To honour Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour during the decade of 2023-2033 leading up to the Great Jubilee of the Atonement in 15-17 April 2033.
16 But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite my statutes,
or take my covenant on your lips?
17 For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
18 You make friends with a thief when you see one,
and you keep company with adulterers.
19 “You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
20 You sit and speak against your kin;
you slander your own mother’s child.
21 These things you have done and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
Michael (“Mike”) Mahony was born in Ireland in 1944 and has lived in South Africa since 1975, having previously worked in Nigeria, Dublin, and London.
Mike holds an honours degree in physics from University College Dublin, and a Master's degree in business from The University of South Africa, as well as a Master's degree in Catholic Theology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
His life-occupation has been primarily in IT (software development) in banking, from which he retired in 2002.
Since his conversion to Christ in 1978 he has been actively engaged in Christian ministry as a layperson, both in Catholic and Evangelical churches and is currently a member of St. Charles Catholic Church, Victory Park, Johannesburg.
Mike has been married to his wife, Mary, since 1967. They have been blessed with three sons and three daughters, and a wonderful multinational clan of grandchildren.
The collection of seven books, (One of Us) was Mike’s first venture into ‘doing theology’ and expressing it in writing. If he had known that it was going to be such fun, he would have undertaken it years ago.
When I was requested to give a ten minute reminiscence on the life of The Family of God Prayer Group of St Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Victory Park, Johannesburg on its 50th anniversary on 5th November 2022, my first reaction was to refer to the prayer group’s faithfulness in providing the Life in the Spirit seminars over fifty years and its strong ecumenical friendship with those leaders of the Classical Pentecostal Churches, David du Plessis and his brother Justus du Plessis (both South Africans) who had lead the engagement in Rome with Fr Kilian McDonnell in the Catholic-Pentecostal dialogues which had been established after Vatican II. I had personally witnessed the warm friendship between Pope John Paul II and Justus when I travelled with him to the Vatican for the Catholic Charismatic Leaders Conference in 1987.
However, as I prayed about this, I began to question what the benefit of such a sharing might be.
On the 2nd November after the Eucharist in St Charles, I went as had become my practice in recent years to the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the church. On this particular day (All Souls Day) I intended to ask her intercession for Wisdom for the short talk that I was going to give. I had barely got to my knees when I sensed the Blessed Virgin’s words, “Go home Michael, say the Rosary, and I will tell you what to do and what to say.”
This was extraordinary because my last recollection of praying the Rosary was in the family prayers of my childhood home of the 1950s. This will surprise - even scandalise - Catholic readers of this paper, but it is what it is.
I immediately went home. I knew that there were some preliminary prayers in the Rosary and other concluding ones, but I could not remember what they were, and was reluctant to delay. So, I just prayed what I guessed would be the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. At the conclusion, I knew that my short item at the Family of God anniversary was to be one that should focus upon the future and not on the past. And the essence of what I have expressed in this paper was what I communicated on 5th November, with a very strong emphasis on repentance with the deployment of the Decalogue over the decade 2023-2033 at the very centre of it. An example: the Second Commandment is just one instance of what I am endeavouring to express in this paper. Paradoxically, the exclamation “Jesus Christ!” is deployed as the defining blasphemy of our secular age and has even become the default expression of alarm or of surprise in common discourse as well as in the domain of fiction whether in books, in the theatre, in movies, or in other media. And yet we expect a world of peace?
“These things you have done and I have been silent” Ps 50:21
In Christ Jesus
Mike Mahony 24thJanuary 2023