Tuesday 19th July: Heavenly Words

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Shown is a handwritten card containing a Bible verse that Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin planned to broadcast back to Earth during a lunar Holy Communion service and is among items offered in a space-related auction in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2007. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Shown is a handwritten card containing a Bible verse written by Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin 

Reflection

The 20th July (tomorrow) was a momentous day in 1969 because TV pictures showed two people walking on the moon for the first time.

Apollo 11 had blasted off from Earth four days earlier. On this day hundreds of millions of television viewers across the world watched as their lunar module separated from the command module of Apollo 11, which continued to orbit the moon. The scenes, beamed back to Earth, showed the moon’s surface be- coming larger until the lunar module came to rest on an area of land called the Tranquillity Sea.

Neil Armstrong’s words to the Command Centre back in Houston, Texas, were heard by millions:

“Houston. This is Tranquility Base. The Eagle has landed!”

A little later Neil Armstrong descended the ladder. As he left the last rung of the ladder, he said:

“That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”

They collected 21 kg (47 lbs) of rock samples to return to the Earth, and they planted the American flag on the moon, saying that they landed there in peace and for all mankind. They also left be- hind on the moon a small sealed capsule which contains the words of one of the prayers of the Bible. It is Psalm 8, and we’ll use that as our prayer today:

Prayer

Lord, our God and King, your greatness is seen throughout the earth.
When I gaze at the heavens which your fingers have formed, and look at the moon and the stars which you have set there, I realise how small we are
in the majesty of your creation.

Yet you treasure us above all that you have made, and you give us control
over all the works of your hand – animals both wild and tame, birds in the air,
and the creatures of the sea. Lord, our God and King, your greatness is seen throughout the earth.

Our Father….

Amen.

Monday 18th July: Children of Light

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

e40be85205f1cbc374a04be95f2ba001

Reflection

On this day in 1918 Nelson Mandela was born. On 10th May 1994 he became the first democratically-elected President of multi-racial South Africa. In his inaugural speech as South African President, Nelson Mandela said:

“Our biggest fear is not that we are inadequate; our biggest fearis that we are powerful beyond measure.It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves: ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your ‘playing small’ doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just within some of us – it is within everyone!

And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give to other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Prayer

Lord Jesus,
bring your love to our lives in a new way today
so that any fear that we might have is driven away,
knowing that “perfect love casts out fear”.
Then your light will shine more brightly in us, and others will be able to see the good things that are done in your name.

Help us to grow more aware
of the love and respect and dignity that you give us
in calling us your “friends”.

We ask that your Spirit acts in us so that we discover
and take pride
in who we really are.

Make us credible witnesses of your love
so that othersmay more readily share
in your love and your light,
you who are the light of the world.

Amen.

Thursday 7th July: Prayer to Start the Day

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

234720-Good-Morning-God-Bless-You-Wishing-You-A-Day-Filled-With-His-Peace

Lord Jesus,
I give you my hands to do your work.
I give you my feet to go your way.
I give you my eyes to see as you do.
I give you my tongue to speak your words.
I give you my mind that you may think in me.
I give you my spirit that you may pray in me.

Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me your Father
and all humanity.
I give you my whole self that you may grow in me,
so that it is you, Lord Jesus, who live and work and pray in me.
Amen

Wednesday 6th July: I’m Unique!

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fingerprint_detail_on_male_finger

Reflection

In the 1930s John Dillinger escaped from prison in the United States, having been found guilty of murder and robbery. The F.B.I. identified him as “Public Enemy Number One”.

Knowing that the police and the F.B.I. had records of his fingerprints, he thought he would set about getting new fingerprints so that his presence would not be detected in future. He dipped his fingers and thumbs into a bowl of acid, and went through great pain until new skin grew. After a few weeks, Dillinger tested his new fingerprints – only to find that they were identical to his old ones.

No-one else will ever have the same fingerprints as me. Fingerprints are a sign that each person is unique and individual.

Pope John Paul II has said:

“Before God, each human being
is always unique and unrepeatable, somebody thought of and chosen from eternity.”

Isaac Newton said:

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

In a moment of silence, think about your own fingerprint and the fact that no one in the whole world has, or will ever have, the same one as you. You are unique.

Prayer

God our Father,
you made each of us unique and unrepeatable.

Inspire me to live in such a way that I respect others
and am ready to learn
from all who are part of my life this day.

Amen.

Monday 27th June: Brexit

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Brexit text with British and Eu flags illustration
Reflection & Discussion 

How do you feel about Britain exiting the European Union? Here are some Christian perspectives and comments on the referendum decision. Do you agree or disagree or not sure?

“Many people argued that the referendum was about control, but no matter who won, God was always going to be in control.”

“What’s important now is that everyone in the country is gracious to one another, whether in victory or defeat.”

“My faith is not in politicians or economists. My faith is not in the British electorate, whether or not they agree with me. My faith is not in the UK or the EU, but in Christ alone.”

“In the longer term we have to be united in our efforts to support and lift the disenfranchised, the poor and the weak among us.”

“We must be a light to the world, generous to those beyond our shores who don’t enjoy democracy, those who don’t live in peace, those who don’t experience freedom, those who can’t even turn to a food bank for their daily bread.”

Prayer by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

We pray that in this process of exiting the EU the most vulnerable will be supported and protected, especially those who are easy targets for unscrupulous employers and human traffickers.

We pray that our nations will build on our finest traditions of generosity, of welcome for the stranger and shelter for the needy.

Our Father….

Amen

 

Friday 10th June: The Pilgrim Statue Part 4

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

IMG_1157

Reflection

Today we hand on this statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It will travel to Our Lady & St Patricks in Maryport so that other students, teachers and staff can take part in our diocese’s celebration of the Year of Mercy.

The presence of the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has given us the opportunity to encounter the loving kindness of God that is offered to us all.

Pope Francis encountered this loving kindness of God as a student of 16 during confession. It was an experience that changed his life. He talked about this experience in an interview he gave when he became pope and people wanted to know more about him. The journalist asked him:

“Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” (That’s the name of Pope Francis before becoming pope)

What do you think Pope Francis replied? What would you reply if someone asked you who you are? He didn’t say “I’m the pope”, “I’m an Argentinian”, “I’m a good man”

The pope replied:
“I’m a sinner. I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

He didn’t say this with embarrassment, or with reluctance, or shyness.
The Pope admitted that he was a sinner as an honest and straight forward admission.

He has this freedom to admit that he is a sinner in front of all the people of the world because he knows that if he is totally honest about the things he does wrong on purpose, his wrongdoing, his sin, he will experience the loving forgiveness of God.

Pope Francis encourages us – sometimes gently, sometime forcefully – to seek the grace to make the same honest and frank admission because he knows from his personal experience as a 16 year old student that knowing and admitting that we are sinners will liberate and transform our lives. I am a sinner.

Sinners are those individuals who have the humility and self-knowledge to admit that they are weak and in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

There is no sin, there is no habit of sin, there is no relapse into sin, which is beyond the mercy of God. Have you got the courage and the honesty to admit you are a sinner?

Prayers

Christ came from heaven as the face of God’s loving kindness for sinners. May we experience his healing presence in our lives R. Jesus, hear our prayer

We pray for the confidence and honesty to admit we’re sinners in need of God’s help. R. Jesus, hear our prayer

We pray for those who are trapped in sin, and don’t feel the need or the want, for God’s loving forgiveness. R. Jesus, hear our prayer

We pray for the students, teachers and staff who next receive the Pilgrim Year of Mercy Statue. R. Jesus, hear our prayer

Concluding prayer

Jesus, you came down from heaven to show us the loving kindness of God.

Help us trust that You wait for us
wanting us to experience your mercy and forgiveness.

Help us love others as you love us.

Amen

Thursday 9th June: Prayer to Start the Day

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer

In the community which I (your chaplain!) am a member of, we pray a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus every single day. I thought as we have been learning and praying about the love of the heart of Jesus as shown in the Pilgrim Statue this week, we could pray this prayer together today:

You have said O divine Jesus, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, know and it shall be opened unto you”. Relying on these promises I come with confidence during this prayer to ask of you the favours that I need:

Jesus, give us your Sacred Heart to love with and to revive love with.

From whom shall I ask Lord Jesus, if not from you whose Heart is an unfailing source of graces and merits? Most loving heart of my God, I believe in your power, I believe in your knowledge, I believe in your personal love for me. And therefore O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.

Amen

Wednesday 8th June: The Pilgrim Statue Part 3

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

IMG_7131

Light Radiates from the Heart of Jesus

Your heart pumps about 100,000 times a day to keep your lifeblood flowing through you. For this reason it has become a symbol for our very selves. We say, “I put my heart into it” and “I want that with all my heart.” The heart also is a symbol for love, perhaps because it seems to beat faster when we are in love. The biblical image of the heart means the depth of our selves where we decide for or against God. God, who always speaks to us using our own experiences, has chosen our symbol of the heart to represent Jesus.

The heart of Jesus was a human heart like ours. It stopped beating the day Jesus was crucified. According to the Gospel of John, after Jesus had died a soldier made sure of his death by piercing his side with a lance. Blood and water ran out (19:34). Jesus’ pierced heart became a sign of the completeness of his love for us, a love that compelled him to die for us and that prompted him to remain with us in the Eucharist (when we celebrate Mass). The physical heart of Jesus is the symbol of the total love of Jesus, divine and human.

Jesus said that from within him would flow streams of living water (John 7:38), referring to the Holy Spirit. The water from the side of Christ on the cross was the water of salvation, the Holy Spirit.

On our Pilgrim Statue, light radiates from the heart of Jesus to show that it is a burning furnace of love.

In a moment of quiet, just think about the fact that someone love you so much that they freely went to the cross to die for you. That someone is Jesus.

Prayer

Sacred Heart of our Saviour, please bless us as the new day dawns. May we grow today in Your friendship, in helpfulness to others, in gratitude for Your benefits beyond number. May Christ-like love fill our hearts, guard our thoughts, and inspire our actions. Jesus, we believe in Your love for us. We trust in You and want to remain forever in the safe haven of Your loving Heart. Amen.

 

Tuesday 7th June: Pilgrim Statue Part 2

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus Points to His Heart

IMG_7131

For Catholics, the symbol of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (which the Pilgrim Statue represents) is a powerful image of the love of God. Throughout the Bible, the heart of God was a key image of the God who kept promises with his people. The heart itself was the very centre – the core – of a person. Time and time again the God  begged his people not to harden their hearts but to return to him. In the Gospels, when Jesus was challenged to summarise the law of God, he stressed loving God with all our heart and our neighbour as ourselves.

The New Testament stressed love as the way to life, “God is Love,” wrote St. John; “and whoever abides in love abides in God and God in them” (I John 4:16). To St. Paul, the presence of love renders all other gifts worthwhile, while its absence renders them useless (I Corinthians 3).

The Sacred Heart of Jesus, then, is meant to symbolise the love of God, his mercy, and to evoke love for God from us and to show that love in our care for those in need – by showing mercy and love to others.

Reflection

What do I think about my heart? How do I think Jesus sees my heart?

In a quiet moment ask Jesus to open your heart to the love He wants to show you. If you feel you may have hardened your heart to love, then ask him to soften it.

Prayer

Jesus, king and centre of all hearts, in your kindness and care you never cease to love us. May we all feel your love and forgiveness in our school.

Amen

Monday 6th June: The Pilgrim Statue

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Pilgrim Statue

Reflection

This week we welcome to our school a special statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that has been sent to us by the Bishop of our diocese, Bishop Michael. It’s called the Year of Mercy Pilgrim Statue.

It is called a ‘pilgrim statue’ because, like a pilgrim, it is travelling as an act of religious devotion. In this case it is going to visit every school in our town and every school in our diocese of Lancaster.

Pope Francis has asked all Catholics throughout the world to have a special celebration to think about how much Jesus loves us, how much we need His forgiveness and to pray for His mercy – the loving forgiveness of our sins.

This statue of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus” represents this loving forgiveness of God.

When you have a chance, go into St Joseph’s Room to look more closely at the statue. You’ll see that Jesus’ hand is pointing to His heart and you’ll see golden rays radiating from this area of His heart. These golden rays represent the beauty and power of love at the heart of Christianity — that Jesus loves each one of us with his whole heart and He wants each one of us to experience His love and kindness in our lives.

Where in your life do you need the forgiveness of God? Spend a moment in quiet asking God to show you where you need forgiveness, and then, in your heart, ask Him to forgive you.

Prayer

Jesus, you came down from heaven to show us the loving kindness of God. May this statue of your Sacred Heart,help us trust that You wait for us
wanting us to experience your mercy and forgiveness.

Help us love others as you love us.

Amen.

Monday 9th May: The Ascension of the Lord

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection

Yesterday was the feast of the Ascension of Jesus into heaven. In this reflection we can learn more about this important event in Jesus’ life and what it means to us in our lives.

Prayer

God our Father,
make us joyful
in the ascension of your Son Jesus Christ.
May we follow him into the new creation,
for his ascension is our glory and our hope.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Friday 29th April: St Catherine of Siena

Today is the feast day of St Catherine of Siena.

The Sign of the Cross

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Reflection

A Prayer of Saint Catherine of Siena

Holy Spirit, come into my heart; draw it to You by Your power, O my God, and grant me charity with loving fear. Preserve me, O indescribable Love, from every evil thought; warm me, inflame me with Your dear love, and every pain will seem light to me. My Father, my sweet Lord, help me in all my actions. Jesus, love, Jesus, love.

Amen.