Inconvenience

September 10, 2017 by

Recently I made a journey which should have been very simple but instead turned out to be really complicated and inconvenient. Not in any major way, but just in countless small ways – delayed flights, missed connections, no food or water on the journey… lots of small inconveniences.

I was lucky though – unusually I had left a lot of time for the journey and wasn’t on the last minute, so although it was inconvenient for me, it wasn’t a major problem. At more than one point during the journey I felt myself getting irritated – and then realising that there was no-one really to blame. It wasn’t actually anyone persons ‘fault’ – it was just the way things were working out!

It was quite interesting to reflect on my attitude – when I was still sure I could make my connection I was stressed out about it… and felt irritated with anyone who was ‘in my way’; but as soon as I realised this and resigned myself to finding an alternative route, I became so much calmer, was able to relax and even to see the funny side.

Later I reflected too on my attitude to inconvenience – I noticed how minor the inconveniences I was experiencing were: It was uncomfortable not to get a drink, but I knew that one would be available when I arrived; it was tiring to have to wait and wait for a connection, but in the end I was aware I had other alternatives and securities that I could call on if I really needed to. May these petty inconveniences lead me to a deep gratitude for all that I have, and enable me to live more generously towards others.

INTERFAITH LIVING – THE VILLAGE WAY

September 6, 2017 by

We have had a lot of good experiences here in our village recently. About three weeks ago five of our community took part in a cooking competition to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day: Audrey, Cecilia, Inez, Maria and Sofi. They had to make something interesting with potatoes. They didn’t win but the fact that they took part delighted our neighbours. Shortly afterwards three of us joined with more than four hundred of the villagers as we took part in a walk that lasted about an hour: ‘Jalan Sehat.’ We donated some of the prizes for the party that followed the walk. Last Friday our neighbours celebrated Idul Adha one of the most important Muslim feasts. Like every other family that lives here we received a gift of meat. Being good neighbours, this is the best way we know to promote peace and understanding.

STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE

August 20, 2017 by

It is tempting to despair as we repeatedly hear tragic news of wanton terrorist attacks in all parts of the world, as we hear stunning reports of children, young people and adults brutally mown down. Suddenly it is as if all we can see is evil and we are helpless in its face. Yet there is so much more to us and so much more to the vast, vast majority of human beings. Every day billions of people set out to do the best they can with the day that is given to them. At any given moment there are millions of people using their talents and intelligence for positive purposes and to do good to or for others. Most people, like us, are trying to live quietly good lives. There are people helping others, serving, saving lives, educating, cleaning and greening, filling our world with music, dance and drama and yet others performing the myriad vital tasks that taken together enable our Global Societies to run. There is so much essential goodness in children being children, in parents parenting, in families being families, in friends being friends, in being ‘down to earth’ nice people. Who is to say how much good comes from a smile, an opened door, a kind word, a thoughtful glance, a small act of generosity, a prayer? Perhaps it is that the love and goodness that surrounds us is so instinctive and natural to us that we almost take it for granted; it is so vast and bright that we are almost blind to it. We cannot help but weep and lament in the face of cruelty and violence and at the same time let us draw together and draw strength from one another other. Let us look around us – we are standing on the side of love.

Walking the Camino

August 19, 2017 by

caminoOnce again a group of FCJ sisters and friends are setting off to walk part of the Camino de Santiago. We are just doing a few days of walking along the northern coast of Spain. We are hoping to take in some of the beauty of the area, the local culture, and of course, the spirit of the Camino.

We will then go by bus (so no Compostela for us this year!) to Santiago where we will offer a week of service with Camino Companions welcoming pilgrims into Santiago, giving space for them to reflect on their pilgrimage and providing a listening ear where needed.

 

Holiday time

August 14, 2017 by

Much gets written these days about looking after yourself, taking care of your health, living a balanced life… and yet day to day it can be really difficult to find balance. Sometimes we are working to a tight deadline, other times we are caring for someone who is sick, often there are external things which militate against balance.

I have come to realise that balance every day is impossible! In fact trying to achieve it can also be a source of stress and guilt when we cant reach our own demanding goals.

This is where holiday comes in! I think there is something very restorative about the ability to ‘switch off’. It doesnt really matter where you go, or even who with, as long as you get an opportunity to put aside the daily routine for a bit, lay down some of the responsibilities, and be yourself.

I am really looking forward to my holiday!

holiday

LIVING ALONGSIDE PEOPLE OF FAITH

August 12, 2017 by

Both within and beyond my FCJ community I have the opportunity, day in and day out, to live alongside, socialise and interact with people of deep faith. Some are Muslim, others belong to various Christian denominations. Of course, I have many an occasion to be deeply inspired by those FCJs I live with. In community I see so many good examples of praying women, deeply apostolic women, generous women. We have a close relationship with our Muslim neighbours. I am deeply touched by their commitment to prayer. Five times a day I am reminded to turn my heart to God. Last Sunday one of our neighbours died. He was a leader within the Muslim community and was much loved and respected. We went to pay our respects and spent some time in prayerful solidarity with neighbours of various faiths. At times like this everyone tries to help the family financially and in other ways. In general there is great kindness in our village. For example another of our neighbours has a small shop and every time we shop there she gives us a discount and it is always with a smile! Two days ago some of us had a Bible sharing with some members of our Basic Ecclesial Community. We had a deep and honest sharing that strengthened us all. In recent weeks I have had the great good fortune to work with a Christian Minister who is tireless in her desire to be of service to others. What a witness of Christian service. In light of the good things I see and experience all around me I have much to give thanks for when I make my Examen at the end of each day.

 

The gift of living from a suitcase

August 8, 2017 by

I spend a lot of my time travelling, and over the last few years I have had what I now consider to be a real gift of living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time.

suitcase

With practice my suitcase has got lighter each time I pack, as I hone what I need to the real essentials. No more lugging heavy suitcases around!

The gift in all of this (apart from saving my back from strain!) is that I have realised how little we can happily live with. It is always lovely to come home and have some added extras, but there is something very freeing about living with less!

THE TREASURE IN THE FIELD – TREASURED BY GOD!

August 4, 2017 by

I have always loved the parable of the treasure in the field from Matthew 13:44 and so it was with great eagerness that I went to Mass last Sunday hoping to hear something encouraging on that little favourite of mine. The priest totally surprised me. He greeted us after the opening hymn and then suggested we stop and take some time to think in what way each one of us was a treasure to God. What a lovely thought! My heart and imagination were immediately captured as I allowed the thought that I was God’s treasure to sink deep into my being and fill me with a quiet and tender joy. That one thought has kept me spiritually nourished all week and has touched others too as I have shared it. I hope we can all find joy in the knowledge that we are so deeply loved by God. Imagine, each one of us is a treasure to God!

Retreat

August 2, 2017 by

One of the great privileges of religious life is that we have an annual retreat built in to our way of life. This is a time to get away from it all and to focus on what is important – to take stock and to once again deepen our relationship with God.

Often our retreats are individually guided – where  you spend the 6 – 8 days in silence just simply praying and reflecting and with an opportunity to meet with a spiritual guide each day. This year however, in our Province, we are having an opportunity for a group retreat. It is 200 years ago since the start of the profound spiritual experiences of our foundress which eventually led to her founding our FCJ Society, and the retreat will be an opportunity to reflect on her spiritual journey and our own. There will be time for some input, sharing and silent prayer, leading us to a deeper appreciation of this wonderful story of Marie Madeleine, d’Houet, and a re-membering of our connection with her.

I have included some photos from the area where the retreat is taking place. If you haven’t already ever had an opportunity for a week of retreat you should think about it!

What a blessing!

Grumbling

July 25, 2017 by

complainingA short while ago Pope Francis was in the news again because of a note on his office door about complainers. Today in the readings we hear Moses contending with the Israelite’s as they grumble that Moses has brought them out from Egypt to die in the wilderness. Their fear allows them to loose sight of all that is good, of their freedom, of the hope and possibility they have, and to instead grumble against the one who has helped them.

Grumbling can be a bit of a pastime – complaining and moaning about how bad our situation is can seem easier than finding the good in the situation or actively working to change it. And so we all engage in a bit of grumbling from time to time. The problem with grumbling is that it leads us nowhere, and (as could have easily been the case with the Israelite’s had God not stepped in and intervened!) it may even enable the negative aspects of the situation to overtake and overwhelm us.

How often do you find yourself grumbling about a situation instead of seeking positive ways to bring change?

How do you feel when you are with someone who complains frequently?

Maybe we could all try to be a little less grumbly (if that is even a word!) and take the lovely advice from today’s scripture reading:

“Fear not, stand your ground…. the Lord himself will fight for you, you have only to keep still”  (Ex 14)