Showing posts from December, 2014

Welcoming a New Year!

A new year stands on my doorstep ready to enter my life's journey.
Something in me welcomes this visitor:
the hope of bountiful blessings
the joy of a new beginning
the freshness of unclaimed surprises
Something in me rebuffs this visitor: the swiftness of the coming
the boldness of the entrance
the challenge of a year's good-bye.
Something in me fears this visitor:
the unnamed events of future days
the wisdom needed to walk love well the demands of giving away and growing.
A new year stands on my doorstep. with fragile caution
I move to open the door for its entrance,
my heart leaps with surprise, joy jumps in my eyes,
for there beside this brand new year
stands my God with outstretched hand!
God smiles and gently asks of me:
"Can we walk this year together?"
And I, so overwhelmed with goodness, can barely whisper my reply, "Welcome in!"

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Many people get confused with this feastday! Just to explain it is she, Mary herself, who is the Immaculate Conception; the day does not refer to Mary's conceiving Jesus by the Holy Spirit, but to the conception of Mary in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, by Mary's father, St. Joachim. What makes her conception immaculate is not that she was conceived by the Holy Spirit of a virgin, as was Jesus but that from the very moment of her conception; she was filled with grace by God. The Opening Collect for the Mass today begins: "Father, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy Mother of Your Son..." As this prayer emphasizes, the Immaculate Conception is not so much about honouring Mary, but making Mary a worthy bearer of God the Son in the flesh.
The Church, East and West, has always held that Mary was no ordinary mother, but the Mother of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. With this come special graces and honours, not on account of who Mary is per se, but on ac…

Wake up the world!

Many of you who know me kind of know I am not really a morning person. Much to my frustration I have a particular gift for turning off my alarm or setting it for ‘five more minutes’ which becomes then fifteen minutes and then a frantic dash ensues to make sure I get to the chapel on time. The liturgy of this first Sunday of Advent contains lots of invitations not just to ‘wake up’ but to ‘stay awake’.

With the first Vespers of Advent, the Church throughout the world began the Year of Consecrated Life. Pope Francis has urged religious men and women to ‘wake up the world’. It is not easy to wake up a world that doesn’t realise that it is sleepwalking its way through life because it has blotted out God. It can be easy to grow apathetic about religious life. We hear the voices which say ‘religious life is dead’, ‘there is no hope for the Church’. There is always hope but as the letter to St. Peter tells us, we must be ready to ‘give an account of the hope which is in us’. Certain philos…

Who will replace him!?!

If a priest preaches over 10 minutes - he’s longwinded.
 If his sermon is short - he didn’t prepare it.
 If the parish funds are high - he’s a businessman.
 If he mentions money - he’s money mad.
 If he visits his parishioners - he’s nosy.
 If he doesn’t - he’s being snobbish.
 If he has activities to raise money - he’s bleeding the people.
 If he doesn’t - there isn’t any life in the parish.
 If he takes time in a confession to help and advise sinners - he takes too long.
 If he doesn’t - he doesn’t care.
 If he celebrates the liturgy in a quiet voice - he’s boring.
 If he puts feeling into it - he’s an actor.
 If he starts late - he’s holding up the people.
 If he tries to lead the people in music - he’s showing off.
 If he doesn’t - he doesn’t care what the Mass is like.
 If he decorates the Church - he’s wasting money.
 If he doesn’t - he’s letting it run down.
 If he’s young - he’s not experienced.
 If he’s old - he ought to retire.
 Please, p…

"Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength" (Is 40:31)

Advent begins not with a cute baby scene but one which might even disturb us. We do not begin our Advent journey with the baby Jesus snuggled in the arms of his parents all aglow in a tranquil postpartum nativity scene.  Instead we begin right in the middle of the birth pains that accompany a difficult delivery. The prophet Isaiah lets out a gut wrenching cry: “O God that you would tear open the heavens and come down.”  The world around us is in turmoil, God.  We need your presence.  Come and occupy our world now! The world cries out for the Lord. Nowadays people don’t like waiting. In the past I’ve thought of waiting as wasted time, such as when I wait for a bus or in a denist’s surgery. This kind of waiting requires little action on our part; it’s mostly a matter of biding our time. Everything is so instantaneous that we no longer know how to wait. Yet, these are opportunities to pray. The Second Reading from St. Paul reminds us that as we wait, we do so with a grateful heart. We h…

Guest blogger: Advent Week 1

I am happy to post a reflection from our guest blogger Sr. Kathryn Williams. Sr. Kathryn is one of my sisters from the Athlone community. Her reflections are printed weekly in the parish bulletin of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul. 

Light of Faith

"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th' encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou.
(John Henry Newman).

A little over four years ago, our course in preparation for Perpetual Vows birthed this blog ‘Pilgrim Progress’ of which the undersigned was the scribe. Hailing from 8 different countries, it became a way for us to stay in touch with our respective communities by sharing with them what we were living during this three month course. However the journey didn’t finish there and I find myself still blogging. I also still find myself very consciously being a pilgrim.

Reading the encyclical ‘Lumen fidei’, written by both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, one theme was a common thread for me: the concept of the faith journey. I could hear the words of the melodic ‘Lead, kindly light’ playing in my mind as I read…

Just a thought!

I admit I stumble more than I climb, more than most. I wander in the distractions. My knowledge falters beneath time. But the struggles and sufferings have taught me the core, matured me, and experience combats forgetfulness. A strange mysticism whispers around me. God is always there in the end. He always will be. That's who He is. Whether I choose to ignore Him, or get wrapped up in other mundane or worldly things, He is there. Ask, Knock, Seek...those three's as simple as that. (Anonymous)