Patient Realism

Patient Realism

“Patient Realism” is the title of a section within chapter 7 of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia -The Joy of Love ‘Towards a Better Education of Children.’  One line to define patient realism is ” changing a child’s behaviour involves a gradual process, but also that freedom needs to be channeled and stimulated, since by itself it does not ensure growth in maturity. ”

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Unique Mercy of a Father's Love

Unique Mercy of a Father's Love

November as we know is the month of the Holy Souls. I've already had a stark reminder of the fragility of our mortality and the utter dependence upon God’s grace with the shocking news last week of the sudden death of a second cousin of mine.

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Being Merciful...

Being Merciful...

Over the holidays I read the excellent book by Dawn Eden: "Remembering God's Mercy. Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories." I highly recommend this little book (it’s not a lengthy tome!) because it's well worth reading before the Jubilee Year of Mercy has run its course on the Solemnity of Christ the King in November.


Dawn is a dear friend of mine and I've had the joy and privilege of collaborating with her on several occasions since we first met at a Theology of the Body conference in Dublin over 10 years ago.  And she has twice been a guest speaker for the annual Theology of the Body lecture I've hosted in Westminster diocese since 2004. 

Dawn is candid about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder she has suffered due to sexual abuse she suffered as a child.  This is not a new revelation as she disclosed it in her previous books.  What's unique about this analysis is how she weaves much of the thought and teachings of Pope Francis on the subject of mercy into how she herself has experienced the deep and mystical power of healing and reconciliation over a long period of her life.

I was reminded of how much healing I need in my own life and relationships, but also just how often God has blessed my soul with what one author I once read describes as "savage grace."  That almost sounds like an oxymoron for we often only associate the concept of grace with tenderness, gentleness and peace.

Grace is often all these things, but I think what Dawn’s book reveals in a fresh way is how such qualities of grace are in fact the fruits or end result of a process rather than the beginning. 

Oftentimes the Lord (being the all loving Father that He is) allows us to go through a painful process of inner purification and humbling experiences precisely because, if we didn't, the graces we so earnestly desire and need would not take root in us in such a way so that we in turn, by "Remembering God's Mercy" towards us, are better able to be eager channels of it for others, especially those who have hurt us in the past; which if were honest can often be close family members.

There's one final little twist in Dawn's story towards the end of the book which for me sums up how God's mercy really is working and at work in our lives at every stage ....often at the darkest of moments and when we might imagine we are as far away from God as we can possibly be, just as Dawn was at the age at which (without realising it) the Holy Spirit was gifting His presence to her through a piece of music.  Only much later in her life did she understand its powerful significance for the whole of her life.

I'm delighted that Dawn will now be teaching seminarians as a Doctor of Theology.  She is truly a great gift to the Church in these times.  Read the book. 

-Edmund Adamus

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Striving to Forgive Like St. Maria Goretti

Striving to Forgive Like St. Maria Goretti

Last week we celebrated the feast of St. Maria Goretti, the youngest canonized Saint in the Church. A modern saint who died on July 6th, 1902 at the age of 11. Most people who have heard of her know that she died from being stabbed 14 times by an older boy who wanted to rape her. 

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On Love in the Family

On Love in the Family

Amoris Laetitia, the much anticipated and eagerly awaited post-synodal apostolic exhortation, was finally promulgated on 19th March (appropriately the feast of St Joseph) and burst on to the global media stage at noon last Friday 8th April. 


You may recall, if you’ve been following this weekly blog, that back in the October of 2014 I said I was going to write a thought for the weekend from synod to synod, as it were, and take it from there. Given the increasing popularity and very encouraging feedback many of you kindly send back week after week, I decided to continue posting the ‘Friday Fast’ after the 2015 Synod to keep the momentum going on family catechesis and spirituality so as to anticipate and prepare for what the Holy Father would eventually say.  Amoris Laetitia – The Joy of Love doesn’t disappoint in terms of the sheer quantity of the content to plough through (and believe me at 265 pages and 320 individual paragraphs, it takes some plowing through as I recorded in another online piece here for the Catholic Truth Society)

I’ve not fully decided what to do yet in terms of utilizing the message of the Exhortation to furnish the blog each week with material, but rest assured if you haven’t time to read it, I will bring some nuggets from time to time which you might find helpful. I would certainly heartily recommend reading the section on the passage of St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians on the hymn to love. The Pope has written some beautiful insights in there. Go to chapter 4 and read paragraphs 71-89 this weekend if you can, and even throughout Easter, as it’s not just food for thought, but reflections for prayerful meditation both alone, with your spouse or in a group.

For now though I just like to leave you with this passage, especially as we continue to journey through the Year of Mercy, from paragraphs 321-322:
“To want to form a family is to resolve to be a part of God’s dream, to choose to dream with him, to want to build with him, to join him in this saga of building a world where no one will feel alone”.  All family life is a “shepherding” in mercy. Each of us, by our love and care, leaves a mark on the life of others; with Paul, we can say: “You are our letter of recommendation, written on your hearts… not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor 3:2-3).”

This is comforting message. That each of our households – our families is deeply cherished by God our Father - we are, and always have been, part of His limitless imagination, and in the ordinary things of every day there is often the single most extraordinary channel of grace in our lives; forming, molding, shaping, forging us to be holy – bit by bit...hopefully!

Edmund Adamus

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