On a liturgical note: Count your blessings

By Canon Philip Gillespie

If all goes well, and the weather plays ball, August should be a slightly more relaxed and temperate month – but there are a lot of ifs in that sentence! We never know exactly what is around the corner, either as regards the weather or, more importantly, the calls that will be made on us as part of that daily fidelity to the Gospel which we call 'just getting on with things'.

As we have often said, the fact that we call this the 'Ordinary Time' of the year does not mean that there is nothing of interest or of particular note going on; the Lord nourishes his people with Word and Sacrament and this in itself is pretty extraordinary and worthy of daily thanksgiving.

This year August will be a month of musings. Do I need to pack this for the journey? Is it about time to lay this particular object, book, or even videotape or cassette (!) to one side? Will I ever use that again? It is only when you come to move from one parish to another – or, in my case, from one parish to a seminary in another country – that you realise how, without ever intending it, you have ended up surrounded by so many objects, many of which carry precious memories.

However, the one memory which it is vital that we carry with us on all our journeying, wherever it may lead us, is the memory laid before us each day in the celebration of the Liturgy – the memory of an event and a self-giving love so present to us today that it shapes and moulds and transforms our daily living; the command of the Lord Jesus to 'do this in memory of me'.

My dad had a record of Josef Locke singing 'Count your blessings' and I can almost hear it playing in the background as I make the separate piles of 'Needed', 'Share with others' and 'Not sure yet'. I trust the Good Lord that I will make the right choices for what goes into which pile!

Canon Philip will be taking up a new appointment as Rector of the Pontifical Beda College in Rome in September.