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Viewpoint from Fr Gordon Williams for 26th August 2011

Fr Gordon Williams
St. Mary’s Catholic Church
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We all need a spiritual dimension in our lives, without it we have no way to overcome the difficulties we all encounter in our everyday lives. Many in today’s society seek happiness and fulfillment in the pursuit of money and material things. The celebrity culture we live in encourages people to seek a more glamorous lifestyle, when in fact many people who are called ‘celebrities’ often live deeply unhappy lives. For most of us life is ordinary, made up of working, caring for the family, looking after elderly parents, paying the bills and many other things that make up our everyday lives. In our hearts we search for a deeper meaning to life.
Many people today do not look to religion as our ancestors did. Although church attendance may have dropped the desire for a spiritual dimension is still there. The Christian faith was once the only religion that most people in this country would be familiar with, but today we live in a supermarket of religions and an uprising of humanist ‘none religious beliefs’.  Many profess to have no religious beliefs today.
The decline in religious practice today is a concern for our society. If we lose a deep sense of the sacred we lose sight of the wonder of this world and of the great mystery of human life. Life without a sense of the sacred is a life without a sense of mystery. It was Albert Einstein who said “The most beautiful experience we can have is of the mystical, the sacred. It is the sower of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger is as good as dead! To know the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty …. is the centre of true religion.” Of course, Einstein is speaking here of a religious sense rather than any particular belief, or religion.
Now that I have been a priest for over twenty five years, I’ve come to realize that religion can mDove rightask God. The spiritual journey must begin with the inner search. The inner journey precedes the outer one. Religion and faith can all too often be separated. It’s quite possible to have religion without faith, and religion without faith can be devoid of love and compassion. When the search for God begins as a search for the sacred then we open our hearts to Divine Grace which then sows the seeds of faith. For me now what matters is to live my faith with respect for the beliefs of others. To be grateful for the gift of life. To be open to the presence of God in loved ones and friends, in the mountains and fields, in the oceans and the flowers, in the birds and the trees. God is wonderfully present in all things. Just sitting in thankfulness is real prayer. We must learn from the poets, the mystics who have opened their hearts to the Mystery of this wonderful life and world of ours. We must learn from the authors of the Holy Scripture, of the Psalms, the Prophets. Let us return to Matthew’s Gospel, chapter six and remind ourselves of the lilies of the field. Jesus tells us to look to their beauty!
For me spiritual practice means to find time for prayer, time for reading the scriptures and other inspiring writings, including those of other traditions and faiths. Find time to get closer to nature with a gentle walk and feel the sun or the rain. Spiritual practice is open to everyone. You don’t have to be a priest or a monk or a nun. Daily lives are where God is to be found. Gratitude and thankfulness are the foundations of the spiritual life.


Paul Juby (Guest) 30/08/2011 11:58
Although I am an evangelical Christian far removed from the Catholic Church Father Gordon gives a wonderful Message. If anyone is stirred and needs a Church go and join Father Gordons Church - he is a real Man of God.My paayers go for him and his Church.He'd be a great man to meet !
jesusfollower (Guest) 30/08/2011 15:49
If the Word of God (the Holy Bible) quotes Jesus as saying that he is THE way, THE truth and THE life, and that no one can come to the Father apart from through Him, then can we really say that we can have a "spiritual practice of reading other inspired writings from other faiths"? Surely, there are no other so called inspired writings that should shape us, unless we disregard the very words of Jesus or make Him out to be a a speaker of non-truth. Yes, His words are confrontational, yes he did confront the religiosity of his day, but nevertheless, this statement is what it is. We should be very cautious of teaching that promotes that it doesnt matter where you get your inspiration from for there are many roads that lead away from Jesus and into utter confusion. Unfortunately, the world does not take kindly to absolute truth but then, it did not take kindly to Jesus either.
another follower of Jesus (Guest) 04/09/2011 19:17
The Bible should always be our guide and anything else you read will compliment the Bible and will not contradict it. You should always pray for guidance and leading from the Holy Spirit even before reading the Bible. We are told to search the Scriptures weigh line upon line, here a little, there a little. I believe that you have to have a teachable spirit ready to even accept something that will change your whole life or even for that matter cause you to loose something or someone you care about.
Roger Hayes (Guest) 10/09/2011 00:17
I agree with Rev'd Gordon Williams, that we should live our lives with compassion and love, since Scripture tells us that 'to love is to know God since God IS love!'

But, as St Paul tells us: faith without good works is dead', Fr Williams reminds us of the need to 'live our Christian faith while being 'tolerant' of the beliefs of others, in other words, Christian faith without arrogance!

Fr Williams goes on to say that spiritual practice for him is 'being alone with Almighty God in prayer [Jesus told us to go to our room and spend time with God'. He also commends us to read the Scriptures. That is biblical.

Some object to Fr Williams saying that 'writers of other faiths' are also inspired. We as Christians know that the Holy Spirit goes where He will. That Jesus said 'there are other sheep who also belong to the sheepfold'.

I have read some of the inspired teachings of Far Eastern mystics and what they say is truly inspired and inspirational. It would be extremely arrogant to suggest that the Holy Spirit speaks only to Christians.

I think Rev'd Fr Williams comments are indeed inspired and an encouragement. As Jesus said to Peter: Stengthen your brethren.

Well done and thank you Fr Williams for your inspired words. I have listned to and am a witness to his many inspired homilies. Rather than criticize, some could do much better by listening to him.

All good wishes