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Abandoning to divine providence

Abandoning to divine providence

I was suppose to leave Lourdes at 8:30 Am. There is a train strike in France so my earliest departure is 2:40. This completely disrupted my schedule.


All this to say I had an amazing day or Grace. Concelebrated mass in English at the Grotto with a pilgrimage from Ireland. Then I went to the baths. This was a most profound experience. Being immersed into the healing waters of Lourdes. Wow! Many years ago I did this, it was not on my buck list, but it was given as free gift.


This was like a rebirth, going into the womb of Mary abandoning totally to divine Providence.  


At my episcopal ordination I choose the moto 'Totally Yours' giving myself completely to Jesus through Mary and Joseph. It was an experience in prayer at the end of the retreat that chose the moto. In the nearly five years I have not really grasped the significance of it. Today I understood I need to abandon myself to him through Mary. 


This is not just intellectual. It is all of me. I need to let God lead. The baths was why I needed to stay, why I could not leave Lourdes. Or Better yet, what God had in store for me. In the bath the two men held my arms we stood in cold water and we prayed asking Gods grace and then Mary's favor. 


Then the English speaker said 'let go sit back we have you' Wow! Let go! This is the essential beginning of any adventure with God! Let Go of your fears and anxiety; let go of your desires and ambitions; let go of pride and ego; let go of self and worldliness; let go of sin! Sit back we have you. Down is the move of the spirit the move to God! Yet we all keep reaching up, we are often moving opposite to God. This was a deep reconnection to God.


After, in the adoration chapel I was still and prayed for while. It was just the exquisite presence of God. No bells or whistles, just being in Abba's arms.


I left the chapel in time to catch the train. A young man who stayed in the same hostel as me left at the same time. We began speaking and his was as vocation story. A discernment to be done. We walked and spoke of discernment. About fear about giving yourself to Christ. I told him: "never be afraid to give yourself to Christ' never! I say this now to you and I say it to me: never be afraid to give your self to Christ. We all need to learn how to abandon to divine providence. This too is abandonment.


This evening the Magnificat antiphon was: If you hunger for holiness, God will satisfy your longing, good measure and flowing over.



Let us be conscious of the ways he invites us to intimacy through disruption. In those moments abandons your self to His divine Providence. 

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Life is a Pilgrimage

Today I begin a pilgrimage. It will take me just over thirty days and many kilometers. It will require physical and spiritual endurance. But most of all it will require an absolute surrender to God's will. On pilgrimage you choose to walk, to put one foot I front of the other and to follow the way. This is discipleship, this is life! We choose to walk, to put one foot in front of the other, we choose either to do our own thing or to follow Jesus. We choose either half living or life to the full.

I begin in Lourdes that well known shrine of the Blessed Virgin. Here I contemplate the inner meaning or discipleship as I meditate on Mary the first disciple. Her yes that brought forth Jesus. My many 'nos' that bring death and division. I pray here at this shrine for the grace of discipleship. To say yes in all times and circumstances. To choose life in abundance.

One promise a Bishop makes is to pray for his people. Here I entrust each of you into the maternal care of our mother. I pray that each of us may find the path to holiness and that we find the courage to walk that path, one foot in front of the other. Let us encourage each other along the way so that we all may get there.

Journey with me over these days as I pray for you. I ask you to pray for me and to pray with me that the lord may renew us. That we may hear His call. That we may accept His mercy  and respond wholeheartedly to Him and to each other with extreme love.

With Gratitude

Bishop J


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The Compassion of Jesus

The Compassion of Jesus

This week we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and that is usually illustrated with the symbolic images of the Sacred Heart. But a truer image is to be found in this Sunday's gospel. When Jesus saw her he felt sorry for her.

The words he felt sorry for her is a very weak translation of the original word in the gospel which really means He was heartbroken when he saw her. The compassion of Jesus is something we do not easily understand and we often feel a bit like some of the people who said when Jesus arrived after the death of Lazarus "Could he not have prevented this man's death?"

Feeling that God is Almighty and can do anything we do not always appreciate how heartbroken Jesus is at seeing people suffer. A better image of the Sacred Heart would be Jesus standing helpless with tears running down his face. He burst into tears when he felt the pain of Martha and Mary at their brother's death, he wept at the sight of Jerusalem refusing the blessing offered by God, and when someone said 'If you want to, you can heal me', he replied 'Of course I want to'.

Compassion means sharing somebody's suffering and that always means feeling helpless. Jesus never explained suffering. But he came and shared it and like us he felt helpless. This would be a better image of the Sacred Heart, the Loving Heart of Jesus: Jesus with tears running down his face heartbroken looking at us with great love and so often feeling helpless.

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Time was when all I wanted from life was to be a simple pulpit preacher, even without a mike to enable my message to reach the distant corners of large churches. This was in the early 1950s. Now, with today’s galaxy of media outlets my words travel to every corner of the world. So it is for every modern preacher who is willing to become ‘media wise.’

Without shame I boast of being somewhat unique. My twin brother is also a Dominican priest. He is in England. I am in the West Indies. No problem here! The Internet unites us. Now at our disposal is a technology that enables us to dispatch quality recorded messages from an armchair on one side of a vast expanse of ocean to a radio station on the other. Thanks to Skype we have developed a deep trust between us, a willingness to share our insights. Each of us puts into a common pool his pastoral experience, his personal studies, and the anecdotes that have flavoured his personal life. Eagerly we evaluate, hone, correct and even trash each other’s work. Whatever appears to come from either of us is, in fact, the product of ‘TWINCLARKE CO. LTD.’ Now as octogenarians, as brothers we are closer to one another than ever before - at the intimate meeting of personal faith and mission - with the wonders of Information Technology being harnessed to our Dominican preaching! Absolutely marvelous!

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