Previous thoughts for the week

Volunteering Week: 1-7 June

A Pentecost Thought or Prayer:
"Come, Holy Spirit"
by Sister Joan Chittister

May the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
bring fire to the earth
so that the presence of God
may be seen
in a new light,
in new places,
in new ways.

May our own hearts
burst into flame
so that no obstacle,
no matter how great,
ever obstructs the message
of the God within each of us.

May we come to trust
the Word of God in our heart,
to speak it with courage,
to follow it faithfully
and to fan it to flame in others.

May the Jesus
who filled women
with his Holy Spirit
fill the world and the church
with new respect
for women’s power and presence.

Give us, Great God,
a sense of the Breath of Spirit
within us as we remember

 to pray for the future of Mildmay

at this time

I Believe I Can Fly

R Kelly

I used to think that I could not go on
And life was nothing but an awful song
But now I know the meaning of true love
I'm leaning on the everlasting arms
If I can see it, then I can do it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly (woo)
See I was on the verge of breaking down
Sometimes silence can seem so loud
There are miracles in life I must achieve
But first I know it starts inside of me, ho-oh
If I can see it (woo), then I can be it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
Oh, I believe I can fly (woo)
Hey, 'cause I believe in me
If I can see it (woo), then I can do it (I can do it)
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it (hey!)
I believe I can fly (woo!)
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly (I can fly)
I believe I can fly (I can fly)
I believe I can fly (I can fly)
Hey, if I just spread my wings (I can fly)
I can fly (I can fly)
I can fly (I can fly)
I can fly, hey (I can fly)
If I just spread my wings (I can fly)
I can fly (I can fly, I can fly)
(Woo!) (I can fly)

Amanda Gorman: first Poet to grace Vogue Cover after reading her inspiring poem at US President Joe Biden’s Inauguration cover.

Her poem is so apt for us to ponder on at this time.

When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry. A sea we must wade.
We braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one.
And, yes, we are far from polished, far from pristine, but that doesn’t mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose.
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze, not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true.
That even as we grieved, we grew.
That even as we hurt, we hoped.
That even as we tired, we tried.
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat, but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time, then victory won’t lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we’ve made.
That is the promise to glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit.
It’s the past we step into and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation, rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith we trust, for while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption.
We feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour.
But within it we found the power to author a new chapter, to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So, while once we asked, how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe, now we assert, how could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised but whole, benevolent but bold, fierce and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation, become the future.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain.
If we merge mercy with might, and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest, we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the golden hills of the West.
We will rise from the windswept Northeast where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the Midwestern states.
We will rise from the sun-baked South.
We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and every corner called our country, our people diverse and beautiful, will emerge battered and beautiful.
When day comes, we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid.
The new dawn balloons as we free it.
For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.


Thirty Silver Coins
So what is one man’s life, Oh Lord,
But thirty simple silver coins:
An honest shepherd’s promised wage,
To one who cannot see the worth,
Incomp’rable, of one who’s shared
His cup and dish? Is money all
That friend can see? Who deems, we find,
A friendship poor commodity?
What price to buy a potter’s field,
Who works the clay just as he wills
To form an earthen vessel meant
To hold its chrism and to crack
And bless the dusty feet of God?
What price for foreign souls to find
A place of rest in Israel But thirty simple silver coins

Author: Capuchin Friar David Hirt professed Perpetual Vows last July and is now a Spiritual Director and supervisor, as well as interim Campus Minister, at St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mt. Calvary, WI.

He obtained a Masters of Divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Before joining the Capuchins, David completed a Masters of Fine Arts in Scenic Design at Wayne State University in Detroit.

He is a published poet and an amateur artist.

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair

but manifestations of strengths and resolutions"

Kahlil Gibran

22 March 2021

A moment of reflection

Rejoicing does not mean we have forgotten, far from it! This weekend last year was the time of the Cheltenham Races and other weekend sporting events which resulted in a massive spread of the virus which was already among us. All too soon the first lockdown occurred. Let us not forget to pray for those sadly affected by this illness or by the tragic loss of family and friends. May they receive a ‘word of encouragement’ from us, a word of sympathy and perhaps an ‘arrow’ prayer, as we go about our daily lives.

15 March 2021

On 8 March,  International Women's Day:

"We cannot doubt that the woman Doc of the future will give to the scientific world gifts of value we cannot yet measure, a service to humanity illimitable in its fearlessness and devotion."

 - Louisa Martindale
(1839 - 1914)

Dr Louisa Martindale, a pioneering surgeon, an ardent suffragist and one of the most influential figures in Brighton in the early 20th century.

Martindale specialised in the use of X-rays to cure cancer. She installed an X-ray at the New Sussex Hospital and set about treating certain cases of fibroids and breast cancer. Her pioneering work led to her association with the World Medical Association and the Medical Women’s International Federation, travelling and lecturing on the treatment of cancer with radiation.

Martindale also served as as magistrate on the Brighton bench, was a prison commissioner and a member of the National Council of Women. She promoted medicine as a career for women in her writing.

8 March 2021

“Faith is God’s work within us.”

- Thomas Aquinas

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

- Martin Luther King, Jr

1 March 2021

Waiting for the Dawn

It's almost a year
since life changed,
without warning
And still we look to the horizon,
not knowing for how much longer.

So much we can't predict.
So much we can't control,
So much we can't plan.

Anxiety has not left our side,
But keep us company
Day in day out.
We are tired
So tired
All might long we have fished and have caught nothing.

Carry us beyond this dark night
of grief and unknowing.
As dawn breaks,
May we stand astonished
At the beauty of the rising sun,

Ask us to cast our nets deeper
On the other side of the boat.
To fish in new ways and new places
That our nets may be filled beyond imagining.

And when we recognise You
Waiting longingly for us,
On the shore
Feed us,
As you fed your disciples.
With the nourishing food
Of new hope

22 February 2021

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2020, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Senior Imam Qari Asim came together and wrote a special prayer which is intended to be used by people of any faith at their HMD activity.

Loving God, we come to you with heavy hearts, remembering the six million Jewish souls murdered during the Holocaust.

In the horrors of that history, when so many groups were targeted because of their identity, and in genocides which followed, we recognise destructive prejudices that drive people apart.

Forgive us when we give space to fear, negativity and hatred of others, simply because they are different from us.

In the light of God, we see everyone as equally precious manifestations of the Divine, and can know the courage to face the darkness.

Through our prayers and actions, help us to stand together with those who are suffering, so that light may banish all darkness, love will prevail over hate and good will triumph over evil.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

An ecumenical Christian observance in the Christian Calendar that is celebrated internationally. It is kept annually between Ascension Day and Pentecost in the Southern Hemisphere and between 18 January and 25 January in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is an octave, that is, an observance lasting eight days. The theme for this year, 2021, was prepared by the Monastic Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland. They chose a theme based on John 15:1-17: Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit.

Please pray for Mildmay where we care for persons of all faiths and none, treating all as suggested in our mission statement which is also based on John’s gospel, ’that they may have life and have it in all its fullness”.

You may be interested to know that each year we have always marked this Week of Prayer in our chapel at Mildmay. However, as you know, we are restricted by Covid regulations during this third lockdown.

We pray during this Octave of Unity that Mildmay will continue to be of service to our HIV, Homeless and Covid clients.

A Prayer:

Restoring and healing God,

thank you for medical workers everywhere,

embodying sacrificial love in these challenging times

putting the welfare of others before their own

staying away from their family and loved ones

comforting the concerned and bereaved

reassuring the anxious and vulnerable

working to heal and restore people who are ill.

Be their guide, strength, wisdom and hope.

A Christmas Prayer

May starlight guide your steps towards the place of wonder.

May angels sing their news as you walk towards the manger.

May promise fill these days as we watch at the edge of birth.

May faith tell you Emmanuel will be with us soon, in human skin.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Bringing Christmas in...

I began to look for real signs of Christmas on the High Street,
while waiting during Advent for Christmas to come.

I looked for a long time in vain, or so I thought!
Then at last I saw a sign.
It was hanging over a pub in Old Ford, in the East End.
Life there is not as dramatic as in the Old Vic in Eastenders but it is just as challenging.

The pub signs heralds the coming of Christ.
The hand on it belongs to the angel Gabriel who in sacred art is depicted as announcing to Mary that she is chosen.

The lily handed to Mary also symbolises her role as the Mother of Christ.

And so, let us remember that God and humanity is found in the market place
and in the stillness of our hearts as we watch and wait.

(Christmas 2020)

There is a piece of light in all of us:

There is a piece of light in all of us, maybe hidden or buried with pain,
perhaps pushed in the corner by others.
It is even there in the arrogant, the spiteful, the mean, those who insult others, those who denigrate humanity, those who are unwilling to forgive.

One single candle lights a little dark space, two even more so and three!

Many candles light a world full of people desperately in need of each other’s glow. Each lone light makes us stronger when we all stand together.

Seen or unseen, the light is there, ready to kindle, eager to expand,
refusing to be tightly contained. When the tiniest space, the tiniest crack appears, it quickly emerges, floods outward, illuminating the darkest of places.

A prayer, a wish, a hope for the Second Week of Advent:

It gets darker much earlier. I don’t like this deep, foreboding darkness.
The Light is coming.
I keep looking down, trying not to stumble and fall
The Light is coming.

I don’t know what to expect.

I am pressured on all sides to be here or there and to do this or that. I have no time, no peace, no hope.
The Light is coming. Look up! Do not be afraid.

But if I look up, I might stumble.

I don’t know what’s ahead for me.
The Light is coming. Do not be afraid.

Where is the light?

It is here, in our path, our hearts and in our souls.
Let me see and feel the presence of that light.
Trust in the Light. Wait, watch, it is here.

A prayer for Advent and World AIDS Day:

God of Hope,

All of us who are affected by HIV/AIDS ask for a new heart.

As we begin the new Season of Advent this Sunday,

We give thanks for signs of hope,

For growing understanding

For medical advances
For changing attitudes and behavior

For greater awareness and concern.
God of Unity, bind us together with strong ties of love
 that Mildmay UK may be a place where
 all can find acceptance.

May it be a place of welcome for all affected by HIV/AIDS.

May it be a place where care is given and received,

Where stories are told and heard,

Where fear is overcome by love,

Where all give and receive love and respect.


“To all men and women of good will, we say: let us become creative artisans of peace, let us build social friendship, let us make our own the culture of dialogue.

Honest, persistent and courageous dialogue is the antidote to distrust, division and violence. Dialogue dismantles at the outset the arguments for wars that destroy the fraternity to which our human family is called.

No one can feel exempted from this. All of us have a shared responsibility. All of us need to forgive and to be forgiven. The injustices of the world and of history are not healed by hatred and revenge, but by dialogue and forgiveness.

May we be inspired to commit ourselves to these ideals and to the journey we would be making together as heralds of peace.”

—Pope Francis

The Serenity Prayer

"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

—Reinhold Niebuhr

"Hope regards problems, small and large, as opportunities”

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