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Showing posts from January, 2019

Conversion- from arch-enemy to apostle!

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The Bible is filled with figures who sinned, became repentant, and underwent conversion, such as Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene. Today the liturgy offers us the opportunity to reflect on the life of  Saul, the persecutor of the Church, who became Paul, the great missionary to the Gentiles, following his conversion. 
Conversion is not the smooth, easy-going process some people seem to think. It is wounding work, breaking of  hearts and all that is stubborn, but without wounding there is no saving. I remember as a child watching my Dad pruning roses and plants. When he would cut the rose bushes, a white fluid would come out, almost as if the rose was ‘crying’ because of the cut. However where there is grafting there has to be a cutting, the graft must be let in with a wound; to stick it onto the outside or to tie it on with a string would be of no use. Heart must be set to heart and back to back or there will be no sap from root to branch. It is not a nice process, it hurts, it is messy…

Ordinary in an extraordinary way!

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Christmas has officially finished! Until next year that is.  With the second Vespers of the Baptism of the Lord, tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time. We get back into the ordinary course of events. Through the period of Ordinary Time following Christmas, we become increasingly aware that this marvel of birth and growth will mature into something challenging.  However we need time to focus on this and we are gifted with the time of Lent which culminates in the great event of the Resurrection, the battle of life over death, light over darkness.

With the way the calendar fell this year, it seemed that the time after New Year's just flew. Jokingly, I said that the shops will already have the Easter eggs in soon. I wasn't too far wrong, in fact, they are already in the shops since New Year's Eve (not impressed  Tesco!). What is it with the commercial world continually projecting us into the future. Have we lost the capacity to live the present moment? Are we afraid to live the…

Baptised-blessed-beloved

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"And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” You are God’s beloved. That word “beloved" means every inch of what it sounds like. In Greek it is, “agapetos” which means “loved with agape” – loved with a love that is deep, active, self-sacrificing and absolutely unconditional. This is a love that doesn’t have to be earned. This is a deep love that just is.God gives us life and unconditional love. We are told to give God – nothing. Nothing is demanded of us before or after in return. There is nothing we can do that will cause God to stop loving us. Nothing will cause that love to be taken away. Instead we get an invitation, one that we are free to embrace or ignore. God invites us just to trust in the gift, to trust in the active, unconditional love God has for each one of us. Just to trust in it. Happy feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the day where we recall our own Baptism, where we became part of a community of Christ, as belove…

Basil and Gregory: school friends who became saints!

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Today the Church offers us the memorial of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen. By celebrating the feasts of St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen on the same day, the Church praises a virtue which has always been held in high esteem friendship. Born in Cappadocia around 330, Basil and Gregory first were schoolfriends, they studied together in Athens. Following this, they were co-defenders of the orthodox teaching on the Trinity. As the French say, “The more things change, the more they remain the same.” Basil and Gregory faced the same problems as modern Christians. Sainthood meant trying to preserve the spirit of Christ in such perplexing and painful problems as reform, organization, fighting for the poor, maintaining balance and peace in misunderstanding.

For Gregory, we are reminded in The Church's Year of Grace by Pius Parsch that ‘during his life span the pendulum was continually swinging back and forth between contemplation and the active ministry. He long…