“even God is not always in charge. but when Jesus sat looking down on Jerusalem & crying over it, the last thing he needed was a pious soul to run up to him & say “now, Jesus, don’t cry. It’s all in God’s perfect plan. In fact, it’s even prophesied in the scriptures” No. Let Jesus cry. Crying is a different mode entirely than fixing, explaining, or controlling. How’s that for Franciscan spirituality! We have the mistaken idea that God is totally in charge. But in John’s letter & gospel Jesus says very clearly that Satan is prince of this world [ 1 John 5;19 & John 12;31] God is very seldom in charge, it seems to me. Only in the lives of saints, only in people who know themselves & love the Lord & one another is God possibly in charge. In the rest of us, God is in charge maybe a few moments a day. Remember that the opposite to love is not really hatred, but control. God remains in love & therefore out of control mode. When we are not in love, we are invariably trying to control everything.. it is a good litmus test. God seems to be fully in control only when we give it back to God. [like our spare doses of covid vaccine] that is the beauty & limitation of those who love. They can give up control, & they can weep instead of explain. “ “most of us are not trained in redemptive listening. We’re trained to give answers. In the counselling context, this listening mode is often called nondirective counselling. It is based on the premise that one can’t ultimately provide the answers for others. All one can do is walk with the other & help others rightly to hear themselves. What people long to have happen is to be somehow received & understood. When they are heard, it seems, they can begin to hear. The most redemptive thing one can do for another is just to listen & to understand.” [Job & the Mystery of Suffering; Richard Rohr]
Last weekend, which transpired to be our last weekend of Masses before this latest lockdown, we had 56 parishioners at our three Masses; Sat 6pm Vigil ; Sunday 10am  & 4pm Vigil at Gilling . I am very grateful to those of you who, in recent weeks since we re-opened for Mass on 11 July Feast of St Benedict, have taken the risk to come back to our weekly celebrations, praying for your own intentions & remembering too those who, for all sorts of reasons, haven’t felt able to return to us yet.. On All Souls Day our two Masses & our graveyard Service encouraged 41 of you to come, & to light gravelights at the graves of your loved ones, with the graveyard for the next two nights alight with the flickering lights witnessing to our unity with those loved ones who have gone on before us. Class 3 & Class 4 from St Benedict’s RC PS visited the graveyard to offer a prayer for all those buried there many of their own families & neighbours, where we prayed together at the little area where our beloved young ones are buried..
On Friday this week due to lockdown our joint Schools Remembrance Service is cancelled. Our Village Remembrance Service due on Sunday has been cancelled; however, Sheila Harrison from St Hilda’s & Gerry Pettet from Our Lady & St Benedict’s representing the full Village, will meet to lay a wreath & share a prayer at our Crucifix & memorial in the graveyard just before 11am, with the 2min Silence. Our lockdown guidelines do not permit us to be there; however please join them from home at this moment of Remembrance. You will find the Roll of the Dead & prayers in the Outreach.
Although lockdown restrictions preclude the Celebration of Mass until further notice, the opportunity for Confessions continue & do arrange a convenient time through me please. We would also like to offer you the opportunity to visit Church during lockdown for private prayer, as we did earlier this year. Church will be open for prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament on Sundays & Thursdays between 2.30pm & 3.30pm; there is no need to book; you will be asked to sanitise your hands & to keep strictly to social distancing, & we will need to record your visits for the track & trace procedures. Do wrap up well please as our heating system will be out of action for some time yet as we are need of a new boiler.. Philip Thompson generously continues to loan us the useful space heaters.
The graveyard lighting, regularly vandalised over the last three or four years, & with all lighting columns now demolished, are to be replaced this next week with squat fittings at a cost of £1500, with the price of those 7 or 8 columns replaced in recent years taking the overall cost to over £2,000. Please pray for the perpetrator, who evidently has a grudge against me or our Catholicism.
Given the current debate over the provision of meals to our children during school holidays, & the unhelpful & emotive response from our own MP over the situation, who left the responsibility firmly with parents “to feed their own children”, when I wrote to him on Sunday to encourage him to press for our Churches to be exempt from the latest lockdown, I told him of my own disappointment in his response to the food poor, given our Parish is providing food through the Food Initiative at a cost of £200 a month. I hope those in our own Village who may be struggling to provide food for their children either in the holidays, or indeed at any time in this ongoing & increasing crisis in health & in the economy, will be 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. Food donations to Middlesbrough Food Bank via cash in envelope to Parish House or direct via firstname.lastname@example.org With my love & prayers. Fr Bede