But that was only the beginning of my “adventure with Therese.” I gradually became more & more fascinated with this woman whom John Paul II proclaimed a “doctor of the church” – even though she left behind her no theological treatise & even her theological education was questionable to say the least. I read many of her texts & her biographies, & eventually I made a pilgrimage to her tomb. The photograph of her face has a permanent place on my writing desk. When, a few years ago, I completed a book that provocatively defended “little faith” in contrast to “great,” “unshakeable,” & self-assured faith (& I’ll come back to those ideas at the end of this book), it was a great lesson for me when I subsequently learned that I had not discovered anything that was outlandishly novel. The thing that once persuaded me to make my spiritual home in Christianity & the Roman Catholic Church – namely the fact that it was a religion of paradoxes - & what I, in the footsteps of Pascal, Kierkegaard, Chesterton, & Graham Greene, had pondered on & described in such a complicated way, had been discovered, experienced, & described in her own distinctive language & style by that “Little Flower.” My beliefs were, in fact, her “little way” viewed from a different angle, her path of spiritual childhood, which truly has nothing in common with infantility, although it often tends to be presented & propagated as such. In a lecture I gave some years ago, I compared that “Little Flower” to Friedrich Nietzsche & called these two very different spiritual contemporaries “siblings”: they both lived in the self-confident 19th century world of science & progress which, though few realised it at the time, was full of illusions & naïveté & would soon be superceded. It was also a time of piety, rigours, acquisition of merit, & the cultivation of virtues, all mixed with a neurotic fascination with sin. Both of them turned their backs on those features of their time & on the subtle temptations within its spiritual climate. [“Patience with God” Fr Tomaz Halik ]
On your behalf I would like to thank the organising group as well as the 50 parishioners who helped with & enjoyed the Parish BBQ last Sunday. It was a fine opportunity to reconnect after the holiday period & to prepare to immerse into the new academic year. It brought to life that re-echoing theme in the spirituality of Pope Francis, that we are at our best when we are accompanying each other; the Emmaus walk when we eventually realise that the person I sat next to at the BBQ, at Mass, at the prayer group or indeed packing the car to take food to the Food Bank, was Christ himself.
We are indeed blessed to have many young people within the Parish who season our weekend Masses with their full participation, & I hope those who have returned to School this last week will have settled in well. We remember specially now our students about to leave us for College or University within this month. We wish them well, & assure them of our prayers for a happy & fruitful term. I would encourage those leaving home for the first time to make early contact with their University Chaplaincy, where they will find a warm spiritual welcome & an ongoing opportunity to share their faith journey with others.
Next Sunday we will celebrate our annual Cemetery Mass in the graveyard at 12noon. It is an opportunity to pray for all our deceased relatives friends & parishioners buried here, & to unite with those buried elsewhere, who nonetheless still belong to this Parish & its emerging story. Please mention the Mass to those who go to Church elsewhere in the locality, & indeed to those who live further afield, who may not be able to be present but who will be united with us in thought & prayer. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.