The third sign of a Dynamic Catholic is Generosity: Generosity is the very heart of the Gospel and Gospel Living. It involves our Time, Talent & Treasure. Many carry this simple message: “May our love for you express itself in our eagerness to do good for others. Live simply so that others may simply live. ” (Mother Theresa) Changing the world is an inside job. The world changes when men and women grow in virtue and in character. This requires our generous response to God’s invitation to us to become better versions of ourself. Find our more at the next Kentenich Talk on Wednesday 4th September at 7.30pm at the Shrine, St John Fisher’s Kearsley. To download the poster click here.
As I faced my Maker at the last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt, in many piles. An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that was our life. But as my Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes! Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, (which were the largest holes of all). I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Others had a tiny hole here and there, other tapestries were filled with rich colour and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light and the scrutiny of truth. The others rose each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My Angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully; each time offering it up to the Father, in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes wide. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded through the many holes, creating an image: The face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, “Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you… Welcome Home My Child, welcome Home!”
We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, or who don’t “speaky da English”. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds. We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our Parish Priest who is loud, but can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if think you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in Church since little Joseph’s Baptism. We extend a special welcome to those who are over sixty but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome “football parents”, “working parents”, starving artists, tree-huggers, cappuccino-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion”. If you blew all your Church offering money at the betting shop, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is paying a visit and wanted to go to Church. We welcome those who are tattooed, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, felt forced to go to Mass as a child or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, broken hearts … and you! We try to meet people where they are… and lead them where God calls them to be!
From 5th -10th August some of our families went on a treasure hunt in Castlerigg. The treasure was the treasure within. “Give me your heart and I will give you your heart’s desire” (Ps). We were not short on this kind of wealth – we had glorious weather, each person found a bed and we were well looked after by the staff at the Lancaster Diocesan Youth Centre. Below there is a report if you like to read more: Continue reading “Family Week at Castlerigg”
One more true story: Two men, unacquainted with each other, were seated recently together on a train and began a casual conversation. The older man, Charlie, was a caring and enthusiastic Catholic. When the younger man sensed that his fellow traveller was interested, he told his story. He had never completed college and had been unemployed for years. He was now heading home to Sheffield to donate a kidney to his father, who was seriously ill. He didn’t know what he was going to do after that. Charlie later described the young man as a person who had not found his niche or purpose in life. For Charlie, it seemed like the right moment to tell this young man about the love of God and how God had a purpose and a Plan of Love for him. Charlie spent maybe six or eight minutes telling this wanderer how to submit himself to God and how to start the journey of faith. He later told a friend that he had seldom seen a more appreciative response from someone. The young man said that he’d always felt that there had to be some meaning and purpose to his life. Charlie added that when the man finished thanking him, Charlie felt as if he had just told a hungry person where to find food. For most of us, being a faithful witness to our faith doesn’t mean accosting strangers or holding prayer meetings at work. It does mean that when those moments come where another person has opened up his or her life and invited us in, we be willing to tell about the Lord who means so much to us.