Lectio Divina: News

Our Lectio Group have taken the Gospel passage for this Sunday, a well known and powerful reading about sharing and trust. They have thought deeply about what it means to them. They share their thoughts here and trust we will read them.

The scriptures speak to each of us differently. We do well to learn from each other’s insights.

Reflection on 17th Sunday: 25th July 2021

Gathering the Fragments

“Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.”

‘An important part of today’s miracle is how Jesus, with such intention, cares for the fragments following the feast. He sees the abundance that persists, the feast that remains within the fragments. We might think the marvel of the story is that there is enough for everyone. And yet for Jesus, enough does not seem to be enough. There is more: a meal that depends on paying attention to what has been left behind, on turning toward what has been tossed aside.’1

We ask God to “give us this day our daily bread.” And he does, in so many ways. There is so much abundance. And we also leave many fragments behind. Perhaps we have been blessed with moments of wonder and cannot feast on all at one time but each truly astonishing experience instils within us the confident belief that there is more to be revealed when we are ready. Perhaps we refuse some of the food offered to us because it tastes too bitter, it even hurts and certainly isn’t on our menu. Yet ‘Christ casts his circle around the fragments; he will not loose his hold on what is broken and in pieces. He knows the secret of the fragments that find their way into His keeping. He gathers them up: a sign of the wholeness he can see hidden in what has been left behind; a foretaste of the banquet to come, the persistence of plenty where there seemed only lack.’1

‘This miraculous feeding has always been seen as an image of the Eucharist. For the next five Sundays the gospel reading invites us to reflect on what it means to pray Eucharist, to be Eucharist, to do Eucharist, to live Eucharist. An Irish writer in medieval times described the Eucharist as a dangerous prayer because it expresses a readiness to let God transform us.’2

We seldom notice how each day is a holy place
Where the eucharist of the ordinary happens,
Transforming our broken fragments
Into an eternal continuity that keeps us.3

Adapted: [1] Jan Richardson    [2] galwaydiocese.ie   [3] John O’ Donohue

Gospel John 6:1-15

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, “Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?” He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, “Two hundred denarii would only be enough to give them a small piece each.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, “There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?” Jesus said to them, “Make the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down.  Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, “Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.” So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves.  The people, seeing this sign he had given, said, “This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

Reflection on 16th Sunday: 18th July 2021

Come and rest awhile.

‘Sabbath can refer to a single day of the week, a day of rest. Sabbath is also a way of being in time where we remember who we are, remember what we know and taste the gifts of spirit and eternity. Sabbath time is sacred time.

We need Sabbath-keeping not only for ourselves but also for the times when we go forth to heal the wounds of our world. Whatever we build, create, craft or serve will have the wisdom of rest in it. Rested and refreshed, we more generously serve all those who need our care. The human spirit is naturally generous: the instant we are filled, our first impulse is to be useful, to be kind, to give something away. A closer reading of Genesis reveals that the Sabbath was not simply a day off! It says, “On the seventh day God finished God’s work.”  The ancient rabbis taught that on the seventh day, God created menuhatranquillity, serenity, peace and repose: rest, in the deepest possible sense of fertile, healing stillness. Until the Sabbath, creation was unfinished. Only after the birth of menuha, only with tranquillity and rest, was the circle of creation made full and complete. On the seventh day, God created rest.’1

‘We know that Jesus cultivated a regular contemplative practice in his own life and ministry. Neuroscience shows that contemplative practice literally re-wires our brain and lays down new neural pathways that allow for compassion to be expressed through our lives. Jesus invites his apostles – and us – to adopt this practice of grounding ourselves in God, then engaging the day out of that grounding. He retreats, not to run away, but to prepare to re-engage and serve in a way that is whole and full, without burning out and losing ourselves in the process.’2 ‘Sabbath time prevents us from becoming too enamoured of our own abilities to perform wonders but deepens our awareness that God is the Source of all that we are able to do.3

The world aches for the generosity of a well-rested people.”1

Adapted [1] Wayne Muller: Sabbath  [2]Matthew Wright  [3] Barbara Reid

Gospel Mark 6:30-34

The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, “You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while”; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat.  So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves.  But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.

Website: News

Once again the maintenance of the website may be interrupted by a short holiday. Please bear with us if we are unable to get a satisfactory Internet connection in the holiday cottage to do the necessary postings for the newsletter of the 25th July.

Lectio Divina: News

Well it has been a beautiful warm Summer’s day but our Lectio group has taken time to consider the Gospel for this Sunday, the 16th in Ordinary Time Year B.

Mk 6:30-34  They were like sheep without a shepherd.

Read what thoughts the have shared with us.

Reflection on 15th Sunday: 11th July 2021

Take nothing for the journey

Some prayer practices encourage us to read a passage of Scripture and be aware of a few words which speak to us, then quietly reflect on them, maybe even repeating them during our time of prayer and throughout the day.

Take nothing for the journey.

Each one of us has our own unique baggage. We indentify ourselves with our possessions, such as wealth, esteem, power, security, achievements and good health. But we are told:

Take nothing for the journey.

The journey in today’s gospel is the journey of going out from ourselves and living the Gospel message wherever we are. St. Paul tells us: “Before the world was made God chose us.” ‘Being chosen doesn’t mean that God likes one over another or finds some better than others. God’s chosenness is for the sake of communicating chosenness to everybody else!’ (R.Rohr) And we are told:

Take nothing for the journey.

We are asked to leave behind our preconceived ideas of having sole ownership of the understanding of the message, of being the only ones who experience God. Richard Rohr talks about Fr Vincent Donovan and his missionary work with the Maasai in Tanzania. When talking to the Maasai about the seven Sacraments, Fr. Donovan described the Sacraments as physical events and encounters in which we can experience the transcendent or the holy. He could see that the Maasai were puzzled and dissatisfied to hear there were only seven Sacraments. One elder finally spoke: “We would have thought that there would be at least 7000!”

Take nothing.

The Maasai understood that if we travel unencumbered by baggage and with an open mind and heart we may also be nourished and sheltered by Nature. In John 1:3 we read, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” The following legend attributed to St. Francis shows how he allowed Creation to share so many experiences of the Creator: ‘I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments as being means of experiencing God. He got so excited and ran into a hollow in his tree and came back holding some acorns, an owl feather and a ribbon he had found. And I just smiled and said, “Yes, dear, you understand: everything imparts His grace.”

Take nothing. Find God in everyone and in every thing.

On our journey we walk together with so many companions, nourishing each other with our experience of “the fullest truth of our being, and if we have received the love which restores meaning to our lives, how can we fail to share that love with others?”

Pope Francis. The Joy of the Gospel

Gospel Mark 6: 7-13

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, “Do not take a spare tunic.” And he said to them, “!f you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.” So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.

Spirituality Centre: News

The U.K. Government, in England, is lifting most coronavirus restrictions on July 19th. We have been expecting this announcement for some time, given the timetable set out earlier in the year. However, as stated in our last communication in May, we are not planning any changes to this until September. We are looking at meeting and chatting with various users and groups in the coming weeks to see what options lie ahead.

We hope and pray that this lifting of restrictions allows communities, groups, families and individuals to reconnect and rebuild. However, we note that the Bishops of England and Wales are adopting a more cautious approach and we will be following their guidance. So far they have not issued any new guidance since May 17th.

Please stay safe and we all pray for better news!

Reflection on 14th Sunday: 4th July 2021

Astonishment and Wisdom

The people of Nazareth are astonished by Jesus’ teaching and the miracles worked through him. Yet they do not accept him. Astonishment and wonder can lead us to opening our whole being to the ‘mystery of who we are because we are inescapably related to Ultimate Mystery which is revealed to us through the ordinary. The people are stunned because they believe the familiar, the ordinary excludes the extraordinary. For them, God only works through special or learned or official people. This carpenter son of Mary is simply not eligible. The people resist the invitation of God to experience that we are more than what other people think we are, and more that what we ourselves think we are. And each person we meet is more than what we think they are.’1

“What is this wisdom that has been granted him?” The people recognise the wisdom with which Jesus speaks. Yet they reject him. This comes as no surprise when we reflect on wisdom teaching. ‘The teaching of the Old Testament prophets was close to this but their mode of teaching was usually one of divine proclamation: ‘Thus says the Lord…” We see this in today’s first reading. However, in the Jewish tradition, wisdom teaching works with stories or parables that are meant to short-circuit our usual mode of categories of perception. Jesus wants to break us out of that part of our mind that wants to calculate or quantify and he wants to break us into an open heart. Wisdom teaching focuses on the gentle but hard work of inner transformation, which is more difficult than spending energy making sure we believe the right things. Cynthia Bourgeault writes: ‘Wisdom is not about knowing more but about knowing more deeply. The spiritual practices of attention and surrender are the riverbanks between which Wisdom flows through the channel of our open hearts.’ This is how Jesus lived: fully present and fully surrendered to what love asked of him moment by moment.2 Jesus’ invitation to the people of Nazareth, and to us, is to leave the path of labels, boxes and prejudice and to rather walk with him on the path of openness to transformation, the path of Wisdom.

Adapted: [1] John Shea [2] Matthew Wright

First Reading Ezekiel 2:2-5

The spirit came into me and made me stand up, and I heard the Lord speaking to me. He said, “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to the rebels who have turned against me. Till now they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me. The sons are defiant and obstinate; I am sending you to them, to say, ‘The Lord says this, “Whether they listen or not, this set of rebels shall know there is a prophet among them.”

Gospel Mark 6.1-6

Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were amazed when they heard him. They said, “Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?” And they would not accept him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is only despised in his own country, among his own relations and in his own house”, and he could work no miracle there, though he cured a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.