• Faith and Life,  Prayer

    Persistent Prayer

    I love the Collects in the Office. Those short little prayers at the conclusion of the Hours seem to sum up very beautifully what we ourselves can sometimes have difficulty putting into words. It is these little prayers which often remain with me long after the Hours are finished for the day. This is particularly the case with the Collects on Sundays, which are repeated throughout the week unless a feast takes precedence, with its own Collect. The Collect for this first Sunday of Advent is, I found, particularly beautiful and expressive – Give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon us the…

  • Church Life,  Faith and Life,  Prayer,  Rosary

    Looking Forward In Prayer

    This point in time, at the beginning of a new liturgical year, always acts as a reminder to me of the temporary nature of this world, which is passing. All things, we are told, pass except God; and so, it is on the Lord that we must keep our eyes firmly fixed, and in Him alone that we should place our hope, since everything else is transitory. Looking at the world through the eyes of the news, it can often appear to be such an unwholesome place despite all it’s beauty, filled with all manner of darkness and evil – and yet despite this realisation, we know perfectly well that…

  • Faith and Life,  General,  Prayer

    A Time of Reflection

    I celebrated a birthday recently. I don’t really bother with birthdays to any great extent, but I do generally find that they provide a moment to pause and reflect and this is perhaps the greatest value they have for me. And so this year that is what I did – I paused and reflected. The primary issue over which I paused and reflected was my life of faith. Not the institutional and communal side of things, but the interior and personal part of it all. I find it can be rather easy to overlook this unless we are especially careful. I also find it can be all too easy to…

  • Faith and Life,  Prayer

    The Empty Jug

    During a very long career as a nurse working in the field of acute psychiatry and then older-adult psychiatry, there were a number of phrases which I put to (I hope good) use over those many years. Such phrases were not mere platitudes – they were intended to convey, at a moment of particular and real need, a very clear and pertinent message in a few short and understandable words. Often, immediately after using such a phrase, the listener – to whom I had already been listening very deliberately and carefully, often at some length – would pause momentarily, look me straight in the eye and it was clear the…

  • Church Life,  Prayer,  Spiritual Devotions

    Divine Worship Daily Office II

    In the summer, I had written a short piece about a new daily Office (Liturgy of the Hours) book I had bought, called Divine Worship Daily Office (Commonwealth Edition), very beautifully published in a single volume by CTS (Catholic Truth Society). This book is the version of the Liturgy of the Hours prepared for the members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and fully approved by the Catholic Church. The Ordinariate members are those former Anglicans who have embraced Catholicism, whilst still retaining some of the particular and distinctive elements from their Anglican patrimony. All of this was made possible by Pope Benedict in 2011. While it is a…