6th Sunday of Easter – 9th May 2021
Fr David’s Message for the Week
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
What does friendship mean to you? How would you define it? What is that makes such and such a person a friend rather than an acquaintance, or just someone you ‘know’?
I think friendship is one of the most important human relational qualities. We tend to think of someone with admiration if we can describe them as ‘having a wide circle of friends’ or a ‘great capacity for friendship”. We would tend to think of such a person as being well rounded, attractive (maybe in looks, maybe not just in looks), interesting, charming, someone to be trusted and even admired. Those without friends we tend to pity or be suspicious of. Just what is the reason for their lack of friends and inability to make or sustain friendships?
Of course, when we reflect on it a bit we can see that, like most things, making friends and keeping them requires more than just talking about it or thinking about it. It requires effort. That effort is probably in the area of personal contact, conversation, shared interests and or goals, and, for most of us, time. We need to put time into our friendships. They don’t just happen and stay happening. So contact of some kind, and regular contact is important as is the context and nature of that contact. If your fiend only ever talks about themselves – whether their achievements in their eyes, or their persistent problems, it can be very wearing. If they never bother to enquire after you it begins to feel a little one sided. We say that that sort of person is a ‘taker’ not a giver. That sort of relationship, if it persists like that, is hard work.
Another element of friendships is that they tend to be made among equals. I say tend, because there are many instances of friendships amongst unequals, but in the main we tend to make friendships among our peers and among those we live with or work with. Indeed, the challenge of making and sustaining friendships between people of widely differing social, financial, or class differences makes for good theatre and TV. Few of us have those sort of relationships – I know I don’t.
All of which is preamble to the astonishing claim from Jesus to his disciples that he now calls them friends. In Jewish tradition there was only one, real, friend of God’s and that was Moses. He saw God face to face and spoke with him as friends do. Now Jesus is making a similar assertion: that we can meet God in Him face to face and speak with Him as friends do. Intimately. It is therefore, you see, a kind of invitation to a new sort of relationship. It is a relationship where God takes the initiative – it is He who calls us friends. The mark of a friend is one who honours and respects that friendship which is why Jesus also says : “you are my friends if you keep my commandments”. When we love like Jesus does. When we keep those commandments we begin to reveal God’s friendship at work in us always widening the circle of friendship and welcoming into that circle all sorts of people. That is the new family of the Church: the family of God’s friends always seeking new friends.
Much love to you all. Fr David
Parish Hall and Office Cleaner
We are hoping to find someone willing to spend 1 to 2 hours per week cleaning the Parish Meeting Room and Office, the rate is £10 per hour. Please contact the Parish Office.
Cranleigh Church Flower Rota
The members of the flower rota are keen to add to their numbers and ask that if you would like to be involved in joining the flower rota please contact the parish office who can tell you more.
The Colour and Shape Online community is a new way to resource, inspire, and connect families looking for support as they accompany their children on their own faith journey. Together we are exploring how to live a joy-filled life of faith that creates sacred space in the home and celebrates the liturgical seasons of the church creatively and sustainably. But it’s not just for parents! The network is for all those supporting families and gathers together grandparents, godparents, teachers, youth workers, clergy, children’s liturgy leaders, and catechists so that we can all inspire and learn from each other.
Throughout the year we run courses online (such as the ‘Parenting for Faith’ course) and beginning May 4th we will be starting ‘The Prayer Course’ (from 24/7 Prayer) – an eight week journey through the Lord’s Prayer which discusses a wide variety of prayer practices and themes. There will be optional Zoom meetings on Thursday evenings, beginning May 6th, and all are welcome!
Visit www.colourandshapeonline.com to find out more about the community and to sign up. It’s free and we can’t wait to meet you!
Saturday 29th May: The Post-Covid World: Pope Francis’ vision ‘Let us Dream’
Led by Austen Ivereigh
The retreat will take two recent texts by Pope Francis that lay out a vision of a post-pandemic future in which fraternity, rather than individualism, can be the organising principle of our world. Let Us Dream, which came out in December 2020, is the first ever book by a pope in response to a crisis. In it, Francis offers us a three-step way of changing so that we emerge better from the pandemic: by learning to contemplate, discern and take action. Fratelli Tutti (‘Brothers and Sisters All’) is the title of Pope Francis’ October, 2020 encyclical letter on human fraternity and social friendship.
Saturday 5th June: The Wisdom of St Benedict – Fr Martin McGee: Three talks exploring the riches of St Benedict’s rule which seeks to help us live out the Christian life in all its fullness.
Further information and to book your place online: https://worth.co.uk/retreats/online-retreats
For enquiries, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- an opportunity for prayer, Saturday Retreats on 2.00-4.30pm. The next one is 19 June.
- Retreats in Daily Life in June and in July.
- Brian Purfield’s Introduction to the Bible begins on 21 June. He is offering morning or evening classes. Booking opened.
We are also delighted to announce that, following the easing of lockdown restrictions, the Heythrop Library, one of the largest specialist theology and philosophy libraries in Europe, is now open Mondays to Thursdays.
For those engaged in spiritual direction, retreat leading, and pastoral ministry, we offer:
- Continuing Professional Development for Spiritual Directors – a course for spiritual directors with Dr Kate Stogdon rc and Ruth Holgate. Booking opened.
- our new Manresa Days:
Healthy Spiritual Direction and Understanding Spiritual Abuse with Dr Lisa Oakley on 21 May.
Psychological Issues in Spiritual Direction with Dr Roger Dawson SJ on 8 June.
Consolation and desolation with Fr Paul Nicholson SJ on 19 June.
Scripture passages for use in spiritual direction and retreats with Brian Purfield on 8 July.
You can book online for each event via our website: www.londonjesuitcentre.org
10-16th May is Marriage week,
a time for us to celebrate the joy and blessings of marriage. Pope Francis reminds us that “Marriage is like a plant. It is not an armoire, which is placed there, in the room, and it’s enough to dust it every once in a while. A plant is alive, and it needs to be cared for every day: to see how it is doing, to give it water, and so it goes. Marriage is a living reality: the life of a couple should never be taken for granted, in any phase of a family’s journey.”
Pope Francis, 21st December 2015
Why not take some time this week to really find some time to talk to your spouse and nurture your marriage.