Hello and wishing you all a very happy new year!!

In some ways we can say that while it’s a new year we have the same old problems. However the good news is that with a change of heart and prospective we can have a new heart and new attitude in this new year and so it can be full of happiness even in the middle of life’s challenges such as the lockdown.

But first let me give you and update since my last blog entry almost 8 months ago!

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that while I haven’t written in quite a while that my blog was still getting daily visits and viewing from various corners of the world. Thank you Jesus.

So then, the last 8 months here in London, how have I been and what’s new?

Well to be honest I’ve been doing great and despite the covid 19 virus and the lockdowns with the closing of shops and churches, life just went on.

The first major blessing of this period was meeting a very special guy from the Philippines called Rayne. We have been together now for 8 months and through this beautiful relationship God has really being showing me how one can be fully gay, fully catholic and fully alive.

Obviously I’ve received my fair share of criticism with some people jumping to conclusions but God knows my conscience and I must say that meeting Rayne has been an extraordinary blessing for me and my life and I now find myself loving God and loving life and loving the catholic church and prayer even more.

Once in Australia a man prayed over me and said I was like a desert cat who thrives in the desert where others die. Perhaps he was right because lockdown actually took me out of the house and onto the roads. My running career began!!

I found lockdown not to be “shutdown” as I allowed the Holy Spirit to redirect my comings and goings and put the time to good use. I also found that I really enjoy running and am actually to my surprise pretty good at it!

Next lockdown blessing was that when the churches reopened, our church reopened with a change. We now have all day adoration from 8 am to 6.30 PM. Hallelujah!!

And as I live in the church property I was able to attend mass all the way through.

Perhaps it’s my simple lifestyle but besides the coffee shops being closed I barely noticed lockdown at all. I’ve never been much of a shopper and my main entertainment is prayer which can never be locked down so I must say that I am extremely grateful to God for these blessings.

So what then have I to say to people who may have found lockdown very difficult and who may still be struggling besides what may be perceived as gloating about my own life?

Courage! I didn’t find the ‘lockdown’ and pains that came into my life all those years ago easy either. When my life got turned upside down and I had to learn how to adapt to how I am now.

Like lockdown, the learning process involved a radical detachment from how life was and a radical shift towards finding meaning in simpler things and in prayer.

Over time I realized that God locked down my old world so as up open up His world!

(I still remember my post conversion new car!!)

And so I would say the same to all of you out there. Lockdown can be used to be ‘openup’.

To open your hearts to pain and suffering and to discovering the meaning of life and by doing so giving suffering a purpose and a meaning.

Lockdown can help us to identify with the poor and the homeless or those in prison or in hospital who have in a way been locked down (or locked up 😉) all the time.

It can make us change as people and make us see the areas of our lives where we have been selfish and self-focused.

It can also bring us into a startling consciousness of our weaknesses, our fears, our fragilities and our desperate need for God.

As so many people die around us lockdown also makes us ask that question; what happens when you die? And for some that will be the catalyst to finding the love and joy of God even in the middle of this human catastrophe.

And so as I draw my first blog entry of 2021 to a conclusion I once again wish you all a happy new year and as forementioned a new heart and attitude to make it happy and joyful in the midst of  ongoing adversities.

Thanks for reading and remember all things are possible with Jesus, we can do it!!

One day at a time.