Since 30th November 2014, the first Sunday of Advent, the Catholic Church has been given the task, through the consecrated men and women to “Wake up the World”. This is the invitation that Pope Francis made as he proclaimed the Year for and of Consecrated Life. “I am counting on you “to wake up the world”, since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy.”

It is an invitation for all the local people of Leyland also to Wake Up to the privilege we share in knowing God, living in the warmth of his love, and sharing that love with us.

This is a prayer for the Wake up Call to the World for all in Consecrated Life

Star of the new evangelisation,
help us to bear radiant
witness to communion,
service, ardent and generous faith,
justice and love of the poor,
that the joy of the Gospel
may reach to the ends of the earth,
illuminating even the fringes of the world.
Mother of the living Gospel,
wellspring of happiness for God’s little ones,
Pray for us.
Amen. Alleluia!

During his pastoral visit to Assisi, Pope Francis was asked what the Church must strip away. And he replied: “Strip away every action that is not for God, is not of God; strip away the fear of opening the doors and going out to encounter all, especially the poorest of the poor, the needy, the remote, without waiting. Certainly not to get lost in the shipwreck of the world, but to bear with courage the light of Christ, the light of the Gospel, even in the darkness, where one can’t see, where one might stumble. Strip away the seeming assurance structures give, which, though certainly necessary and important, should never obscure the one true strength it carries within: God. He is our strength!”

This seems like an invitation for us “not to be afraid of the Holy Spirit working within us” to be “new” in some way; to make it more personal, not to be afraid of changing for the better under God’s Love the way I live and the things I do.

People in the Church are free. The people who believe are sustained by the Holy Spirit. It is this that Jesus teaches us in the Gospel. His disciples have the freedom they need always to find the newness of the joy of the Gospel in their lives and in what they regularly do.

I have the freedom to choose anew how I should live my life, what I should make priorities.

We are invited to be brave men and women, as if on a new frontier: Ours is not a faith that belongs to books and ideas or vague feelings. It is a faith which involves journey, a faith that finds its meaning in what actually happens in life. God has revealed himself through the events of life, He was born, He did live, He did die and He did rise again. We do not believe something that does not affect us, like things that politicians, teachers, neighbours, TV presenters, those who talk to us on the internet, or even priests and nuns say.

I am not sure where the journey will lead me exactly, but I can make sense of the good and difficult events of life, the people who I live with, if I like them or not, or find them supportive or not, and I can be brave.

This is what Wake Up means in a more personal way for anyone who may read this local news.

In our own Diocese we hope to share with the other Religious, men and women who are celebrating this year for Consecrated Life. There have already been celebrations with Archbishop Malcolm on the feast of Christ the King in the Cathedral in Liverpool. There are more celebrations that you will see in the bulletin. When Religious who are interested, keen, lively and friendly come together there is always a special joy, a sense of something new and you can share in it.

We also hope to encourage any interested to learn about our own Benedictine Religious Life with an invitation to see what it all means for us as monks in Leyland. That will happen later on in the year. Who knows if through this year

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