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.
An Epiphany Blessing
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.
Prepared for us, as always, by Cathy York.
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!”
Click here to play the video in YouTube.
The Road of Life
Another year is coming to an end.
I can feel her tug at my calendar;
I can sense her insistent movement.
I can hear her call to cross over.
Outside my window the trees are empty
and the air has the ripeness of snowfall.
I cast an inward glance to the past
and feel a deep desire to catch its glow.
Something in me wants to hold on,
to gather all the good things close to me.
A part of me that yearns for security
keeps encouraging me to grasp it all.
Then a tiny thimble-full of light
moves its way through my insecurity;
it weaves a thread of courage,
sending sparks into the dark.
Up and up it rises through my spirit
until it meets my controlling grip.
The firefly flickers of God’s grace
are enough to embrace the unknown.
A surge of powerful surrender
takes over all my looking back,
and ever so gently and hopefully
I risk the road of another new year.
Once again our reflection is provided by Cathy York.
May you give and receive love generously.
May each person who comes into your life
be greeted as another Christ.
May the honour given the Babe of Bethlehem
be that which you extend to every guest who enters your presence.
May the hope of this sacred season settle in your soul.
May it be a foundation of courage for you
when times of distress occupy your inner land.
May the wonder and awe that fills the eyes of children
be awakened within you.
May it lead you to renewed awareness and appreciation
of whatever you too easily take for granted.
May the bonds of love for one another be strengthened
as you gather around the table of festivity and nourishment.
May you daily open the gift of your life and be grateful for the hidden treasures it contains.
May you keep your eye on the Star within you and trust
this Luminescent Presence to guide and direct you each day.
May you go often to the Bethlehem of your heart
and visit the One who offers you peace.
May you bring this peace into our world.
Our website uses a free piece of code from a company called Time.ly to manage and display our calendar. The site presents views of the calendar in many places.
On 20th December we realised that the calendar functions had all gone sadly wrong! They may have been wrong for days and perhaps you had noticed and were too kind to say. Next time please let us know. Anyway, all the events were there but displayed in a most bizarre fashion.
We worked on the problem, went round the houses a few times, kicked the problem over the garden wall etc. and if you look now you can see it has all come good. Hurrah!
Perhaps Fr Christmas has made us an early present of a new calendar? If so, thanks Fr Christmas!
Do the Next Right Thing
“What should we do?” The question in today’s gospel strikes at the very core of our being. It comes to us in many different ways. Regardless of how it comes about, that question brings us to a crossroads. It is a place of discernment and decision and ultimately a place of metanoia (i.e. change of mind and heart). We must begin looking for a new direction for our life.
Many years ago a dear friend and mentor pointed out to me some hard truths about my life. I remember asking him, “So what should I do now?” He looked at me and simply said, “Go do the next right thing.” That was not an answer that I either understood or wanted. As our discussion continued I realised he was not telling me to go fix my life all at once. He was only asking me to take the first step in a new direction. “What should I do after that,” I asked him. His answer was the same. “Go do the next right thing. And after that go do the next right thing.” He set me on a path of metanoia. These small and simple, though not necessarily easy steps would become life changing behaviour.
That is exactly what John the Baptist tells those who ask him, “What should we do?” It is asked three times – by the crowds, the tax collectors, and the soldiers. He told them to go and do the next right thing. John did not tell any of them to go and be something different. Instead he called them to be who they are but in a different way. He did not tell the tax collectors to go find an honest living. He asked of them honest tax collecting. He did not tell the soldiers to stop being soldiers but to be soldiers who respected others and understood the danger of power. He called the crowds to remember that their life is bound up in their neighbour’s life and there is no room for indifference, complacency, or miserly giving.
Metanoia is not just about us. It is connected to and happens in relationship with God and our neighbour. It always restores, enhances, and gives life. It is not about escaping the circumstances of our life but about engaging those circumstances in a new and different way – God’s way. Metanoia opens us to see ourselves and each other as we really are in God.
On Monday the 10th December John Battle, former MP for Leeds West, came to speak to an audience of 60 or more on this intriguing theme. Bishop Paul gave the introduction and then John energetically set about talking us through some of his experiences, first as an MP and then later with Citizens UK before he invited us into group discussion and a signpost of what may follow.
What follows is a personal recollection of, and reflection on, the talk. Others will have a different take. It is in the spirit of the talk for me to encourage you to ask them.
- We are called to link prayer and action. Powerful things can happen as a result of bringing people together and sometimes especially powerful things come from bringing what conventional wisdom labels the ‘wrong type of people’ together.
- There is a need for us to transform ourselves and the society we live in. We need to improve. It can be better.
- There is a need for leadership but also for strong local groups to form and cross link. It is not ‘them’ it is ‘us’. We need come together and express what is important to us. We need to define “What are our shared goals?” We need to learn to listen to each other.
- Citizens UK is a movement of the people. Existing groups with a strong identity can be cross linked to other groups in dialog and build a consensus and pressure for change.
- Politics is not all about the Westminster Parliament, it should be about how we, as mature citizens, as a society, want to shape our world.
- Citizens UK aims to facilitate the discussion, foster the leadership, help make the connections and so bring us all together to become a powerful force for changes we collectively want.
Following on the success in other towns and cities, Citizen UK have plans and a tentative timetable for Preston. Watch out! Do we get involved or run away? It is all to play for.
Anne Harrison held another of her excellent Capacitar sessions on Friday 7th December. These events really do seem to help people in all sorts of ways.
Anne gave attendees the opportunity to write a few words or a phrase of feedback.
“Energising, Safe, Healing, Challenging.”
“Healing. Proof that this can come from within.”
“Holding Enfolding Caring.”
“Getting in touch with feelings.”
“What a beautiful morning again. Privilege, Affirmation, Blessing.”
“Perfect healing morning.”
“I will walk on clouds for the rest of the day.”
“A beautiful well balanced morning.”
“I’m leaving deeply nourished, at peace and healed.”
Taken together along with the many expressions of thanks, these words give a sense of these excellent sessions. If you think you might benefit then why not come along on the 18th January 2019.
It would help us to manage numbers if you could make a booking by completing the form at the bottom of the event page in the calendar. You can do that by clicking here.
On Monday we have an evening discussion with John Battle MP. You may know John from his articles which have often been featured in The Tablet.
John Battle, a former MP, is a member of Leeds Citizens and the Chair of the Leeds Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission is coming to speak on the theme “Love Needs to be Organised”.
The talk will be introduced by Bishop Paul Swarbrick and followed by a group discussion and questions.
The title of the talk is taken from a line in Pope Benedict’s First Encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”. John believes that we need to do things, to change things for the better and that requires that we get organised. Referencing the relationship between prayer and action. He will draw analogies from the ruins of Kirkstall, a Cistercian Abbey near Leeds and Armley Remand Prison following Thomas Merton’s theme of the relationship between contemplation and action.
This will be a good evening. Click here for more details.