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NO HURT, NO HARM: Wolf and Lamb

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  “The wolf lives with the lamb.” Words I became aware of fifty years ago in the early months of my life as a Pallottine, words that found resonance in me like they were part of the essence of my vocation, expressing something of the identity for which I was chosen.   Wolves fascinate me – all that is wild and free, native and instinctual. Or perhaps it is the idea of the wolf that I like because I would surely be petrified if confronted by one. But they speak to me in some way and of course the wonderful passage from Isaiah chapter 11 expresses something that I dearly yearn for - the return to the peace of Paradise, the harmony of Eden which comes with Jesus the Messiah.   The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them. The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox. The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the yo

I STAND AT THE DOOR OF MY SOUL: ADVENT

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Rain mesmerises. Rain on a dark November evening pecking at my face, battering my hood. I duck and flinch, as if that might lessen the impact. It doesn’t of course. Rain on the seafront sets me thinking about all sorts of things. Photographs are on my mind for some reason. I’m quite vain about photos in that I tend not to like myself in them. But there is one that I like, sent to me a couple of months ago and it has me standing at the door of the church here looking outward towards the street, waiting for a wedding. It’s a happy picture and it reminds me of two dreams I had as a young priest in Tanzania. In the first I stand at the door of my soul looking out, searching for the face of Jesus, listening for the sound of His voice; in the second I stand at the door of my soul looking inward to the light, the light of Jesus. A few years later I read a book by a Cistercian monk who was instructing Novices. In it he said that each one is called to stand guard at the door of his soul, and

CHRIST WITHIN OUR COBWEBS

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  Isaac is about one and a half years old. In creche the other day when he saw two boys fighting he went over to them, separated them and gave each of them a hug. And that was the end of it. There’s something about this boy! What is it that gave one so young the instinct and the wisdom to do something so mature He reminds me of Jesus Himself, He who in Scripture is called Peacemaker. Christ the King of the Universe is presented to us in today’s Gospel hanging on the Cross between two criminals. He has no palace, no power, no servants, no pageantry. The Cross is His throne and there is no need for an appointment to get near him. He is as accessible to us as He is to each of the two who are crucified with Him. Our response to Him can be like the response of either of these two men. Both seem to know who Jesus actually is, that He has the power to save all three of them. For the first that saving simply means getting them down off their crosses while the second has a deeper, eternal u

LOVE MOST COMMON, MOST EXALTED

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Love is common To every human heart There where God abides And God is Love Love Divine Love, the most common Form of prayer It is not taught It is simply there In every single soul Innate, God-given In the Sanctuary of Church and Garden and Every other place Inhabited Deserted If anything is to be taught About this prayer This Love It is that it be directed Towards God Finding its fulfilment In Him Love most common Most exalted By which one person Is united to the other And both and all United to God United in God Trinity in One In love is every prayer – Adoration Praise Gratitude The pleading of the beseeching Believer and not Love and prayer come to us We come to Love We come to God the Father In Christ In the Holy Spirit’s flaming Fire Wild wind and water Every elemental simple soul Infusing

IN MY BONES

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Wind like the Holy Spirit Flaps about my head Tossing my hair Unruling my life The sun warm On my face Light of God In my soul Ever abiding Within Even When You seem To hide And my desire For You The fire is all But extinguished Still I know it is there For You are there Embedded like prophecy In my bones The very marrow  Of my bones Indelibly inscribed 

HINENI: Harvest of Gratitude

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  Harvest Mass. The children excitedly bring their gifts to the altar, gifts for the local food bank. They didn’t buy this food themselves but there is a generosity in their giving. The last little boy to approach is singing out the offertory hymn – “Here I am Lord!” – continues singing as he lays down his gift and as he walks back down the aisle with his Mum who seeks out his hand, but he refuses. He is independent in this moment. Confident.   The song is appropriate because it expresses the true nature of giving. The boy brings more than a tin of food, he brings himself. He is the gift.   I have shingles today, a pain that demands attention but the amazing grace of the Mass lifts me out of myself to be more than I am, to be what I cannot be when I otherwise succumb to the pain, the misery, and a bit of self-pity. The Mass always seems to change me somehow, giving me a confidence and an authority that I do not normally possess, and I can only conclude that it is a genuine experien

BACK TO THE TREES OF THE GARDEN (Lessons in Detachment)

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At times, very many and long times it seems that God has hidden His face, hidden His very Self. And not only that, but my own love for Him is hidden, my desire for Him is hidden from me and I am left in a desert of the highest dunes – like Abid Lia – neither unhappy nor happy in the intense effort of ascending unsteady sands. Do I love God at all? I often wonder. The awareness of love gets lost in the effort and you just keep going on and on, up and up. Then the question is asked of us in the Alpha Course, “what do you think of Jesus?” Similar to the question that Jesus Himself asks, “who do you say I am?” What do I think of Jesus? The response was instantaneous, a wordless surge within me like the uncorking of champagne, a spontaneous bursting forth of unquestionable love, the joy of my love for Jesus. “He’s the best thing ever!” I said aloud. He is my portion. He is my love. And, of course, as I reflect further I realize that this love that surges within is not my love but God'