Praise, Purify, Pilgrimage the 3 states of the Church*.

The beginning of November brings the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. They, of course follow the Celtic festival of Samhain or Hallowe’en.
Celebrating All Saint’s on November 1st was set by Pope Gregory III in the eighth century, with All Souls joining it in the Liturgical Calendar in the eleventh century. When I was younger it really bothered me that All Saints preceded All Souls, it was as though the majority of those who had died were an after thought, an add on. Another reading of this might be that celebrating these feasts this way around, we move from an elite to a realm that reminds those still living, of hope. Hope is one of the foundational pillars of our faith. Celebrating All Souls enables us to aspire to the great rewards spoken of in this Sunday’s Gospel We ‘wait in Joyful Hope’ to the day we too are called home to join those who Glorify God in Heaven.
When we are called Home by the One who calls us Beloved, the Church teaches that we spend time in Purgatory.
I like that.
Karl Rahner once referred to this state as the opportunity ‘never to wave goodbye to the person I might have become’. However hard I try to be Christ like here on earth, I fail. However long I live I will never be in a state of grace that prepares me to meet the One who loves me unconditionally, the One who loves me beyond measure, the One who gets me. I both need and want purgatory. I want to spend time without the stresses of earthly demands to prepare myself to be in the presence of the Presence. After all when we go on a date we spend time getting ready, we talk to our friends, and are filled with excitement and expectation. I view purgatory in the same way.
Yet before we are called Home we journey together, a pilgrim people, working to bring the Kingdom on earth. Espousing Gospel values we have a mission to work with the poor and those on the margins, to comfort those who mourn, to hunger and thirst for what is right, to be bring peace to be meek, to be merciful, to have a clean, uncluttered heart that desires God, desires to be called Home and enjoy the rewards that we are promised.
So this weekend, ‘rejoice and be glad’.
Celtic Cross
Living the Word
  • Where do you recognise yourself in the Beattitudes this week?
  • Where do you notice your blessings this week?
  • How does your life reflect the great rewards we are promised in Heaven?
Living the Word for Children
  • Take time this week finding out about the Saints. Do you have a favourite? Why is this Saint special to you.
Living the Word for Families
  • How might you ‘hunger and thirst for what is right’ this week?
  • In the Creed we profess that we believe in ‘the communion of Saints’. Talk about what does this mean to you. Choose a saint for your family.
  • Tomorrow is the feast of All Souls, If you have any memorial cards of family of friends who have died, (or write their names on pieces of paper and decorate them) put them where you will be reminded to pray for them over the coming week.
Find out more about the communion of Saints http://www.loyolapress.com/assets/fg_comp/pdf_124883.pdf
Prayer
Dear Lord,
We pray for all those who have died,
V. Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.V. May their soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen.

Living the Word
  • Where do you recognise yourself in the Beattitudes this week?
  • Where do you notice your blessings this week?
  • How does your life reflect the great rewards we are promised in Heaven?
Living the Word for Children
  • Choose one of the Beattitudes and think about how you might live it this week?
  • Take time this week finding out about the Saints. Do you have a favourite? Why is this Saint special to you.
Living the Word for Families
  • How might you ‘hunger and thirst for what is right’ this week?
  • In the Creed we profess that we believe in ‘the communion of Saints’. Talk about what does this mean to you. Choose a saint for your family.
  • Tomorrow is the feast of All Souls, If you have any memorial cards of family of friends who have died, (or write their names on pieces of paper and decorate them) put them where you will be reminded to pray for them over the coming week.
Find out more about the communion of Saints http://www.loyolapress.com/assets/fg_comp/pdf_124883.pdf
Prayer
Dear Lord,
We pray for all those who have died,
V. Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.
R. And let perpetual light shine upon them.V. May they rest in peace.
R. Amen.V. May their soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R. Amen

* Lumen Gentium 49, Constitution on the Church Vatican II

Your will…

And again this week the Lord asks us what we would like Him to do for us.

So they called the blind man, saying to him,
“Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.”
He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Bartimaeus

If we are in any doubt that the Lord our God has only our bests interests at heart this should quell them. God does not look down from on high, deciding for us what is best and intervening in our lives. Rather God waits until we come and articulate our needs.

God waits.

God the Awesome, God the Ineffable, God the Immanent, God Who is and was and is to come, God the Uncreated Creator waits for us, waits for our approach, waits for us to realise our dependence. This God we can be sure will listen to us while we pour out our hearts, stand in all vulnerability and call on the Lord to come to our aid. For as we are told in the response to this week’s psalm ‘The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.’

Some friends and I have been praying the Novena to St Jude

Many of us know St Jude as the patron Saint of Hopeless cases.

Yet this novena was called St Jude the Saint who does the impossible and indeed I was invited to pray it for someone whose prayers are for the seemingly impossible. But she is not without hope and neither are our prayers so I rejoiced in this seemingly insignificant change of name.

Today is day 3 (Yes I know today is day 4!) and part of the prayer says

Pray for the impossible if it is God’s will.

Pray that I may have the grace to accept God’s holy will even if it is painful and difficult for me.Pray for the impossible if it is God’s will.

Pray that I may have the grace to accept God’s holy will even if it is painful and difficult for me.

I was struck by the connection of God’s will and Jesus asking us for the last 2 weeks what we want from Him. Of course you and I know that we pray for God’s will not ours, but somehow there was a newness to this knowledge when I was at prayer this morning. There was a deeper awareness that the Lord really wants to grant our prayers for us.

Praying for God’s will, not mine, makes the praying easier. I do not need to feel unworthy if my prayer is answered in a way that I do not want (for all prayer is answered) but I can accept that the lord knows best and only works from love.

I do not believe in an interventionist God. I do believe in a God who only wants the very best for us, that we are called to be the best we can be, and that when we pray to align our will with that of the One who loves us our prayers will be answered. This of course requires us to understand, to see, that we need to trust the Lord our God in all things. To have faith that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves.

Which is perhaps why Jesus answers Bartimaeus’ prayer but not that of James and John!

Living the Word
  • Where will you cry out to the Lord this week?
  • And again Jesus asks ‘What do you want me to do for you?’. How do you answer Him this week?
  • What is the blindness in you that needs the ‘Master’s’ healing touch this week?
Living the Word for Children
  • If Jesus asked you what you would like Him to do for you, what would you say?
  • How will you follow the Lord this week?
Living the Word for Families
  • ‘…your faith has saved you’, how does knowing you are saved change the way you live this week?
Prayer
Master,
Son of David, have pity on us.
Help us to see more clearly and follow you more nearly this week.
Amen

Living the Word
  • Where will you cry out to the Lord this week?
  • And again Jesus asks ‘What do you want me to do for you?’. How do you answer Him this week?
  • What is the blindness in you that needs the ‘Master’s’ healing touch this week?
Living the Word for Children
  • If Jesus asked you what you would like Him to do for you, what would you say?
  • How will you follow the Lord this week?
Living the Word for Families
  • ‘…your faith has saved you’, how does knowing you are saved change the way you live this week?
Prayer
Teacher,
Son of David,
have pity on us.
Help us to see more clearly and follow you more nearly this week.
Amen

Those boys!

James and John remind me of when my children were younger. Often after a play date they would run up to me begging to be heard so that they could ask the question that had popped into their head. This question wasn’t just verbal, it was a question that was totally embodied. They asked while jumping up and down, pulling on my hand almost unable to articulate in their excitement

‘Can Jo stay over mum?’ Oh the pleading in their voice how could I refuse? Of course I had a get out clause – it wasn’t just up to me the other mum had to agree too.

What struck me about James and John was that it seemed their request was not thought through, there was an immediacy to it. As though in their excitement the request could not be contained. I think it came from a need to be near the Lord in Heaven rather than any idea of arrogance.

And like a parent Jesus stops and listens to their request. And again like a parent He doesn’t necessarily give them what they ask for. He knows that it is not possible, it is not in His gift to provide what they want.

The other thing I notice about this Gospel is that Jesus accepts their enquiry. This, like my children asking if a friend can stay, is not one that has been mulled over, thought out, discerned, or talked over with friends. Rather it comes out of deep need, possibly one that they were not even aware of. Of course sometimes when we do allow things to ferment we change our minds miss the opportunity, the lessons that come with immediacy.

We talk ourselves out of taking the risk.

Yet the Lord we know loves us unconditionally, we can do nothing to change that. And in that love all possible risk is driven out. We, like James and John, can ask the Lord anything. In fact He waits for us to share our deepest desires with Him. Knowing that we can be naked before Him does demand courage and trust, almost a childlike trust. It also requires faith, faith that the Lord only ever wants what is best for us. And as in the Gospel story we may not know what it is we ask for, but He still encourages us to ask it anyway.

sleep over

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Living the Word…

What favour would you ask of the Lord this week?

What does it mean for you to share in the Lord’s baptism this week?

Where is the Lord offering you moments to be great this week?

 

Living the Word for Children

How will you serve others this week?

When you enter Church, use the Holy water to bless yourself to remember that through baptism you are a child of God.

 

Living the Word for Families

Spend time this week remembering and talking about the baptisms of your children.

Maybe you could find their baptismal candle and light it for your prayer time or for dinner one evening this week.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord,

Thank you that we are able to ask anything of You and to be honest in our desires. Help us to accept the way in which You answer our prayers.

Strengthen us to work for Your glory and serve You through serving others.

Amen

Creeping back in…

I want to write in a tiny font as I creep back on to my blog and back into the inboxes of those who have subscribed.

Yes I’ve been away, you may have noticed.

After my last post, life became even more hectic than normal and coupled with what I now recognise as a long bout of depression writing was not uppermost in my mind. Or when it was my shadow soon dispelled any ideas that others may want to read any pearls of wisdom. It even went so far as to suggest that there were no pearls anyway so not to bother.

The bad spirit of course has also been hovering so that whilst I can bring my shadow in to the light, I still am plagued with lethargy and self doubt as far as the blog is concerned.

I do still write though and each week I write something called ‘Living the Word’ for my parish newsletter. It’s for adults, children and families. I also write for my first communion group and their parents too. So rather than berating myself with the stick called ‘must try harder’ and the chain of ‘perfect or not at all’, I have decided to share these weekly reflection questions based on the Sunday Gospel.

Of course I hope to write again in the way that I had been doing but until then, please accept this offering.

28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Living the Word

  • Which of the Commandments challenge you the most this week?
  • Where does the Lord look at you with love this week?
  • Where are you being invited to depend on the ‘possibility of God’ this week?
Living the Word for Children
  • Jesus loves you, how will you show that you love Him this week?
  • Imagine you are the Rich young man, what happens after you leave Jesus?
Living the Word for Families
  • How can we use our possessions for good this week?
  • Spend time choosing something that we no longer need or want and take it to our chosen charity shop this week?
Prayer,
Dear Lord,
Thank you for all that we have.
We ask that you bless us with Wisdom to use everything for your good.
Amen
 20150809_092943_HDR (1)
If you find them useful then please let me know, and next time I’ll post them earlier in the week.