“Now it is this way with ourselves. To see ourselves as gift from God is just to look deeply into ourselves, to see ourselves for what we really are. You cannot love yourself, your real self (as distinct from valuing your price or what you will fetch) without being grateful to God, without thanking him, thinking him through yourself. & it is only when you do this, when you thank God for yourself, for the gift of existence, that you are released form the prison of self-seeking to value others for their own sake, which is to value them too as gifts of God. That is why Jesus tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves. He is asking us to love our neighbour in the way we love ourselves – in gratitude to God. But there is much more to it than this. For when you do it, when you actually thank God for your being & for others (not just when you think about it but when you do it), you discover a further truth: that the thing you are most grateful for, the greatest gift of God, is the gratitude itself. The greatest gift of God to you is not just that he made you, but that you love him. the greatest gift of God to you is that you can speak with him & say ‘thank you’ to him as a friend – that you are on intimate speaking terms with God. God has made us not just his creatures but his lovers; he has given us not just our existence, our life, but a share in his life. We converse familiarly with God on equal terms as the Son does with the Father. We love God with the same love that Jesus had for him, the love we call the Holy Spirit. & we love ourselves not only because we came forth from God but because our life is God’s; life, the life of the Spirit. & our love for our neighbour is this same Spirit. That means that whatever you do from love for anyone is not just a sign of human goodness, not just a sign of the goodness God has given you, but a manifestation of God. In our everyday routine acts of friendship, forbearance, forgiveness, we reveal the eternal love of God to the world. We bring the world to the presence of God. & we do this because we love ourselves as gift of God, as filled with the Holy Spirit, the eternal life of God. & this life is one which we shall have & enjoy in eternity, when all the masks have perished & there is no more striving for importance, achievements or even for goodness. This life is one in which we shall live as God himself lives in the eternal exchange of love.” (God, Christ & Us; Fr Herbert McCabe OP)
Last Sunday morning we had a tremendous celebration as our 11 young disciples took their First Holy Communion at our 10am Mass. They were a credit to their parents, teachers & catechists in the full hearted way they immersed in the Mass & in the celebration in the Parish Hall afterwards. In our 15 wks of Sat morning classes, they have bonded into a close knit group, & both them & their parents have expressed a keen interest for ongoing opportunities for them to meet both socially & spiritually. Please keep them in your prayers.
We are blessed to have a number of gifted musicians & singers within the Parish, who come together for special moments such as Christmas & Holy Week. Understandably, due to College & family commitments, they are unable to join us every week. However, with the loss of Andrew Carter who has now moved to Scarborough, it is perhaps a Holy Spirit moment to look forward & to consider forming a small choir/music group who would meet regularly for practise & enjoyment & who would take on an occasional Sunday Mass. Could I suggest that those who may be interested meet after Mass next Sun 16th June; you don’t have to be skilled either in music or song, we will be delighted to have you learn alongside us. (We are to arrange a Sunday morning moment in early September, convenient to both Anne & Andrew Carter, & Bernard Walker, to mark the sterling service they have given to the Parish over many years, Bernard 60 years as our bell ringer.)
I am grateful to all of you who were at Mass here a fortnight ago, & who graciously received a copy of the Prayer Card which tries to put into words the deep sense of sorrow & remorse felt by our Monastic Community, following our failure to protect he young & the vulnerable in our care both in our schools & parishes. Whilst we didn’t offer the Card last weekend at the joyous moment of our youngsters First Communion, I feel it is important to hand you a copy personally, to those of you who have yet to receive one. Please do pray the prayer at home.
This Saturday, 9th June, I will be attending a Bishops Study Day with 2 delegates from the Parish looking towards the future as missionary disciples in missionary parishes within a missionary Church. We will report back. Fr Columba, who has been covering Sunday Mass in Gilling since Fr Matthew had to step down, is away on holiday for the next 3 weeks, so I will be celebrating a 9am Mass at Gilling before coming on here for our 10am Mass.
Could I share with you some news on Staff in St Benedict’s Primary School? We are to lose 3 members of Staff at the end of this term: Mr Hale has been appointed to the Staff at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs PS in York, where he will work again with Mrs Emma Barrs, now Headteacher there. Miss Carter will be away for most of next academic year on maternity leave. Miss Pickering, our Teaching Assistant is to train as a teacher with specialism in Dance. With such a short time to advertise & find the best replacements, please pray through the Holy Spirit that we will find the right individuals to continue to move the School forward towards the Ofsted recognition which the work & performance of the School now fully merits. I would ask you to share with confidence & passion the very good news of our School’s academic & spiritual life, as we seek to encourage more parents to make St Benedict’s PS their first choice for early education, from Nursery upwards. Love & prayers, Fr Bede.