18 September 2020

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”. (James 4:10)

In a recent newsletter, the Carmelite Provincial, Fr Kevin Alban advised on how we are trying to avoid alienating those ‘friends of Saint Jude’ who do not have computers as we move many of our services and prayer online out of necessity. Therefore, in this Pandemic, we find ourselves with a new divide. 

At the Shrine of Saint Jude, we have thus continued to produce our printed newsletter (thank you Print Impressions) and the normal novenas and shared masses associated with it. We have also re-directed the Shrine Office phone to me so I can continue to answer queries at home. In addition, we published many of the online reflections in our new book ‘God in the Time of Covid-19’. 

Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to open the Shrine of Saint Jude to visitors. This is mainly due to its size – it’s too small for people to keep safe or distant. Again, those who can access our website and social media will know that it is still possible to pray at the Shrine of Saint Jude online via our webcam, and many pilgrims light 'virtual' candles to Saint Jude  – which the friars will light for them physically in Faversham. Indeed, the Carmelite friar communities across Britain pray for the friends of Saint Jude daily.

“When I pray, I don’t always get what I want, but I get what I need. In vocal prayer we go to God on foot. In meditation we go to God on horseback. In contemplation we go to God in a jet.” (Venerable Fulton Sheen)

In one of his reflections, Fr Kevin wrote: “We do not need to tell God what the world is going through nor what is happening in our lives – He knows already! Yet there is a great value in ‘telling the story’ to get it off our chest. When we then reflect on how we feel after telling God our woes, it may be that something has changed within us....all are ‘answers’ to prayer but maybe not the ones we were expecting”

How true that is. A friend of mine once said that even if you run out of time to pray just say a quick one: ‘Thank you God for this day, I will try and make it an even better one tomorrow’. Just a little chat to God daily is a good thing for us all. In addition, wherever we are, we remain together in prayer.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him”. (John 5:14-15)

We cannot hold the Feast of Saint Jude this year. Our Shrine is too small and it would not be safe (full statement, here). This is a great sadness for us all. However, if we pray together then we will be together anyway. As the old saying goes: ‘those that pray together, stay together’.

It has been good to know that many of Saint Jude’s friends have been praying with us at 2pm every Friday together. Let us continue praying together, wherever you are in the run up to the Feast of Saint Jude for the next five Fridays..

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it”. (1 Corinthians 12:26-27)

Saint Jude, pray for us. 

Let us pray...

Lord Jesus Christ, when I am uncertain about what I should do, guide me along your path. You keep my path straight. When I don’t know which way to turn, teach me your paths. Help me to be attentive to your voice as you guide me through life. Your word is a lamp for my feet. You are my Saviour, you have rescued me from sin and I ask that you would protect me from making sinful choices. Shine the light of your love into my confusion. Bring clarity to my mind. Through your mighty name, Amen.

Mr Matthew Betts