Father Iain's Man for Others is fellow discalced Carmelite, Father Ronan:
"He was very focused on Christ; that union with Christ is all that mattered, or anything that matters flows from that, or leads to that."
Fr Iain Matthew has been based at the Kensington Carmelite Priory in London, serving as Catholic chaplain at UCL. He is moving to Rome in September 2013 to take up a teaching post. He is author of The Impact of God, a WONDERFUL spiritual read with soundings from St John of the Cross (it has 23 reviews on US Amazon, with 5 star rating).
"There is a truth, I believe, in saying that the secret of Peter, Andrew, James and John was that they trusted the one who called them. It wasn't that they believed that they had all the answers themselves; no, because later in their following of Jesus, they would make mistakes, Peter would betray Him, and yet what carried them through to the end was that ability to trust. If we are to make commitment, if we are not to be mere historians of what might have been in our own lives, there does come a point when we hear the invitation 'Follow me' and we dare to trust the One who issues the invitation. In the words of good Pope John Paul II, 'Let us arise. Let us move forward in hope.'"
Father Ian Kelly is Catholic chaplain to the universities in Manchester.
"When the Catholic Church canonises somebody they're talking about heroic virtue, heroic sanctity, that a person was heroic, they're not talking about somebody being faultless. I think sometimes people used to say 'O well, Newman had this fault and that fault, so he couldn't be a saint.' That's actually not relevant because no-one is perfect and indeed all the saints have faults. What the Church is looking for is a heroic quality, it's not looking for impeccability, it's looking for heroism and Newman heroically followed the kindly light of truth through his life."
Father Ian Ker is a member of the Theology Faculty at Oxford University and author of numerous books on Newman,
"Getting to know Our Lady has enabled me to get to know her Son better, and deepened my faith enormously and changed my life."
"For me Mary, Our Lady, is a mother and like someone that you can turn to and she's gentle, she's loving, she's kind. And, yeh, she's my mother and someone I can turn to when I'm in an hour of need."
"To me Mary means love, especially love in my own heart and she gives me strength to love other people."
"Coming to know Mary in my life has been a grace… Mary is someone who I'm able to go to and just receive that understanding of where my life should be heading - directly to Jesus."
"If you've never been to World Youth Day before, I'd really recommend it, it's a fantastic experience. It's really an opportunity to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ, and to meet other young Catholics and really firm yourself up in the faith and learn more about the Catholic faith."
"I came to know Our Lady more deeply through Youth 2000, at the age of 30, where I increased my devotion to her through praying the rosary. She has drawn me closer to the Lord and shown me how necessary it is for me to go to Mass each day and to be drawn ever closer to God. So I would just like to thank Our Lady for her loving plan in my life, and for the many graces that she has bestowed on me from Our Lord. Amen."
"Mary is like a mother to me because she is the mother of Jesus who we all look up to and I feel I can be honest with her in prayer and when I'm praying to God."
TOP CHAT about playing the part of Jesus over the last 12 years, particularly in the Wintershall Life of Christ, his relationship with the cast and the audience and how, as an actor, this role is so very different to all others.
"Anyone who has played Christ would know this; it sets you apart from every other role.. By trying to portray Christ, you get to understand something really of the potential of an actor, it stretches you in places you just can't imagine, even in the most demanding of roles in Shakespeare or any of the greats. It always leaves you shredded and transformed, but you welcome it because that is what theatre should be - it should be a transformation and it should be an opportunity for everyone to transform."
James Burke-Dunsmore reads the Stations of the Cross here.
"Our Lady of Walsingham has always made a big impression, since my mother took me to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham when I was about 14 (& now I’m 64). I've always asked her prayers and the mother figure is very important to me, the divine motherhood is very important to me."
Father James Leachman OSB is a Benedictine monk at Ealing Abbey in London.
"To me Mary is the ultimate mother of mothers and she is someone who, as we bring our own child into the world, we will look to more and more for guidance."
"I feel like I have a very personal relationship with Our Lady and that she is just so very beautiful. She looks after me, I feel, as a mother does, and sort of encompasses me and holds me and takes care of me through all difficulties I've ever encountered, and makes things fresh and beautiful in my life."
"Mary to me is a model of faith .. She is the ark of the new covenant and she brings Jesus into the world."
"Saint Augustine of Canterbury had a wonderful role to play and I'm very grateful to having been enlightened as to the heritage and roots of the Catholic faith in England."
"I sympathise with what Our Lady went through as I pray to her every day and every night. Amen."
"Mary is a great example and a sister to me, I think. I think that's what she is: a big elder sister, a kind elder sister, and an inspiration, yes, and a friend."
Jenefer is an Ursuline Sister.
"The thing that I’m pondering at the moment about Mary is how at the passion and the crucifixion of Jesus she didn’t shy away, she stayed and she was with him, even in the depth of his suffering, and all the suffering and pain that that would cause her to witness. And yet she journeyed with him through his life and through his death and then into the resurrection. For me, that's a model to follow, that I can journey with Jesus through his suffering into the resurrection and into eternal life with him."
"Thanks to Our Lady and to her yes, I am saying yes to Our Lord and hopefully from now on and for ever."
"Mary to me is my guide through the whole of my life from when I was born and really, really young. I've always known about Jesus and Mary, being brought up a Catholic and she's always been somebody that I can close my eyes and I can always see her. She is always there in my heart. As I get older, she's been a mother figure to me, she's been my safety and my security. As I've grown up, she's become more and more of a role model: if I'm in a difficult moral situation, you can always close your eyes and think what would Our Lady do in this situation."
"Our Lady is really the perfect role model …there's nothing more perfect than the fiat Our Lady gives in the Hail Mary, when she greets Elizabeth as well and when she is there with the angel. Just that yes, that unconditional yes that she gave Our Lord, is something I aspire to be like her .. looking up to her, learning from the way she was gently loving and adoring Christ."
"Our Lady - I love her! … I'd crawl on my knees and my feet and my hands just to be there with her."
"I love Our Lady so much. I still feel like the disobedient teenager that doesn't pay her enough attention, but she is always there for me."
"Our Lady for me is very mysterious and a real example of faith. I think she is mysterious because she is so close to God it seems amazing to be able to be that close to God but at the same time she feels like an example that is possible for all of us."
"To me Mary is the woman who shows me the way, who makes sense of my Christian faith, a woman like me but not like me; I just find that so awesome."
"For a long time I struggled to understand how the Eucharist could be Christ, but one evening in adoration I just let the Lord guide me to a passage in the Bible and it was John 6, the discourse on the Eucharist, where I read 'This is my flesh.' I then looked up at the Eucharist in adoration and I saw the face of Christ for a second at the monstrance, and I knew ... I knew I was in the presence of God."
"Our Lady always said yes to God. She said yes when the angel Gabriel came to her and although she asked an intelligent question (it's good to ask questions, it's good to know exactly what God wants), she asked an intelligent question to know God's will. The minute she understood, she said a decisive yes and that yes took her all the way to Calvary, to the Cross; it wasn't the yes of a moment, it was the yes that was a lifelong yes."
Father Joe Evans is a priest of Opus Dei and university chaplain at King's College, London.
"I find that going to Mass and receiving the Eucharist is probably the clearest expression I have in my life of God's love and the way that He works. I'm a student .. I can take time out and come to Mass and spend some quiet time with God, know the reality of His presence in my life. It's something concrete, it's something that's not ever going to go away. I find that a tremendously inspiring experience and it's something I don't think I could ever live without really."
Word on the Street - Psalm 90
He who dwells in the shelter of the most High and abides in the shade of the Almighty says to the Lord 'My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust.' - "I first heard that when I stayed at a monastery and they sang it for night prayer and it has just stayed with me since. The idea of God in whom I can trust who is with me, my refuge in times that are troubled is something I try to remember .. It is something that gives me strength."
"Mary is a witness to me of loving Christ deeply, loving him more and more. Through that love for Him, I can become a better missionary, I can share Him more effectively, I can be a better instrument, I can allow myself to be used more in the spreading the Good News."
"The most important thing that you realise is that life has to be lived for others and the only way you can really understand yourself is by the way that you are a service to others. I thank God that I realised that when I was young. I realised it because I was taught it at school, I realised it because I saw it lived out by my parents and my community, I saw it every day, and so when it came to my turn to respond and respond to people, that's exactly how I managed to grow. So it then became a natural question for me about the priesthood: should I become a priest? And I entered the seminary when I was 18."
Father John Armitage was a parish priest in the diocese of Brentwood before being made rector in 2014 of the National Shrine to Our Lady in Walsingham.
"For me, Mary is first of all the first Christian, she's the first person to evangelise (her cousin Elizabeth), and perhaps most importantly she is the woman who made Jesus the man that he was, and I'm hoping she'll do the same thing for me."
"What does Our Lady mean to me? There are two obvious things. The first is that she was the mother not of a very good man, but of Almighty God - the second person of the Trinity became man in her body. Now He could have redeemed us in any way He chose; actually, He chose to depend on this young Jewish girl saying yes. Now she was not the cause of our redemption - the precious blood of Jesus is the cause - she is the condition and Jesus chose to use her as a condition... So, that continually amazes me and means that we should be so grateful to her and see that in everything her Son does, there is somehow a touch of her as well; the humility of God. Second thing about Our Lady that always moves me is this: for the last 400 years or so, God seems to have used her as a sort of prophet to teach. And one extraordinary teaching she gave in Portugal in 1917, at a place called Fatima."
"Then it dawned on me that to be able to forgive sins would be more wonderful and I thought of the priesthood. To be able to forgive one serious sin, just once in one's life, to be the instrument God used to bring that person back into union with Himself, to turn that person's life into a thing of beauty, and that is what happens when a Catholic gets his sins forgiven, I thought that would be worth everything .. Then, more and more, it dawned on me what the Mass was - I haven't got used to it yet! That I'm used by God to bring the moment of the Passion of Jesus, actually present in that church, and to bring the moment of the Resurrection, actually present in that church. And that the Lamb of God that I hold between my fingers, is present in that church, that heaven has transfixed earth there. Now if that is the case, and it is, what a privilege!"
Father John Edwards was a Jesuit priest based at Farm St in London. He spent most of his life giving missions in parishes around the world - some of his talks are featured on the Totus2us podcast Mission Jesus. He died on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 12 December 2012. He was a HUGE source of inspiration to many and gave real help and encouragement with Totus2us. He is greatly missed ... but we're hoping he's helping Totus2us from heaven.
"Mary means to me everything. I would say that she is the person who brought me to the love of Jesus. She is the person who is there when I feel alone or afraid."
"I chose St Thomas More as my confirmation name and this was because I had watched the film, Man for All Seasons, and I was very inspired by his honesty and his openness to God, and where he was willing to give his life for the truth. I love the scene where his best friend, the Duke of Norfolk, comes to him and asks him to sign the Act of Succession, which would save his life, for friendship's sake. And he says to the Duke of Norfolk, 'When we get to heaven and you're allowed to stay because you've done your conscience and I'm going to hell because I haven't done my conscience, would you take my hand and come to hell with me for friendship's sake?' I really felt that was where someone was willing to stand up, against even his friends, for truth and for Christ."
Top Chat with Frankie
"For me, the first thing is to understand that God is in the suffering with us, in our pain. I think a lot of people close their heart to God if they've suffered a lot, maybe they've lost a loved one, maybe they were abused as a child, maybe there was some other tragedy, and they really believe where was this loving God in my pain, in my hurt. This was one of the questions I had, but then I realised that he was me, he was being crucified because I was being crucified, he was mourning because I was mourning.. No matter whatever we've suffered, Christ has always suffered it with us. So I think that's the first thing to understand that you've got a friend who has suffered with you. The second thing is that sometimes sin can build up a wall between us and the unconditional love of God; and we need to knock down that wall, we need to go to confession and we need to be completely honest and get rid of our sins and really have them redeemed, and in that way we can let that light, that love, that grace come pouring back into our hearts and we can be free again."
John Pridmore is a member of Saint Patrick's Community. They are based in Ireland but John travels the world as a lay evangelist, giving talks particularly in schools and prisons. He has written 3 books: From Gangland to Promised Land, A Gangster's Guide to God & Journey to Freedom. John reads his monthly newsletter on Totus2us's podcast, Journey to Freedom. For much more, visit John's website.
"For me Our Lady is the mediatrix of all graces, she is our mother and she is the intercessor for us with her son, our Lord Jesus Christ."
John chose Saint Joseph as his Incredible Saint
"Saint Joseph, in my experience, takes us to the wire. He likes to teach us the virtues of patience and humility. He never strove for the front place. St Joseph is ones of those classic behind-the-scenes people, who gets things done, and he gets things done in a marvellous way. There are countless examples of St Joseph in many, many lives, changing things for the better, bringing people closer to God, bringing people closer to themselves, to help them to be the person God wants them to be."
"One of the main messages that struck me was, finishing in Santiago, a priest telling me at Santiago Cathedral they switch round the alpha and omega to the opposite way because they say the end is the beginning. So the end of the pilgrimage is the beginning of a new start. I think the two lessons that I took away from the Camino were, one, it was an opportunity for me to have a regular prayer life and that's what I've tried to take into life since finishing the Camino. The second thing is on the Camino it's very easy to live the Christian life in a very simple way. So sharing your food, carrying very little with you, having no possessions, and everyone's on a similar playing field so it's very easy to interact and people are very open. So those are the two things I've taken from the Camino. The third other thing that I didn't realise until the end was that the Hail, Holy Queen, which is probably my favourite prayer, was written by a Bishop from the Cathedral in Santiago where the pilgrim finishes. So that prayer whenever I say it now reminds me of the Camino."
"Anyone honours their own mother, so we should honour the Mother of Christ. She is a great intercessor who we turn to for prayer and for intercession with her glorious son."
"When I think of Mary, one of the first things that come to mind is the rosary, and recently I find it one of the best tools of growing in my spiritual life. One of the great things I've learned from the rosary is, through meditating on the rosaries, growing in my understanding of Jesus' life which has helped me grow in my relationship with Jesus."
"Today is the feast of Our Lady of Humility and it’s very appropriate that such a feast day should be because it is chiefly because of her humility that she merited to receive all the graces and glory and grandeur that she received."
"Mary is one of the most important things in life because she's Jesus's mother and Jesus is God. And every night I say a prayer to her."
"I see Mary as a mother I can rely on, a heavenly mother who will always lead me closer to her son Jesus."
"Mary is the mother of Jesus and was with Him all the time through His life. When He died on the Cross she had great sorrow but she bore that sorrow with great dignity."
"What Mary means to me is obviously the mother of God, but somebody who was very down to earth, not aristocracy just a normal girl who answered God's call."
Mgr John Walsh describes the parish priest who was the crucial influence on him when he was a child.
"He himself was the greatest influence on me because he was a priest through and through. He was very priestly in his behaviour, he was caring, he was good and he was a man of prayer."
"Isn't Mary wonderful! When I think back on my life, every single time I have been in deep trouble, I go to Mary… For me, our mother Mary has always been there in times of trouble and distress… I thank our blessed mother for her incredible motherly concern for us and the fact that she is always there to hear our prayers."
Brother John Bosco is a Franciscan Friar of Renewal.
"Mary is the one whom the Lord gives to us as a mother. I think a mother is really someone who leads the way through what she lives. That's really Mary because she lives so close to Jesus."
His Men for Others are the priests who inspired him as a boy
"I really give thanks for these priests who are humbly and with great poverty living their life of total service, total gift to other people, treating other people as their sons and daughters in Christ, but above as God's sons and daughters and giving themselves so that we might be holy, so that we might become sons and daughters of God."
Br John Mary Jesus is a brother of the Community of St John.
"I’d just like to say a few words about Our Blessed Lady - I call her blessed because all generations will call her blessed. To me Our Lady is the Queen of Heaven, but also a mother. Often in my past I felt far from Jesus but I'd always feel close to Mary."
"I've prayed to the Little Flower, St Theresa of Lisieux, all my life. I venerated her relics in Ireland (I went especially to Ireland) and in England. I'm married, we had two boys and we wanted a little girl. So we went to Aylesford Priory, and me and my wife prayed at the white statue of St Therese in the garden at the same time. Twelve months later we had our little girl, and I say to my little girl 'Are you Daddy's little flower?' and she says yes and she picks me little flowers from the garden."
"Mary to me is Mother of the Church, Mother of God, Mother of us all. I came closer to Our Lady through reading about John Paul II’s devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the total consecration that St Louis de Montfort talks about. So I was enrolled in the brown scapular on 13th May and I'm half through the consecration to Our Lady to finish on that day. So in a sense renew my commitment to Our Lady - completely to her, Totus Tuus - give myself completely to her to come so close to Christ our Lord."
"There is a line in the psalms 'As a child has rest in its mother's arms, even so my soul.' And maybe that is a good starting point for Mary in my life, in my life as a human being and as a priest, of a sense of comfort, thinking of Mary, a sense of knowing that she is there, interceding for me, praying for me, caring for me in incredible ways as a spiritual mother who has been given to me. It's one of those thoughts which kind of can lodge deep in your heart and you can't intellectualize too much on it, it's just there and you know that it's there, it's speaks for itself in your heart."
"The sense of fatherhood dawned on me more powerfully when I was first given my parish after 5 years of ordination. After the first week-end of Sunday Masses the thought came to me very clearly and simply that I was able to feed these people with Jesus in the Eucharist. Just like a father would feed his family .. as a spiritual father I have done much the same thing in a spiritual way feeding them with Christ Himself to build them up and strengthen them for the week ahead. .. We are called to be messengers of hope .. everybody needs a sense of hope .. the hope we're talking about is a hope rooted in Jesus, in his kingdom, in eternal life; it's a hope that is based on Jesus' death and resurrection. It's the surest, greatest, deepest hope we're going to ever come across and that should always inspire us and be part of the message we're passing on. I think that's vital as a priest."
Jonathan was a pilgrim on Il Camino from Le Puy-en-Velay to Santiago de Compostela
"Coming to the end of a long pilgrimage is a very rewarding sensation but it's not accompanied in a sense by lots of fireworks or excitements, it just has a general contentment that you have walked this great distance, and done lots of praying on the way and been to lots of Masses on the way and had lots of lovely conversations with all sorts of people on the way, but there was no particular sense of rejoicing because it had come to an end, which in itself was rather sad. So we spent 3 quiet days in Compostela; the weather was lovely and we got to know Santiago a bit and then we left in a bus early one morning and that was the end of it all."
"If we embrace Mary, she will take us by the hand and lead us to the very heart of the Church and in turn into heaven."
"For me Mary shows an example of by how giving herself totally to God she receives totally God's promise for us in the next life. So for me she's an inspiration to encourage me to continually try and give more of myself, in that she gives me the courage that by doing that I can trust in God to receive what He has promised for us."
"From that day on I've looked at Mary as a very living being rather than just as an icon or a way into praying. So for me, Mary is certainly a very living person and always will be."
"Our Lady just teaches you about her son. She wants you to see how merciful and kind and beautiful He is, and how much He loves us. And she is the greatest teacher of Jesus, because she is his mother. She is the daughter of the Father, the bride of the Holy Spirit and the mother of the Son, and who else knows the Trinity better than Our Lady. And you just ask her if she will ask a relationship with you, and you will learn to participate and learn to pray, and she gives you joy. She gives such abundant joy. Even in your darkest moments, you have this depth of knowledge that everything is fine."
"I love Our Lady: she is the Queen of Heaven and at the same time she has the most complete humility, she never pushes herself forward. In fact I think some women in our day have trouble with this because they've been taught that if women aren't up there shouting with everybody else, they're not doing anything, and Our Lady is the perfect refutation of that. She did everything she did quietly, she noticed everything, she looked at everything and she pondered in her heart. We can only thank God for the grace of having Mary as our mother."
"Whenever we come to Our Lady her with our problems, she is always there to show us to Our Lord, to Jesus. As a human being that gave her life to the Lord in perfection, she is an example to us of what we as simple human beings can do in service to God. In her closeness to Our Lord, she is also an example within the Holy Family of how to be close to Our Lord in his humanity and in his divinity."
"Our Lady touched my heart in a way I have never forgotten and I never will, because I now know for real that she is my mother. I came across this beautiful statue of Our Lady in the Cathedral of St Matthew in Washington. And as I turned the corner, there was this huge, huge statue of Our Lady, and instead of the usual one with her hands clasped or rosary beads in her hand, she was bending forward with her right hand, offering it to me, and her left hand was pointing up to the sky, as if to say 'Hold my hand and I'll take you to Jesus.'"
"In certain ways Mary means everything to me. Through her we receive Jesus so she is pivotal to our faith and our life."
"Sister Elizabeth looked at the statue and said 'Our Lady is one of us.' And suddenly it came home to me that Our Lady was one of us, like us, that she lived an ordinary life full of love, and my whole attitude, my whole life changed in that what Mary had once done, I too could do."
Sister Juliana is a Poor Clare Sister in enclosed community at Ty Mam Duw in North Wales.
"Walsingham is where we belong, the travelers, altogether, with Our Lady. She's our mother, she's everyone's mother here in the field and she looks after all of us."
"Mary is, was, a woman of courage, great courage and boldness, and that is because she said yes to God."
"Our Lady reached out to me and my wife when we lost our second child at birth. She watches over my family still and is helping us turn our lives around, for which we are eternally grateful."
"I always think of the Annunciation .. Mary's humility, her obedience and her devotion to Our Lord is something that as well as to try to make it an example, no matter how far I fall short, to try to follow myself, is something that really touches the heart."