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Showing posts from December, 2012

Welcoming the New Year: Living the present as kairos or chronos?

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Time is a funny thing about which we always seem to be complaining. It wears different faces. For long periods it stretches out like a cat or passes by with indifferent precision, one thing following another. In Greek there are two words for time: chronos and kairos. Both are Greek words which mean time, but they imply different things. Chronos refers to minutes and seconds, time as a measurable resource. Kairos is the word used for time in Ephesians 5:16, an appointed time, an opportune moment, or a due season.
We tend to think of our time in a chronos mindset. We think of having 24 hours in a day. We define our workweeks by the number of hours that we work. We have a list of things to do and only so much time to get everything done. This requires us to make a mental shift. Instead of looking at our time as grains of sand slipping through an hourglass, we can view our time as hundreds of possibilities given by God to enjoy the great gift which we call life. Yet occasionally there ari…

Celebrating the Dysfunctional Family! Feast of the Holy Family

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Give me one family which doesn’t have its problems...not even the Holy Family!
The highlight of my Christmas this year (after Jesus being born...obviously!) was seeing my family gathered together in my Mam’s house on Christmas day. They even sang for me! I saw my nephew Isaac for the first time (apart from seeing him in photos). It’s amazing how social communications can make the world seem so small and those far away are made near. Having a close family requires a dose of humility, a lot of patience, and a lot of unconditional love.  Maybe the good news is that nobody’s family is perfect. With my own brothers and sisters, we have our differences because we are different! That said, I know each one of us would go to the end of the world for the other...as they say, "we have each other's back!. Similiarly I see the same in my extended family, people are there for each other in the darkest and saddest moments, for the life-changing and humbling moments of starting from scratc…

New Year's Resolutions!

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I don't know about you but every year I try and make some resolutions for the New Year. Some of them last a week ...some actually last the year! As you think about your own possible resolutions, here are some which gave me a little giggle! Thanks to Deacon Greg Kendra over here for this...slight modifications were made to it for the European readership!

Catholic New Year's Resolutions:
I resolve to arrive at Mass early.Before arriving for Mass, I resolve to turn off my mobile phone, or at least put it on “vibrate.”I resolve to go to the bathroom before I leave home, so I don’t have to stand outside the bathroom for most of Mass, hopping from foot to foot.During the warmer months, I resolve not to wear to Mass that tube top that looked so great the night before at the KISS concert.I resolve not to wear shorts to Sunday Mass unless I’m under the age of five.I will refrain from leaving prayers for St. Jude all over the place.I will not feed my children cookies or other food during…

Resting on the heart of Jesus: Feast of St. John

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Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. John. It is a feast which I love because most of our spirituality comes from John’s Gospel, a Gospel which is powerfully symbolic and mystical. The symbolic is very close to the mystical, which goes beyond the everyday part of life and finds the presence of God everywhere and responds to it. In the transmission of our charism, our Founder Blessed James Alberione has presented us with various biblical icons as beacons which enlighten and guide us on our journey of discipleship.

On our Congregational emblem, we have engraved the verse from John 14:6: ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Life’. Our whole itinerary of holiness is based on John 12:24: “Unless a grain of wheat dies, it remains a single grain”.  The figure of Jesus Master Way Truth and Life is the foundational icon of our Rule of life. He is the one who has chosen us first.  We allow ourselves to be seized by him in order to contemplate him and to follow him in the Paschal mystery (c…

Journey to Bethlehem!

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There is an ongoing joke among my family and friends regarding my continuous travels since my entrance into religious life 14 years ago. My mum often quotes the phrase: "Join the convent, see the world!". I write this during a three week stay with our sisters in Staten Island, USA so maybe they are not too far wrong! My travels so far have brought me to live and minister in Ireland, Poland, Italy, Vatican City and now further studies have brought me further abroad to Northern America to Canada. So far I have lived and stayed in about 26 of our communities worldwide...the adventure continues!

I arrived here in the States just over 10 days ago and am enjoying the experience immensely. There have been so many little things which I have greatly appreciated: the visit to our sisters in Boston and seeing their places of ministry in Regina Cleri Diocesan House and the Diocesan Pastoral Centre as well as our Liturgical Centre and house ministries. It never ceases to amaze me when I…

A blessed Christmas to you!

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I think this covers about everyone I know!
A blessed Christmas to you and your dear ones and every wish of peace and joy for the New Year 2013!

 ■Afrikaans Gesëende Kersfees
 ■Afrikander Een Plesierige Kerfees
 ■African/ Eritrean/ Tigrinja Rehus-Beal-Ledeats
 ■Albanian Gezur Krislinjden
 ■Arabic: Milad Majid or Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
 ■Argentine: Feliz Navidad
 ■Armenian: Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand
 ■Azeri: Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun
 ■Bahasa Malaysia: Selamat Hari Natal
 ■Basque: Zorionak eta Urte Berri On!
 ■Bengali: Shuvo Naba Barsha
 ■Binary Code (for the computer geek in your life): 01001101011001010111001001110010011110010010000001 00001101101000011100100110100101110011011101000110 11010110000101110011
 ■Bohemian: Vesele Vanoce
 ■Bosnian: (BOSANSKI) Cestit Bozic i Sretna Nova godina
 ■Brazilian: Boas Feliz Natal or Festas e Feliz Ano Novo
 ■Breton: Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat
 ■Bulgarian: Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo
 ■Catalan: Bon Nadal i un…

A leap of faith: 4th Sunday of Advent

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The fourth week of Advent functions as a Grand Pause and allows us to return to the early days of Mary’s pregnancy. The altered time sequence moves us back, in the closing days of this season, to a more contemplative way of being, to roots, to silence, to mystery–all of which have a way of getting sidetracked in the frenzy of preparations for the celebration. The fourth Sunday says again and more emphatically: “Be still. Let what is about to happen sink in.”
Last Sunday, as Church, we celebrated what is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy. We were invited to rejoice for the Lord is in our midst. In today’s liturgy, we see in concrete terms the manifestation of that joy which comes from the presence of the Lord. It is a joy which is first prophesied by Micah in the First Reading. In the Gospel, we see how Mary accepts the message of joy and hurries with haste to her cousin Elizabeth. As I reflect, I think of Mary’s urgency which was the fruit of God’s plan and com…

10 Christmas Commandments

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The following item appeared in a Church newsletter and contains some good advice that will help us keep selfishness in check this Christmas:    
 You shall not leave ‘Christ’ out of Christmas, making it ‘Xmas.’ To some, ‘X’ is unknown. You shall prepare your soul for Christmas. Spend not so much on gifts that your soul is forgotten. You shall not let Santa Claus replace Christ, thus robbing the day of its spiritual reality. You shall not burden the shop girl, the postlman, and the merchant with complaints and demands. You shall give yourself a gift. This will increase its value a hundred fold, and the one who receives it shall treasure it forever. You shall not value gifts received by their cost. Even the least expensive may signify love, and that is more priceless than silver and gold. You shall not neglect the needy. Share your blessings with many who will go hungry and cold if you are generous. You shall not neglect your Church. Its services highlight the true meaning of the season…

One 'Yes' does not last a lifetime

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This year I have really sought to live a Marian Advent, walking with Mary as she cultivated the gift of life within her. I think this sensitivity towards this gift was heightened by a few things: the birth of my beautiful nephew Isaac in October, becoming part of St. Paul's Students for Life group which prays regularly outside the abortion clinic in Ottawa and thirdly, the ongoing debate and attempt to legislate abortion in Ireland. Today during the homily for the celebration of the Eucharist, Fr. Michael gave us plenty of food for thought with his reflection on Mary's 'yes'. 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 spe…

Celebrating St. Lucy

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Today, 13th of December, the Church commemorates the feast of Saint. Lucy. There are many interesting traditions and customs associated with this saint, especially in the Scandinavian countries. You can check them out here and here.

On a spiritual note, Saint Lucy is one of seven women, aside from the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass. Hagiography states that Lucy was a Christian martyr during the Diocletian persecution. She consecrated her virginity to God through pious works refused to marry a pagan betrothed, and had her wedding dowry distributed to the poor. Her betrothed pagan groom denounced her as a Christian to the governor of Syracuse, Sicily. Miraculously unable to move her or burn her (they tried with 50 men and 150 oxen to move her!), the guards took out her eyes with a fork. In another version, Lucy's betrothed admired her eyes, so she tore them out and gave them to him, saying, "Now let me live for God”. Extreme and gory as all th…

What about Advent calendars!?

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This year, I bought myself an Advent calendar for the first time! Every year I usually send my nieces and nephews an Advent calendar to help them remember the real meaning of Advent as a time of counting down towards Jesus' birth and not just a countdown towards presents and parties. Well this year, I felt like I too needed this reminder. I write this bang in the middle of 'Christmas' exam season. It is easy to get submerged in the stress of papers and tests, whilst the little and important things in life sweep by us and get lost in the tension and anxiety. Advent calendars are a little way of reminding us that we are preparing for the Lord's birth and that He is with us. For those of you unfamiliar with an Advent calendar, it is a special calendar used to count or celebrate the days in anticipation of Christmas and the days often overlap with the Christian season of Advent. Despite the name, most commercially available Advent calendars begin on the 1st of December, r…