Dear All,1. Thank you
for your kind comments following Fr. John letting you all know that I have completed my studies with the Archdiocese and the Northern Diaconal Training Programme. The four years have gone by pretty quickly.
I hope and pray that I can serve God, the Church and the Community, that is all of you, to the best of my ability. That means that I will have to continue with my reading/studies in order that I can increase my understanding of and develop in my faith, you will be a big part of that. John Henry Newman tells us that we all ,’…..need to be properly educated and equipped, in order that we can capture and transform the public mind and in so doing make it that much more receptive to Catholic truth’.
I received news as to the great efforts being made in giving to the Foodbank by you all and by the work undertaken by Nichola Taylor and the other volunteers working with her and Alice and Paddy Joyce.
3. Some of you may remember Fr, Paul Mooney from the Mill Hill Fathers. He asks for our prayers for his brother who died in tragic circumstances last week. Please pray for Fr. Mooney who cannot go to see his family and assist in anything due to him being unable to travel to Scotland during this ‘Coronavirus pandemic’.
“One Step Enough for Me”
I’d like to close this book with help from another saint who is very much a long-time favorite of mine, as indeed of many others: St. John Henry Newman.
In past writings, I’ve leaned heavily on parts of Newman’s writings to argue that, given the manifold challenges facing us, the missionaries of the New Evangelization must cultivate, in themselves and others, a spirituality of resilience and perseverance. This must fortify us for the long haul, helping us maintain the newness of our ardor despite hard- ships and disappointments. We need the charism of grit, one might say. Thus, while an Anglican priest in Oxford, sixteen years before his reception into the Catholic Church, Newman preached the following in 1829:
‘To expect great effects from our exertions for religious objects is natural indeed, and innocent, but it arises from inexperience of the kind of work we have to do. . . . It is a far nobler frame of mind, to labour, not with the hope of seeing the fruit of our labour, but for conscience’s sake, as a matter of duty; and again, in faith, trusting good will be done, though we see it not.
Look through the Bible, and you will find God’s servants, even though they began with success, end with disappointment; not that God’s purposes or His instruments fail, but that the time for reaping what we have sown is hereafter, not here; that here there is no great visible fruit in any one man’s lifetime’.
This is good advice at the best of times. It is even more so at the worst of them.
Four years later while travelling in Europe, Newman became life-threateningly ill, most probably with typhoid. Upon his recovery, and with “work to do in England,” he was desperate to return. En route he penned a poem, “The Pillar of the Cloud,” which is more famous now as the lyrics to the popular hymn “Lead, Kindly Light.” This too evinces what may plausibly be described as a kind of “little way” of the New Evangelization. Amid the encircling gloom of the COVID-19 crisis, it may be fitting to end, and indeed perhaps to dwell awhile, on his words:
Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home—
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet;
I do not ask to seeThe distant scene—
one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou
Shouldst lead me on.
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.