“Did Saul really die when Paul was born on that road to Damascus? Or was Saul always in the background, the raw material of God’s new creation? Was Saul really a bad man, the righteous idealist that we all love to hate? Or was Paul such a good man since most find him hard to love? For the rest of his life & in all his letters, Paul seems to love & understand paradox. He teaches through contrast, comparison & the overcoming of seeming contradictions. Those who read him superficially have almost always made one of the sides bad & the other good, for example flesh & spirit, but this is largely to miss his genius as a teacher. If one has not consciously struggled, & partly reconciled, these patterns inside of oneself, I think it is almost impossible to understand the great St Paul. Like Socrates & all wisdom teachers, he is a midwife & can bring out only what is already there. I myself, for example have found that one is largely wasting ones time talking about “contemplation” to a person who has not had at least one moment of undeserved and unexpected communion. Yes, you can choose to resent & reject Paul for many understandable reasons, but know that you are missing an opportunity to leap into the fray of full humanness. He, like the scriptures themselves is a “text in travail”. He gives you some answers, yes, but only by allowing you first of all to experience the dilemma & the struggle within yourself. He is the problem personified. He is the human paradox & the human possibility. Stay with him, & you will see your own life caught up in the same text & the same travail.” (Paul: A man of contradictions: Fr Richard Rohr)
Some first quotations form Pope Francis at World Youth Day in Panama this week, which finishes this weekend: “It is possible to defend the common good above the interests of a few, or for few only, when there is a firm decision to share with justice ones goods.” “The younger generation with its joys & enthusiasm, with its freedom, sensitivity & critical capacity, demands that adults, & especially those who exercise roles of leadership in public life lead a life consonant with the dignity & authority that they possess & that has been entrusted to them.” Please continue to pray for Emmanuelle Toone, Archie Hewitt & Henry Laird who are at World Youth Day, & will give us some feedback of their experience soon.
The Catholic Parliamentary & Public Affairs Internship Scheme is recruiting at least 6 recently graduated Catholics to learn for an intensive experience of political & social action in a spiritual context. The Scheme will run from Sept 2019 until July 2020, & positions are given with Christian MP’s & Peers in Parliament, the Catholic Education Service CAFOD & the Caritas Social Action Network. Interns gain from retreats & spiritual guidance, as well as living in a vibrant young Catholic community in the centre of London. As part of their formation, they will study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Catholic Social Teaching at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. More information www.faithinpolitics.org.uk closing date applications 28th Feb 2019. Questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
First thought for Lent 2019 after meeting Rev Catherine Reid last Wednesday. a weekly Lenten Pause, a half hour for silent prayer & recollection in alternate Churches, with varying dates to try to include those with regular weekly commitments. Fri 8th March OL&SB: Tues 12th March St Hilda’s: Fri 22nd March OL&SB: Tues 26th March St Hilda’s: Mon 1st April OL&SB: Tues 9th April St Hilda’s. Sun 14th April (Palm Sunday) Stations of the Cross & Palm Procession at Byland Abbey (provisional) with love & my prayers. Fr Bede