Friday, 11 July 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Not in vain!

I have just been reading (in Dutch) sections of a letter between Teresa of Avila and her friend Luisa de la Cerda. It is in the present issue of “Karmelimpuls”. What especially struck me was the way she wrote about suffering. 

She tells her friend that relationships in this world are so different: “Those, who could help you, won’t do it and I, who wants to assist you, can’t do it”. She adds that “we mortals have to endure those and even worse situations” Try not to worry. Think of how much depends on your health. These days mine has been very bad. It would have been even worse, if I, on your insistence, had not received the good care in your home.” She acknowledges that she needed this insistence, because the scorching heat of the sun had made her pain so much worse. By her arrival in Toledo, Teresa immediately had to undergo two blood-lettings, and was not able to move or turn in bed because of the pain in her shoulders and neck.

This weekend, the parish is celebrating our annual Parish Day to commemorate Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We know that there was much suffering in Our Lady's life too. She offered them up, together with her Son, to the Father, and for the salvation of all.

Like Our Lady and Teresa, our sufferings don’t have to be in vain. That thought helps us to bear them more easily.

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Thoughts from our Chaplain - Ora et Labora!

It is Wednesday 2nd July and I’m in the William Harvey hospital for my last chemo session – at least for the moment!

I am reading in Living Faith (April - June edition) excerpts from a book by Fr Ronald Rolheiser entitled “Prayer. Our Deepest Longing”. Coming from him you know that there will be some pearls in it.

He writes that spirituality is as real as science. However, we live in a world where the real has been reduced to what is physical: to what we can see, taste, touch etc. But that won’t still our deepest desire. He quotes St Augustine, who wrote “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you”. All of us will struggle with prayer, but if we want to get anywhere we have to embrace the fundamental or non-negotiable rule, “You have to show up for prayer and you have to show up regularly.”

It reminds me of this morning’s reading from Amos,“Seek good not evil so that you may live and that the Lord may really be with you as you claim he is.” Somewhat later he writes, “Let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream.” That tells us that prayer should lead to worthwhile action. As St James wrote, “Prayer without good works is quite dead.” Or to use the ancient motto, “Ora et Labora: Bid and work.” Let us do just that!

Fr Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.