Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. Be happy now, and if you show through your actions that you love others – including those who are poorer than you – you’ll give them happiness, too. It doesn’t take much; it can be just giving a smile. The world would be a much better place if everyone smiled more. So smile, be cheerful, and be joyous that God loves you.
Every one of us is written in the heart of God from all eternity, born into the stars, born, you might say, into the galaxies, born on this earth in small forms, developing and coming to explicit form in our lives, given a name. It’s a fantastic mystery of love.
Don’t let yourself forget that God’s grace rewards not only those who never slip, but also those who bend and fall. So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts. It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them. Singing summons the Holy Spirit. Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord. Don’t stop singing.
Hildegard of Bingen
Children cannot become mature human beings by themselves. They experience our love and warmth as a cocoon that protects them from harm. They need us to set appropriate boundaries and guidelines, yet give them as much freedom to explore as they can handle. They need us to be both strong and compassionate, people who understand the importance of living a life that is good and beautiful and true. And they need our faith in their ability to find their own way in life, so they can fulfill their own unique purpose. In short, they need us to strive to become full human beings, so we can help them do the same.
There is an illuminating, often painful, moment in an immigrant’s story: the dawning of a feeling of homelessness combined with a constant, unshakable yearning for home. Never give up on that desire for a home; that desire fuels life itself. Our task is always to try to build a home – a place of peace, justice, and community – and to extend the greatest possible compassion to those who cross borders in search of one.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
There is no such thing as the right place, the right job, the right calling or ministry. I can be happy or unhappy in all situations. I am sure of it, because I have been. I have felt distraught and joyful in situations of abundance as well as poverty, in situations of popularity and anonymity, in situations of success and failure. The difference was never based on the situation itself, but always on my state of mind and heart. When I knew I was walking with God, I always felt happy and at peace. When I was entangled in my own complaints and emotional needs, I always felt restless and divided.
Letting Go of ThingsDo not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. —Matthew 6:19–21
Minister Adele Ahlberg Calhoun believes that by simplifying our lives, we bring ourselves into greater alignment with God’s will.
Jesus wants us to know that we don’t need all the things or experiences we think we do. What we really need is to keep first things first—Jesus and his kingdom. Life becomes much more simple when one thing matters most. . . .
Simplicity creates margins and spaces and openness in our lives. It honors the resources of our small planet. It offers us the leisure of tasting the present moment. Simplicity asks us to let go of the tangle of wants so we can receive the simple gifts of life that cannot be taken away. Sleeping, eating, walking, giving and receiving love. . . . Simplicity invites us into these daily pleasures that can open us to God, who is present in them all.
Aging has always been about simplifying and letting go. Sooner or later we realize that we can’t manage all the stuff and activity anymore. We have to let go. The practice of letting go and embracing simplicity is one way we prepare ourselves for what is to come. One day we all will have to let go of everything—even our own breath. It will be a day of utter simplicity—a day when the importance of stuff fades. Learning to live simply prepares us for our last breath while cultivating in us the freedom to truly live here and now.
Here are some of the practices for simplifying Calhoun suggests:
- Uncomplicate your life by choosing a few areas in which you wish to practice “letting go.” Clean out the garage, basement, closet or attic. Go on a simple vacation. Eat more simply. . . .
- Intentionally limit your choices. Do you need six different kinds of breakfast cereal, hundreds of TV channels or four tennis rackets? What is it like to limit your choices? Does it feel free, or do want and envy surface? Talk to God about this.
- If someone admires something of yours, give it away. Find out just how attached you are to your things. . . .
- Make a catalog of all the gadgets you have in your home, from the dishwasher to the lawnmower. Which gadgets have made you freer? Which could you share? Which could you get rid of and not really miss?
- Where have you complicated your life with God? Consider what actually brings you into the presence of Christ. Spend time there.
Today’s Gospel (Luke 5:1-11) gives us the story of the miraculous draught of fishes. In many ways, the whole of the spiritual life can be read off of this piece.
Without being invited, Jesus simply gets into the fisherman’s boat. This is to insinuate himself in the most direct way into Simon’s life. And without further ado, he begins to give orders, first asking Simon to put out from the shore and then to go out into the deep. This represents the invasion of grace. The single most important decision that you will ever make is this: Will you cooperate with Jesus once he decides to get into your boat?
We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots, and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering, and shame. In the same way all disrespect for life, all hardheartedness, all indifference, and all contempt is nothing else than killing. With just a little witty skepticism we can kill a good deal of the future in a young person. Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet. Hermann Hesse
To be loved by Jesus enlarges our heart capacity. To be loved by the Christ enlarges our mental capacity. We need both a Jesus and a Christ, in my opinion, to get the full picture. A truly transformative God—for both the individual and history—needs to be experienced as both personal and universal. Nothing less will fully work.
When Christ calls himself the “Light of the World” (John 8:12), he is not telling us to look just at him, but to look out at life with his all-merciful eyes. We see him so we can see like him, and with the same infinite compassion.
8/8/2021 Our God who shows that he is totally love and who wants us in relation to him, to eat and drink him in, is the God who wants us to be like him. As he is food and drink for the world, so we must be food and drink for the world. As he gave himself away utterly, so we must give ourselves away utterly, without clinging to the goods, honours, or values of the world—all those things that aggrandise the ego.
The personal God, the incarnate God, the God of the gift. How compelling. How deeply challenging
6/8/2021 Prayer is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. It is much more like practicing heaven now by leaping into communion with what is right in front of us.
3/8/2021 I don’t see how you could get through what I’ve had to deal with without some kind of faith – without turning to Jesus and relying on him to give you peace, or the courage to get up and go through another day. Plus, I think chronic pain makes you more aware of what is important, and less easily bothered by the petty stuff of life. And that, I think, is a blessing. Because I don’t think I’d naturally be like that.
I’ve never said, “Thank you, God, for sending me this.” But I do find comfort in knowing that Jesus knows what suffering is.
1/8/2021 What God has wanted from the beginning is to sit down with his creatures in a fellowship banquet, sharing life and laughter, giving and receiving and giving back again. This is the loop of grace. The more we receive the divine life, the more we should give it away and thereby get more of it.
31/7/2021 The prophet Joel once promised: “Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men will have visions” (3:1). The future of the world depends on this covenant between young and old. Who, if not the young, can take the dreams of the elderly and make them come true? Yet for this to happen, it is necessary that we continue to dream. Our dreams of justice, of peace, of solidarity, can make it possible for our young people to have new visions; in this way, together, we can build the future. Pope Francis
21/7/2021 In Haiti, we have a concept called konbit: a gathering with a shared goal. Members of a community come together to accomplish something that benefits the entire community, or a single person in need. Konbits initially began in agriculture. “Today I work your field, tomorrow you work mine,” the Haitian novelist Jacques Roumain wrote of konbits. . . . How do we define community in a time of crisis, which is in many ways what community is for? We don’t need our neighbours as much when we are healthy and wealthy and can pay for all the assistance we require. Edwidge Danticat
20/7/2021 Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is not about preserving the status quo! It’s about living here on earth as if the Reign of God has already begun (see Luke 17:21). In this Reign, the Sermon tells us, the poor are blessed, the hungry are filled, the grieving are filled with joy, and enemies are loved.
Source: Vatican News
In his prayer intention for the month of August, Pope Francis invites everyone to work for a transformation of the Church – a work that begins with “a reform of ourselves” through an experience of prayer, charity and service, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
The full text of Pope Francis’ prayer video follows.
The specific vocation of the Church is evangelization, which isn’t proselytism, no. Its vocation is evangelization; even more, the Church’s identity is evangelization.
We can only renew the Church by discerning God’s will in our daily life and embarking on a transformation guided by the Holy Spirit. Our own reform as persons is that transformation. Allowing the Holy Spirit, the gift of God in our hearts, remind us what Jesus taught and help us put it into practice.
Let us begin reforming the Church with a reform of ourselves, without prefabricated ideas, without ideological prejudices, without rigidity, but rather by moving forward based on spiritual experience -an experience of prayer, an experience of charity, an experience of service.
I dream of an even more missionary option: one that goes out to meet others without proselytism and that transforms all its structures for the evangelization of today’s world.
Let us remember that the Church always has difficulties, always is in crisis, because she’s alive. Living things go through crises. Only the dead don’t have crises.
Let us pray for the Church, that she may receive from the Holy Spirit the grace and strength to reform herself in the light of the Gospel.
Watch the Prayer Video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROhU2POS_o8
Meeting the Lord in Imaginative Prayer Richard Rohr
We often teach the transforming effects of silence and unknowing. It has been my personal practice for years. At the same time, one of the great gifts of Jesuit spirituality is to teach us how to draw closer to God through images, words, verbal prayer, our imaginations, and the Bible itself. Here is how writer and retreat leader Margaret Silf invites people into the riches of Ignatian contemplation:
The call to friendship with God invites us to allow our lives, with everything we most truly are, to become more closely linked to the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord and to everything he truly is. . . . One way to allow this closer linking to happen is to enter imaginatively into scenes from the earthly life of Jesus, in what is called imaginative meditation [or contemplation].
Choose a passage that seems to speak to you in some way—a favorite Gospel scene perhaps, or one of the healing miracles. If you don’t know which passage to choose, just rest, relax, and ask God to guide you; then wait to see whether any particular scene or event comes to mind. . . .
When you have chosen a passage, read it several times until it is familiar and you feel at home with it.
Now imagine that the event is happening here and now and that you are an active participant in it. Don’t worry if you don’t find it easy to imagine it vividly. . . . And don’t worry about getting the facts right. You may well find that your scene doesn’t take place in first century Palestine, but in Chicago rush-hour traffic, or that the desert tracts of the Good Samaritan story turn into the sidewalks in your neighborhood.
Ask God for what you desire—perhaps to meet God more closely or to feel God’s touch upon your life.
Fill out the scene as much as you can by, for example, becoming aware of who is there, the surroundings, the sights, the smells, the tastes, the weather, and the feel of the place (peaceful or threatening). What role do you find yourself taking in the scene—for example, are you one of the disciples, a bystander, or the person being healed? Listen inwardly to what God is showing you through your role in the scene. . . .
Talk with the characters in the scene, especially to Jesus. Speak from your heart simply and honestly. Tell him what you fear, what you hope for, what troubles you. . . . Don’t worry if your attention wanders. If you realize that this is happening, just bring yourself gently back to the scene for as long as you feel drawn to stay there.
There are two absolute rules:
Never moralize or judge yourself.
Always respond from your heart and not from your head. . . .
Our purpose in prayer is not to defend or condemn ourselves or to come up with any kind of analysis or sermon, but simply to respond, from our inmost depths, to what God is sharing with us of God’s own self
Meditation – a simple guide
There is no single way to meditate. There are, however, certain acts and attitudes inherently endowed with the capacity to awaken sustained states of meditative awareness. . . .
With respect to the body: Sit still. Sit straight. Place your hands in a comfortable or meaningful position in your lap. Close your eyes or lower them toward the ground. Breathe slowly and naturally. With respect to your mind, be present, open, and awake, neither clinging to nor rejecting anything. And with respect to attitude, maintain nonjudgmental compassion toward yourself as you discover yourself clinging to and rejecting everything, and nonjudgmental compassion toward others. . . .
Keep in mind that these guidelines are but suggestions for you to explore as part of your ongoing process of finding the ways to meditate that are most natural and effective for you. What matters is not which method of meditation you use, but the self-transforming process by which meditation leads you into more . . . openness to God. . . .
Go to your place of meditation. . . . You might say a brief and simple prayer expressing your gratitude to God for having been led to the path of meditation and asking for the wisdom, courage, and strength to be faithful to it. . . .
[Then] let go of all that is preoccupying you at the moment. Choose to be present in the immediacy of the present moment by simply relaxing into being right where you are, just as you are. Settle into the intimate, felt sense of your bodily stillness. Settle into being aware of your breathing and whatever degree of fatigue or wakefulness you may be feeling in your body at the moment. Be aware of whatever sadness, inner peace, or other emotion may be present. Be aware of the light and the temperature in the room where you are sitting. In short, simply be present, just as you are, in the moment, just as it is. Cling to nothing. Reject nothing. Rest in this moment. . . . Relax. Give yourself a break. Simply sit in a “Here I am, Lord” stance. . . . Know and trust that God is already perfectly present in your simply being alive and real in the present moment just as it is. . . .
Be humbled and grateful in knowing that you are learning to awaken to your true nature in learning to be like God. . . . Jesus said, “Judge not and you shall not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). Sitting in meditation, we put this teaching of Christ into practice in remaining present, open, and awake to ourselves just as we are, without judging, without evaluating, without clinging to or rejecting the way we simply are.James Finley, Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence
The Quarantine Quatrains click to reveal
Life in lockdown
As most of the UK is now in a renewed lockdown, you may find this prayer exercise helpful.
This is a prayer to help me reflect on how I’m living in lock-down and how I might live more fully for the remainder of this time. To do this, I imagine myself with Jesus, looking back over lock-down so far. Then, after looking back, Jesus and I talk about the time of lock-down yet to be lived. Together, we imagine this time so that I might live it to the full and with a deep trust in God’s plans for a future full of hope for me.
The Spirituality Committee of the Bishops’ Conference has been reflecting on how best to support and sustain a person’s prayer life at this challenging time – particularly those who may not have easy access to the internet or streaming services. The Committee has looked to the psalms as the inspiration for its new resource.
Responding to the Psalms is a simple initiative that takes a Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm – an integral part of the Liturgy of the Word – and invites and encourages further reflection on each verse.
Short questions are provided to encourage deeper thought on the verse for a few days or so before the focus moves on to the psalm’s next verse. Once each verse has been considered, we arrive at the next Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm.
The aim is that this will sustain people throughout the week.
Responding to the Psalms is intended to be used by individuals and small groups. Click below for the psalms and questions.
Information about what is available to support your faith and prayer life around the Diocese
2/6/2020 Blessings – a meditative few moments
29/5/2020 Vigil prayer
The Ignatian Family in a Worldwide Prayer Vigil
On Sunday 31st of May the universal Church will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit not only transforms the lives of the disciples into apostles, it brings the Church to birth and sends it out to all nations, overcoming divisions of language, race, class. The Spirit gathers us, whatever our state or condition, into the new community of Christ. Our lives and our world are restored and renewed.
In these past months we all have experienced the devastation of COVID-19. It has shown how vulnerable we are, how precarious our systems and limited our resources. We have also seen the great generosity and courage that can fill the human heart as so many risk their own life care and save the lives of others. Even in the small acts of kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness we glimpse something greater than we had thought possible. These moments are the ‘epiphanies of the Spirit’; the candles of love that light up the darkness and guide us into hope.
What better way to seek the gift and power of the Holy Spirit than as a world-wide community of prayer? Click button below for details of how to access.
29/5/2020 Preparing for Pentecost
‘Rise Within Us – The Coming Of The Spirit’ is an uplifting song for Pentecost performed by the Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir. It’s a ‘Sung Scripture’, which uses a well-known song as a basis, and ad lib singing of the relevant scripture in the gaps.
Performers are being creative in lockdown, as we’ve seen over the past eight weeks, and this high quality arrangement was put together using material from 25 performers singing separately into smartphones at home.
The song is dedicated to the prisoners and staff at HMP Wandsworth.
‘Rise Within Us’ lyrics and music by Aaron Lindsay and Israel Houghton, from 2004 live album “Live From Another Level”, Israel & New Breed; additional lyrics by Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir, based on Acts 2, sung ad lib.
As the important Solemnity of Pentecost approaches, the Cardinal assures you that he holds you in his prayer. He has sent us a message. In it, he reflects on the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, particularly in the context of the circumstances in which we are living at the moment.
The video is available online at https://vimeo.com/421046273
Thy Kingdom Come 2020 – Ascension to Pentecost
“God is not in lockdown” said Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby at the live launch of Thy Kingdom Come 2020 celebrated in prayer with Archbishop Sentamu and Cardinal Vincent this morning. The video is available to view athttps://tkc.new/livelink.
Cardinal Vincent spoke of the richness of these days; a time of waiting, trusting and not-knowing that resonates with the experience of many people in these strange and difficult times. He stressed the importance of the gifts of gratitude, joy and service that hold Christians of all denominations together and prayed for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to see the gifts we are given and to use them in the field of our world.
The Archbishops spoke of the importance of praying together, as families, as church communities and as inter-denominational communities. There are many excellent resources available at www.thykingdomcome.global
In Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire the Thy Kingdom Come Ecumenical Planning Group has put together a programme starting with a launch event this evening and including daily prayers from Regional Church Leaders, including our own Bishop Paul on Wednesday. There are family prayers and resources and daily evening reflections. There will be a Beacon celebration posted on Pentecost Sunday. A full programme, with YouTube links, is available at www.stalbans.anglican.org/faith/thy-kingdom-come/
‘The Prayer and Care: ideas for families’ can be found atwww.stalbans.anglican.org/wp-content/uploads/Prayer_and_Care_Family_TKC2020.pdf
Jesuit prayer support for Ascension and Pentecost
We keep in prayer all those working to fight the pandemic and all those grieving the loss of loved ones. We also pray for the families you serve, as they learn new ways of living as the domestic church.
Ascension and Pentecost
Ascension and Pentecost are the two great feasts that signal the end of the Easter season. Celebrate using these ideas from Loyola Press.
Fr Stephen Wang is live streaming each day at the ‘Pause for Faith’ YouTube channel, where you can
also see a library of recent videos. It’s an informal look at different aspects of our Catholic faith.
Themes include how to pray, the lives of the saints, faith formation, coping with lockdown, and a
new series of talks about ‘What Christians believe in 100 objects’. Please share the link below with
anyone who might be looking for some inspiration and spiritual support during the lockdown.
YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/c/PauseforFaith
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @pauseforfaith
Please include these prayer intentions from the Churches together in Hitchin in your prayers at the appropriate times.
A letter sent to cloistered nuns which as Cardinal Vincent says ‘…. is reflective, sensitive, with a true ‘interiority’ in its themes. I found that it touched me quite deeply. It is simply an offering at a difficult time.’
Emmaus Road reflection by Reverend Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale
A reflection with art. Click below
Pray as You Stay https://pray-as-you-go.org/
Mental Health audio prayer guides: https://pray-as-you-go.org/retreat/mental-health-awareness
Pray As You Stay mini series: https://pray-as-you-go.org/retreat/pray-as-you-stay
Kids Examen during lockdown: https://pray-as-you-go.org/player/prayer%20tools/aspecialexamenforchildren
Family Examen during lockdown: https://pray-as-you-go.org/player/prayer%20tools/anexamenforthefamily
PAYG Rosary Reflections: https://pray-as-you-go.org/article/rosary-reflections
Extract from message from Cardinal Vincent to the Priests of the Diocese
With these few words I really want to thank you all for the efforts of the last two weeks. I thank all of you who have been able to live stream the regular celebration of Mass and the Holy Week ceremonies. There is widespread feedback of how much this is appreciated and how extensively taken up. Many have expressed gratitude for the consolation and encouragement they have received and how this is contributing not only to a continuing practice of the faith but also a deepening of some of its important aspects. Participation figures from churchservices.tv are remarkable! Thank you all very much!
Most importantly, I wish to thank every one of you who do not have the facility to live stream and the virtual congregation that it brings, yet remain quietly faithful to the daily celebration of Mass on your own, especially in an empty church. This is an act of our ministry and of our interior dedication which can be difficult to maintain. Yet it is of immense value. In these circumstances we miss the visible presence of the faithful and the encouragement and, often, the inspiration they give us. We know, as they do, the infinite value of the Mass itself. We cling to the knowledge that at every Mass the angels and saints are with us. By celebrating Mass we make real the great prayer of Jesus and we become part of his constant pleading for the world before the Father. How much we need that pray right now! So I thank you for your fidelity and offer you every encouragement in sustaining this life-giving daily offering.
Also the Cardinal wanted us to know about an on-line retreat which begins tomorrow evening.
Prayer materials for Holy week
From the Jesuits in Britain
Palm Sunday Palm Sunday Yr A r1
Holy Week prayer with the 5 senses Holy Week 2020 Praying with our 5 senses
From Ten:Ten for children on Thursday – Mass of the Last supper gospel click below picture
Worshipping with the Communion of Saints As we try to make our way through this worldwide pandemic, we’re learning new ways of being together while trying to stay physically apart. This situation affects all aspects of our lives, including the way we worship. As we approach the days of Easter Triduum,
Led by LGBT+Catholics Westminster by Zoom on Good Friday
Many Catholic newspapers are now available on line. Click here for details: http://www.churchpaper.co.uk/
Accessing live stream Masses
Resources to support your prayer life at this time
From St Mark’s church – ideas for craft activities for Easter
Ten Ten has decided to make freely available our Collective Worship resources to all schools and their families. We have created a new series of resources called Prayers for Home, which include:
Sunday Liturgy for Families
We will continue to create original resources for families throughout the Easter holidays and beyond during this uncertain time for teachers, children and their families. Click below the picture for the Last Supper.
From the Diocese
CAFOD have downloadable children’s liturgy resources available for most Sundays throughout the year.
CAFOD are hosting a live online children’s liturgy for families, on Sundays at 10am.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
There are websites to support you in prayer. The Jesuit website Pray As You Go is wonderfulhttps://pray-as-you-go.org/Sacred Space, the website of the Irish Jesuits is also beautiful and offers currently a Lent retreat.
Prayers and positive readings
This beautiful prayer was written by an Italian priest who is self-isolating at the moment and very sadly lost his own brother a few days ago to Covid-19…
I’m staying at home, Lord!
I’m staying at home, Lord! And today, I realise, you taught me this, remaining obedient to the Father, for thirty years in the house of Nazareth, waiting for the great mission.
I stay at home, Lord, and in Joseph’s studio, your keeper and mine, I learn to work, to obey, to round the corners of my life and prepare you a work of art.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And I know that I am not alone because Mary, like any mother, is in the next room, doing chores and preparing lunch for all of us, God’s family.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And I do it responsibly for my own good, for the health of my city, for my loved ones, and for the good of my brother, whom you have put beside me, asking me to take care of him in the garden of life.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the silence of Nazareth, I pledge to pray, to read, study, meditate, be useful for small jobs, in order to make our home more beautiful and more welcoming.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the morning, I thank you for the new day you give me, trying not to spoil it and welcome it with wonder, as a gift and an Easter surprise.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And at noon I will receive the greeting of the angel, I will make myself useful for love, in communion with you who have made you flesh to live among us; and, tired of the journey, thirsty, I will meet you at Jacob’s well, and thirsty for love on the Cross.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And if the evening takes me melancholy, I will invoke you like the disciples of Emmaus: stay with us, the evening has arrived and the sun sets.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And in the night, in communion of prayer with the many sick, the lonely and all the caregivers, I will wait for the dawn to sing your mercy again and tell everyone that, in the storms, you have been my refuge.
I’m staying at home, Lord! And I don’t feel alone and abandoned, because you told me: I’m with you every day. yes, and especially in these days of confusion, O Lord, in which, if my presence is not necessary, I will reach everyone, only with the wings of prayer.
Churches Together in England have released the following statement
As our nation faces the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, Churches Together in England (CTE) is encouraging Christians across our nations to continue uniting in prayer, praying #PrayersOfHope in their homes at 7.00 pm each Sunday evening.
Following the overwhelming response which the National Call to Prayer and Action received on Mothering Sunday, CTE has prepared a candle poster for those who would like to place a permanent symbol in their front windows of Christ’s light shining in the darkness. Visit www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope
This poster has been made available due to our awareness of the potential fire risk posed by lighting live candles, particularly on windowsills. We are keen to avoid adding any pressure to our emergency service personnel, particularly at this difficult time.
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1:5
Please join us prayer at this challenging time.
26/3/2020 From Jonathan Bryan author of EYE CAN WRITE
Finding words to describe the condition that has had the most impact on my life is difficult, so when CP Teens asked me to be one of their faces for cerebral palsy month I decided to portray cerebral palsy as a monster.
At the moment we are facing a monster as a nation with this insidious virus and I am aware that for those already living with the occupying forces of cerebral palsy our defences are weakened to further attacks. I am praying for all my friends.
But I am also praying for everyone who is gripped by fear, because fear is far more dangerous. Fear doesn’t just threaten our physical health, it monopolizes our mental health and paths the way to selfishness. Perfect love drives out fear. So every day I pray to Love Himself and am filled with gratitude – there is so much to be thankful for. Every day I will post on Twitter what I am thankful for.
25/3/2020 Thank you to Caroline for sharing this prayer with us
A prayer from Cheryl, our parish administrator’s granddaughter.
Click here for Prayer when confined to your home
Lockdown by Richard Hendrick (Brother Richard), a Capuchin Franciscan priest-friar in Ireland
Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
–Lynn Ungar 11/3/20