Spiritual Journeys

BEGIN THE YEAR with a PRAYER FOR FULL FELLOWSHIPA greater sense of human solidarity has grown among us, as we ended a dreadful year, yet it wasn’t universal. The longed-for advent of viable vaccines was accompanied by rich nations buying up huge stocks, leaving Majority World nations struggling. Some people appeared to relegate the common good to second place if their own comfort was affected by COVID mitigations. Pope Francis has chosen to highlight human fraternity for the first intention of...
The angel went in and said to her, “Rejoice so highly favoured”[1].  The prayer called the Angelus[2] recalls Gabriel’s visit to Our Lady.  The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.  The Angelus is a prayer of thanksgiving for the incarnation. In the morning, at midday and in the evening, that the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us [3] can be gratefully remembered.  To repeat the Angelus at various times during the day is an effort...
He not only declared but he declared quite openly [1]. John the Baptist responds candidly to those who ask him: who are you? [2]   He knows who he is and he understands the work that he is doing. He came as a witness, as a witness to speak for the light, so that everyone might believe through him [3].   John became a disciple while still in his mother’s womb [4].  As an adult, he thought of himself as a voice that cries in the wilderness: make a straight way for...
All the people of Jerusalem made their way to him [1].   The holy city emptied out as the inhabitants sought John the Baptist in the wilderness.  Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate [2].     Such was the eloquence and force with which John appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins [3] that people abandoned the city to hear him.   The desert is a propitious place to listen seriously to...
As this awful year has unfolded and as the pandemic not only deepened, but a second wave surged across many lands, fears began to grow about our Advent and our Christmas – would we be able to celebrate together or even be together? We have been praying; our Advent prayer has been very intense, with the Pope. We cared for each other and we gave thanks for our scientists & health-care professionals, all working so hard for others, for the common good. The Pope’s Intention for December,...
‘Even now as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven.’[1]  How do we learn to love the things of heaven?  We do so by practicing faith, hope and charity.  Our faith is in God.  We hope to be with him forever. His help sustains us.  I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received [2]. At his command, we love him and our brothers and sisters.   He sent his Son to us.  The Son has promised to return....
‘The banners of the king go ahead of us, the mystery of the cross shines out.’[1]The king is Jesus Christ.  His banners, which we follow, bear his cross.  Our life can be understood as a procession led by the cross, which is always in sight. The king directs his followers through their history. He guides me along the right path [2].  We do not always manage to keep our attention on him.  However, his cross is inescapable.  The flags of the king, waving in front of us,...
And that one talent which is death to hide/Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent/ To serve therewith my Maker, and present/ My true account, lest He returning chide [1]. What is the one talent?  The blind poet Milton understands ‘the one talent which is death to hide’ to be his ability to look at the wonders God has made and to give due appreciation and glory for them.   Seeing, the thing he cannot do, is, he judges, indispensable for his salvation.  He...
We shall stay with the Lord forever [1].All through our life of discipleship doors open for us [2].  We go willingly in to where Christ is. His door is open all the time. The light of the world, shining, for us, the lamp of his truth, Jesus opens us to faith, draws us into hope and makes space for us to love charitably.  We go confidently where our saviour opens the way. He ushers us through to where we most desire to be.  His welcome as we begin each new phase of our service of...
This month, so many of us continue our fervent prayer for all of humanity, as the whole world continues to suffer from the pandemic, yet we keep in our prayer another concern that will affect us all, now and in the generations that follow us. Pope Francis asks us to pray with him “that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind”.When we respond to the Pope’s monthly pleas to pray with him about a specific intention, we commit ourselves to praying with him...

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