Tag Archives: response

25 April: A larger family.

I would not have expected to be quoting Dr Johnson on Education Sunday, but he gives us something to think about, especially his final sentence.

‘Sir, the life of a parson, of a conscientious clergyman, is not easy. I have always considered a clergyman as the father of a larger family than he is able to maintain. I would rather have Chancery suits* upon my hands than the cure of souls. No, Sir, I do not envy a clergyman’s life as an easy life, nor do I envy the clergyman who makes it an easy life.’

Boswell’s Life of Johnson, Vol 3.

Pope Francis sees religious vocations as part of the ‘ordinary pastoral life’ of the Church, and his prayer for today asks for each one of us the gifts of boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.

Dear friends, on this day in particular, but also in the ordinary pastoral life of our communities, I ask the Church to continue to promote vocations. May she touch the hearts of the faithful and enable each of them to discover with gratitude God’s call in their lives, to find courage to say “yes” to God, to overcome all weariness through faith in Christ, and to make of their lives a song of praise for God, for their brothers and sisters, and for the whole world. May the Virgin Mary accompany us and intercede for us.

Pope Francis, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, 2020.

Prayer for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

  • Holy Spirit,  stir within us the passion to promote vocations to the consecrated life, societies of apostolic life, diocesan priesthood, and permanent diaconate.
  • Inspire us daily to respond to Your call with boundless compassion, abundant generosity, and radical availability.
  • Help us to remember our own baptismal call to rouse us to invite the next generation to hear and respond to Your call.
  • Inspire parents, families, and lay ecclesial ministers to begin a conversation with young Catholics to consider how they will live lives of holiness and sacred service.
  • Nudge inquirers and motivate discerners to learn more about monastic life, apostolic life, missionaries, cloistered contemplative life, and evangelical Franciscan life.
  • Ignite our Church with the confident humility that there is an urgent need for religious sisters, brothers, deacons, and priests to live in solidarity with those who are poor, neglected, and marginalised.
  • Disrupt our comfortable lives and complacent attitudes with new ideas to respond courageously and creatively with a daily ‘YES!’  Amen.

* Chancery Courts were concerned with domestic matters including adoptions, custody disputes and divorces; guardianships; sanity hearings; wills; and challenges to constitutionality of state laws.

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10 April: All in an April Springtime, I.

Strasbourg Cathedral

All in an April Springtime.

No easy crown to make. 

Did they wear gloves? 
           Roman gloves? 
Did their hands bleed, 
Mingling with your blood? 

No easy crown to wear, 
Needing persuasion 
To hold in place 
While acting out their game, 
Excited by your blood. 

By your response . . . 

Waiting, 
          As you do.

SPB 2021 

Sheila Billingsley sent us these three poems very recently; they arrived on Easter Eve, Holy Saturday. Though the first two shorter poems are  about the events of Thursday night and Friday they are infused with Easter, so here they are, as close to Easter as we could get them; the others follow tomorrow and the next day. A shame to put them by until next year.

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24 February: Three Elements of Penance.

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St David’s Cathedral

We continue with Sister Margaret’s reflections on Penance as lived by Saint Francis.

Penance, as metanoia then, has three main elements:

  • An innermost change of heart under the influence of the Word of God;
  • Changing one’s life in harmony with the change of heart;
  • Bringing forth fruits worthy of penance.

Putting this another way, we then see that penance consists of three key elements:

  • Conversion: a change of mind, a change of heart, a turning from self to God;
  • Repentance: this change of heart, this conversion, reflects itself in a change of life (style, habits formed, etc.)
  • Fruits of Penance: the change of life results in the fruits of penance, in doing penance, in doing good deeds

By way of conclusion … it is important that we realise from the above that for Francis the life of penance begins with God, the initial action comes from God, and then come the visible signs of repentance. This fact is crucial to a true understanding of Franciscan Penance.

This ties up completely with the biblical teaching of penance as metanoia in which conversion (turning from self to God) is the central dynamic of the life of penance. For Francis, and for us, the way of penance is the way of choosing God in response to His invitation, the way in which God, and not ourselves, becomes the very centre of our existence.

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