Loving Service

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Moonless

Moonless Darkness Stands Between

But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him Who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou art Holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always,
Now begin, on Christmas day.

-Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

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A Prayer Tree ~ The Way of Love

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This years prayer tree ~

which is a beautiful way of inviting All to walk closer into the arms of our loving God ~ is entitled ~ The Way of Love.

It will bless the Christmas tree festival at All Saints Church ~ before being moved to our local Catholic Church.  This is it before it is adorned with the beautiful ballet-pink hearts of prayer ~ offering up our petitions to Our Heavenly Father. †

In Loving memory of Maria Roper

. . .  And this is it after the peoples beautiful sacred prayers have adorned it ~ redressed back in the Catholic Church for Chris†mas.

The sacred little hearts of prayer will all be offered up at Midnight Mass.

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Cardinal Donald Weurl recently said on his blog ~ ‘Rather than a hotel for the perfect, the Church has been rightly and strikingly described as a hospital for the spiritually wounded.”

Indeed I agree ~ the spiritually wounded are indeed living out their lives and ministering from within that very same ‘private hospital’ and not their ‘hotel of perfection’ as so often portrayed.

‘That hospital’ needs all our Love ~ prayer ~ healing ~ & mercy ~ as so beautifully shown us by the Grace of our Father.

However I would go even further in his reflection ~ if we presume that Cardinal Weurl is actually not referring to those on the inside but those on the outside (as he intended) ~ then I would seriously ask the question ~ Spiritually wounded by who?

In my experience I could rightly and strikingly describe that “who” of the church ~ on occasions ~ as more like a Euthanasia Clinic ~ where some ‘medics’ have taken the law into their own hands, beyond the ‘patients’ dignity ~ or legal, lawful, and sound consent ~ and administered euthanasia.

Advocates of foetal pro-life ~ and yet at other times crucifiers ~ in the name and the hope of resurrection.

‘Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person.’
Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, 1995
‘The Roman Catholic church regards euthanasia as morally wrong. It has always taught the absolute and unchanging value of the commandment “You shall not kill”.

The church has said that:

nothing and no one can in any way permit the killing of an innocent human being, whether a foetus or an embryo, an infant or an adult, an old person, or one suffering from an incurable disease, or a person who is dying.
Pope John Paul II has spoken out against what he calls a ‘culture of death’ in modern society, and said that human beings should always prefer the way of life to the way of death.

The church regards any law permitting euthanasia as an intrinsically unjust law.’

The way of Life is His Way  . . .

. . . The Way of Love

 

 

 

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From Certainty to Faith

Last week I read  JOAN CHITTISTERHER JOURNEY FROM CERTAINTY TO FAITH by Tom Roberts.  It came in the post as a complete surprise ~ I had pre-ordered it and forgotten.  It came at a time when I couldn’t get my head around reading anything . . . and so I opened the first page . . . and I couldn’t put it down.  

I took to my highlighter and highlighted a few sentences in the early chapters ~ which jumped off the page and hooked me . . . and by the end of the book there were frequent yellow neon marks highlighting all that touched me ~ whether in pain, or in wonder.

The sentences and sound bites moved me ~ sometimes out of context ~ and sometimes in So I thought it best to list the page numbers, alongside each excerpt.  This is not a blog post as such ~ this is a list of the excerpts that spoke to me and held me painfully and inspiringly close . . . at a time when all I wanted to do was fall away.

So in my falling I leave you with these . . . .

Pg 4 – Her conviction made her at times a threatening presence to the men who ruled the Catholic Community.

Pg 5 – I learned that fear of wrath did not seduce me to love.  I learned that God the distant doer of unpredictable and arbitrary magic failed to engage my soul, let alone enlighten it.

Pg 114 – I, for one wanted to die following Jesus the contemplative – the contemplative Jesus – from Galilee to Jerusalem doing good: healing sick, raising the dead, contending with the legalists’ interpretation of the Law, empowering women as He did the Samaritan woman to ‘go into the town and tell them who and what you have seen’

Pg 114 – What she produced, however, would have lacked depth and authenticity had it not been written out of lived experience.

Pg 117 –

  1.  Make time every day for quiet/solitude.
  2. Keep halls quiet so people can find real rest and sanctuary in their rooms.  Create a reflective atmosphere.
  3. Read, especially in areas important to the spiritual life, areas you don’t understand or have questions about.
  4. Pray reflectively; go into the psalms and readings of the day.
  5. Share insights/reflections with others

Pg 117 – To be closed to growth, to new zeal, to love, is to die long before our time.

Pg 117 – Try praying with a “blank mind” in an attitude of waiting to “see what comes … knowing that whatever it is, it probably will not look like anything you were hoping to get. The baby did not look like God.  The manger did not look like the kingdom.  The place did not look promising, but in those things lay our salvation.”

Pg  134 – “Monasticism is the most piercing expression of the search for truth, the conscious investigation of the marrow of what it means to be fully human.  The monastic gives life over to the search for the spirit in life that makes matter holy and the spiritual attainable.  Monasticism is about more than living every day well. It is an exercise in living every day on a plane above itself, of seeing in the obvious more than the obvious, of finding even in the mundane the creative energy that drives creation to heights beyond itself.

Pg 135 – How to make sense of all that had occurred in the previous years . . . an emphasis on the contemplative life and a monasticism that was not dependent on a routine built around a single ministry.

Pg 138 – “She’s really with you in the now . . . . . . but it’s her zeal for God that embraces you, and you catch fire.  I mean don’t you see that?  I mean, she loves God primarily and she loves everybody else she comes in contact with.  I don’t know how to describe zeal for God except I know it.  You can experience it and hear it in her words, but you also see it in her eyes and experience it in her presence.”

Pg 140 – Contemplation “is taking a long loving look at the real.”

Pg 149 – She calls on women in the church to lift their “voices and pens against any church decision, any church publication, any churchman who does not recognise the equal human dignity, equal personal worth, equal potential for spiritual and intellectual growth of women and men”

Pg 162 – These men are not going to do this.  They have no right.

Pg 163 – The plaint of a woman who would not be ordered to be silent.  “this was not a woman’s issue to me.  This was a justice issue that happened to be rooted in the women’s question.  It was a matter of ‘Who do you think you are that you can tell me what to think, tell me to whom I may speak, tell me where I can or cannot go?

Pg 163 – but I refuse to be complicit in the silence.  I will scream and I will tell, and I am not going to give into this kind of intimidation and ruthless, brutal use of power simply because I am a woman without power.  It was that simple.  That’s the whole story.  It’s right there.

Pg 165 – “all well and good for you, your Eminence, but we don’t ever get invited in here where you decide our lives.  We’re invisible.  Yes, I am right, we are right, you know we’re right.  But I will never be quiet.  I will not keep that law of silence.  That law is sinful.  That law covers the sins against half the church, and I will never agree that it’s right for the church”

Pg 169 – So I said it’s time to stand straight and be healed.

Pg 171 – The church may assert in changlessness, she said, but it is certainly changing.

Pg 171 – Prisca, and Lydia, and Thecla, and Phoebe and hundreds of women like them, opened house churches, walked as disciples of paul, ‘constrained him,’ the scripture says, to serve a given reason, instructed people in the faith and ministered to the fledgling Christian communities with no apology, no argument, no tricky theological shell game about whether they were ministering ‘in persona Christi’ or ‘in nomine Christi.”

Pg 171 – They need the sacred, not the sexist.  The people need more prophets, not more priests.  They need discipleship, not canonical decrees.

Pg 170 – the acceptance of women-and the supplanting of law with love,

Pg 171 “to follow Jesus . . . is to follow the one who turns the world upside down, even the religious world.

Pg 171 – touching lepers, raising donkeys from ditches on Sabbath days, questioning the unquestionable and-consorting with women!

Pg 171 – “The new fact of life is that discipleship to women and the discipleship of women is key to the discipleship of the rest of the church.”  Chittister spoke of the exclusion of women and emphasized those moments in the life of Jesus when he overturned conventions and met and ate with those whom religious authorities at the time considered outcasts.  Her words had behind them the weight of personal experience.

Pg 172 – What kind of God it is that would give a woman a mind, a soul, a baptism, and a call and then forbid her to answer it when a sacramental church is in danger of losing the sacraments.

Pg 172 – The obligation, she says, is to establish such an overwhelming case for the injustice of the exclusion of women that someday the hierarchical church will have to listen.

Pg 176 – Three percent of the church is clerical.  Ninety-seven percent of the church is the heart of the church.  Listen to them.  Take their data.  Talk in the parishes.  See how people feel.  The infallibility doctrine says that all the pope can do is affirm the infallibility of what the church already knows.  Now how do we know what the church already knows? We have to ask.  They’ve asked nobody.

Pg 177 – should use her influence for the good of the church

Chittister never received any personal communication from the Vatican.  She wasn’t disciplined.  She was not restricted in any way in her writing or her speaking.

Pg 187 – You are more than this community.  She commissioned her to “be free” to speak and to write.  “Please, in our name, take us wherever you go.  Be free.”

“I eyed the copse of larch behind us and the rolling fields of wild-flowers along the horizon. There has to be a source for all this, I had long ago decided.”

Pg 195 – “I heard that I could have the Eucharist without having it but had to go to it,”

Pg 195 – Religions, she writes, are intended to lead us all to the divine and along the way they “provide a kind of landmark . . . We can see the cross, or the star, or the lotus, or the half moon before us, calling us on.  Or, we sense that [they are] behind us, calling us back. Or we come to feel that [they are] beside us, giving us strength as we go”on with the definitions and boundaries and traditions.  “Religion is meant to bring us to spirituality, ” she says.  “But spirituality brings people to religion, as well.”  Each serves the journey to a life with God, who is “greater than religion” and “the spiritual within us that calls us to the deep, conscious living of a spiritual life.  God is the question that drives us beyond facile answers . . . the invisible vision that drives us to the immersion of the self in God.”

Pg 206 – “The fact that she has remained faithful to the Catholic tradition, even through troubled times, increases her credibility with some,  . . .  She’s deeply committed, and yet she’s not willing to compromise her principles.”

Pg 208 – What does that say about the churches acceptance of the full humanity of women?

Pg 208 – They know as well as we do what is going on.  They know how the church views women, never really condemns men – boys will be boys after all.  Never cares about a woman’s questions.

Pg 208 – Transforming communities through Love and Compassion,

Pg 216 – Religious life will not die in the future unless it is dead in religious already.  Each and every religious alive today is its carrier.  Each of us is its life.  To understand what religious life will look like in the future one need only “look in a reflecting pool: Is there energy of heart shining out of the eyes there? Is there a pounding commitment to a wild and unruly gospel there? Is the spiritual life aglow there? Is there risk there?  Is there unflagging commitment, undying intensity, unequivocal determination to be what I say I am?”

Pg 216 “Is religious life in a brand new arc demanding more discipline from me and giving more life through me than ever?”

Pg 224 “the religious fall so completely into the arms of Christ, the mind of God, that nothing will suffice except to become what one seeks: the merciful One, the loving One, the truth-telling One, the One who says, Go you and do likewise.'”

Pg 224 – Jesus was hounded by the synagogue, feared by the state, thought crazy by his relatives, rejected by his neighbours and loved only by the outcasts of society

Pg 225 – Our only obligation is to go to the grave being religious ourselves.

Pg 225 – Such living, moving beyond running in place, requires risk, “faith unbounded by reason”

Pg 225 – “Risk walks with God as its only sure companion.  The religious . . . that risks its reputation for the sake of new questions and its benefactors for the sake of peace and its clerical support for the sake of women and its lifestyle for the sake of the ecological stewardship of the planet and its retirement monies for the sake of the poor walks the way of holy risk” Such risk can make life difficult,

Page 225 – religious communities must become centres of spirituality and spirituality centres

Pg 226 – “metamorphosis of religious communities into retreat centres, spiritual direction centres, liturgy centres, hospitality centres – those are the components of centres of spirituality and spirituality centres.”

Pg 227 – “You start at the beginning of the week timid and wondering what this place is, and by the end of it you don’t want to leave.  You feel so engrossed in it because they just welcome you so fully.”

Pg 227 – ‘I loved it so much.  I want to share this with people.  I want to bring people here and see them experience it like I did’

Pg 227 – It’s got to be that thing you just can’t kick

Pg 227/8 – I want to make sure that then their spirit – what they lived for and worked for their whole lives – stays here because that is what keeps this city alive

Pg 229 – Monastery of the Heart

Pg 229 – “He lived the life everyone else lived – but differently,”

Pg 230 – “Joan takes the Erie Benedictines to the world and then brings the world back to us.”

Pg 231 – Pope John Paul II, beseeching him to include women “in all ministries of our Church,”

Pg 233 – ‘I write to everybody because they’re my connection.  That’s what I do . . . I stay up at night writing.

Pg 233 – Joan Chittister will continue always to see a beckoning God everywhere.

Pg 234 – the art of encounter with the poor and the marginalised, Francis was recalibrating Catholics’ notion of authority, leadership, and what it means to be authentically Christian.

Pg 234 – His language to the cardinals following a consistory in February 2015 appeared to  fairly turn on end the old criteria both for leadership and for who is considered worthy of inclusion in the community.

Pg 234 – “the thinking God, who in his mercy embraces and accepts by reinstating him and turning evil into good, condemnation into salvation and exclusion into proclamation.’  . . . “the way of Jesus” . . .”the way of mercy and reintegration.”

Pg 234 – he continually pressed the case of encountering and walking with the poor and those considered outcasts.  “Jesus responds immediately to the leper’s plea, without waiting to study the situation and all its possible consequences.  For Jesus, what matters above all is reaching out to save those far off, healing the wounds of the sick, restoring everyone to God’s family.”

Pg 234 – His agenda seems far closer to that of the nuns who have taken to the streets in service of the poor and disenfranchised than to clerical careerists making certain that the pure faith is not sullied by those who fall short of true orthodoxy or who ask unsettling questions.  “I have great hope in this man,”

Pg 235 – Francis’s blind spot in the view of many women, is the subject of women. Though he has spoken powerfully in condemning violence against women and the need to see women incorporated into decision-making in all levels of church and society, there has been little real movement within the church.  His language in speaking about women is often awkward, his metaphors dated, and they can even, at times, seem demeaning.

Pg 235 – “Women are the bottom of the bottom, the worst of the poor, and they will always bear the weight of any injustice more than any other part of society, except for children.  So, if he’s honest, he’ll find it and something will happen.  And I believe he’s honest, but he’s not there. . . . what got me there – my heart and honesty”

Pg 235 – Some may find her comments exasperating, far too patient for one who can bring such passion and insistent clarity to articulating the way women remain invisible in the church.

. . . .   and then there’s the final page . . . Pg 236

“It is good to have an end to journey towards, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” That is the explanation, she said, for “how it is possible, necessary even, for me as a Roman Catholic to stay in a church that is riddled with inconsistencies, closed to discussion about the implication of them, and sympathetic only to invisible women.  The fact that I have come to realise over the years that church is not a place, it is a process.  To leave the church may, in fact,  be leaving part of the process of my own development.  And so, intent on the process of grappling with truth, I stay in it, when, for a woman, staying in it is full of pain, frustration, disillusionment and, far too often, even humiliation.  Both of us, this church and I . . . need to grow.  The church needs to grow in its understanding of the Gospel, and I need to grow in my understanding of myself as I strive to live it.  It is, in other words, a journey of conversion for both of us.”

The essay is a finely crafted statement of fidelity, the deeply considered answer to the kind of  “why” questions she asks of so many others.  Her model, she writes, is the Jesus who wept over Jerusalem, who taught in the synagogue and presided over the seder on Holy Thursday, “Jesus proclaiming his truth whatever the situation, whatever the cost; Jesus grappling with the depression that comes from failure, from rejection; Jesus trusting the truth, living the faith, and hoping to the end.”

She stays in, she said, especially as a woman for women because “the sexist church I love needs women for its own salvation.  The truth it holds, women test for authenticity.  We are sanctifying one another, this church and the women who refuse to be silent, refuse to be suppressed.”  But it is not all in one direction, she concedes.  An understanding exists, she writes, that “what each of us sets out to convert will in the end convert us as well. Women will call the church to truth.  The church will call women to faith.”

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The Power of Vulnerability

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Our Loss

Having accompanied four beloved people when they have been in the transition of death ~ I found this article particularly interesting.  In the all too recent face of my best friends death ~ mortality strokes my own like a gentle feather caressing all tears which seemingly fall in a continuous cycle of play and pause.  I discover that True Redemption is a ransom of ones Life for nothing in return but having Loved.

“For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives. People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality.

I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them.

When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again.

Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until they’re dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with you’re approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again. When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.”

Im adding to it.

I wish others hadn’t denied me my fullest potential ~ by curbing ~ quashing ~ oppressing and stopping me from Truly Living ~ by following Gods inspiration in my life ~ by fulfilling my God slot with God ~ by seeking the inspirations that enthuse me to expand and in their fall-out to be creative by reaching out and inspiring others ~ making me feel fully Alive and fully Love and fully a part of my parish ~ diocese + Church.

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Suffering ~ Grace ~ & Love

You are privileged. ~ You are financially secure within an institution that gives/allows you to proclaim from a pedestal ~ a place from which you are promoted by (and can also promote) your family/friends & personal ‘proclamation projects’ in the name of service to Jesus ~ This could be seen as prejudiced.

Todays prescription was precisely patronising.

Whether it were your friend ~ a priest ~ or even Dawn French’s mother for that matter, that points out that the only way to pass suffering ‘is through it’ ~ I would say to you ~ that at the point that ‘God’ or the ‘Holy Spirit’ becomes a conflab of ‘connected priestly peoples’ steering and trying to administer pastoral care for human suffering caused by the cruellest of hypocrisy from within the very echelons from which Love is supposed to be proclaimed that the point has by yourselves been severely missed.

Proclaiming suffering (like Job) and the grace bestowed because of having to ‘go through it’ ~ (in the end God saves us all however full of suffering or privilege our life is) ~ is nothing deeper than proclaiming that the only way to death is through life ~ or more to the point ~ the only way to life is through death ~ disregarding how little/or how much pain is suffered (or inflicted) ~  or how much grace is bestowed ~ it’s irrelevant  ~ we all get there regardless.

However . . . I Am fully called by God ~ and fully Alive to evangelise and proclaim as an apostle to the apostles ~ that in order for Thy’s Will to be done, ‘on earth as it is in Heaven’ there is only One way ~ The Way of Love.

Something that you might All consider when administering your ministry in practice.

Just as the way through suffering is Love.

My vocation is to Love ~ called by God.

https://thewayoflovecharism.wordpress.com

Great piece of writing by the way ~ Im sure it will help someone!

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Pret ~ a manger

Last week when I was at ISC I got called back from London by the school ~ it was thought that my last born had a suspected case of 2nd time around Chicken Pox.  I have to admit being over 2 hours away I panicked ~ and made them do the glass test ~ imagining the worst ~ that another bout of HSP had befallen her.  It hadn’t.  What looked most definitely like Chicken Pox all up one arm and over her belly button ~ which had suddenly appeared throughout the morning whilst at school ~ resided itchy but dormant for 7 days before disappearing.

However on Sunday on the way home from a beautiful refreshing God Blessed dog walk with the children along the sea-front, Eliza after browsing through the window of her favourite itsy shop suddenly wanted to leave and get home as quickly as possible.  She had come over extremely weak with severe stomach cramps.  She went down hill very quickly. Adrenalin always kicks in at this stage (ever since I found my twin baby boy, blue in his crib.)

I phoned the emergency out of hours doctor, where these days they insist on asking you a thousand questions.  However the girl on the end of the line could hear my daughter crying and whimpering uncomfortably in the background, and during the 10 minute phone call she was getting progressively worse ~ she was bent doubled up in pain, half on and half off the bed.  The girl could hear her distress and said “Im calling an ambulance” ~ I said “No, I am driving her to the hospital myself right now.”   And I left with my child and a mixing bowl.

En route she was sick 4 times.  At the hospital she was sick at least ten times.  Poor tiny darling had to be given a saline solution of 6 mls every 5 minutes for 3 hours.  I had to monitor every bout of sickness and every passing of urine and bowel movement.  We spent that whole day in hospital only being released at night time.  Ive had enough of hospitals for a life time.  This week she was there for Gastroenteritis ~ Last week for HSP ~  The month before that she put her tooth through her lip.  Before that it was Maria, and before Maria it was endless bouts of childhood croup ~ usually in the damp winter months ~ usually out of doctors hours ~ late on a Saturday evening ~ in the accident and emergency department ~ with the drunks!

I Am tired of hospitals.

I Am grateful for hospitals ~ and all of the angels that work in them.

My last born was off of school for a week since the spots first appeared. This week we especially had quality down-time together ~ just being in the present moment ~ and most often in the stillness ~ grateful that we could enjoy each others precious company and comfort during the daytime.  She returned to school this Thursday.

All this was on top of an already catastrophic few weeks.

Yesterday I had to make myself go to London.  I knew I would be passing close by to Mary Moorefields Catholic Church near London’s Liverpool Street Station, and so I informed the Medaille Trust that I would put the Josephine Bakhita + Our Lady’s prayer cards for anti-slavery on display there ~ for people to take ~ along with the few Medaille Trust Magazines which I had in my possession.  I didn’t have the heart to throw them all away. Me being invisible The Medaille Trust didn’t respond ~ however on Wednesday their IT chap mistakenly phoned me from Caritas ~ to put me online? (tricky conversation that one.)

Having trusted this was ok, I entered the church and laid the prayer cards upon the back table.  I notice a woman in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament  ~  and as I noticed her, my eyes were then drawn to a movement on the opposite side of the isle in horizontal alignment to a pew.  It seemed as if in slow motion and yet simultaneously like a scene unfolding in a reel of film ~ that at the same time as I had laid out the prayer cards ~ my voice opened ~ and before I knew it I had offered the homeless person a cup of coffee. This in itself is not unusual as I have intentionally done this before again and again and again ~ but this time it was different in that it was spontaneous.

The man was wearing an all in one, dull, grey kind of inner fleecy lining for a snowsuit ~ like a big onesie ~ his shoes were removed, his feet were bare and I have the image of them being wrapped in rags ~ however I think this is the image from my old blog.  He turned to me and said “Instead of a coffee can I have something to eat?” I said “Yes sure ~ you wait here and I will bring it back to you.”  I didn’t want him to have to come out into the cold ~ He began to put his shoes on as if to get up and follow me ~ and I rushed out.

The closest food shop is Pret a Manger ~ It’s mega expensive to buy hot foot in there ~ but today I had caught the later train, and I didn’t have enough time to go elsewhere ~ so I joined the long queue behind all the city gents who were waiting in line to be served, browsing the food counter to see what hot nourishing food I could buy the homeless man ~ and then it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn’t even had the respect to ask him what he wanted (or even if he ate meat) ~ he had darker skin and looked like he was of middle eastern origin ~ he was of slight build and looked like he hadn’t eaten a decent meal in ages.

As I am waiting in the queue ~ he suddenly appeared walking past the glass window of the restaurant ~ My insides panic as I flash-back to my time at Heythrop when a homeless man with mental issues charged into a shop after me, screaming and swearing whilst I was buying him a coffee.  I try to look discreet, however my long hair and hat are a complete give-away.  The homeless chap enters Pret in his onesie amongst all the suits, and makes his way straight over to me, now almost at the front of the queue. I take a deep breath and ask him if he eats meat.  He asks for a cake ~ I say “You need something more nourishing.” All the suits are looking at him as he peers into the glass counter.  They are polite and don’t make us feel uncomfortable ~ but they are looking.

In confidence I hand a panini to the lady at the till, and ask her for a cup of tea and a cake as she looks back at me ~ I am awaiting her rejection of the situation ~ and I look directly into her eyes.  As we are waiting the lady ask me  “Are you eating in or taking out?”  I turn to the man and ask him what he wants to do.  He asks to eat in.  As he waits at the counter for the tea to be made, and the panini to be cooked, I chat to him and I ask him if he sleeps in the church ~ His English is poor ~ and I cant make out if he is allowed to sleep there over night or not.  He says “my socks and shoes are still wet.”  I tell him to “try and find a radiator to put them on to dry.”

I ask to pay for the goods quickly as I need to leave to get to ISC in time ~ It’s almost £8 ~ Today I will have a Fast day.

I turn to the man shake his hand and gently look at him and say ~ “Have a good day my friend ~ God Bless.”  And with the suits looking on, I leave.

And I thank God with my whole being in that moment ~ for blessing me.

Because just yesterday for the first time in over 2 years I didn’t even feel like being here. There is little motivation anymore.

Im not doing very well I’m afraid ~ I appear to have spun off the spiritual cliff edge expecting Him to catch me  ~  and no one did!

Just yesterday I had written “Im supposed to be at ISC tomorrow and I don’t feel like turning up.”  One term deep into my 3rd year and so far I haven’t missed one session.

In fact I don’t feel like doing anything anymore ~ I can’t see the point to anything what so ever.

Most of all I feel as if I’ve lost my very special worship space.

Not going to Mass doesn’t serve me well ~ neither does going and feeling ruined by the Catholic Church.

I Am not sure what to do anymore.

And yet God is here ~ looking back at me all the while ~ holding me in His presence ~ as if expecting me to look deep enough into Him, that I might see what He is trying to tell me.

Only there is silence and I can’t hear anything.

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