prayer

Anastasis, Chora Church, Istanbul by Nick Thomson on Flickr
When we were younger we may have occasionally thought that there were things in our life which ought to be changed. Most of us are well intentioned, but we can keep pushing these things off. Yes, I need to do this, but I’m not ready yet. I’ll get around to it sometime.That’s a near-universal sentiment. The tension we experience between our desire to grow-up and our stalling in doing that, reflects a tension that lies at the heart of Jesus’ message, a tension between God...
Christ the King of Life
For many today there is a split between the reality that we experience in daily life and the meaning of life as it is expressed in religious language. It is as though we have been introduced to two very different worlds. One is intangible, invisible, pure spirit; the other is the physical world, our bodily existence in a visible, material world, with which we are continuously interacting. This part is considered of less importance, 'purely natural’ as distinct from the higher world of...
Words of the Lord's Prayer
When we reflect on the Lord's Prayer, we begin by recognizing that we are adopted children, and as such we have a passionate attachment to our home. We want to be where Christ is fully present: this is our home in the deepest sense. We are growing and moving into the prayer of Christ Jesus himself.  We note the seriousness of inviting God to forgive us as we have forgiven. But what does it mean to pray, 'Lead us not into temptation'? Surely God does not make us be tempted?In...
Open Bible
One of the great tragedies and errors of the way people have understood the Bible has been the assumption that what people did in the Old Testament must have been right 'because it's in the Bible'. It has justified violence, enslavement, abuse and suppression of women, murderous prejudice against gay people; it has justified all manner of things we now cannot but as Christians regard as evil.But they are not there in the Bible because God is telling us, 'That's good.'...
Detail from a 19th-century carved mother-of-pearl shell which is used in baptisms.
In the baptised we expect to see both an openness to human need and a corresponding openness to the Holy Spirit, a constant recovering, re-enacting of the Father’s embrace of Jesus in the Holy Spirit. The baptised person is not only in the middle of human suffering and muddle but in the middle of the love and delight of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That surely is one of the extraordinary mysteries of being Christian.We are in the middle of two things that seem quite contradictory: in...
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A 1663 Edition of The Spiritual Exercises, Burns Library Boston College via Flickr
Many people would say that while intellectually they believe that God loves each one of us, personally, eternally, they find it hard to feel this deeply. We may be helped by reflecting on St Ignatius’ conclusion to his Spiritual Exercises, a ‘Contemplation to Attain Divine Love’Firstly, I think about what God has done for me’, and ‘how much he has given me of what he possesses.’Second, says Ignatius, I think about the way God ‘dwells’ in all his...
Pope Francis has asked Catholics across Britain to protect the right to life. In a special message for the annual Day for Life which is marked this Sunday (27 July) in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the Pope encourages young Catholics in particular to “combat the culture of death” by working to ensure legislation that respects life and to strive to bring Christ’s “life-giving balm” to the poor and vulnerable in society.Day for Life is a day dedicated to...
Praying MAGiS particpant via MagisBrasil on Flickr.
‘When we no longer know how to pray, the Spirit in us groans too deep for words, prays through us.’ Saint Paul assures us that there is deep prayer happening inside us beyond our conscious awareness and independent of our deliberate efforts.   It is our innate desire, forever somewhat frustrated, making itself felt through our bodies and souls, silently begging to be fulfilled.All life has powerful inner pressures and is not easily thwarted. It shows in the example of...

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