Jesus blessed the poor – not in order to keep the poor in their place by offering them an opiate promise of reward in the afterlife, as some Marxists interpret that passage (& as some Christians actually represented it from time to time). He made poverty a metaphor of openness towards God’s gifts. It is necessary to preserve poverty of the spirit, & not join the ranks of the full, the sure, &self-assured, who are satisfied & locked within themselves. Similarly, in terms of the spirit, I believe it is necessary to preserve a spirit of seeking. (Eastern spiritual masters use the term “beginner’s mind”). I have nothing against missions & preaching. Preaching is necessary in the same way that feeding the hungry is necessary. But this is a different issue; one must maintain a seeking spirit, just as one must have a spirit of poverty - it is necessary to remain open because only in that way can we reach the Kingdom of God. It is in this sense that Jesus blesses these poor, the mourning & those who thirst after righteousness. He does not cynically congratulate them because their pockets & stomachs are empty & their faces tear-stained. Care for & closeness to the poor are not beneficial just to them, but also to us. They enable us to teach in the spirit of poverty & to preserve it. Our closeness to the seekers ought also to teach us openness; we don’t have to solely think about having to teach & edify them, we can also learn a great deal from them. We can try to show those people in the church who are self-assured & satiated about their religion that it is necessary, at least sometimes, to reach out to people on the fringe of the churches, & not just to convert & assimilate them. Being able to take a look at how God appears from the standpoint of people who are searching, doubting & questioning, isn’t this a new, exciting, necessary, & useful religious experience. (Patience & God; Tomas Halik)
On Data Protection progress, thank you to those of you who have completed a Consent Form since the legislation was introduced on 25th May 2018. There has been ample opportunity for others to respond. Until we receive your Form we are not permitted to make contact with you, as you have yet to give your express permission. There have been over 25 occasions where I have been unable to make contact with individuals for whom I have as yet no consent. On our Parish 100 Club 3 of our winners in June have yet to complete a Consent Form so we are unable to forward on their winnings for the time being. Could I encourage you to ask members of your family who do not attend our Parish, or who attend elsewhere, to consider being registered with us here? We hold pastoral responsibility for all baptised Catholics who live within our parish boundaries, & it is vital for the spiritual, administrative & practical well-being of the Parish that we are fully aware of those to whom we owe the love & duty of care.
As the summer holiday period begins, certainly for those of you who are tied to College & School terms, I would like to thank you for your faithful service to our Parish over this last year, to those of you who serve in various ministries, & particularly to those who support us with their regular attendance & steady prayers. We wish you safe journeys & happy times. We welcome those who are on holiday in the locality & are joining us for our weekend Mass. It can be a source of concern to some who find it difficult or impossible to meet their Sunday Obligation whilst on holiday. In such genuine circumstance, please consider transferring your Obligation to a weekday Mass of your choice within a reasonable period of your return. To miss the moment is to miss the grace, rather than to incur a penalty. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.