Sunday, 17 May 2009

Day of Recollection from the Bishop

Today Bishop Michael came from East Anglia (The Far East as he jokingly called it) to give us a day of recollection. In his talks he centred on the priesthood of Jesus Christ as our model for priesthood. What does this involve? Among many things Bishop Michael spoke of us being men of joyful sacrifice - in the Chrism Mass one of the questions the bishop asks his priests is: will you 'joyfully sacrifice your own pleasure and ambition to bring [Christ's] peace and love to your brothers and sisters?' At Mass we enter into the movement of Christ's sacrfice to the Father, and this also has to flow outside the liturgy in our charitable service to those in need, as John Paul II said. That means being a washer of feet as the Lord was, the bishop told us. There was a lot to reflect on in his talks, and we are grateful that he could come up!

Tying in to the last post, the bishop briefly recalled his own time seminary (including 16 years on the staff), and how on the wall in the chapel at Wonersh he read everyday the words of John 15:16 - 'You did not choose me, no, I chose you.' This reminded me of Archbishop Vincent's speech to the seminary last Sunday, when he came up to say goodbye to us and to talk of how he felt about the move. Though he had mixed emotions about going, he felt that if Christ called him to go to Westminster, it was not his place to say no. His father had always told him, 'Ask nothing of the Church, and refuse Her nothing.' Words we could all heed!

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