Faith communities take Communion online, except for some Conservatives who don’t feel we should participate, virtual or otherwise. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-52864843
One of the quickest way to lose growth on any Spiritual path is to begin labeling people with words pertaining to material identities. Words such as addict, psycho, weird, carry all kinds of negative meanings but so do Jew, Christian, Gay, Catholic in the eyes of some people. These days “tested positive” or negative, Asymptomatic and symptomatic are also unhelpful in the time of Corona Virus.
We sometimes need labels to describe certain human behaviours and people often define themselves with certain labels which we may or may not use or try to overcome.
In spiritual life, we are required to love everyone “our neighbour as ourself” to be scriptural about it and that can be hard when a label has been pinned to the person – raising again the old duality that there is a definitive “Good” and definitive “Evil” somewhere which we need to physically avoid. Thus we become the judge, jury and executor in moral living – having the last word about people we meet. Using our own standards rather than Godly standards to judge.
I recently watched some you tube clips about Humanism the first was from the Jewish perspective. The clip came from the Secular Humanistic Judaism movement. In Judaism, people are defined by their Cultural and Genealogical roots – a material identity they cannot escape from. Although we think of the religion when we hear the word Jewish – that is only because we relate to it from a Christian standpoint, but the Jewish identity is not a religious one. There are Jewish Humanists, Jewish Catholics, Jewish Atheists, each with their own religious identity, which do not infringe upon their material identity which they are born into which is defined as simply DNA “Jewish”. As a result the Humanist movement in Judaism is not about rejecting people or faith it is simply another way of expressing it´s ideas about God within a community. Even the speaker in this clip is a Rabbi within the Humanist movement.
In Christianity, we have no such material identity, we are born effectively into a nameless culture, with or without religion, we are free to choose faith or neglect it based upon cultural or parental influences. As a result our Humanist movements tend to be a rejection of all things related to religion – we have shows like this one where Humanists fight and argue with Christians because there is no other identity to unite them or to keep them together. Its the all or nothing approach where the best speaker wins. Then in the fringe movements we have “gay catholics” and Christians who call themselves “Messianic Jews” who want to be linked with Judaism. Then come the labels which define politicians to help you decide who to vote for in the American Elections. American people actively seek out a label they can relate to, in deciding who shares their values.
With the Jewish approach mentioned above, it was not always like that – until the 19th Century, Jews had to choose to be American or Jewish, British or Jewish etc, something which caused a lot of pain and for others to turn their back on their roots and their label. Also the embracing of religious terms is a relatively new thing for people – they want some kind of tribal label but not actually the belief that goes with it. Spanish people are often heard commenting “I am Catholic but I don´t practice” because the Catholic Church no longer allows people to “resign” or “leave” officially from the Church – At best you have to simply walk away even if you can´t physically get yourself removed from the register. There is also a certain power in being associated with something however loosely as it brings you closer to a tribal identity.
Humanism in my mind was all about atheism and rejecting Christianity, but in watching the clips above, I discovered that Humanism in both religions is all about celebrating Love. In fact they love to see Love in all its forms, in society and good acts. So what are they rejecting? They are rejecting the personal God , the authority which says “you are a bad person headed for hell if you do not do as I say” and it´s negative language. So then, if Humanism recognizes the force of Love – then so do I as a Christian, Christian Scientist, muslim or Jew (whatever label I want to use today).
Lets try to drop whatever label presents itself today – and see the person, defined as Love or a reflection of Love or an affirmation of Love´s presence. If you can´t do that – do an act of Love somehow – to remind yourself that it is there and can be demonstrated by you right now, That is God and God is Love – and in Love we find God. If anyone asks your religion – drop the “ism or “ity” because it is simply Love.
“Love is the window through which we see God – St Augustine”
I recently tried an experiment by sharing the picture below on Social media of me wearing a Jewish Kippah on my head whilst visiting a Synagogue on Doors Open Day last year. I was really interested how the perceived label which people had of me changed and how they reacted. it seems that we do not deal well with perceived change. It was also sad for me that there is still, even today a lot of anti semitism out there.
As we approach some kind of ending of the last few months, these last days Ive really been realising and hearing the words ‘this is a Holy time”. Where we no longer have a physical work to keep us distracted from the things important in Life. We dont need to wait until Christmas to hear or say these words.
Close your eyes today and say “this is a Holy time”.
Reframing those close to you and in your home in this way makes a huge difference.
Please click the link for more details.
Beloved opera singer Andrea Bocelli is set to stream his ‘Music for Hope’ concert from the empty Duomo Cathedral in Milan.
The 61-year-old was invited to perform for the City, the Cathedral, Archpriest and the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo.
Andrea will only be accompanied by the cathedral’s organist, Emanuele Vianelli, for the concert.
This is me reading the Prayer of Azariah
Perhaps one of the least known of the Marian Apparitions started in Paisley on 16th July 1980 – 1985, restarting and continuing in 1998 and 2019, to a (then) 13 year old boy. There is a diary about these apparitions which total 24: Just to make a few comments about it:
The highlights of these apparitions seemed to be:
1.About the usage of the Rosary.
Many times, the importance of the Rosary was stressed, but it was always stressed that the Rosary brings you to a place where you can hear the voice of her son Jesus. The Rosary does not do the work by recitation, but it brings you to a place of peace where you can be more open to hearing her Son. Kind of like a door, the Rosary takes you to the doorway, but you still have to pass through it. It simply quietens your mind and prepares you contemplatively to meet God.
“When you recite the Rosary, I am there with you leading you to the place where you can encounter my son. If you ask Him to reveal Spiritual things to you, He will hear you”.
2.Liturgy of the Hours in particular the Little Office of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which was taught by the Apparition, he subsequently wrote it down and has copied it in Scottish Gaelic.
The idea was to introduce something liturgical into the boy´s life and something which would strengthen the bond between a Mother and a Son. The idea of reciting this again was “to take you to my Son” and not to glorify Mary herself.
“You should try to recite this every day, it will help you to understand how close you are to my Heart and will penetrate the veil of this world”. I will lead you to my Son.
3. A Devotion to The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Our Lady of Paisley.
” Learn to Love me more so that you can see my Immaculate Heart. All souls are held within my Heart, even the worst of sinners, I want them to understand this and I call on them to draw close to me”
4.A series of alarms or urges which the boy had, when he knew he had to write, or to go to a certain place to meet with the Apparition.
5.A general understanding of Spirituality and peace and Love for all people regardless of labels and religious denomination.
“I am the mother of all people and I see not their self imposed labels of the world, but their very souls”.
The weird thing about this is that the Apparitions started behind Paisley´s Presbyterian Abbey (which once was a Catholic place).
Peter asked this question, “why here?” and was given the answer that “I do not see things or places as you see them, I see Love, not division”
“One day there will be a great outpouring of Love by my Intercession as Our Lady of Paisley. Many will come to my hand and I will take them to my Son and present them. A devotion to me will be established for all people there in Paisley where many will be healed of disease because they contemplated my Love and the image of my Immaculate Heart. This devotion will be crowned every year on October 5th which will coincide with a Feast of Mercy”.
“When you want me to take you to my Son, you simply have to say a short chaplet which I will teach you and you will be assured I am there with you. You must learn to Love me more. You must not hear words like grace and mercy as punishment, for they simply mean God is with you. When you hear these words, do not think that God is punishing you, for these words mean that he is there with you. These words are often mistakenly used with a harsh meaning by Priests but every time you hear them, remember they simply mean God is with you. Grace is his Presence and Mercy is what he brings when you encounter him”.