A message for Lent from our National Minister, Paula Pearce:
We only celebrated Candlemas a week ago and it is Ash Wednesday tomorrow. The Christmas season seemed only too short already this year. At least the lengthening days might begin to bring to an end our wet, miserable, and, for some, dreadful winter. We have had early daffodils, snow drops, crocuses and blossom.
I was delighted when I was asked to give an introduction to Franciscan Spiritual Direction to a group of Anglicans training to be directors in the Rochester Diocese last Saturday. It felt like a breath of fresh air and a welcome break from all the business of work for ofsgb. It brought me back to Bonaventure’s Major Life, a key source for the Franciscan Spiritual Direction programme I studied and later taught. Then I read this poem. It reminded of the vestiges, traces, of God that Francis saw everywhere and Bonaventure builds into this carefully crafted – text. I decided to share it as we enter the Lenten season.
I see His blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes
His body gleams amid eternal snows
His tears fall from the skies.
I see His face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice – and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.
All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn.
His cross is every tree.
Joseph Mary Plunkett 1887 – 1916.
I am also looking forward to attending the weekend on Mercy to be given by Brother Francis Dor (Our international Ofm Cap Spiritual Assistant), the week before I too present a weekend on Mercy as part of the Pantasaph programme. As a region, South East is planning a regional pilgrimage to the Jubilee Door in Southwark Cathedral. This Jubilee Year will bring great blessings but my hope is that it changes hearts and has a lifelong impact.
Enjoying Francis, taking seriously our Pope’s call to mercy, together seem to have strengthened my heart, mind and soul and helped me to cope better with the confusion, deep sorrow and real concern that our world situation leaves me feeling much of the time.
I pray that Lent will be a time of renewal, refreshment and prayer for each of us.