God’s Love

Novena to St Catherine of Siena – Day 2

Today is the 2nd day of the novena to St Catherine. It is also Vocation Sunday. So during the week as I was reflecting on St Catherine I had the theme of Vocations in mind also and today’s Gospel-‘I know my own and mine know me’. Somehow these converged for me in a single Gospel text-‘This is Eternal Life to know you the one true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent’.This is the reason for our existence. This is why God created us, why He sent His Son to redeem us- so that we might know God, might participate in the very life of God, might experience being utterly and completely taken up into God’s love and be endlessly happy. The vocation of every human being is to fulfil this purpose for which we were brought into being. Our personal vocation is to discover and to follow the path marked out for us, to follow that path until we reach our destination and are one with God forever.Catherine with this end always in view, travelled the way with single minded resolution, and in doing so brought many with her. The rest of us-well sometimes our eyes get heavy, our vision falters, we become somewhat short sighted and the things around us seem more attractive than the distant scene. We let our gaze roam, the bye ways beckon and we leave the way to explore alternative routes. Sometimes we even get lost.On this vocation Sunday let us listen to Catherine reminding us of what we are about. Let the fire of her love set us alight, that aglow with the love of God, we might light up the way for others.Catherine was utterly […]

Palm Sunday

During the past week as I reflected on St Mark’s Passion narrative,(Ch 14 &15) which we heard at Mass this morning, my attention was drawn to the woman who broke the jar of ointment and poured it out on Jesus’ head – a very good symbol of our monastic contemplative way of life. St Mark tells us that she broke the jar and poured out the precious ointment while the disciples murmured and criticised her action as being wholly foolish and wasteful: “why this waste? Ointment like this could be sold and the money given to the poor! And they were angry with her.” We hear similar comments regarding our way of life: “why waste your life away within an enclosure apparently doing nothing while there is so much need in our modern world.” However Jesus praised the woman’s action saying: “leave her alone ……. You have the poor with you always …she has done what was in her power to do ….. wherever the Good News is proclaimed what she has done will be told also in remembrance of her.”Jesus and the woman were looking at life from a different perspective, both understood each other, they had a deep contemplative vision which penetrated beyond the external appearances to the heart – in a word they were seeing from God’s point of view. Later in chapter 14 Jesus is present at another meal when he will take bread saying: “take it, this is my Body” and he will take the cup saying: “this is my Blood which is poured out for you”.The woman breaks the jar and does ‘what was in her power to do’ – she gives […]

Gospel Reflection: 3rd Sunday of the Year

The Communion Antiphon for this 3rd Sunday of the year urges us to “Look up to the Lord with gladness and smile …”.Julian of Norwich, in the 15th Century, also reminds us that it is “in this, Our Lord wills that we be occupied – having joy in him for he has joy in us”.If joy, as has been said, “is gladness of heart in the presence of the Beloved” then “greatly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwells in him”.”For our courteous Lord wills that we be be as homely with him as heart can think or soul desire. But we must beware lest we take this homeliness so recklessly as to forsake courtesy.And he wants to have us, who will be with him in heaven without end, like himself in all things.If we do not know how we shall do all this, let us desire it from our Lord, and he will teach us, for that is his own delight and his glory.”We know that “he is the ground of all our life in love; he is our everlasting keeper and mightily defends us against our enemies. When we come to him in our weaknesses the says to each of us – ‘my dear darling I am glad that you have come to me; in all thy woe I have been with you. And now you see me in my love and we are one in bliss.”Blessed Henry Suso expresses a similar thought,when he wrote, “Be glad dear daughter, because you have found God whom you sought so long and so earnestly. Turn to him with shining eyes, smiling face and happy heart. Embrace him with the outstretched arems of your […]

By |January 25th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Novena to St Catherine of Siena

As promised we share here some of Catherine’s writings on which we are reflecting during these days of preparation for her feast on the 29th.The following is an extract from a letter addressed to Fr Bartolomeo Dominici, in Florence in 1375: (taken from Suzanne Noffke’s translation of Catherine’s letters, Vol I)I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ am writing to encourage you in the precious blood of God’s Son. I long to see you set afire, swallowed up and consumed in His blazing charity, for we know that those who are set afire and consumed in that true charity lose all self-consciousness. That is what I want you to do.I am inviting you, in this blazing charity, to plunge into a peaceful sea, a deep sea. I have just rediscovered the sea – not that the sea is new, but it is new to me in the way my soul experiences it – in the words “God is love”. Just as the sun shines its light on the earth and a mirror reflects a person’s face, so these words echo within me that everyting that is done is simply love, because everything is made entirely of love, This is why He says “I am God, Love”. This sheds light on the priceless mystery of the incarnate Word, who out of sheer love, was given in such humility that it confounds my pride. It teaches us to look not just at what He did but at the blazing love this Word has given us. It says that we should do as a loving person does when a friend comes with a gift, […]

4th Sunday Cycle C

Mass Readings:1st Reading: Jer 1:4-5, 17-192nd Reading: 1Cor 12:31-13:13Gospel: Luke 4:21-30The Gospel reading to-day is a continuation of last week’s Gospel Luke 4:14-21. Last week Luke told us that Jesus “with the power of the Spirit in Him returned to Galilee; and His reputation spread throughout the countryside – He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised Him.”While today we hear again that Jesus “won the approval of all and the people were astonished by the gracious words that came from His lips” this admiration soon turned sour! Today’s Gospel ends with the stunning words: “they took Him (Jesus) up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw Him down the cliff, but He slipped through the crowd and walked away”.How mysterious to relflect on the fact that the preaching of Jesus, the Son of God, who was filled with “the power of the Spirit”, was rejected by some. Must we, His disciples, be surprised if our preaching is not accepted by our contemporaries. But Jesus continued to proclaim the truth no matter what the cost and we know that this ultimately led to the Cross. His love for His Father and for us His brothers and sisters was so great that it was unthinkable for Him to give up. St Paul’s hymn on ‘love’ in the second reading could be paraphrased as follows:Jesus was always patient and kind; He was never jealous; He was never boastful or conceited; never rude or selfish; did not take offence, and was not resentful. Jesus took no pleasure in other people’s sins but delighted in the truth; He was always ready to excuse, to […]

By |January 31st, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

2nd Sunday Cycle C

THEYHAVE NO WINE1st Reading: Is 62:1-52nd Reading: 1Cor 12:4-11Gospel: Jn 2:1-12Reflection 1A homely scene some 2000 years agoA wedding feast at Cana.Jesus, God and man invited,His disciples too.The wine runs shortMary, God’s own Mother takes note,Her appeal to her Son bears fruit.Water is turned into wine and in abundance! And today? Jesus loves the Church, you and me, as a Bride. He conquered our sin and death by His appalling Death And glorious Resurrection.Brought us redemption; blessed us with his Spirit.Shamefully we, members of the Church, have been unfaithful.The God of love does not forsake us:“No longer are you to be named ‘forsaken’nor your land ‘abandoned’but you shall be called ‘my delight’and your land ‘the wedded’Dare we once again heed God’s Mother And do what he tells us?‘Repent and believe the Gospel.’‘Love one another as I have loved you’.‘Forgive and you shall be forgiven’‘As the Father has loved me so I have loved you remain in my love’He let his glory be seen (through us) and his disciplesBelieved in him.As the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,So will your God rejoice in you.Thank you, Merciful Jesus, friend of sinners.Reflection 2About Zion I will not be silentAbout Jerusalem I will not grow wearyuntil her integrity shines out like the dawn,and her salvation flames like a torchIn this 1st.reading of to-days liturgy we hear an echo of Jesus’ great cry on the Cross—- I THIRST.Thirsting-yes but for what?—–Water to be sure, to quench […]

By |January 16th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

December 24th/25th – CHRISTMAS

On Christmas Eve we began the Divine Office with the antiphon Know today that the Lord will come: in the morning your will see his gloryWouldn’t it be wonderful if we could live each day with the conviction that yes, the Lord will come – that He will come is as sure as the dawn! During the past four weeks of Advent we have been waiting for His coming and we have reflected on His three comings:1) His coming at the end of time2) His coming on the first Christmas at Bethlehem3) His coming in grace to each individualWhile we remember and celebrate His coming on the first Christmas night when the angels brought the shepherds “the news of great joy that today a Saviour has been born” we can also look on our celebration of Christmas as a foretaste of that moment when that same Saviour will bring us through the gates of death to eternal life and then we shall see His glory! what our joy will be on that day we will never grasp until we experience it! Therefore each celebration of the Christmas mystery deepens our joy and our hope and unites us with our loved ones who have gone before us and who await us to share in the great banquet of our heavenly home.We wish all our readers a grace-filled Christmas.The following is a reflection given by one of the our sisters at First Vespers of Christmas which we would like to share with youREFLECTION This year marked the 30th Anniversary of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s death. He was given this title “The World’s Preacher” because he had an audience of millions for his T.V. shows and […]

By |December 24th, 2009|Liturgy|1 Comment

Second Week of Advent

The readings for this Sunday are full of hope and enouragement – as we all know, we, Irish people are greatly in need of such hope in our present crises. One can almost feel that these readings were selected specially for us!!! The entrance antiphon which we sing in our community for the Mass of this Second Sunday of Advent expresses very well these sentiments of hope which God’s loving providence provides:People of Zion, the Lord will come to save all nations, and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. The people of God will sing songs of joy, like songs in the night. They will have gladness of heart. People of Sion the Lord will come to save all nations and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. On every high mountain streams will flow and there will be light – as you are healed by the Lord. Yes on every high mountain, streams will flow and there will be joy, for your are loved by the Lord In the Gospel this Majestic voice – the Word of God – came to John the Baptist in the wilderness. So too with us God’s word comes to us in the wilderness – in the ordinariness, of our own lives and in bewildering circumstances – if only we have an open ear and an open heart to listen and hear His message. John’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins is one of hope. No matter how far we may have strayed from God, He is always there at our side – for we cannot escape His all seeing eye – waiting for us […]

By |December 5th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

“Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him”

Last Sunday’s Gospel (the story of the rich young man, Mk ch 10) is a very rich one for vocation discernment. Every vocation grows from an awareness that, just as He did with the young man in the Gospel, Jesus is looking at me with love and saying, “come, follow me”. It is also important to see that a religious vocation is given to those who “lack” something – a religious vocation is not given to one who is holy but to one whom God wishes to make holy. Jesus looks at each one, just as we are, and loves us and calls us to follow him. It is out of that deep love that he says, “there is one thing you lack” – he loves us so much that he wants us to be complete and whole, loving God and our neighbour with our whole being. And so he calls us and says, “there is one thing you lack … come follow me”. Jesus is not saying we must be perfect to be called to religious life but He is calling us to religious life because He knows that this is the best way for us.A vocation is not so much what we do for God as what God is doing for us. The particular vocation to which Jesus calls each one of us is intended to help us to overcome what we are ‘lacking’. Many people speak of the ‘feeling that something was missing’ in their everyday life before they discerned their vocation. For me personally I experienced this sense that something was ‘lacking’ during my discernment regarding where the Lord was leading me and which Order I should to enter. […]

‘cups and pots and bronze dishes’

22nd Sunday in Ordinary time Yr BGospel from Mark 7:1-8;14-15;21-23‘cups and pots and bronze dishes’What are these before the Lord? … nothing …and not only nothing, but empty.Why do you hide behind them?Why do you make them out to be so important?Why won’t you follow Me?You – not the cups and pots and bronze dishes – you are the one I want, not these empty, lifeless things. They are only useful for holding and carrying, but I want you to contain Me – I want to live and be alive in you.We are invited to give up trying to control God, trying to make God out to be what we think He should be. But, we don’t believe in God so as to be able to force His hand, to have control over how He acts, to tell Him how to be God. God is not complicated, as we make Him out to be. He has given us His Son, who is the Way the Truth and the Life. He has given us everything, and still humbly asks us neither to ‘take from’ nor ‘add to’ what we have been given – don’t try to perfect Him who is already perfect, who is God.When I come to the Lord, then, and don’t know what to do or say, and almost helplessly cry out ‘Lord, all I want is you’, I should remember and believe that they are the same words He speaks to me: ‘My child, My beloved, … all I want is you’.So, shake off the fear of unworthiness and unclean-ness – or, at least, be an honest hypocrite before God. Give Him the fear, but give Him […]