Friday, May 15, 2009
I hope you are well and at peace.
For the first time in quite a few years I had the joy to do some talks in Wales, and I spent a bit of time with my old friend Fr Gareth Leyshon, I had known him long before he entered seminary and we had worked together often in the past. It was a powerful time talking to many young people in schools and I received lots of emails telling how God had really touched the life of these students.
I also took part in a weekend youth retreat and I ended up running a reconciliation service where up to 60 people went to confession and some of them told me how this had transformed their lives. The great thing about our faith is that even if we mess things up, (which we all do), the moment that we return to our God with sorrow and a desire to change we can start again.
One of the priests at the retreat said to me that the thing that had deeply struck him during my talk was that God works so powerfully in us in our brokenness. He wants to use us to bring his light to others just as we are! We can't come any other way. We don't have to pretend to ourselves or others that we are perfect, just simply be ourselves and be free to tell of God's patience and goodness. Let us not be afraid of our weakness because as we know Jesus used a donkey more than once!
I have spent the last week with my Godson Stuart doing talks in schools in England, some of you may know I met him over 10 years ago when he was 12 years old and living in foster care, he had been rejected by all the people who were supposed to love him and was already in trouble with the police and taking drugs. I spoke in his school and we had to get special permission from social services for him to come on a retreat. During that weekend he went to confession and said sorry to God (even though at that stage he wasn't even baptised) After the confession he knelt beside me at a healing service and as the Priest brought Jesus in the blessed Sacrament to him he threw himself into my arms with tears running down his face saying "For the first time in my life I know that I'm loved, I know that Jesus loves me". Six months after this Stuart was baptised a Catholic and he is an incredible witness of how the love of God can transform someone’s life.
While Stuart was talking in the schools of what God had done in his life, he was crying because the love of God was moving him so much, and I noticed that many of the students were wiping away the tears also because I'm sure they could relate to the things he has been through in his life.
In one school that I visited was a teacher who is a very good friend of mine and he had just received the news that his sister has breast cancer (please keep her in your prayers) and of course it was very difficult for him. But he said that after our talk and just spending a bit of time together, he felt the grace to be able to trust God and had a deep peace in his heart, which he deserves because he is someone who really tries to serve God and place him in the centre of his life.
One of the days Stuart and myself went to visit Sr Maria Nutella a Dominican nun who is based in the New Forest in Hampshire. It was a real blessing to see her again and we ended up praying over one another. As she prayed over me she received a picture of lots of little boats with people in them and these boats were tied up with heavy ropes. This represented the fact the souls of these people were not free to follow God fully. But
as she watched she saw that I began to cut the ropes so that these people could respond to God's love for them. It was a confirmation to me that my mission is to speak to whoever God sends me to and hopefully that they may have the grace to respond to whatever he is calling them to in their lives.
She also saw clearly that wherever I went the devil was waiting to attack the work that God wanted to do. There is nothing to fear in this because God is infinitely more powerful than him, but we must have our eyes open to the reality of spiritual warfare and be ready to combat him with the weapons that God gives us. Every day I and my community would pray protection prayers such as the Holy Michael the Arc angel prayer and others like it, with the express purpose to repulse his attacks on us and on the people we minister to, it really works! and I would recommend it to everyone.
Finally It has been amazing to see God working in the ordinary everyday circumstances, I have given books and miraculous medals to countless people I have met on my travels and the thing that blows me away is that every one of them is so important to God that he would arrange the whole trip just for them if it were necessary.
Just to assure you that you and all your loved ones are in my prayers.
God bless you in his deep love
Posted by John Pridmore