Archive for the ‘FCJ Life’ Category

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…

Inconvenience

September 10, 2017

Recently I made a journey which should have been very simple but instead turned out to be really complicated and inconvenient. Not in any major way, but just in countless small ways – delayed flights, missed connections, no food or water on the journey… lots of small inconveniences.

I was lucky though – unusually I had left a lot of time for the journey and wasn’t on the last minute, so although it was inconvenient for me, it wasn’t a major problem. At more than one point during the journey I felt myself getting irritated – and then realising that there was no-one really to blame. It wasn’t actually anyone persons ‘fault’ – it was just the way things were working out!

It was quite interesting to reflect on my attitude – when I was still sure I could make my connection I was stressed out about it… and felt irritated with anyone who was ‘in my way’; but as soon as I realised this and resigned myself to finding an alternative route, I became so much calmer, was able to relax and even to see the funny side.

Later I reflected too on my attitude to inconvenience – I noticed how minor the inconveniences I was experiencing were: It was uncomfortable not to get a drink, but I knew that one would be available when I arrived; it was tiring to have to wait and wait for a connection, but in the end I was aware I had other alternatives and securities that I could call on if I really needed to. May these petty inconveniences lead me to a deep gratitude for all that I have, and enable me to live more generously towards others.

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.

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!