It is with sadness that I have to announce the complete closure of our Parish Church, St. Edmund of Canterbury, Loughton. But in compliance with the Prime Minister’s address last night, and with a great sense of everyone’s well-being it is absolutely necessary!
If it is possible, make a special place of prayer in each of your homes. Place a crucifix, An open bible, a rosary, a statue of Our Blessed Lady, a candle. You may like to begin & end each day by lighting your candle as a family and simply praying the Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be together, and any other family prayers you may have. Prayer really focuses the mind & heart.
In every celebration of Holy Mass I will keep all of your intentions in my heart and offer them up to the Lord through His Holy Eucharist. In these difficult and trying times, we must never lose faith or hope. Jesus said “I have overcome the world!”
I will celebrate Holy Mass each day at 10.00am. If you are free to join us through Facebook, you need to access the St. Edmund of Canterbury Loughton FB site.
Please be assured of my thoughts, prayers & love as we continue on this strange journey. May God Bless You All.
Dear Friends in Christ,
1st Sunday of Lent 2020
The Holy spirit led Jesus into the desert for forty days to be tempted and tested. During Lent we too are led by the spirit into the mystery of Jesus’ sojourn in the desert. ‘By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert (CCC540). Lent, then, is a journey into the desert. We too, during this holy season, can expect to be tempted and tested.
The name Satan means ‘adversary’. In the book of Job, we are given a vivid picture of Satan in God’s heavenly court, along with all the other angels, where he has the role of accuser or prosecutor. The Scriptures identify Satan as the serpent in the Garden of Eden who tempted Adam and Eve and, therefore, as the origin of sin and temptation. What the Scriptures and tradition make known is than humankind has a mortal enemy who, although a finite being created by God, is in a desperate struggle to overthrow God’s reign, usurp his Lordship and lead his creation into darkness and death. On Easter Sunday each of us will recite our baptismal promises and in doing so renew them. Bear this in mind as we move through lent because, as you will be aware, a renewal of our baptismal promises involves us actively, freely and voluntarily rejecting Satan.
Lent is also a time for us to discover anew and afresh the gospel, the Good News which Jesus began to proclaim immediately after his time of testing. What is the Good News? The Good News is a message in two parts; the first part is to repent, and the second part is to believe in the gospel. We walk together on this road marked out for us by the church and take up our call to stand firm and resist the devil, knowing that he will flee, and embracing freely and with love the gospel, which is Christ with us and in us, the hope of salvation.
‘In these days, therefore, let us add something beyond the wonted measure of our service, such as private prayers and abstinence in food and drink. Let each one, over and above the measure prescribed for him, offer God something of our own free will in the joy of the Holy Spirit. (St. Benedict)
Dear Friends in Christ,
7th Sunday of the Year 2020
We learn better if new teachings can be related or ‘pegged’ to what is already stored in our minds. The primary school child may be taught one way of understanding, for example, rainfall, but by secondary school a more sophisticated and scientifically accurate explanation will bring the child closer to the truth. In the light of further research in adult life, the student usually learns once more to discard some previously acquired ‘knowledge’ and to embrace a deeper understanding.
Jesus teaching in the same ‘organic’ way. He loved the law and would do nothing to discredit it, but his mission was to complete it. Thus, he often begins by reinforcing the familiar with ‘You have heard that it was said…’ The new understanding usually expands, rather than reduces, the message of the law, making it more radical and at the same time more loving. ‘Be perfect…as your heavenly Father is perfect’.
That perfection includes loving not only your friends but also your enemies. We are called to radical commitment to the Good News, which involves more generous, more prayerful and more willing to set aside our own needs for the good of others. But loving our enemies? This sounds like and impossible goal – we often struggle to be in the same room as them! Jesus is trying to help us to see the world a little more as God sees it. For God, there is goodness within each person; every person you meet is created in the image and likeness of God. Our task is to make room for everyone. Firstly, because that is how God is, but secondly because we do not want to be in bondage to our resentment and thus fail to grow in our own relationship with the Lord of love. Our efforts will demand much more of us spiritually and even emotionally but will pay dividends in a new kind of interior freedom.
We have already seen this attitude lived out – in Jesus himself, who shows us what God is like. Jesus loved his enemies, forgave those who mocked him, scourged and crucified him. In this sense, we can say that the Sermon on the Mount predisposes us to live a life of self-giving, in imitation of Christ.
Dear Friends in Christ,
6th Sunday of the Year 2020
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist, her voice shaking with anger, told world leaders at the UN in New York, ‘You have stolen my childhood with your empty words. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth – how dare you.’ Many things make us angry, and some anger is right, fit and proper. Sometimes we know we are wrong to be angry; much more often we think we are right. We think the fault lies with others – they have made us angry. Or else certain situations provoke us to anger – and because these are bad situations, we feel that we have the right to express our anger. Jesus teaches with extraordinary clarity that ‘everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says: “You fool!” shall be liable to the hell of fire.’
Must we take Jesus seriously? Jesus’ radical teaching on anger sees it as the root of murder. Angry feelings, if they are nursed and not dealt with, become hatred. The fruit of hatred can sometimes be actual murder. Jesus warns us to avoid the possibility of such appalling fruit of our anger by dealing ruthlessly with the initial feelings of anger. He does not say that we cannot feel anger, express anger or even act on it. What he says it that we do not have the right to hang on to it, nurse it and vent it. Instead we must learn to let go of our anger so that we can imitate him better.
There were, of course, occasions when Jesus himself knew righteous anger and expressed it – but his anger never led him to sin. When he was betrayed, insulted, ridiculed, tortured and crucified, he had full right to feel angry. However, Jesus let go of his feelings of anger and forgave his oppressors: ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Jesus shows us a new way of living. As his disciples we must emulate him. Whenever we are angry, we must acknowledge our anger and then let it go by calling on the Lord’s grace. Christ’s Spirit will give us the power to fulfil his commandment to live as he did.