Thursday, October 30, 2008

A thought for All Saints' Day from Cardinal Newman

Some centuries ago there were too many Saints' days; and they became an excuse for idleness. Nay, worse still, by a great and almost incredible perverseness, instead of glorifying God in His Saints, Christians came to pay them an honour approaching to Divine worship. The consequence was, that it became necessary to take away their Festivals, and to commemorate them all at once in a summary way. Now men go into the contrary extreme. These Holydays, few though they be, are not duly observed. Such is the way of mankind, ever contriving to slip by their duty, and fall into one or other extreme of error. Idle or busy, they are in both cases wrong: idle, and so neglecting their duties towards man; busy, and so neglecting their duties towards God. We have little to do, however, with the faults of others;—let us then, passing by the error of idling time under pretence of observing many Holydays, rather speak of the fault of our own day, viz. of neglecting to observe them, and that, under pretence of being too busy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Called to Life
Summary of the Bar Lunch Talk, 26th October 2008, given by Jo Gilbert

“If you are who you are made to be you will set the world on fire”
St Catherine of Sienna

The theme of calling is at the very heart of the Christian life. But even more fundamentally, calling is central to what it is to be a human being: as St Catherine of Sienna puts it, calling is about becoming “who you are made to be”. In the coming week, the ‘Called By Name’ Workshops will explore this theme in greater depth, asking the questions:
- Who am I made to be?
- Where am I going?
- What is the purpose and meaning of my life?

We often have many misconceptions about the idea of calling or ‘vocation’: that it is just for the few, only about the priesthood and religious life, or merely about something we do: a job, function or role.

Perhaps the most important discovery we can make about vocation is that we are all called, without exception, and given a unique name and identity by God.

So what do we mean by ‘vocation’? It can be helpful to understand vocation in three dimensions:
1) The Personal Vocation. This is about ‘who I am’: coming to a deep knowledge of ourselves, and discovering that we are uniquely called by name. Principally this is about ‘being’, rather than ‘doing’.
2) The task/mission/work/career: i.e. the ‘doing’ bit.
3) The state of life: the concrete commitment and context in which we respond to God. This might be marriage, consecrated life (religious life or priesthood), or single life.

The Bishops of Europe outlined the Theology of Vocation in a document called ‘New Vocations for a New Europe’ (In Verbo Tuo). They said:
“Just as holiness is for all the baptised in Christ, so there exists a specific vocation for every living person; and just as the first is rooted in Baptism, so is the second connected to the simple fact of existing. The vocation is the providential thought of the Creator for each creature, it is his idea-plan, like a dream found in God's heart, because the creature is found in his heart. God the Father wants this to be different and specific for each living person.
“Vocation is the divine invitation to self-realisation according to [the image of the Creator who has called us into life; each vocation] is unique-singular-unrepeatable precisely because this image is inexhaustible. Every creature expresses and is called to express a particular aspect of the thought of God. There he finds his name and his identity; he affirms and ensures his freedom and originality.”

The Called By Name Workshop will offer a space to reflect more deeply on this theme and to set out on a journey of hearing and embracing our unique calling.

Finally, John Paul II frequently asked the questions ‘what is your idea of man?’ and ‘what makes up the dignity and greatness of a human being?’ He urged us:
“Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid of your own youth, and of those deep desires you have for happiness, for truth, for beauty and for lasting love! The future lies in your hands. You must be people with a deep trust in man and a deep trust in the grandeur of the human vocation. Ask yourselves what kind of people you want yourselves and your fellow human beings to be”.

Called By Name Workshop:

Thursday 30th October @ 7:30pm in the Seminar Room @ Newman House
Sunday 2nd November @ 5pm in the Sitting Room @ Newman House
Thursday 6th November @ 6pm @ LSE

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Dr Thomas Pink, Reader in Philosophy at KCL, has written a useful article outlining some very important issues raised by the HFE Bill.

This is a matter of very grave concern which, sadly, seems to be making an unstoppable progress through Parliament.

Do take time to read Dr Pink's article here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A thought for the week from Cardinal Newman

Mary is the "Sedes Sapientiæ," the Seat of Wisdom

Mary has this title in her Litany, because the Son of God, who is also called in Scripture the Word and Wisdom of God, once dwelt in her, and then, after His birth of her, was carried in her arms and seated in her lap in His first years. Thus, being, as it were, the human throne of Him who reigns in heaven, she is called the Seat of Wisdom. In the poet's words:—
His throne, thy bosom blest,
O Mother undefiled,
That Throne, if aught beneath the skies,
Beseems the sinless Child.
But the possession of her Son lasted beyond His infancy—He was under her rule, as St. Luke tells us, and lived with her in her house, till He went forth to preach—that is, for at least a whole thirty years. For if such close and continued intimacy with her Son created in her a sanctity inconceivably great, must not also the knowledge which she gained during those many years from His conversation of present, past, and future, have been so large, and so profound, and so diversified, and so thorough, that, though she was a poor woman without human advantages, she must in her knowledge of creation, of the universe, and of history, have excelled the greatest of philosophers, and in her theological knowledge the greatest of theologians, and in her prophetic discernment the most favoured of prophets?

An invitation

Who are you?
Where are you going?
What is the meaning and purpose of your life?

A workshop to explore identity and calling. Come along to one of the following sessions:

Monday 27th October @7.30pm
Thursday 30th October @ 7.30pm
Sunday 2nd November @ 5pm
at Newman House, 111 Gower Street.

Thursday 6th November @ 6pm @ LSE
For more information or other dates, contact Jo Gilbert:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Events for the week of 19-26 October 08

All events are at Newman House, unless otherwise stated
Sunday, 19 October
  • 10.30 am - Holy Mass followed by Coffe and Lunch
  • 7.30 pm - Holy Mass
  • 8.30 pm - Newman House Cultural Circle presents:

Florence - A City in Pictures


Monday, 20 October

  • 7.30 pm - UCL CathSoc:

Mr Al-Hakim: "Islam and Christianity, two faiths from One Divine Source"


Tuesday, 21 October

  • 6.00 pm - 9.00 pm - Eucharistic Adoration followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament


Wednesday, 22 October

  • 3.30 pm - Tea with Chaplains
  • 7.30 pm - OASIS:

Fr Joe Evans: "Introduction to Revelation - Scripture & Tradition"


Thursday, 23 October

  • 5.30 pm at SOAS (Venue TBC):

"AIDS in Africa" - led by Progressio

  • 8.00 pm (sitting room):

"The Old Testament through New Eyes" - Studying the Bible


Sunday, 26 October

  • 10.30 am - Holy Mass followed by Coffee and Lunch
  • 7.30 pm - Holy Mass

A thought for the week from Cardinal Newman

Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, . . . for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.

Sermon: "God's Will the End of Life," from Discourses Addressed to Mixed Congregations, 1849, in Daniel M. O'Connell, Favorite Newman Sermons, NY: The America Press, 2nd ed., 1940, pp. 177-178