Spiritual Journeys

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The fire that Jesus brings can, if we let it, forge unity and new beginnings in the wake of division, writes Peter Gallagher SJ. Who would want to be an angry, combative person, always falling out with everyone else? We respect commitment to harmony, to keeping the peace, to being at one with other people. We are disappointed by those, perhaps ourselves, who are always at odds with others. Our religion surely supports this respect for harmony. Our saviour, after all, is the...
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The unknown elements of our pilgrimage are as important as the known ones, writes Peter Gallagher SJ. He helps us reflect on the equal parts played by faith and uncertainty in our journey towards the city of God.Abraham set out without knowing where he was going (Hebrews 11.8). The pilgrimage towards God is sure of its ultimate destination but has many uncertainties before that goal is reached. We are returning to God: this we know. How precisely he will draw us to himself, we do not know...
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Eternal life, the rich fool, and vanity: Peter Gallagher SJ guides us through the Scripture readings of this first Sunday of August. The life you have is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3). Jesus is preparing us for eternal life. He is shaping everything we do and everything that happens to us to make us fit for heaven. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3.2). The hidden work of the Lord in us bears fruit in the lives we lead, in...
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David Stewart SJ remembers the celebrations for the 175th anniversary of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network and reflects on the prayer intention for this month of August.On the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, several thousand delegates, National & Regional Directors and friends from every continent gathered at St Peters’ in Vatican City to begin the celebration of the 175th anniversary with a special Papal Audience. In St Paul VI Audience Hall, Fr Fornos SJ began the morning...
Homily of Fr Damian Howard SJ, given at Farm St Church on the Feast of St Ignatius 2019.There’s a set of seventeenth century portraits hanging along a corridor of the Jesuit residence in Oxford; as I walk past them I notice there’s always a little thrill in my heart. They depict a group of thoroughly European Jesuits. But their clothes and facial hair are those of Chinese mandarins. They have gone very native. And the forbidding look on their faces seem to say, “No need to worry; we know...
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Peter Gallagher SJ invites us to reflect on life’s tests. Prayer can be full of scrutiny and challenge, but God's mercy is our survival resource.Do not put us to the test. Humbly we ask God not to test us. We are not strong enough to bear much testing. Yet tests come and, with God’s help, we endure them successfully. Sometimes we survive what tests us by a mixture of God’s mercy and the strength of others.The goodness of some can save us allAbraham negotiating about the fate of the cities of...
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When we open the door to the other, we find fulfilment of our longing to know more of God. Peter Gallagher SJ helps us reflect on the different welcomes of Martha and Mary.We welcome strangers to where we live as hospitably as we can. We treat the visitor as a representative of God. Old stories of humble-looking travellers who turn out to be kings and queens encourage us in such warm welcoming. The truth about the identity of the one who knocks at the gate comes to light eventually. Despite...
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How can the Samaritan teach us about being true to our own nature? Peter Gallagher SJ reflects on charity, our potential, and the abounding grace of God.On my way back I will make good any extra expenses you may incur (Luke 10.35). The good Samaritan’s generous and trusting farewell to the innkeeper mirrors God’s goodness and his confidence in us. God, who has already been very generous to us, acknowledges the difficulties we have in doing what he asks of us. He assures us of his help. His...
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Solidarity, joy, love: there are different ways the marks of Jesus on our lives become visible. Peter Gallagher SJ invites us to reflect on the effect of the divine ink in our relationships.     In our tattooing age we might miss the force of the words in Galatians: the marks on my body are those of Jesus (Galatians 6.17). Decorative inscriptions on bodies are common, but the marks (stigmata is the Greek here) which are ‘of Jesus’ are rarer. The stigmata are the wounds...
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The Pope's prayer intention this month is for the integrity of justice. David Stewart SJ reflects.At the end of June, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network gathered many people associated with this mission in Rome to celebrate 175 years since our first beginning. From those early days, in France, this pontifical service has grown to become the Church’s largest prayer-group, operating in at least 97 countries. Known to millions for many decades as the Apostleship of Prayer, this work underwent a...

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