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Thoughts of Fr. John – March 2018

To have doubts about one’s faith is a sign that we are alive to our faith. We are becoming – and the truth is that we are all works in progress. Pray for those who say they have no doubts whatsoever. They are saying that they have arrived. The reality is that no one arrives until they have taken their last breath.

There is a difference between what we want and what we need. We are like that five-year-old in the lolly shop who wants everything they see. God, is like the parent of that five-year-old child who saves them from themselves. True, the five year old may be resentful and angry from being denied whatever they want but they are saved from being violently ill from excess. Of course the difference between us and the five-year-old is that we do not have to stop if we do not want to and then we suffer the consequences of our sins.

Yesterday, we commemorated St John Climacus, the author of: “The Divine Ascent”. On step eight (“On Placidity and Meekness”) he declares: “the first step towards freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thought silent when the soul is upset; the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing.” Given the insistence of each person to consider themselves front and centre in their thinking one can gain an understanding as to why there is just so much anger in this world. “Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3). Let us reflect that during Lent our fast should be focused on what comes out of our mouth rather than what goes in.

The only way to overcome fear is to confront that which causes the fear in you. When we are called to judgement it will not be on the strength of our fears that we will be judged upon but rather what we did to overcome them. May we, like Mary, have the strength to say: “let it be done to me according to your word.”