Retreat days for Advent

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Thursday 2nd or Saturday 4th December 2021 If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the holy, and say, “I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.” St John of the Cross Advent is a time of waiting. A birth is due … Continue reading Retreat days for Advent

Only basic goodness gives life to technique

Milky Way

Years ago, I dipped into Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I was hit between the eyes by this sentence: Only basic goodness gives life to technique.p. 21 I am not good, but I’d like to be, and this sentence has stayed with me as a standard to live up to. It … Continue reading Only basic goodness gives life to technique

A letter to three faith leaders

Dear Archbishop Justin Welby, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, I write as a Christian and a member of the Church of England. I hear that you have written to the House of Lords about your disquiet over the Assisted Dying Bill. There are two things I wish to say in response to … Continue reading A letter to three faith leaders

8 ways to be with thoughts in prayer

Poppies

How’s it going in surrendering yourself to the Mystery that has intimately accessed your heart and has brought you to this place that it might translate you into itself?James Finley  If you ask me just precisely how one is to go about doing the contemplative work of love, I am at a complete loss. All … Continue reading 8 ways to be with thoughts in prayer

Lost and found

Durham Cathedral

I went to Durham Cathedral recently with a friend and my daughters. I don’t remember having been before. I’m not much of a visitor of buildings. I’m happier in the woods or by the river. Nevertheless, I liked the space, its age, the beautifully carved columns, the heft. At the east end, there is a … Continue reading Lost and found

Ignatian Scaffolding

In case you haven’t guessed, I am a big fan of Ignatian Spirituality. And with that couplet is the genesis of a problem. By using the phrase ‘Ignatian Spirituality’, I am already creating something that I’m not sure has much substance. I’m a fan of God and Jesus. I’m a fan of prayer. I’m a … Continue reading Ignatian Scaffolding

Coterminous

Moss

Sunday morning: sitting, praying. I have taken to moving my chair to face the window so I look out on the simple morning light. I tend to alternate between journaling and a still and silent awareness of being this body. I say ‘praying’ but really I am pondering what I want to do today: what … Continue reading Coterminous

Lass auch Dir die Brust bewegen, Liebchen, höre mich!

Every year everything I have ever learned in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. Mary Oliver: In Blackwater Woods I was listening to Radio 3 over breakfast on Wednesday. Bryn Terfel was interviewed and … Continue reading Lass auch Dir die Brust bewegen, Liebchen, höre mich!

It’s only your imagination

Path

By their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7.16 A person is walking along the street and a thought comes to her: “I ought to phone my Auntie Julie. I know it is boring, and I never know what to say, but she must be lonely stuck in her flat with no visitors.” Another person … Continue reading It’s only your imagination

Spiritual direction at the end of the world (4)

Snow on grass

What God is waiting for is not a right conclusion to a matter but for our suppleness in falling into His hands for Him to work in us. Benedicta Ward, Discernment: A Rare Bird Where shall the word be found, where will the word Resound? T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday Spiritual direction at the end of … Continue reading Spiritual direction at the end of the world (4)