Author Archive

THE FRAGILITY OF LIFE…

November 5, 2018

In the last couple of weeks we have heard such sad news of sudden deaths. Five people were killed in a helicopter crash at Leicester City Football Club, including the owner of the Club. Eleven people at prayer were cruelly gunned down in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, USA. More than one hundred and eighty people died when a brand new plane was lost in Indonesia shortly after take off. Finally, just the other day we heard that a friend of one of our communities had drowned in a flash flood. All I can do is hold those who have died and their loved ones in my prayer. Time and time again we are reminded of how quickly life can pass. I ask myself what is important in life? For sure, one of the things is to take time to be with others, to give to others, as far as possible to leave nothing unfinished in a relationship. Life is most surely a passing, fragile gift – and so are those we love. Let’s appreciate life and each other.

A SIGN OF HOPE…

October 12, 2018

I am coming towards the end of a week’s course with a group of first year novices. There are forty three novices from eleven religious congregations, including one FCJ novice. The theme of the course is ‘Inner Growth’ and it is intended to enable all participants to grow in inner freedom. I often find myself pausing to look at the faces of those taking part. Their earnestness and their willingness to take part is touching. Who knows what will happen in the future but what I see now is forty three young people who want to serve God and others. This is not the first time I have seen this as a sign of hope. Yet again – I give thanks for these young people and for all those who are seeking and striving to make our world a better place.

 

THE HARVEST IS PLENTY…LET’S TAKE IT BIT BY BIT!

October 8, 2018

A few days ago we had a challenging Gospel reading during daily Mass. It was from the early part of Luke 10. The main point was that labourers are needed for the great harvest so we need to ask God to send labourers into the field to do the harvesting. This reading has stayed with me for several days.  Even as I heard the Gospel reading the other day I began to wonder if we could think about the harvesting in a different way. I thought to myself that perhaps God has already sent the harvesters and that those workers are all of us. We don’t need to harvest the whole huge field – we just need to take a few stalks, as much as we can. Over the course of the last few days I have noticed many signs of the harvesting: kind acts; a smile or two; people giving way to others…It seems to me that together we are bringing in the harvest, one grain at a time. I give thanks for the harvest, i give thanks for the harvesters, I give thanks for all of you…

A PARABLE OF THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

September 21, 2018

A few days ago I was tidying up the garden with my Dad, who is now almost ninety. We had a great time. It was the best kind of Autumn day – both warm and sharp. After cutting the grass I turned my attention to a bit of weeding. Sometimes I needed a bit of guidance when differentiating between flowers and weeds. However, there was no mistaking the prickly nettles! I was quite pleased at the reasonably thorough job I did of clearing the ground. Although some of the smaller weeds and grasses came out quite easily, the larger ones took a bit of tugging. It was clear at times that there was as much of the plant left in the ground as I had in my hand. Those roots were just too deep. I could almost hear the plant say with a smile “See you next year.” I was reminded of how hard it is sometimes to root out those small stubborn aspects of character that can be as sharp and stinging as a nettle. It almost seems easier to deal with the bigger issues. But those tiny deep roots can be so persistent. They too seem to grin and say to me “See you later!” It is just as well that the work of grace is slow and gentle and that the true gardener is infinitely patient.

 

SOFI’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: THE END IS THE BEGINNING…

September 9, 2018

Sofi came out of retreat last Sunday. The retreat had been a time of great blessing for her. It was lovely to see her glowing with joy as she greeted her FCJ companions. Today, one week later, Sofi has just arrived in Ende. She will spend about three weeks on mission, helping wherever she can. She will go out into the local neighborhood to visit our neighbors and spend some time in far distant parishes. Sofi will also help to teach the children who come to the community twice a week. Thank you for your prayers, you really helped to carry us through. We continue to keep you in our prayer.

SOFI’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: WEEKS III AND IV

August 27, 2018

Sofi has now moved into the joy of the Resurrection having spent some days walking with Jesus through his arrest, imprisonment, crucifixion and death. What a joy for Sofi to meet the Risen Christ and to experience the delight and consolation of Easter. The prayer space is beautifully decorated with flowers and cloths of bright and glowing colour. We keep you in our prayer, please keep us in yours.

SOFI’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT: WEEK II

August 12, 2018

Sofi has just begun moving into the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises. She has prayed on the call of Jesus to her, the call to follow him without reserve. As she begins to pray on the main events in the life of Jesus she is doing so with the desire “to know him more intimately, to love him more deeply and to follow him more closely”. Every evening we pray for you, please keep up your prayers for us too.

SOFI’S THIRTY DAY RETREAT

August 2, 2018

Sofi has just started her Thirty Day Retreat. She has spent some days moving into  silence and in praying on the love of God before moving into ‘The Principle and Foundation’. Sofi is now taking time to pray deeply on the meaning of her life and on ways of becoming more and more free to serve God as fully as she can. We are grateful for your prayer at this time. Every evening at 8pm we spend time in Adoration of the Eucharist. We will be praying for you during this time.

Orange Sky Australia: Love made real through soap and water!

July 25, 2018

I am so impressed by the two young men who started Orange Sky to offer those who are homeless the opportunity to wash their clothes, have a shower and have some good conversations with caring people. To date, they and their amazing team have made it possible to wash 68,000 loads of washing, have offered shower facilities for 4000 people and have had conversations with 100,000 people. When I am tempted to think badly of our world I often like to think of all the good Orange Sky is doing…through love expressed in  soap, hot water and time. This initiative encourages me to do whatever I can to make the lives of others a little better. More than that it fills me with hope at the sheer godness of so many people.

 

UNITED IN THE CHARISM

July 22, 2018

Last Saturday fifty of us braved the chill of a Melbourne July evening to gather together in the FCJ Area Office.  We had just celebrated Mass and then had a delicious evening meal. The room was buzzing with life and energy as FCJs and Companions in Mission enjoyed reconnecting  or meeting for the first time. It was a true meeting of hearts and minds. What a joy! It is amazing to think that what connects us is the FCJ Charism. How lovely to know we belong to such a loving and vibrant extended family.