Good morning!

Yesterday I had a very interesting day because from start to finish the Holy Spirit took over guiding me to places and meeting people that was utterly unplanned. I went to bed so full of gratitude and awe.

After the gym and mass I was pushed out of the church for lunch and literally ushered on a bus to Westfield shopping centre and to the cinema.

“What am I doing going to the cinema today of all days?” I asked myself.

“Shouldn’t I be doing something far more pious on Friday such as sitting in front of the blessed sacrament praying the rosary while meditating on the passion of Our Lord?”

“No wonder catholics don’t understand me Jesus, it’s all your fault!!”

You get the picture!! Just because I obey the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit doesn’t mean I don’t ponder them in my heart and at times say “what the heck…am I sure this is God?”

So then I looked up the cinema listings and there it was jumping out at me….”The Father”.

Now despite years of travelling on my own I’ve never enjoyed spending too much time on my own and especially not going to the cinema on my own. That said I’ve done it many times as being gay and spiritual hasn’t exactly made me popular!

But then an idea hit me! “I’ll give Eddie a buzz”. He lives beside Westfield and we always have a good laugh when we hang out and talk about God.

Eddie has another amazing story of being catholic and gay and experiencing the love of Jesus in Medjugorje some years ago. This is a picture of me taken outside Eddie’s house, I laughed so much when I saw that it was pink!!!

Even more amazing is the fact that Séamus met Eddie’s sister in Medjugorje long ago and she returned to London telling Eddie about these “gay missionaries”.

How did Our Lady arrange it that despite the size of London that Eddie would be justa 20 minutes walk from us and become a good friend?….God.

So off we went to the cinema like two teenagers dossing from school on a Friday afternoon.

And now about the film.

It was the story of an old man suffering from dementia and his daughter’s struggles to look after him. I won’t spoil the ending by telling you that he died at the very end….oops, just kidding!!

But seriously, it was a very captivating movie. Really amazing which is why I asked Jesus afterwards:

“Why did you send us to see that at 3PM on a Friday, the hour of your passion?”.

And the reply was immediate and almost obvious!

“That was my passion”.

You see the film portrayed perfectly the mental and emotional suffering of that old man losing his mind and the paralyzing fear and confusion he went through not to mention the effect on his family.

And not only that but with a little stretch of the imagination, the parallel suffering that those with mental, emotional and spiritual illnesses go through.

Questioning one’s reality, doubting one’s mind, the fear, anxiety, confusion…….a inner martyrdom that only those of us that have lived it know a about.

And so I felt Jesus reminding me once again that suffering doesn’t need to be visible to be real and who better to remind us of this than our little Therese who suffered so much internally.

Another very moving aspect of the film was the immense love and patience the man’s daughter had towards her dad and yet how she needed to put boundaries in place and to get on with her own life too.

I think you get the picture but honestly, go to see it if you can.

Anyway after all that Eddie and I went back to his place for a bite to eat with a glass of wine as we thanked God for this deeply moving film and just before 8PM I heard that all too familiar firm yet gentle whispering in my soul “time to go now”.

Off I trotted and decided to walk home and enjoy the peace and quiet and as I passed Notting Hill’s McDonald’s I was instructed to go inside and treat myself to desert! £1 for a smarties McFlurry!! God was certainly giving me a day off.

After I had finished it I was once again prompted by the Spirit to get up and go outside and to my amazement who was cycling by at that EXACT moment….Rayne returning from work and guess what happened….the traffic lights suddenly went red and I ran up behind him and gave him a kiss on the cheek!!!

Nurse Rayne, the model of love, patience, kindness, understanding and compassion. Anyone would need all that and more to put up with me as to quote my dad from my childhood “whatever sort you are, you’d try the patience of a saint'”.

I certainly tried his patience as I look back. 🤣🤣🤣

And so there we were together again again walking home to St. Mary of the Angels.

And so today what would I like to remember and what would I like you to remember?

Simple. That suffering comes in both visible and invisible forms and that both are equally valid and painful.

Whether it’s the suffering of the man with dementia or the suffering of his daughter looking after him, both sufferings are real and valid and nobody is to blame.

Jesus calls us to carry our sufferings as gracefully as we can and to love, support and encourage eachother in our sufferings.

And so today let us suffer patiently, let us love and encourage eachother as we each carry our unique crosses and may the intercession of our heavenly friends Pio and Therese inspire, strengthen and encourage us as we unite our trials with Jesus and guide others on the path of love, suffering and holiness.

Blessings to all,

Michael