What you experience can feel so different. Depending on where you are and when you encounter these joys and challenges.

I have been lucky enough to visit Rome a number of times through the years. Last week I went to visit a former superior and to take stock of my priestly ministry, Looking at my ministry from where I am now and in light of the challenges and chances that face me concretely.

Working in the Chruch on a day to day basis you can loose sight of the bigger picture . The challenges that you face can mask a bigger picture. For me it’s good to take time to lift my head above the everyday, to see if what I am doing is in tune with what I am discerning to be a response to the call of God. The hope is that I am not just lost in the maze of what is going on in my own community and my own head, but open to the voice that calls.

The experience of the pilgrimage to Patmos, a couple of weeks aago, was an important moment in this year. The great encounter with St John and the biblical tradition of the Book of Revalation was a real boost and inspiration. That and the company of so many great people of faith trying to live out their faith with joy and enthusiasm.

So I land on St Peters square for the audience with Pope Frances. The synod on the Amazon is still going on and this Pope takes his time amongst the people – to pass on a message of hope and challenge from the Acts of the Apostles. So simple – yet so powerful in the midst of this crowd of believers.

It was whilst leaving the square – going with Fr Eduardo to find a group of Pilgrims who had come to Rome form Portugal – the light fell on a fountain to one side of the square. it really was a brilliant sight – the water illuminated by the morning sun. It reminded me of the importance of constantly going to the source of faith – the scriptures – the community – my community – the teachings of the Chruch – and being ready and open to bathe in that light – not just once – but again and again….

I was reminded of how much of a gift faith is. I had to set off to Patmos and to Rome – I have to approach the alter in my parish each day for Eucharist – but what I receive is pure gift.

I remembered the window fo the Holy Spirit in St Peter’s Basilica and headed off to get my own picture of that radiant light that shines through the Chruch and if I allow it – if I am not too distracted to notice – will nourish me and guide me through the journey of each day – not as a struggle – but as a journey of joy knowing I am trying to do what God calls me to do…