good company

Mar 12, 2020

I have come to know that the human soul is the most powerful and vulnerable of life forces.

In so many people the soul endures suffering that seems beyond bearing, yet it continues to inspire and motivate, even when suppressed and hidden beneath layers of attachments and escapisms.  Then, with just a little care, the soul emerges anew like the shoot of green in the spring-time from the apparently dead branch of winter.

In my wisest moments I appreciate that my inner-self, my soul, is the indwelling presence of Jesus with me. As the Catechism introduces the section on prayer:

“The heart is the dwelling place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place “to which I withdraw.” The heart is our hidden centre, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth, where we choose life of death. It is the place of encounter, because as an image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.”  CCC2563

It is today’s psalm that brings me back to the heart of the matter, true food for the soul:

“Happy indeed is the one
who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
nor lingers in the way of sinners
nor sits in the company of scorners,
but whose delight is the law of the Lord
and who ponders his law day and night.”

Let’s paraphrase it so we don’t miss the point: Happy the one who cares for the heart, who nurtures the life of their soul, sensitive to the voice of Jesus speaking within, Happy the people who do not hang around toxic environments carelessly socialising with those who lead us to superficial attachments and confused priorities. Happy are they who recognise soul food in friendships, and who intentionally seeks this quality and life-giving company…

I’m not sure why but the great theme from the wonderful movie “The Mission” has been playing in my head for the past couple of days and it seems to be an ideal end-piece for this reflection. The theme tune for the movie is “Gabriel’s Oboe.” The oboe is a fragile instrument, and in the hands of the musician it has such power to change hearts and to sustain, heal, strengthen and transform souls:

with an orchestra the Jesuits could have subdued the whole country. So it was that the Indians of the Guarani were brought finally to account to the everlasting mercy of God, and the short-lived mercy of man.”

An Invitation:

  • Take four minutes to watch this powerful clip from the movie The Mission. Watch it as a prayer, and allow your soul to be fed by the power of the message.


  1. Tears are my prayer this morning. Thank you Fr John.

  2. Thank you, Father John, for sharing the heartful message of our mission in life +

  3. Never seen the movie – found myself quietly weeping toward the end of the clip – and I don;t know why.

  4. The Lord kept reminding me this morning to take my prayer from my head to my heart, and here we are ! What a wonderful affirmation Fr John, and like Mary tears filled my eyes with the moving scene which played out on the clip.
    Thank you for being my messenger from God today.

  5. A beautiful movie for the heart and soul.

  6. Querida Amazonia (Beloved Amazon or Cherished one) comes to mind from Pope Francis’ beautiful reflection 2019. I pray with him for those entrusted with renewing the Amazon which will once more “be like a mother to us.” (QA55). In my soul I value and acknowledge the sacred mystery that is ‘our place’ wherever we are, and the power of music to unlock those heart places.

  7. Some one said, ‘the journey from the mind to the heart is the longest journey one can take’. And, the fortress of the mind is the playground of the devil.
    We can’t win without the Grace of God to instantly dismiss any attack.
    St. Jerome devised this saying:-
    Good, better, best.
    Never let it rest,
    Till your good is better,
    And your better is best.

    Let’s open, and use, the gifts of the Holy Spirit,

  8. So good Fr John. Especially the reminder that the soul is the indwelling of Jesus within me.

    • Thank you father John… no words to express the depth and breadth of my experience upon reading and hearing this, so deep in my heart and soul and sense of unity with all. Blessings, Monica

  9. Wow! what a powerful message without any words. I have heard Gabriel’s Oboe on the Concert Programme a couple of times in the last week, so this has even more significance for me today. Thank you Fr John and for all those who share such wonderful insights to enrich our days.

  10. Fr. John-it seems as if my whole body, mind and soul is weeping right now. Thank you so much for the beautiful music you give us in your reflections.


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