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Waiting...

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There is absolutely nothing we can do on Holy Saturday, and that is the point. It is a day of desolation and nothingness, a day of darkness and utter emptiness. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function. Christ lies in the grave, the Church sits near and mourns. After the great battle He is resting in peace, but upon Him we see the scars of intense suffering. The mortal wounds on His Body remain visible.  There is nothing to do now except wait… and waiting is the hardest part in this digital and instant age. Holy Saturday is the silent pause between what we have done and what God will do – what only God can do.

On this day God is silent, yet God is still at work. Scripture tells us Holy Saturday is the day Christ descended and ministered to those in Hades, or the place of the dead. This is not a trivial or side matter, which is why “He descended to the dead” finds mention in the Apostles’ Creed. Christ goes …

Betrayal-Only a friend can betray a friend

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As we journey on this Holy Week, the readings today contain a richness of which we often just scratch the surface. Today we see Jesus predict the betrayal which will cost Him his life. Often in a relationship, the betrayal is so shocking because we don't expect it, we didn't see the signs. Yet Jesus knew exactly who would betray but yet He continued to love Judas. He loved Judas even when Judas was enshrouded by darkness. “The light shines in the darkness” (John 1:5). The other disciples would betray Him in other ways but Judas could not turn back and accept the merciful love that would forgive even this most deceitful betrayal.
Each one of us at some stage of our lives have had our trust broken. Often it is not easy to bounce back as we fear that a new relationship or friendship will end up the same way as soon as we let down our guard. As we journey through life we seek people to trust and who support us. We are called to do the same. If we think back to the play Julius Ca…

Grace freely given-the Anointing at Bethany

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Grace, Mercy, Compassion, and Forgiveness freely and willingly offered to those who repent.

GRACE=
God’s
Riches
At
Christ’s
Expense

Strangely so, all the excitement of the procession into Jersualem, the crowds chanting, the road strewn with coats and branches – it all leads up to, well, nothing. Mark Chapter 11, 11 tells us that Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts, he looked around he then turns around and returns to Bethany. And Bethany is where a very significant event takes place, one that often is glossed over on our Holy Week journey.

Today, Monday of Holy Week, we are given a Gospel text which often passed over, the Anointing at Bethany. The anointing of Jesus at Bethany is an event which is narrated in the accounts of the four evangelists, something which is relatively rare. The details differ slightly from evangelist to evangelist. As Jesus dines with his beloved friends, Mary does something which only love can do. She took the most precious thing she ha…

The journey from 'Hosanna' to 'Crucify Him'

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“Lord, we know that every journey begins with a first step. Be with us as we take another step in our Lenten journey and a step towards the Triduum. We began this journey with the sign of ashes on our forehead, reminding us that this is no ordinary walk. We move one step forward in the promise of your light. We seek new meaning in the Easter that awaits us all. But first, we must walk with you to Jerusalem, to Calvary, to the Tomb and beyond. We ask for the courage and the grace that we need to be committed pilgrims along the Calvary Way. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. AMEN.”
As we draw near to the end of Lent, it’s fitting to think about the journey we make during this Holy Week. Holy Week is holy, first and foremost, because of all Jesus Christ did during this week, from the triumphal entry into his city on Palm Sunday, to his teaching in the Temple, to the Last Supper, to his prayer in Gethsemane, to his arrest, torture, crucifixion and death on Good Friday, to his res…

One 'yes' does not last a lifetime!

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For the solemnity today, the liturgy of the day offers us Luke's narrative of the Annunciation for our reflection. We all know how the story goes. I wish I could always muster a classy yes like Mary’s. “Let it be done with me according to your word” is a far cry from my usual “OK Lord, if you say so.” We do the best we can. We notice the very human details of the Annunciation. It happened in a specific place, to a specific person and so I look at my story and how I give my 'yes' for the small and the big moments of life.

Mary’s fiat, as it is called (Latin for “let it be done”), was a yes to the Unknown. These are the only yeses that really count. A yes to the Unknown—this was the fiat of Mary as she accepted the impossible message of the angel. This was the yes of those Wise Men following the star to only God knows where. This was the yes of Jesus as he accepted baptism by his cousin John. This is my yes to the Lord as He continues to lead me to different places, to dif…

Transfiguration

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Transfiguration
For that one moment, in and out of time,
On that one mountain where all moments meet,
The daily veil that covers the sublime
In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet.
There were no angels full of eyes and wings,
Just living glory full of truth and grace.
The love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face.
And to that light the light in us leaped up,
We felt it quicken somewhere deep within,
A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope
Trembled and tingled through the tender skin.
No can this blackened sky, this darkened scar,
Eclipse that glimpse of how things truly are.
(Malcolm Guite)

Hail Glorious St. Patrick

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Like so many Christian feasts, St Patrick’s Day has been somewhat hijacked. St Patrick has about as much to do with a pint of Guinness as St Valentine has to do with a box of chocolates and a romantic meal for two. But what does this saint, so strong in missionary zeal and about whom we know very little, have to do with our modern day celebrations? The answer comes from the Confessio itself. In the very opening paragraphs of the autobiography, St Patrick offers a meditation on the gift of faith and the praise that we owe in return to God for such a gift. Perhaps this is St Patrick’s greatest relevance, particularly in a culture that seems increasingly hostile to declarations of faith. He refuses to stay quiet; his evangelising zeal comes from knowing that he must speak to others of Christ:

“That is why I cannot be silent – nor would it be good to do so – about such great blessings and such a gift that the Lord so kindly bestowed in the land of my captivity. This is how we can repay suc…

Stargazing! Reflection for second Sunday of Lent

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Already at the second week of Lent, the liturgy presents us with varying images for the journey. Sunday is the day in my week where I  stop and take stock of how the journey is going. We are on a Lenten pilgrimage but from where and towards where?

Pope John Paul II writes in Incarnationis Mysterium 7: “A pilgrimage evokes the believer's personal journey in the footsteps of the Redeemer: it is an exercise of practical asceticism, of repentance for human weaknesses, of constant vigilance over one's own frailty, of interior preparation for a change of heart. Through vigils, fasting and prayer, the pilgrim progresses along the path of Christian perfection, striving to attain, with the support of God's grace, “the state of the perfect man, to the measure of the full maturity of Christ” (Eph 4:13).”

A pilgrim needs to be able to read the signs of the times around them, of the people with whom they live and journey with and of nature itself. A few years ago, a friend of mine gav…

Ash Wednesday

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This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, time to prepare!
The ashes we use are the burnt palms from last year's celebration of Passion Sunday. We begin our Lenten journey aware of where we are going. We want to enter into the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus for us more fully. That is the purpose of our journey. It is why we mark our heads with his cross. It is why we fast today and abstain from meat. Our Lenten program is not an effort to save ourselves. We have been saved by his sacrifice. Our self-denial helps us, in the darkness that surrounds us, to prepare ourselves to receive his light. For this is a journey to the Easter font, where we will renew the promises of our Baptism, remembering that in dying with him in the waters of Baptism,we are re-born with him to everlasting life. This year's Lenten journey begins!

Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get!

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Ok, the photo was crying out for a blog post! Nuns and chocolate! Yes, I confess, I am somewhat partial to chocolate as many of you know. However, it is a charismatic thing! Our religious family for many years has grown hazelnuts for the international company Nutella in Piedmonte, Italy and therefore we felt we had a quasi- obligation to support the company by consuming its products to create a demand. Oh the things one has to do in life! I recall my time in Alba and walking through the town when the breeze was just right and would spread the chocolate scent from the large factories right into your nostrils. What a delight!

Believe it or not, there are many other religious connections with chocolate. We might not have this crucial ingredient of the good life if it weren’t for the important culinary work of a whole assortment of people in history—everyone from pagan Aztecs to Spanish nuns! "Food of the Gods," is the literal translation of the name Theobroma which is the name…