Archive for May, 2019

May is the month of …

May 23, 2019

spring-bird-2295434_1280Last week on the motorway I was driving behind a van which was advertising something. (Actually I have no idea what!!!!) The advertising slogan they had used (and note this was in one of the most Catholic parts of the country) was ‘May is the month of…’ I think the final word might have been ‘money’!

All I can say is that the advertising backfired! The only way I could imagine finishing that sentence was MARY – ‘May is the month of Mary’!

What does that mean for us today? May is certainly a month of beauty in northern Europe – a spring month with long days, blossom and blue skies. A month of change and promise…

As a child I remember crowning a statue of Mary with a crown of blossoms – and in some of our schools the tradition has persisted.

The beauty of may flowers is simple, uncomplicated beauty. The blossoms, seeming fragile can withstand strong winds and storms, they are a lifeline to the emerging insects and so in turn for the nesting birds.

Mary, Kersal Hill FCJ

Perhaps this speaks to us too of Mary – a gentle presence in our life of faith, a beautiful, simple hand on our shoulder, guiding us towards her Son. A strong, nurturing presence – a refuge in the storms.

A traditional FCJ blessing prays:

May Mary,

Mother of God Counsel,

counsel and protect you.


Simple Beauty

May 13, 2019



Two very different people have taught me about simple beauty today.

The first, a homeless woman who calls periodically to say hello, reminded me of the power of the smallest gesture of welcome and acceptance. I know she went out of her way to call by our house. She didn’t want or ask for anything… just wanted to say hello.

The second, a gardener who saw me picking flowers and pointed out the beauty in weeds – he commented that many people overlook these, but they have their own beauty!


May 11, 2019

It is hard to envision the million species of life forms currently threatened by extinction. However, the reality facing us is, sadly, too real to be ignored. Imagine so much beauty and diversity lost to us and that’s before trying to comprehend the damage done to the delicate web of life that sustains all existence. Even though experts are not able to establish exactly how many species exist it seems there are about nine million in total. I was thinking of this in relation to the Biblical notion of giving a tenth of everything to God. It seems that we humans have reversed that idea by the way we live. We take too much without giving back enough for nature to sustain itself. Let’s hope and pray that this is a warning and a wake up call. Let’s hope we all hear the clear message: “It’s time to change the way we live. It’s time to take less and give more…” There’s still hope. There’s still time. Let’s hear the call to transform ourselves and do all we can to heal our world.

Distracted and half asleep?

May 7, 2019

Christus Vivit

Recently I was listening to an elderly sister talking about her vocation story. In her sharing she said ‘there weren’t as many possibilities back then and I knew this was the thing I should do’.

It struck me that for many of us now, and perhaps even more so for young people, there are countless possibilities of things we might do with our life, and understandably young people want to have a look at the options before making a choice. Choice seems like freedom. But perhaps what Pope Francis writes at the start of the Apostolic Exhortation ‘Christ is Alive!’ reveals something to us. That it is possible to have many experiences but not really experience them! To be so distracted or numbed by all the noise and activity, that it becomes impossible to really be present ;

We can, in fact, spend our youth being distracted, skimming the surface of life, half-asleep, incapable of cultivating meaningful relationships or experiencing the deeper things in life. In this way, we can store up a paltry and unsubstantial future. Or we can spend our youth aspiring to beautiful and great things, and thus store up a future full of life and interior richness.

Christus Vivit #19

Aspiring to BE MORE, to change the world for the better, to make a difference where I am can lead us to a focus and depth that enables us to choose rather than be confounded by possibilities.

How can we cultivate a culture of focus and presence in our lives?