We had a full house on Friday, with plenty of excitement. We started settling down by praying the following prayer, which is attributed to John Wesley:

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for you or laid aside for you.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal
And now glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours. So be it.
And this covenant now made on Earth, let it be satisfied in heaven.

One of the children read the Gospel for Sunday. We looked at the first of Jesus’ words:
“Now the hour has come
For the Son of God to be glorified.
I tell you, most solemnly,
unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,
it remains only a single grain;
but if it dies,
It yields a rich harvest.
Anyone who loves his life loses it;
anyone who hates his life in this world
Will keep it for eternal life.

The line about losing life or gaining it is puzzling. We used a couple of illustrations to help. In the film “The Labyrinth” the main character, Sarah is trying to reach the Goblin City at the Centre of the Labyrinth to rescue her brother from the Goblin King. Along the way she meets many obstacles and distractions, including a creature who has aquired a huge amount of possessions. These she carries with her. It is impossible to see where the creature stops and her possessions start. She begins piling Sarah high with junk, until Sarah remembers what she is looking for. She has to free herself from the growing pile in order to resume her quest.

The children played a game, in teams. They piled one member with as many things as they could find. Then, loaded up they were asked how they would look for something precious. One tried walking very slowly, while the other dropped everything! Jesus’ words are sometimes confusing. They are to do with what we cling on to, what we try to possess that takes us away from God. Sarah couldn’t look for her brother, loaded down with junk and the children couldn’t search for something precious while holding dolls, teddies, cushions and bags. Following Jesus requires letting go, even of our own self, in order to discover new life in the Kingdom of God.

The reflection of the Eucharistic Congress was on praying for the Faithful departed. We decided to take the opportunity to look with the children at Purgatory so they had an idea of what this was about. One blog we found described Purgatory as a process of healing the wounds caused by sin in this world. Therefore the youngest children had some dolls who needed a lot of healing. They set to work while the older children watched the clip from Lord of the Rings, which showed the House of Healing after the Battle of Pelennor Fields. We reminded everyone of the session of the Communion of Saints. One of the things that links us to the Church, including those who have died is prayer. When we pray for the faithful departed, we pray that, as they are healed of their wounds they will be open to God’s love.

To finish we summed up the evening like this: From our baptism we are on a journey towards God and Heaven. In this we receive ‘wounds’ as a result of sin and hold on to things that might stop us from drawing closer to God. Part of our journey is a purging or healing. All of this is in the context of God’s love.

We looked at where we are in Lent now. Jesus is now looking towards Jerusalem. The preaching and the miracles are over. Now comes the most difficult part. We talked about what would happen in Jerusalem. Now we are preparing for Holy Week.