In my homily this weekend, I refer to Fr Donal O’Leary’s 8 beatitudes, “be-attitudes” for priests which define for me the spirituality of them, for monks & nuns, & for front line disciples like yourselves. I would like to open something from each beatitude with you weekly, this week us as “farmer of hearts”. “the priest farms the field of dreams. He divines that underground spring, the secret spark in every heart. He knows that behind the veneer of our external lives, the eternal is at work. Within us there is a secret immensity that we seldom even glimpse. In its subtle wisdom, the eternal artist carefully designs a unique destiny for each person. “Before I formed you in the womb..” to be born is to be chosen. There is a task that can only be accomplished by each particular heart, & this task of grounding, focussing & nourishing the creative longing of the divine within everyone, is priestly work. “Each life is urgent with divinity, there is nothing neutral in the divine. Its nature is creativity, its urgency is transfiguration. Each individual is made in the image & likeness of this divine creativity. This is where all human longing has its source. We are the expression of divine transfiguration. In each individual a different aspect of God finds form. To be spiritual is to incarnate & realise this new dimension of God. Each of us is born out of a different place in the circle of God’s heart. This is the reason why each individual is unique; each comes from a different nest in the divine. It is towards this nest that our deepest longing tends; it is only here that the soul can discover her true poise & rhythm. To allow this to come through into the texture & fibre of our feeling thought & action, is the task of faith. Much of our weariness & emptiness comes from our blindness to the secret divinity of our hearts. God is never in competition with the human, rather the human is the language of the divine.” [Robert Barron “the priest as bearer of mystery.”]
36yrs ago when I taught RE at Gilling Castle I was with a Yr 5 group; I gave them the first half of a question & asked them to complete it; “God’s love is like..” I expected “God’s love is like my Mummys love for me”..or “my love for my pet rabbit”..instead they told me “God’s love is like a tractor working in a field” “God’s love is like the ticking of a clock.” Young farmers of hearts, ever listening out for God & his timeless presence & never disappointed..
At Mass last weekend I shared some breaking news on the migrant crisis. With the hot weather & calm seas, the increasing flow of migrants into the UK is a cause of concern for the UK government. Ben & Jerry’s, makers of superior ice cream, spoke out on behalf of the migrants; “we think the real crisis is our lack of humanity for people fleeing war, climate change & war people wouldn’t be making dangerous journeys if they had any other choice people cannot be illegal” Home Secretary Priti Patel, in retaliation, branded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “overpriced junk food” a sad reaction, hitting out at ice cream & avoiding the real issue. More than 4,000 people have successfully made the crossing so far this year. Boris Johnson intervened “currently it is very difficult to legally return people who arrive from France using small boats” he is to press for changes to the law.
We prayed collectively last weekend for our own young disciples involved in this year’s extraordinary situation of awarding students some form of grading in A Level & GCSE subjects in the absence of public examinations. Some of them suffered 96hrs of trauma over the inconsistencies of how awards were calculated, & although thankfully a political U-turn seems to have revived some hopes, the difficulties appear to have moved on into University admission, so please continue to pray for all those affected, & for our GCSE students who receive their awards this week.
With the return of some of our parishioners from holidays, we have re-instated our 4pm Sunday Mass & it will continue meantime; last weekend’s attendances were Sat 6pm Vigil 14 ; Sunday 10am 17 ; Sunday 4pm 3. It is important to book in beforehand please, & thank you all for coming prepared with your face masks.
As the economic situation worsens, & many who were being furloughed find that their work is in jeopardy, could I remind you of our Food Initiative in the Village, 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, particularly now the school holidays are under way & there are no school lunches, will find the initiative helpful.
The St Vincent de Paul Society [SVP ] both nationally & at our Parish Conference level are offering additional support to the elderly & disadvantaged during the Covid crisis, with a national emergency fund as well local help; they are gently doing great work; you can gain more information from the national website www.svp.org.uk , from our Parish website, or direct through Mary Borrett email@example.com
I would remind our parishioners in Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling, that whilst our Church there necessarily remains closed due to its small size being unable to meet the social distancing stipulations & still accommodate the expected numbers at a regular fortnightly Sat Vigil Mass, they are warmly welcome to join us here, especially in this in-between time for all of us, as we all find it different strange & somewhat difficult. We are poorer for your distance from us, poorer spiritually, emotionally & relationally. I met with Francis Locke, one of our Coordinating Group members for Gilling, there on Tuesday to decide on seating arrangements & capacity, & we will be compiling a Risk Assessment document to go to the Trustees & the Diocese, in order to seek to re-open the Church for Mass for small congregations. With my love & prayers. Fr Bede