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I Love This Guy: Pope Francis…

I borrowed the title of this post from this article  written by Father James Martin SJ  because it describes the way I feel about our Papa and the amazing example he’s setting for us all.

I feel uplifted by Pope Francis’s joy and love for humanity, not to mention his sense of confidence and self-assuredness. He conducts himself as someone who has no worry in the world but to spread the love of Jesus. He is doing this in such a loving way. His sincerity shines through.

He is inspirational to all. WYD in Rio is testament to his individual approach and independent thought, he reacts naturally sharing his demeanour since his appointment as the Vicar of Christ, as one who knows what he has to do and he’s going full steam ahead to share the Good News.

My favourite line from this article by Father James,‘Because of this I love the guy. Because of this I love God even more.’ Surely this is what it’s all about?

These photos are testament to this verve, energy and stamina. (All photos are from various sites)

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WYD 1

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2

APTOPIX Brazil Pope World Youth Day.JPEG-03e33

f2RPz.St.4

images (18)

images (23)

On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

On his arrival in Rio, he chose to ride in this little Fiat, which took the wrong turn and ended up in Rio traffic.

slide_304920_2749741_free

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‘…all of us are called on to play our part…”

I came across this article in the latest FAITH magazine. It spoke so clearly to me and resounded with my personal sentiments.

(Bold type is my emphasis)

”An Invitation to Evangelise
FAITH Magazine January-February 2013 

Not all of us are called to preach publicly, but all of us are called on to play our part in spreading the Gospel – the “Good News” that Jesus Christ is God with us, that he died to reconcile us to the Father, and that he is risen from the dead and has poured out the Holy Spirit on his chosen ones.

There are many ways we can do this and many different words and examples we can use to get this message across to the world around us. First of all, as fellow believers we remind each other of the good news by talking about our faith together, by encouraging each other to grow in knowledge of our faith and by praying together. 

The Parable of The Sower.

The Parable of The Sower.


Sometimes we may need to explain some point of the Church’s teaching to a fellow Catholic or clear up a misunderstanding. This can happen in casual conversation through ordinary friendships or in a formal setting like a school governors group, and so on. To “counsel the doubtful” is one of the spiritual works of mercy. 

I had been bothered of late, by the lack of  basic knowledge of the Faith during open discussions with Catholics.  The Holy Father in his wisdom certainly understood the need for a Year of Faith. Honestly, when I attended the inauguration of the Year of Faith last year, I was taken aback by the thought (call it naiveté/ lack of awareness , at it’s best)  that Catholics need to be evangelised, brought back into the Fold. This was the catalyst that lit the fuse in me to do ‘my bit.’ 

During prayer groups and casual gatherings, I do not have all the answers, but when someone who is a ‘practising’ Catholic states that,’maybe the devil and God ‘both live in our souls’, I have had to dig deep in order not to blurt out ‘NO OF COURSE NOT!’, and to carefully formulate pertinent questions and statements that could otherwise be misconstrued as critique – in order to change a train of thought an hopefully get the train back on track. I have also noticed that sometimes this kind of speak is tolerated as a ‘person’s right to voice an opinion’. If we do not speak up for about the Faith and what the Church teaches, people are going to think it’s fine to talk gibberish because whatever is said  will be accepted as ‘opinion’. The Good News is not a relative issue. It’s factual and true. There is no room for emotion or feelings, and ‘I think… ‘

For someone who needs a little time to ponder over things in order to formulate a response, I sometimes feel frustrated at not being able to have a full, quick and pertinent retort on the spot. I do my best knowing that I could’ve probably answered more fully. My middle-aged grey matter is also to blame for this I might add. For this reason I’ve made an inquiry to join a workshop given by Catholic Voices , a group that was formed around the time the Holy Father visited England three years ago. Their website is most definitely worth a visit.)

Putting the Church's case in the public square

Putting the Church’s case in the public square

The article goes on to say…

We may be called on to catechise others in the Church, such as children and young people or adults seeking full communion with Christ. This is both an honour and a duty. We are co-workers of the apostles (bishops and priests) in this work, but as lay Catholics we are all equipped and commissioned to speak for Jesus Christ because of our baptism and confirmation.We should always be alert to situations where a Christian influence can be brought to bear on the world around us. (Like when someone makes casual remarks about the Mass, that may just be off the mark.) 

The Road to Emmaus. Do others recognise Jesus in us, walking alongside them in day to day life?

The Road to Emmaus. Do others recognise Jesus in us, walking alongside them in day to day life?

Of course it is best not to do this in a sanctimonious or “churchy” way. But if we have built genuine relationships of trust and respect, and offered honest friendship to those around us, then with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will find the right words to say when the opportunity arises.

It may be a matter of dropping a thought provoking comment into a conversation which helps people to see beyond the secular view. (In order to do this, we need to be up to date with the news around us.) Or it may be that we quietly invite someone to a spiritual event (It might be an invitation to come to Mass, to come back to Sacraments of the Church or to some other Catholic devotion, to talk with a priest or spiritual advisor, to read a book, to listen to a lecture, to assist in some ministry, to pray together or to attend a parish social event) or gathering introducing them to the Catholic community – and ultimately introducing them to Jesus Christ.

 

There may also be times when we are called on to speak up in public or private situations where misunderstandings or misconceptions about the Catholic faith are being repeated. (It can be a little trickier of course, when the comments are made within a group of strangers,but I think it’s can be even more so within a family setting. This is why I’m leaning toward some professional apologetics teaching, so that I may in future be confidently prepared to answer  questions of the day regarding Christianity and the Church.) We may have to bear witness to human moral principles, ( I do believe this to be the most important one of all. Our actions show what we’re all about.We can tell others how the Holy Spirit has worked in our lives. We can also share our faith through actions that demonstrate the ways in which we try to live authentically the Gospel Message.) which are being undermined in politics, writing to the press or lobbying parliament.

We have to use our skills and influence in the world to protect the common good and promote an authentic Christian society.”

I want to be a true disciples of Christ. Evangelisation today is needed more than ever!

Resting assured.

Image @thisnext.com

God’s call is constant. I feel the tugging to be with Him throughout the day, and I feel (or should I say seek?) His hand in whatever I’m thinking and doing. My decisions are coloured with the words from the acronym found on Christian bracelets which read: WWJD ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ Of late I feel peace and a sense of just knowing that my God is with me. I have received this peace through the Graces bestowed on me in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the most Holy Eucharist. This I know.

His call has sent me in search of Him in what I read and the company I choose to keep. My interests revolve around His work, and God willing, I plan to put forward a fervent hand  in the Vineyard when I retire, giving my time to charity and volunteer work in whichever way He desires, so that someone else who is searching for Him may reach out and take His hand. As for the present, my vocation as an educator fills me up to the brim with opportunities to share the Good News in different ways each and every day. My responsibilities as spouse and parent have I come to see as the workshop where   Christ is forming me, and where my ‘tests’ are greatest and sometimes most painful. I thank God for his steadfast patience and faith in me. I know I have much yet to learn, internalize and live. I trust in Him.

I went through a phase of indecision with regard to prayer, thinking that only ‘my own’ prayers were true, because they were an expression of my heart and no-one else’s.  This has taken me along a long path of self-discovery and lots of delving.  My excavations revealed a wealth of beautiful heartfelt prayer written by the saints and mystics of the Church, which say exactly what I want to express and more. My love for Jesus has grown and my heart and mind has been opened to the love of the Lord through these most beautiful prayers.

At a meeting recently , was I introduced to the following all-encompassing Easter-tide prayer:

Roll back the stone doors,

The doors of fear,

Fear of difficulties and problems.

– the doors of relying on our own strength;

-the doors of human respect.

And what we call our common sense.

-the doors of our sinfulness

and human frailty

-the doors of mediocrity and laziness.

We pray this Easter for Faith, Lord;

Not for faith in your raising to life

But for faith in your raising us to life with you.

The Good News

Of your resurrection from the dead

Will never spread to the whole world

Without that of our new life in you.

We pray for new vitality

For your Church,

For each one of us.

Call us out of the tomb,

And help us to unbind one another.

(Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako) 

Image at Vatican news.

Father says…

Today’s readings:

Job 7:1-4, 6-7      

Psalm 147:1-6                                                                 

1 Corinthians 9:16-19, 22-23

Mark 1:29-39                                                                                    

For a commentary on the readings for today click here: http://www.salvationhistory.com/homily_helps

Our Parish Priest’s homily focussed on the importance of  sharing The Good News. As Christians and followers of Christ we are called to share God’s plan for Salvation through our lives, words and actions. He then went on to use the example of  St. Vincent de Paul‘s life to demonstrate how an ordinary  Catholic made huge changes in the society in which he lived. Indeed, it’s an inspirational story! Read more here: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=326 Prayer too,  was highlighted in the homily tonight, as it is through regular and consistent conversation with the Lord  that we get to know Him and His will for our lives.

Image from Catholic Online

Naturally, I thought about what I need to do in order to improve my attempts on sharing the The Good News, and how much I still have to learn along the way. As usual, I am still contemplating the readings and mulling over Father’s  words of wisdom.

What a beautiful, meditative mass. Thank you Father!

I looked up the logo for the SVP Society in England and Wales. The message is clear.

The Sion Community

I want to introduce a Community that I have had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions. My first experience of this Community came about through a Mission Week. The Evangelists  were hosted by volunteer families from the receiving  parish .

The Mission had a two-pronged focus: the parents and children of that parish.  The Good News reached both the parents and children of the parish simultaneously, and boy, their Good News was electrifying! The Holy Spirit was present in them and worked through them in their work so much so that their love for Jesus was tangible. That experience left me changed forever. For more details on a Mission Week, please contact the Community directly.

My second encounter with them was not as intimate but just as powerful.   I urge anyone with a hunger for the Lord to investigate their webpage and to make contact with them. Here is the link: http://www.sioncommunity.org.uk/

Something to whet your appetite : I received an email on Friday from the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, advertising a ”Foundations for Mission’ weekend with Mgr Peter Hocken – 28th & 29th January. This will be held at the Sion Community and is sure to be life-changing and unforgettable.

See you there!