Archive for August, 2017

STANDING ON THE SIDE OF LOVE

August 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!