15th of the
Year: July 15th
I have been much
influenced by a picture in our church of St Ignatius of Loyola and St Francis
Xavier walking in the courtyard of the university of Paris. It’s an old
painting of a particular style, but it has always indicated to me that people
following Christ never do so alone. Jesus sent them in pairs, and the picture
is highlighting that we cannot find and follow Jesus Christ on our own.
This does not mean that
our faith and following is not personal; it is deeply personal but not to be
individualistic. The light of faith is
handed and passed on from one to another.
The future health and
hope of the church finds a deep source in the friendship of faith and in
collaboration in ministry and service.
The parish of the future will find its life only in the working-together
of all sorts of people – male and female, cleric and lay, old and young,
believing and half-believing. Our faith in God and our living of this faith
depends much on the community of faith of which we are a part.
Faith in our families needs the faith of the larger christian family for
its nourishment and growth. Jesus had
wisdom in sending them out in pairs.
At times the people I
refer to, Ignatius and Francis, were separated by continents. Their long relationship of faith still
strengthened them with numerous letters written and the prayerful thanks for
each other’s faith and love.
Truer than ever we
believe now that no one is an island.
Brendan Kennelly the Kerry poet puts it well, ‘Self knows that self is
We are called in love,
send in love on the mission of God, and in this we find the new life of Jesus
Donal Neary SJ.