Homily – June 28, 2015

June 28th, 2015

There’s a story told of a young Jewish girl who was going off to a new city for university. She was very conscientious about her faith. She went to her Rabbi and asked him, ‘how do I find a good Rabbi to guide me? The Rabbi answered,’ ask him if he can explain suffering. If he begins to explain suffering, look for another Rabbi.”

The Rabbi was right. Who can explain why bad things happen to good people? We are good people and for all of that we are devastated by the death of one we love, our ordinary living is upset by illness, our security is threatened by the loss of a job, a marriage breaks up, a son or daughter gets into drugs or suffers depression.

It’s normal we ask ‘why’, why me, why this, why now? It might be better if we asked ‘what’. What am I going to do with this, how am I going to handle this, deal with this? Will I let this hurt, this pain, this disappointment, shatter my life, will I let it crush me, make me bitter? Or will I embrace it – as Christ embraced His cross? Illness and suffering are part and parcel of life. As one poet wrote, ‘we are born in another’s pain and perish in our own.’ We are the followers of a crucified Christ, a Christ who offered His life out of love for us, a Christ Who said, ‘ if any would come after me let them take up their cross and follow me.’

The gospel tells us this suffering woman heard about Jesus. What did she hear? Did she hear about how Jesus challenged the religious authorities about their hypocrisy and their lack of concern for the ordinary people? Did she hear of the people he cured of leprosy or blindness? Did she hear that he made cripples walk and blind people see? We hear she spent a fortune on different cures and treatments and they only made her condition worse. Jesus told her her faith made her well but there must have been a bit of desperation there too as she worked her way through the crowd wishing only to touch his clothes. Maybe she said to herself, ’I’ll try anything.’’

I was reading up on this gospel and found that at the time of Jesus there were physicians and there were healers. Folk healers in those days were much more commonly available to the peasants. They were willing to use their hands to touch people and talk with them, listen to them, they let people unburden themselves. In the gospels people definitely identified Jesus as a folk healer, specifically a spirit filled prophet who could still storms, and restore people to their rightful and proper place in community.

Jesus definitely healed all who wanted to be healed. Healing is the restoration of meaning to people’s lives no matter what their physical condition might be. Curing is very rare, but healing takes place all the time because sooner or later we regain meaning in life and resume our rightful place within our family, our society and our church.

This is certainly what Jesus accomplished for the hemorrhaging woman. Her condition rendered her ritually unclean and not only prevented her from entering the Temple but also required that she remove herself from the community, the equivalent of social death in her world. She was treated like a leper. Healing her Jesus restored her to her rightful place in society, he restored her to her family and friends and he restored her to her family of faith and the Temple.

Could we find within ourselves, surrounded as we are with a crowd that does not share our faith, a busy crowd searching for the good life, could we find the courage to reach out and touch his garment and let power come out from him and restore us to the reality of our Christian faith namely we follow a crucified Christ who challenges us to take up the cross in whatever form it comes to us and let Christ walk with us giving us the willingness to accept our present reality, whatever is may be. It is what it is, this is what I live with – and in tranquility, trust in the presence and care of God – and say as Christ said – not my will but your will be done – for in God’s will is our peace.

Bulletin – June 28, 2015

June 26th, 2015

This is the last bulletin until after Labour Day. We wish you all a happy and safe summer! July 1st is Canada Day. The office will be closed on Wednesday, July 1st for the holiday. There will be no 9:00 AM Mass.

PROBING POPE FRANCIS’ ECOLOGICAL ENCYCLICAL: AN OPEN FORUM

Tuesday, June 30th, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM

St. Gabriel’s Church

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment was released on June 18th, 2015. To consider the content, significance, and potential impact of the new encyclical, we will be holding an open forum on Tuesday, June 30th from 7:30 to 9:00 PM here at St Gabriel’s.

Dr. Dennis O’Hara, Director of the Elliot Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology at St Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, and Father Steve Dunn, C.P., Director of the Passionist Center for Ecology and Spirituality, will be facilitating the forum.

Everyone is welcome! No pre-registration is necessary. For further information, please contact Fatima Lee at 416- 221-8866 or email fatimalee@bellnet.ca.

PARISH PICNIC

Sunday, June 28th after the 12:30 Mass

The Parish BBQ Picnic will be held this Sunday, June 28th after the 12:30 Mass in the parking lot. There will be hot dogs, games, face painting, lucky draws, music and more….. Tickets are $2 each. Please bring your families, friends and neighbours to enjoy a summer afternoon with your parishioners.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

Please see the insert in the parish bulletin or check the bulletin board for announced Masses during the summer months. The notices on the bulletin boards will be updated each week. See the list here (PDF)

RESPECT FOR THE SACREDNESS OF THE CELEBRATION

As a sign of respect for the celebrant and others attending Mass, please do not let your children roam around freely during the liturgy.

CHANGE OF GRADE FOR CONFIRMATION

The method of implementation for the Sacrament of Confirmation for 2015-6 for both Grades 7&8 is dependent on the total number of candidates that will register. If the number of registrants exceed 60 candidates, they will be organised into two groups.

Registration for this Sacrament will be accepted in the Summer through to Fall 2015, and we strongly urge you to register early to assist us in planning for this unique situation. Please remember to bring along your child’s baptism certificate when you register. Registration without a baptismal certificate will not be accepted.

We are planning for the Confirmation ceremonies to be held May 15th, 2016 and June 5th, 2016 if a second group is required. Both ceremonies will be at 7.30 pm. These are tentative dates only and may be changed as we get more information.

Please watch our bulletin or check our website, www.stgabrielsparish@bellnet.ca for further information.

ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT

R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) meetings begin in the fall. These evenings are for persons interested in learning about the Catholic Faith. Because the Parish Community itself is considered the official teacher and guide for potential new members, it is important that some parishioners participate by being present and by sharing their Faith in various ways. It is also an opportunity for “Born Catholics” to deepen their understanding of the faith. Adult Catholics who wish to celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist and/or Confirmation are welcome. For more information, please call the Parish Office at 416-221-8866.

SACRAMENTAL REGISTRATION

First Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation

Sacramental Registration forms for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion, Reconciliation or Confirmation are now available in the Parish Office.

If you have a child attending St. Gabriel’s School, another Catholic School or a Private School who will be receiving one of these Sacraments this coming school year, please complete a Sacramental Registration Form as soon as possible. Please note that a Baptismal certificate must accompany a registration for First Communion or Confirmation

CHILDREN’S FAITH PROGRAM REGISTRATION

Registration forms for the Children’s Faith Program for next year are now available in the Parish Office. This program is for those children attending private or public schools. Please note that all registrations must be returned by August 31st, 2015.

If you child will also be receiving the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation or Confirmation, please complete a Sacramental registration form which is also available in the Parish Office. Please note that a Baptismal Certificate must accompany registration for First Communion or Confirmation.

A THANK YOU NOTE FROM ERIC AND HELEN PIERRE

Eric and Helen, parishioners of St Gabe’s, recently organized a bake sale to raise funds to build a school in Haiti. Here is a note from them:

We would like to extend a very large “thank you” to the parishioners of St. Gabriel’s Parish for their support and participation in our Haiti Bake Sale last weekend. We are truly touched by everyone’s generosity: the bakers, the volunteers who gave time to sell, the people who bought baked goods and those who made donations. In doing so the parishioners of St. Gabriel’s Parish are helping to provide the youth in Haiti an opportunity for a better life in the future.

We are thrilled to report that to date we have made $2,328.75. These funds, along with proceeds from other ongoing fundraisers, will be directed to the construction of the second floor of St. Paul de Corail School in the vicinity of Port-au-Prince. If you would like more information about our efforts in Haiti or to make a donation, please visit our website: haitiaide.ca.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE GROUP AT ST GABRIEL’S WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

Are you concerned about justice and social issues? Would you like to help promote a greater awareness in our parish of the situation of the poor in the developing world? If you are interested, please consider becoming a part of our parish’s Development and Peace group. For further information, please call Fatima at 416-221-8866 or email her at fatimalee@bellnet.ca.

Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. For the past 48 years they have been supporting and empowering the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Here at St Gabriel’s, besides participating in the various Development and Peace campaigns during the year, we also support their efforts by making available to you every month the fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolates produced by farmers in the Global South.

CASSEROLES FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

July 25th/26th, and August 29th/30th

Thank you to the volunteers who prepared casseroles for June. As summer approaches, the number of donated casseroles tends to decrease dramatically. For the summer, your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses on the weekends of July 25th/26th and August 29th/30th for delivery to the Good Shepherd Centre. More volunteers are needed to help feed the hungry in our city especially during the summer months. Please get a copy of a casserole recipe and a pan and give it a try.

Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Please remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole. For more information, you may contact Irene Albrecht at 416 221-2791.

MILK BAGS

Did you know that the colourful outer milk bags can be cut, looped and woven into sleep mats for individuals or families in developing countries? Please make sure that the bags are clean and dry drop them in the bin located in the gathering space. For further information about this program please visit www.milkbagsunlimited.ca or contact Sharon Gusz at sharongusz@gmail.com

FEED THE HUNGRY

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall or the Good Shepherd Centre. During the summer months, food donations tend to dwindle. These donations are more important than ever as families struggle to make ends meet. Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your ongoing support.

CHURCH BULLETIN ADVERTISING

Liturgical Publications will be setting up the advertisements for our church bulletin. The advertising will begin in September 2015 and supports the bulletin service. Please support the bulletin and advertise your product or service. Call Liturgical Publications at 905-624-4422.

WALKING TOUR OF MOUNT HOPE CATHOLIC CEMETERY

Saturday, July 11th at 2:00 PM

Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery
305 Erskine Ave., Toronto

Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services – Archdiocese of Toronto invites you to join us for a walking tour of Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery. Visit the graves of some of the Catholic faithful who shaped our Church, our city and our cemetery throughout the last 110 years.
Please contact Amy Profenna at 416-733-8544 or Mount Hope Cemetery at 416-483-4944. In case of rain, please contact the cemetery or go to http://www.catholic-cemeteries.com.

ANNUAL MASS FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED

Wednesday, August 12th, at 7:00 PM

Holy Cross Cemetery or Mount Hope Cemetery

Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services, Archdiocese of Toronto wishes to invite all families within the Archdiocese of Toronto to participate in the Annual Mass for the Faithful Departed on Wednesday, August 12th at 7:00 PM at Holy Cross or Mount Hope Cemetery.

In the event of rain, the Mass at Holy Cross will be held in the mausoleum and the Mass for Mount Hope will move to St. Monica’s Church, 44 Broadway Avenue.

FINANCE CORNER

Our operating expenses average $14,550 per week.

Collection for Last Weekend

Envelopes 394 $ 8,218
Loose Change 1,157
Weekly Portion of Pre-Authorized Giving 165 3,103
Total 559 $ 12,478

Homily – June 21, 2015

June 21st, 2015

Have you ever had the experience of being caught in open water by a sudden and violent storm? I have. I was on a sail boat on Lake Erie just outside Port Dover and this storm seemed to come out of nowhere. We got back to port as soon as we could through pouring rain, high winds and rough water. Talk about wanting to kiss the ground.

This wasn’t the first storm these fishermen friends of Jesus experienced but by the violence of it they knew they were in serious trouble. All this was happening at night so they had no stars to guide them. They were amazed that Jesus could sleep through the whole thing. They woke him up with the demand ‘do something’ and he did, he spoke and rebuked the wind and stilled the waters. It was as if Jesus had a one on one relationship with the sea and the wind – Jesus knew the sea and wind and the sea and wind knew him and he told them, enough, be still, you’ve done your job, you’ve made these men turn to me. Then he asked the disciples a strange question, ’why are you afraid?’

Jesus had a one on one relationship with every man in that boat and the experience of the storm was meant to challenge and deepen that relationship. Why were you afraid, don’t you trust me, don’t you know that I’m here with you and that I care for you? The truth was they did know and yet they didn’t know. Their one on one relationship with Jesus would have its ups and downs for some time to come.

Each one of us has a one on one relationship with God in and through Jesus. Maybe we don’t think too much about our relationship with God but God never stops thinking of it, as scripture tells us, ‘Before you were conceived in the womb I knew you and called you by name.’ We all have a one on one relationship with Jesus though too often we don’t think of it but he’s told us, ‘I am the vine you are the branches, without me you can do nothing.’

Maybe that’s why our lives can become upset, turned upside down by the sudden storms that come our way. We’ve all had upsetting times in our lives, stormy days, nights, months or even years and we long for things to just settle down, we long for the calm.

Its natural when we hear this gospel to think of the stormy times in our lives, times when we feel totally helpless and alone, times when we are sure we are going under. We know from experience our storms don’t go away that easily, there is no instant calming, we have to wait them out, see them through trusting that Jesus is with us. Because of our one on one relationship with Jesus we trust that he will see us through whatever storm with which we are struggling. Jesus asks us, as he asked these frightened fishermen ‘why are you afraid, have you no faith, no trust in my love and care for you?’ Maybe all we can answer in the dark and stormy times is the simple truth, ‘Lord I believe, help the little faith I have’, and leave it at that.

Bulletin – June 21, 2015

June 20th, 2015

PROBING POPE FRANCIS’ ECOLOGICAL ENCYCLICAL: AN OPEN FORUM

Tuesday, June 30th, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM

St. Gabriel’s Church

Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment was released on June 18th, 2015. To consider the content, significance, and potential impact of the new encyclical, we will be holding an open forum on Tuesday, June 30th from 7:30 to 9:00 PM here at St Gabriel’s.

Dr. Dennis O’Hara, Director of the Elliot Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology at St Michael’s College of the University of Toronto, and Father Steve Dunn, C.P., Director of the Passionist Center for Ecology and Spirituality, will be facilitating the forum.

Everyone is welcome! No pre-registration is necessary. For further information, please contact Fatima Lee at 416- 221-8866 or email fatimalee@bellnet.ca.

PARISH PICNIC

Sunday, June 28th after the 12:30 Mass

The Parish BBQ Picnic will be held on Sunday, June 28th after the 12:30 Mass in the parking lot. There will be hot dogs, games, face painting, lucky draws, music and more…..

Tickets are $2 each.

Please bring your families, friends and neighbours to enjoy a summer afternoon with your parishioners.

We need volunteers to help and make this event happen. Please sign up by putting your name and phone number on the sheets at the back of church. For more information, you may call Linda Law at 416-918-8029.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

June 22nd to June 27th 2015

MONDAY – ERNA REBHOLZ-MILIMONKA – Requested by Mary Anne Barnes
TUESDAY – FRANCES PALAYATHIL – Requested by the Family
WEDNESDAY – JUANITO G. GAVIETA – Requested by Estrella, Cherrie, Stella & Isabel
THURSDAY – WALTER DINARDO – Requested by the Family
FRIDAY – KENG OWYONG – Requested by Helen Owyong
SATURDAY – FRANCIS PEREIRA & DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE PEREIRA & PAUL FAMILIES – Requested by Sophie & Candida Pereira

RESPECT FOR THE SACREDNESS OF THE CELEBRATION

As a sign of respect for the celebrant and others attending Mass, please do not let your children roam around freely during the liturgy

CHANGE OF GRADE FOR CONFIRMATION

The method of implementation for the Sacrament of Confirmation for 2015/16 for both Grades 7&8 is dependent on the total number of candidates that will register. If the number of registrants exceed 60 candidates, they will be organised into two groups.

Registration for this Sacrament will be accepted in the Summer through to Fall 2015, and we strongly urge you to register early to assist us in planning for this unique situation. Please remember to bring along your child’s baptism certificate when you register. Registration without a baptismal certificate will not be accepted.

We are planning for the Confirmation ceremonies to be held May 15th, 2016 and June 5th, 2016 if a second group is required. Both ceremonies will be at 7.30 pm. These are tentative dates only and may be changed as we get more information.

Please watch our bulletin or check our website for further information.

ANNUAL MASS FOR THE FAITHFUL DEPARTED

Wednesday, August 12th, at 7:00 PM

Holy Cross Cemetery or Mount Hope Cemetery

Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Services, Archdiocese of Toronto wishes to invite all families within the Archdiocese of Toronto to participate in the Annual Mass for the Faithful Departed on Wednesday, August 12th at 7:00 PM at Holy Cross or Mount Hope Cemeteries.

In the event of rain, the Mass at Holy Cross will be held in the mausoleum and the Mass for Mount Hope will move to St. Monica’s Church, 44 Broadway Avenue.

ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT

R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) meetings begin in the fall. These evenings are for persons interested in learning about the Catholic Faith. Because the Parish Community itself is considered the official teacher and guide for potential new members, it is important that some parishioners participate by being present and by sharing their Faith in various ways. It is also an opportunity for “Born Catholics” to deepen their understanding of the faith. Adult Catholics who wish to celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist and/or Confirmation are welcome. For more information, please call the Parish Office at 416-221-8866.

CHILDREN’S FAITH PROGRAM REGISTRATION

Registration forms for the Children’s Faith Program for next year are now available in the Parish Office. This program is for those children attending private or public schools. Please note that all registrations must be returned by August 30th, 2015.

If your child will also be receiving the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation or Confirmation, please complete a Sacramental registration form which is also available in the Parish Office. Please note that a Baptismal Certificate must accompany registration for First Communion or Confirmation.

FEED THE HUNGRY

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall or the Good Shepherd Centre. As summer approaches, food donations tend to drop off. These donations are more important than ever as families struggle to make ends meet.

Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your ongoing support.

SHARELIFE

Working wonders for people locally and around the world…

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the 2015 ShareLife Parish Campaign. You have made a dark path to a brighter future much easier for thousands of the most vulnerable in our communities by your generosity.

For those who wish to make a contribution, you are still welcome to do so. You can drop your ShareLife envelopes in the offertory basket until July 31, 2015 or donate online at www.sharelife.org. Thank you!

ShareLife, 2014: $220,250.
ShareLife to Date: $137,153

Thank you for your generosity.
Together we can work wonders!

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE GROUP AT ST GABRIEL’S WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS

Are you concerned about justice and social issues? Would you like to help promote a greater awareness in our parish of the situation of the poor in the developing world? If you are interested, please consider becoming a part of our parish’s Development and Peace group. For further information, please call Fatima at 416 -221-8866 or email her at fatimalee@bellnet.ca

Development and Peace is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada. For the past 48 years they have been supporting and empowering the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Here at St Gabriel’s, besides participating in the various Development and Peace campaigns during the year, we also support their efforts by making available to you every month the fair trade coffee, tea, and chocolates produced by farmers in the Global South.

MILK BAGS

Did you know that milk bags can be cut, looped and woven into sleep mats for individuals or families in developing countries? You may drop the colourful outer bags into the bin located in the gathering space. Please make sure that the bags are clean and dry. For further information about this program please visit www.milkbagsunlimited.ca or contact Sharon Gusz at sharongusz@gmail.com

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL – MARYGROVE CAMP

Thank you for your generous support of Marygrove Camp. $3,635 was raised to support this important work of the Society for St. Vincent de Paul

CASSEROLES FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

Weekend of June 27th/28th

Your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses next weekend for delivery to the Good Shepherd Centre. More volunteers are needed to help feed the hungry in our city especially during the summer months. Please get a copy of a casserole recipe and a
pan and give it a try. Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Please remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole.

For the summer, your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses on the weekends of July 25th /26th and August 29th/30th for delivery to the Good Shepherd Centre. For more information, you may contact Irene Albrecht at 416 221-2791.

CHURCH BULLETIN ADVERTISING

Liturgical Publications will be setting up the advertisements for our church bulletin. The advertising will begin in September 2015 and supports the bulletin service. Please support the bulletin and advertise your product or service.

Call Liturgical Publications at 905-624-4422.

STREET PATROL

Wednesday, July 8th at 6:30 PM

St. Patrick’s Church, 141 McCaul Street

Young adults (18-39) are invited to join us walking the streets of downtown Toronto, offering food and friendship to those in need.To share with the people we meet… please bring sandwiches and drinks. Other things that are greatly appreciated are soft fruits, veggies, snacks or sweets.

For yourself… please wear comfortable walking shoes, bring a backpack or comfortable bag to carry the sandwiches and drinks in, and water or drinks for yourself.

RSVP is required as space is limited. Please call John-Paul Markides at 416-467-2645 or email faithconnections@csj.to.ca. For more information about the Street Patrol program go to http://www.stpatrickstoronto.ca/streetpatrol/faq.php.

FINANCE CORNER

Our operating expenses average $14,550 per week.

Collection for Last Weekend

Envelopes 384 $ 7,594
Loose Change 1,096
Weekly Portion of Pre-Authorized Giving 165 3,103
Total 570 $ 11,793

Homily – June 14, 2015

June 14th, 2015

By now most people have their gardens planted though many were caught by that surprise frost. But we plant the seeds, water the soil and wait.

In today’s gospel Jesus is teaching from a boat but we can be sure that most of his listeners were people who lived off the land, farmers and sheep and goat herders. The farmer scatters his seeds for planting and then waits. While he sleeps and works the earth does it work on the seed. With its warmth it softens the hulk of the seed and allows the seed to sprout and grow – without the farmer knowing how. After weeks of growth comes the harvest. This whole process from planting to harvest, depends on sunlight, good soil and rain. The farmer is at the mercy of the elements. Think of the crops that could be lost this year in California because of drought and in the Midwest because of rain or the early frost that hit the wine region here in Ontario.

Jesus uses the example of the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds. From its tininess grows a plant large enough to provide nesting for birds and food for the family.

When each one of us was baptised we were given the seed of glory, our relationship with God. That seed will reach its full capacity when we die, when that seed is harvested. Here is a way of applying today’s parable to ourselves.

When we come to that point in our lives when we open ourselves to receive God as Lord and Jesus as our Savior we are just at the beginning of our journey of faith. It is like that littlest seed but it is meant to grow and it will grow if we don’t give up on ourselves, if we don’t let our faults and failing think we are nothing in the eyes of God, if we bring ourselves to trust the truth that God is not finished with us yet.

Through our simple acts of love and care, our willingness to accept others just as they are, through our times of silent prayer or our participation in Sunday Mass, through our receiving the bread of life or through are being reconciled with God we stretch our branches as we grow to full maturity in Christ, as we put on Christ. It is the little things in our lives that we can do great things. That cup of water given in Jesus’ name can be anyone of those little things, those acts of random kindness we do for friends and stranger. But every day we are called to grow in God’s love and life so that God may see and love in us what he sees and loves in Christ.

Plants that grow by forced growth don’t last that long. Nature has its own pace and so does grace, we grow gradually into the likeness of Christ. Life is slow and subtle. Love takes time to show and grow. In life, little acts count. In fact, that is what a life is all about, a long parade of moments deceptively inconsequential.

Remember that song from the musical Godspell, Day by Day. Day by day, day by day O dear lord three things I pray, to see thee more clearly, follow they more nearly, love thee more dearly – day by day.

St. Paul tells us we walk by faith not by sight. We may not see the results of the good things we do and we don’t need to, God knows whether or not we are growing, growing into a deeper relationship with him, growing into a greater likeness to Christ.

We’re told that during her trial Joan of Arc was asked one of her inquisitors if she was in the state of grace. She answered ‘if I am, I pray God keep me there, if I am not, I pray God put me there.’ If we wonder whether or not we are growing in the life of God and the likeness of Christ we can answer ‘if I am I pray God increase my growth, if I am not I pray God help me grow.