29th June 2015 - God’s Grace
At various times in life I am sure that we get to a stage wondering whether we can cope. We get ‘stretched’ as it were, beyond the normal.

This can result from things that happen to us or that we are asked to do because of the responsibilities or role we have in life.

What has helped me and so many others is what a dear old Irish Josephite Sister I knew, used to say and live by;- “The Will of God will never take you, where the Grace of God cannot keep you”.

22nd June 2015 - Gift of the Holy Spirit
Last week we reflected a little on the unfathomable love of Christ for us all.

What helps me appreciate Jesus’ love a little more is to think of and pray about all that Jesus did for us, since love is shown by deeds.

There is just so much that Jesus did and does for us. One great expression of his love is the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In these recent weeks I have been administering the Sacrament of Confirmation to the many young children in our schools. It helps me also to focus on and to draw a little closer to the great gift of the Holy Spirit.

It is important to remember as we begin each day that the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us as a temple. Where the Spirit is there also is Jesus and the Father.

A good practice is to open our hearts each day to the power, love and working of the Holy Spirit. A good way to do this is to daily say the short prayer I encourage the Confirmation Candidates to say, “Holy Spirit be my friend, be my help and guide today”.

15th June - the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Last Friday, the 12th of June, we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

In the Letter to the Ephesians the writer prays, “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. [Ep3:16-19]

The love of Christ is wider and longer, higher and deeper than we could imagine.

When we speak of love we often use the image of the heart. No wonder Jesus did therefore in those apparitions or special experiences St Margaret Alacoque [1647- 1690] had of him. Because of this we commonly now speak of Jesus’ Sacred Heart - referring to his unlimited love for us.

Since the love of Christ is so wonderful, immeasurable and incomprehensible we need to pray as the writer of Ephesians did, for a deeper understanding of it.

A suitable and compact prayer from of old would be ‘O Sacred Heart of Jesus burning with love for me, enflame my heart with love for thee’.  

8th June - The Feast of the Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ

On Sunday I celebrated Confirmation for my first school group of the year. We also celebrated this special Feast, what we used to call ‘Corpus Christi’.

At the Celebration I took time to speak of the power of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s connection to the Eucharist.

It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived our Saviour - God’s Son. TheHoly Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God’. Lk1:35

It is also by the power of the Holy Spirit that we have the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist. In the Eucharistic prayers the priest, holding his hands over the gifts, calls down the Holy Spirit to change and transform them into the Body and Blood of Christ.

Some Power!

Because the Eucharist is truly the ‘Bread of Life’, Jesus nourishes us and strengthens us for, and through, the Journey of Life.

Jesus is in the Eucharist not only for us and our needs - as he gives himself to us he is also saying, ‘Give yourselves in love and service to others as I have done.’ - “This is my Body GIVEN for you….my Blood POURED OUT for you….”.

Jesus does more. Each Eucharist he strengthens us to do that, to give of who we are and what we have, cheerfully.  

Each Mass Jesus also gives us more of the Holy Spirit - another great gift and power both to help us in our needs, and to strengthen us in serving others.

How blessed and gifted we are in life and in what God calls us to.

2nd June - the Blessed Trinity
The other day as we were talking about the Trinity, a Parishioner said to me, “The sign of the cross is a favourite prayer of mine”.

“Yes”, I agreed, “It is so simple, yet it sums up everything”.

The cross we trace over our bodies is a powerful sign of Jesus our Saviour who gave his life for us on the cross and so expressed so truly his words, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. (Jn15:13)

It is also an act of Faith in God who is Father, Son and Spirit - God the Trinity.

More than an act of Faith, it is saying to ourselves that we are ‘In God - in the Trinity’.

Through being Baptised in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit we are as it were plunged into the Trinity. The word Baptism means ‘To be plunged into’.  Just as we are plunged into water, (as we know the early Christians were and some still today are totally immersed) we are at the same time then plunged into the Trinity.

Plunged into water highlights how we are in God. Even better than the example of water is air. It is all around us and we actually breathe it in. This brings home how God is not only all around us but within us as well. We are certainly temples of the Blessed Trinity.

No wonder that Parishioner claimed the sign of the cross as a favourite prayer. It is so simple and yet so profound.