• Church Life,  Scripture

    The Seed of the Word

    It can be tempting for us as Catholics to consider that the Word of God is simply that first part of the Mass, which we listen to every Sunday. We may well be listening with attention, but I think we often do so with more than a degree of passivity – listening, if it goes no further than mere listening, is indeed a passive activity.  Now, this is not the intention of the Church; our Mass is comprised of two broad parts, each one given the title of ‘liturgy’ – the ‘liturgy of the Word’ and the ‘liturgy of the Eucharist’. This tells us very clearly that an equal dignity…

  • Scripture,  Spiritual Devotions

    Open To Encounter

    Over the last year or so, I have noticed that my spiritual devotions are becoming increasingly Scriptural in one way or another – in the Rosary, for example, I almost exclusively focus upon particular lines from the texts associated with each Mystery as it is being prayed. I have read more from Scripture each day and I am happy about this – but at this same time, I realise all too well that I have a long way to go yet, that I need to work much more on deepening my familiarity with (and understanding of) those texts and really letting them sink into my mind and my soul, there…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    The Book of Counter-Culture

    Books have a way of changing things. They can reflect the spirit of a particular age and they can in some inexplicable way capture something of the zeitgeist of an era. They can change us, either by bringing out something already present but dormant within us – or they can play a part in re-shaping us entirely, changing the way we think or see or respond. Books have power. For the most part, books are considered to be cultural;  indeed, we refer to the reading of books as a ‘cultural pursuit’. But it isn’t always like that. In fact, some books are very different – and one book in particular…

  • Faith and Life,  Scripture

    A Flame Once Lit

    I must have been about fourteen when it happened – too many years ago, now, to even think about – and yet I can remember it all as clearly as though it were only yesterday. It was one of those moments in life which – at the time – might not seem all that significant; and yet, looking back on it, we see that something else, something truly powerful was there. It was all because of a word – a word that was alive and very powerful indeed, as I would find out later. Having some free time at high school, I had decided to go for a walk. I…

  • Prayer,  Scripture

    Praying With Christ

    Reading the Gospel accounts of Jesus walking among the people, who gather closely around Him, I sometimes wonder what it must have been like to have been there in those moments. To have been close to Him as the Disciples asked Him to “teach us to pray”, and as He responded with the Our Father. To have been there with His followers at all the moments in His life when He prayed. For the most part, Jesus prayed with the ancient prayer of the Psalms, with which He was very well acquainted, referring to them often throughout his ministry. And so, when we pray the Psalms, we are praying the…