Showing posts from November, 2019

ADVENT: One Great Act of Giving Birth

“…we wait for what God has promised: new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will be at home.” (2 Peter 3) Memories surface in the stillness before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament - childhood, youthful, lovely memories. And a Word from the book of Revelation points me in the direction I need to travel on my spiritual journey this Advent, as a way of preparing for Christmas and for eternity. Jesus says, “you do not love me now as you did at first!” (Revelation 2) and indeed I know that my love for Him has become quiet, lacking in the kind of feeling I would like to have, needing more ardour, devotion. There was a time when I was a child and I had this really strong love for God and I find myself speaking the words of Henry Vaughan in ‘The Retreat’ “Happy those early days when I shined in my Angel-infancy. Before I understood this place…” and though I can’t return to the past, my prayer is to rediscover something of that kind of pure childlike love. The flame of my love for G

TO YOU I SURRENDER (My Lord and my God)

My Lord and my God. My God and my All. My Lord, my Life and my Love, I adore you profoundly. O Lord, it is You who are my Portion and Cup. My happiness lies in You alone. What else have I in heaven but You? Apart from You I want nothing on earth! To You I surrender, give and offer My whole self for the Mercy of Your plan. Let it be done to me according to Your Word, that all may be saved and Come to the knowledge of the Truth. Glory to You Father Almighty, Glory to You Jesus Christ my Lord, Glory to You Holy Spirit dwelling in my heart,  Now and forever. Amen!

AN UNCOMMON RESPECT: The Anointing of Les

“…a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? “For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. “For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. “Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (Matthew 26:7-13) Les is approaching death, sleeping with the help of morphine, folded in a striped flannel sheet on an armchair, as they wait for the hospital bed to be delivered. He is 94 years old. His granddaughter Laurie has brought him to her home to care for him in his final


“Are you happy there?” , she asks on the phone from across the sea. Happy is a word I treat with a bit of caution because I read once that it comes from a word that means hap-hazard. And indeed, happiness can be quite hap-hazard, unpredictable. But I am happy now! A feeling has come over me lately, quite a strong sense that my whole life to date has been a preparation for this place and time. It used to seem that it was all fragmented, one experience or period disconnected from the rest but now it appears to me like one great continuous arc from eternity to eternity. Celebrating Mass is never easy because it is an awesome reality – this great mystery of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection which I am privileged to share in a most intimate way. Never easy but here in this place, at this altar, in this church I feel at home and content in a way that I have never felt anywhere in my entire life as a priest. And that’s nearly 40 years! The church itself is most beauti

A Patient, The Police and A Priest

He turns up in the morning rain, without a jacket, carrying a sleeping bag. All wet. I don’t have much time. A funeral is about to begin. He looks pleased and I’m pleased to see him too even though he shouldn’t be here at all. Shouldn’t be out, having been sectioned for twenty eight days a couple of weeks ago. He said they gave him leave. I give him bread, cheese, coffee and milk and send him to the hall where he can have shelter. A bit of privacy. And a smoke by the open door, thanks to the kindness of Terry. I put his sleeping bag in the dryer.  A few hours later when the funeral is over, I get myself some lunch before going to check on him and phone a relative of his to see if the family can do anything to help him. They can’t. The phone rings. It’s the police. Missing persons. Had I seen him? Yes, in the morning. He needs to go back.  Phone rings again. The hospital this time. They’ve been informed by the relative that he’s “with” me. He was, I say. I’m told

REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 2019: We Emerge Through The Clouds Of Grief

Remembrance Mass St. Mary Star of the Sea On the third day of the Camino to Santiago I walked alone the 29km from Larrasoana to Zariquiegui via Pamplona and ended up being the only pilgrim in a private hostel in the tiny village. While walking through the beautiful city of Pamplona I became aware of how at ease I am in an urban setting. I love the sea, the country, solitude but at the end of the day I am urban born! During the Camino I came to a heightened awareness of the sacredness of the city - the humanity of it, the presence of God in it. Later Pope Francis wrote in 'The Joy of the Gospel': "God’s revelation tells us that the fullness of humanity and of history is realized in a city. We need to look at our cities with a contemplative gaze, a gaze of faith which sees God dwelling in their homes, in their streets and squares.  This presence must not be contrived but found, uncovered. God does not hide himself from those who seek him with a sincere heart...&qu