It was good to have all our candidates for First Communion and their parents with us last Sunday. We continue to pray for them, and their catechist Luarena, as the big day approaches. It is, of course, on Sunday May 16th.
I am about to celebrate a wedding in Caversham on Friday. Do remember Linnea and Michael in your prayers.
We are also getting ready to host works by Peter Foster and Jo Lillywhite during Arts Week (May 15th - 23rd).
All good wishes and prayers in this Easter Season,
Fr. Michael ocds
FEASTS THIS COMING WEEK
Monday May 3 Feast of St. Philip and St. James Apostles.
Tuesday May 4 Feast of the English Martyrs - men and women who gave their lives for the Catholic faith between 1535 and 1680.
Friday May 7 is the First Friday in the month.
TASTE AND AFTERTASTE (Extract from 'Seeing the Pandemic with Eyes of Faith - Seven Prophets for our Time', by Fr. Ivano Millico. C.T.S.)
Fear. If we could condense the time of pandemic into a taste, it would taste of fear. Even when all this has left us, we could all still find ourselves with its aftertaste, like a spiritual 'long Covid.' Is it possible instead to come out of our trials with a gift? Yes, a gift! Can we find ourselves in a new place, a step ahead of where we were before all the sufferings we have been through?
There is a man in the Bible, his name is Job, who went through deep and sudden suffering in body and psyche. He found himself afflicted, misunderstood, accused. He lamented with words and in silence, and still came out from all his trials with a gift, the gift of a prophetic sight.
This man is a 'son of the East,' not an Israelite, and as such Job represents every person - Job is you and me, his experience of human vulnerability is ours: 'My life is like a breath. Like a flower, such a one blossoms and withers, fleeting as a shadow, transient.' When suffering knocks at Job's door, it is a 'reality check' in his relationship with God.
This is true for us too when suffering comes to visit our families and friends, or our own lives. In his Commentary on the Book of Job, Pope St. Gregory the Great describes this moment of truth as a moment of revelation, when the life of a virtuous and deeply religious person turns into the life of a prophet.
SHOWINGS OF JULIAN OF NORWICH
The fourteenth century English mystic and writer, Julian of Norwich, received insights into the ways of God. Especially she saw the essence of God's love for us as expressed in the Passion of Christ. These sixteen revelations - more correctly 'Showings' - form one of the most important books in the history of English spirituality. There are many similarities between Julian's England and our own. We need only think of the Black Death, and the effects of Covid now. The unstable nature of Julian's society has parallels with ours'.
In her Fourteenth Showing she writes about prayer :" After this our Lord revealed about prayer, in which revelation I saw two conditions in our Lord's intention. One is rightful prayer, the other is confident trust. But still our trust is often not complete, because we are not sure that God hears us, as we think, because of our unworthiness and because we are feeling nothing at all. For often we are as barren and dry after our prayers as we were before. And thus when we feel so, it is our folly which is the cause of our weakness, for I have experienced this myself.
And our Lord brought all this suddenly to my mind, and revealed these words and said : 'I am the ground of your requesting . First, it is my will that you should have it, and then I make you to wish it, and then I make you to request it. If you ask for it, how could it be that you you would not have what you ask for?'
Our Lord Himself is the first receiver of our prayer, as I see it, and He accepts it most thankfully, and greatly rejoicing he sends it up above, and puts it into a treasure - house where it will never perish. It is there before God with all his holy saints, continually received, always furthering our needs. And when we shall receive our bliss, it will be given to us as a measure of joy, with endless, honourable thanks from him.
('Showings of Julian of Norwich', Classics of Western Spirituality edition, Paulist Press. Edited by Edmund College osa, and James Walsh sj).
What could be more encouraging than that!? All true prayer - prayer that is prayed according to God's will - is never lost. It is as though it waits to enrich our happiness, when we come to the fullness of Easter Life in heaven!
Store up treasure for yourselves in heaven, not on earth!
Did you know? Julian of Norwich was an 'anchoress' which means she chose to live a life of great solitude, having devoted her life to prayer. Her cell, where she would've spent most of her time once she became an anchoress, was at the church of St Julian's church in Norwich, which was destroyed during by a direct hit during the blitz in 1942 but since then it has been rebuilt almost exactly as it was before.
Click here for directions to our church
St Edmund Campion Roman Catholic Church, No.2 Watcombe Rd, Watlington OX49 5QJ T: 01491 612431