I Can’t, I’m Just…

We all have those kind of moments which are sometimes overwhelming. By this I mean, perhaps we are asked to do something and the very thought of the task daunts us. That is common in a lot of people; very few can easily go into a hard task and not be daunted by it, especially if it is their first time.

I was walking about a shop and I had my own shopping trolley with me at the time. Around the corner a mother and son come with their trolley. It wasn’t exactly a full trolley but one could say there were enough items in there to make it somewhat difficult to push. The son was doing the pushing whilst the mother picked up some items. The mother then ushered her son along. He tried, failed, tried again and failed again. From my position at the other end of the aisle, I heard a loud cry and exclamation.

I can’t do this; I’m just a kid.

This, I originally ducked into another aisle to laugh at, I won’t lie there. However, on reflection, I saw a great wonder and meaning behind those words. How often do we say: I cannot do this because … ?

Very recently, I accompanied Clifton Diocese with the Living Your Faith Summer Camps on a five day long camp. During this week, we did lots of different activities, such as biking, raft building and caving. I want to share an experience that occurred during the caving. We all had these helmets with torches on them (I am 100% sure there is a real name for that but I definitely do not know it). Half way through the caves we were asked to take a plunge into the darkness. I mean that most literally, we were asked to turn our lights off. There was quite a lot of hesitation. Eventually they all did it and we could not see a thing, we had to listen to the voice of the instructor. But many of the youth originally were saying that they did not think they could do it.

Another occurrence was when we were just coming out of the caves, there was a rather long and very thin part to get through. I had the pleasure of going first, but the honour of seeing what happened next. I sat on top of the final rock which was quite the way up, to help anyone if needed. I encouraged some of the youth through and then they took over. As soon as one said they couldn’t go any further, a chorus of encouragement came from those waiting. It was beautiful to see.

How often do we go, I can’t do this; I’m just a teenager. I’m small, I’m one person, I can’t possibly make a difference. I only have these qualifications, this training. There are so many better people than I am who can do this. I cannot do this; I don’t have the experience.

Step out in faith. God would not call us into action if we were not ready, if he had not equipped us. It is better to try and to know where to improve next time, than to think that we ourselves are not good enough because of doubt. The very mission of the Church is no easy one. We are called, through our Baptism, to be ‘Priest, Prophet, and King’. To ‘Go out to all nations’ and spread the Good News of the Gospel. To live a Christ-Like life. This is no easy task. We can often think ‘I can’t, I’m just’. Let us have faith and know that God has equipped us for the life He has called us to live.

Lord our Father, I pray that, by the power of your body and blood, you wash away the doubt within us and allow us to see the beauty and the wonder that you see in us daily. Give us the courage to step out in faith and draw ever closer to you.


Making Room

We all have those days where we have a million and one things to get done and the list seems to be ever growing and never stopping. As soon as one thing is completed, another thing gets added to the list. In those days, it is hard to find time to do things for ourselves let alone to truly stop and reflect. To stop and give time to God and to pray. 

This past month has been a crazily insane and busy time for me. It has seen me in four different cities across the UK and I often wonder how much time I gave to God throughout that, in all honesty. I went to Yorkshire to see a friend. I completed a week in County Durham, working at the Youth Ministry Team’s Primary Festivals which was an honour and a true blessing to work with this team. I also went to London to do music with CAFOD at the Mass Lobby in Parliament. Again a complete and utter blessing to be a part of. Unfortunately the week after this, I became massively ill and had to recover. Finally, just recently, in my own parish, we held a youth retreat and ended with a youth mass. 

So as you can see, it has been a very busy time. A challenging and conflicting thought crossed my mind throughout all of this. That whilst we can be doing God’s work, proclaiming the Gospel and the message of God’s love, how much time do we actually give to God throughout all of this? I can categorically say, I believe I did give a fair amount of time in reflection and in prayer. Apart from when I was ill because then the only thought on my mind was … well, illness. 

How much time do we give in a day to what is important? Do we stop to spend time with our family, if we live with them? Or give the friend we have not messaged in ages a chance for a catch up? Do we tell our partners that they are appreciated and loved? I have a system when I am walking to work early in the morning (it’s great during the summer months because walking in for 5am, the sun is up already) whereby I’ll say my morning prayers to God. However, I lack in this when I am not working. 

So my challenge to you from hence-forth. Make time for what is important! Even in the busiest of times, a quick minute to show appreciation is something we don’t often think to do. So whoever you show appreciation to: your family, friends, partner and/or, God. Let us be brave to give our time wisely and to step out in faith. 

Loving and good Father, I pray that, no matter how busy we get, we can always make time for you and for the people that you have blessed us with in our lives.

God Is Present

The Cross Carries.

God is ever present in the people and the world around us and yet a lot of the time we fail to spot His presence. When all is well we are very quick to thank God and praise his name. The question I ask is this – How many of us are able to praise God when things do not go the way we planned when the world seems to be plotting against us … or when we face a bereavement? It’s a hard thing to do sometimes. Our human nature is to doubt and to question. Even Jesus’ twelve closest friends, otherwise known as the disciples, doubted and questioned.

God has worked wonders in all of our lives, this is plain to see. What is also clear to see is that we often walk by the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Unless they are what one would call a ‘Wow’ moment, we tend to not notice. Again, this is another natural human element. We become immune and monetised. We wait for the out of the ordinary, that we do not see the wonders in the ‘ordinary’.

I work in a local supermarket and there are many joys and challenges in the work that I do. I have a great team around me who constantly strive to do the best they can. I have fabulous management who do everything in their power to make me feel at home and enjoy working there. It is a true blessing to have been gifted this role. Sure, I may not feel this way every day when I am ill or disheartened, but there is that constant reminder that God is working in the people around me.

A few days ago, we had a particularly large amount of work to do and could not call for extra support. It meant that we had to pull our socks up and try extra hard to complete the task given. It seemed impossible. We were each given a specific target by our leader that day. Now I admit, it was a day where I was not feeling my best and when I heard of the large target that I was set to complete, I was not best pleased. I felt completely discouraged. I was battling an illness that day and was finding it hard enough as it was without another task to worry of.

However, God equips us. I prayed to the Holy Spirit to come to me and fill me with all that I would need to do the task set. I suddenly felt encouraged, lively, and very much filled with a joyous determination to get the task done. The target which I first thought to be a curse, was actually a blessing in disguise. It perked me up and set me up for the busy day I had ahead with my parish and family.

My challenge, to myself and to all, is as follows. To see where God is in our lives, not just in the extraordinary, but in the ordinary also.

God, our Father, I ask that you constantly keep us awake and open to see you in everything we do, everything we see and everything that is around us.