Reflection on the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 24th Feb 2019

Be compassionate

Compassionate action means working with ourselves as much as working with others. In order to feel compassion for other people, we have to feel compassion for ourselves and as we learn to have compassion for ourselves, the circle of compassion for others becomes wider. In choosing to be compassionate, we are yielding to the compassionate nature of God flowing through us. Compassion is the love that recognises and goes forth to identify with the preciousness of all that is lost and broken within ourselves and others. To care about people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean, you name it—to have compassion and to care for these people means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. It means acknowledging our need for healing if we are to heal others.

Pema Chodron. James Finlay

May you desire to be healed.
May what is wounded in your life be restored to good health.
May you be receptive to the ways in which healing needs to happen.
May you take good care of yourself.
May you extend compassion to all that hurts within your body, mind, and spirit.
May you be patient with the time it takes to heal.
May you be aware of the wonders of your body, mind, and spirit and their ability in returning you to good health.
May you be open to receive from those who extend kindness, care, and compassion to you.
May you rest peacefully under the sheltering wings of divine love, trusting in this gracious presence.
May you find little moments of beauty and joy to sustain you.
May you keep hope in your heart.

Joyce Rupp

Capacitar Wellbeing 15 Mar and 12 Apr

Anne Harrison’s excellent Capacitar Wellbeing sessions have proved very popular so we must not be surprised that these two sessions are now fully booked. Any further enquiries will be placed on the waiting list. 

If you are interested in booking on later sessions then please watch this space. We will bring you news of the post Easter programme as we have it.

Six week Lenten Retreat Starting 12th March 2019

Rose and Greg McCrave are offering this six week Lenten retreat. Each session will take place on a Tuesday evening 19:30 to 21:00. Rose and Greg 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

All are welcome to attend any of the sessions individually however, attendance at the 6 sessions, offers a complete Lent retreat based on Ignatian Spirituality. There are online resources associated with the retreat. You can access them by clicking here.

If you are interested in booking or want more information then click here.

Pop up Speakers Corner: Lord Adonis on Brexit

Sorry for the short notice but here is an event we must all be interested in. A chance to debate our nation’s future. 23rd February 2019 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Lord Andrew Adonis

Lord Andrew Adonis, Labour Peer will be speaking about ‘Healing the Nation’ and giving his up to date insight on Brexit and the way it may move forward.

He is on a whistle stop tour of UK and we have invited him to speak to us at short notice.

We hope you can join us but if not maybe let others know about it.  Please circulate this amongst your friends and family who may not be on the mailing list.

Lord Andrew Adonis, is optimistic that the notion of a second referendum may soon become a reality, as a means of breaking the current deadlock in Westminster.

He is calling local people to take action by supporting Preston for Europe and other local groups.

We have a limit on the number of attendees so if you want to be certain of a seat then please book on reception or through Eventbrite but come anyway we want to hear your views.

Reflection on the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 17th Feb 2019

The ‘How-to-Be’ Attitudes

The temptation is to think that the beatitudes are rules or conditions for being blessed or receiving our heavenly reward. They are not that at all. They are not about building up, accomplishing, or acquiring. They are about letting go, surrendering, living with a vulnerable and open heart. That does not mean we run away, back down, or isolate ourselves from the realities of our life and world. It means we engage them in a different way, Jesus’ way. The beatitudes teach us to trust God more than the external circumstances of our lives. They invite dependence on God rather than self-reliance.

In the trauma and setbacks of life we discover that we cannot do life by ourselves. As we admit our need of God we find purity of heart. The arrogance of self-sufficiency gives way to meekness. We realise that all that we are and have is from God and we begin to know ourselves as poor in spirit. Our own misfortunes awaken and connect us to the pain of the world for which we cannot help but mourn. We think less about ourselves and become merciful to others. We have nowhere else to go and so we turn our gaze back to God. The longer we gaze at God the more we hunger and thirst for righteousness, for God’s life, and we become peacemakers reconciling ourselves to God and our neighbour. This is the life for which Christ’s disciples are willing to be persecuted, a life of righteousness, the life for which Christ died and rose again.

The beatitudes are not so much about what we do (our actions), but how we do, (our being). They are less about actions and more about relationships. To live the beatitudes is to live a life of reckless, exuberant, self-abandonment to God and our neighbour. That’s called love. The only reason we can do that is because we know and trust ourselves to have already been blessed by God. We live the beatitudes as a response to God blessing us. That is the way of Christ. That is not only the way forward through this life, it is the way to life. If we are to follow Christ it must become our way.

Michael Marsh

As always, thoughtfully selected for us by Cathy York who has prepared all our Sunday reflections despite the impression the website has given by attributing them to John, who only posts them. This problem is now solved and we have a way of attributing them correctly.

Reflection on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 10th Feb 2019

Put Out Into Deep Waters

Jesus called Peter, James and John to something completely different to what they knew. When he said, ‘Put out into the deep’, Jesus was saying, ‘I am taking you into unknown territory, into something you are not familiar with; but I will bring great things out of this if you trust me.’ The Lord is also saying something similar to us. Life is a constant ‘launching out’, being taken out of comfort zones and experiencing a loss of control. The Lord is saying to us not to be afraid of ‘deep waters’, of the unknown, of what can be very frightening. He is with us. Not only that, but if we trust him, He can bring great good out of it. To enable us to grow, God often has to lead us to places and situations that we would rather avoid.

The unseen boundary between two worlds is known as threshold. This symbolic line marks the division between who we are now and who we will become. The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word limens, meaning “threshold.” A liminal space, the place of transition, waiting, and not knowing is a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run, you will do anything to flee from this terrible cloud of unknowing.

These thresholds of waiting and not knowing our “next” are everywhere in life and they are inevitable. Each ushers in a new chapter of life, and each holds varying degrees of disruption. Whether it is graduation, a new job and career, being overwhelmed by debt, new homes, new cities, marriage, divorce, sickness, life stages, changing friendships – all will disorient us for a while, regardless of our awareness during the transition. Liminality requires acceptance of mystery and a heart full of trust. The challenge is to give ourselves fully to the process of change while being unsure and unclear of how this liminal time will affect our future.

During these times of mystery our prayer must be a simple request: that we be reminded that we have not been abandoned; that we hear the sometimes tiny voice within that whispers wordlessly, “You are always loved. You are never alone.”

Various sources

The Care of Creation – A talk by Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ

An update on this event. Fr Xavier is going to speak at St Wilfrid’s Parish Centre in the afternoon and at the Xaverian Mission in the evening. He will present us with an interesting question “Is Leadership too important to be left to Leaders?”

For the afternoon session click here

For the evening session click here which gives details on how to book. Booking advisable as we are limited to an audience of 80.

Reflection on the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time: 3rd Feb 2019

Our picture of God

A young girl was bent purposefully over her copybook, her pencil poised in a clear declaration of intent. When her mother asked what she was doing, she said she was drawing a picture. ”Of what?” the mother asked. “Of God,” was the answer. “But you can’t draw a picture of God,” her mother declared. “No one knows what God looks like.” “Well they will, when I have finished drawing,” replied the girl, nodding her head.

In a sense we could say that Jesus drew for us a picture of what God is like. The Jews in the synagogue were angry when Jesus reminded them of God’s mercy towards a Gentile widow and the Gentile leper Naaman. Jesus made it clear that God is the God of all peoples; he belongs to all classes; no one is excluded from his love; he is not subject to our caprice or prejudice. Eckhart Tolle wrote of how prejudice can degrade another human person: “Prejudice of any kind implies that you are identified only with the thinking mind. It means you don’t see the other human being anymore, but only your own concept of that human being. To reduce the aliveness of another human being to a concept is already a form of violence.” In effect, Jesus declared that God has no favourites, that there are no privilege cardholders to receiving love and compassion, that all are equal shareholders of God’s love no matter who we are, where we come from and whatever our socio-economic status. We don’t earn divine favour by the titles we hold, but receive it freely from the unconditional love of God for us.

The challenge for us is to draw, in our own lives, a picture of God that is in line with what Jesus gave us. When we have finished drawing our picture, will God recognises himself in it?

Association of Catholic Priests

Thoughtfully selected for us by Cathy York.

Capacitar sessions – An update

These monthly sessions are proving very popular, so popular that we need to make sure that participants book. Previously bookings were taken on reception but we need to change that. In future all bookings need to be made directly with Anne Harrison, the facilitator. You can book on any of the upcoming courses by filling in the enquiry/booking form by clicking here. Anne will allocate places on a First Come First Served basis so if you are interested then now is the time. If you book and find you are unable to come then please let Anne know so the place can be freed for another person.

Note: when you fill the form in you are asked for a date. Please do not be alarmed if you see the letter ‘S’ after the day of the month. It is an error we are trying to correct. Just pretend you didn’t see it. 🙂

A Journey with Mary and Joseph

Not all the events held at our Centre are public. Here is an account of one of those private group events.

On Saturday, December 1st. Women Together in the Diocese of Lancaster organised an Advent day of Prayer in the Xaverian Mission Spirituality Centre (formerly Tabor) Preston. It was led by Father Nyagasaza Bideri who runs the Centre. From the start, although it was a grey, wet and dreary looking day, we received a very warm, hospitable welcome from him. We felt immediately that he had been looking forward to our coming there and had been preparing for the day with care and enthusiasm. He told us that it was to be a day of joy!

The greatest reality in our lives is our relationship with God. So, first, to help us allow God to heal our hearts from all that hinders His love embracing us, Father Bideri led us in an unusual reflection on the elder brother of the prodigal son and his troubled relationship with the father. In an interactive session, together we identified all the troubling elements that the elder son refused to let go of in himself. In naming these we could let go of all the same elements we recognised in ourselves. So we were ready then to open up to the love of God at work in the lives of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus, tracing their spiritual journey through scripture and art.

We celebrated Mass together at midday and after lunch shared a very joyful session with carols and seasonal hymns illustrated on the computer as we enjoyed singing along. A half hour of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament then followed and we drew the day to a close with song and prayer and blessing, grateful to Father Bideri for this lovely introduction to the Advent Season.

Women Together has a long history in the Diocese of Lancaster since it was first established by Bishop Brewer to give women a voice and opportunities to deepen and develop their faith and encourage the service that flows from that. So on the same day the organising committee took the opportunity for a “grass roots” consultation with all who came. In the spirit of Pope Francis we know that we need to listen and learn from women themselves what kind of topics and days they want to share. We asked permission to use their contact details for future publicity as we will see what suggestions were made and what can then be planned ahead.

Philomena Grimley SHCJ

This article first appeared in the Diocesan VOICE and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the author.