Dare to Believe?

Inspiration …Next Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew speaks about ‘your virtue’ going ‘deeper than that of the Scribes and Pharisees.’  This is prompted a very interesting reflection just a while ago, as Sisters in our Community shared a little, the words of this Gospel with which they have been praying during this week.You will remember that in Luke’s Gospel, when the sisters Martha and Mary welcomed the Lord to their home, Mary sat at his feet and listened to Him (cf Lk 10:38-42).Well, the connection in my head and in my reflection was that Jesus is our virtue – God is our virtue.  We believe and we know that the source of all goodness is in God … in fact is God working in us, with our free desire to be and to do good.  We are not by any means puppets or marionettes!  But the thought that came to me was simply that Goodness, and consequently virtue and wisdom, along with all that we associate with God … is a Person: is personified in God Himself.How amazing!  Jesus, then, is telling us that He is our virtue and more .. He who is God wants us to possess this virtue – to possess Him.  Almost as though He would like to be a marionette for us, ‘our puppet.’  He wants to dwell very deeply within us, within YOU … you are as essential as that to Him.   Why?LOVE.  The love of the Lord is utterly mind-boggling, that He would make Himself small enough to fit inside us.  It is a very amazing gift to have been called like Mary, to sit at His feet and listen to Him.  And when we listen, sometimes what we hear […]

By |February 12th, 2014|Liturgy|0 Comments

Year of Faith: World Day Celebrating Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)

 Pope Francis’ homily at the Mass this morning is excellent – we have taken it from the Vatican web site and share with our readers here:  Dear Brothers and Sisters,            This celebration has a very beautiful name: “Evangelium Vitae”, the Gospel of Life. In this Eucharist, in the Year of Faith, let us thank the Lord for the gift of life in all its forms, and at the same time let us proclaim the Gospel of Life.            On the basis of the word of God which we have heard, I would like to offer you three simple points of meditation for our faith: first, the Bible reveals to us the Living God, the God who is life and the source of life; second, Jesus Christ bestows life and the Holy Spirit maintains us in life; and third, following God’s way leads to life, whereas following idols leads to death.1. The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, speaks to us of life and death. King David wants to hide the act of adultery which he committed with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in his army. To do so, he gives the order that Uriah be placed on the front lines and so be killed in battle. The Bible shows us the human drama in all its reality: good and evil, passion, sin and its consequences. Whenever we want to assert ourselves, when we become wrapped up in our own selfishness and put ourselves in the place of God, we end up spawning death. King David’s adultery is one example of this. Selfishness leads to lies, as we attempt to deceive ourselves and those around us. But God cannot be deceived. We […]

4th Sunday of Lent – Year C

I think if I had to choose just one Gospel passage to reflect on for the rest of my life I would choose the parable of the Prodigal son. Already I have probably spent more time with it than any other piece of Scripture mainly because it raised issues for me and I knew that if I could stay with it until it revealed God’s word to me, it would change me. For a long time I couldn’t get my head around the idea that the Father could love these two sons so much, that they could be in the presence of such love, and not experience it. How could it be? I can understand it happening with a human parent. Many of us I’m sure only under stood how much our parents loved us, when we got to the stage in our own lives, where we were able to see how much we loved others in spite of our woundedness and oft times the damage our unresolved issues may have caused. But this is God. His love is untarnished by human sin or weakness. There are no projections, no hidden agendas, no demands. Then how is it that one son takes off and the other stays but seems to resent being deprived the very thing he stays for, his Father’s love and approval? He was physically present but was as oblivious to the depth of his father’s love for him as his brother was. And I, when I let the unsettled feelings I had around all this surface, found myself resenting God, blaming God for not getting through to them, or not making it clearer. In my head I knew the fault couldn’t […]

3rd Sunday of Lent – Year C

 “Strong is His love for us” – we could say that this phrase from the responsorial psalm sums up the message of today’s Mass readings.Our God is a ‘consuming fire’ who “forgives all our guilt” and “heals our ills” (Ps 102).  He is “compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.”In the Gospel Jesus explains in the parable of the fig tree which did not bear fruit that he is always prepared to give us a second chance, to give us more time, in the hope that we will repent of our sins and failures.  “Give it (ie the fig tree) one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it – it may bear fruit next year!” (Gospel – Lk 13:1-9).It is the same God who appeared to Moses while he went about his daily work of tending the flock and spoke to him from the burning bush.  Moses was standing on “holy ground” without knowing it!  God reveals His name as I AM.  When we live in the present we live in the PRESENCE of our God who knows all about the plight of His people and their desires for freedom.  As God sent Moses to the people of Israel to be His mouth-piece and His instrument in freeing them from their bondage, so today He needs each of us to tell others of the love, compassion and forgiveness of our God.  We need not be afraid to open to Him for He will surpass all our expectations and dreams with the abundance of His love – “Strong is His love for us!”“Only where God is seen does life truly begin.  Only when we […]

Something about JESUS

We’ve come out of Retreat (well, a week ago now) and I’ve noticed again how it happens that the sense that I haven’t even begun to know the Lord, is so strong. How do you meet Jesus, at that level or in that place where we most need to know Him, and to meet and be reached by Him?The Sermon on the Mount (cf Mt 5) – I decided to start again at the ‘beginning’ and try and meet Him again. … ‘his fame spread throughout all Syria …’ (Mt 4:24); … ‘And great crowds followed him …’ (Mt 4:25) What would it have been like to have been one of the crowd? How did it happen that a person became one of the crowd: if they followed him not because they were sick or in need of any kind of healing? What was it about Him that drew so many people to Him?It can be a lonely business, choosing God even when at the same time, on the other hand, it is a most wondrous and joy-filled experience – that moment when you say ‘yes’ to Jesus, because you just know that what He wants is not anything you can do or be, but purely and simply you. And He understands the loneliness: He’s in it too.There’s something about Jesus.There – on the ‘Mount’ – surrounded by the crowds of people, telling them who they are: building them up and encouraging them to keep reaching out for what it was they sought, that something that compelled them to go after Him. And He said:‘Blessed are the poor in spirit …; those who mourn …; the meek …those who hunger and thirst for righteousness […]

Novena to St Catherine – Day 5

St Catherine on ObedienceAs we, as a community, have been and continue to reflect on the theme of obedience, I would like to read extracts from one of Catherine’s Prayers, number eleven, which teaches us many things about obedience, but especially the profound and inseparable link between obedience and love. In this prayer Catherine makes reference to a statement made by the Father in the Dialogue with particular reference to love and obedience. I quote: “So you see that in whatever bond of love they finish their lives, that bond is theirs forever and lasts eternally. They are so conformed to my will that they can will only what I will. When time came to an end for them, and they died in grace, their freedom was so bound with the chains of charity that they are no longer capable of sin.” (No 41)Catherine prays:Eternal Godhead!Your Truth shows usthat the soul must strip herself of her selfish willif she wants to be clothed perfectly in yours.Dispossessed of her own will,she is so well clothed in yours that she neither seeks nor desires anythingbut what you seek and will for her.You are in love with such a soul,and she with you.But you love her gratuitously,since you loved her before she came to be,while she loves you because it is her duty.She has come to know that she cannot love you gratuitously,since it is she who is obligated to you,not you to her,and she has seen that this free love which she cannot give to youshe must give to her neighbours,loving them gratuitouslynor does she serve them for any profit she might get from them but only for love;and she loves them because you command itand […]

1st Sunday of Lent – Desert Experience

In this morning’s Gospel St Mark tells us that “the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert and he remained there and was put to the test by Satan” (Mk 2:12f)– a very stark picture at first glance!Immediately before this passage we read about Jesus’ Baptism when He, the sinless One, took on the burden of our sins and was baptised by John. The heavens were opened and the Spirit descended on him and the voice from heaven declared: “You are my Son, the Beloved, my favour rests on you.” Strengthened in the conviction of being the Beloved of the Father, at once the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert…..In the Old Testament the desert symbolised both the place of testing and the place of intimacy with God. We read in the Book of Deuteronomy: “Remember the long road by which the Lord led you for forty years, to humble you, to test you and know your inmost heart – whether you would keep his commandments or not …learn that the Lord was training you as a man trains his child.”For the Old Testament prophets the desert symbolised the place of intimacy with the Lord as we read in the Prophet Hosea: “I am going to seduce her and lead her into the desert and speak to her heart …there she will respond to me”. Hosea continues: “when that day comes I shall make a treaty for them with the wild animals …and I will let them sleep secure.” (2:21) and there follows these beautiful lines: “I shall betroth you to myself foreverI shall betroth you in faithfulness and loveAnd you will come to know the Lord.”For me these lines throw […]

By |February 26th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Resting in God

Last Sunday (16th Sunday Yr B) brought us a lovely invitation to “Come away …..and rest for a while.” (Mk 6:30-34)This week Jesus re-issues the invitation when He says …to all who are “sitting ready” that He would give as much as was wanted. (Jn 6:1f) What is it like to “come way and rest awhile?” and to sit, waiting in emptiness and yet ready…???You may say ‘rest’!!!! what can the Lord be possibly talking about? All I feel is toil and pain – not rest. When I try to follow His invitation, suffering and struggle beset me on all sides …if this is rest! I think it is an odd kind of rest …. But hold on, there’s hope in the sitting and waiting….Doesn’t Psalm 39 say: “I waited, I waited for the LordAnd He stooped down to me”Imagine the Lord stooping down to me! Can you really believe this? when you see your desires obscured and your mind blank? Be not afflicted by this but rather consider it a great happiness because that person is perfect in faith who can come to God in the utter dearth of his feelings and desires and without a glow or an aspiration, with the weight of failure and neglect and wandering forgetfulness and hear Him say:Come then my loveMy lovely one comeFor see winter is pastThe rains are over and goneThe season of glad songs has comeCome then my loveShow me your face – your heartLet me hear your voice – your requestsFor your voice is sweetAnd your face beautiful…. (Cf Song of Songs)Ah yes Lord – here I am – coming to You “Breathe over my garden”I wonder what G M […]

Is Religious Life just ‘Hard Work’?

Please accept our apologies for our silence during the past few weeks!In the meantime we have had a week’s community’s ‘holidays’ – during which work is reduced a minimum and there is time and space for each sister to relax and take some extra rest, engage in favourite hobbies, watch a video etc.Last week was given over to a course of lectures on St Thomas and his theology of grace.On Monday next we begin our annual retreat of 8 days – at the end of which we look forward to welcoming an aspirant for a month’s ‘live-in’ experience. We ask your prayers for the light and guidance of the Holy Spirit for her and for the other young women who are discernimg their vocation to contemplative monastic life in our Dominican Order. We offer you the following reflection:Is Religious Life just ‘Hard Work’?Recently I came across a mention on a blog I follow to the effect that some people felt that his presentation of the spiritual life seemed to be one of working our way toward God, almost an endurance test. That got me thinking, since it seems to be a difficulty many people have with the Religious Life – the idea that it is something hard. I remember when I decided to enter I received a number of comments suggesting that I was doing something very demanding, especially since so few are entering nowadays. This impression of Religious Life as a hard thing fails to take into account the fundamental factor involved in a religious vocation – love. In the first place, from a purely natural point of view, anyone who is passionate about something, regards as nothing what others […]