Showing posts from November, 2012

The end is nigh?

Dante Alighieri wrote "The Divine Comedy" in the early decades of the 14th century. Nearly 700 years later, this epic poem remains one of the great achievements of human literature. As art, Dante's use of language is supremely beautiful. But as a deeply Catholic work, it also offers an unforgettable portrait of the afterlife, following the author as he journeys through hell (Inferno), purgatory (Purgatorio) and finally heaven (Paradiso).
As we continue along the last week of the liturgical year, the readings continue to remind us that we are to 'be ready, for we do not know the hour when the Lord will come'. Today's readings are a stark reminder that everything will pass. Worldwide, 10 per cent believe the Mayan calendar on December 21 signifies the Apocalypse will happen in 2012, according to a new poll. The interesting thing is that the majority think it will end through the hands of God compared to those who think it will come about through a natural disas…

Watching the 'Royal Family'!

It is hard to believe that already we are at the end of the liturgical year. Today, as Church, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King. Though this Feast is a new one, promulgated by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in his Encyclical Quas Primas, it is a very important one! In designating Christ as the king of the universe, the Church was certainly looking for a good role model in the world that had lost all sense of decency in governance and administration. The world was coming out of a terrible First World War, Communism was sweeping across Russia while fascism controlled Italy, and the Nazi party was on the rise in Germany. Each year, by celebrating the feast of Christ the king, we are reminded afresh of the kingdom of God and its ruler and of the truth that all nations should form themselves in the image of God’s kingdom. Vive Christus Rex!

As we continue in this Year of Faith, we can keep asking ourselves: “What is faith?” It is to hand over ourselves into the hands of another or in ou…

God works with our weaknesses

The other day some kind soul left a copy of Jean Vanier’s newsletter to his community outside my door. I don’t know who it was but I appreciate the sweet thought greatly, even more, after reading and reflecting on the text. Jean Vanier is the founder of the L’Arche community. Through his friendship with a priest named Father Thomas Philippe, he became aware of the plight of thousands of people institutionalized with developmental disabilities. In this newsletter, he shares his journey of becoming older and how he is slowing down, has less energy to do all that he would like to do. He concludes: “Jesus said to Paul: “My grace is made manifest in your weakness”. More so, I continue to discover that I too am precious for God, not for what I do but for that what I am: a child of the Father”. Too often, we relate to each other on the basis of what a person can do or what they can do for us. We quantify them in terms of productivity, use and benefit. We forget that God created that person s…

Psalm 23: For Busy People!

Especially for our JCL 3rd years here currently studying for their Comprehensive exams next month!
The Lord is my pacesetter I shall not rush,
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals
He provides me with images of stillness,
Which restores my serenity.
He leads me in the way of efficiency through
calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.

Even though I have a great many things to accomplish
each day
And crisis may pile upon crisis
I will not fall apart for His presence is here,
His timelessness, His all importance will keep me
in balance.

He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst
of my activity.
He anoints my mind with His oils of inspiration.
My cup overflows.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of
my hours,
For I shall walk in the peace of the Lord
And dwell in His house forever.
 You are in our prayers!

The Icon of Friendship

Last week I received a beautiful surprise parcel in the post containing an icon and a book. Those who know me know that this almost equates to being Christmas for me: books and icons, both on my list of 10 favourite things! The icon was one I had actually never seen before and was a gift from Taize, a copy of the Coptic icon which belonged to Brother Roger Schultz, the former prior there. The original icon dates from seventh century Eygpt and is usually referred to as “Christ with the believer” but is just as frequently referred to as “the icon of friendship”.

Although simple in its presentation, it is nevertheless a sophisticated image. Jesus is shown putting His arm around the shoulder of a friend; this man is called Menas, but he represents each one of us. Jesus does not face Menas, rather He stands alongside him; He accompanies him, sharing in the burdens of life. In His left arm Jesus holds the Scriptures, God’s word. The word tells the story of the love between God and humanit…

“Life is changed, not ended”: Remembering our faithful departed

November comes between the rejoicing of the harvest and the short, dark days of winter. It is a time when people focus on death and the dead. Have just celebrated the feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we profess our solidarity with the saints and ancestors; with those on whose shoulders we stand. All of this helps us grow in readiness to acknowledge, with St. Francis, that death is a sister to us, another of God’s servant:

We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape….
Blessed are those that she finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.

 - St. Francis of Assisi, “Canticle of the Sun”

Today, we went to a nearby cemetery so as to apply the November indulgence. There is something very peaceful about walking around a graveyard and reflecting upon the tombstones and praying for those many people who walked the earth just as we do now. It becomes the mirror where we ponder our own mortality and recall that ‘we are dust and to dust we will return’. Af…

Visit to the Oratory of St. Joseph

From Kahnawake, our pilgrimage took us to the Oratory of St. Joseph, Mount Royal in Montreal. I had had a sneak preview the weekend previous whilst visiting my sisters in Montreal and visited the small chapel of Frere Andre. Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and national shrine on the west slope of Mount Royal in Montreal.

In 1904, Saint André Bessette, a brother from the Congregation of the Holy Cross, began the construction of St. Joseph, a small chapel on the slopes of Mont Royal near Notre Dame College. Soon the growing number of visitors made it too small. In 1917 a larger church was completed that has a seating capacity of 1,000. In 1924, the construction of the basilica of Saint Joseph's Oratory was inaugurated; it was finally completed in 1967. Father Paul Bellot, an architect, completed the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory (1937-39). The Oratory's dome is the third-largest of its kind in the world after the Basilica of Our…

Visit to the shrine of St. Kateri “Lily of the Mohawks”

One of the most beautiful articles in the Apostles’ Creed is that which speaks of the “communion of saints.”For the month of November, I hope to post about some of the saints whom I have particular devotion to. Originally I had hoped to do one a day but maybe that is being slightly ambitious. As someone recently reminded me, I am a student! However, those who know me know my love for reading the lives of the saints and I trust heavily on their intercession. One of my favourite reminders is: “every saint has a past, every sinner has a future”. It gives me hope along the way of holiness!
Let’s start with St. Kateri, who was born in what is now upstate New York and who died in 1680 near Montreal, Canada, after a short life... She was canonized Sunday in St. Peter’s Square by Pope Benedict XVI on the 21st of October 2012. To be honest, I didn’t know much about St. Kateri until about two weeks ago when she was being mentioned on Canadian televisions, newspapers with regard to the imminent…

Happy feast of All Saints!

After Christmas and Easter, All Saint's Day is my favourite feastday of the year! I had hoped to write a series of blog posts in preparation for the feastday but haven't got that far yet! I blame 'General Norms' and so after tomorrow's exam, I can have my life back for a while!
In the meanwhile, here's a few thoughts about the saints from a blog I posted a while back at the time of the beatification of Chiara Badano. Happy feastday to you all!

"Did you ever wonder what people in heaven do all day? Float on clouds? Wander around on gold pavement? Sing a cappella? Maybe. But many of us have the wrong impression if we think heaven is a perpetual resting home where we indulge our every desire and forget about other people.

The saints are at peace and are resting in the Lord, but it’s not the kind of rest that is oblivious to the world! No, they are always aware of us and are prepared to receive our prayers in love. Some people frown on the idea that we shoul…