I’m always surprised how many people ask if we had a restful Christmas. Perhaps it is a legacy of the fact that both sets of parents are separated that we seem to spend much of the time between Christmas and New Year travelling. Travelling to the Isle of Mull is always good; this year made more memorable by the fact that the Lochaline / Fishnish ferry had one ramp not working; thus requiring cars to drive on to the ferry and to a multi-point turn so they could drive off the same ramp they boarded.
Now, after 1500 miles or so we are back into the routine and trying to pick up the various threads of church life again. It looks as if 2009 will be a significant year. The number of people in church who are being made redundant grows by the day with all the impact that has on them and their families. Meanwhile a number of alterations in church life are afoot which have the potential for positive change.
I was pleased to see that an English translation of the Pope’s end of year message to the Curia in Rome. As I suspected the text isn’t quite as original press reports would lead one to believe. Indeed as an end of year talk to church staff it was a speech that every minister ought to aspire to give. Short reminiscences of major events in the year, theologically literate, grounded in Scripture and paying particular attention to the Holy Spirit. (OK that maybe spin on my part but you can read an English text here ).
There are things which I disagree with Ratzinger about but his intention to reflect on the Bible, Theology and culture is to be commended. As he himself says in his conclusion:
"The missionary spirit of the Church is none other than the impulse to communicate the joy which has been given. May it always be alive in us and so be radiated on the world in the midst of its tribulations."