Thursday, July 31, 2008

Leaving the Great South Land

This will be my last post from Australia as I am getting the plane to Sydney this afternoon and then an evening flight to London via Dubai. It's been a great trip and in some ways I'm sorry to go although, at the same time, I'm very much looking forward to getting back to the parish and to carrying on where World Youth Day ended.
Today is the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola and the Office of Readings this morning struck me as particularly appropriate for those who left this Great South Land with a sense of vocation. I guess that, while it is easy to discern the call in the fervour of the WYD exerience, our feet hit the ground when we get home and any sense of vocation can easily be squeezed out by the concerns of daily life. St Ignatius, we are told, like to read stories of herioc bravery but when he was in hosptial had to make do with the "Imitation of Christ" and one or two other spiritual works. In time he noticed a difference between the two sorts of reading, in that the secular stories gave him an immediate thrill whereas the religious works led him to a more lasting sense of tranquillity and joy. This led him to his famous "discernment of spirits".
It may be that you went back home enthusiastic to do God's will and with a desire to respond generously to hiss call but that now you are already distracted by the TV, socialising and everything else that crowds in on your everyday life. Like St Ignatius, ask yourself what gives you a greater sense of purpose and meaning: Playstation or Praystation? Perhaps the next step should be a discernment retreat...

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