• Faith and Life,  General

    The Divine Artist

    Some years ago now, I stood in this professional artist’s studio and watched her take a palette of oils in simple colours; she lifted a brush and began to mix the colours, placing each upon the canvas in front of her. Simple outlines at first, these gradually took on shape and definition and character until the figure of a woman began to emerge from the surface. Using particular brushes, she would shade the tones, setting highlights and shadows until a true sense of depth was bestowed upon the figure. It seemed to me that such creation from nothing spoke of the creation of humanity by the hands of the Divine Artist.…

  • Faith and Life,  Spiritual Devotions

    Watch With Me One Hour

    In my mid and late teens, I was in the habit of trying to make a Holy Hour each Thursday night from 11pm till midnight. This was in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I had learned about it from a wonderful little book I had called “Heart Afire: Devotion to the Sacred Heart”, written by MD Forrest. This was in the 1980s and the copy I had was already very old at that point. I cannot recall with certainty where I got this book from, but it was most probably from my Aunt Margaret – it was very much the sort of book she would have had,…

  • Faith and Life

    The Redemptive Power of Suffering

    For a little more than a month now, my health hasn’t been so good, despite various medicines and a lot of rest. In that time, plans have had to be cancelled – some at very short notice – and I have not been able to fulfil my commitments in various areas. Even the most basic things, such as eating food, became impossible – I spent the month on a diet of asparagus soup, something I don’t think I will ever want to eat again. When we are physically poorly, it can become all-consuming, so that we find it increasingly hard to focus on anything else except how we feel, even…

  • Faith and Life,  General,  World View

    Judge and Complain

    I’ve spent a long while looking very carefully through the Scriptures, particularly the four Gospels, for the place where it tells us without equivocation that as Christians, we are to judge, complain and condemn. Alas, I was not able to find what I was looking for. I did find rather a lot of passages which counselled a meek and humble approach toward others, one filled with loving compassion, so that we are better able to reflect something of the Lord in whose Name we profess to act. Of course, that cannot possibly be what we are actually being asked to do – it’s just too, well, Christian. This surely has…

  • The Saints

    You Will Find God

    On the Rue des Sèvres in Paris, there is large church which is dedicated to Saint Vincent de Paul. In a shrine high above the main altar, his remains – his bones, encased within a wax figure – are visible. A staircase rises up to the shrine from the side of the altar and the public are permitted to ascend this in order to pray beside him. Always, there is an observer sitting close to the shrine, almost imperceptibly,  to prevent anything untoward happening there. When he first become a priest, it had been with the clear intention of having an ‘easy life’ – at that time in France, priesthood…