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 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.

Our Special Events Week and Open Day

This is a week of special events to celebrate the first year of the Xaverians taking over Tabor from the Carmelites.  Much has happened since then and there is still much to do but for now it is time to get together and celebrate the journey so far.  Come and join with us at the following events.

  • Wednesday 19th at 19:30 we have the Osiligi Maasai Warriors to get the celebrations underway.   Note: this is a ticketed event and we already have a long waiting list.  If you have a ticket and cannot make it please let us know.
  • Thursday 20th at 19:30 we have our weekly Mass followed by a cheese and wine (Jacob’s Join).  Come and meet and make friends.
  • Friday 21st at 19:00  Via Creativa: Energy Movement! – Simple, life affirming dances with Sharon Martin, dance practitioner. Please click here to get in contact with Joseph Cooper to book a place.  Please note you must be 18 or over to take part in this event.
  • Sunday is our Big Day. From 1200-1600 please drop in for international food, story-telling events, lots of children’s books, tombola, new-to-you goods, have a look round and see what we do at the Centre.

Reflection on 24th Sunday’s Gospel Sept 16th

Another reflection for this week.  Kindly contributed by Cathy York.

“ Who do you say that I am?”

The definitions of Jesus abound: a great prophet, teacher and healer. Some people’s definitions are more negative, depending on their life experiences and their religious beliefs. “For those of us who grew up in the church, believing in Jesus was important. For me, what that phrase used to mean, was ‘believing things about Jesus, believing what the gospels said about him, believing in doctrines about Jesus.’ That was easy when I was a child, but I now see that believing in Jesus can (and does) mean something very different from that. In both Greek and Latin the root meaning of the word ‘believe’ is ‘to give one’s heart to.’ The ‘heart’ is the self at its deepest level. Believing, therefore, does not consist of giving one’s mental assent to something, but involves a much deeper level of one’s self. It means to give Him our heart, our self at its deepest level.”

(Marcus Borg)

Today’s gospel is not about giving the right answer. This is not a test. This is not about what is in our head but what is in our heart. It’s about what lies at the core of our existence. Jesus is asking the disciples to consider what centres their lives. What is the axis about which their world turns? We all have some centre from which we live. People, things, and experiences tend to become our anchor point, the centre of our life. They give us our bearings and stability. Our centre orients our life and the direction we take. It not only shapes how we live but, more importantly, who we are becoming. Who or what is our centre? Whatever it is, that centre is capable of propelling, enlivening, and growing us or it can keep us stuck and stagnant.

“You are the Christ.” With those words Peter has re-centred his life. Re-centering is our life’s work and it is not easy work. It means we must continually let go of what we thought centred our lives and move to our true centre, Christ. It is something we do over and over and we don’t always get it right. Look at Peter. The gospels describe his many weaknesses but ultimately he was crucified for re-centering, following, and loving Jesus.

Who we say Jesus is has everything to do with who and how we are and will be. In some ways our answer says as much or more about us than Jesus. In some sense there is no once and for all, finally and forever, answer to Jesus’ question. We are always living into the question, moving from simply knowing about Jesus to knowing him. It’s not that Jesus changes. We do. We are constantly engaging his question and in so doing we not only discover Jesus anew we discover ourselves anew.

( Michael Marsh )

Via Creativa returns

Joseph Cooper and friends are back at the Preston Centre with another series of Via Creativa sessions.

The sessions are as follows:

  • 21/9/18 – Energy Movement! – Simple, life affirming dances with Sharon Martin, dance practitioner.
  • 28/9/18 – Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop – An introduction to Joan Littlewood’s methodology with Natalie Duymun, performer, director and educator.
  • 5/10/18 – Mask Making and Mask Workshop – drawing upon an exercise by the improvisational theatre practitioner Keith Johnstone and the work of deep ecologist and activist Joanna Macy, with Joseph Cooper.

The first series was very well received and so if you are 18 or over and want to take part then book early.  Click here for the poster which gives all the details.

Feature Film “Pope Francis, a Man of his Word”

An acclaimed feature film “Pope Francis, a Man of his Word” is coming to The Palace at Longridge.  The Palace is a delightful cinema and well worth a visit.
You can find some details of the film by clicking this link.
Only showing in art-house cinemas, it will have two showings in Longridge.
Use the following details to book:
Date:    Sunday, October 7th or Thursday, October 11th.
Time:    5.30 till  7.00 pm
Price:    Adults £6, Students/seniors £5, 12 and under £4
Venue:  The Palace, Market Place, Longridge PR8 3 RR
Tel:        01772 956375