It’s a bit difficult to tell at the moment whether we are witnessing a transition of the seasons from summer to autumn, or if this rain is actually still a continuation of the traditional English summer!
Nevertheless, we can tell that autumn is on its way because various other things are also happening. People are arriving home from holidays, the first students are returning to the university, and families everywhere are preparing for the first day of school.
This annual cycle of familiar events helps us to keep some kind of track of that most elusive commodity of time. There never seems to be enough of it. And yet, however much we may feel that we don’t get half as much done as we might like to, when we look back from year to year, we can see a surprising amount of progress in so many ways.
We should all be in the habit of examining our consciences each night to ask our Father’s forgiveness for our shortcomings, and to ask his help to do better tomorrow. What we don’t talk about so much — though we should! — is looking back over the day and seeing the good as well. We should spend some time each evening thanking God for the things that didn’t go wrong, for the help he gave us with the temptations we did overcome, and for all the other blessings we receive every day, and sometimes take for granted.
And just as it’s a good idea occasionally to look back at our moral lives over a longer period of time to see what progress we’re making on the path of virtue, every so often, we should look back and thank God for the bigger things too.
Another reminder that Autumn is coming is the feast of Our Lady’s birthday on the eighth of September. This day doesn’t just mark another year since the birth of the Mother of God and the beginning of our salvation. It is also a special date for the Oratory in Oxford, as the anniversary of arrival of Fr Robert and Fr Dominic in 1990. And this year marks thirty years of Oratorian life in the city of Oxford.
If we look back just one year, it might be harder to see much of the good that has happened in the past year. (Although on that date last year, Br Benedict was ordained deacon, and it is now not so long to go until the Church has another priest!) But if we look back thirty years, we see that there truly is a lot to give God thanks for.
We will be doing just that next Tuesday, with a Solemn Mass at 6pm. Please join us if you can, in person, or through the live stream, and in your prayers. Please keep praying for the Oratory in Oxford. With the help of your prayers, who knows what we might be thanking God for 30 years from now.