Gratitude journal
Three good things

Aug 6, 2023 | Gratitude

Spa Church

Sue Binks invited me to speak about Lourdes at her Spa Service today. This was both a privilege and a challenge, a privilege because I had the opportunity as a lay-person to address a congregation in church and also because it gave me an opportunity to talk about Lourdes to a congregation mainly in the dark. It was, however, a challenge because it is always so difficult to talk about Lourdes.

The Spa Church offers a Liturgy to nourish body, mind and spirit, leaving us feeling refreshed, replenished and spiritually healthier. It consists of six parts:

  1. Prepare and be calm – the candles around the Church remind us that Christ is our light, and our desire to be enlightened during this service.
  2. Cleanse and tone – we remove the debris from our lives and confess our ungodliness
  3. Mask – we allow Scripture reading to rest upon us and let the words be absorbed.
  4. Moisture – let the reflection enhance the words of scripture and enlighten our minds
  5. Massage – connect with God through prayer
  6. and finally peace ….

My role was to talk about Lourdes during the Moisture phase, an opportunity to highlight the connections between the Spa Church and a Lourdes pilgrimage – healing and pilgrimage.

I decided to base my talk on three stories about my Lourdes experiences:

  1. The story of the young boy waiting to board a train at Lourdes station
  2. The journey to Cite St Pierre and the Mass of the Anointing of the Sick
  3. The day spent working in the baths

I felt that this would enable me to highlight commonalities such as pilgrimage, service, compassion, prayer, peace, healing, friendship and faith as well as the icons of Lourdes – candles, water and rock.

I interspersed my stories with brief descriptions of the sanctuary, quoting Marina Warner’s description of Lourdes as “the most phenomenal sacred site of modern Christendom” and my own involvement, finishing with a reflection on Our Lady, using the Hail Mary to highlight her evolving roles as

  • Mother (the virgin birth, a mother’s worry as Jesus is missing and found at the Temple, a mother letting go of (or berating) her son at Cana and the passion on the cross
  • Intercessor for sinners, the poor and the sick (noting the absence of “Madonna and child” statues at Lourdes and Mary’s instruction to Bernadette to “pray for sinners”)
  • Queen of Peace (the Pussy Riot story and Our Lady’s evolving role as a counter-cultural peace symbol)

I hope those who came to the service were inspired and able to take something away from my talk.

A Gratitude Journal is just a simple way of
recording and appreciating the good things in life.

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal leads to
higher levels of alertness, happiness and positive emotions as well as
a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure and better sleep.

See more entries at https://wordsnotdeeds.co.uk/category/personal/gratitude/

What do you think?

Your views are important, and your fellow readers would love to hear your opinion,
so share your thoughts in the comments box below, and thank you for your time and generosity.

What do you think?

Your views are important, and your fellow readers would love to hear your opinion, so share your thoughts in the comments box below, and thank you for your time and generosity.

0 Comments

Leave your comment here