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A Vocation Story

Since today’s Gospel is the sending out of the Disciples it seems appropriate to share Sr Mary Cathy’s vocation story: how she recognised/discovered where our Lord was calling her to work in his vineyard.Sr Mary Cathy making First Profession, 2nd February 2013My name is Cathy Howard. I am 32 years old and I come from Finglas, Dublin. Both my parents are living and I have four brothers, two sisters and nine nieces and nephews. I entered the Monastery of St. Catherine of Siena in Drogheda, County Louth, in April 2010. I spent nine months as a Postulant, two years as a Novice, and made my First Profession on the 2nd February 2013. I did not really know anything about God or the Church until I got involved with the Legion of Mary in 2004. A member of the Legion working in the Regina Caeli Hostel, encouraged me to go to Confession 鈥 the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and so I did. This was the first time I had gone to Confession since my First Holy Communion. I spent two hours with the priest and it was during this Confession that I experienced God鈥檚 love, mercy and forgiveness. For the first time in my life I felt free and alive. This was the beginning of a new journey for me. I was to spend many more hours in confession during my first years following my conversion. This sacrament continues to be a great source of healing for me. I became a member of the Legion in 2005. Part of the Legion鈥檚 work is door to door visitation by two members. I found this work very challenging as I had very little knowledge of the teachings of […]

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: 鈥淓vangelium Vitae鈥, 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鈥檚 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鈥檚 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 […]

Reflection on the Gospel for the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time

I was deeply struck by the audacity of the woman in today鈥檚 Gospel and found myself asking how did she come by such inner freedom? What inner force made it possible for her to act so spontaneously and uninhibitedly? Perhaps I am way out, but I venture to say this was not her first encounter with Jesus. This is not a chance meeting. She is deliberately going to Simon鈥檚 house because Jesus is there and she brings ointment with her because she knows what she wants to do when she gets there. This woman knew who she was going to and was sure of the response she would receive because she had already been a recipient of Jesus love and knew herself to be loved and forgiven.  She knew that Jesus was aware of the purity and sincerity of her love for him. At some time this woman of ill repute, very familiar with all that can masquerade as love and it many caricatures, had recognised the real thing when she encountered it in Jesus and it had changed her. Now she really is in love and knows herself to be loved perhaps for the first time.A woman whose self image was so poor that she allowed herself to be used to gratify others is suddenly sure of herself and is undaunted in the presence of men who belittle and despise her. This is the power love has. When we know we are loved fear falls away. Instead her sole focus is on Jesus. She has heard he is here at Simon鈥檚 house and she arrives complete with ointment with only one thought in mind to minister to her beloved.  With total disregard to […]

The Gospel of Life

路 Year of Faith: World Day Celebrating Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) Bishops ask the faithful to offer their prayerful support at home and in the parishes of Ireland for an important initiative being led by Pope Francis this weekend in Rome which celebrates the sanctity of human life.  Evangelium vitae (The Gospel of Life) is an encyclical of Blessed Pope Paul John II, published on 25 March 1995, which expresses the teaching of the Catholic Church on the value and inviolability of human life. This weekend in the Vatican 15-16 June Pope Francis will celebrate the encyclical in a special event entitled, 鈥楤elieving, May They Have Life鈥. This will be a key event for the Year of Faith which the Universal Church is celebrating during 2013. The chosen theme reflects the Church鈥檚 commitment to the promotion, respect, and dignity of human life.   This Saturday 15 June at 8.30pm (Rome time) a silent, candle-lit procession will be held along Rome鈥檚 Via della Conciliazone in order to call attention to the theme of human life and its intangible value. It will be supported by pro-life people from around the world and the procession will conclude in Saint Peter鈥檚 Square. The following morning Pope Francis will preside at Sunday Mass at 10.30am with the entire 鈥榩eople of life鈥 to address his message and to show his care. Statement from the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference 

5th Sunday in Lent – Year C

Gospel: John 8: 1-11As this morning鈥檚 Gospel concerns judging others I was attracted to spending extra time with it during the week in the hope that it would help me with my failings in this area. In the course of the Gospel the Pharisees and Scribes, who are sinners like the rest of us, accuse this poor woman of her specific sin in front of Jesus and all those present.Jesus, with great wisdom, compassion and courtesy bends down to write on the ground, thus avoiding embarrassing the poor woman by staring at her and later, even avoiding embarrassing the Pharisees and Scribes as they leave one by one admitting their own guilt as sinners themselves when responding to the words of Jesus 鈥 鈥渋f there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.鈥 Even as Jesus pronounces the following beautiful words of forgiveness and freedom to the woman 鈥淣either do I condemn you, go away and don鈥檛 sin any more,鈥 he looks up at her from his stooped position of humility, reminding me of the Gospel text spoken by  Jesus, 鈥淟earn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your soul鈥 (Mt 11:29).He saves this poor woman from both physical and spiritual death in an instant. This Gospel teaches me that in the light of Jesus鈥 own silent suffering for all of us during his passion and horrific death on the cross, that every accusation by one of us against another has to fall silent for as the text in Romans says 鈥 God has imprisoned all people in their disobedience – not to punish […]

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鈥檚 word to me, it would change me. For a long time I couldn鈥檛 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鈥檓 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鈥檚 love and approval? He was physically present but was as oblivious to the depth of his father鈥檚 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鈥檛 […]

3rd Sunday of Lent – Year C

 鈥淪trong is His love for us鈥 鈥 we could say that this phrase from the responsorial psalm sums up the message of today鈥檚 Mass readings.Our God is a 鈥榗onsuming fire鈥 who 鈥渇orgives all our guilt鈥 and 鈥渉eals our ills鈥 (Ps 102).  He is 鈥渃ompassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy.鈥滻n 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.  鈥淕ive it (ie the fig tree) one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it 鈥 it may bear fruit next year!鈥 (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 鈥渉oly ground鈥 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 – 鈥淪trong is His love for us!鈥濃淥nly where God is seen does life truly begin.  Only when we […]

Reflection on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

One cannot miss the sheer explosion of joy in today鈥檚 liturgy especially in the first and second Mass Readings. 鈥楽hout for joy daughter of Sion, Rejoice exult with all your heart. The Lord your God is in your midst – he will exult for joy over you. He will renew you by his love鈥. Zeph.3 This is the real Good News, coming at a timely moment when dark clouds are hovering over our country. 鈥楨ven though the rain hides the stars, Even though the mist swirls the hills, Even when clouds veil the sky God is by my side鈥. (The Cloud鈥檚 Veil 鈥 Liam Lawton) Yes, indeed, not just our poets but the Word of God tells us 鈥榝ear not little flock, you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows, it has pleased my Father to give you the Kingdom鈥 Lk.12 And the wonder is that through the grace of Baptism, we have him not 鈥榡ust in our midst鈥 but actually dwelling within us. Jesus pleads with us 鈥榤ake your home in me as I make mine in you鈥. Jn.15 This abiding in Jesus is a cry from the depths of his heart because he knows that this abiding is the source of everything. It is a call to enter into the innermost life of the Trinity 鈥 into the 鈥榦cean of peace鈥 as St. Catherine called him, where nothing can disturb us, nothing frighten us, no one can rob us of our joy. 鈥淲e can please him best of all by wisely and truly believing this truth of our relationship with him and rejoicing with him and in him. For as truly as we shall be in the bliss of God without end […]

By |December 16th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

2nd Sunday of Advent

 鈥淭he Lord has done great things for usWe are filled with joy鈥 (Psalm 125)By directing our attention away from ourselves to focus instead on what God has done and is doing in the Church and in each of our lives, today鈥檚 Mass readings provide a wonderful message of hope: It is the Holy One who 鈥榬emembers鈥 us and comes to us in the wilderness of our lives and  makes us 鈥榡ubilant鈥 as He came of old to the Israelites in their exile and as he came to John in the wilderness.  So it is in the wilderness of our lives – with it pain and heart break, its anxieties and preoccupations – that we hear the Word of the Lord inviting us to repent of our sinful and all too human outlook and to prepare  a way for His coming.   In the first reading the prophet Baruch invites us to take off the 鈥渄ress of sorrow and distress鈥 鈥 whatever enslaves us –  and 鈥減ut on the beauty of the glory of God and to wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around us.鈥  For us Christians we know that the ‘cloak of integrity’ is nothing other than our being 鈥渋n Christ鈥 through our Baptism. In Christ Jesus we are all 鈥渟ons of God through faith – when we were baptised we were clothed with Christ鈥 (Gal 3:26,27) who has become 鈥渙ur wisdom, our virtue, our holiness and our freedom鈥 (1Cor 1:30).  Each of us can say 鈥渋t is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.鈥(Gal 2:10).  In the second reading St Paul suggests that it is our mutual love for each other which helps us become 鈥減ure and blameless for […]

By |December 9th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Feast of Christ the King

From all eternity , O Lord, you are Ps.92.Our Responsorial Psalm in today鈥檚 Liturgy gives us an insight into the depth and origin 鈥 although He has no origin 鈥 of this Person, this One in Three, whom we call our God, our King 鈥 the one St. Teresa of Avila, affectionately addressed as 鈥淵our Majesty鈥-. 鈥淭he world you made firm from of old 鈥 yes, from all eternity, you are鈥.During the past week, a few other passages from our daily Scripture, helped me to fathom a little deeper this line: 鈥楩rom all eternity, O Lord, you are鈥.Amos, the prophet, tells us:鈥楬e it was who formed the mountains, created the wind 鈥揾e made the Pleiades and Orion,and turns the dusk to dawn and the day to darkest night.He has built his high place in the heavens,and supported his vault on the earth. Amos 4:5,9.And this is only a brief glimpse into the mystery and wonder of it all.We have only to read what our Scientists tell about the origins of our mountains and streams, our stars and planets, created billions of years ago 鈥 our minds boggle at the whole geographic scene, and yet this same mighty God is He who comes to us in a wafer of bread, and a drop of wine 鈥 his Body and Blood consecrated by the Priest at every Mass. As Cardinal John Henry Newman prayed: 鈥淵ou are now, though in Heaven, just the same as you were on earth; the mighty God and yet the little child 鈥 the all holy yet all sensitive one鈥 鈥 our Lord and King inviting us into His Kingdom. Only by faith can we even dimly comprehend this mystery 鈥 this […]

By |November 27th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments