Independent Catholic News logo Welcome Visitor
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Archbishop Nichols: daily prayer essential for our well-being
Comment Email Print
 
Archbishop Vincent Nichols
In his first Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Westminster this weekend,  Archbishop Vincent Nichols encourages Catholics to strengthen their faith through daily prayer, which he says is "central to the stability and fruitfulness of our lives." He holds up three people as examples of the truth that "daily prayer is essential for our well-being." 
 
The first is St Thérèse of Lisieux, whose relics will be in the Diocese of Westminster in October 2009. "She teaches us that prayer can indeed be part of our daily routine, knitted into the regular tasks of the day.   Through her own prayer she came to understand that her vocation was to love," said Archbishop Vincent Nichols. He continued: "Many people find that, in her presence, their faith is strengthened, their prayer is deepened and they turn to God afresh, through repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux will be in the Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kensington Church Street, on Sunday 11 October 2009 and at Westminster Cathedral from 12 - 15 October 2009.

The second person is Cardinal John Henry Newman who is to be Beatified, most probably, in early summer 2010, the first English person to be recognised as a 'Confessor of the Catholic Faith' for over 600 years. "He came to recognise our faith as "a working religion"," said Archbishop Nichols, "not concerned with ideas or vague generalities, but taking us up into the true worship of Christ himself.  At the heart of Newman's sense of the realism of our faith was the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, "as real", he said "as we are real. We can learn from him to reawaken in ourselves this faith in Christ's real, abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist, reserved in the Tabernacle."

The third person Archbishop Nichols holds up as an example is St John Vianney, the famous Curé of Ars, the patron saint of priests.  "He too reminds us of the centrality of prayer and repentance in our lives, and of the astonishing gift we are given in the Real Presence of the Lord in our churches," said Archbishop Vincent Nichols.


The full text follows:

19th-20th September 2009
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time


My dear people,

In writing this first Pastoral Letter since my appointment as Archbishop of Westminster I wish to thank you all for the warmth and kindness of your welcome.   Together with the assurances of so many prayers, this is a great encouragement to me.

So, in my turn, I want to encourage you in our shared life of faith and prayer, especially as experienced and strengthened in the parish.

In the reading from the letter of St James, which we have just heard, the Apostle gives us a realistic picture of family and parish life. He describes our daily struggles, “these wars and battles between yourselves” (4.1), arising from conflicting ambitions and desires.  He speaks of the wisdom “that comes down from above” (3.17) and the enduring kindness and compassion to which it gives rise, overcoming our temptations to
favouritism and hypocrisy.

This wisdom of which he speaks is, of course, Christ himself.  So St James insists that our relationship with Christ, expressed in prayer, is central to the stability and fruitfulness of our lives. A sound practice of daily prayer is essential for our well-being.

Three people who illustrate this truth very clearly are being held before us in the weeks and months ahead.

The first is St Thérèse of Lisieux, well known as The Little Flower. She teaches us that prayer can indeed be part of our daily routine, knitted into the regular tasks of the day.    Through her own prayer she came to understand that her vocation was to love.

She wrote in ‘The Story of a Soul’:  “I had discovered where it is that I belong in the Church, the niche God has appointed for me. To be nothing else than love, deep down in the heart of Mother Church.”   Her direct, wholehearted love of the Lord has meant that the hidden life of St Thérèse has become a gift to people all over the world. Everyone who seeks to know God in their own heart can draw inspiration from her example. True love such as hers is always creative.

The relics of St Thérèse – the tangible remains of her holy life – are coming to the Diocese during October. On Sunday 11th  October, they will be in the Parish Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kensington Church Street. From 12th -15th October, the relics will be in Westminster Cathedral. Many people find that, in her presence, their faith is strengthened, their prayer is deepened and they turn to God afresh, through repentance and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I encourage you most earnestly to come to her in these two places during these few days. A plenary indulgence may be gained, in the presence of these relics, under the normal conditions of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and prayers for the Holy Father.

The second person being held before us at this time is Cardinal John Henry Newman.  He is to be Beatified, most probably, in early summer 2010, the first English person to be recognised as a ‘Confessor of the Catholic Faith’ for over 600 years.

As you know, he came only gradually to the fullness of Catholic faith.  It was a difficult journey for him.  Yet, in his own words, he came to recognise our faith as “a working religion”, not concerned with ideas or vague generalities, but taking us up into the true worship of Christ himself.  At the heart of Newman’s sense of the realism of our faith was the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, “as real”, he said “as we are real”.

We can learn from him to reawaken in ourselves this faith in Christ’s real, abiding presence in the Holy Eucharist, reserved in the Tabernacle.  When this happens, we behave accordingly in His presence, giving Him our attention and the love of our hearts whenever we are in church.  In this way we not only build up our own life of prayer but also encourage each other, in church, to give this precious time to Him. After all, He is the only one who can bring lasting peace into our lives.

For thirty years, John Henry Newman was a Catholic parish priest in Birmingham. When he died, in August 1890, over 20,000 people lined the streets for his funeral procession. They came to pay tribute to a fine and devoted parish priest. It is so providential that his Beatification will take place during this Year for Priests, established last June by Pope Benedict XVI.

During this Year for Priests, we are asked to pray for our priests in a special way, to thank and encourage them.  The life of a priest has its own particular demands and we all know the crucial leadership given by the priest in the parish. So, I ask you, cherish your priests and care for them.  Remember not only the sacrifice priests have made but also the gift of sacramental life they bring to you through their ministry and the pastoral care they give.

St Thérèse had a special love for priests. John Henry Newman was a great example of a faithful, hardworking priest.  The third person in our sight at this time is St John Vianney, the famous Curé of Ars.  He is the patron saint of priests.  He too reminds us of the centrality of prayer and repentance in our lives, and of the astonishing gift we are given in the Real Presence of the Lord in our churches.

May these holy men and this holy woman pray for us. May these coming months bring blessings on our families and parishes. And from those sources of strength and encouragement, may we be renewed in our faith and in our generosity towards all in need.

Archbishop of Westminster






Share:  Bookmark and Share
Tags: Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Cardinal John Henry Newman, daily prayer, Pastoral Letter, St John Vianney, St Thérèse of Lisieux


Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: