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Advent

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 23rd December

Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as Emmanuel (God with us).(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). O Emmanuel, you are our King and judgethe one whom the peoples await and their Saviour,O Come and save us, Lord our God.Emmanuel means ‘God with us’. Can we believe that God entered the womb of Mary, took flesh from her and became man? Do we really believe this? What greater thing has ever happened to all of us who believe, that Mary herself believing, received the Word concerning Him faithfully in her heart.When we to acknowledge Him in faith and obtain forgiveness for our sins, then immediately – just as God the Word and Second Person of the Blessed Trinity entered into the Virgin’s womb – even so do we receive the Word in us as a kind of seed.Be amazed on hearing this wondrous mystery and welcome this Word with assurance and faith. (1) St. John tells us in his Gospel, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come and make our home in him”. (Jn 14)If we only knew the gift that is being offered to us this Christmas night. We have a mystery in our hearts bigger than ourselves, built as we are like a tabernacle around this most Sacred Presence.(2)The longer one gazes into this mystery the more one longs to go on gazing in silent wonder. But of course, as St. Thomas told us, there is no adequate picture of God to catch our eyes and hold them spellbound. Yet the little that […]

By |December 23rd, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 22nd December

Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on yesterday’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as King. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). O King, whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save us whom you made from clay. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus come.Whom you made from clay. In Genesis we receive two accounts of the creation of man. “God said, Let us make man in our own image in the likeness of ourselves .God created man in the image of Himself, in the Image of God he created him”. And again it is said “God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and thus man became a living being”. There is therefore inherent in the very fabric of our being God鈥檚 stamp, a likeness to Him, and the very breath we draw holds the memory of whence it came and the promise of its ultimate destiny. Some call it 鈥楥apax Dei鈥, others the divine spark; a secret knowledge that we are made for more than this world has to offer imprinted in us at the moment of our creation. St Augustine鈥檚 way of putting it gives voice to what many do not even realise. 鈥榊ou have made us for yourself O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in you鈥.In our age as in every age our hearts get set on lesser things. We think the restless ache at the core of our being will be satisfied by wealth, by power, by pleasure, by learning; but no particular good even […]

By |December 23rd, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 21st December

Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on yesterday’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as the Rising Sun. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). O Rising Sun, You are the splendour of eternal light and the Sun of Justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.By living in Ireland I have learned to see the Sun, even if it is raining. Our whole business in this life is to restore to health the eye of the heart whereby God can be seen.Each of the antiphons contains the words “O” and “COME”, expressive of longing, pleading, heart-felt desire. In them we beg God to BE with us and SAVE us.The longing for God expressed in the antiphons is the pale human shadow of God鈥檚 longing for us. They are based on words in the Bible which promise exactly that, or even state that God has already COME and delivered us.The petition 鈥樷機ome and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death鈥欌 echoes the Christmas reading 鈥欌檛hey that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shone鈥欌 鈥樷橳he people who walked in darkness have seen a great light鈥欌(Is 9:2) 鈥樷橤od is light鈥欌(1Jn 1:5). And every light we know, whether a candle, or sun will eventually burn itself out in self giving. Light from light (cf. Jn 1 ) 鈥樷橤od loved the world so much that he gave his only Son,so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life鈥欌 (Jn 3:16) Today’s antiphon brings out a special aspect of the light […]

By |December 22nd, 2011|Liturgy|1 Comment

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 20th December

Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as the Key of David.(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). O come now key of David, come,And open wide our heavenly home,make safe the way that leads on highAnd close the path to misery.Rejoice, Rejoice!Emmanuel shall come to you O Israel.Reflecting on this Antiphon alongside today鈥檚 Gospel, (Lk.1:26-38), we have highlighted for us the Presence of God in our lives.A few verses before today鈥檚 Gospel passage, the Archangel Gabriel, tells Zachary: 鈥渕y name is Gabriel and my place is in God鈥檚 Presence. What a truly stupendous statement! Further on in the same Gospel passage, we are told of this same Archangel when he visits Mary with the tidings of the Incarnation鈥.鈥檌nto her presence the angel came鈥. (R.Knox translation)Surely we are left in breathless awe, as we picture this great Archangel whose place is in the Presence of God Himself, bowing low in the presence of this humble Virgin, who never-the-less, was a creature like ourselves, as he awaited her consent to become the mother of God鈥檚 Son 鈥 the Key of David.A key we know, both locks and unlocks – and today, we are called to pray to Christ, the Key of David, to unlock, to open wide our heavenly home and to make safe the way that leads on high, where our destiny too, is to dwell in God鈥檚 Presence for all eternity.In the meantime, so long as our pilgrimage on earth lasts, we are so utterly privileged to have the Real Presence of Christ, the Key of David, continually with us in the Holy Eucharist. […]

By |December 20th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 19th December

Below is the text of a reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as the Root of Jesse.(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below) O Root of Jesse, you stand as a sign for the nations;Kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim.O come to deliver us, and do not delay.The Holy Spirit speaking through the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before Christ said “a shoot springs from the stump of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots, on him the spirit of the Lord rests”. Jesse was the father of King David. Isaiah must have seen in a vision a sapling springing from the apparently dead stump of Jesse. He lived about 300 years after David and the Davidic dynasty did not appear very hopeful. So it is on a future king that Isaiah sees the Spirit of the Lord come down.This future King, whom we know to be the Lord Jesus, Son of David, is to be “a sign for the nations” but “a sign of contradiction” as Simeon prophesied about the child Jesus, which is borne out in Isaiah Chapter 53, “Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground … a thing despised and rejected by men” – as indeed he was in his Passion. In the life of Jesus the ordinary people acclaimed him. He healed and fed multitudes but the “Kings”, the authorities did not acclaim him – they were “silent before him” as the antiphon says, not acknowledging him even despising him.In our own day his Church has come under censure and is suffering. But the […]

By |December 19th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ – 18th December

Below is the text of a reflection give by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which speaks of Christ appearing to Moses in the burning bush. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below)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.Today鈥檚 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 refers to God鈥檚 coming to His people while they were living in slavery in Egypt. He reveals Himself as the 鈥楬oly One鈥, the 鈥楾ranscendent One鈥 as He calls out to Moses: 鈥淐ome no nearer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.鈥 Yet He is not aloof from His people鈥檚 plight. He says: 鈥淚 have seen the misery of my people. I have heard their cries for help 鈥 I have come down to rescue them and bring them to a land rich and broad, a country flowing with milk and honey.鈥 (cf Ex 3:1-6)It is this same God who approaches Mary through the Angel and asks her consent to be the mother of the 鈥渃hild who will be holy鈥 (Lk1:36) and who 鈥渨ill save His people from their sins鈥 (Mt 1:21). It is the same Holy One who is with us on our altar, under the signs of bread and wine 鈥 and the One whom we meet in the least of our sisters and brothers!As I reflected on this antiphon, it was the image of fire and the burning bush which held my attention. Fire cannot be hidden, cannot be contained 鈥 otherwise it is […]

By |December 18th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the ‘O’ Antiphon – 17th December

Below is the text of a reflection give by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as Wisdom. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below)O 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. In the Magnificat Antiphon today we begin the first of the great 鈥淥 Antiphons鈥 rejoicing in our expectation of the Saviour鈥檚 coming and asking him to come to us under the particular manifestation of each Old Testament title. In this first Antiphon we address Christ as Wisdom and ask him to 鈥渢each us the way of truth鈥. In praying and reflecting on this text, I have been particularly struck by the fact that, as St Paul says, Christ is 鈥渙ur wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption鈥 (1Cor 1:30). Is my search for wisdom and knowledge done as a search for Christ, done in his company, or is it a search for my wisdom, my knowledge, for my own satisfaction? As I prepare to welcome Christ this Christmas, do I welcome him as Wisdom – am I willing to let him teach me? Christian wisdom is not simply having great knowledge but having great knowledge in Christ; so that Christ, who is Wisdom, 鈥渓ives in me鈥 (Gal 2:20) and my life involves seeing, understanding and reacting to the world around me in union with Him and as he shows us in his life and teaching. Study etc. can give me a great knowledge of Christ but unless I am living in his presence and actively […]

By |December 17th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Third Sunday of Advent

鈥楻ejoice in the Lord always鈥.the Lord is near鈥. Phil 4:4-5.St. Paul may well have been referring to the end times when he uttered these joyful words in today鈥檚 liturgy, but they also have a deeper meaning as we read in today鈥檚 Gospel, when St. John the Baptist says to the Priests and Levites who were sent by the Jews to question him, 鈥︹檛here is one standing in your midst of whom you know nothing鈥 Jn1:27. ***Numerous times in the Gospels, we are confronted in the sacred texts with the Presence of Jesus passing unrecognised 鈥 surely our Lord intends us to penetrate something of the depth of this mystery 鈥 his unrecognisable Presence in our midst!With the exception of the loss and finding of Jesus in the Temple at the age of 12 years, the Gospels give us no further details of Jesus鈥 life until he begins his public ministry. But we are given to understand that his life in the intervening years was a very ordinary one, so much so that when Jesus began his teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, the people were astonished and said: 鈥榳hat is this wisdom that has been granted him and these miracles worked through him, this is the carpenter surely, the son of Mary, are not his brothers and sisters here with us?鈥 and they would not accept him. (Mk.6 3-4). In other words they thought they knew him well, they could not perceive anything to indicate his Divinity in their midst.Similarly when we reflect on Jesus鈥 words concerning the last judgement, Mt.25 鈥 the just ask 鈥榳hen did we see you hungry or thirsty, sick or in prison鈥nd minister to you?鈥 […]

By |December 11th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

2nd Sunday of Advent

HOPE is the message I garnered from today’s Mass Readings.”Console my people, console them says the Lord.” This is a challenging invitation from the Lord to us all who are trying to be faithful to him in these critical times. He is placing his trust in us to reach out in whatever way we can to His people who are being starved of him.Advent is above all a season of HOPE:Long the ages rolled and slowly to the coming of the WordFervent longings grew more fervent , undismayed by hopes deferredWeaker spirits sighed and whispered, could the Lord of all forget?While the prophets scanned the portents and in patience said: Not yet.Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength but on the help of the grace of the Spirit. It responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has place in every human heart; it takes up the hopes that inspire our activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of Heaven. (Catechism)So what is the Lord asking of each one of us?Can we by our Eucharistic Adoration and intercession stir up the hearts of our people to turn back to the Lord. Jesus is present on our altar longing to gather us and those for whom we pray into the peace, joy and blessedness of his Divine Heart; longing to set us on fire with the infinite fire of his love so that you and I can be a channel of his intimate and gracious friendship to those who have grown cold towards him. By […]

By |December 4th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Advent

They shall see the Lord face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:4-5) Just over a week ago on the beautiful feast of Christ the King the Lord called our dear Sr Rosaleen to her eternal home, while the community were praying the Office of night prayer around her bedside. As the above scripture passage was being read her breathing began to fail and ever so gently she breathed her last as we sang the response: 鈥淚nto your hands I commend my spirit. You have redeemed us Lord God of truth.鈥 We continued with the canticle of Simeon:At last, all powerful MasterYou give leave to your servantto go in peace, according to your promise.For my eyes have seen your salvationwhich you have prepared for all nations,the light to enlighten the Gentilesand give glory to Israel your people.No doubt her passing made a deep impression on us and brought home to each of us the mysterious presence and closeness of the Lord in our lives. Sr Rosaleen at 97 had a long wait before seeing the Lord鈥檚 face. We pray that now she is basking in the sunlight of His Presence and interceding for all of us.As we begin the season of Advent we too are waiting with longing for the coming of the Lord: O that you would teat the heavens open and come down!(Is 63) The emphasis in the readings for this first Sunday of Advent is on […]

By |November 28th, 2011|Prayer|0 Comments