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Fourth Sunday of Easter

See end of message for link to Melchior's Sunday meditation at 6pm, to Fr Steve's 10.30am Mass on Sunday and other notices. The Lord is my shepherd, not a fake or a thief or a brigand or a wolf.  The Lord is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want.  He provides me, free of charge, with a face mask, cleansing disinfectant, tests to monitor that I do not have a disease, ventilators if I am one of the unlucky ones who becomes sick.  He does this at a federal level, using every means at his disposal to help me, not giving that responsibility to someone else who has less access to what is needed.  He doesn't see my sickness as an opportunity to make money for his already rich friends. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.  He doesn't make me live in ugly concrete dwellings whose flashing neon lights give me a headache and where roulette tables are what matters, not me.  Neither does he own hotels in such places. Near restful waters he leads me to revive my drooping spirit.  He gives me rest.  He doesn't cause me to be filled with anxiety by forcing me back to work where it is not safe for me.  He doesn't threaten to remove my meagre allowances should I choose not to return just yet. He guides me along the right path he is true to his name.  At all times he speaks truth to me and does not lie.  He doesn't conspire, create falsehood and division.  He doesn't tell me that disinfectant is good for me to swallow or inject.  He doesn't encourage me to take fake medicines.  He doesn't sack those who would speak truth to me either.  Nor does he surround himself with cowardly lickspittles who sell their souls for a dollar. If I should walk in the valley of darkness, no evil would I fear.  He calms my fears, he doesn't heighten them.  He provides reassurance to me so that I too can bring calmness and tranquility to others who live in my valley.  He shows me that I can be a good shepherd too. He is always there with his crook and his staff, with these he gives me comfort.  The 'crook and his staff' are not the collective name for the White House.  They are symbols of his power and strength which he uses with wisdom and sensitivity in service of myself and others like me who are at times timid and fearful.  They are implements of leadership, not weapons to beat me into submission.  He shows me what true liberation is. He has prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.  He doesn't send me back to the slaughterhouse where I become the banquet for my already overweight foes.  He doesn't make me feel as if the only reason I'm on this planet is to provide a luxurious life for others, while I live in a trailer park. My head He has anointed with oil.  He treats me as if I were of worth, that my life is precious to him.  He gives me encouragement to live well, to lead a considered life, caring for others as I would care for myself. My cup is overflowing.  He provides for me abundantly, everything I could ever possibly want.  Not just material goods, but the things which bring lasting happiness and inner peace.  A life which then bears fruit all around me. Surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life because He teaches me to follow what is good and kind and decent and honourable.  He teaches me to recognise that these things are all present within me if I'd just stop for a moment and look and hear and feel. In the Lord's own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.  He gradually shows me, often through suffering and all manner of trials and tribulations, that, that house where He dwells, is .... me. Steve The Place of Stillness Within It is when we are alone, (and many of us are alone in these days of self-isolation) that we confront our inner selves.  The memory of betrayals, woundings and failures well up and if we suppress them they will only renew their attacks.  If in stillness (and we all have time to be still for a few minutes each day) we can hold firmly to the centre, even while assailed by restlessness, something else happens slowly over the days and weeks.  Gently, barely discernible, our souls and our psyches are purified.  The silence of meditation, provided we truly surrender ourselves to it, will loosen psychological knots and dissolve subconscious coagulations, draining away those secret poisons that invade our psyches.  If we are to be of use to others, the greater the need to find these places of stillness, of life-giving calm, within ourselves ….. The Rinpoche, the Priest, the Imam, the Rabbi, the Swami, the Sheik, are each of them guardians of another order of reality, and it may well be that today it is the contemplative side of their vocation that is the most important to nurture.  Paradoxically it is those who have learned to be alone with their aloneness who draw others to them.  The Desert Fathers, the holy women and men of India in their caves and ashrams, Mother Julian in her cell in Norwich, Pere de Foucauld in the desert, the Little Brothers and Sisters of Jesus in their cells in city and country, all hermits and anchorites everywhere, and many other people, speak to our society in a way that is urgently needed.  Solitary in their various places across the world, alone with the Alone, they draw us gently to our true home as surely as migrating birds return to their place of origin. Adapted from a chapter in James Roose-Evans “Finding Silence:52 Meditations for Daily Living” The History Press, 2009, ISBN 978-0-7524-5405-4 Life is not just a question of getting through each day, although that is important, and especially as we think of millions of our sisters and brothers who face a struggle for food and shelter every new morning.  For centuries, all the world’s religious traditions have invited us to discover within ourselves a continuous expansion of heart and spirit.  We forget this in our often frenetic life-styles, but these virus weeks have caused us to halt and become aware in fresh ways of our amazingly rich humanity.  Just pause as you read this and listen to that inner voice which tells you that your life is both unique and precious.  That you carry within you the possibility of discovering a guiding Light which will not go out.  Befriend that inner strength which enables you to keep searching, to be alive to new insights, to encounter these fresh truths which can change the way you think about everything.  Shed any pent up bitterness.  Laugh at your own limitations. Look outwards, phone a friend (you don’t need Zoom!) and hear the bird song above the silent streets. NOTICES PRAYERS AND THE ROSARY: join us for prayers and the rosary every Saturday at 8pm: FR STEVE'S 10.30AM Mass - via Zoom on Sunday: MELCHIOR'S SUNDAY MEDITATION: 6pm - How To Remain Still: MOTHER TERESA SISTERS' DONATIONS: thank you for your continued support of the Mother Teresa Sisters during this time of crisis.  Food and other household items can be delivered to them at: Ch de la Foret 2, 1018 Bellevaux.   Please ring: 021 647 3135 on arrival to let them know you have bags for them to store.   Suggested items: rice, pre-made ravioli, canned beans, canned vegetables, jam, tea, coffee, milk, eggs, pasta, vegetable oil, soap, toilet roll.  Online donations are also very much appreciated: Missionaries of Charity, IBAN/KONTO number: CH38 09 00 00 00 174 035 795. FR STEVE'S ANNIVERSARY GIFT: thank you to everyone who has donated to Fr Steve's anniversary gift (the 30th anniversary of his ordination on 1 June and the 10th anniversary of his arrival at Our Lady of Faith, September 2010).  If you'd like to contribute to the cash gift we will present to him please do so, reference: Fr Steve Gift, via:  BCV Bank Account No: 10-725-4 IBAN: CH08 0076 7000 K534 3156 6 Account Name: English Catholic Mission Address: Ave de Bethusy 54, 1012 Lausanne

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