the new life

“A woman in childbirth suffers, because her time has come; but when she has given birth to the child she forgets the suffering in her joy that a child has been born into the world”. John 16:20-23.

I’ll never have the experience of a mother giving birth to a child and I’m ok with that, especially given that I have heard many mothers shake their heads commenting that men have got no idea what real pain is!

And this is probably why the image is used in scripture, since the pain of childbirth is not a pain that leads to death but a suffering that results in new life.

This is the pattern of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus whom we seek to follow. His path passes through suffering and leads to a death which is not the end, but is a birth. This is true for us too. Death is not the end but the pathway to birth and to new life.

Food For Faith readers are old enough to have had a few personal experiences of this pattern. For some it may be the experience of childbirth, and for many others the pain will be from a selection of life’s sufferings:  relationship breakdown, sudden death of those we love, health crises, employment struggles and job losses, addictions and financial insecurities… and you will name many of your own.

Somehow we have moved beyond many of these seemingly insurmountable problems. We still show the scars, and even carry the wounds, but in at least some of these experiences we can see that Jesus has used these sufferings to bring us to a second birth leading us to new and more abundant experiences of life and love.

Our happiness on earth is found when we live in relationship with Jesus Christ, freely, and afraid of nothing, not even death.

As Ignatius of Loyola offers in the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love.

Take, Lord,
and receive all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
Thou hast given all to me.
To Thee, O Lord, I return it.
All is Thine,
dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.
Give me Thy love and Thy grace,
for this is sufficient for me.

An Invitation:

  • The above Sucipe (Receive) prayer of Ignatius is one worthy of learning by heart and praying daily. There are some days when it is impossible for me to pray this whole-heartedly, and other days these words well up from deep within. You might like to screenshot the prayer and save to your phone, or print out and carry it with you, praying it often until you can do so naturally and without thinking.
  • Pray to Sleep (a ten minute bedtime audio reflection) at this link.
  • Today’s readings at this link.
  • Send your prayer requests to john@fff.org.nz. Each day I will add the initials of those we pray for to this list. Take a moment, perhaps 15 seconds, to pray in whatever way you choose for those whose initials appear below, and don’t hesitate to send repeat requests for prayer. 

Let us pray today (Friday) especially for:   B&JC, CH,  FC,   EF,  EP,  MP,  FD,  NDM,  MD,  IS, WP, MC, DC,  JS,  KS,  FS,  MC,  SF, EFF,  BM, JW

granddaughter diagnoses with cervical cancer & ovarian cysts. Worrying blood test yesterday. Diagnosis of terminal illness.  Feeling under spiritual attack, especially at night.  Back surgery in a few weeks.  Business struggles,  Transgender daughter’s need of finding the love of God,  Family going through an awful divorce. Health test for me on Wednesday next week For family relationships. For inner peace in loneliness.  Preparing for death, Healing prayers for daughter suffering severe post viral effects of Covid 19, while her family helplessly worry in Australia,

Thursday:  MH,  FS,  HW,  EFF,  MC,  MC,  AF,  ML,  FK,  RM,  KR,  GA,  DC,  MH,   NT (RIP),  MC,  NJK (RIP),  TG,  CD,  PB,  

Just received news of terminal illness.  Woman who has a malignant tumor and today she’ll have a better picture of her health status. Prayers for my family please, Young man suffering loneliness and receiving bullying. Prayer for my business employees in these difficult days.  Struggling with exams. Suffering a fall from grace and loss of reputation. Struggling from serious depression which has placed me on leave.

Wednesday:  MC,  PH,  JH,  SH,  MC,  MH,  MD,  AF,  MO,  CM,  SES,  CO,  DC (RIP at weekend) & for CC wife. TC, TL,  VH,  CD,  XD,  CP,  MK,

Tuesday: AS,  DD, BD,  WC,  KJ,  PG, CG,  PR,  SG,  PB.  FF,  JC,  BO,  PM,  MD,  

Monday:  AL,  MM, SIM,  TP,  PB,  JL,  AP,  MM,  WP,  TEP,  LP,  JD,  MD,  SL,  PM,  JK,  SB,  BW,  LC,  RS,  EC,  KN,  JP,  IF,  TP,  TP,  MW,  JN,  SN,  

Sunday:  SP,  PB,  BH,  JJ,  KB,  DM,  GL (RIP last Tuesday)  JT,  

Saturday:   CM,  OP,  GC,  GS,  ES,  MLAH,  CS,  HC,  DC,  DU,   DMC,  FTM,  JS,  SD, MD, CM, TD. MM,   ZM,   LM,   SD,   JD,  LD,  AD. DC,  ME,, CE,  KC,  LC,  BC,  KC,  BC,

Last week:   LS (RIP),  AR,  TT,  BP,  MP,  PP,  GTD (RIP2015),  PB,  LM,  JK,  MK,  TJO, LB, DD, JRA,  FL, JU,   SLJ.  SLJ. JJJ.  MPJ,  JPM, MLFJ, MD,SLJ,  JJJ,  RM,  SJ,  SF, SLJ,  JS,  FS,  MD,  GPD,  JMC,  AM & I,  MS,  MC, MR,  JCP,  MON,  SS,  MS, OD, ND, CD, JD, JD & KJ,  EJH,  ARO,  JS,  FS,  SF,  GJG (RIP),  JDG,  MD,  CGW,  SD,  TK,  JK,  RF,  GN,  OP,  GC, TN,  MC,  KJ,  SL,  AN, JMT,  KJ,   MD,  PM, MC, DP,  KD, AD,  BA,  RF,  MC,  PR,  JH,  GPB,AD, NF, PR, GPB,  BA, MA (RIP), LM,  SB,  MO’D,  S&SW,  DMcA,  SS, VM, PM, NM, BB,  BR, RM, IW,  BL,  AM, JM, SM, JH, CSL, BS, AW,  MR, SR, JC, LR, JF, AB, AB, MB, CB, LJ, AF, JB, CB, SB, MB (RIP), MR, MH, SR, RS, MTM, OH, MM (RIP),  SGS.  MC,  EH,  MAC, NDM,  JG, SL, JD,   AJ,  MLJ,  SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP,  GRJP,  JF, IC, RF,  JC,  LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG,  GC, AW,  DM,  MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP)AJ,  MLJ,  SkJ, MS (RIP), LMP,  GRJP,  JF, IC, RF,  JC,  LHG, LKG, FMG, GMG,  GC, AW,  DM,  MM, PM, ML (RIP), JMC, PN, KM, JJ, MJ, AWS, HGTJ, JHWW, HJPM, MB (RIP), MD, DN, QRPTT, LTP, NVVO, PEGMW, MC, LM & JM, BM, BP, CP, PP, CH, NF, RJH, GOJ, JMC, LH, JS, RMc, MLJ, EL (RIP),  SS, BK, JKBP, CP, PP, BW, HT (RIP), SL, AW, DM, MM, PM, LH, TN, SF, SC, FM, T&TT, AR, HF, RF, JM, R&B, MC, MD,BH, SGS, JJHB, SJB, BB, MD, MB,  JT,  RF,  SS,  SS,  PB,  SD,  JR,  SQ,  JL, MCSM,  PR,  MJ,  MD,  SM,  PR,  MJ,  MD,

 

LECTIO DIVINA FOR FRIDAY OF EASTER WEEK VI (22 May 2020)

Pictures received of any churches that have been significant in your faith journey will be included as the images on the daily Lectio Divina links. Send to john@fff.org.nz.

Today’s church:  First Church in Dunedin. One of the most beautiful spires in the country.

Friday Easter Week VI (15 minutes) 

Friday Easter Week VI  (25 minutes)

 

17 Responses to "the new life"
  1. Father John I thank you for the Spiritual Strength you have shown throughout this time of our extended Lenten Lockdown!

    Your reflections and the opportunity to engage in the Lectio Divina time has been a blessing.

    I am praying that God will open the door to show you the way to develop the Website.

    God bless you and everyone who has been on this journey.

  2. Thank you Father John for introducing me to Lectio Divina. It is proving a blessing in my life. Blessing as you carry on your journey.

  3. Sincere gratitude for all your nourishing spiritual reflections and encouragement over these past months John. They have framed each day in a special way.

  4. A very nice conclusion with the Contemplation of Ignatius.
    The model of increase – to let go and to surrender.
    Thanks be to God.

  5. Father John, the daily reflection has been spiritual gold for me as I ‘mine’ it each day. May you be richly blessed and rewarded for all that you do to lead others to a deeper relationship with Christ. The Suscipe is a favourite prayer of mine – please pray that I may live it faithfully.

  6. I too will miss these daily reflections and lectio divina and accompaniment of so many others in this FFF community. And Fr John I really appreciate your commitment to this over these weeks of lockdown. At a time when we haven’t been able to gather to worship as a community for such a long period, you have showed us what church/faith community is really about, and that ‘being church’ doesn’t necessarily require a building. And the recent adding of praying as a community for prayer intentions received only reaffirms that for me. Thank you again to you and all who have shared this journey over this time, and may the Lord bless us all as we continue this journey albeit in very different times.

  7. May 22 is the first anniversary of my daughters funeral. She was profoundly handicapped but that full of love for all. She suffered such pain for two months before death coming as a relief. Life never ends only changes but for her such a wonderfull new life

  8. Thank you for accompany us , mentoring us, guide and pray for us through our journey . Holding you in prayers on your mission .

  9. Thank you Father John, for all the wonderful posts over lockdown. With being away from our parish communities, it is good to be part of the FFF community over these weeks. I have certainly been fed.
    Much appreciated.

  10. Thanks to you Father John. You must work hard to provide all this nourishment may God keep you in “fine form”. Wonderful to have links to readings etc. God Bless You

  11. Please let me add my thanks to the many many above. This light you have provided has been a great source of comfort and direction !

  12. I have so appreciated these reflections which have kept me spiritually grounded since Lent, through Holy Week, Easter and Level 4-2. Thank you so much John. I look forward to returning to worshiping with my sisters and brothers in Christ ASAP , but I also look forward to Advent and more FFF reflections !

  13. Thank you Father John for sharing so generously your spiritual wisdom –supporting us all throughout lock down. may God bless you abundantly.

  14. Father John, a hundred thousand “thank you” for the spiritual nourishment you have provided, the challenges you have set before us and your constant prayers for all your FFF community, may you be richly blessed as you move along life’s path.

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