“my brother Joseph had Down’s syndrome. Every so often in my dreams, he still comes storming back to deeply disturb my life. My mother adored him, & during those most difficult times, especially when his severe diabetes demanded unrelenting attention, she was sustained by the certainty that in caring for Joseph she was entertaining angels unaware. If I had my mother back now I would tell her that it was even more than that. It was the Lord himself who was there. The same is true for every member of every family. Even today, when the notion of family is undergoing radical change, it is still true. The mystics believed that God is born anew in every child. “ here comes God again” they would say “in deep disguise. The seed of God becomes God. Just as the pear seed becomes the pear tree, & the hazel seed becomes the hazel, so too, God’s seed in us becomes God.” & all of this happens in the living rooms & kitchens of every family. The home is, indeed, a holy place. It is the nursery of divinity. And, as with our Joseph, & all who are different, it can be a long nursery with no graduation day. As mid-wives of mystery, the work of many parents is unrelenting, their whole lives are spent in persuading & coaxing, with the mother-tongue, God’s incarnate, unfamiliar beauty from within reluctant shadows into the light of day. When parents are gathered on Judgement Day, the Lord will gently say “I was hungry & you fed me, thirsty & you gave me a drink, naked & you clothed me, homeless & you sheltered me, imprisoned & you visited me. Come, enter the kingdom I have prepared for you” & parents will be bewildered & ask “are you sure Lord? When did we see you hungry & feed you?” The Lord will reply “do you really not know? do you not remember the way you carefully fed me when I was a baby, the way loved me into my first small steps into your arms, & later my bigger steps into the waiting world? All the time, that was me you were nourishing. Yes, of course it was your child, but it was me, your God, as well.” “when were you thirsty, Lord?” they asked “I needed your love & comfort. You held me to your breast & I could hear your heart. Your gentle voice & loving eyes opened my soul to the mystery of my true identity. I, your God, became your vulnerable child so as to experience your tenderness to me.” “but naked Lord, & homeless?” the Lord replied “I was born naked & homeless, & you sheltered me, first in your womb & then in your arms. In my rebellious years I left home, blinded by lesser lights & loves. You did not judge me; your great heart never doubted me; you forgave me, you believed in me, you drew me into a higher way of life-making, light-making & love-making. No matter what, on my return home, your face at the door was always a smiling sacrament of welcome..” ..to be continued next week [Already Within; Fr Donal O’Leary]
As Pope Francis has a strong devotion to Our Lady, Untier of Knots, it is a good moment, as we approach the end of lockdown, to celebrate a number of knots in the life of the Parish which will be untied in the coming weeks; two Baptisms 26 June & 4 July, a Wedding 14 August, & in September, the start of a First Communion preparation programme for 8 young disciples, & a Confirmation preparation programme for one of our teenage disciples. Please pray for them & their families as they deepen their commitment to Our Lord & to us on their & our journey in faith together.
I am grateful to those of you have responded to my letter to parishioners of 2 June 2021 in which I outlined the financial difficulties we face due the factors I shared with you, asking for your urgent help. Some have pledged financial support, others have sought clarification & further details on the situation, & once I have allowed time for others to respond with further questions or wise counsel, I will be in touch with you all again to share with you, in summary, the questions raised & the advice offered, & our first responses.
Our Parish continues to provide food through the Food Initiative at a cost of £200 a month. [£3,600 since the pandemic began, a vital, appreciated & willing contribution in spite of our current significant Parish financial deficit ]. I hope those in our own Village who may be struggling to provide food for their children in this ongoing & increasing crisis in health & in the economy, will be warmly encouraged to benefit from our Food Initiative, where it is possible to approach Ray & Deb in the Village Shop, & quietly ask for a bag of food essentials which will be delivered to your door. This has been working well since the lockdown began, & it could be more of us in the Village will find themselves in ever deeper need of help, & we would encourage them to ask..it isn’t charity, it is basic good bread & butter Christian discipleship which, at such times of crisis, is asked of us in our plenty. Across the Village there is deep appreciation for the good natured & generous service given by Ray & Deb throughout the crisis, who regularly go the extra mile for us.
Please remember the sterling work of our own SVP group in the Parish, who are there, willing & able to help anyone in any form of difficulty, or those who would value a phone call now & again in the midst of the lockdown. Do please Contact Mary Borrett firstname.lastname@example.org. With my love & prayers Fr Bede