It has been over a week since we finished our Food For Faith for Lent pilgrimage. The last post was on the morning of Easter Monday when I invited your comments and feedback.

Your response was overwhelming, both in numbers and depth of your comments, suggestions and reflections. Thank you.

The days of the Triduum were full, and the Holy Week and Easter ceremonies and Masses take a good amount of sorting in the small communities of the Hurunui.

There were a number of errors in the liturgies, all the mistakes were mine, and enough to make a liturgist shudder. One example: without thinking, after the people had renewed their baptismal promises, I indicated that it was time for them to blow out their candles by myself blowing out the Paschal Candle. I was so tired at that point I did not realise what I had done until the Preparation of the Gifts when I managed to discretely get a server to relight it – with a match. There were another couple of blues, but much to serious to come clean about here.

On Easter Sunday afternoon I left the parish to spend time on retreat. It was a wonderful week with about 40 other priests. We were lead by the Holy Spirit speaking through some wonderful witnesses. Thank you for your prayers for me in this time.

At the conclusion of retreat I returned to Mundelein University of St Mary of the Lake where I am completing a liturgy degree. Last year I survived the oral and written exams. All classes and practical work is complete, and by this weekend the bulk of my work should be sorted. Tomorrow is the last full day of writing I have before heading back to the parish.

This afternoon I picked up a wonderful little book in the library, written 65 years ago by German philosopher Josef Pieper. The little (70 page) book has the delicious title: Only The Lover Sings: Art & Contemplation and in it Pieper suggests that our ability to truly see is in decline. To see, that is “the spiritual capacity to perceive the visible reality as it truly is.”Pieper continues:

“Searching for the reasons, we could point to various things:  modern man’s restlessness and stress, quite sufficiently denounced by now, or his total absorption and enslavement by practical goals and purposes. Yet one reason must not be overlooked either: the average person of our time loses the ability to see because there is too much to see! There does exist something like “virtual noise”, which just like the acoustical counterpart, makes clear perception impossible.”

The image above was taken by a fellow pilgrim at the Sea of Galilee a few years ago as the sun rose behind a wooden cross across the lake.

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