Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Returning from illness

Prayers are a wonderful, beautiful lifeline and we should never be told otherwise.  In a world where we face the argument that religion is a source of absolute corruption and people of faith lack logic, we should never be afraid to assert our right to pray.  I will not tell you the details of my suffering last year; partly because, in the grand scheme of things, it was small compared to that of others.  Also, this does not feel like the place to recount my physical woes. I can tell you that there was deep physical pain, hours of darkness and times when it felt as though the rest of life was on the other side of a perspex screen and I could see it happening, but I could not reach it.  I wept and I looked to heaven and I asked God to stay with me.  At times that was the only prayer I could manage, but that was also my thread, my hope.  It kept me stitched to the fabric of life.  Alone as we can be in our suffering, sad and desolate as I was, I knew I was not alone in a room.  Jesus Christ knows our pain.

In June my illness reached a particular crisis and at one time there was talk of my heart beginning to fail.  I went to a priest friend to be anointed.  This sacrament is a very great gift.  I was given strength and there was no immediate remedy or cure, but there was affirmation of his company and truth beside me.  I walked home that night in the knowledge that God is with us.

“Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.”
― Teresa of Ávila

It took time.  Things are ongoing, but from the time I was anointed onwards improvements which I could not have envisaged in the days, weeks and months before began to take place and it was like coming home to a body I recognised.  My illness came quite suddenly and swept away my health, recovery takes longer.  Yet the more my body has been battered and shown me it can recover from this bit by bit, the more convinced I become of the link between body and soul.  The pain of one marks the other and we walk with our wounds. The sacraments are our balm and where we meet Christ most closely is on the cross.

I do not want to suffer.  As St Thomas More said "I am not the stuff that saints are made of".  Suffering makes me afraid.  Yet I know it also made me grow.  Sometimes we only remember what the value of life is when it feels we are being locked out and we can see all the beauty within. God is so good: he does not give us more than we can bear.

What do I do with my experiences now? How do I live by them and how do I serve God through them?  The truth is that I do not know, but I start by returning here to tell you a little of them in the hope that some might still wish to listen to the voice of this weary but grateful traveller.

I started this blog when I was 24 and full of so many ideas; so much idealism and hope of love.  Life changes us.  Those elements are not gone.  I hope some of them have been realised and others have been tempered and absorbed by other elements of life.  I turned 30 this month and there is much to be hopeful and excited about in life and in faith.  God is real. He is here and we can always reach him if we are willing to stretch out a hand and let the goodness come from Him to us (Matthew 9:20).

Thank you to all who prayed for me.  Thank you for remembering me in an hour of need.  I needed you.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A request for prayers

It is such a long time since I have written any posts but I wondered if I might ask for your prayers for me.  I have been diagnosed with an illness and your prayers would be so much appreciated.  I am in the hands of the good Lord and to Him I offer all my sorrows and joys but please pray that I may receive the graces I need for the journey ahead.  I think I may need some help to embrace my cross.  I am very fortunate to be supported by people of faith who I love and love me.  There has been so many generous and gracious gifts to me in my 28 years.  Please do, if you can and if you are willing, pray that will of the Lord will work through my treatment.  His will be done.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The star and the discerning heart (Happy Christmas!)

I know that my blogging has gone beyond sporadic to rare. For much of this year I shut down my blog. I feel I still haven't given the explanation you deserve as to why this was. Suffice to say I have been experiencing the most considerable period of discernment of my life. I do want to share more but I feel I need more time to reflect upon how to share it. Equally, I am not at the end of this period at the moment. Perhaps I never will be.

Christmas is a good time to consider the journey one is making in life and faith. It is the rhythm of returning to the crib and looking back on the path one has taken there. In looking at Mary and Joseph one cannot help but feel humbled in faith. How great was the journey they made in faith and grace on all levels? How much they must have both wandered and wondered amidst the will of God. Yet we gaze upon them in a static scene, just a snapshot of a real life of movement, of fleeing of sorrow and protection on the road of life. How great their journey and how great its capacity to keep me on mine. We cannot always see the road ahead but in trying to hold onto the goodness of faith, even in our weakness and doubt, the way ahead will always be lit; illuminated before us. We cannot know the shape ahead of us but we can know that there is light.

I wish you all a peaceful and holy Christmas. I assure you of my prayers and my thanks for all that fellow bloggers write.

In the love of Christ.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Sometimes you can carry something with you for a long time without really understanding it. I suppose that has been my experience in the long break I have had from writing on this blog. I have been entering a different phase of life. Perhaps if anybody is still reading this then I might, in time, talk about this journey in more detail.

In some ways it has been a retreat into examining a more interior life of the spirit in which I felt there was little room for me to comment on anything. I just needed to be still and listen. I just needed to be led. Of course I still need these things in hope and prayer but perhaps I feel that it is possible for me to return to the keyboard again. To come down from the mountain.

A word has been with me all summer. BEHOLD. I don't know why or whether it relates to anything specific. Yet I felt it, held it, in Lourdes and Madrid, when in the presence of those I love. In many ways perhaps that is all we need to do sometimes. We can search so hard for things that we forget to behold what is on front of us. Sometimes that will be obviously profound and extraordinary like the grotto at Lourdes or Pope Benedict. Sometimes it will simply be the face of another person, someone who you are so glad that God loved into existence. At the centre of it all is the host, as it rises from the altar because all of this life is contained within this moment. Equally all vocation is contained within that body. BEHOLD. The bridegroom. Just seek to look at the Lord who is always looking back at you and in doing so the heart of your relationship grows stronger and you can begin to respond.

Peace be with you.

Friday, 26 August 2011


The spirit and life in Madrid remains with me. Our Church is alive and its heartbeat is joy. No matter what the press may report, it is not possible to deny the love that flowed through the streets for those few days. I hold a deep sense of gratitude for the city of Madrid for allowing the love of Christ, love of Benedict and love for one another to be so present.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Opening Up

Dear All,

It has been a very long time since I have written anything on my faithful blog. I felt I needed a break during a particular period of discernment in my life and I hope you will forgive the silence. Much has happened but I have kept you in my prayers. I think I have lost a few followers along the way but perhaps they might pop back in to say hello now I have reopened for business. I don't think I will be posting as frequently I used to but I hope to at least open former posts for viewing.

I am due to return to Lourdes in a week and a half and anyone who was used to following this blog will know that this is the favourite place of my thirsting soul and longing heart. Perhaps I can let you know how it goes. Be assured of prayers in the month of the sacred heart.

Monday, 1 November 2010



Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Hanging out with Keats

I have always had a soft spot for the poetry of John Keats and some of his letters. His life was a short one and certainly not one in which he came to a definite decision about a belief in God. However, some wisdom did certainly filter through his sensitive soul. I was just reading andI liked it and wanted to share:

"Do you not see how necessary a world of pain and troubles is to school the intelligence and make it a soul?"

In a way I think this is true. Any suffering is certainly an evil but, in our case, through the hope offered by the ultimate suffering we find ourselves coming closer to truth and the truth of love. Dearest St. Bernadette and so many countless others knew this better than anybody.

Getting excited about the Pope in Britain!

I found out today that I have got one of the allotted tickets to see the Pope (I was on the reserve list before). Even though I've been off the blogging circuit (largely for reasons beyond my control) for a while now I know that word will have got round about the hostility of some of my fellow countrymen towards Benedict. However, of course what is not reported in the press is the swathes of people and indeed young people (Catholic and non-Catholic) who are curious, interested, excited and enthused about his visit. This is an important historical event for the country, something that goes someway to forging some healing of rifts that have existed in this country since the Reformation. Obviously, there are always those few who do not want rifts to be healed and because they are often deemed more interesting to listen to, they are often the few that get heard.

Over these last few months I have attended various events for twentysomethings in which nothing but delight was expressed about Benedict's visit. Some people have been afraid that showing support for Benedict may be looked at in such a negative light that they were worried about how to approach the topic at work. Vincent Nichols has been very good at buoyingspirits at events I have been to recently. The truth is, with all the controversy and the desire to cause controversy, at the end of the day peace is stronger and Benedict is full of peace. Perhaps all that those who look to cause rifts will cause, is a sense of a renewed strength and solidarity in those who want to show that peace is stronger.

Heart to heart.


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