blessed assurance

Apr 6, 2024


“The rulers, elders and scribes
were astonished at the assurance
shown by Peter and John,
considering they were uneducated laymen”
Acts 4:13

ASSURANCE: “a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise”.

There couldn’t be a better opening for my post today. Too often we make the tragic mistake of relying on people we consider to be religious professionals (clergy etc) to be the communicators of faith. But when Peter and John, these uneducated laymen, shared their experience of Jesus Christ, their own faith was deepened and many others were brought to faith.

It was Easter Week of last year when I announced my intention to publish a collection of Food For Faith reflections as a book. The response from readers was enthusiastic and encouraging and in November of last year the first FFF collection was launched. (Available at this link or ask at any bookstore).

I’m also happy to come to your parish / school / community later in the year bringing copies of the book and offering a reflection hour or retreat day. Contact me at to discuss possibilities.

A few days ago as we began this year’s Easter Octave I launched the Fifth Gospel Project, inviting people to share, in up to 400 words, a personal experience of God.

I have been moved and inspired by the reflections which have arrived so far. My plan is to collate these into a book for publication later this year.

But I need your contribution – just share one personal experience of God. You can do this using full name or just first, or even anonymously – but at least add a brief sentence about yourself so that readers will feel more connected with what you share.

More information on the project at this link.

Too often we Christians slip into thinking that we are following a wise and holy historical teacher, Jesus, who lived 2000 years ago. But the whole point of this Easter season is that we can personally experience the present 2024 reality of God in Jesus Christ alive and active with us. Like Peter and John we have all have these present experiences, but too often we dismiss them rather than savouring them as a personal gospel-encounter.

Taking time to write of a personal experience of God will enable this experience to be a personal living gospel memory, and will be a great encouragement to those who read it.

Send your experience to me, before the end of April, at

And thank you for your company over these Lent / Easter Octave weeks. The daily Lent/Easter posts conclude today (until the Advent series begins in November). Adjust your subscription preferences at this link if checking “regular blog posts” if you would like to receive two or three posts each week with updates on my Sabbatical Leave progress.

In Christ

Signature of Fr John O'Connor


Take an initiative and initiate a cafe table gathering, or join these gatherings. Since this is the last of the daily posts for a while take a note of these dates.

Thursday 11 April 2024 10.00am  Stumble Inn, 200 Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. Joan

Wednesday 17 April 2024 10.30am. Harrisons Garden World Cafe, 23 Peka Peka Rd, Waikanae Beach. Catherine

Email me to add another:


  1. Thanks John
    Breathe your sabbatical now…

    (PS don’t become too educated 😉

  2. John – thank you so much for your inspiring posts over the Lenten period. So very helpful to focus the day ahead.

  3. Thank you, John, for journeying with us this Lent and Easter, keep us posted on your sabbatical and may you be carried on eagles’ wings. When we believe in miracles, we see them everywhere.

  4. Thank you John, You’ve led us on an inspiring journey over the Lenten and Easter period. Its a real gift to have your readings. I bought Food for Faith and love it.

    • Thank you Father John for your inspiring posts. Enjoy your Sabbatical.

  5. Thank you for your daily posts. My journey has been inspirational, and have enjoyed the journey.
    Enjoy your sabbatical. God Bless.

  6. Thank you John and I hope you don’t forget who you are trying to reach. It is our younger families who have so many competitors for their attention and energy. Keep humble

  7. I am a bit late with a comment for this post but have kept it because of the title’Blessed Assurance’&the fact that I had back surgery 3rd April & am still in recovery. I’m in my 70s & have been going to write my story for some time – it is to begin’This is my story, this is my song… ‘from the hymn’ Blessed Assurance’I used to walk around singing this song as a child not knowing its full potential. Before my surgery, the anaesthetist told me to think of something I loved doing like gardening. Instead, I was taken to my go to, be still, prayer place-a grassy field with a creek in the background – Jesus came & took my hand – I recall thinking ‘It’s going to be OK, He’s got this….. then I woke up & surgery was done… Thanks be to God & & thankyou Father, blessed sabbatical. Christine K from Hamilton.


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