“There is risk to every life. Those who risk nothing risk much more, the Talmud teaches. While we keep our heads down, our mouths closed, our public reputations unblotted, thanks to the silence we keep in the face of great public issues of the day, the pillars of society erode in front of us. The Constitution flounders against the political ambitions of the very people pledged to protect it. The poor get even poorer. The middle class watches their retirement go to dust. It is to us in this place that the scripture calls most clearly: “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust & not be afraid.” We must not fear the darkness; we must simply resolve to carry light into wherever we are. The call to discern the difference between what is holy & what is simply popular, between what is & what should be, is of the essence of the good life. The work of God is in our hands. To ignore that is to ignore the very fullness of life. Every prophet contemplated the price of the risk & went on regardless – calling to the world to become its best self - & so must we.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T S Eliot
It is finding the courage to utter the first word of truth in public that takes all the strength we can muster. It is learning to say, quietly, unequivocally, “I think differently about that,” & then explain why. It is stepping up to the issue & claiming the right to think differently about it that turns heads & opens hearts. It is not an attack on anyone; it is simply a declaration that there is something missing in the God-life we claim to live. It is the call to consciousness & conscience.” “A ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” John A Shedd (“The Time is Now”: Sr Joan Chittister OSB)
Living God, you walk alongside us & speak to us throughout the Scriptures. Your Son, Jesus Christ, listens to our hopes & fears & shows us how to live for one another. Send us the Holy Spirit to open our hearts & minds so that we may be your witnesses throughout the world. Amen. V. Your word is our path & your truth is our light. R. This day & every day. (Prayer of the Word for the Year of the Word)
Following our Coordinating Group meeting on Mon 3rd Feb to discuss various issues relating to the amalgamation of our three Churches in the one Parish, we have decided on the following timetable & location for our Holy Week Services: Maundy Thursday: Mass & Watching at the Altar of Repose: 7.30pm: OL&HA Good Friday: Liturgy: 3pm: OL&SB Stations of the Cross: 7pm: OL&HA Easter Vigil: Sat 9pm: OL&HA Easter Day: Mass 10am: OL&SB We would be grateful if you would note these especially in your diaries, particularly the locations, & do let others know soon so that they can do likewise. The Coordinating Group will meet again, together with the Vision Group on Monday 24th Feb at 6pm. We are grateful to those who form both groups, who are putting much thought & prayer into helping us move forward at this fertile moment of transition & change.
In view of the spread of the coronavirus, Bishop Terence advices us to suspend the sign of peace, & to distribute Holy Communion from the Pattern. He reminds us of the normal good practice catching coughs & sneezes in a tissue, & frequent handwashing with soap or gel, & avoiding close contact with people who are ill. Please keep those who are infected, the medical teams, & those seeking a preventative vaccine in your prayers. Thank you to all who have already given generously as usual to the Zimbabwe Education Fund. Fr Henry, who spent Christmas out there with our Community, will speak at our two weekend Masses on 29th Feb/1st Mar about life in the country in general, & in the townships around our Mission, & the effects on the young people seeking education.
Under the title Behold 2020, our Bishops are encouraging us to prepare for the Re-dedication of England as Mary’s dowry on Sun 29th Mar 2020. We are invited into a “do it yourself” Retreat of 33 days, starting on 21st Feb 2020 & finishing on the Feast of the Annunciation 25th Mar 2020. There is a comprehensive booklet to help you on a daily basis & we hope to have these available next weekend. In addition we will include the Rosary in our Saturday Holy Hour during the Retreat period, & we will pray the Angelus Prayer at the start of each Mass during the 33 days. More details https://www.behold2020.com/the-rededication with my love & prayers Fr Bede