The Immortal Memory, the Toast tae the Lassies and The Lassies’ Reply.” And thanks to our speakers…but we will be looking for volunteers for next year!

The bar, staffed by the Belles from the Sun Hotel, ensured all present were well watered and then the “sangs and clatter” was led by two of the members of Celtic Fringe. All seemed to enjoy the evening which ended with a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, after which some went home, and some didn’t!

So you may ask, “Why celebrate the life of a notorious womanizer, a constant critic of the Church, a father of 13, mainly illegitimate children, and a mason?”

Well, there is no denying the man was a genius who could see the big picture. He had a love for justice, a hatred for hypocrisy, a dream for a better world and voice for the equality and dignity of all humanity.

His poem/song “For a’ that and a’ that” should not only be Scotland’s National Anthem but the Anthem of all Nations. Universal brother/sisterhood is how we ought to live and what we ought to promote with our lives. And its final verse is indeed reason alone to raise a glass and raise our hopes.

Then let us pray that come it may, 
As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

Reflection on 5th Sunday: 9th February 2020

Become who we are

“Deep spiritual transformation happens primarily in the presence of images. They alone can touch the unconscious. One hundred sermons could never move you to the new place to which a powerful image can move you. And so it is that in our Gospel passage today, as in so many other places in the Gospels, Jesus uses powerful, transformative images, telling us, “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world.” And then he leaves it at that. He doesn’t explain to us what it means; he doesn’t give us instructions. He leaves us to live into the images.” [1]

“Some of us will hear Jesus’ words and think that we need to become something we are not or that we need to get something we do not yet have, or do something that we are not yet doing. That is not, however, what Jesus says. He does not say we should become salt. He says we already are salt. He does not say we are to become light. He says we already are light. We already are what we need to be. We already have what we need.” [2] And we can say this with confidence because we have all been created in the image and likeness of God, who is Love. Love is who we are and who we are still becoming. “How do we find what is supposedly already there? Why should we need to awaken our deepest and most profound selves? And how do we do it? By praying and meditating? By more silence, solitude, and sacraments? Yes to all of the above, but the most important way is to live and fully accept our present reality.” [1]

The more we become aware of who we really are in God, the more our eyes are open to the presence of God in everyone. This is beautifully expressed in the Hindu greeting known as namasté. When two people meet, each person joins both hands together and with respect they bow towards each other, a gesture which means “I bow to the divine in you”, or “The sacred within me salutes the sacred in you.”

[1] Richard Rohr [2] Michael Marsh

There is a light in you that cannot be extinguished.
It is inside you.
It is you.

Neil Donald Walsch

Reflection on The Presentation: 2nd February 2020

The Refiner of Silver

The Feast of the Presentation is at its core a feast of longing. It is longing that is behind Mary and Joseph’s fulfilling the law; it is longing behind Anna’s asceticism; it is longing that is behind Simeon’s piety. Jesus is brought to the temple as the embodiment of his Father’s longing for humanity. Who among us has not had his or her life characterised by expectation, anticipation, longing and waiting? We’ve all stood in that place waiting for life to change, for the grief to go away, for a prayer to be answered, for joy to return, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for clarity about a decision, for meaning and purpose, for healing and new life. We get up each morning, wondering if today is the day and we have to decide whether we will give up or whether we will continue to trust that God is present and working in our lives even if we can’t see or clearly understand how this can be. Like Simeon and Anna do we continue to ‘show up’ and wait for the miracle?

Simeon thought he was waiting for the child to show up but what if it was really God waiting for Simeon? Simeon’s time of waiting– and ours – is a time of transformation. “Waiting is the passionate and contemplative crucible in which new life and spiritual wholeness can be birthed.’

Sue Monk Kidd

In today’s first reading we have a beautiful image of the refiner of silver. There is a story of a woman watching a silversmith at work. As she watched he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, it was necessary to hold it in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the scripture verse “He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver.” She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on it the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?” He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy – when I see my image in it.”

Adapted: Michael Marsh, Andy Grossman

Reflection on 3rd Sunday: 26th January 2020

The Kingdom of Heaven

Throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus uses one particular phrase repeatedly: “the Kingdom of Heaven.” Many assume that the Kingdom of Heaven means the place you go when you die—if you’ve been “saved.” But the problem with this interpretation is that Jesus himself specifically contradicts it when he says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you” (that is, here) and “at hand” (that is, now). You don’t die into it; you awaken into it. Others have equated the Kingdom of Heaven with an earthly utopia. Jesus strongly rejected this meaning. “My kingdom is not of this world”

Author Jim Marion’s suggests that the Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness; it is not a place you go to, but a place you come from. It is a whole new way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that literally turns this world into a different place.
The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation—not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans. These are indeed Jesus’ two core teachings, underlying everything he says and does. To live in this kingdom is to follow him.

The “kingdom of God” and the “kingdom of heaven” are Jesus’ primary metaphors for the Eternal Now. He is trying to tell us that there is a way that we can live connected to the Real and to the Eternal in this world. That path is surrendering to the here-and-now, whatever it offers us. It may feel like nothing, like nowhere (now-here), and still it is where everything always happens to us. So be sure to be here now—and not somewhere else! If our minds or hearts are elsewhere, nothing really happens to us that matters or lasts. This consciousness will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us. Words by themselves divide and judge the moment; pure presence lets it be what it is, as it is. When we can be present in this way, we will know the Real Presence, we will live in the Kingdom.

Adapted :Cynthia Bourgeault; Richard Rohr