The Lord – Blessed John Henry Newman
"Then in his mercy may he give us safe lodging, and holy rest, and rest at the last. Amen"
Blessed John Henry Newman
Reflection and Prayer Group - The Gift (session1)
We reflected upon how the Holy Spirit of Christ is with us and how He reveals that great love of God the Father. We considered how knowing more of Gods's love can help us in our every day life. WE finished the session in prayer for ourselves and those who need our help at this time.
All who attened really enjoyed this session and went home with five daily reflections to consider are looking forward to next Wednedsay when we consider "The Joy of the Gospel",
Reflection and Prayer Group - The Gift
The GiftA six-week course entitled "The Gift" is commencing on Wednesday 18th Jan – 7.30-9:30 pm and is taking place at St Peter's Church meeting room.
Pope Francis’s challenge to us as practicing Catholics is to be ‘spirit filled evangelisers’.
Catholics are called to unpack and explore the greatest gift we have been given – the gift of our faith. The six session Gift course has been produced to help us to do just that.
It has been developed as a response to Pope Francis’s exhortation ‘The Joy of the Gospel’.
If you’d like to know more check out the introductory video below and if you're interested in attending a future session call 07751 625942:
The Gift: A Life in the Spirit Course - A New Resource From CaFE from CaFE on Vimeo.
Journey towards Jesus in Advent
There were five sessions in all addressing the four Sundays of Advent and Christmas Day Gospel readings from Maththew, Mark and Luke. The book we used considers and contrasts each of their choices of introducing Jesus to us to that of John the Evangelist and what that means for us:
- Week one we reflected on Jesus' teaching on the last judgement, which kindly coaches his followers to prepare for the end of time;
- Week two we looked at the figure of John the Baptist and how important he is to the Ministry of Christ;
- Week three we journeyed with the "gentleman" Joseph as he faced six interruptions in his life that caused him to turn away from his dreams to follow God's will;
- Week four we celebrated Mary of Nazareth story as she welcomes the unforeseen and becomes the human tabernacle of God;
- And finally in week five we concluded our adventure reflecting on the birth of Christ and its significance for us today.
We all found greater value in studying this book which offered us a chance to reflect, to look back, to look forward and consider the greatest gift to humanity - and each and every one of us - God's only begotten Son. The book is a mix of text and works of art that help us to see and appreciate more the relevance of Jesus in our lives today. We all commend this book to others to read as a group as we did or on your own and are confident you will be enriched by its messages.
Bishop's Conference Statement on the EU Referendum – 23 June 2016
In our view, three things are essential:
• that we pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit;
• that we all inform ourselves of the arguments on both sides of the debate;
• that we each exercise our vote with a view to the common good of all.
The coming together of European countries in the aftermath of a catastrophic war was designed to bind together former combatants and the contribution of the European project to peace in Western Europe should be recognised. Pope Francis reminds us, in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 25 November 2014, that the ideals which shaped this European project from the beginning were peace, subsidiarity and solidarity. In the Treaty of Rome, trade was harnessed to peace. The peace achieved in Western Europe shows indeed how “our problems can become powerful forces for unity” (par 5). Our decision in the referendum should thus be taken in the context of how best we can promote justice and peace.
Our focus needs to be above all on the human person. We need to build a Europe “which revolves not around the economy but around the sacredness of the human person, around inalienable values” (par 37). We all have a responsibility to keep the dignity of the human person at the forefront of the debate. We must ask ourselves, in the face of every issue, what will best serve the dignity of all people both within Europe and beyond.
This referendum therefore is about much more than economics.
We must not forget the profoundly religious roots of European nations; that Europe has a two thousand year-old Christian culture that has shaped the continent and is a dynamic spiritual, moral and intellectual resource as we address the future. As Pope Francis reminds us, we need continually to ask ourselves: who is my neighbour? In response to grave challenges, we are called to be generous and welcoming to all others, especially the most vulnerable.
Each person will have their own views about the best political framework in which to realise these ideals. We acknowledge the justifiable concerns that many people have in relation to the European Union, its institutions and the implications of increasing integration.
This referendum is an opportunity to reflect on those values we cherish as a nation and as Catholics. High among these values are mutual respect and civility, vital in this national conversation about the very future of our nation within the world.
Prepare and Act
Before voting, ask yourself the following question:
How in the light of the Gospel, can my vote best serve the common good?
As you vote, you may wish to use this prayer:
“Lord, grant us wisdom that we may walk with integrity, guarding the path of justice, and knowing the protection of your loving care for all”.
Womens World Day of Prayer - Sandy Churches
Tertullian on marriage
"How beautiful the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in hope, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practise. They are as brother and sister, both servants of the same Master. Nothing divides them, either in the flesh or the spirit. They pray together, they worship together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake of God’s banquet; side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts. Unembarrassed they visit the sick and assist the needy. They give alms without anxiety; they attend the Sacrifice without hindrance. They need not be furtive about making the sign of the cross, nor timorous in greeting the brethren, nor silent in asking a blessing of God. Psalms and hymns they sing to one another…Hearing and seeing this, Christ rejoices. To such as these he gives his peace. Where there are two together, there he is present; and where he is, evil is not."
CAFOD special day of reflection
Day of Prayer for peace in Syria
|Join us in praying and fasting for Syria.|
Pope Francis has called on all the faithful worldwide to join in a day of prayer and fasting on the 7th September, for peace in Syria and the Middle East. However the information came out too late for St Peter's Parish, Biggleswade, to respond so we've deferred it to Saturday 14th where Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Come and join us and show your solidarity with those suffering from this awful conflict.
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace.”
If you can't make it then please join us at home and be in solidarity with the people of Syria. Say this prayer and share with family, friends and your local community.
Download our intercessions for Syria >
Explore CAFOD prayer resources >
Prayer text from Roman Missal © 2010 ICEL
Used with permission from the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
From Father Richard's Desk
Over a lifetime we accumulate so many things. People’s attics are full of goods that may come in useful one day.
As the goods accumulate and start taking up space needlessly the ‘goods’ that we kept for the rainy day become the ‘bads’. The ‘bads’ take ownership of space that ought not to be occupied or could be used more usefully.
It is not a bad test of renunciation to go through your goods and get rid of those ‘goods’ that have become ‘bads’.
Our spiritual lives are often reflected in our more visible daily lives. Hanging on to things that are no longer useful, or to grudges, or ways of doing things simply because we’ve always done them, is not a sign of renunciation, of traveling light, of letting the Lord dispose of us as He will.
Renunciation takes many forms. Clear out the material rubbish and then get started on the emotional and spiritual - the sacrament of reconciliation awaits.
Have a good week.
From Father Richard's Desk
My Dear Brothers & Sisters,
Lots of room this week for comments. The gospel strikes me as being amazingly intimate. St. John is always repeating “Love one another”, “Love one another as I have loved you”. It is a contrast to a common misunderstanding. We human beings are very limited, and God chose in sending us His Son, to teach us to live within these limitations. Not only to live within these limitations but to live within them well.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the lawyer asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus’ answer is basically – whoever you make yourself neighbour to!
‘EVERYONE’ is not our neighbour. ‘SOMEONE’ could be.
Who are we called to love?
To love one another (those available to us) NOT the whole world. God always asks the possible, NOT the impossible.
Make someone happy.
New Year Message-His Holiness The Pope
POPE BENEDICT XVI
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
WORLD DAY OF PEACE
the rest can be found at Pope's New Year Message
Pope Benedict's Christmas Homily
SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI
Saint Peter's Basilica
Monday, 24 December 2012
[Video] Spoken in ItalianDear Brothers and Sisters!
Again and again the beauty of this Gospel touches our hearts: a beauty that is the splendour of truth. Again and again it astonishes us that God makes himself a child so that we may love him, so that we may dare to love him, and as a child trustingly lets himself be taken into our arms. It is as if God were saying: I know that my glory frightens you, and that you are trying to assert yourself in the face of my grandeur. So now I am coming to you as a child, so that you can accept me and love me.
I am also repeatedly struck by the Gospel writer’s almost casual remark that there was no room for them at the inn. Inevitably the question arises, what would happen if Mary and Joseph were to knock at my door. Would there be room for them? And then it occurs to us that Saint John takes up this seemingly chance comment about the lack of room at the inn, which drove the Holy Family into the stable; he explores it more deeply and arrives at the heart of the matter when he writes: “he came to his own home, and his own people received him not” (Jn 1:11). The great moral question of our attitude towards the homeless, towards refugees and migrants, takes on a deeper dimension: do we really have room for God when he seeks to enter under our roof? Do we have time and space for him? Do we not actually turn away God himself? We begin to do so when we have no time for God. The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have. And God? The question of God never seems urgent. Our time is already completely full. But matters go deeper still. Does God actually have a place in our thinking? Our process of thinking is structured in such a way that he simply ought not to exist. Even if he seems to knock at the door of our thinking, he has to be explained away. If thinking is to be taken seriously, it must be structured in such a way that the “God hypothesis” becomes superfluous. There is no room for him. Not even in our feelings and desires is there any room for him. We want ourselves. We want what we can seize hold of, we want happiness that is within our reach, we want our plans and purposes to succeed. We are so “full” of ourselves that there is no room left for God. And that means there is no room for others either, for children, for the poor, for the stranger. By reflecting on that one simple saying about the lack of room at the inn, we have come to see how much we need to listen to Saint Paul’s exhortation: “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Paul speaks of renewal, the opening up of our intellect (nous), of the whole way we view the world and ourselves. The conversion that we need must truly reach into the depths of our relationship with reality. Let us ask the Lord that we may become vigilant for his presence, that we may hear how softly yet insistently he knocks at the door of our being and willing. Let us ask that we may make room for him within ourselves, that we may recognize him also in those through whom he speaks to us: children, the suffering, the abandoned, those who are excluded and the poor of this world.
There is another verse from the Christmas story on which I should like to reflect with you – the angels’ hymn of praise, which they sing out following the announcement of the new-born Saviour: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.” God is glorious. God is pure light, the radiance of truth and love. He is good. He is true goodness, goodness par excellence. The angels surrounding him begin by simply proclaiming the joy of seeing God’s glory. Their song radiates the joy that fills them. In their words, it is as if we were hearing the sounds of heaven. There is no question of attempting to understand the meaning of it all, but simply the overflowing happiness of seeing the pure splendour of God’s truth and love. We want to let this joy reach out and touch us: truth exists, pure goodness exists, pure light exists. God is good, and he is the supreme power above all powers. All this should simply make us joyful tonight, together with the angels and the shepherds.
Linked to God’s glory on high is peace on earth among men. Where God is not glorified, where he is forgotten or even denied, there is no peace either. Nowadays, though, widespread currents of thought assert the exact opposite: they say that religions, especially monotheism, are the cause of the violence and the wars in the world. If there is to be peace, humanity must first be liberated from them. Monotheism, belief in one God, is said to be arrogance, a cause of intolerance, because by its nature, with its claim to possess the sole truth, it seeks to impose itself on everyone. Now it is true that in the course of history, monotheism has served as a pretext for intolerance and violence. It is true that religion can become corrupted and hence opposed to its deepest essence, when people think they have to take God’s cause into their own hands, making God into their private property. We must be on the lookout for these distortions of the sacred. While there is no denying a certain misuse of religion in history, yet it is not true that denial of God would lead to peace. If God’s light is extinguished, man’s divine dignity is also extinguished. Then the human creature would cease to be God’s image, to which we must pay honour in every person, in the weak, in the stranger, in the poor. Then we would no longer all be brothers and sisters, children of the one Father, who belong to one another on account of that one Father. The kind of arrogant violence that then arises, the way man then despises and tramples upon man: we saw this in all its cruelty in the last century. Only if God’s light shines over man and within him, only if every single person is desired, known and loved by God is his dignity inviolable, however wretched his situation may be. On this Holy Night, God himself became man; as Isaiah prophesied, the child born here is “Emmanuel”, God with us (Is 7:14). And down the centuries, while there has been misuse of religion, it is also true that forces of reconciliation and goodness have constantly sprung up from faith in the God who became man. Into the darkness of sin and violence, this faith has shone a bright ray of peace and goodness, which continues to shine.
So Christ is our peace, and he proclaimed peace to those far away and to those near at hand (cf. Eph 2:14, 17). How could we now do other than pray to him: Yes, Lord, proclaim peace today to us too, whether we are far away or near at hand. Grant also to us today that swords may be turned into ploughshares (Is 2:4), that instead of weapons for warfare, practical aid may be given to the suffering. Enlighten those who think they have to practise violence in your name, so that they may see the senselessness of violence and learn to recognize your true face. Help us to become people “with whom you are pleased” – people according to your image and thus people of peace.
Once the angels departed, the shepherds said to one another: Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened for us (cf. Lk 2:15). The shepherds went with haste to Bethlehem, the Evangelist tells us (cf. 2:16). A holy curiosity impelled them to see this child in a manger, who the angel had said was the Saviour, Christ the Lord. The great joy of which the angel spoke had touched their hearts and given them wings.
Let us go over to Bethlehem, says the Church’s liturgy to us today. Trans-eamus is what the Latin Bible says: let us go “across”, daring to step beyond, to make the “transition” by which we step outside our habits of thought and habits of life, across the purely material world into the real one, across to the God who in his turn has come across to us. Let us ask the Lord to grant that we may overcome our limits, our world, to help us to encounter him, especially at the moment when he places himself into our hands and into our heart in the Holy Eucharist.
Let us go over to Bethlehem: as we say these words to one another, along with the shepherds, we should not only think of the great “crossing over” to the living God, but also of the actual town of Bethlehem and all those places where the Lord lived, ministered and suffered. Let us pray at this time for the people who live and suffer there today. Let us pray that there may be peace in that land. Let us pray that Israelis and Palestinians may be able to live their lives in the peace of the one God and in freedom. Let us also pray for the countries of the region, for Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and their neighbours: that there may be peace there, that Christians in those lands where our faith was born may be able to continue living there, that Christians and Muslims may build up their countries side by side in God’s peace.
The shepherds made haste. Holy curiosity and holy joy impelled them. In our case, it is probably not very often that we make haste for the things of God. God does not feature among the things that require haste. The things of God can wait, we think and we say. And yet he is the most important thing, ultimately the one truly important thing. Why should we not also be moved by curiosity to see more closely and to know what God has said to us? At this hour, let us ask him to touch our hearts with the holy curiosity and the holy joy of the shepherds, and thus let us go over joyfully to Bethlehem, to the Lord who today once more comes to meet us. Amen.
© Copyright 2012 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
Turning away from sin
"Thus we will always be inclined to stray from the path of love; day by day we will make wrong choices. Yet even to speak of ‘straying from the path’ is to show that we seek the path and discern the direction it leads. To be a disciple of Christ is not a guarantee of always remaining on the path; rather it is a commitment – a promise – to stay as near to the path as the will allows, and to struggle back onto the path after straying. This is as much as we can undertake in our own strength; through the grace of God we hope that over the years our journey will become straighter."
I found that thought heartening . . .
p.s. Today's Reflection is good as well, giving an interpretation of the Beatitudes. C
Biggleswade Chronicle Village News
Apostleship of the Sea
Jesus, strengthen me in supporting those in our society who are vulnerable; help me live patiently with my own weaknesses. As I walk in your way, I extend my hands to others so that together we can form a safety net. Amen.
If you know of meditation that others may enjoy
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Be a Fool for Christ
And today's Reflection in Bible Alive talks about their being "fools for Christ", that they were ready to endure ridicule for their devotion to Christ and for their telling about him out loud, in public. As I was reading the passage I was struck by the fact of their speaking out publicly about Christ. I find it difficult to do so, but this reading gives me a greater urge to do so . . .
Reminder – Carmelite Spirituality Group
Today's Reflections in Bible Alive
I liked reading that: it's a simple task for me to perform every day, pray . . .
Extract from today's Daily Reflections from Bible Alive
"Try this today: whatever circumstances or problems you face, whatever trials or trauma you are going through, praise God for his love and mercy. ‘The power of praise releases the power of God into a set of circumstances and enables God to change them if this is his design’ (Merlin Carothers).
‘Lord Jesus, you came with authority and power. Teach me to avail myself of your grace so I may praise your name and know your power.’"
Daily relationship with God
It is particularly comforting if things are going wrong, to have a chat with God, perhaps in the person of Jesus. And it is gratifying to express your gratitude when things are going right, or if something wonderful happens. If only I could remember more often . . .
This is the paragraph that got me thinking:
"Perhaps today we can simply take up the thought that our own time – each hour of the day – is a way of being in relationship with God. We can view our day today as one which is lived in God’s presence. If we have work that we do, we can see it as sharing in God’s creative work. If we have a family to care for and nurture, we can view our day as fulfilling our vocation to parenthood – a vocation given by God. Let us ask God to bless our day and let us dedicate our day to him."
But the whole of yesterday's Daily Reflection is worth reading, in my view.
The Wisdom of John Henry Newman
‘God has created me to do him some definite service. He has committed some work for me which he has not committed to another. I shall do good. I shall do his work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place – while not intending it – if I do but keep his commandments and serve him in my calling. Therefore I will trust him.’
Prayer for today — St Anselm
Teach my heart this day where and
how to see you,
Where and how to find you.
You have made me and remade me,
And you have bestowed on me
All the good things I possess,
And still I do not know you.
I have not yet done that
For which I was made.
Teach me to seek you,
For I cannot seek you
Unless you teach me,
Or find you
Unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire,
Let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you,
Let me love you when I find you.
"Has no one condemned you . . .? Then neither do I."
I think of "road rage" an example of judging others; I see someone else on the road who has done something inappropriate while driving and I judge them immediately; I have to work hard to remember that I too might have been guilty of such a manoeuvre not to long before, and calm down. Jesus does not condemn them and nor should I.
St Patrick's Day
In the Confession and Letter to Coroticus, his intimate relationship with his Lord and Saviour is revealed.
‘Keep me as the apple of your eye;
Hide me in the shadow of your
I sing as I arise today!
I call on my Creator’s might;
The will of God to be my guide,
The eye of God to be my sight,
The word of God to be my speech,
The hand of God to be my stay,
The shield of God to be my strength,
The path of God to be my way.’
Bible Alive® 17 March 2011.
©Bible Alive, 25 December 2010
Thanks to Phil Campion and the Baptist congregation for starting this week of prayer at the Biggleswade Baptist Church. Tomorrow we will be at the Methodist Church.
Alban Macdonald is involved in an ecumenical bible study group in Sandy that will be using these booklets this Autumn and has arranged to get some additional booklets for others in the Parish who may be interested in studying St Paul too. For more information : see the page called Building Faith or contact Alban Macdonald on 681537.