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 […]

Feast of St Augustine – 28th August

“You have seduced me, Lord, and I have let myself be seduced;
you have overpowered me: you were the stronger.”(Jer 20:7)

These words from the prophet Jeremiah which we heard this morning at Mass prompted me to reflect on St Augustine whose feast day is to-day but was not celebrated.

Both Jeremiah and Augustine wrote what are known as their ‘confessions’ – accounts which describe their inner struggles and suffering, their loneliness and yearning for God. Their anger, complaints and disappointments betray the heart of a lover. Here I will focus on Augustine.

In his Confessions Augustine gives us a very moving account of his search for God or perhaps more correctly God’s search for him! – which reaches a climax when he exclaims “too late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient and so new, too late have I loved you.” (10:27)

From his earliest years Augustine had a very sensitive heart, with a great capacity for love but yet was prevented from recognising and accepting God as his true and ultimate joy because as he explains – although “he loved the happy life” and sought after truth he “feared to find it in God’s abode and so fled from it even as he sought it.” (cf 6:11). As Francis Thompson puts it “he feared lest having Him he must have naught beside.” (The Hound of Heaven).

God is a jealous lover and He is not satisfied till we surrender our inmost heart to Him. He is also a patient lover who knows how to wait while at the same time being a persistent lover who does not give up on us! Augustine describes the many ways in which God was secretly […]

Second Sunday of Lent

Mass Readings 1st Reading: Gen 15:5 – 12;17 – 18Psalm 262nd Reading: Phil 3:17 – 4:1Gospel Lk 9:28 – 36Reflection 1In the letter to the Ephesians, St Paul prays for all of us ‘that we may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, the length, the height and depth of the mystery of Christ Jesus, the Beloved Son’ ……….In today’s Gospel what can we learn, experience in faith and in love about the Person of Jesus? St Luke in his account of the Transfiguration has a telling phrase ‘as He (Jesus) prayed ….the aspect of His face was changed and His clothing became brilliant as lightning.’ This is the one moment in His life that Jesus allowed His Divinity to show in His Person. The joy and celebration of that moment are signified by the white and dazzling garments which we will see again after the Resurrection on the Risen Christ. The mysteries of Jesus are ours as much as they are His because we are one with Him through Baptism. God the Father chose us in Christ, St. Paul tells us. Each time the Father looks at Christ He sees and loves us as He loves Christ. Faith alone can receive this message as love alone has given it. Our gratitude and response of love are unbounded.How does Jesus grace us in this particular mystery? Three times only in the Gospels does the heavenly Father cause His voice to be heard by the world and what does He say? ‘This is my Son the chosen one. Listen to Him’. From this declaration we can discern the […]

By |February 27th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

St Catherine of Siena – Novena Day 2

The Eternal Father speaks to Catherine:My Truth invited you to call out thus when He said: “Call and you will be answered; knock and it shall be opened to you; ask and it shall be given to you.” So I am telling you what I want you to do. Never relax your desire to ask for My help. Never lower you voice in crying out to Me to be merciful to the world. Never stop knocking at the door of my Truth by following in His footsteps. Find your delight with Him on the cross by feeding on souls for the glory and praise of My Name, and with restless heart bewail the death of the human race which you see reduced to such misery. Through this lamentation and crying out it is My Will to be merciful to the world. This is what I require of My servants and this will be a sign to Me that you love Me in truth.Taken from Dialogue of St Catherine,(Chapter 107), Translated by Suzanne Noffke, Classics of Western Spirituality Series.

Dare to Believe

Then she knows the truth about me the eternal Father: that in love I have created her to give her eternal life. This is the truth, and I have revealed it to her in the blood of Christ crucified. Once the soul has come to know this, she loves it, and she shows her love by genuinely loving what I love and hating what I hate. …… So the memory, all imperfection past, is filled … because it has remembered and held within itself my blessings.… Understanding receives the light. Gazing into the memory it comes to know the truth, and shedding the blindness of selfish love it remains in the sunlight of Christ crucified in whom it knows both God and humanity. … Then the will, which follows understanding, united itself in a most perfect and burning love. And if anyone should ask me what this soul is, I would say: She is another me, made so by the union of love. These are words spoken by God, our eternal Father, to St Catherine of Siena, whose feastday occurs at the end of this month. She had an astounding love for the Lord, uncontainable, and it pours out in the words of the ‘Dialogue’. The words quoted above caught my attention, and then on re-reading them, caught my attention still more, and in these last few days, even hours, of Lent – they are quite powerful when you sit with them. St.Catherine’s ‘Dialogue’ is demanding that way, you can’t read too much at a time, because it contains so much.St.Catherine was passionate about the Lord, and she was passionate […]