• 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…

  • Faith and Life,  General

    An Outward-Looking Faith

    In 2015, the Holy Father Pope Francis wrote his beautiful Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee of Mercy, entitled ‘Misericordiae Vultus’ (The Face of Mercy). The opening line of the document summarised all that would follow – “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”. He concluded the document with these words – “May the Church echo the Word of God.. may she never tire of extending mercy, and be ever patient in offering compassion and comfort.” Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy Now, in order to fulfil this hope, this essential mission, in a way that is both authentic and effective, the Church needs to look…

  • 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

    Sin, Salvation, Effort

    The Church reminds us that “called to beatitude but wounded by sin, man stands in need of salvation from God. Divine help comes to him in Christ through the law that guides him and the grace that sustains him”. But we sometimes have the notion that salvation depends on us and upon our personal efforts to achieve it or secure it – of course, it does not; salvation is that free gift which the Lord offers us. The Catechism tells us that – “the grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us ‘the righteousness of…

  • Blessed Sacrament,  Eucharist,  Spiritual Devotions

    The Bread of Sinners

    When I was thinking about retiring from my career as a nurse, one of the main reasons for wanting to do so – and to do so at that point – was in order that it might be possible for me to become a daily communicant. And so my decision was made. I duly retired and began to attend morning Mass during the week. Sitting in the silence and emptiness of the Church on those mornings, it is very hard not to simply stare in awe at the Tabernacle. I am perfectly well aware of Who resides within there and His presence is as real and as tangible as that of…