25th May 2015 - The Feast of Pentecost
A favourite prayer of mine, ever since Seminary days is:-

Oh guide our minds with your blest light,
With love our hearts inflame;
And with your strength, which never decays
Confirm our mortal frame.

It is the fourth verse of the very traditional and beautiful hymn ‘Veni Creator Spiritus’ - ‘Come Holy Spirit’.

For me in a short prayer it says so much and sums up so much.

GUIDE…with your blest LIGHT’ - in life as we plan, work things out, are faced with difficulties and problems and issues to be resolved, we do everything that we can. We think things through, we get information, we talk with people getting their advice and wisdom.

We have within us also the wisdom and knowledge and understanding of God the Holy Spirit. Do all the other things because the Holy Spirit works through our gifts and those of people. Also, and necessarily, do call on the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

With LOVE…..INFLAME’ - the Holy Spirit is the very love of God - the love between the Father and the Son. This love, is at it were, ‘personified’ in the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the source of all that love, the giver of love. Therefore let us go to the source of love when we want love to grow - the love of God and love of others.

With your STRENGTH….. never decays, CONFIRM…’ - the Holy Spirit is also the power of God. There is no need to talk about the many times in life that we need strength. There is no need to remind ourselves of our mortal frame - and of its many weaknesses.

Therefore let us keep turning to the Holy Spirit also for the strength we need to face each day, to live, to love and to some good.

With the guidance, love and strength of the Holy Spirit we are also truly equipped to bring the “Joy of the Gospel’ to others.

18th May 2015 - Feast of the Ascension
Over the last six weeks we have in one way or another grown closer to our Risen Lord - in prayer, in reflecting on the Gospel passages of his Resurrection and his following appearances and words to his disciples, and in the Sunday Eucharist.

In the Ascension that we celebrated on Sunday, our Risen Lord is taken up into heaven. He who had come from the Father now returns to the Father.

St Augustine has some simple and yet powerful words for this- ‘Christ, while in heaven, is also with us; and we, while on earth, are also with him. He is with us in his godhead and his power and his love; and we, though we cannot be with him in godhead as he is with us, can be with him in our love, our love for him’.

Our Risen Lord certainly is still with us. His power continues to work in and through us.

At the same time Jesus connects us, and everything we do, to our goal - to heaven.

In other words, while our feet are firmly planted on the earth, as we live and love and work, all that we do links us to the sure hope and goal Jesus has given us of our eternal home.

11th May - It’s okay to have doubts
If anyone shows us how a person can have strong doubts and yet come through these doubts to a lively and strong Faith, it is Thomas the Apostle.

Remember the evening of the Resurrection, after Jesus had appeared to the Apostles when Thomas was absent? On his return when they all excitedly told him the news, “We have seen the Lord”, how he had said, “Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe”. (Jn 20:25)

“I don’t believe you!” was his very strong response. You can imagine how stunned they were and would have wondered, “How could he not believe?”

Thomas would have had his reasons. You could almost hear him saying, ‘Well, you people didn’t believe it when Mary Magdalene said she had seen the Lord. I don’t believe it when you say you saw him. That’s it’. 

What he would have been thinking would have been something like this, ‘I know we have to have Faith. But Faith doesn’t come from other people telling you. If Jesus is risen, I need somehow myself to experience his presence.’

Thomas would still have been searching and obviously open to Faith. It’s the same for us. When we have doubts, and yet an openness like Thomas, Jesus will surprise us.

4th May 2015 - The impact of belief in the Risen Lord.
We cannot imagine the reality of the Resurrection. Knowing the Risen Lord requires Faith - and we all have that.

I often wonder though, why does not this faith in the Risen Lord with us and working in us, impact on me more and people more?

Before I say anything - I do believe this Faith we have does impact on, does have an influence on our lives, more than we will ever realise.

What can I do to open myself up more though to the power of the Risen Lord? I think we need to be patient over a long period of time.

Take for example a good marriage. Recently I spoke to 91 year old. His wife had died some years before. He still spoke fondly of her and said “Bishop, I was just so blessed with my wife in my marriage”. What a tribute to his wife. What a tribute to their good relationship.

This fond relationship would have developed over the whole of the fifty one years of their marriage. I am sure that it happened in the ups and downs of their lives, in the good times and bad, through their joys and sorrows.

Faith in Jesus and growing to know and love him, our ‘Crucified and Risen Lord’, takes a life time.

So let’s continue patiently day by day, coming to know Jesus in the Gospels, in prayer and in the good people around us.

It would be good as well to ask for the Grace to believe in and appreciate and love him more.