The literal interpretation of Scripture is the least helpful. The symbolic level is the level filled with meaning that changes our lives. John’s writing is full of symbolic language. We would miss much if we were to see here only a ‘miracle’ by which Jesus helps a young bridegroom who finds himself in an embarrassing position on his wedding day. We don’t know if the events in today’s Gospel really happened in this way, but there are a lot of give-aways that there is a deeper message here.
One of these is the focus on the six stone jars that were used for purification rites, for ceremonial washing. Much of the history of religion is about ceremonial washing where the emphasis is on purification because we are not perfect enough. The jars in today’s Gospel are empty. Jesus filled the jars to the brim with wine. This is not just a miracle story. It is a transformational story about what Jesus is bringing about in the history of religion. We thought that religion was about a list of requirements which we have to fulfil so that God will love us.
As in so many Scripture passages, matrimonial imagery is used in today’s Gospel to tell us that what God wants with humanity is a love affair, a marriage. We find it difficult to accept that God would want such an intimate relationship with us, so we keep going back to the six empty jars of purifying water, to fulfilling the law. But laws don’t teach us how to love. In today’s Gospel, Jesus changes the focus of religion from a religion of legalism to a religion of love, filled to the brim with joy and celebration. And this is his ‘first sign’.
Anne Harrison had another great group for this morning’s Capacitar session. These sessions have a growing following of appreciative participants. Perhaps this might be for you? Next session: 15th February 19
As we get into the year the calendar starts to fill. The latest update is from the Zen Buddhist Practice group who are planning sessions through to the end of the year.
The Group normally meets every first and third Tuesday evening 7.30pm – 9.30pm. On the 7th May 2019 they are on retreat. Do ask if you want to join in.
The Preston group is called Nothing Extra. Nothing Missing is their big sister group in Lancaster. Follow this link to Nothing Missing to read about their practice form, their guiding teacher and more.
All are welcome. They look forward to sharing time and space with whoever wishes to join them.
On Tuesday the 26th February Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ is coming to give an evening talk at the Centre. His theme is The Care of Creation. We will get an event poster to you soon – it is still in preparation – but we want to let you know about this as soon as possible so you will not get yourselves double booked.
This is going to be a well attended event and we may need to control numbers. We will post arrangements for booking as soon as we have them. In the meantime Save the Date.
Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.
Every time we listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls us the Beloved, we will discover within ourselves a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert. Once you have touched wet ground, you want to dig deeper. The word ‘digging’ might not be the best word since it suggests hard and painful work that finally leads us to the place where we can quench our thirst. Perhaps all we need to do is remove the dry sand that covers the well. There may be quite a pile of dry sand in our lives, but the One who so desires to quench our thirst will help us to remove it.
When we claim and constantly reclaim the truth of being the chosen ones, we soon discover within ourselves a deep desire to reveal to others their own chosenness. Instead of making us feel that we are better, more precious or valuable than others, our awareness of being chosen opens our eyes to the chosenness of others. That is the great joy of being chosen: the discovery that others are chosen as well. Once we deeply trust that we ourselves are precious in God’s eyes, we are able to recognise the preciousness of others.
We don’t need to do anything to earn God’s love. The point is to surrender to it, to fully allow it to become the deepest meaning, purpose and direction of our lives. This is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Fire. It is the moment of conscious awareness, of conscious choice, of saying, “This is how I want to live my life.”
Another great piece selected and adapted by Cathy York.
Rose and Greg McCrave are running a 6 week Lenten Retreat based on Ignatian Spirituality. The sessions will be on Tuesdays 07:30pm until 09:00pm
Cost: £5 per session.
All are welcome to attend any of the sessions individually however, attendance at the 6 weekly Tuesdays, offers a complete Lent retreat on Ignatian Spirituality. We will be covering the following topics:
March 12th : Week 1: Lectio Divina March 19th: Week 2: Imaginative Contemplation March 26th: Week 3: Examen (Review of Prayer) April 2nd: Week 4: Finding God in All Things April 9th: Week 5: Discernment April 16th: Week 6: Holy Week/Our Lord’s Passion
Please contact reception or fill in the enquiry form to register your interest for any/all of the retreat.
For some time we have had a collection of odd Wi-Fi systems installed at the Centre and the adjoining house. Coverage was at best rather patchy if you strayed out of the Conference room and Reception areas.
In an attempt to improve matters we have done a little reorganisation. This has inevitably introduced change so if you are unable to get on the Wi-Fi as you once did this is the reason.
If you are in the Centre the network to connect to is Xaverian Guest. At present the system does require a password which you can obtain from Fr Bideri or Reception.
As I write, the open network Tabor Guest is still available in some locations but at reduced strength. It will be changing very soon. I recommend you have your device ‘forget’ the Tabor Guest network.
Work is still going on. With a little luck we hope to have everything up and running well before the end of January.
How many of us see our lives as a search for God? The Magi set out on a journey that would change them forever. They trusted their deep intuitions symbolised by the star and followed it outside of their comfort zone into a new territory and there they humbly bowed down before mystery. Each of us is challenged to do the same.
If you could see the journey whole you might never undertake it; might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known toward the place you know not.
Call it one of the mercies of the road: that we see it only by stages as it opens before us, as it comes into our keeping step by single step.
There is nothing for it but to go and by our going take the vows the pilgrim takes: to be faithful to the next step; to rely on more than the map; to heed the signposts of intuition and dream; to follow the star that only you will recognise; to keep an open eye for the wonders that attend the path; to press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue beyond what would tempt you from the way.
There are vows that only you will know; the secret promises for your particular path and the new ones you will need to make when the road is revealed by turns you could not have foreseen.
Keep them, break them, make them again: each promise becomes part of the path; each choice creates the road that will take you to the place where at last you will kneel before mystery to offer the gift most needed – the gift that only you can give – before turning to go home by another way.
Kevin, one of our Newsletter subscribers, has emailed us this morning.
“Just wanted to share a lovely film I’ve watched this afternoon about a young girl from Derry in Ireland who grew up amongst the troubles with two vocations – she wanted to be famous and had many gifts, she was also being called to be a Nun and give her life completely to God
It’s a very moving and inspirational film that tells her life story – a beautiful life, a life given completely to God and given in service for others. She was sadly and tragically killed in an Earthquake in Ecuador in April 2016.
She was an ordinary girl, yet with extraordinary gifts and she ended her life fulfilling her vocations – to be a famous nun!”