Author Archive

THE BAD AND GOOD ALIKE!

October 17, 2017

It never ceases to amaze me how some phrases from scripture are just so right for me! One such phrase is from last Sunday’s Gospel, the parable of the wedding feast, from Luke 22:1-14. My current favourite phrase is taken from the words of the host to his servants. He tells them to go out and search high and low and bring in to the feast all the people they can find “bad and good alike”. There it is! That “bad and good alike’ just thrills me because it means for sure that there is a place for me in the Reign of God – and indeed for all of us who wish to be included. I have shared that phrase and how I understand it four times already and it’s only Tuesday! Oh the wonder, the power, the joy of God’s love so tellingly captured in that one simple phrase.

TOUCHED BY GRACE…

September 30, 2017

Twice this week I have been deeply enriched by the sharing of others. Last Sunday we had our Monthly meeting for our Companions in Mission. In recent weeks we have been making a kind of ‘retreat in daily life’ using a booklet on the early experiences of Marie Madeleine “Remembering the Foundation Experience.” We began the meeting in small groups where we shared our experience in prayer during the past month. The sharing in my group moved me to tears – it was so beautiful. On Thursday I attended a group that meets each week to share on Scripture.  Yet again I was deeply touched by the depth of sharing. I am so grateful to have such groups in my life. I know for certain this week that I have been touched by grace…

INTERFAITH LIVING – THE VILLAGE WAY

September 6, 2017

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

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.

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 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!

MAY GOD BLESS YOU DEAR YUSTIN…

July 22, 2017

Sixteen of us gathered in Baciro chapel for a prayer to bless Yustin as she takes up her role as local leader of Ende community. There were fifteen FCJs and one woman who is spending time getting to know us. The prayer included readings from the Constitutions as well as from scripture. Yustin received a candle which symbolized her spiritual leadership of the group.  She stood as we sang ‘May Yahweh bless you and keep you’. Lina and Tyas will also be in Ende for the coming year. As they both happened to be in Yogyakarta they were able to be present for the prayer and we gave them a blessing also. The prayer was followed by a delicious supper. There was even a delicious homemade cake for Tyas who had just celebrated her birthday.

 

 

DO NOT JUDGE – TAKE THE LOVING OPTION

June 26, 2017

Today’s Gospel (Mathew 7:1-5) spoke to me about so much more than not being judgmental. It was a call to me to continue to promote peace with justice and to go on doing so – especially in the light of recent violent and tragic events. In my understanding this does not mean that we have to suspend intelligent thought or spirit led discernment. I am reminded of the importance of thinking reflectively and of seeking to understand others even though we hear many divisive voices calling us to stand apart with hostility and enmity. May we seek to respond to others with love and understanding. May the measure we use be that of love, the measure of the Gospel.

 

LINA’S VOWS ON MAY 27TH THE GREAT DAY!

May 30, 2017

It began with the great exodus. Over a series of several days the FCJs in Yogyakarta left for Ende. The joy of the whole experience was enhanced by the fact the fact that Beta had just returned from tertianship, Meita from Manila, Judith, our Province Leader, joined us and Riska, our ever faithful Muslim friend, came too! Next came the great arrival in Ende as each day saw more people arriving. Even though we used all the beds and most of the floor space in the community house it was still necessary to accommodate some FCJs in a nearby convent. There was so much joy and excitement in the air it was possible to feel it. The days before the vows were filled with activity as we worked together to make sure that everything was ready. At 11am on Friday 26th May we gathered in the chapel for a special ceremony which was both a Welcoming and Missioning Ceremony. One important feature of this ceremony was the specially woven Selendang (stole/scarf) that Lina received. When Judith gave Lina her new mission she pinned her letter to the Selendang. We all pinned a blessing to it later in the prayer. The prayer was followed by lunch. The Vows Ceremony took place on the morning of the 27th May, when the day was still fresh. It was delightful to welcome Lina’s family to the house. Lina is one of the younger members of her family and so a good number of her nieces and nephews attended the ceremony also. Other guests included our neighbours and friends and also religious from other congregations. Lina looked radiantly happy throughout the ceremony. She was calm and composed and spoke with great confidence. Lina’s vows were received by Judith and witnessed by Dewi and Clare. The celebrant, Fr Hermann Sina SVD, is the person who first introduced Lina to the FCJs. In his homily Fr Hermann spoke of the way God was weaving Lina’s life with a thread of love. After the ceremony we enjoyed a delicious meal of home cooked food. Meanwhile the choir exchanged their repertoire of religious music for songs of a lighter nature. Some of the guests even enjoyed a bit of dancing. Before the guests left we joined together in two big groups for the ‘Gawi’, a traditional dance here in Ende. Our guests and neighbors were delighted to join us in this ultimate sign of rejoicing. In the cool of the evening we gathered once more to celebrate together and to help Lina enjoy opening her cards and gifts. It was particularly touching to hear the greetings from FCJs all around the Society. We had much to thank God for at the end of the day. Lina’s vows’ day was indeed a great day!

FCJ SCHOOLS – FULL OF LIFE!

May 11, 2017

Yesterday a group of FCJs and I had the good fortune to pay a visit to one of our FCJ schools in Australia. We had the great pleasure of being escorted around the school bya number of very friendly students. The school was bustling with life and energy. Everywhere we went we met bright young people who said a cheery “Good morning.” We were so inspired being present in the school for even a few hours. We were reminded of the amazing mission those who minister in schools have. Thanks to all those who minister in FCJ schools – in any capacity. Thanks to the students and their families. You are an inspiration to us!