Sunday, 4 October 2015

Has the world gone mad or is it me?

Has the world gone mad or is it me?

This week October arrived, it was expected, announcing its arrival with an advert campaign behind it to “Stoptober” If you want to give up smoking, it is a good month for you. If you don’t smoke, it, depending on your life outlook, is just another month on the treadmill of life, or another month to engage in, while on the gifted journey and miracle that is life! So it is here and it presents opportunities for reflection.

October is a month in the middle of autumn, a changing month for the seasons, where the late summer sun gives way to the more blustery, and cooler weather. Change and decay in all around I see…this can be October, threatening the calm with an inevitable feeling of the passing of time, and the inability to make a difference with the time given. The year is almost over and what have I done? This can be a mantra of regret that starts forming in the conscience during October. I like October because it is a month dedicated in the Church calendar to a devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Any regrets, worries or troubles can be laid at the feet of Mary during this month, and she will bring them to the ear of her Son, Jesus. Devotion to Mary is an awakening of trust, and expression of hope, a deepening of realising that my life is in the hands of God, here I am kept safely in the palms of his hands and though I live with weaknesses, many faults and failings too, I am loved and held securely.

There is an important event happening in the Vatican at this time, the “Synod of the Family” It causes a tremble of fear to ripple though my being. As a priest I am engaged in accompanying people on their journey of faith. I come across many broken dreams, broken and wounded lives, expectations unfulfilled, potential unrealised. Life can be raw, can be cruel, can be unfathomable. There are situations in life filled with painful regret. Life can be bleak! But life can be joyful, fulfilling, rewarding, and efforts put in can bear fruit. We make the best of the life we have been given. The Church seeks to follow the will of Christ, and that is never easy. Love does not come without sacrifice, hope is often preceded by doubt and uncertainty. For many the definition of life is; birth, life and death, but the Church sees it as life, death, and resurrection. Life is not cramming in every experience before you die and then feeding the worms, so to speak! Christianity colours the way life is embraced.

There seems to be a different ends of the spectrum trying to influence to their way of thinking the outcome of the synod. Those who have expectations for wholesale changes are unrealistic. The Church seeks ways to accompany people, but not on a high speed train, rather a steam train, gently rattling beside the journey taken. The Church does not flatter the prevailing whim of the times, or bow down to the spirit of the day, she preserves and safeguards the values that Christ instituted, and that is how it should be. I do not have a right, to do what I want all of the time, and just because I can, does not mean that I should! The Church is not here to cause pain, it may seem that way to many, but the healing balm of Christ is the essence and heart of the Church.

I sometimes wonder has the world gone mad or is it me! As I answer that each day, I entrust October to Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Shimmering Intimacy

Shimmering Intimacy

A shimmering intimacy crackles amidst the recalling of memory
Sheer joyful abandon surfaces, at the mention of a shared history
Laying down to deaths sleep, love passes from earth to eternity
Enduring hope is the sign, the promise, of Christ’s ultimate victory.

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved

Love is not a passing fancy, love resides at the very heart of the hope we have for heaven. Love conquered death, the victory is bitter sweet, for it involved the death of Christ Jesus, our Loving Saviour, who was crucified on the gruesome Cross.

Love, awakens the slumbering soul; love, reminds the spirit to soar heavenwards; love, enables joy to burst spontaneously into life; love is ever present within the beating hearts of all who see life as a sacred, precious gift!

Shimmering Intimacy is a poem about love, about a love that does not diminish when we die, about a love that stretches beyond the limits of our humanity, to the heavenly heights of eternity.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Homily Notes: 26th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B

When I worked as a postman I was delivering letters to homes. Sometimes I had to ring the bell so a person could sign for a letter or small package. I remember one man coming to the door with a huge dog barking beside him, he was holding the dog, but I was not convinced that he would hold on to the dog, “don’t worry” the man said “remember the old proverb, a barking dog never bites!” I knew that proverb, the man knew the proverb, but I wondered did the dog know it as well!
Our faith is in Christ, our trust is in him, we bring his words to the world, a world that we could presume knows who Christ is, and have an understanding of what he requires of his disciples. It can be surprising to realise that many people do not know who Jesus is, and what a Christian believes. Our words, our way of life, our witness and example, are vital in helping others discover the truth of the Christian faith.
There are different denominations of Christianity, each is striving to live in accordance to Christ. Anyone who is not against us is for us.. says Jesus in the gospel today. Some do not know what the difference is between the denominations, the differences are important, so that we can clarify the shared goal.
Catholics are led by the successor of St Peter, the current successor being Pope Francis. The teaching of the Catholic faith preserves life from conception to natural death, by observing the sanctity of the sacraments, seeing them as encounters with Christ. So as to preserve the maleness of the priesthood and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Church teaching brings life and as we engage in life, we try to come to understand better the teachings of the Church.
I was telling the group meeting last Thursday, to explore Proclaim 15, about when I was 16 and went with some friends to a Billy Graham rally, it happened to be at Villa Park and during the rally the preacher asked anyone who wanted to come to Jesus, to come down onto the pitch. I couldn’t believe my ears and went so quickly to the pitch I almost knocked people out the way, I may have looked like an enthusiastic convert to Christ, but I so wanted to get onto the pitch at Villa Park, my motivation was not so pure! I have repented of this since!
But coming to Christ is not an aspect of other denominations, it is part of our Catholic faith to build and nurture a relationship with Christ. It is this relationship with Christ that sustains and enhances our experience of faith.
May we strive to deepen our love of Christ and cement our relationship with the Church.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015



Holiness unfolded
in the soul's darkness, in claggy night,
that clings, that overwhelms the soothing light,
yet faithful still, remains the humble, trusting soul,
to seek a destination where attaining heaven is the final goal,
to hold tightly, joyfully brightly, to the trailing cloak of the Almighty
to delight so in the glimpse of glory; those, the tiny shards of eternity.

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Mercy: Not An Optional Extra

Mercy: Not An Optional Extra
The meaning of mercy:

“Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.”

At the moment I am reading Pope Francis’s book, “The Church of Mercy” It is a good read, insightful, practical, and spiritual. It gives a deeper context for understanding the emphasis placed upon mercy in the pontificate of Pope Francis, and in the Church from the very beginning too.

Pope Francis: proclaims at the very beginning of the book;

 “What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.”

Another line from the book said;

“But I am telling you: I would prefer a thousand times over a bruised Church to an ill Church!”

This idea of a bruised Church is one that sees mercy as a healing balm, a soothing grace from God’s goodness. A mercy that extends to all through Christ, and his people too, who are striving to be his body for the world.

Mercy is very much the theme radiating into the consciousness of the Church at present. The truth is that mercy has always been a central component part of Christian faith since Christ. As we read in the sacred scriptures, Christ forgave sinners, for example refusing to cast the stone at the woman caught in adultery. Jesus said… pray for your enemies; forgive 77 times; and also from the cross Jesus asked the Father to “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” It was within Christ’s power to punish offences, but he chose to forgive, and he sets in motion the responsibility for the Church to do the same. Therefore mercy is not an optional extra, but an important part of faith in action.

The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has always been the great symbol of mercy and sets mercy as gazing upon Christ, and delighting in his presence, receiving from Christ’s heart the healing gift of mercy.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Amare Nesciri "Love to be Unknown"

Amare Nesciri "Love to be Unknown"

Love to be unknown, cheerfully happy,
busy, about the fragrance of opus Dei;
a primary duty, silent, other worldly,
wanting to be saintly, definitively holy,
whilst remaining contemplatively ordinary,
concentrated upon prayer, a fulfilling Oratory,
seeking a blessed time, speaking quietly,
reverently telling a life’s grace filled story,
creating a remarkable history, a lasting legacy,
a beatitude of humility, striving to reach towards sanctity,
a happy eternity, forever pursuing the depths of amare nesciri.

Fr. Patrick Brennan 2015 © all rights reserved

The above is inspired by St Philip Neri, and what is expounded by the life of Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman; an ideal strived for by the Congregation of the Oratory, and pursued affectionately by priests, religious and lay people.