I hope you are having a Blessed and Holy advent!
Since my last update we have given parish
missions in Charlestown, Ballyduff and
Causeway, Crumlin, Tubberclair and Glasson,
Castleknock, Drumshanbo and Clondalkin
(All in Ireland) I also travelled to Canada and
At the parish missions, one of the themes that
seems to be essential is mercy and forgiveness.
Forgiving those who have hurt us, or someone
we love. At a mission an older lady came up
and said "The one thing that is missing in the
world at the moment is mercy!" Often when
we do not forgive we allow the person or
people who have hurt us to have a hold on us
by allowing bitterness to eat us up inside and
take away our peace, and the peace of those
closest to us. When we ask Christ to help us
to forgive, the opposite is true because not only
are we set free, we allow God to work miracles
and set others free. So in this year which is
dedicated to the greatest attribute of God's
Heart (His Mercy) Let us ask God to help us
to forgive just as we have been forgiven.
When I travelled to Sault Sainte Marie in Canada,
I had the opportunity to give a number of talks
in prisons, schools and conference centres.
One of the nights was a banquet in thanksgiving
for our priests and religious and there were over
400 people there. It was a night of real grace and
blessing, with many clergy and the Bishop of
the diocese being very touched and it reminded
me how important it is to honour and thank the
people who consecrate their lives to the service
of God. As I was sharing my story it occurred
to me what an incredible grace it is to be able
to serve God. Often we can forget who it is that
we serve and get caught up with what people
think rather than what God is saying. There is
only one Person who we should live for and
only He can say the words "Come in good and
faithful servant" at the end of lives.
While I was in France I visited Paris and ate in
the pizza restaurant in which five people were
murdered by the Islamic state terrorists. This
atrocity happened just 2 hours after I had left the
restaurant. This, I must say felt quite surreal and
on reflection I was wondering if the people who
were killed could have been the waiter or waitress
serving me and how they might have changed
their last moments or indeed their lives if only
they had known what was about to take place.
Again, mercy seemed to be the key as I prayed
the Divine mercy chaplet for all those affected
by this tragedy. That weekend when I attended
the masses, the churches were full and the
people of Paris seemed to have an awakening
as to what is really important. God seemed to
be saying where sin abounds, grace abounds
My next port of call was catching the train to
Lourdes with my mum, as this is her favourite
shrine to Our Lady. While I was there I went
to confession at the grotto as I was feeling a
bit wretched and broken and in need of a hug
from God. During the confession, to my
surprise, the priest said to me "You should
give thanks for the great grace of God giving
you an informed conscience and it shows that
he is very close to you" This seemed to be the
hug that I needed, and as he said the words of
absolution I did thank God for knowing my
wretchedness and need of His mercy. Saint
Francis de Sales, who had a wonderfully
loving mother, once said that he would rather
be judged by God than by his own mother.
So let us pray during this time of advent that
we might open each room of our heart to the
healing merciful love of our saviour, who not
only comes in the humility of a helpless child
but also comes in the humility of the bread
of life, and let us be transformed into his
light which this world so longs to see.
May you have a Blessed and wonderful
Christmas and a happy and Holy new year.
Thank you for all of your prayers.
PS Please pray for my 5th book which will
be based on spiritual warfare that I would not
get in the way of what God wants.