The young and their teachers

Two events come together this week – on Saturday morning there is Mass with Confirmation at St Brigid’s, and on Wednesday a Mass of Thanksgiving at Corpus Christi (see page 2 of our newsletter this week). The one is all about our young people embarking on the journey through teenage years and towards adulthood, the other is about those people of tremendous significance in their lives; their teachers in school.

Our twenty or so confirmandi are great people, and God thinks so too! “Respect” is a big word nowadays, and God respects them so much He wants to share his own Spirit with them in this wonderful sacrament. They must reach out to receive this gift and then ask God to help them use the gifts of the Spirit to be the people God wants them to be.

Then, we are very blessed in our 3 Churches area to have Catholic education from 3 – 18 or 19 on our doorstep. Christ the King Primary School, Corpus Christi High School and St David’s are three jewels in our Catholic crown here in Cardiff, and all of them lie within our boundaries. So it’s excellent to celebrate those women and men who devote their working lives to the education of our young people, such as those for whom we give thanks on Wednesday. Teachers like Mrs Pat Pavlovic and Mrs Ann Geen have given extraordinary service to the children who have passed through their hands, to their families and to the Church and wider community. They are truly “vocational” teachers, very much with a calling.

So let us honour and pray for both groups – our young people due to be confirmed by Archbishop George Stack on Saturday, and all those who work in our Catholic schools on Wednesday – especially those who will now enjoy a well-earned rest!

Fr Matthew

Called by name

There have been many fine hymns written in recent decades, some from the pen of John Bell and Graham Maule of the Iona Community in Scotland. As we celebrate the Feast of Sts Peter & Paul, both with their dramatic callings and grace-filled living out of those callings, the words of their hymn often called “The Summons” are good subject for our reflection. Read it slowly …

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same? Will you let my love be shown, will you let my name be known, Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

Will you leave yourself behind if I but call your name?
Will you care for cruel and kind and never be the same?
Will you risk the hostile stare should your life attract or scare? Will you let me answer prayer in you and you in me?

Will you let the blinded see if I but call your name?
Will you set the prisoners free and never be the same? Will you kiss the leper clean and do such as this unseen, And admit to what I mean in you and you in me?

Will you love the ‘you’ you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around Through my sight and touch and sound in you and you in me?

Lord, your summons echoes true when you but call my name. Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In your company I’ll go where your love and footsteps show. Thus I’ll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

A good solo version is available here on Youtube. .Find out about the Iona community at Iona.org.uk

Beyond, beside, within

One of my favourite “ways into” talking about the Trinity is the idea of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as God beyond, beside and within us. While this doesn’t grasp the whole truth, I find it a handy way of opening up what can seem a very abstract idea by using the language of relationship.

I was very glad to find that our regular poet Malcolm Guite uses the same idea in this sonnet for Trinity Sunday.

In the Beginning, not in time or space,
But in the quick before both space and time, In Life, in Love, in co-inherent Grace,
In three in one and one in three, in rhyme.

In music, in the whole creation story,
In His own image, His imagination,
The Triune Poet makes us for His glory, And makes us each the other’s inspiration.

He calls us out of darkness, chaos, chance, To improvise a music of our own,
To sing the chord that calls us to the dance.

Three notes resounding from a single tone, To sing the End in whom we all begin,
Our God beyond, beside us and within.

Fr Matthew