Originally posted 30/05/2008 23:04:30
I hope you and all those you love are at peace. The last few weeks have been an incredible time of grace. I was running a Parish mission in Oldham and many people went to confession for the first time in years and it always amazes me how God can work so many wonders in peoples hearts even through broken people like myself, but then people know that it really is God working!
After oldham I travelled up to Glasgow to run the first Parish mission I have done in Scotland. It was a real blessing to see the faith of the people and how many turned out each night at the Parish of St John the Baptist in Uddingston. One of the highlights of the mission was being able to go into the secondary schools and share with the young people about the love of God and how it doesn't matter how desperate a situation is, as soon as we ask God into it he can turn it all around.
It is always very moving to read the emails the young people send and to hear of their struggles, and it often moves me to tears. I thank God every day for the Gift of being able to love and I think that part of that is really feeling the pain of others. I know I have lived through that pain in my life but I also know there is great hope because God always wants to make up for those times of suffering by surrounding us with his love.
After the mission I travelled over to America, where I was speaking at a conference in Notre Dame University in Indiana. I was amazed because after my talk I was signing books and spoke to the people as I was signing and again I saw the deep struggles that people have and I felt Gods compassion for each of them, no one is forgotten by him and if we really knew that there would be no fear in our lives. St Padre Pio said that "fear is a greater evil than evil itself" and I know this is true for fear is the one thing that can take the joy out of our lives.
After the conference I flew up to Canada and we spent a few days in Banff, deep in the Rocky mountains. The beauty of the surroundings would take your breath away and we have even seen a bear eating away merrily about twenty yards from us. But one of the things that struck me is that Banff is a place where a lot of young people come searching for something and all too often it seems they seem to only find emptiness even among all this beauty. It reminded that no matter where we go or what we do the only real happiness or joy come from our relationship with Jesus who is always with us and will never let us down.
Please keep me in your prayers because I will be going to World youth day in Australia to speak and it promises to be something special.
God bless you and know that you are in my heart and prayers.