The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!

13782263_10209023774544039_3224008155997500561_n

I have found myself really mourning Fr. Hamel. A sweet, kind old priest whom I have never met – yet I still call “Father”.

I have cried real tears today because they killed my gentle old Father.

Father Jacques Hamel was killed in the same manner as his patron, Saint James, on his Feast day. Saint James, one of the twelve Apostles, was martyred by beheading in the year 44.

It is hard to see through the pain of such an event, but today, as I went to the church to pray it started to make sense.

There were a lot of people in the church today. Lots more than usual. And I didn’t recognize them. But they were there to pray. So we all knelt alongside each other, grieving our poor French Father.

I began to wonder how many people all around the world have been moved by his death? How many have visited a church today to pray or light a candle? How many have raised their hearts and minds to God – even just to ask “Why?”. It is still a prayer.

Perhaps the answer to that question lies in the fact that they have begun to talk to God. Perhaps a gentle old priest, beheaded during an ordinary morning Mass is enough to shake people out of their comfort zones and realise that evil is real, God is real, and death comes when we least expect it.

Through his brutal matyrdom, Fr. Hamel continues in death his essential work as a priest – to draw souls to Christ. And this gives his death meaning and purpose, and great glory to God!

Tertullian really was right when he said “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!”

Rest in peace dear Father. Santo Subito!

We travel by night…

image

On Easter Sunday my husband and I had a conversation in which aspects of my past dawned on us both.
I was so ready to give myself away entirely into marriage age 20. I didn’t want responsibility for myself on any level, or should I say – I didn’t feel confident in myself in anyway. So my survival plan was to give it all to someone else to take care of for me. (Why he would want to take that on is another story we haven’t even discussed yet.)

So that is how things worked for the next 15 years. He looked after me like a dad. So when he got sick 2 years ago you can imagine how terrifying that was.
I had never had to stand on my own two feet in my life, emotionally, financially or in any other way. But it was something that needed to happen.

Even though he is doing really well now, long term illness in a marriage does change the relationship irrevocably. But this needed to happen. I no longer make my husband an idol by putting him before God in my life. No spouse can ever live up to those standards, and it is not fair to ever expect them to. I no longer cling onto him like an utterly dependent child.

The one I should be clinging onto like an utterly dependent child is of course Christ. But then that relationship had had to change too. Unlike my old relationship with my husband, Christ does not indulge me like a spoiled child. And even though He meets me where I am, He expects me to grow up and act like an adult.

Of course this is not the sort of relationship I want. I want a daddy to look after me and keep all the bad things away from me and fill me with endless consolations. I’m spoiled, and that’s what I’m used to. But Christ knows my heart better than I do, and He knows that deep down I don’t believe I can stand on my own two feet. I’m just a scared little girl in a big bad world.

On some levels I am meeting the challenge. I have started my own business that is doing really well. I am paying our bills. My marriage is much more balanced. But still, Christ is calling me to mature spiritually.

These last few days I’ve been doing everything possible to distract myself from the fact that He is calling me back into the desert, to be with Him alone. I know He wants more of me, and I’m reluctant to say the least!
But there is no escaping it 🙂 As a Carmelite the interior life is my vocation. It’s who I am! He made me that way – I can’t escape it!

So finally today I stopped struggling. I stopped the useless distractions that don’t even work anymore and I joined my God, my Love, my Father in the desert.

Through the dark night of my senses I can see His face clearly. He stares at me and smiles. I try to avoid eye contact. But soon, I hope I can find the courage to meet His gaze, and at least participate in this challenging game of interdimentional ‘stares’ 🙂

We travel by night…

Edmund’s Friday FAST: What Sound does an Authentic Marriage make?

Edmund Adamus
Edmund’s Friday F A S T – Family Actions – Spirituality Thoughts
During the last week, my little 5-year-old boy proudly brought home his first recorder. That distinctive [out of tune] tone that a child makes when they make that unmistakable shrill whistle in a first attempt to craft a tune out of an unfamiliar but ubiquitous wind instrument from school is something that many parents will know and hope it gets better even if it doesn’t mark the beginning of career in music!

But it got me thinking of the “sounds” of the home and the family that we wish our children and grandchildren, nephews and nieces to hear. Are they sounds of loving tones both in voice and gesture that we wish them to imbibe and absorb over time? Pope Francis, in addressing a major international conference on the universal and timeless value of marriage hosted in the Vatican this week (scroll down to ‘Events’ for details), spoke movingly of the need and right of children to a father and mother, ‘capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.’
 
He also went on to say that despite ‘political notions’ that threaten marriage as the indispensable one flesh union of man and woman open to life, “family is an anthropological fact.”  Here is a clear and unambiguous message from the ‘Father’ of the family – that is the Church militant on earth.  It is not out of tune or out of key but resonant and unmistakable as to its full meaning and importance. As parents, do we consciously impart to our children at all times a consistent and unmistakable body of truths and gospel values that resonate and do not jar on the ear so to speak?  
 
We may not always, as we all commit sin and fall short of the ideal of love, which is why it’s important for parents to ask forgiveness from their children as appropriate.  But our overall message, our overall witness about the beauty and truth of male/female complementarity must never be un-mistaken or off-key.  As St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:8, “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?”
 
So if we want our children to grow up to be “revolutionaries with courage to seek true and lasting love”, as Pope Francis put it, then the ambiance, and domestic cultural environment we make for them, becomes the critical place that will inspire them to the vocation of a lifelong, lasting and faithful marriage in their own turn. Most sensible people admit that the family is in deep crisis globally. But unless and until this crisis is seen with the same urgency that so many view the need for the protection of the natural environment – a simile that Pope Francis himself makes in the above speech – then the flourishing human ecology that the Pope calls for [a phrase first used by St. John Paul II in Centisimus Annus] simply will not come about at the pace and with the success God wills for us.  

We are coming to the end of the Church’s year with the triumphant Feast of Jesus Christ Universal King. Let’s pledge ourselves as families to approach that feast with new vigour, knowing that we serve the Lord who chose deliberately to make His divine sovereignty known for the first time at the union of a man and a woman – the wedding feast of Cana!  

– Edmund Adamus
Director, Office of Marriage and Family Life – Diocese of Westminster