'I have come towards a peace and happiness, deep within, which I had not known and which I trust will find completion in the life to come- My illness has played a substantial part in my journey to God, to peace and to freedom. The journey is by no means easy, but when you come towards the light at the end ....and you feel its warmth, you taste its peace and freedom - because God has made that which was impossible for me, possible.'
I was amused the other day at hearing the story of the Nativity as acted by children. They all entered into the story with great enthusiasm: the shepherds, the wise men, the inn-keeper, Joseph and Mary. No one was more enthusiastic than the boy playing Joseph. When he arrived at the door of the inn he asked the inn-keeper for a place to stay. The inn-keeper said, 'There is no room at the inn'. The enthusiastic Joseph lost his cool and said, 'But we booked'!
Two years ago, the Director of the National Gallery in London came to see me about a picture he wanted to borrow from the Vatican Museum. During the conversation he talked about the extraordinary success of the Exhibition he had mounted earlier in the year, which was called Seeing Salvation. Tens of thousands of people, perhaps only a minority of them convinced Christian, had flocked to contemplate images of Christ down the ages. Seeing people's reactions to these profound images it was as though some became transfixed and moved in a way that art rarely moves and transfixes. The paintings, frescoes and sculptures somehow revealed something of both the humanity, and the divinity, of Jesus Christ - a remarkable achievement of the artists who, in their own time, and in their own way, must have contemplated the transcendence of God as revealed in His Son Jesus, who came to live among us on Christmas night two thousand years ago.
Virtually all of us would claim to desire peace in the world. Few, however, would fail to be a little unnerved by the seemingly widespread failure to achieve peace in the world or by the enormous sacrifices that we must all make in the struggle for peace. The Holy Father's message is that peace must be 'founded on truth, built up on justice, nurtured and animated by charity, and brought into effect under the auspices of freedom.' For peace to work on a global scale, it must first work on a personal one. Our own lives, our own families, our own communities must be open to the message of peace before that message can be spread far and wide. In other words, we must be faithful to truth, justice, charity and freedom even if it means making great personal sacrifice.
Blessed Edmund Rice 1802 - 2002- at Liverpool Cathedral
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am delighted to be with you today for this celebration commemorating the Bicentenary of the foundation of the first school of the Christian Brothers by Blessed Edmund Rice. It is right to celebrate and it is right to remember. The first remembrance must surely be of Edmund Rice himself, that extraordinary man, who was born in 1762 and died in 1844. The circumstances of his life which he experienced as providential and which helped to form his faith will have resonances with many people: his marriage, the death of his wife, his handicapped daughter, and his wondering about what to do with his life.
Read at all Masses in the Diocese of Westminster on the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 12/13 October 2002:
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
At the end of the year two thousand, the Great Jubilee Year, Pope John Paul wrote a letter to all the faithful in which he said: 'Now is the time for every diocese to assess its fervour and find fresh enthusiasm for its spiritual and pastoral responsibilities' (Novo Millennio Ineunte §3). ...
St Therese of Lisieux - 1 October, 2002 at Westminster Cathedral
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Dear members of the Legal profession. You have come here today to celebrate with me the 'Red Mass'. I feel just a little nervous addressing such a sizeable gathering of distinguished members of the legal profession.
St Gregory the Great - 3 September, 2002 at Digby Stuart College, London SW15
Last year, speaking at this Conference, I uttered some 'off the cuff' remarks about 'Christianity being vanquished in this country'. The interesting thing about the reporting of that remark, which was taken from a review of a book, is that it touched a nerve. The subsequent media interest was evidence of that. The reaction of the media to Church affairs and, in particular, to the Catholic Church, is that often, and in some cases rightly, they will pick on the weaknesses and sins of Church people. In that way they also wish to attack and diminish the Catholic Church's teachings and its claims. The fact is, of course, that Christianity and the teaching of the Church, make incredible claims.
In the Cathedral Church of Our Lady and St Philip Howard, Arundel.
Miles, Duke of Norfolk, friend to so many of us here, was first and foremost a family man - husband of Anne, father of Eddie, Gerald, Tessa, Carina and Marcia, grandfather of 18, and great-grandfather of two - Violet and Arthur. He lived the fullest of lives. Together we mourn his passing. But we are here also to give grateful thanks to our Lord that Miles' life was so fulfilled, and that he lived to such a ripe old age.
'They will rest in good grazing ground; they will browse in rich pastures' (Psalm 102). For the five of you who are leaving the Institute, and for whom we have come together to offer this Mass, I hope you feel that you have spent your time in good grazing ground, in rich pastures. I think the fact that your leaving is marked by the celebration of Mass says a great deal about the core values of the Beaufort Institute.