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Showing posts from March, 2005

Vulnerability part 2 - spiritual openness

Further fruits of the talks during our retreat, personal reflection, reading, etc...

When spiritual writers talk about this “vulnerability” it does not mean becoming “soft”. It is a bi-product of the unconditional love that fills us if we open ourselves truly to God. This is our vocation, union with God through his Son: a union that is founded on love, that is active and energising and that sends us out as missionaries for that love. That is the incarnation: making Christ present today for those we meet. That vocation of union with God will then find an expression in a human vocation (to marriage, religious life, celibacy, the priesthood...) according to who we are, to what our gifts are... And according to what our needs are, because in responding to God’s call we are also offered healing for ourselves. In some cases, though in one sense we are offered healing, he may also use our wounds as a source of healing for others.

In my own case, I feel that this is what God asked and continues…

Vulnerability - some Maundy thursday thoughts...

Me and my promises... I will get around to talking about the death of Bro. Edward, but not just yet.

At the moment I'm coming towards the end of our (the English De La Mennais Brothers) annual Holy Week retreat. This one has been particularly powerful for me. I've felt less constrained by habit and duty this year and much freer to do my own thing, to go where the Spirit has led me, eg. to go and stand outside, Maundy Thursday night, for 45 mins. from 11.00pm, on the edge of a field, on a hill, listening to favourite Christian + non-Christian tunes on my iPod with my eyes closed, arms outstretched, occasionally dancing on the spot - he leads you to some damn funny place this Holy Spirit if you let him! In the end I listened to music for 20 mins. and then spent a further 25 very emotional minutes still with my eyes closed, in silence, just listening to the wind, the traffic in the ditance, the occasional animal. This time I spent reflecting on the loneliness that Jesus must have …

"Million Dollar Baby" + what films do to me

Saw a very good film this evening, the multi-Oscar winning “Million Dollar Baby”. Much as I quite liked “The Aviator”, this film is in a different league.

I am someone for whom films (and music for that matter) have the power to open my mind and heart and bring out my own creativity. It’s not just that I can get emotional. It goes deeper than that and lasts long after the eyes have dried. It’s as if for a while afterwards I see the world (myself, others, nature, objects...) with a new clarity; as if, like Neo in The Matrix, I get a glimpse of the “code” underlying all things. Ideas fly around my head. I get the urge to write a song or just write down my thoughts (as I am doing now!! :-). The more a film or a piece of music encourages me to give myself over to it, to become totally absorbed in it, the more likely it is to induce this state. So films whose themes and/or characters I somehow relate to do this more easily. With music it could be the combined effects of lyrics and music in…

"The Passion Of The Christ" - a personal reaction to a passionately personal film

As is often the case, myself and the other English De La Mennais Brothers (8 of us in total) went on our annual retreat last year during Holy Week. On this occasion we went to a Franciscan Friary in Pantasaph, North Wales. We will soon be going on retreat again. As well as helping me to recharge my spiritual batteries it gave me the chance to mull over Mel Gibson's "Passion..." film. Here is something I wrote about the film on Good friday last year...


I say hats off to him. It may be old-school Catholic theology in terms of how it presents the redemptive quality of Jesus' sacrifice, bearing the sins of the whole of humanity, but it's old-school updated. The focus, in terms of Jesus' motivation, is put on the depth of his love for us as well as on his desire to do his father's will. It's a very personal vision of the Passion that will not perhaps be to the taste of everyone but it's one that I found I could relate to far more easily than in any othe…