This is the first of a series of talks on Mystical Prayer given by David Torkington to members of the laity and the community at Belmont Abbey, Herefordshire, England. An Introduction to Journeying Deeper David introduces the journey. The Gregorian Chant is sung by the monks of Belmont Abbey. “In the Presence of the Angels” sung by the monks of Belmont Abbey L isten to the podcast.....
Last time I introduced you to Franz Stampfl, my athletics coach when I was a boy. When transposed from the sporting life to the spiritual life his teaching taught me more about how to progress spiritually than any spiritual director whom I have even known. I make no apology therefore for introducing you to further principles that I learnt from him in the hope that they will help you too. Speed Training A favourite principle that Franz instilled in his pupils was called speed training. The theory is simply common sense. You may be wonderful with the ball at your feet or in your hands, you may have a brilliant backhand and a superlative smash, but if you do not get to the ball in time your skills will be superfluous. Speed training therefore is of the utmost importance in the spiritual life too. The difference between saints and ourselves, is not that we sin and they do not, but the speed with which they turn back to God to seek forgiveness. read on.....
Pope Francis is like a canary in the coal mine, identifying toxic trends in our society, then, offering hope as he suggests Christian solutions to current issues. The expression, a canary in the coal mine, is a saying which refers to caged canaries miners would bring with them into mine tunnels. These birds were used in Britain, right up until 1999 as a way to warn miners if gases like carbon monoxide collected in the mine. Noxious gas would kill a tiny canary before miners even knew they were in danger. Now the phrase, a canary in the coal mine, alludes to someone whose sensitivity delivers early warnings to society. Our popes have often perceived subtle shifts away from gospel values before most of us even notice. continue
In the early Church, those who spoke in the name of the Lord were considered prophets. It was important for the early Christians to discern between true and false prophets. In today’s Gospel, from Matt 7:15-20, Matthew writes about false prophets. He uses the analogy of trees that bear good fruit (true prophets) versus those trees that bear bad fruit (false prophets). The analogy is meant to correlate to the works of those who speak on behalf of the Church. Some of those who spoke were false prophets, evidenced by their bad deeds. With bad intentions, these false prophets produced bad fruit. Whereas, the Apostles and their disciples, who remained true to the teachings of Christ, produced good fruit via their good deeds. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus asks a rhetorical question: “ Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? ” (Matt 7:16). Jesus’ question is more of a statement. He tells us that people know the difference between good and evil. People know
One day I was flying home after a devastating meeting with a publisher. My aisle seat was between two young men who were friends. I offered to switch places, but they told me to stay put, and they involved me in their conversation. At one point I shared with them that it had been a no-good, terrible day. When I explained why, one man said, “Work? Is that all?” Hmm. That comment certainly put things in perspective. I was in perfect health, my family was well, I had meals three times a day, and a roof over my head. I believe the Holy Spirit consoled me that day through my fellow passenger. Click to continue
How easy it is to judge others! How much more difficult is it to be honest with ourselves! In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus ask, yet again, another “pointed” question Matt 7:3-4. Jesus quickly points out that we fail to see our own sin. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? We are so quick to point out the faults of others; to admonish the sinner, under the guise of a spiritual work of mercy. Yet, we fail to see our own sins; let alone do anything about them. Rather than looking to find fault with others, we need to look inward and take stock of our own sins. Judging others is God’s business and none of our business. Only God can judge others, because only He can read every human heart and know the true intention for one’s actions. Do you not see your own sin? If you want to judge someone, the
I was so sorry to hear that my boyhood hero died recently. His name was Roger Bannister, or Sir Roger Bannister as he became later. I had seen him run several times, but sadly I wasn't present to see him break the record by becoming the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. When I did see the event on the news I was thrilled to see him fall into the arms of his coach Franz Stampfl as he broke the tape. Franz was one of the world’s leading athletic coaches of the twentieth century. He was simply a genius who trained over three hundred and sixty Olympians. He was my coach too, because our sports master invited him to be our athletic coach. It was from him that I learnt far more than mere athletics. Although I did not realise it at the time, what I learnt from him was to help me immensely in my spiritual life later. .... read on......
If you try to help a struggling butterfly emerge from the prison of his cocoon, his wings will be permanently deformed. As a butterfly struggles, fluid is forced into its wings so they stretch and open, allowing them to fly but butterflies are not the only creatures who must struggle before they have the ability to fly. God uses our difficult circumstances to transform us into saints so we are free to soar into the very heart of God. If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint. (St. Ignatius Loyola) continue
Dismantling the Biggest Lie could take a lifetime. Matthew Kelly has published another excellent thought-provoking book. I had the privilege of reading his latest book before it was available to the general public. (Being a Dynamic Catholic Ambassador provided me with that privilege). A Lot of Quote-Worthy Material This book is chock-full of quotes you'll want to remember, so make sure you have your highlighter with you each time you pick it up. There is a lot of information in this book, so you'll want to make sure you have time to really stew on it. Read more...
Today is a very difficult day for me. It was June 20, 1999, Father’s Day, that I had my last conversation with my dad. In 1999, my husband and I lived in Utah, and my dad lived in New Jersey. On June 11 th of that year, he was taken to the hospital; diagnosed with emphysema, pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Things didn’t look good. So, my husband and I flew home on June 12 th . When we got to the hospital, and walked into the room, my dad was so happy to see me. He kept telling me repeatedly throughout that evening that he loved me. I consciously appreciated hearing the words, but I thought it odd as well, as my Father was never the gushy type. The words “I love you” were sparse throughout my life. Yet, by his actions, I always knew that he loved me. To hear him repeatedly state his love for me that evening turned out to be one of the greatest gifts given to me. My Last Day with My Dad The next day, my father couldn’t breathe on his own, so he was intubated. From t
For this week's blog, I offer you a video that is a gorgeous celebration of creation: God's gift to us. Enjoy our Earth-home—especially this summer— treasure it, and protect it. Click on the address below, and when you see the video, enlarge it. (Click on the triangle on the bottom of the left side to play the video.) click to continue
In the wake of the two prominent figures' suicides, an entire nation is alert to the issue of mental health. Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain ushered in- for better and/or for worse- a discussion of mental health- its ramifications and effects. I noticed that people within the subculture of Twitter were all over the map. Some seemed shocked that those with wealth, power, and fame could feel such despair. Many spoke out by saying, "If you are hurting, reach out to those around you." Platitudes flowed aplenty wherever news and extemporaneous thoughts were shared. The frustration I had as someone who indeed struggles with mental illness- -and I like to call myself a "functional, sorta healthy person with mental illness"- somewhat in between the two extremes of institutionalized, definitely struggling, but also semi-healthy for the most part-- was that we do need to stop issuing platitudes. Insiders to mental illness do not appreciate condescension, let me tell
Raising of the Daughter of Jairus , Paolo Veronese [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Mark 5:21-43 (or 5:21-24, 35b-43) ( New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition) When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered round him; and he was by the lake. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.’ So he went with him. And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. [Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no
Birth of the Baptist , Andrea Pisano [ Web Gallery of Art ] The Solemnity of the Nativity of St John the Baptist takes precedence liturgically over the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. At the Vigil Mass The Vigil Mass is celebrated on Saturday evening and has its own proper antiphons, prayers and readings, different from those of the Sunday Mass. Taking part in this Mass fulfils one's Sunday obligation. Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Luke 1:5-17 ( New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition) At the Mass during the Day Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Gospel Luke 1:57-66, 80 ( New Revised Standard Version, Angli
Fr Martin Ryan 23 January 1929 - 15 June 2018 Fr Martin Ryan was born on 23 January 1929 in Wildfield, Muckalee, County Kilkenny, Ireland. Educated at Muckalee National School and St Kieran's College, Kilkenny, he entered St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, in 1947 and was ordained priest on 21 December 1953. St Kieran's College, Kilkenny [ Wikipedia ] Father Martin was assigned to Mindanao, Philippines, in 1954 where he would work in various pastoral assignments over the following fifty years. He served in Gingoog City (Misamis Oriental, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro), Dumalinao (Zamboanga del Sur, Diocese of Pagadian), Mambajao (Camiguin, Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro), Maranding, Linamon and Maigo (all in Lanao del Norte) and in Corpus Christi, Iligan City (those four in the Diocese of Iligan). Mambajao, Camiguin [ Wikipedia ] Around the mid-1980s Father Martin became acutely aware that he had a drinking problem. After many fruitles