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A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 20th of December

O come now Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you O Israel.
 

As today, we pray in our 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 鈥 鈥極 key of David, come and close the path to misery鈥 or as another translation expresses it: 鈥榗ome and lead the captive free from prison, free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death鈥 鈥 we reflect聽 that a key both opens and locks a door.聽 What is it that keeps our hearts and lives imprisoned and locked up?聽 What door needs to be opened to free us to live peacefully and trustfully in the Presence of God in the midst of the聽 daily upsets that can occur and all the noise and turmoil of today鈥檚 world?聽聽 Very often it is FEAR in one of its many forms that keeps our hearts and indeed our whole being tightly locked up 鈥 it can be some form of insecurity or a lack of confidence in ourselves; some deep hurt from the past that we hold onto that imprisons us; or some deep inner pain from a past experience such as bullying by another; it can be envy or selfishness or pride 鈥 the list is endless.

 

In praying this Antiphon with total trust, we are calling on Christ, the Key of David, to help us become pre-occupied with him and thus to win the victory over whatever it is that imprisons us, and keeps us tightly locked up, because as the Prophet told us long ago 鈥 鈥榯he Virgin is with Child and he will be called Emmanuel 鈥 a name […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 18th of December

O Adonai and leader of Israel,
You appeared to Moses in a burning bush
and You gave him the Law on Sinai.
O come,
and save us with Your mighty power.
(with arm outstretched to save)

What do you want from Christmas?
 

These last days of Advent seem to intend to teach us what to ask of the LORD 鈥 maybe in order that we may truly know and understand how to be human; and above all, that our humanity is meant to be one which seeks to serve.

 

鈥溾 the Son of man came not to serve, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.鈥 ( Mk 10:45)

 

What desire in my soul at the moment of my encounter with the

Infant Saviour of the world 鈥 with God 鈥

is awakened?

What do I want from Christmas?

 

Yesterday, we called upon the LORD who is Wisdom.

This evening we call upon Him as LORD and Leader: that with His arms outstretched, He might save us.聽 With the gift of wisdom we have received, we are enabled by His grace to recognise the qualities of leadership that Jesus possessed.聽 As members of His body through our baptism; as co-heirs with Him and destined to have a share in His divine life and in the eternal embrace of the Blessed Trinity, we should dare to claim His wisdom for ourselves: to allow ourselves to be guided and led by it; and by virtue of this gift, we should dare to own the kind leadership by which JESUS drew people into the truth.

 

When He appeared to Moses, in the midst of a burning bush which was not consumed by the flames of fire, the LORD taught Moses who he was and what great dignity […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 17th of December

鈥淥 Wisdom,

You come forth from the mouth of the Most High.

You fill the universe

and hold all things together

in a strong yet gentle manner.

O come to teach us the way of truth.鈥

Today we will sing the first of the 鈥極 Antiphons鈥; the beautiful Magnificat Antiphons for the final days of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. These Antiphons address Christ by various titles/attributes and beseech him to 鈥楥ome鈥.

 

This first Antiphon addresses Christ as 鈥榃isdom鈥. It is a wonderful thing to recognise that Christ is Wisdom and to remember that 鈥渢he wisdom which comes from above is marked chiefly indeed by its purity, but also by its peacefulness; it is courteous and ready to be convinced, always taking the better part; it carries mercy with it, and a harvest of all that is good; it is uncensorious and without affectation鈥 (Jas 3:17-18).

 

Our world desperately needs such wisdom; not intelligence, or cleverness, or great knowledge about many things, but wisdom 鈥 the ability to know and recognise God鈥檚 purpose and plan (both for ourselves and for the rest of creation) and to act in accord with that. In other words, the ability to recognise and do what is right. This might seem too difficult and demanding, until we remember that, by the grace of Baptism we have become members of Christ and Christ is, therefore, 鈥渙ur wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption鈥 (1Cor 1:30).

 

A Reflection for Week 3 of Advent

The first Reading of Mass is the invitation to joy. The prophet Zephaniah at the end of the seventh century B.C spoke of the city of Jerusalem and its people with the words: 鈥樷橲ing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem鈥..! The Lord your God is in your midst.鈥欌 As in the times of the Prophet Zephaniah, it is particularly to those being tested and to 鈥樷橪ife鈥檚 wounded and orphans of joy鈥欌 that God鈥檚 Word is being addressed in a special way. To transform the world, God chose a humble young girl from a village in Galilee, Mary of Nazareth, and challenged her with this greeting: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.鈥欌 In these words lies the secret of an authentic Christmas. God repeats them to the Church, to each of us: Rejoice, the Lord is close!
( Pope Benedict XVI)

By |December 16th, 2018|Advent|0 Comments

A Reflection for Week 2 of Advent

On this Sunday the liturgy presents to us the Gospel passage in which St. Luke prepares the scene on which Jesus is about to enter and begin His public ministry. The Evangelist focuses the spotlight on to John the Baptist, who was the precursor of the Messiah, and with great precision outlines the space-time coordinates of his preaching. The Evangelist evidently wanted to warn those who read or hear about it that the Gospel is not a legend but the account of a true story, that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical figure who fits into that precise context. After this ample historical introduction, the subject becomes 鈥樷檛he word of God鈥欌, presented as a power that comes down from Heaven and settles upon John the Baptist.
聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽聽 ( Pope Benedict XVI)

By |December 9th, 2018|Advent|0 Comments

A Reflection for Week 1 of Advent

In Advent, the liturgy frequently repeats and assures us, as if to overcome our natural diffidence, that God 鈥樷檆omes鈥欌: He comes to be with us in every situation of ours, He comes to dwell among us, to live with us and within us; He comes to fill the gaps that divide and separate us; He comes to reconcile us with Him and with one another. He comes into human history to knock at the door of every man and woman of good will, to bring to individuals, families and peoples the gifts of brotherhood, harmony and peace. This is why Advent is par excellence the season of hope in which believers in Christ are invited to remain in watchful and active waiting, nourished by prayer and the effective commitment to love.
(Pope Benedict XVI)

By |December 2nd, 2018|Advent|0 Comments

A Window into our Life: Do Dominican contemplative nuns have restless hearts?

After WMOF, it is good to come back to your own roots, to our 鈥楪randfather鈥- St Augustine, as we Dominican brothers and sisters like to call him. St Dominic adopted from him not only the Rule, but also the RESTLESSNESS of the heart.

In 鈥楥onfessions鈥 (1.1,1) he wrote:

You have made us for yourself,

聽and our heart is restless until it rests in You.

Restlessness is not bad thing, that鈥檚 what makes us searchers in life. Restlessness keeps us unsatisfied and yearning for more. That 鈥榤ore鈥 is GOD.

We are made for Him. Our real rest is unity with God. Augustine said: 鈥業 had come to delight in the truth.鈥 I hated to be wrong鈥. The love of truth was leading him beyond all the easy answers and further on to ask the real questions. He had to know the essential of things, what doesn鈥檛 聽change, what doesn鈥檛 聽disappoint, what doesn鈥檛 deceive. By nature Augustine could not be satisfied with anything less than God.

For Augustine it was this very restlessness in his heart which brought him to a personal encounter with Christ, brought him to understand that the remote God he was seeking was the God who is close to every human being, the God close to our heart, who was 鈥榤ore inward than my innermost self鈥(C. 3.6,11)

Even in discovery of and encounter with God, Augustine did not stop, he did not withdraw into himself, like those who have already arrived, but continued his search. The restlessness of seeking truth brings him to the restlessness of love.

And Augustine let God make him restless.

Look into the depths of your heart, look into your own inner depths and ask yourself:

Do you have a heart that desires something great, or you […]

By |August 28th, 2018|Window|0 Comments

Novena to St Dominic 2018 – Day 9

On this last day of the Novena, the eve of St. Dominic鈥檚 Day, I would like to speak on the humility of St Dominic. I have always admired Dominic鈥檚 humility- probably because I am so much lacking in it myself!

鈥淲e are told that in his lifetime, Dominic had wished to be treated always as 鈥榦ne of the brethren鈥- as simply 鈥楤rother Dominic鈥 and his dying wish was that he should be buried under the feet of his brethren. It is quite in accordance with his own temperament that he should live on in the Church, not as a striking individual, but in the work of preaching the Gospel, for which he instituted his Order. It is not surprising, then, that he has never been one of the popular favourites among the saints. Men and women do not keep returning to the thought of the man, Dominic, as they do to the thought of the man, Francis. It is rather to the idea of his Order, The Order of Preachers, that they keep coming back to.鈥

鈥 I do not read that Christ was a black monk or white monk, but that he was a humble preacher.鈥 With these words a 13th Century Dominican Novice justified his choice of Order against some monks who wished him to join them instead. The essential model which St. Dominic pointed to in the thirteenth century was Christ himself, the humble Christ, wandering round with 鈥榥owhere to lay his head鈥, proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Dominic had an overwhelming love for Christ and the Christian faith. His great desire was to bring to everybody the truth of the faith, which would set them free and save their […]

Novena to St Dominic – 2018 – Day 4

 

O Rose of Patience

Each night at the end of Compline we address St Dominic with the antiphon O Lumen: 鈥淥 light of the Church, teacher of truth, rose of patience, ivory of chastity, you freely poured forth the waters of wisdom, preacher of grace unite us with the blessed.聽 I would like to reflect on the title 鈥極 rose of patience.鈥

Reading through the biographical documents 鈥 the process of canonisation and the Libellus of Blessed Jordan of Saxony we notice that almost all the witnesses mention Dominic鈥檚 patience 鈥 very often his patience is linked to his humility, his kindness and compassion and his love of poverty.聽 He was patient with himself, with God and with his brothers and sisters.聽 We may ask ourselves what was the source of Dominic鈥檚 patience?聽 What was his secret that we too might learn?聽 It seems to me that his patience was the expression of his trust in the Father鈥檚 providential love and protection, and a consciousness of Jesus鈥 promise in St Matthew鈥檚 Gospel (which he carried with him always): 鈥渒now that I am with you always.鈥澛 Dominic was at work in the Lord鈥檚 vineyard 鈥 to which he gave his all but the results depended totally on the Lord and His timing.

Bl. Jordan says that 鈥淒ominic鈥檚 mind was always steady and calm except when he was stirred by a feeling of compassion and mercy; and since a happy heart makes for a cheerful face, the tranquil composure of the inner man was revealed outwardly by the kindliness and cheerfulness of his expression.聽 He never allowed himself to become angry.鈥 (103).聽 We note that Bl Jordan does not say that Dominic never felt angry but that 鈥渉e did […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6: Exploring an Icon of St Dominic

Every one of us is a living icon of God. He created us in his likeness and in his own image.

As you can see, this Icon of St. Dominic is not yet finished. At first I was disappointed not to have completed it in time for his Feast. Then it occurred to me that there was a message for me in this. Like this icon each one of us is not quite finished. We are still on a journey from darkness into the light. It is my hope that the image of St Dominic portrayed or perhaps more accurately, revealed to us through this icon may help us to enter the hidden, inner sanctuary of his heart and there discover more deeply the depths of our Dominican vocation—WHAT WE SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

The first portrait of St. Dominic was a word picture given to us by St. Cecilia, one of the first nuns of the Order, who knew him personally. For a long time historians did not give much credence to St. Cecilia鈥檚 description. Then, after World War 2, a scientific examination was done by anthropologists on St. Dominic鈥檚 remains and the results confirmed the authenticity of her description. Cecilia had said that he was of medium height- the measurements taken of his relics show that he was five feet six inches tall. She noted that, 鈥淗is figure was supple; his face handsome and somewhat ruddy; his hair and beard had a reddish tinge. He was not a bit bald; his hair had a touch of grey.鈥 At the bottom of the reliquary the examiners found some shreds of Dominic鈥檚 hair. It was exactly as Cecelia had said it was. 鈥淔rom his brow and his […]