Hello from Soho!

How lovely to sit here among the homeless with the blessed sacrament and lots of pigeons. I’ve just been offered some food by the volunteers meaning I obviously fit right in!!

A few days ago friend of mine mentioned his belief in another religion and some sort of God. While I listened attentively I was also a bit disappointed. What other Gods do we need with Jesus? Is He not enough?

Anyway I asked him a bit more about it and he said that the reason he believes is because when he was away on holidays or something he saw these people praying several times a day and was amazed by their peace.

Suddenly it reminded me of something my mum said about a year ago. My older brother had been on holiday in Japan and he was amazed by the peace and spirituality of some of the people.

Now the wounded and hurt side of me thought that it was very funny that he could go to Japan and admire spirituality and yet couldn’t communicate or support in any way his younger brother who has given his life to it.

That aside though it got me thinking! Maybe he saw in these people a peace that he didn’t see in me and maybe their witness was more attractive to mine?

And so I asked why? Why both my friend and older brother seemed more drawn to other religions than the one they grew up with?

Of course the answer is obvious! These other people actually practice their religions.

If we too as Catholics all took our faith more seriously and prayed 7 times a day and had a culture of prayer and spirituality, we too would radiate peace.

But if we don’t know the gift of our own faith then of course the grass will look greener in foreign pastures.

Many of us were never taught how to pray growing up. We were taught what to do but not how to be.

Go to mass..go to confession…say the rosary……much of the time out of both rota and routine.

But how many of us were taught to be?

To develop a deep and personal relationship with Jesus and the Father through the Holy Spirit.

To come to hear God’s voice, to learn to sit with Him and to experience His love.

“Religion is for those going to hell, spirituality is for those who’ve been to hell and back” said another friend of mine a few days ago.

It holds a truth. As Catholics we can have religion and rules without spirituality and relationship.

Inner peace comes from our personal and spiritual relationship with God. It comes from being with God and from receiving His love which has a transforming effect on our being.

A peaceful society is nothing but a group of peaceful individuals!

Do we as Catholics really have to go to Japan or elsewhere to find this?

Is their God better than ours? Is their religion better than ours?

If we converted tomorrow to their religion would we devote hours to prayer as they do? Would we change our priorities and our way of life?

And if the answer is yes, how sad that we are catholic and yet we don’t know God, that we are catholic and that we don’t know true peace, that we are catholic and that we don’t know how to pray.

And so today my prayer is for the catholic church, for our priests, our bishops, our leaders.

I pray that they may become models of prayer and that many lost souls will say:

“I’m going to become a catholic, look at their peace and look at how they pray”.

“Come Holy Spirit, teach us that the true peace that we are searching for is to be found on the inside. Teach us to invest time and effort on our inner lives and to give up selfish and materialistic ways rife in this western society”.

Have a prayerful day!

Michael