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The Holy Family

The icon is not a work of the imagination
in which the artist tries to drag the onlooker inside an ideal family, but a
theological teaching that exposes something of the Truth revealed in Jesus
Christ. We do not enter into the icon, it is a sacred space delimitated by a
red line all around it. It is the people, represented inside that space, that come
to us. 鈥淭he Kingdom of God is at hand鈥

The Holy Family is a real human family and,
as such, a model for all families of the earth. Nevertheless, it is more than
that, and its example is leading us towards and introducing us in the mystery
of the Trinity.

As regards the model, we must say that there is no prototype of the Holy
Family as such in the strict Byzantine tradition. Nonetheless, this icon,
created for St Peter鈥檚 parish in Drogheda, follows as faithfully as possible
the ancient canons. The figure arrangement takes great […]

Reflection: My experience of praying the Rosary

Disposed from childhood to praying the
Rosary, it has grown with me over the years or perhaps it would be more true to
say I鈥檝e grown with it. A prayer for all seasons of life, it has been my
mainstay. I think of the structure of the rosary, the saying of the beads as a
kind of enclosure, creating and protecting a sacred space, a shelter, within
which Mary and I meet with Jesus on a daily basis and she shows unto me the
blessed fruit of her womb, JESUS. This is a place where our friendship has
developed, has deepened, as I have come to understand the constancy of these
two friends of mine and the depth of God鈥檚 love revealed to me through the
life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

The simple act of taking up the beads, by virtue of habit, now聽 speaks to my mind, heart and body聽 at a level below consciousness, perhaps somewhat […]

Reflection: What the Rosary means to me

St John Paul II called the rosary his favourite prayer.  While the Mass is my favourite prayer,
the rosary is not far behind in my preference. 
If for any reason on a rare occasion I fail to say the rosary, then I
cannot sleep until I say it in full.

rosary is mostly centred on Jesus and Mary so for that reason, it is very
precious to me:  Jesus who is Alpha and
Omega, and Mary who is His Mother.  In
the company of these two very important people, I am always happy.

mystery reveals some aspect of the life of Jesus or Mary.  In this prayer, I find my joy for Jesus
because one of us 鈥 like us in all but sin 鈥 my solace, my strength, my
comfort, my encouragement, above all my hope in a future of eternal life.  As I pray the rosary, I find I can draw from
all the various mysteries the grace […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

would like to reflect a little on St Dominic鈥檚 single-mindedness in his pursuit
of holiness and his mission of preaching.

a young man Dominic studied the liberal arts at a thriving arts faculty in
Palencia 鈥 no doubt, a brilliant future awaited him!  However, Bl Jordan tells us, very graphically,
that after a short while, Dominic 鈥渇led to the study of theology as if afraid
to waste his limited time on less fruitful study.鈥  We might ask ourselves if he had struggled
with himself to give up the study of arts? 鈥 for he had a keen intellect and
could have persuaded himself that this could be helpful for his own future
human and spiritual development.  But one
senses through the pages of the Libellus
that something deeper was drawing him or rather Someone who demanded that he
leave all aside, even good things and focus all his attention on the 鈥榦ne thing
necessary.鈥  Bl Jordan describes
Dominic鈥檚 鈥渆agerness to imbibe the […]

Novena to St. Dominic – Day 7

continue our Novena in honour of St Dominic

saint resembles Christ in some way. This was particularly clear with Dominic
who followed Jesus in everything – in his prayer, works and miracles. 

his Master, Dominic used to spend the nights in prayer to God; he would fall
asleep with his head on the altar step when he was too exhausted to continue.
St Dominic spent his life preaching the Gospel and being constantly concerned
for the salvation of the human race.

In today鈥檚 Gospel passage the gestures of Jesus as
he multiplies the loaves and fishes 鈥渢aking (the loaves)鈥, 鈥渂lessing鈥,
鈥渂reaking鈥 鈥済iving鈥 echoes the Eucharistic narrative. The disciples believed
that their only option was to send the crowd away and to find food elsewhere.
They focussed on what they lacked. But Jesus had a different perspective. His
Faith was in God鈥檚 power to look after the spiritual and material welfare of
the people gathered around him.  As we share
in our daily […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

St. Dominic鈥檚 Compassion

As we continue our Novena to St Dominic, I would like to reflect on St. Dominic鈥檚 compassion for others. On his Feast Day, this Thursday, we will sing the Antiphon:

鈥淒ominic had compassion on his neighbours and ardently desired their salvation.鈥

Dominic鈥檚 compassion was not passive, not accepting
and encouraging the other in whatever it is they want to do, which seems to be
the modern understanding of compassion. His compassion required that he act for
the good of the other, even, or perhaps especially, when that meant telling
them they were doing wrong. It was out of this compassion that he established
his Order (for preaching and the salvation of souls) to bring back to God those
who had been led astray by the false, dark vision of God and the world
presented by the Albigensians (who taught, among other things, that the
material world, including human bodies, was evil, created by an evil spirit). […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

O Wonderful Hope!  

The lands of sunrise and sunsetYou fill with your joy. (Ps64)

I hope you may hear sometimes how beautifully the birds are singing at early morning. Their singing does not create the dawn, but they are singing because the sun has risen.

At sunset when our world is wrapped in darkness, St Dominic鈥檚 daughters and sons are also singing: “O Spem miram” (O Wonderful Hope).

What they do hope

We sing because CHRIST

 Like Mary Magdalena we hope to meet our Risen
Lord face to face, and 鈥榯o know the power of his resurrection鈥.

鈥楾o see God鈥
really means to share in his life, to enjoy his plenitude, to penetrate into
the depth of his life, to be with him, to live in his presence.

Similarly the expression 鈥榯o know鈥 in biblical usage does not mean a purely intellectual process, but the union of two beings in love. We read in Genesis ‘Now Adam […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

St Dominic and the Imperative of Joy

A Benedictine nun wrote:

          鈥淚 continue to believe in the efficacy of the contemplative life          which acts as a lever to raise the human heart to           truth, goodness and beauty.鈥

From 鈥淭he Joy of God:  Collected Writings of Sr Mary David.鈥 p.125  

It seems odd in a reflection
during our novena to St Dominic, to take inspiration from a 鈥榝oreigner,鈥 so to
speak.  Nevertheless, she did seem to
capture very well, in that short expression, something of the validity of
contemplative life 鈥 if it needs validity: an answer to many who cannot
comprehend such a vocation.

And in his letter to the nuns
of the Order, away back in 1971, fr Anicetus Fernandez 鈥 then Master of the
Order of Preachers 鈥 observed that

鈥榯his contemplative life, the 鈥渂est part鈥 of the Christian life, has always held a most important place in the Church and the Order, but […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 1

Our Altar with ‘Dominican Candles’

Today we start our Novena to St. Dominic. As we know, St. Dominic always spoke either to God or about God. Since we are about to talk to God, I would like to let Meister Eckhart O.P. talk about God for me:

God is a light shining in
itself in silent stillness. God is not in any place 鈥 God is not here, or
there, not in time or place.

God is better than anything
we can conceive: I say, God is somewhat, I know not what, verily I know not. He
is all that is being rather than not being, existent more than non-existent;
our highest aspirations are but groveling things falling hopelessly short of
God. He transcends heart鈥檚 desire.

鈥 God is a word, an unspoken
word. Augustine says: 鈥淎ll
scripture is vain.鈥 We say that God is unspoken, but he is unspeakable. Grant he
is somewhat: who can pronounce this word? None but the […]

A Reflection for Palm Sunday

WE ARE ALL FAMILIAR WITH THE PASSAGE of the Passion Narrative in St. Mathew鈥檚 Gospel in which Jesus is brought before Pilate by the chief priests and elders to condemn Him to death. Pilate is convinced of his innocence but weak in his resolve to free him. He washes his hands and declares 鈥淚 am innocent of this man鈥檚 blood. It is your concern! The rabble respond 鈥淗is blood be upon us and upon our children.鈥
Think deeply for a moment—–鈥楯esus loves us and washes away our sins in his own blood.鈥 He poured out the very last drop of his precious blood Just to save you and me. That is the reality; his blood is upon us and our children. We are bathed in this blood particularly at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and in the Sacrament of Penance as St Catherine of Siena is so fond of […]