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Mission Jesus

Talks given by Jesuit priest John Edwards SJ on mission in parishes, bearing witness to the great goodness and love of God made manifest in His Beloved Son Jesus Christ, and revealing the treasures of the Church.

Music by Crossbeam: 'Yours God'.

This podcast is in thanksgiving for the life and priesthood of Father John, who went to the House of his Father on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe 2012. He gave Ruth these talks back in 2011, but with always more to do than can be got done, it has taken Father John's funeral for this to get to the front of the list of 'to dos'!

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Our Lady and her apparitions
in Lourdes, Fatima & Medjugorje    

Fr John Edwards SJ: "I don’t know what more God could do to point to the message of Lourdes and Fatima. The message of Medjugorje? The same - prayer and penance, and the prayer Our Lady mentions is the rosary.  Why? Because with these things - prayer, penance, fasting - she says then we'll be converted, turned around, twisted, linked to her Son. And if we can do that, then peace. Our Lady is not just talking about international peace (she says the world is on the brink of disaster, well, we know that) but she's talking about peace where it's got to begin, in your heart, in my heart. I think heaven is shouting to us. I think heaven for 150 years through the Mother of God, who brought Jesus to us, is giving us in the technical sense a prophecy. "

Length of talk: 12 mins - given in 1987

The Rosary      

Fr John Edwards SJ: "The prayer is happening at a fifth level, at the contemplation level. Sounds great. Contemplation, what is that? It sounds very mystical. Contemplation is hanging on to God with the will, not with the feelings (God help us, no), not with the imagination, not even with the thinking, but with the wanting, with the willing, with the faith. The contact with God is in faith. It's what you know, not what you feel, and what you do about what you know, that links you to God. And it's at that level that prayer is happening. And the rosary is a very sophisticated device for contemplating with."

Length of talk: 3 mins (talk given in '80s ie before JPII introduced Luminous Mysteries)

Devotion to Our Lady    

Fr John Edwards SJ: "One word about devotion to Our Lady … You can hear people say 'Perhaps we overdo in the Catholic Church attention to the Mother of Jesus.' Well, I don't think we do. Two good reasons. The first one is this: if you want to please somebody, if you really want to give somebody joy, the thing to do is to praise someone whom they love very much.  ..  To praise the handiwork is to praise the author of it. Now to praise Mary is to praise God because God invented Mary. Just like to praise the Choral Symphony is to praise Beethoven - he invented it! "

Length of talk: 2½ mins

Difficulties with the Mass     

Fr John Edwards SJ: "These are the difficulties that one can usually hear: I get bored with Mass. I don't get anything out of coming to Mass. I can't pray in Church, could pray much better somewhere else. My friends don't go to Church; and, I don't see why there should be an obligation - if I want to go to Church I will, if I don't I won't, and nobody has the right to dictate to me how I relate to God, it's between me and God. Those are something of the difficulties that our youngsters face. And what is the answer? And the answer, I think, depends on how you see the Mass."

Length of talk: 12 mins

An overview of the Mass
The celebration of the Eucharist      

Fr John Edwards SJ: "It’s good to think of the Mass as being in 4 movements: a movement first up to God, as it were, where we talk to God. .. then, the second movement, God talks to us. On a Sunday there are 4 readings and it is of course through the Bible that God does principally, really, talk to us. .. The next part of the Mass mirrors the first part, a movement up to God, where we give to God, then a movement down, God gives to us. So the whole Mass you could say is shaped like a capital M, movement up to God, movement down, movement up to God again, movement down."

Length of talk: 12 mins

Forgiveness of Sin      
The Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation

Fr John Edwards SJ: "How often should I go to confession? Well the Church’s law is pretty minimal, it’s this: look, if you’ve got serious sin on your soul, mortal sin, and you can’t bring yourself to repent of it and bring yourself to the Sacrament once a year, round about Easter time, 40 days before or after, man, you've committed another thumping great sin. .. Well that's the law, pretty minimal one. What's the best advice? Well, to whom do you look for for advice? I look to the teaching authority of the Church and the centre, the popes. Now Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II are all speaking on these lines. JPII, every time he opens his mouth about confession and he does it frequently, he's always quoting these words of Pius XII, which he said in 1943, "It is not without the inspiration of Holy Spirit that the practice of frequent confession was introduced into the Church.' The popes say that God encourages, wants, would reward frequent confession. Now, how frequent is frequent? .. Monthly confession is the best advice going. It's not a sin if you don't but it is the best advice. Not just for this complete forgiveness of sin, which is beautiful enough, but if one wants cure of ones spiritual weaknesses, could there be a better way of praying? There are you, there is the priest, Christ is between you, you at the centre of a Sacrament at the heart of the Church with your arms around Jesus Christ, you blame yourself for these things. Is there any more powerful way of asking for the freedom that you want. If you and I want cure, that’s the way to get it."

Length of talk: 24 mins

A General Examination of Conscience      

Fr John Edwards SJ: "The way I’ll do this examination of conscience is to take the two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, whole heart, whole soul and your neighbour as yourself. And then I’ll put in a third heading: things to do with life. So it’ll be things against God, things against other people and then things against life. Those are the 3 headings that when Pope John Paul II came to the British Isles, the Scottish bishops suggested would be a good framework for examination of conscience for people going to confession."

Length of talk: 9 mins

The Roots of Sin      

Fr John Edwards SJ: "By roots of sin I mean the deep down stuff from which bubble up the hopefully small sins that you and I confess in the confessional. They're like pimples on the face, small things, not very important you might say, but a pimple is there because of a poison in the blood and the roots of sin are those deep down poisons, things which could under other circumstances be lethal, could enable us to crucify Christ and to damn ourselves. Now the first of these roots is fundamental to all sin, whether it is a big sin or a small sin. And notice this, a sin is serious not because it feels serious (feelings can be a very bad guide), a sin is serious if it is serious."

The roots of sin: (i) Self-Will / Pride (ii) Moral Cowardice (iii) Blindness (iv) Not trusting God.

Length of talk: 24 mins