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Friday, September 4, 2015
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Reflection: Stand up if you were not born in the UK please?
Reflection: Stand up if you were not born in the UK please?

Over the summer many of us have been able to get away to warmer climes. Some of you went to places like Italy and Greece. I went to Malta. The sun was shining, the sea was warm and inviting, the food was good and the people were hospitable. But all the time I was in Malta I was very aware of others who had made their way to that place too. The emigrants who had crossed over from Libya in small boats and dinghies. Hey were the lucky ones. Hundreds died in the attempt and were drowned in that same sea where I was enjoying swimming.

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 30th August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 30th August 2015

Too many people seem to know exactly what God thinks or Jesus taught. I wouldn't dare presume to claim I know this at all and it amazes me how often 'god people' use this type of argument to get at others, especially those with differing viewpoints. We seem to be getting a taste of this in the run up to the Synod of the Family, people writing to the Pope to ask him to affirm Church teaching on marriage and divorce and not allow the type of discussion that others actually want.

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South African Reflection: Destruction at Palmyra and the dangers of our 'image of God'
South African Reflection: Destruction at Palmyra and the dangers of our 'image of God'

ISIS has again captured the world's attention, this time with the execution of 82 year old Khaled al-Asaad, who worked for 40 years as the head of antiquities in Palmyra, and the destruction and looting in Palmyra. The destruction of a world heritage site, of a site that offers us a glimpse into the beliefs and lives of people who lived centuries ago, and the savagery of an old man's execution, has stirred up a strong response of revulsion throughout the world. For us in South Africa this tragedy comes closely on the heels of the exposure of our notorious 'snake pastor'

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 23rd August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - 23rd August 2015

Like me, do you wonder why some people are drawn to religious faith and others shy away from engagement with religion or actively reject it? It's interesting to note that even amongst our own family members there may be those who seem hostile or indifferent to faith whist others embrace the journey and engage in the exciting journey of discipleship with Jesus. But that means to take risks, the journey is one of growth, discovering new things about ourselves, others and God.

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Daily Wisdom 17/8
Daily Wisdom 17/8

... the work of silence becomes interior because then we all discover that the mind is not still. The mind is not quiet. The mind is running around in circles, it is agitated, it is full of fears, of desires, of fantasy, of memories and plans. The agitation, the turbulence, of the mind, according to the early Desert Fathers (the first Christian monks from whose teaching John Main recovered this tradition of meditation),

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: The Assumption/Dormition of the Virgin Mary
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: The Assumption/Dormition of the Virgin Mary

We cannot give Our Lady extra special powers, which her son did not have! As St Paul puts it, 'Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep'. Wise words I think because it reminds us that Mary must always be linked to the ministry and mission of Christ! Although the great Church is silent about the fact of Mary's bodily death, the ancient tradition understands that she had to enter into the mystery of death, just as her son did.

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Daily  Wisdom - 13/08
Daily Wisdom - 13/08

In the practice of meditation therefore we are not bringing our petitions or our intentions into the prayer. God knows our needs even before we ask. But we are paying attention. Not making intentions, but giving attention. This is the pure "seeing" of meditation or contemplative prayer. It is the vision of God, the seeing of God.

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Daily Wisdom - 12/8
Daily Wisdom - 12/8

Very often when we come to pray, and many of us were taught to do it this way, we pray with the intention of changing the world, or changing other people or changing the circumstances of our lives. That is our intention, we bring this intention when we pray to God to change the world into a better world, and my life into a better form of life. There's something not quite sincere about that.

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Daily Wisdom
Daily Wisdom

When we meditate we are entering into a form of prayer that the early Christians call pure prayer, pure because it purifies the heart of images and desires and fears and all the complexity associated with those things. What is pure is simple....

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 9 August 2015

The bread of life sayings in John's Gospel often trouble people who wonder just what Jesus actually meant, it is complicated because we come to the scriptures with a whole load of pre-conceptions and of course our own life of faith. So, for those Christians who have a high doctrine of the Eucharist the link between bread of life, the abiding presence of Jesus and food for immortality is there in our doctrine.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2nd August 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 2nd August 2015

One of the great hallmarks of early Christianity, was the way people lived their faith, it certainly made them distinctive. If you read the list of things an early writer, Hippolytus of Rome, tells us the Catechumens must give up before baptism its easy to see that great sacrifices were made and a radical change to their patterns of life took place. Paul reminds the Ephesians that they must not live like the pagans but 'put on the new self', who has been reborn in Christ through the sacraments of Initiation. It wasn't all about giving up, they also discovered new ways of doing things as

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 25 July 2015

Pictures of hungry starving people are always disturbing. Those of us who live in an affluent society cannot begin to comprehend what it must be like to have little hope of food or water. It is to their credit that so many people act according to conscience and with compassion to support charities and aid agencies that help alleviate situations of extreme deprivation. Some of us will help in an active way by becoming involved in these situations.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 18 July 2015

We haven't had a true shepherd in my Oxfordshire village for many years, but some people remember the last one and tell tales of what he did and how he really understood the sheep. These are good country tales, laced with realism and humour a reminder that we need to spend a bit more time learning about our countryside...

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 July 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 12 July 2015

Where are the prophets of today? I was asked that question by an international group of students this week when we were studying the great Anglo-Saxon Saints of England, and comparing their missionary expansion with our own situation. I recommend that period for anybody interested in different models of the Church, it had a flexibility about it, different forms of ministry, some great women ruled double communities and (despite not being ordained) acted as religious leaders, some we can call the founders of local churches like my own Frideswide of Oxford, these people were the prophets, bringing Christ to

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 July 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 5 July 2015

Something that has been very helpful in my own faith life has been the gradual realization that it is in our weakness we find our true strength, discovering how humility is not an empty virtue but something we learn, work at, and put into practice. It took me a very long time, with quite a few knocks, to understand that this 'weakness' is simply what Jesus did in 'emptying' himself out for us, it is part of his call to 'follow him'! But humility gets a bad press and isn't fashionable in our present society, often because we really get it so wrong, seeing it in negative terms rather than a positive way of being.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of SS Peter and Paul
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Feast of SS Peter and Paul

We don't know when Peter or Paul came to Rome, but deep rooted Christian family tradition places their imprisonment and deaths there. Archeological evidence suggests that a cult of both saints was early established, and certainly by the second century they were both venerated in the city of Rome. The fact that these two Apostles are together commemorated at a pre-eminent liturgical feast, observed in both East and West, reminds us that the liturgical life of the Church honours them as part of the foundations of the Church of Christ. This feast (as is that of St Andrew) is also truly ecumenical especially

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 21st June 2015

The sights and sounds of boats in harbours is something that fills my imagination and has been a life-long interest. I love Cornwall and its coastline so many of my images come from there, but any harbour is a magical place. The sea is obviously in my blood, but I know that beautiful as it might be, like all water places it has to be respected and feared as well. Jesus loves the waters too, some of the greatest images of him are settings by the sea and of course, many of his first followers were fisher-folk.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th  June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 14th June 2015

Jesus was somebody totally tuned in to the world about him, his perception of nature is acute and he often uses his insights in parables like the comparison of the Kingdom with the mustard seed that grows from a small plant to a tree hosting birds that rest and nest. It is obvious that he loves the natural world and has a care for it, something that the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew has been urging us to do for a very long time, that is take care of the environment, of living things and world. Pope Francis is just about to issue his encyclical 'Laudato si' that will commit us to

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Corpus Christi  -  7th June 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons: Corpus Christi - 7th June 2015

I find it fascinating that this feast is one that has no direct link with the Eastern Church at all and is a reflection of developing medieval piety in the Roman tradition at one period of history. The ancient Church in both East and West has always had high theology of the Eucharistic elements, both traditions regard them as the Body and Blood of the Lord present in the form of bread and wine and both acknowledge that the primary purpose of the Holy Eucharist is for the fulfillment of the Lord's command to 'take this and eat', 'take this and drink' and 'do this in memory of me!'

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Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons
Trinity Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons

'Mend your ways, encourage one another' says Paul to the Corinthians. It's a nice exhortation because it balances the deep understanding of our imperfect nature, always in need of mending, with a command of the best kind, to share the route of life with all that it contains together rather than alone. Perhaps that is what the Trinity means, that the Triune God of Creator, Redeemer and the blowing, powerful hidden and unseen Spirit is all about mending the fabric of life, now in ways that draw people together rather than isolate, and in the future when we finally come together and experience

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Thirteen day journey of prayer to feast of St Anthony
Thirteen day journey of prayer to feast of St Anthony

The feast of Saint Anthony of Padua takes place on Saturday, 13 June. To prepare for this day, Friar Mario, OFMConv, editor of The Messenger of Saint Anthony, based in Padua, will be presenting a series of 13 short video meditations about the person and spirituality of this great saint. Starting on Sunday 31 May to 12 June, the reflections will be filmed at some of the most inspiring locations in the Basilica.

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Pope Francis: The world needs men and women filled with the Holy Spirit
Pope Francis: The world needs men and women filled with the Holy Spirit

The world needs men and women who are not closed in on themselves, but filled with the Holy Spirit. Closing oneself off from the Holy Spirit means not only a lack of freedom; it is a sin. There are many ways one can close oneself off to the Holy Spirit: by selfishness for one's own gain; by rigid legalism - seen in the attitude of the doctors of the law to whom Jesus referred as 'hypocrites'; by neglect of what Jesus taught; by living the Christian life not as service to others but in the pursuit of personal interests; and in so many other ways. The world needs the courage, hope, faith and perseverance of Christ's followers.

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Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - Pentecost
Sunday Reflection with Father Robin Gibbons - Pentecost

As one who serves an Eastern Catholic community that was born in the Church of Antioch, older perhaps than the Church of Rome, the first served by Peter, and where Paul received Christ, the feast of Pentecost brings a deep and abiding sense that whatever happens, whatever tragedies are playing out in the world around us, the Spirit is still actively at work amongst us. The signs are there to see even in the great suffering of faithful in the Middle East and elsewhere.

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 17th  May  2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 17th May 2015

The Ascension of the Lord - The Byzantine Icon for the Feast of the Ascension shows the Lord Jesus robed in bright colours ascending to heaven seated within a mandorla, a round or almond shaped aureole of light representing divine life and cosmic energy. This is held up by the angelic beings. Below him are gathered the Theotokos (Mary) and the disciples who also include some like St Paul who would not have been present at the event but represent the early Church sent out in the power of the Holy Spirit to spread the gospel 'to the ends of the earth'

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Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons  - 10 May 2015
Sunday Reflection with Fr Robin Gibbons - 10 May 2015

What a week we have had in the UK, the run up to election day on Thursday 7th may seemed endless and the electorate strangely quiescent in parts of England (not so in Scotland) but what a result, it looks as though politics over here is going to be a very different ball game from now on. However politics isn't everything and we know how such systems can corrupt people, being close to great power gives to people a heady mix of things and can blind them to the realities of daily life. As if to keep us on track, whether we are in the UK or elsewhere, other events bring a sense of balance.

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Displaying Articles 1 - 25 of 477
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