Do not, my dearest brother, estimate my worth by the number of my years. Grey hairs are not wisdom; it is wisdom which is as good as grey hairs. Do not I repeat, weigh faith by years, nor suppose me better than yourself merely because I have enlisted under Christ’s banner earlier than you. The Apostle Paul, that chosen vessel formed out of a persecutor, the last in the apostolic order is first in merit. For though last he has laboured more than they all. As for you, when you hear the Saviour’s counsel, if you wish to be perfect, go & sell that you have, & give to the poor, & come follow me, you translate his words into action. Naked, following the naked cross, you mount Jacob’s ladder all the easier because you carry nothing. Your dress changes with the change in your convictions, & you aim at no showy shabbiness which leaves your purse as full as before. No, with your hands & a clear conscience you make it your glory that you are poor both in spirit & in deed. There is nothing great in wearing a sad or a disfigured face, in simulating & in showing off fasts, or in wearing a cheap cloak while you retain a large income. When Crates the Theban – a millionaire of days gone by – was on his way to Athens to study philosophy, he cast away untold gold in the belief that wealth would not be compatible with virtue. What a contrast he offers to us, the disciples of a poor Christ! When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting. A reading from the letters of St Jerome (Family Fast Day was last Friday)
We strongly believe that running the Alpha Course as part of everyday parish life complements the many other ways that the parish reaches out to our local community, offering the hand of friendship, openness & welcome so necessary in today’s world. It also helps us build community & deepen friendship & love between members of the parish. It’s a win win. The first course welcomed 25/30 people, & the second 15/20. We are hoping for more people from beyond the parish on the third course which began last Monday. Please pray for its success & do come & bring a friend if possible. “I would recommend the course not only to those seeking to find out about Christianity for the first time but also for Christians seeking to refresh & revitalise their faith.” “Monday evening surpassed my expectations in every aspect. I found it interesting, thought provoking & fun.” (The Alpha Team) Some soundbites from the Panel Discussion “Faith in the Family” at The Faith & Life Convention, Belfast, Sat 30th Sept 2017, with over 500 delegates, where I led two Workshops on Benedictine Spirituality. “how has your experience of family influenced your faith?” (faith at home & faith in parish) “my parish has formed me.” “where am I being called to go next?” ( a Damascus encounter or an Emmaus experience). “it was in family that we learned values.” “when you grew out of your shoes I got them.” poor & yet solidarity. “giving them what I’ve had as a child.” “you marry your husband’s family & you connect.” Please keep our local & indeed all families in prayer as we prepare for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin 22nd to 26th August 2018 where Pope Francis will be present. With my love & prayers. Fr Bede.