Before I hop in the car for the long and winding road to Cornwall, loaded with dog and boards, food, scrabble, and looking forward to some surfing to blow the aches and pains of life away, I reflect a little on what I am taking with me (apart from the above!).  The experience of the  Network Conference last month was above all for me that of ‘communion’.  We came together in a grace-filled way.   Benedict XVI in his apostolic letter Port Fidei, the Door of Faith, (Acts 14:27) says ‘it’s possible to cross that threshold of faith when the word of God is proclaimed and the heart allows itself to be shaped by transforming grace’.  For me, at the Conference, the word of God was proclaimed in many ways, and our conversion to Christ deeped in that very communal setting by simply opening ourselves to the Gospel and to one another.   It was good to find that we are not alone!   

The Conference theme ‘Opening the Door of Faith’ concentrated on the period of Evangelisation and Precatechumenate, and the role of the team, our accompanying as Christ, and what we expect as we walk with them, looking for signs of conversion!  

This summer, if you get some time for pondering, what do you think are these signs of conversion – in ourselves, and in others?  What are the signs in your life?   What way does Christ show us, and can you feel empowered by Christ to follow that way? For example, might they be:

  • a sense of freedom, ability to adapt and handle life’s events a little better….
  • flexibility with others – love being the overriding principle
  • growing generosity with time and money and emotions too
  • endless patience with others… oh yes, oh no!
  • an awareness of own failure and sin, and the grace of forgiveness – freely offered and willingly requested and received, open to reconciliation
  • warm sense of hospitality – family, friends, neighbours and strangers..
  • a heart for the poor – that’s no small thing
  • living with real day-to-day love, and telling others in many little ways… yep, I love you friend!
  • and then there’s prayer – however you like to pray, seeing life through the lens of the Gospel and being aware of the grace and presence of God with you
  • Deep abiding JOY
  • Being part of the community of God – with trust in one another as members and as leaders, and that sense of vocation and inner direction which… yes, always leads to LOVE

That’s enough pondering for a lifetime!  It’s the Feast of the Assumption coming up next Wednesday 15th August.  Let’s pray, with the Holy Father, that the coming Year of Faith will strengthen our relationship with Christ, and ‘entrust this time of grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed ‘Blessed because she believed’ Lk 1:45 (Benedict XVI, Porta Fidei)  Happy holidays!