Speakers Corner

BISHOP PAUL SWARBRICK    This is the first of our Speakers Corner events. We are delighted to invite you to an informal audience with Bishop Paul Swarbrick, who will share the story of his journey so far. Entry free but donations welcome .

7pm Fri 30th November 2018

Order free tickets by clicking here.

OR ring Reception 01772 717122

OR contact Mary & Chris Cullen

Mob:- 07846 493933 or click here to email them.

Here is a link to the poster if you wish to help publicise the event.

Reflection on 29th Sunday 21st October

Can we drink the cup?

Jesus’ cup is the cup of suffering, not just his own suffering but that of the whole world. Sooner or later, life is going to lead you (as it did Jesus) into the belly of the whale, into a place where you can’t fix, control, explain, or understand (usually very concrete and personal; it cannot be merely theoretical). That’s where transformation most easily and deeply happens. That’s when you’re uniquely in the hands of God because you cannot “handle” it yourself.

In other words, you have to enter into at least one situation in your life where you’re not in control, you’re not ‘number one’, you’re not the best, you’re not in charge, you’re not right, you’re not winning – and see how you deal with that. And if you can come through that and come out the other side still happy, still trustful, still loving, saying ‘Yes’ to whatever each day brings – then you have gone through the mystery of death and suffering and coming out the other side better and more alive and more in love and, believe it or not, even more happy and more free. You have been led to the edge of your own resources, and learned how to rely upon The Resource, The Source: God. Then you know, maybe for the first time, who you really are. And it’s not just you but the God who is in you and with you and for you more than you are for yourself. And then you can freely do what Jesus says at the end of today’s Gospel reading: You don’t come to be served, but to serve; you don’t come for others to take care of you but you want to take care of others, the way you have been so beautifully taken care of.

Richard Rohr

‘I slept and dreamt that life was joy,
I woke and found that life was service,
I served and found that service was joy.’

R. Tagore

Reflection on 28th Sunday 14th October

What must I do?

The “Eye of the Needle” has been claimed to be a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed.

An attachment is a major killer of life. Think of yourself in a concert hall. To really hear the symphony, you must be sensitively attuned to every instrument in the orchestra. When you take pleasure only in the drum, you cease to hear the symphony because the sound of the drum has blotted out the other instruments. A preference does not damage your capacity to hear and enjoy the other instruments, but the moment your preference turns into attachment, it hardens you to the other sounds and you suddenly undervalue them. Now look at a person or thing you have an attachment for: something or someone to whom you have handed over the power to make you happy or unhappy. Observe how, because of your concentration on getting this person or thing and holding on to it and enjoying it exclusively to the exclusion of other things and persons, and how, because of your obsession with this person or thing, you have less sensitivity to the rest of the world. You have become hardened. Have the courage to see how prejudiced and blind you have become in the presence of your attachment. When you see this, you will feel a yearning to rid yourself of every attachment.

Awareness shows you the loss you suffer when you overvalue the drum and when you turn a deaf ear to the rest of the orchestra. You will no longer think that your happiness depends on any person, anything or any situation or experience. Now you will move through life living from one moment to the other, wholly absorbed in the present, carrying with you so little from the past that your spirit could pass through the eye of a needle, as little distracted by the worries of the future as the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. You will be attached to no person or thing, for you will have developed a taste for the symphony of life. And you will love life alone with your whole heart and your whole soul and your whole mind and all your strength. You will find yourself unencumbered and free as a bird in the sky, always living in the Eternal Now. And you will have found in your heart the answer to the question, ‘Master, what is it that I must do to inherit eternal life?’

Anthony de Mello: The Way to Love

Again we thank Cathy York for providing this reflection.

The Adventures of a Vatican Astronomer

On Monday 8th October we hosted a wonderful talk by Br Guy Consolmagno SJ who with humour, clarity and humility told stories about life in the Vatican and his work as the Director of the Vatican Observatory.  The talk was very well attended, every seat taken and then some.

Guy took excellent questions from the floor at the end of the talk and he certainly earned the round of applause from an appreciative audience.

Our thanks to Shirley Russo for organizing this great evening.

If you missed the show and want to see Guy speak then there are a few talks of his available on YouTube.  For example try this one or this from TEDx

Reflection on 27th Sunday 7th October

Love upholds the dignity of all

We touch today on a very topical, very sensitive and very painful reality of life in our time – the question of divorce. However, today’s Gospel indicates that it was a controversial question in Jesus’ time and in his society also. “Men were the entitled ones in their society. Jesus challenged them to shed their entitlement, their sense of false empowerment. The gospels give many examples of how Jesus challenged every attempt at the domination of one group over another. When his own disciples try to take the high road of power, Jesus takes the low road to teach them his new ‘way’.

In today’s gospel, he challenges the domination of men over women. This is not so much a teaching on the indissolubility of the marriage bond as a teaching on the domination of men over women. The divorce laws of the day were mainly laws to protect men by allowing them to keep moving ahead freely and to abandon women without penalty. Jesus refuses to buy into that. He says, “From the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” He sees them as equals. “And the two shall be one flesh.” Jesus is preaching equality, not domination.” (Richard Rohr) Jesus always upheld the dignity of every human being. Later in the passage, he goes on to affirm the value and dignity of children, who were considered second class citizens in that society, just as women were.

Divorce is a reality of our lives and our world. Whatever the circumstances divorce always has profound and lasting consequences for all involved. Somehow love has to be preserved if wounds are to be healed. ‘Perfect families do not exist. This must not discourage us. Quite the opposite. Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is “forged” by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences. Love is born and constantly develops amid lights and shadows. Love can flourish in men and women who try not to make conflict the last word, but rather a new opportunity. An opportunity to seek help, an opportunity to question how we need to improve, an opportunity to discover the God who is with us and never abandons us. This is a great legacy that we can give to our children, a very good lesson: we make mistakes, yes; we have problems, yes. But we know that that is not really what counts. We know that mistakes, problems and conflicts are an opportunity to draw closer to others, to draw closer to God.”

Pope Francis

Reflection on 26th Sunday 30th Sept

Where there is love, there is God

In today’s readings Moses and Jesus invite us to recognise that God – who is Love – is in everyone and where there is love there is God. We see in Jesus’ teaching that if we want to follow him we must have a gracious, open mind and heart, ready to affirm all that is good no matter where it comes from. We cannot limit the Spirit, we cannot limit truth to any religion or any group of people. “All of creation is sacred because it is made by God. To bless anything of creation, be this a person or an object, is to acknowledge the touch of the Creator upon that person or object. To bless is not so much to ‘make sacred’ as it is to acknowledge the sacredness that is already there.’ (J. Rupp) Today we are being invited to acknowledge and celebrate the sacredness in each one of us. How awesome is that!

There was once a great and famous sculptor who lived in Italy. One day, just as the sculptor was beginning to work on a new block of marble, he noticed a young boy standing in the doorway of his shop. The boy didn’t say anything. He just stood quietly watching the great man chisel away at the block. The boy came often to the sculptor’s workshop. He watched the chunks of marble fall away one by one – first large chunks, then finer and finer pieces – until he could see a form emerging from the marble. One day the boy arrived at the shop to find that the sculptor had finished his work. The block of marble had been transformed into a magnificent lion, poised and powerful and larger than life. For a long time the boy stood in amazement, just looking at the lion. Finally, he turned to the sculptor, his face full of wonder, and asked: “How did you know there was a lion inside that marble?”

It may take many years of chiselling for us to experience God’s hidden Life within us but when we do, we will then find Him within everyone we meet and we will respect how God works through them. We will recognise and support the working of the Spirit in each other, knowing that wherever there is love there is God.

Various sources

Our thanks, as always, to Cathy York for gathering and putting this together.

What a week that was!

I write this on Wednesday the 26th of September sitting at reception here in the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre reflecting that a week ago we were welcoming a group of Massai Warriors from Kenya!

The Osiligi Group (Osiligi means “hope”) entertained 80 of us with stories and song from the herdsmen and women of Kenya. They presented the great work that their small charity does including building schools, refurbishing wells, building and equipping clinics and bettering the lives and health of their village community. They also sold some homemade jewellery and artefacts. For 8 weeks they have been performing and presenting their story up and down the UK and Angela managed to book them and so we had the honour to host them here.

They are a Christian based group and their smiles were a reminder of our call to be and beam the Good News wherever we are. Apart from the embarrassment of me trying to emulate their movements through dance and jumps (there are bits of me that I didn’t know I had) the evening was a great success with everyone going away reminded that the Spirit is moving in very different cultures and contexts.

On the Thursday night we had our weekly celebration of Eucharist. Thursday is traditionally were the Xaverians all over the world and in all our communities gather to pray to encourage each other in our mission and recommit to the mission of the Church. The Mass was well attended with a good cross generational presence. Our Eucharist is an attempt also to emulate the reality of our Base Communities throughout the world, where we break the Word of God and the Bread of life together.

Afterwards we had a Jacob’s Join with an abundance of wine, cheese, salads and snacks and enjoyed each other’s company. (I am still nibbling various cheeses – though the wine seemed to go quicker!)

On Friday Joseph Cooper and his team held another Via Creativa session. Joseph’s friend Sharon led the group in dances and movement entitled “Energy Movement – Simple, life affirming dances”.

Unfortunately, I had to travel to Scotland for a wedding, so I couldn’t take part as I had hoped to redeem myself after floundering with the Massai Warriors. Those who took part in it thoroughly enjoyed it and we look forward to more such activities. There are another 2 Via Creativa sessions coming up…so come along and surprise yourself.

Finally on Sunday we held our first Open Day which was an attempt to draw people in and let the world know that the Centre is up and running. There were a variety of stalls, foods from around the world, a display of all we have going on and a Storytelling Festival to offer something for everyone.

As I ended up flipping burgers, I didn’t get to see Mary and the team tell their stories. Those who took part were full of praise, so I hope there will be other occasions for me to take part.

Thanks also to all our collaborators from Fulwood, Ribbleton, Bamber Bridge, Scotland and Brazil for making the day resemble Isaiah’s “Mountain of the Lord”. We are grateful to all who came, who gave of their time and energy, who spent weeks preparing things and who allowed those who came to see a little of what we are trying to build here.

The weekend also saw new signs being installed on the wall of the building and hopefully the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre, our centre, can nourish our spiritual life in order to develop our missionary life too.

Many thanks and blessings
Jim Clarke, s.x.

Reflection on 25th Sunday 23rd Sept


Letting go

According to the astronomical calendar Autumn begins today, September 23rd. Albert Einstein tells us to “look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” In his teaching, Jesus often used examples from nature. Autumn leaves are subtle reminders that we are asked to let go of many things throughout our lives. Autumn’s energy causes us to take stock and decide what to hold on to and what to let go. No new growth will come unless Autumn agrees to let go of what has been. The same is true of our lives.

In today’s gospel, Jesus challenges his disciples to let go of two of their misconceptions. Firstly, he wanted to prepare them for bad news (the Passion) and good news (the Resurrection), but they did not want to hear him. Jesus’ prediction of the future was incomprehensible because it did not coincide with the disciples’ hopes and plans. Secondly, Jesus presents to his disciples a completely different interpretation of the word ‘greatness’, one which involves service, of being last. We’re not told their reaction to this but we can imagine that they also found it difficult to accept. Maybe they felt like the man who fell over the edge of a cliff and on the way down managed to grab a branch that stopped his fall. Hanging in midair, he called up to heaven in desperation, “Is there anyone up there?” A voice answered, “Let go of the branch. I’ve got you.” The man hung there in silence for a moment, looking up and then down at the yawning gulf beneath him. Finally he looked up and yelled, “Is there anybody else up there?”

When we let go of the branch of our security, we will find that it is really but a short drop to the ground below, where we will find God waiting for us. He does not strip us of all that we have but rather teaches us to use all that we have in ways that benefit not only ourselves but also those around us who appear to be in more need than we are. Whenever we are called to let go of something safe, secure and familiar we are invited to be birthed again. Each radical change in our lives summons us to a greater fullness, to a more complete transformation of our inner self.

Various sources

The Friends of Tabor email service is closing

It has been over a year since the Carmelites left Tabor and Margaret McNulty offered to set up friendsoftabor@outlook.com to keep people informed about what was happening with the sale, where groups were meeting and what retreats and events were being held.

Since the Xaverians have now settled in and the calendar is filling up the time has come to discontinue the friendsoftabor email as all the information can be found on the website and through the weekly updates.

  • Gillian Coxhead continues to offer Carmelite Spirituality days and a monthly prayer evening at the Convent.
  • Donna Worthington is also offering Retreat days and other events.

From time to time we may post about these events but if you want comprehensive information then please contact the appropriate organiser directly.

We want to take this opportunity to thank Margaret for her work in keeping the community informed.