Growth Enlightenment opens the soul to an awareness of the God-life everywhere, to the holiness of life, to the connectedness of the universe, to the realisation of the Oneness of creation. It is a consciousness that makes morality & maturity possible, but it is neither morality nor maturity. Union with God is not the perfection of the self, nor a badge of excellence. Union with God is a realisation of the living presence of God everywhere, in me, around me, above me, below me. “Before me & behind me, to my right & to my left” as the Irish mystics said. Union with God is not a static thing which once achieved marbleises the soul into one arrested unending moment of illumination suspended over life. On the contrary Life is life it does not freeze at any time under any conditions. Life goes on, whatever our consciousness of God. And we with it. We go on grappling with life, growing into awareness & struggling to be worthy of the awareness in which we now walk. And we fail often. Life is simply not about perfection, because perfection is not something that life offers. Our bodies do not develop to some ultimate state & then become fixed into some eternal form. Scientists tell us that all the protein molecules of our bodies change every 6 months. Every 6 months we are made new again, not ostensibly different, perhaps, but new. Nor do our souls reach the static state. Every day we make our souls new again. Every day we rethink old decisions & make new ones. We grapple & struggle & distort & repent over & over again. Every day of our lives we grow a little more into God or a little more into self. “Illuminated Life” by Sr Joan Chittister OSB.
We held our Parish Forum last Sunday morning after Mass, when 34 Parishioners heard the detailed explanation of the liturgies & outreach of the Parish since the last forum in Nov 2016. A number of key issues for advice & consideration were mentioned, & to allow the necessary full discussion to take place, we have arranged a follow-up Forum for Sun 15th Apr 2018 at 11.15am in the Parish Hall. For those who were unable to be with us last Sunday, copies of the explanation document are available at the back of Church. It forms a wonderful affirmation of all that happens in our Parish, & indeed beyond in my Retreat ministry & work elsewhere, which is supported by your prayers & understanding. We made an appeal for more parishioners to step forward to take on a ministry within the Parish, to support those already giving sterling service, & to allow the less able to deservedly stand aside should they wish. Please do try to come to the Forum on Sun 15th Apr as it provides a vital opportunity for you to contribute the future of our Parish. Could I acknowledge with gratitude the impressive numbers of you who have steadily come to Mass this last week in spite of the severe conditions. For 10 to come each day has been remarkable. This autumn there is to be a Eucharistic Pilgrimage & Congress in Liverpool 7th to 9th Sept 2018 with a Symposium Day (Fri) Congress Day (Sat) & Pilgrimage Day (Sun). The costs are £40 a day for Fri & Sat, with the Pilgrimage Day in Liverpool Cathedral being free but needing a ticket. If you would like to go to represent the Parish please let me know by this coming Friday. The Parish will cover the day payments. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.