Services at St Michael and All Angels (refer to smlcc.com.au for times)
Sunday 1 September, 11th Sunday after Trinity
Sunday 29 September, 15th Sunday after Trinity
Festival of St Michael and All Angels
Intent: Reality of things eternal
Bp Richard will be overseas in September, there will
no services at Southport on 8, 15, 22 September.
Services at St Albans, Wickham Terrace, Brisbane
Sunday 8 September, Nativity of Our Lady
Sunday 15 September, 13th Sunday after Trinity
Intent: Good works
Sunday 22 September, 14th Sunday after Trinity
Intent: Steadfast service
Our Lady, Church of the Immaculate Conception in Kanturk, Ireland
Keeping things local
I recently had the great pleasure of catching up with our Presiding Archbishop, William Downey. A fortuitous coming together of a conference in California related to my “day job” at the university and Archbishop William’s availability for a meeting meant that we could spend three days together.
I also celebrated at the LCC Church, Our Lady and All Angels, that Archbishop William regularly attends in Ojai, California. Here are William and I after the Eucharist on Sunday 4 August.
On the weekend I was in Ojai there were two terrible back-to-back instances of shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. The American nation was genuinely shaken and the expressions of grief and remorse expressed by all stratas of the society was visceral. Their dilemma, as in similar circumstances in the past, was, “What is there to stop these terrible, continuing events? What can we do?”
In a somewhat similar sense of an event capturing the Nation’s attention, I returned to Australia to read of the Pell judgement of 2-1 by the Victorian Court of Appeal against his appeal. This legal process was not about the crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in relation to sexual abuse of children in the wider sense, but specifically focused on whether Pell abused one child. These are big issues of importance to our Australian society with reverberations around the world, very similar in effect to the societal ramifications of the American shootings.
These are major issues. Within our families, communities and work places these topics generate many opinions, both considered and otherwise. But actually, at the basic individual level, unless we are directly and personally affected by these matters, they remain somewhat removed as we get on with coping with managing the complexities and difficulties of our own lives. Do we think we are “getting somewhere” (different for different people), are our spiritual journeys going the way we thought they would, who might be the best person to approach for assistance? These are likely to be our immediate, direct concerns, and 1000 similar others, across the human condition and experience.
The British philosopher, Alain de Botton, a prolific and widely-read author, is founder of an organisation called “The School of Life”, with a successful YouTube channel, which helps people to lead more fulfilled lives. The general approach of The School of Life is to guide people towards emotional maturity and an appropriate level of self-awareness. The School encourages an individual walking this path to adopt a long view with regards to expectations in life and not to be drawn into quick fixes as suggested so often in popular self-help books.
A mental exercise which Alain de Botton suggests and which you may find useful is as follows:
He asks you to write down a big dream or aspiration that you have always had but have not yet brought to reality. This might be something like, “I want to go to the moon” or “I want to find a cure for cancer”, and so on. Then after you have expressed your really big dream, you are asked to look at your life and see if, realistically, you are putting things in place to turn your big dream into a reality. If you have no real plans in place, then you will probably have this big dream as a dominant desire in your daily life which you regularly return to when there is a quiet period in your day for reflection or daydreaming.
The realisation that Alain de Botton asks us to consider is this: if we have a dominant desire that we are not realistically working towards making a reality, then we will generally be restless and dissatisfied with our lives, because we always want what we desire and we want it right now. By recognising that this self-generated dissatisfaction is lowering our quality of life, we can turn off the process of wanting the big thing but not doing anything about it. We can re-calibrate. Not that we must stop “big dreaming” – just stop the unhelpful “big dreaming”.
Instead we can bring our thoughts, wants, desires back to playing out locally with those closest to us, our families and friends, our work colleagues, our communities. Success with dealing with “close in“ desires will bring more immediate contentment and lead, over a period, to a much more fulfilling life.
Worth trying? I think so.
May God’s peace dwell amongst us, lift up our hearts and encourage us to recall His blessings every day of our lives.
With God's blessing