Archive for May, 2018

Preparing for the Synod – Youth Faith and Vocational Discernment

May 31, 2018

popeYesterday I attended a meeting with Bishop Ralph Heskett, one of the Bishops who will attend the Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment which takes place this October. The meeting was an opportunity for people involved in youth ministry to reflect together on ways in which the Church can more fully respond to the needs of young people.

There was opportunity to hear something of the research being done by Camino House in collaboration with CYMFED on the attitudes of young Catholics in the UK, as well as hearing from one of the participants in the International Pre-Synodal meeting of young people which took place in March.

This Synod gives us a wonderful opportunity to listen to the experience of young people in our Church, and to formulate with them new ways of being Church.

If you are interested in knowing more about the Synod, or reading the preparatory document from the pre-Synodal meeting of young people, follow the links below:

Webpage for the Synod

Preparatory Document

FOREVER: CELEBRATING MEITA AND HARTINI’S FINAL VOWS

May 24, 2018

On the weekend of 18th May we celebrated Hartini and Meita’s final vows. The theme of their vows was based on an ideal given to the FCJ Society through Marie Madeleine “…to be ever in [God’s} presence as an empty vessel, ready to receive all that God might put into it.” They had chosen readings and hymns that expressed their desire to be vessels bringing the ‘living water’ of Christ to others. Seventeen FCJs from various parts of Asia-Australia were present to celebrate this happy occasion.

We began with a prayer of thanksgiving on the evening of Friday 18th May.  During this prayer Meita and Hartini shared how they hoped to serve others in their future lives as FCJs. The following day dawned bright and clear. Family members, friends and colleagues and representatives of local church groups streamed into Sarasvita FCJ Centre, some two hundred guests in all. The choir began to sing beautifully and we were carried along by the joyful atmosphere. The Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Andrianus Sulistiyono MSF, Meita’s nephew. He preached brilliantly. At several points in the homily we laughed out loud, yet the points made were clear: only God can give us the grace to live the commitments we make and because of this we must never let our prayer run dry. Hartini and Meita made their vows in the presence of Judith FCJ; their witnesses were FCJ Sisters Paola and Clare; and Irene and Yustin. After the Mass we enjoyed a delicious lunch of traditional food served from food stalls in the grounds of Sarasvita.

The FCJs had an informal gathering that evening to look back on the day and enjoy watching Meita and Hartini open their cards and gifts.  How lovely to celebrate the final vows in this way.

 

 

Welcome

May 22, 2018

I find it interesting that in today’s Gospel reading Jesus is speaking to his disciples about what it is to lead – to be a servant of all. Of all the different ways Jesus could choose to talk about service he chooses to illustrate what he is saying by speaking of welcome.

“If anyone wishes to be first,
they shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever welcomes a child such as this in my name, welcomes me;
and whoever welcomes me,
welcomes not me but the One who sent me.

Here we are reminded that to to serve is to welcome.

This makes me wonder about the challenge of being welcoming – we can all welcome those who fit easily into our way of thinking, perceiving and acting… but we also all have experience of personalities that we find challenging or even downright odd!

To serve is to welcome. And to lead is to step beyond ourselves, our own comfort and preconceptions and to be a welcome for everyone. The proof of our welcome is not in the number of like-minded friends we have, but in the diversity of those who feel included.

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Einstein

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The truth is not an idea but a person

May 16, 2018

…for the truth is not an idea but a person, Jesus Christ, who is also charity, or love.

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Having read Austin Ivereigh’s article “Discernment in a time of tribulation” published in Thinking Faith recently, I was struck particularly by this phrase; ‘the truth is not an idea but a person’. The article presents a reflection on the Pope’s response to the abuse scandal in Chile, but I think the points made can speak into so many situations of desolation.

When we discover despair creeping into a situation, when the only way for us to answer is to produce more and more intellectual argument, leading not to clarity but to anger and division, perhaps then we are called to remember the wisdom of Ignatius and not to follow down a line which leads further into desolation. Instead we are invited to refocus on where the truth lies – not simply in a reasoned argument taken from an (morally good) intellectual standpoint but in the person of Jesus, who is also charity and love.

 

FAITH LEADERS RESPOND TO THE BOMBING IN SURABAYA

May 14, 2018

Sunday 13th May was a sad and disturbing day for all of us in Indonesia, regardless of religion.  Fourteen people died and forty one were injured when bombs ripped through three churches in Surabaya. I was deeply impressed by the response quickly given by Faith Leaders: stay calm, do not make rash judgments of others, stay at peace with your neighbours and pray for all those involved in these tragic events. We are all quietly alert, reflective and prayerful. Our Muslim neighbours begin their long fast on Wednesday and we will support them in prayer while giving thanks for their faith and commitment. These are times when all people of faith and good will are called to stand together in the name of peace.

The ordinary becomes extraordinary

May 4, 2018

Love shows itself more in deeds rather than words (Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius)

I was being served in a cafe today when suddenly the woman who was serving me added an extra tray and began to prepare cups and cutlery – I realised quickly that it was for an elderly couple who were coming in, who are obviously ‘regulars’. The woman then continued to serve me and I went to sit down. Just a few minutes later an elderly man with Downs syndrome came in, and again the staff in the cafe immediately gave attention to him, joking and chatting as he placed his order. The atmosphere was lovely – clearly this is a place where community is built and friendships are formed.

It made me reflect – sometimes we feel that the big important actions that we do are what is ‘saving the world’… but maybe in reality the world is being saved moment by moment by all the tiny actions of peace, unity and community building. The world is being saved one cup of tea at a time.

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