The holiday season would ordinarily now be coming to a close, and life would be returning to normal. The newscasters seem to become more shrill as each day passes, and ‘normal’ seems to as far away as ever. Our capacity for keeping calm is being tested to the limits. I used to pray with extra concentration that prayer after the Our Father which asked God to ‘Deliver us from every evil…and keep us safe from all anxiety’, but the word changed to ‘distress’ in the new translation.
Distress and anxiety are two different things. However God seems to give the same answer anyway, which is ‘Get on with it – I’ll look after you’. May God preserve each one of you from distress, but especially from anxiety. The person who worries suffers twice, they say.
Thank you all for phoning and booking a place at Mass. We have just the two Mass times that have been filled again. The 10.30am does not seem so popular yet. People can book for 10.30am next week if they wish – get in first with your request so it will be more difficult to cancel. Don’ forget, phone Wednesday afternoon from 2.00pm onwards, until 10.00pm. Please don’t leave a message, as that messes up the whole scheme, which seems to have worked well so far.
Thank you again for the spontaneous money contributions coming in all the time. I was asked to explain that parish income is £9,000 down on the same period last year, but presumably the ‘target’ area for that message would be people who are not reading the newsletters. Also more people are feeling the pinch through having their work patterns and income supply disrupted. The Church, thank God, is not in the same category as Rolls Royce, who today announced a loss of £5,400,000,000 so far this year, and are cutting 9,000 jobs! Now that is ‘distress’.
This coming week celebrates the feast of St Gregory, the pope who sent St Augustine to evangelise the English, and also the ‘Saints of Lindisfarne’, Aidan, Cuthbert, Bede, Paulinus, and many other holy men and women ‘who made this once an island of saints, illustrious by their glorious ‘merits and virtues’. The Sunday gospel reminds us of Jesus’ words “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me’. There is a long chapter in the ‘Imitation of Christ’ called ‘The Royal Road of the Holy Cross’, inspiring and encouraging but with a message that the Christian cannot avoid the cross. If she/he doesn’t take up one that is offered, another will soon take its place. If we follow Christ we encounter Calvary. A fraction of Christ’s work was success – the rest suffering. He redeemed you by his suffering. You may redeem someone by yours.
I have offered Mass for the repose of the souls of Thomas Cosgrove, John Wright, and Margaret Coffey, for Patricia McClaren who is sick, for the Slattery family, for the intentions of the Blythe family, and this weekend for Margaret Smith and for Jack and Elsie McQuillan.
Let us pray for one another.
Fr Tony Elder