This Sunday we invite the whole Rhyl Catholic community and its friends to contribute to a vision for the parish’s future and for the Common Good of our society (document of the Bishops of England and Wales). This of course isn’t independent of the Diocesan future (and Bishop Peter’s Into the Future plan—see our website). See also Pope Francis’s documents Evangelium Gaudium and Laudato Si. No, the word Catholic makes us strive for a vision both local and global. “Think globally and act locally.” Hence the need to listen and to discern what is happening in our own community, Rhyl, and to our world.

Listening is a great skill. And the more I can listen to my own heart and to the Lord who dwells there, growing in empathy and understanding, the more I can listen to other people and to what is happening around me. St John of the Cross said: “The first duty of love is to listen.”

This beautiful season of Advent invites us to listen and can help us nourish our listening ability. We confess that we can only know God, this sacred mystery, through waiting, through a deep expectation of joy and goodness to come. Through awareness that I can never possess God, but am always in a process of waiting, of loving surrender. I come to know God by being empty, by waiting by listening to this Word that becomes flesh and lives amongst us.

To help us with this, today we welcome Pauline Thomas, pastoral worker for the Catholic church on the island of Anglesey, who will speak to us around this idea of listening and discerning the future.