Wednesday, February 28, 2018

prayer diary Wednesday 28 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

‘Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’ He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup.' 
Matthew 20. 22,23

Christ offers his cup of suffering to all who would be his disciple; those who accept it must deny themselves and take up their cross. For some this means persecution or even a martyr's crown; but for all it means being faithful even unto death.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 27 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.' 
Matthew 23.12

The Christian must be humble because he knows himself to be a sinner, in need of God's mercy and forgiveness. Through that humility comes the only true exaltation: to be welcomed at the last into the presence of our Creator.

Monday, February 26, 2018

prayer diary Monday 26 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.' 
Luke 6.36

This does not mean we do not teach what the Church has always taught, for the Church teaches what she was given by Christ. But it behooves us to remember that part of that teaching is that judgement is the prerogative of the Lord, the one who did not decline to sit at table with all manner of sinners.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

set your mind on things Divine

May my words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

What an extraordinary scene we are presented with in our Gospel reading today – St Peter, first among the disciples, takes our Lord aside and begins to rebuke him. And this, having witnessed all the miracles, including seeing people raised from the dead, and heard his teaching, and having himself, only moments before, confessed him to be the Messiah. So that he should suddenly dare not just to question what he says, but actually to rebuke him, is extraordinary indeed.

However, we must keep in mind that St Peter acts from good motives – from a human perspective at least. First, he knows that our Lord is the Messiah. And the Messiah, or so all of Israel thinks, is going to be some kind of great military and political leader who will free the Jewish people from their oppressors. St Peter is simply unable to reconcile his idea of what the Messiah to be with what the one he knows to be the Messiah is tells him. And so, rather than changing his thinking in line with the new information that he has – information given to him from the best of all possible authorities – he tries to change what it is our Lord has told the fate of the Messiah must be.

And secondly, we must keep in mind the great love St Peter has for our Lord. This is the man he has given up everything for, has followed around from place to place along the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea and Samaria and elsewhere. Jesus is his master but also his friend – does not our Lord declare elsewhere in the gospels that all the apostles, saving one of course, are his friends? – and surely St Peter as the leader of that group must be the closest of them all. And which of us wants to hear that someone we love and respect is going to suffer and die? We would surely be appalled and do anything we could to prevent it if it were possible. And so St Peter, the disciple, rebukes Jesus, his master and messiah.

But even though the apostle may think his motives are good, our Lord declares that they are not. They are in fact the opposite of good; they are evil – and the worst kind of evil, evil that stems from Satan. How could St Peter, whom we know to have been a good man, if flawed – particularly prior to the Resurrection and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost – how could he have gotten things so badly wrong? It is because he has, as our Lord bluntly tells him, he has set his mind on human things rather than divine. God himself, in the person of Jesus, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, has told him that the Messiah must suffer and die; but this does not fit into his view of how things should be. And so he rebels against it; and in so doing behaves evilly.

There is a powerful lesson from this for our times. The values of the secular culture of the world we live in often run counter to the values we as Christians are called to hold by God – values that have been given to us by way of Divine Revelation in the Sacred Scriptures given to us by God himself and the Holy Traditions of the Church he founded, telling us that his Holy Spirit would guide it into all Truth, and that the gates Hell itself would not prevail against it. But today these teachings and traditions are repugnant to many in the world around us – particularly those who proudly call themselves the liberal elites – people who have no hesitation in calling what God has given to man something that is man-made; and so they have no compunction in declaring God's holy laws, and the commandments he has given to us for our salvation as evil, lacking in compassion, cruel, harsh, impossible to live up to, arbitrary, foolish, and out-dated.

They particularly love to declare them out-dated; because everyone knows the more modern something is the better and more true it is. They fail to see the foolishness of this; for by that logic what they call to be true today will be declared false and replaced by what called true tomorrow; and so truth has no objective reality and becomes nothing more than a passing fashion.

But we can not allow ourselves to be influenced by their false logic – both for their sakes and for our own. For theirs, for such as they need the witness of godly men and women and the world to help lead them to the truth – the one and only truth that is found in the Gospel – and for ours, for the sake of our own salvation. We can not let the opinions of the world influence us, because as Christ tells us, what does it matter if a man gain the whole world if by doing so they forfeit their life – the eternal life that he offers?

And we must be particularly watchful not to be swayed by those who would call us to the false compassion of the world – a compassion that keeps people happy and comfortable and affirmed as they are led astray by the temptations of the world the flesh and the devil, but ends not in salvation but destruction – and instead measure all things according to the standards that God has set before us. Very watchful – for even St Peter was tempted to put those worldly things before what God required – and for this he was called Satan. A hard lesson for him; and a sober warning for us not to do as he did that day; for those who do so and do not repent of it will face the Son of Man on the last day and find him ashamed of them, they will find themselves rejected by him. So we must embrace the Gospel message and cling to it, come what may. It may not win us the approval of those who follow the things of this world; but it will mean that we are keeping our minds on things that are divine, and will one day, with God's grace, bring us to be with him: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 24 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' 
Matthew 5. 43, 44

How can Christ tell us to love our enemies? How are we to control our feelings and do such a thing? But our Lord does not ask the impossible because love is not an emotion, it is a decision. To love God, love our neighbour, and love our enemies all are equally possible; it is a matter of deciding to do so and then living it out in our lives.

Friday, February 23, 2018

prayer diary Friday 23 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

‘You have heard it said ... “You shall not murder” … But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement.' 
Matthew 5. 21,22

Christ calls us to be perfect, as he is perfect. Let this season of discipline and self-denial be an aid to you in answering that call, even as you pray for his help.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 22 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.' 
Matthew 7.7

What is it that you truly seek? Is it not to achieve the purpose for which you were made and be with your Father in heaven? Listen then to his Son and make the changes in your life that will bring you to that which you seek.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

prayer diary Wednesday 21 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.' 
Luke 11. 30

The people of Ninevah repented and were saved. How much more should we, to whom God sent his only Son, turn from all that is evil within us and in the world around us, hoping to be saved.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 20 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.' 
Matthew 6.10

Christ taught these words to all who follow them, words that we pray every day. As you pray them, consider the many ways in which you wilfully ignore or flout God's holy laws. Pray daily this Lent for his forgivenss and help to do better.

Monday, February 19, 2018

prayer diary Monday 19 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

'And (those at his left hand) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.’ 
 Matthew 25. 46

Christ warned of the judgement to come. Make this season of Lent your spiritual training ground so that, with God's grace, you may be counted amongst the righteous at the last.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lent: Christ fasted; so must we

May my words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

There is something that I think is quite unique about our Gospel reading today that causes it to stand out from all the other things we read about in the Gospels. I do not mean the fact that our Lord spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness among the wild beasts; nor do I refer to the fact that he fasted during the time that he was there; neither is it that when the time was over that angels ministered to him; and I am not even thinking about the way that Satan himself came and tempted him.

No, while all these things are remarkable in and of themselves, it is not so much what happened as to how we know it happened that makes these events so extraordinary. All the other things that are reported to us in the Gospels of Jesus' life and teaching have one common feature – there were others present … disciples, Apostles, even his own blessed mother … who were witnesses to what took place or what was said and were able to later testify to it so that it might be recorded and passed down to later generations. But in this case our Lord was alone for the whole 40 days. Which means there is only one possible source for the details we have of what happened there during this time – Jesus himself.

That our Lord made sure that this time when there were no other witnesses to what happened other than himself, the angels, and the devil would be known to all men down through the ages tells us something important about it – and that is that Jesus considered it to something that it was vital that we know, something essential to our salvation. So what is it that we may learn from from this account of our Lord's time in the wilderness?

Well, there are many ways in which it instructs us. But today let us consider only three. The first, which I have no doubt you have heard mentioned many times before, is that by enduring temptation himself our Lord demonstrates that there is nothing sinful in being tempted. This is something very reassuring in this, for we all suffer from temptations. It is simply part of the human condition, and something that will be with us all our days until the very moment that life leaves our bodies. And if we believed that it was sinful to be tempted then we might see no reason to resist temptation and so fall into sin. And so our Lord by his example teaches that while it may well be no pleasant thing to be tempted, we have done no wrong by suffering it; and that by rejecting sinful temptations we instead do good.

But with so much to tempt us, these things being sent to try us not just by the devil, but from the world and the flesh also, how do we strengthen ourselves to resist? We learn this also from this incident in the life of our Lord, for both St Matthew and St Luke tell us that he spent this time fasting. There is great spiritual strength to be found in fasting, something all too many in the Western world, even those who are otherwise devoted followers of Christ, seem to have forgotten. But it is by denying ourselves things that are permitted, things that are good and pleasant, that we train ourselves to resist things that are not permitted, things that are sinful for us to engage in. Also fasting, as we know from the lives of great saints down through the ages, helps us grow in holiness; it is difficult to express in words why that should be … but it seems as if fasting in some way narrows the distance between heaven and earth for the one who does it, helping them to draw closer to God … provided that it be done in the right spirit.

And what is that right spirit? Again we may look to the example of our Lord during those 40 days. He, St Luke tells us, ate nothing during that time. Now you or I, or most others I think, were we to attempt such a thing would most probably die. But Christ is God and to him all things are possible. Even so, the evangelist tells us that he was famished at the end – he had fasted, it would seem, to the very limit of his endurance. This tells us that we should not be too easy on ourselves when it comes to our own spiritual disciplines. Christ told us to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him – and that means surely that when we fast we should feel some pangs of hunger, just as the time we devote to extra prayer and study should come at the cost of something else we might usually spend time doing, and when we give alms the price we pay for doing so should be not being able to afford something else. But always in a spirit of humility, aware that we engage in these disciplines for the sake of spiritual growth, not for the sake of trying to impress others, or to somehow feel better about ourselves, but to draw closer to God.

I realise that all this may seem out of step with the spirit of the age. But that should not matter to us. We are not called to believe in the latest fads and fashions but in Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and unto the end of the ages; and we as Christians are called to be as Christlike as possible. Christ himself fasted – therefore we must do so also. More, he took particular care that we should know he fasted. And therefore I pray that all here will do so also, as part of a holy Lent, as a way of growing in holiness, and as part of the path they walk that will one day take them to be with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 17 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ 
Luke 5. 31, 32

Christ, we know, came to call us all; therefore, we all must be sinners. Do not try to deny this - even if you can fool yourself, you can not fool God. Instead confess your sins and ask God's mercy - then deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ.

Friday, February 16, 2018

prayer diary Friday 16 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

And Jesus said to them, ‘The wedding-guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 
Matthew 9.15

All the great spiritual teachers of all religions have recognised that restricting how much or what you eat can be of great spiritual benefit. We who call ourselves Christians should be the most zealous in this discipline, for it was mandated for us by Christ himself.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 15 Feb 2018 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

They went to him and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; they ceased, and there was a calm. 
Luke 9.24

We are surrounded by many spiritual dangers in this world, evils that threaten our very soul. Turn to Christ; not only has he the power to save you, but it was the very reason he was sent into the world.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

prayer diary Ash Wednesday 14 Feb 2018 (Day of Special Observance; & of Discipline and Self-denial)

'Whenever you give alms … whenever you pray ... whenever you fast … (do so so that you) may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.' 
Matthew 6, 5-6, 16-18

Fasting, prayer, and alms-giving are part of our traditional Lenten disciplines because they are something that Christ expected his followers to do. How can anyone doubt the spiritual rewards that come with them, when it was our Lord himself who promised them?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 13 Feb 2018

And he cautioned them, saying, ‘Watch out—beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod.’ 
Mark 8 15

Our Lord was speaking metaphorically of those who put their wisdom above that of God and risk corrupting others by it. We in our own time must beware the secular wisdom of the age, a wisdom that not only is not afraid to set itself above God's law, but will even proudly denounce Christ's teaching as evil.

Monday, February 12, 2018

prayer diary Monday 12 Feb 2018

Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ 
Mark 8.12

The hard-hearted of Jesus' day already had seen enough to know who he was; there was no point to his giving them even more signs. So it is for those who refuse to believe in our own time; they are surrounded by all they need to know Christ. If that is not enough for them, then nothing more will convince them.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Transfiguration and the beginning of Lent

May my words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is the Sunday before Lent, and also the Sunday on which we consider the Transfiguration of our Lord. That we consider this event on the cusp of the great penitential season of the Church is no accident; in the gospels it is after this event takes place that our Saviour begins his journey to Jerusalem – a journey that would culminate with his Passion and death on the Cross – a death which he willingly embraced for our sakes. During the course of Lent we make our own spiritual journey to the foot of the Cross, accompanying our Lord in his sufferings. And so before we begin our journey we ponder the event that came before his.

So what took place on the mountain heights that day? Well, as I begin, it is perhaps important to point out that there is a special theological name for what happened. It was a theophany – a visible manifestation of God to man. There are accounts of other theophanies in Sacred Scripture: Moses and the burning bush, for example; and Elijah in the desert. St Paul's Damascus Road experience might also be thought of as one, when he heard not only the voice of our Lord but also saw a light from heaven.

In the gospels, there is the Baptism of our Lord, when the Son stands in the Jordan, the voice of the Father is heard from heaven, and the Holy Spirit manifests as a dove hovering above. The cloud is also considered a symbol of the Holy Spirit and it is out of a cloud during the Transfiguration that the Father speaks, echoing the words spoken at that earlier Theophany, when he says that this is his Beloved Son and we must listen to him.

But there is difference on this occasion. At his baptism Jesus, despite the voice from heaven, appears to all present to be nothing more than a man. But now, in the company of the inner circle of his Apostles, he shines whitely, a dazzling whiteness, so white that no one on earth could bleach his clothes as brightly as this. What is happening? Well consider that when we speak of God we often speak of him as Light – uncreated light – and indeed, the Nicene Creed speaks of Jesus as being Light from Light, and the Gospels tell us that he was the Light of the world. In the Transfiguration, then, he displays a fraction of his heavenly glory and the uncreated energies that are the uncreated light of God shine forth and are seen.

But not publicly; only to a chosen few. And even they he warns not to speak of it until after his Resurrection. The time has not yet come for him to reveal himself to the world … but he wants his disciples to be able to look back on this moment and remember … remember and only then understand after his death and resurrection what they had witnessed … that they had seen him as he truly is … God incarnate.

And this remembering, this understanding, is important for us as we stand on the threshold of that Great season of the Church that is Lent. For it serves to shake us out of our often all too comfortable complacency about the mysteries of our faith and bring us directly face to face with the fact of who it is that is about to begin that journey to Jerusalem, who it is that will willingly suffer and die for our sins – God himself in the person our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

This reminder should spur us on to engage fully with the traditional disciplines of this great season – prayer, fasting, and alms giving – disciplines that are more than things that are simply suggested to us by the Church, but rather practices that were both modelled for us by Christ and commanded by him to engage in. We should not, therefore, see them as something that it matters little if we do or do not do, or do half-heartedly, sporadically, or grudgingly. They are a vital part of the way in which we train ourselves to grow as Christians and grow in holiness … something we dare not neglect, for God himself has told that we must be holy as he is holy …

And as I finish, I think back to words of St Paul we heard in our Epistle this day, in which he told us that the Gospel is veiled to those who are perishing, those whom the god of this world has blinded to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. It is difficult not to think that we blind ourselves if we do not do everything that we can to grow in holiness. And it is even more difficult not to think that we risk numbering ourselves among those who are perishing if we do not do the things that Christ himself did and asked that those who followed him should do.

This Lent, I pray that all here will discipline themselves as our Lord commanded by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving and take up their cross and join with him on his journey to Jerusalem … a journey that will be enlightened by the Light of Christ and the glory that is his gospel … and that in doing so you will draw ever nearer to the eternal and Uncreated Light that created you … so that at the end of days you will join with the Light that is God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 10 February 2017

He called his disciples and said to them, ‘I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.' 
Mark 8. 1,2

Our Lord's compassion continues. He does not neglect to feed those who journey with him through this life with the Bread of Life, his own Body, which we receive in the Holy Eucharist.

Friday, February 9, 2018

prayer diary Friday 9 February 2017 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha’, that is, ‘Be opened.’ And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 
 Mark 7. 34-35

With a word Christ, the Word made flesh, could transform a man's life utterly. Are you ready and willing to be transformed? Are you truly open to it? Then open your heart to that Word.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 8 February 2017

He said to her, ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’ 
 Mark 7.27

Christ's mission was to bring his Gospel to the Jews; the gentiles were the mission of others who came after. We too have our calling – do we allow ourselves be distracted from it by all sorts of reasons we think of as good? Or do we stick to it, trusting that God has called others to take care of those other things?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

prayer diary Wednesday 7 February 2017

And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly.' 
Mark 7. 20-22

Ponder carefully these words spoken by Christ himself. Many of the evils he speaks of are if not approved then accepted by the culture of our day. Have you allowed them to become a part of your life, despite his teaching as to how wrong they are?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 6 February 2017

Jesus said to them, ‘Isaiah prophesied rightly about you … 'You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.’ 
Mark 7 6-8

Look carefully at your life. Which are you truly more likely to do: follow the ways of the world even when they contrary to God's law; or be obedient to his commandments whatever the cost? If the former, consider deeply how it is that you live.

Monday, February 5, 2018

prayer diary Monday 5 February 2017

And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the market-places, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed. 
Mark 6. 56

The faith that the afflicted of his day had in Jesus' power to heal them is touching. Yet we must remember that he came primarily not to heal the sick but to save all mankind from their sins. It is for that spiritual healing that we should lay ourselves before him, not just daily, but every moment of our lives.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

'The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us'

May my words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

'The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us'

Those words are from our Gospel reading today, that part of St John the Divine's Gospel that is often called the Prologue. Christians have deeply pondered those words and their meaning down through the ages. As well they should, for by them the Beloved Disciple tries to convey to us what took place at the Incarnation - that when the Blessed Virgin Mary said 'yes' to God's will and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived within her womb, the Divine Word that was God, at that moment became also a human being.

These words are reflected in the Nicene Creed, in which we declare that: 'We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven, was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.' The Creed is a summary statement of of our Faith, outlining in a very short form that which is to be believed by all Christians.

Indeed, 'believe' may be a word insufficiently strong in this modern age. 'Know to be true' may be better, for this is a time when all too many make themselves large in their own imagination by pouring scorn on religion; to such to 'believe' means having a blind faith in something for which there is no firm proof or evidence. And this is simply not the case. There may be no scientific evidence for much of what we know by faith; but there is no requirement that there should be, for there is much that we know that is not amenable to scientific investigation … and neither, it should be noted, is there any scientific basis for insisting that all things must be provable by science!

There is no scientific way, for example, to prove that love exists; and yet we all know that it does. Nor can someone by science prove that it is wrong for one person to deliberately take the life of another human being who is innocent of any wrong-doing; and yet this is something that we all know to be true. We know these things in our hearts. Theologians of the Orthodox Church refer to this as Noetic knowledge; and the things that we know from the evidence of our hearts is just as valid as anything else we know. It is not scientific evidence; but it is evidence nonetheless and it is as valid to the spheres of life to which it applies as scientific evidence is valid when it concerns investigating the affairs of the material world.

Our knowledge of God is just such a truth, a noetic truth, something we know to be true because our heart tells us so. It is our heart that speaks to us of the awesomeness of God, that he is Almighty and without beginning or end. And so when he speaks to us directly in the Divine Revelation that is Sacred Scripture and tells us that he himself became man we should be humbled beyond imagining at the great love that God has shown for us in doing this. Before this it was already known to man that he was created in God's image; and because of this it was not only a crime against man's law but a sin against God's to take an innocent human life. But now, because God has become man, we understand that each human life is something sacred, because in the face of each man and woman, or each boy or girl, no matter how young, we are to see the face of Christ himself.

And we should be humbled also at why he came into the world – something that St John tells us clearly later in his Gospel; it was that all might be saved and that we might have life and have it abundantly. The Word became flesh, God became man and walked upon the earth in order that we might have our sins forgiven, that we might be holy as God is holy, and one day be with God in heaven.

This knowledge of the heart should have an even greater meaning for us and how we lead our lives than the knowledge we gain through science. Science, for example, helps us to understand gravity. And we know that if we ignore that knowledge and step over a cliff we will plunge to our deaths as a result. But that death is only the loss of the few years that remains to us of this life. If we ignore the knowledge we have by God's grace in our hearts we risk far more – the eternal life that God offers us in the next.

It was for the sake of this eternal life that the Word was made Flesh. This we not only believe, this we know in our hearts. I pray that all here will live with that knowledge in their hearts always and in the end achieve the eternal life offered as a result. Amen.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 3 February 2018

As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and Jesus had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. 
Mark 6. 34

Compassion takes many forms. When we think of people's needs, our thoughts often begin and end with the material things of this world. But Christ saw deeper. True compassion does not neglect spiritual needs; indeed, it places them first.

Friday, February 2, 2018

prayer diary Friday 2 February 2018 (The Presentation of Christ in the Temple)

'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy; for mine eyes have seen the salvation which thou has prepared before the face of all people.' 
Luke 2. 29,30

Simeon seeing the Christ child knew that the salvation God promised was assured and that he could leave this life in peace, assured that there was nothing to fear in the next. So too must we embrace Christ and enter into the hope of eternal life.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 1 February 2018 (St Brigid, Ireland's other patron saint)

'I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep ' 
John 10. 14,15

Reflection True intimacy is to be found in relationship with Christ; to be known by him is to be truly known. And it is a relationship that cannot disappoint, because it is one that Christ was willing to die to sustain.