Showing posts from April, 2007

Spiritual themes in "Sunshine".

Here's an adaptation of the response I posted to a blog entry on Chris Curtis' blog


I thoroughly agree with Chris' take on the film and its thoughtful dealing with issues of science, faith, etc.... I have now seen the film twice. Like Chris I saw thematic similarities with a film I mentioned in an earlier post, "Children Of Men". A specific similarity can I think be seen in "Children..."'s use of the expression "Jesus Christ!" when people see the pregnant Kee, or Kee and her baby for the first time (eg. Theo + Sid) and in "Sunshine"'s use of "My God" (eg. Corazon finding a little surviving plant amidst the burnt out oxygen room - God perceived through nature - and Capa when he sees Pinbacker in the observation room in the near blinding light and Pinbacker replies "Not your God."... I think there's may…

2nd Sunday of Easter - John 21:1-19

This particular Gospel passage is one of my favourites. I've always been very fond of Peter's story and in particular this part, the culmination of the Gospel story and the prelude to his mission as an apostle or messenger of Jesus. In that sense it is also a pivotal moment in his life and in hindsight, the life of the Church. Jesus carries out a wonderful act of mercy that brings inner healing to Peter and sends him to "Feed my lambs" and "Follow me" (the healing coming through the threefold question "Do you love me?" in response to Peter's threefold denial of Jesus in the Temple).

But let's start at the beginning. Jesus has already appeared to the disciples in the upper room, but they are probably still reeling from the joyous shock of that event and the subsequent spiritual gifts bestowed upon them. We hear Peter say to a group of disciples who were with him, "I'm going fishing". I love this blunt statement of his. Notice a…

Personal Testimony - Becoming a Brother

This is a version of a page that already exists on my web site, where I give a personal testimony about my vocation as a De La Mennais Brother. It was adapted and partly re-written for Vocations Sunday on the 4th Sunday of Easter for use in vocations resources.
******************************My vocational journey began when I was in my mid-teens, as a feeling that God was asking me to give my life to him in some way. I didn’t know how at that point; whether it would lead me to the priesthood or the religious life. Through personal prayer and a variety of experiences and encounters over the next few years, I began to feel God pointing me towards life as a teaching Brother and, in particular, towards the Brothers who ran my school (the De La Mennais Brothers).

I simply had to say “Yes” to him and trust that he would guide me on the path ahead, because I had no idea where this was going to lead me.

On pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella with my good friend, Bro. Henri Rivoalen in 1999.

I se…

Life's great adventure....

"Entreprends gaiement et le coeur léger le voyage aventureux de la vie, de l'amour et de la mort. Et, rassure-toi, si tu trébuches, tu ne tomberas jamais plus bas que la main de Dieu." (Angelus Choiselus alias Michel Tournier, French author)

"Joyfully and light-heartedly undertake the journey of adventure through life, love and death. And rest assured that if you stumble, you will never fall lower than God's hand (reaching out to catch you)."

Wise, reassuring words.

"Pilgrim" by Enya

Here are the words (I think by Roma Ryan) to my favourite Enya track: "Pilgrim". When Enya gets it right (which isn't always the case, in my opinion), her music has a simple, yet sublime beauty that I find truly heavenly ("May It Be" from "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring" is another prime example). Add that to some lovely lyrics on a theme dear to my heart, that of pilgrimage and of life being a journey we share with others on our way back to God, and you get (for me, at least) a profoundly moving, beautiful song. The last four lines in particular express a deep truth in simple poetry:

Pilgrim, in your journey
you may travel far,
for pilgrim it's a long way
to find out who you are...


Pilgrim, how you journey
on the road you chose
to find out why the winds die
and where the stories go.
All days come from one day
that much you must know,
you cannot change what's over
but only where you go.

One way leads to diamonds,
one way leads to g…

Reflection written at Worth Abbey 3/4/07

I'm sitting in the semi-dark of the Abbey Church at 10.50pm. There is a single spotlight illuminating the white stone altar. I've had a wonderful day in the company of the Compass Points vocations discernment group, having talked to them about my life this morning. Tonight we watched "Babette's Feast" together. I'd forgotten (or rather not realised until now) what a beautiful film it is.

I came to the church here afterwards. And despite everything that my family has suffered in recent weeks (months and years) the following words came into my head as I knelt before the altar lit up before me, tears streaming down my face; words that expressed a heartfelt prayer and a welling up of emotion within me:

I love you with my whole heart, my whole soul, my whole being and never have I loved you more than I do in this
instant. You have helped me carry my cross. I want to help you carry yours because I love you.

These words obviously echo those of the Book of Deuteronomy 6…

Compass Points vocation discernment group at Worth Abbey 3/4/07

Last summer ('06), I took part in the annual National Vocations Forum at the Benedictine monastery of Worth Abbey in Sussex, location for the highly successful BBC TV series "The Monastery". About 40 people took part, including other religious (such as my De La Salle friend Bro. Ben Foy), priests and lay people, all of whom work in some way for the development of vocations. It was a wonderful time of shared experiences, wisdom and support, skillfully facilitated by Abbot Christopher Jamison of Worth.

We didn't just deal with the burning question of religious/priestly vocations but also addressed the wider, more fundamental questions of christian vocation in general and the need to develop a stronger culture of vocation. Such a culture amongst Christians would encourage the discernment necessary to be able to hear God's call to a particular way of life; be it marriage, celibate single life, religious life, priesthood, etc... and to particular a apostolate within th…


Oops...!! The following should of course refer to God, not Jesus. Sorry. 'Twas written late at night!

"the death Jesus (God) says Adam and Eve will undergo if they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil should be interpreted as a spiritual death."


MySpace deabte with a former SFX pupil (cont.)..

Thanks for the message, Last Man... have tried to work out who you are. Found a "Phil" in one of the comments on your page, but that doesn't get me much further. Anyway, thoughtful comment of yours. I'll do my best to answer briefly from my point of view some of your points. Further reflexions I'll put on my blog.

Briefly then...
1) God did not kill Jesus. Human beings given the gift of free will chose to kill him to suit their ends... out of fear, fear of the truth about themselves that he exposed.
2) He died for our sins...? Yes, but only when interpreting his death after the event. And his death should not be separated from the "unbelievable" event of his resurrection. If it is then it is pointless. An unnecessary self-sacrifice. As were the lives of many of his immediate followers who put their lives on the line (and in many cases were killed) because they felt what Jesus stood for was worth risking one's life for. That's some sacrifice for …

"Sunshine" - Mark Kermode article

Here's an article by film guru Mark Kermode about a new film I saw the other day: "Sunshine" by Danny Boyle (he of "Trainspotting", "28 Days Later" and the wonderful "Millions"). Kermode, always quick to point out possible spiritual themes in the films he reviews, does so here with an interesting analysis that I hadn't considered myself but will have in mind when I go to see the film again next week.

2007: a scorching new space odyssey

One of the most exciting British movies this year is Danny Boyle's sci-fi epic, Sunshine, which puts the divine back into a genre that had lost its way. To film-makers, it seems, the infinite has a spiritual attraction.

Mark Kermode
Sunday March 25, 2007
The Observer (original article)

At a key moment in Danny Boyle's radiant new sci-fi film Sunshine, a character is asked, 'Are you an angel?' With its retina-scorching visuals, which blaze from the screen into the dark abyss of the cinema auditor…

Training weekend at our Mother House, Ploërmel (France) for African Educational Project, Togo 07

At last, the complete article with more photos.

This was the first time our group of 13 young people met the 70 or so French participants and our last training event before setting off for Togo on July 9th. We'll be meeting amongst ourselves in Liverpool after Easter to clarify which activities we want to use with Togolese children we'll be working with in 2 different places during the trip (a secondary school and the nursery attached to a village agricultural centre). And we'll also be undertaking some fund-raising events to buy equipment that we'll be bringing out (eg. sports, audio-visual...)and leaving with our hosts for them to keep.

Our adventure started with a mini-bus journey from Liverpool to Southampton, arriving in time for a buffet supper with our Brothers in Southampton (= where I went to school... aahh, bless! :-).
Supper with the Brothers. Bro. Francis, former Head Teacher of our Liverpool school on the far right.Next up, the overnight ferry from Portsmouth…

Training day at SFX for African Educational Project (Togo) '07

A couple of photos from the initial training day in Liverpool for which one of the Brothers’ Youth Ministry team, Pierre-Jean Bar, came from France to work with us.
Some of our lads getting very involved in the trading game we did as a way of exploring issues relating to the inequalities in world trade.Simon taking his life in his hands (and putting it in ours!).