And what about the risk of “infection”, the risk of letting oneself be contaminated?
We need to enter the darkness, the night in which so many of our brethren live. We need to be able to make contact with them and let them feel our closeness, without letting ourselves be wrapped up in that darkness & influenced by it. Caring for outcasts & sinners does not mean letting the wolves attack the flock. It means trying to reach everyone by sharing the experience of mercy, which we ourselves have experienced, without ever caving in to the temptation of feeling that we are just or perfect. The more conscious we are of our wretchedness & our sins, the more we experience the love & infinite mercy of God among us, & the more capable we are of looking upon the many” wounded” we meet along the way with acceptance & mercy. So we must avoid the attitude of someone who judges & condemns from the lofty heights of his own certainty, looking for the splinter in his brother’s eye while remaining unaware of the beam in his own. Let us always remember that God rejoices more when one sinner returns to the fold than when ninety-nine righteous people have no need of repentance. When a person begins to recognise the sickness in their soul, when the Holy Spirit-the Grace of God-acts within them & moves their heart toward an initial recognition of their own sins, he needs to find an open door, not a closed one. He needs to find acceptance, not judgement, prejudice or condemnation. He needs to be helped, not pushed away or cast out. Sometimes, when Christians think like scholars of the law, their hearts extinguish that which the Holy Spirit lights up in the heart of a sinner when he stands at the threshold, when he starts to feel nostalgia for God.
(The Name of God is Mercy; Pope Francis)
On Saturday 9th September there is an Inspirational Day for Ministers of the Word & Ministers of Holy Communion at the Spa Conference Centre in Scarborough. This year the Diocese have a keynote speaker, Kathryn Turner, Head of the Department of Spirituality for the Hexham & Newcastle Diocese, who will reflect on Mary as our model of discipleship & ministry. 450/500 are expected to attend, with so far only one from OL&SB to gain from the opportunity.
It is “a chance to refresh our ministry by reflecting on the example of Mary, mindful that it is the day the statue of Our Lady of Fatima arrives in our Diocese.” Coincidence or the work of the Holy Spirit? you decide…
& then, please decide to go; registration 9.30am, the day ends at 3pm after Mass. Lunch provided. Our Parish will happily & thankfully fund the cost for each of you to go. Please sign up on the list at the back of Church this weekend.
Please include specially in your prayers this weekend Rev Catherine Reid & her family, together with the Parishioners of the Benefice as she is Instituted as Vicar in St Hilda’s Church by the Bishop of Whitby this Sunday afternoon. We welcome her with great joy & look forward to her years of ministry among us.
I will be away from the Parish leading a pilgrimage to Iona from this Friday, 1st Sept until Thurs 7th Sept. Our weekday & weekend Masses will be covered from the Abbey. If there is urgent need of a Priest during my absence, please contact Fr Prior 766712 or Fr Matthew 766873. Our first Saturday Devotions, due next weekend, will be postponed until Sat 9th Sept at 11am. Be sure of my continued prayers from the pilgrimage, as we journey to the remote island off the west coast of Scotland from where St Columba & his monks evangelised Scotland & north east England, even down to Lastingham & Whitby.
With my love & prayers. Fr Bede.