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Be careful what you pray for!

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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Reflection on the readings   24 July 2022    ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’  Be careful what you pray for! This Sunday’s readings offer lessons on prayer. The Gospel passage opens with Jesus at prayer – a familiar scene in Luke – and with an intriguing request from the disciples: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Why do they ask this? Presumably well-tutored already in those prayers recited in the synagogue and Temple, the disciples do not need to learn more. They speak of John and his disciples, but perhaps this is really about Jesus and them as His disciples. Do they hope to learn to become more like Jesus, to approach their God as Jesus does? Whatever their motivation, Jesus responds positively. The disciples do not learn specific words for reciting by rote. Instead, Jesus teaches them about relationship with God. He offers guidance on how to pray and what to pray for, on the importance of perseverance, and on the effective

The harvest is rich!

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‘The harvest is rich … ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest’ Today’s Gospel may prompt us to pray for vocations to religious life but it prompts us too to something more (Matthew 9:32-38). ‘The harvest is rich’ Do you hear the invitation these words contain?   ‘The harvest is rich’ Many hands are needed to bring in this rich harvest, to join Jesus’ mission of making the Kingdom present in our world, to bring God’s good news to those who need it today.   ‘The harvest is rich’ Jesus’ words are an invitation to consider your call as a disciple of Jesus, an identity that became yours at your baptism.   What does Jesus ask of you, his disciple? Will you say yes? Will you be part of the people who bring in the harvest?   ‘The harvest is rich’  

Live loved !

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SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY  Today is a day for all who love - in whatever form of life is theirs - because we are all born for love; we are all born to love and to be loved. Saint John teaches us that 'we love because God loved us first' (1 John 4:19)   ... and also that ... God so loves the world and God so loves you! Live loved! We are all called to love and to live knowing we are loved. Happy Saint Valentine's Day

To hold God in your arms

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Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple           'suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord whom you seek' (Malachi 3:1-4) Today, Mass begins with these words of prayer:       Brothers and sisters,        forty days have passed since the solemnity of Christmas.        Today the Church once again prepares to celebrate the day in which Mary and Joseph       presented Jesus in the Temple.        With that ceremony our Lord submitted himself to the prescriptions of the old law       and came to his people, who waited for him with faith.        Guided by the Holy Spirit,       the old, holy people Simeon and Anna came to the temple;        Illumined by the same Spirit,       they recognised the Lord and full of joy gave witness to him.             We who also are here united by the Holy Spirit       go towards an encounter with Christ       whom we find and recognise in the breaking of the bread,       while we wait for him to come and manifest himself in his glor

On love

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God is love ... Today, the first reading at Mass teaches us about love and about God, who loves us beyond our wildest imagining. If we could grasp that immensity of love with which God holds us in being, imagine how our world would be ... If we could live from a soul-knowing of that vast love, imagine how we might live ... If we could love from a heart-knowing of that immensity love, imagine how we might love ... God so loved the world ... and God so loved you!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! May 2022 be a year abundant with God's blessings!  

O Come, O come, Emmanuel !

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  O come, o come, Emmanuel. Emmanuel - God-with-us - come quickly and do not delay. May we feel the closeness of God-with-us in our hearts and lives this Christmas time. May we find some measure of the peace and joy that the Christ-child's coming brings to troubled, sad humanity. If circumstances are far from ideal, may we remember that the first Christmas was full of the messiness and upheaval of human life too. Whatever our Christmas brings, may we find comfort in the knowledge that God knows first-hand our reality and God chose to be part of it and with us in it all, in the mess as much as in the joys. O come, o come, Emmanuel. Emmanuel - God-with-us - come quickly and do not delay.

Advent - 1 - Hold on to Hope

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This evening, Advent begins    We light the first candle and we wait in hope. In this Sunday’s reading, we hear words of hope. Through the prophet Jeremiah, the LORD tells that                 “the days are coming … when I will fulfill the promise I made” (33:14-16)  and Jesus instructs disciples to            “stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand” (Luke 21:25-28, 34-36).     These are days when our world needs hope, a hope rooted in faith (Hebrews 6:19), a hope grounded in a faith that knows God’s promises are fulfilled. In these days of darkness, both inner and outer, let us hold on to that hope.  Hold firm and wait for the Lord. He will come.   We pray: Come Lord Jesus, quickly come! Maranatha!

On bends in the road

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They tell me that when you go through the arch the mist is gone ... But … I’m afraid to go and see for myself I don’t know if that’s so I haven’t gone there But … maybe the mist will lift here soon, maybe the mist will reach there soon, maybe I don’t mind mist so much, and … I know this side so well. I don’t know what’s at the other side. I don’t know who’s at the other side and … maybe I like where I am now, maybe I am happy on this side of the arch there’s nothing wrong with this side. They tell me that there’s no mist there. But I can’t see around the turn in the road. I don’t need to go there But I could But why would I It might be lovely there. But it’s safe here, and familiar. But … to move is to change, and movement is good, change is good, but to change brings fear To take the turn is frightening But take the turn anyway. I can’t see it                            yet                                      but                         

Celebrating our Guardian Angels

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Feast of the Guardian Angels  Celebrating our Guardian Angels - expressions of God’s enduring love and care for each one of us. Photo by Cosmin Gurau: https://unsplash.com/photos/H9pOaHJT0_E “She was my angel in Kerdiffstown during my novitiate” – my older Dominican Sisters often describe another sister with this phrase.  Usually a so-called angel was a second year novice or recently professed sister, and she was aptly named.  Her role was a little like that of a guardian angel – taking a newly entered postulant under her wings, helping her to settle, guiding and caring for the one placed in her charge. You might wonder why this was the practice in our Congregation. I suspect it was because, in many ways, entering the convent was – and still is – like entering a parallel universe.  Things are familiar yet somehow strange; done in a particular way and at particular times; one can sense unwritten codes of behaviour that can be difficult to decipher. Some things make little sense, yet eve

Psalm for a time of emotional volatility

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A prayer for a time of emotional volatility      ~ or for when you experience yourself fall off the metaphorical cliff Lord I have fallen over the cliff, again. I didn't teeter on the edge this time. Yes I was tired, body and soul weary; there was that but I wasn't even close to the edge when      the           free                fall                     plunge                          happened and now It’s like the ground has vanished under my feet and I’m free-falling in emotions that overwhelm me - strong, difficult emotions emptiness Crying tears of fear or anxiety or sadness, I am frightened, tired, afraid, trapped, locked in, alone Not calm but dead-minded, numb and hurting together. I've fallen off the cliff Lord and it’s frightening. I feel so afraid and alone overwhelmed in the emptiness and there's no one nobody to turn to, no one to talk to, here or anywhere Not one who can understand What do I do? Where do I turn? Lord, are you there? Why don't you answ

Earth, Teach Me Stillness

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'Earth, teach me stillness Earth, teach me stillness'  In my mind often,  these words,  like a mantra But I’ve noticed: Earth is not still. I might even teach it a thing or two about stillness. If you sit in the Brockaghs, in the heather, the buzz of bees and hoverflies is deafening while the birds - so many - outdo one another in song - each more insistent, grasshoppers accompanying with their drum-like beat  bracken crackles - at a later time of year - as its seed-heads pop to say nothing of the earth hurtling through space spinning all the while on its axis. Earth is not still. I might even teach it a thing or two about stillness. Yet  it teaches me, silences me, stills me. It teaches me stillness. Earth teaches me stillness. Let me learn  and well 05.08.21

Breathe. Be breathed

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page taken from Soothing Breath booklet (4 Corners Festival 2021)  https://4cornersfestival.com/soothingbreath/ Breathe. Be breathed. Do you ever hold your breath? I do. In times of anxiety or stress, I stop breathing. Often unthinkingly, it becomes my way of asserting control, albeit not at all effective. Breathing deeply and with awareness is the better strategy!  In a time of pandemic, when our breath symbolises danger, when a virus tiny yet deadly is carried in this very fact of our lives, how can we breathe freely, let alone peacefully? Where is God in this? As COVID-19 filled successive months of 2020, I pondered the topic of breath in my prayer.  Have you noticed how closely connected God’s breath is to all existence? All is breathed by God. Again and again in Scripture, we find the Hebrew ruach and Greek pneuma - translated breath, wind, spirit - used in connection with God. In the beginning, the ruach of God hovers and creation happens (Gen 1:2). The movement of God’s brea

Even the wind and the sea obey him!

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Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time - Reflection on the Gospel Mark 4:35-41 20 June 2021 This Sunday’s Gospel is filled with atmosphere. It begins as darkness approaches. Soon, a gale is blowing, waves are crashing and a boat is in danger of ‘going down!’ In my mind, it is inextricably connected to another moment filled with atmosphere – a dark Roman evening in March 2020, slightly over two weeks after the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic. I imagine I will never again hear or read this text without being transported back to that time. The choice of this episode from Mark’s Gospel for that March evening was an inspired one and the Pope’s homily is to be read and pondered more than once. [1] Nevertheless, what remains in my memory is not words, but images and impressions: Pope Francis praying alone in the rain, in the darkness, in a virtually empty St Peter’s Square. It was a visually striking moment of prayer, both reassuring and filled with foreboding. In a sense, for many of

Let your light shine!!!

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In today's Gospel, Jesus teaches. There are crowds listening to him as he teaches about discipleship. What he says is challenging and demanding. Being his disciple is hard, but it is not impossible. Today, these words may give heart to struggling disciples ...                                                                                                                         ... let your light shine. More than once in John's Gospel, Jesus declares: ' I am the light of the world'. Here, Jesus declares: ' You are the light of the world'. That's us - we are the light of the world! Listen to what he says next. He encourages those who hear him to 'let your light shine'. Listen to what Jesus doesn't say. Jesus doesn't say: when you feel you are ... bright enough, strong enough, brave enough, confident enough, gifted enough, ready enough ... let

Pointers to God

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This beauty is ridiculous! This detail! This is just one flower from a horse chestnut tree 'candle'      ~ c andles are the flowers that appear at this time of year and cover the tree ~ there must be at least 25 of these on each candle.   God is an artist - and an amazing one! God is in the details. So many pointers to God!   How should tasting, touching, hearing, seeing, breathing any Lifted from the no of all nothing Human merely being doubt unimaginable You? Now the ears of my ears awake And now the eyes of my eyes are opened ~ ee cummings #GodIsAnArtist #TheWorldIsMyCloister #IMetGodToday

'God is Love' ... Here endeth the lesson!

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'God is love'  This is what St John writes in 1 John 4:8.  Just three words but they say everything.  John continues to write about God's love for us, rather than write about our love for God.      God is love      ~ Just three words.      God loves us      ~ Just three more. What more can be said? Nothing more needs to be said! If we can rest in these words, if we can believe them, if we can live from them ...  ... knowing we are loved by God. Everything else falls into place -  surely and simply       God is love and God loves us           Here endeth the lesson!  

Quench that Dark Fire

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Winter is not letting go of life easily this year. In the wake of its death throes, we are showered with hail, sleet, even snow – in temperate Ireland in April – and cutting winds too. But, Spring is taking hold, irrepressibly: buds bursting, trees greening, flowers unfolding their colours, birds ever-more-insistently singing. Like old hatred that burns high, easily kindled,       Winter is fighting back, biting back, at signs that its time is past. But as love is stronger than hate,       Spring cannot, will not, be stopped. Light will come, days grow longer. Resurrection is fact. Death and hate have no place in a resurrected world. Life, light, love, peace, unity will reign in God’s space. In ours’ too we hope. Quench that dark fire      for the Light that cannot go out. Jesus is still risen. Death has been defeated.      

A Burning Heart

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Emmaus  “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:13-25) Where will you meet the Risen Lord today ... look for Him, listen for Him, be surprised by His presence! He is risen! He is still risen! Watch for Him on the road! Feel your heart on fire! Emmaus is everywhere. All roads lead to Emmaus.  I met God today. My heart is burning still. #Emmaus #WeWalkHisWay #WeWalkByFaith credit: claudiarndt

God so loved the world - God so loved you

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Fourth Sunday of Lent - - - ‘God loved the world so much’       ‘God loved the world so much’ In a very real sense, these six words from this Sunday’s Gospel say more than enough and there is nothing further to be said, nothing more one can add! While short, today’s excerpt is packed tight, complex and rich in meaning. It contains a summary of John’s Gospel and the opposites or polarities presented in it are found here too: darkness and light; acceptance and rejection; his own and not his own; belief and unbelief (see John 1:1-13). There is much with which one might spend time. But, let’s remain with God’s love.      God so loved the world Assertions of God’s love echo throughout the Scriptures from their beginning, from the first moments of creation: ‘God saw … it was very good’ (Gen 1:31). In today’s readings, God’s love is very much in focus. From Chronicles, written in the time of exile, we hear that God ‘wished to spare his people’ and ‘tirelessly sent them messenger after mess