Our Led by the Spirit discernment process continues

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Throughout December and January, I have been visiting every parish in our diocese to meet with you, explain our Led by the Spirit discernment process, and to listen to you. Yesterday I completed this initial phase of dialogue in Rothesay. Given our geography, my trip necessitated 10 ferry journeys – in the Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides and the Clyde – which most would consider impossible to complete during a winter month. Incredibly, every ferry sailed and I made it to every parish!

I will need to spend time discerning the experience. However, I can already see that our diocese has many faith-filled people, laity and clergy, who love God and his Church, who are pained by our difficulties and although – like myself have no ready-made solutions – exuded trust in the Lord. Although my presentation was the same in every parish, your diverse comments and questions helped me to deepen my reflections in many areas. Most importantly, I conclude these initial discussions more than ever convinced that we must be open to God’s Will, that we can’t base our direction on our own preconceived ideas (however sincere) but genuinely allow ourselves to be Led by the Spirit.

Finally, I want to thank our priests, deacons and laity for their generous hospitality. Spending so much time travelling has its challenges, but your kindness certainly makes it enjoyable.

This Thursday we celebrate the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, when both Mary and Joseph strove to discern what God was doing through Jesus. As we strive to discern the Lord’s Will for us today, let us ask for their intercession and keep them as our models.

Like Mary and Joseph, I pray that we will allow ourselves to be Led by the Spirit.