• 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

    The Winding Paths of Grace

    You know how it is. You are driving along and, at a roundabout, a driver to your right is indicating right – and then turns off to the left, seemingly oblivious that you are sitting there, taking your lead from that little flashing light on his car, the same one he failed to cancel so that you could safely move off. You swear under your breath and drive off in a bad mood. At the next roundabout, you do what he did – well, if he can do it.. On another occasion, you are on a road with obstructions on your side, so you stop to give way to oncoming…

  • Faith and Life

    Offering It Up

    Over the last couple of days, I have heard repeated mentions of the word ‘sacrifice’ – on the radio, in print, and online. So much so that it had left me thinking about what constitutes ‘sacrifice’ in our day and age, and wondering how on earth we can offer ‘sacrifice’ at the personal level, as well as what value – if any – it has. Each of those mentions I came across was referring to sacrifice in an explicitly religious sense. One article, discussing the nature of priesthood, began by examining the meaning of the word ‘sacrifice’ from the original words in Hebrew whose inclusion in the original Biblical texts…

  • 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…