Reflecting on Faith and Lukewarmness

I had to leave in a bit of a rush after Mass today in order to get to Wickenden Manor in time for the start of the Day of Recollection for priests. Hence I forgot to take my camera - I will try to remember next time. The photos on this post are rather poor quality snaps from the mobile phone, enhanced a bit using PaintShop Pro.

Wickenden Manor is the retreat house of Opus Dei in the South of England (the north has Thorneycroft Hall, near Manchester.) It is in the heart of the Sussex countryside near the village of Sharpthorne. I would have driven there in just about an hour had I not taken a wrong turning just before my destination.

The conferences were given by Fr Frank Calduch. He spoke first of all about the virtue of Faith and the importance of a living faith in the priest. The second conference was on the theme of Lukewarmness: something that St Josemaria wrote about. It was delightfully counter-cultural. Instead of telling us to find "Me Time" or to be happy with who we are, he pointed out that the lukewarm priest tells the faithful by his example that they need not bother with carrying the cross.

He also spoke of how priests might fear that they should conserve their energy to live longer in God's service. He said that if we die through hard work in the service of Christ, God will always find a replacement for us. My sister Mary told me later that this was very similar to something Pope John Paul said when he was very tired one day and someone told him he must take it easy.

As ever, there was a wholesome lunch with good conversation, Rosary and Benediction and time to catch up with news from other priests (including fellow-blogger Fr John Boyle, South Ashford Priest. I always leave these days with profound gratitude to the priests of Opus Dei for their friendship, generosity and good example to us diocesan clergy.

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