Monday, 30 March 2020

Your Will Be Done!

Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord Year A

5th April 2020

Gospel Matthew 26: 14 – 27: 66 (part)

After psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all lose faith in me this night.’ At this, Peter said, ‘Though all lose faith in you, I will never lose faith.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you solemnly, this very night before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the disciples said the same.

Then Jesus came with them to a small estate called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And sadness came over him, and great distress. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and keep awake with me.’ And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed: ‘My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’ He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter: ‘So you had not the strength to keep awake with me one hour? You should be awake, and praying not to be put to the test.’ Again a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father, if this cup cannot pass by without my drinking it, your will be done!’ And he came back again and found them sleeping. Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words. Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘Now the hour has come when the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is close at hand.’
T

Tiepolo: The Agony in the Garden (detail)


Reflection
After coming to some stillness in whatever way is best for me, I read this Gospel passage slowly, paying attention to my feelings and thoughts.

I take  time to be in the scene in whatever way I can:

I notice the place, the surroundings, the smells, sounds and people.

Perhaps I imagine myself in the disciples’ place, or talk with one of them, or just remain alongside them as the story unfolds.

What do I notice about Jesus? I talk with my Lord about all that is in my mind and heart. Then perhaps I simply become still, just being with him, knowing he also suffered isolation and loneliness, and needed his friends.
I may wish to end by praying Our Father or the Anima Christi: this is a modern paraphrase of the prayer by David Fleming SJ:

Lord Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood be my food and drink.
May your Passion and death be my strength and life.

Jesus, with you by my side, enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek be
the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer,
But hold me safe
from the forces of evil.

On each of my dyings
shed your light and your love. 
Keep calling to me until that day comes, when, with your  saints,
I may praise you forever. Amen.

Read PREGO PLUS for more about Sunday's readings here.

Click here for PRAYING HOLY WEEK 2020 WITH OUR FIVE SENSES, also from St Beuno's Outreach.


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

I Am The Resurrection

Fifth Sunday of Lent Year A: 29th March 2020

Gospel John 11: 1–45 (abbreviated)


On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus had come, she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that, even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother,’ said Jesus to her, ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’

Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said, ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who has come into this world.’

Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept; and the Jews said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I know indeed that you always hear me, but I speak for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’

Then he cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’

Reflection

How do I feel as I settle to pray today? Whatever my feelings, I know the Lord accepts me as I am. I place myself in his hands and ask him to help me pray.

As I prepare to pray, I take the time to relax into God’s presence, breathing in his life and love.
When I am ready, I turn to this Gospel. I may prefer to take the whole text from my Bible or Missal and slowly absorb the drama and confrontation involved ... or I may stay with this abbreviated text.

What aspect strikes me most?

As I place myself in the scene, with whom or what do I identify most — with Martha’s faith, Jesus’s anguish, the doubtful crowd ...?

In what ways do I myself need to be unbound?

Or can I help others to be more free?

I speak to the Lord from my heart, and end with an ‘Our Father’.



From Prego, by our friends at St Beuno's Outreach. For further reflection on next Sunday's gospel, and the psalm, see Prego Plus

Monday, 23 March 2020

Living Your Anointing

Today I'm sharing some thoughts from the Universalis Newsletter:

"In many parts of the world this is a strange and disturbing time. Everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s needs are different. It is impossible to say the right thing to everyone (or even to anyone) in a newsletter that is sent out to thousands of anonymous addresses. But let me say two things.

First, at a time when populations are being epidemiologically added, multiplied, counted, almost (it seems) weighed, remember that you are not “1.0 units of population”. You are a person called into being uniquely by God because without you, the masterwork of Creation in all its splendour would have had something missing.

Second, you have been anointed a priest, and anointed a prophet, and anointed a king. It took place a long time ago at your baptism and you were probably not paying attention, but it did happen and now is the time to live those anointings.

As priest, you can open yourself to those you come across, and bear witness to the infinite value of their being and to the love of God for them. You can be there for them and with them, you can be quiet together, or even listen. There is nothing like an open heart and a safe pair of ears.

As prophet, your voice must not be embarrassed to tell of the wonders of the Lord. Do not keep the truth of your faith secret for fear of derision. As long as people do not feel they are being preached at, you will find them remarkably tolerant. Do not expect the seed to grow before your eyes – that is God’s job done in God’s time – but do at least sow and scatter it.

As king – to see how to live your anointing, see first what a king is. Think of a gardener who is at the service of his plants and his crops, which he feeds and weeds and waters; then think of a king who at the service of everybody, keeping them safe and orderly free from want. The gardener serves whoever owns the garden; the king serves whoever owns the universe. Whoever and wherever you are, you are in some sense king of something. And we are all of us servants of each other. The more we do it, the easier it becomes.

When you can’t get to Mass

Someone told me today that she finds it oddly disquieting, when Sunday morning comes round and she is not planning to go to Mass because she never does, to find there is no Mass to go to! Of course if you are in the habit, is is more disquieting still. So please remember that the Mass readings are always there in Universalis – go to universalis.com to find them, and tell all your friends to do the same."

The Universalis website (link above) has all the daily Mass readings available for free - do have a look.

And do scroll down and have a look at the previous posts here - and please leave a comment!

Friday, 20 March 2020

Pray as you Stay


Many of us enjoy the prayer resources offered by Pray As You Go. Staff working at the Jesuit Curia in London have been told to work from home in compliance with the latest government advice, but Emma Holland, Producer of Pray As You Go for the Jesuits in Britain, has been able to set up a makeshift studio in her apartment and will do her best to keep prayer content rolling.





Emma will be launching a new series called Pray As You Stay on Monday 23rd March which will offer listeners support and consolation during this this time of self-isolation, uncertainty and fear.

To listen to prayer series and retreats, click here.

Emma says:

“We find ourselves in new and unknown territory that is bringing confusion and chaos to our whole global family. We hope this new prayer guide will help you stay close to God as you stay where you are.

“We hope it will uplift you, give you some ideas for creative prayer, and provide some reflection with scripture, all underpinned by the Ignatian practice of finding ‘God in all things’, wherever you are.

“Above all, we hope that this series will bring you peace and consolation, helping you to know that the Lord is very close.

“We begin with these first seven sessions and hope to provide more as time goes on.”


Monday, 16 March 2020

Lord, I believe

Fourth Sunday in Lent Year A 22nd March 2020

Gospel John 9: 1–41 (part)

As Jesus went along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. He spat on the ground, made a paste with the spittle, put this over the eyes of the blind man and said to him, ‘Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam’ (a name that means ‘sent’). So the blind man went off and washed himself, and came away with his sight restored. His neighbours and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one.’ Others said, ‘No, he only looks like him.’ The man himself said, ‘I am the man.’

They brought the man who had been blind to the Pharisees. It had been a sabbath day when Jesus made the paste and opened the man’s eyes, so when the Pharisees asked him how he had come to see, he said, ‘He put a paste on my eyes, and I washed, and I can see.’ Then some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man cannot be from God: he does not keep the sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How could a sinner produce signs like this?’ And there was disagreement among them. So they spoke to the blind man again, ‘What have you to say about him yourself, now that he has opened your eyes?’ ‘He is a prophet,’ replied the man. ‘Are you trying to teach us,’ they replied, ‘and you a sinner through and through, since you were born!’ And they drove him away.

Jesus heard they had driven him away, and when he found him he said to him, ‘Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘tell me who he is so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You are looking at him; he is speaking to you.’ The man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and worshipped him.

Reflection (from PREGO - St Beuno’s Outreach)

(In this reflection we pray with only part of today’s Gospel. If you have opportunity, you may wish to spend  me with the complete text later on.)

After reading the text, I might like to approach this scene imaginatively. I pay attention to what I notice about the blind man, about Jesus’s response, about the man’s neighbours, the crowds and the Pharisees. Then, what do I sense going on within me?

As I pray the text again, I might imagine myself as the one needing healing. Jesus touches the parts of me he knows need healing. What is his touch like? How do I feel now?

When the man had been driven away, Jesus goes to find him.
In prayer, can I let myself be ‘found’ by Jesus? I look at him with my new sight, and I let myself be looked at, allowing my love for him to deepen. Perhaps I feel ‘sent’, wanting to tell others about him...

If I can, I end my prayer saying very slowly, ‘Lord I believe’ ...
I worship him in whatever way that is comfortable for me.

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

The Woman at the Well


15th March 2020

Third Sunday of Lent Year A 

John 4: 5–42 (abbreviated)


Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?’ – Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied:

‘If you only knew what God is offering and who it is that is saying to you: “Give me a drink”, you would have been the one to ask, and he would have given you living water.’

‘You have no bucket, sir’, she answered, ‘and the well is deep: how would you get this living water?’

Jesus replied: ‘Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again; but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give will never be thirsty again; the water that I shall give will turn into a spring inside them, welling up to eternal life’.
‘Sir’, said the woman, ‘give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water’.




Reflection - from Prego (St Beuno's Outreach)


(In this reflection we pray with only part of today’s Gospel. If you have opportunity, you may wish to spend  me with the complete text later on.)

Once I have settled my mind and body to pray in the manner that suits me best, I slowly read the text.

Using my imagination and all of my senses, I picture the scene ... Jesus in the hot, dry desert, feeling parched by the heat of the sun.

Can I imagine feeling the thirst that Jesus feels?
When Jesus speaks with the woman, what do I notice about their conversation?

Perhaps I place myself by the well and imagine myself as the Samaritan woman.

I hear Jesus addressing me by my name and offering me living water.

What am I thirsting for?
What is Jesus offering me?
I end my prayer by making my own response to Jesus’s invitation.

When I am ready, I close my prayer slowly with a prayerful sign of the cross.

Your Will Be Done!

Palm Sunday of the Passion of our Lord Year A 5th April 2020 Gospel Matthew 26: 14 – 27: 66 (part) After psalms had been sung they l...