Bookmark and Share

Become vulnerable like the Child Jesus

John Pridmore's Update - December 2011       ♦

You can subscribe to Totus2us' Journey to Freedom podcast / download the free mp3s here on itunes or here from Totus2us's web feed; plus, you can download individual mp3 recordings by right clicking where you see this diamond  Many thanks to Paul Jisung Kim for the gift of his music.

I hope you are well and at peace.

I have just returned to Ireland after a tour of England and Scotland running parish missions and speaking in schools across the country.

The last day of the tour I got up early in the morning and drove two hours to speak in a school at Barrow in Furness, Cumbria. After the talk was finished I then drove 4 hours up to Cairnryan to catch my ferry to Belfast and by this stage I was looking forward to getting home. But when the ferry got to Belfast and I was in my car ready to drive off, for some reason the ramp wouldn't open and I was stuck for two hours, I felt like Jonah in the belly of the whale. When I eventually got back to our house I must admit I was pretty tired and discouraged and moaning a bit to God. I went to check my emails and the first one I read was the following:

"Hello, I was at the school today when you did the talk. Before you came I was a strong athiest, I believed God did not choose me as one he will love. But today when you told us to say the prayer in the silence of our hearts, my heart felt warm and I had such a strong feeling inside me that Jesus was very close to me. I now believe there is someone looking down on me and protecting me. I want a crucifix like the one you had today to show God suffered out of love for us."

I can honestly say I was blown away by God's goodness at that moment, the way he shows us his grace when we least expect it and when we don't deserve it.

Next week I will be meeting a woman called Betty Brennan, a few years ago I heard her testimony and it made a deep impact on my life. The thing that hit me was when she said before she did a talk she was always very honest with God, and she would give him her desire to be loved and accepted by the people she was speaking to, also her pride and ego and all the secret emotions that we all have. In other words being open and vulnerable before God and not pretending that these things are not in us. Since then I have always tried to do the same. I had a spiritual director called Fr Denis Herlihy and he said that all spiritual growth depends on honesty with ourselves and honesty with God.

One time I was asked to come and help run a youth retreat and the organiser of the retreat kept telling me that he loved what I had done and was going to get me to speak in many different places where he had connections. As the week of the retreat went by I noticed that it could have been run in a way which the kids would have a much greater chance of a personal encounter with God. I had a dilemma, should I say something or keep quiet? I went into the chapel and began to speak to God about it, the more I prayed the more I felt I should say something, then I said to God, what if I say something and because of that I won't be asked to do all these other talks? I felt God responded, Who do you serve? Who do you think arranges your schedule, him or me?

I knew what I had to do, I spoke to the man about the changes that I felt would help and there really was great grace because of them, but sure enough there was no contact from him from that time onwards about the talks he had promised. But just a few weeks later my phone rang and I was invited to come and speak at the World Youth Day in Sydney to nearly half a million young people in one talk. I knew that only God could have arranged it, and he was showing me that when I serve him he will take care of everything else.

Shortly before that talk took place, I was in a gathering of youth leaders and we were singing praise to God, around that time I had been doing a lot of media work with TV and radio and there was a loads of hype connected with World Youth Day. But during this time of prayer I felt like a little child kneeling before the throne of God, naked with nothing between me and that gaze of the Lord, he could see straight past all the outward things and I felt him say "It is you that I love!" All I could do was thank him that he would give someone like me the privilege of speaking on his behalf.

As we approach Christmas and the birth of Jesus, who humbled himself to come to us as a helpless child and entrusted himself into the safe arms of Our Lady, I am reminded that every time I feel down or crushed by the difficulties and pressures of life, I can go to Our Lady and ask her to hold me in her arms and it is there we can always find the peace and strength that we all need.

You and all your loved ones are in my heart and prayers this Christmas.

God bless you in his deep love
John Pridmore