Posts Tagged ‘random thoughts’

PARENTS OF SPECIAL CHILDREN – A TRULY AMAZING VOCATION

January 18, 2015

Today I attended a Mass for Children and Young people with special needs.  I went with Mei and Rowena, our novices.  It was especially pertinent that today’s readings were on the subject of vocation and call: 1 Sam 3:3b-10,19 and John 1: 35-51.  As I reflected on the readings at the same time as watching how lovingly the parents were interacting with their children it struck me that I was witnessing the living out of a true vocation.  We know that all people are called by God and that parenthood is one of the most vital vocations there is.  This is particularly true of the call to be the parents of children and young people with special needs.  Every month at the end of this special Mass one of the parents shares her or his experience as a parent with the whole group.  Today I was deeply touched as one of the men spoke of his belief that he had been chosen by God to be the parent of a child with special needs.  If ever I am tempted to think I have a hard life I know that others have been called to a life that is far more challenging and grace-filled than mine.  I thank God for parents.

SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION PRIOR TO CHRISTMAS – GOD REVEALED IN MANY WAYS…

December 20, 2014

We made it into the church just as a fierce storm burst overhead and the darkened clouds released a deluge of water.  I was accompanying one of the novices to church for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I had been the day before and came to show the way to the church as we were away on retreat and in unfamiliar territory.  I found a quiet spot in the middle of the church far from the many groups of people who were waiting at various points around the building.  Given the number of people I knew I would be in for a long wait and settled into a peaceful time of prayer.  After a while I found myself observing the people who were waiting.  There were the very young and the elderly, there were school age children, teenagers and vast numbers of young people – some of them sitting close to boyfriends and girlfriends as they waited.  Some people were alone, others came as a family or in groups of friends.  There were parents taking their small children to Reconciliation.  I was especially touched to see a number of women and men taking tiny babies in with them.  There were students, retired people and some people who were clearly coming straight from work – with brief cases and laptops in hand.  I found myself aware of the most incredible sense of God’s presence: in that vast array of people, in the awareness that people were there to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in the sound of the rain pounding on the roof and bouncing on the paths and roads outside and in the sheer power of the storm that continued to rage above us.  I was struck by the unity of all things in God.  On that afternoon it seemed that all things were in cooperation to offer an almost tangible way of discovering something of God revealed in every aspect of life.

POPE FRANCIS ON CONSECRATED LIFE…A FEW WORDS

December 6, 2014

What follows are a few extracts from the Pope’s video message at the prayer vigil to begin the Year of Consecrated Life.  There are some amazing phrases in it!  It seems to me that this message is for all women and men who are committed to spreading the Gospel.  I’ve posted the phrases that struck me as I read it.  I wonder what will strike you?

I repeat to you today what I have said at other times: “Awake the world! Awake the world!”

How?

Put Christ at the center of your existence.  The essential norm of your life being to “follow Christ as taught by the Gospel” (Perfectae Caritatis, 2), consecrated life consists essentially in personal adherence to Him.

And, with Christ, begin always from the Gospel! Assume it as a way of life and translate it into daily gestures marked by simplicity and coherence, thus overcoming the temptation to transform it into an ideology.  The Gospel will keep your life and mission “young,” and it will render it timely and attractive.  May the Gospel be the solid terrain where you advance with courage.  Called to be “living exegesis” of the Gospel, may that be, dear consecrated, the fountain and ultimate reference of your life and mission.

Come out of your nest to the fringes of the man and woman of today! Therefore, let yourselves be encountered by Christ.  The encounter with Him will drive you to encounter others and will lead you to the neediest, to the poorest. Reach the fringes that await the light of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium, 20). Inhabit the frontiers. 

Dear brothers and sisters: presented before you are many challenges, but these exist to be surmounted. “Let us be realistic, but without losing joy, audacity and dedication full of hope! Let us not be robbed of the missionary force! (Evangelii Gaudium, 109)

CELEBRATING TWENTY FIVE YEARS AS AN FCJ – THANK YOU GOD AND THE FCJS!

September 8, 2014

I recently celebrated my 25th anniversary as an FCJ.  As the day drew close I found myself getting excited and it felt as if there was a secret joy in my heart that bubbled up and out now and then.  In my community we had a prayer service on the actual day – 26th August and on Saturday6th September I had a celebration Mass with our two FCJ communities in Yogyakarta plus four young women who know us well.  I was surprised to find my eyes fillling with tears on several occasions – at the sheer joy and beauty of God’s love.   It was so good to celebrate with the group here – we have lived so much FCJ life together.  I was asked what gift I wanted…What gift do I want??? I should be asking the FCJ Society and God  “What gift do YOU want from me?”  To be an FCJ – what a gift and a blessing.  Thank you God.  Thank you to all FCJs.  Thank you to my family and friends and to all who have ever touched my life in any way.

 

 

FIND HAPPINESS – POPE FRANCIS’ WAY

August 11, 2014

I really enjoyed reading the Pope’s Top Ten Ideas for coming to true happiness – thanks to the Independent Catholic News. I am going to try and live them one at a time. Perhaps others might like to do the same…The ideas are given below. Let’s try it and see what happens…

POPE FRANCIS’ TOP TEN HINTS FOR FINDING TRUE HAPPINESS…

1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle.

2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. Stagnant water becomes putrid.”

3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The Pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the main character – gaucho Don Segundo Sombra – looks back on how he lived his life. “He says that in his youth he was a stream full of rocks that he carried with him; as an adult, a rushing river; and in old age, he was still moving, but slowly, like a pool” of water, the Pope said. He said he likes this image of a pool of water – to have “the ability to move with kindness and humility, a calmness in life.”

4. “A healthy sense of leisure.” The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said. “Consumerism has brought us anxiety” and stress, causing people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” Their time is “swallowed up” so people can’t share it with anyone.

5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.

6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said. “It’s not enough to give them food,” he said. “Dignity is given to you when you can bring food home” from one’s own labour.

7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'”

8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”

9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the Pope said.

10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.

MH 17: 298 SOULS LOST – DEAR GOD FORGIVE US…

July 19, 2014

How can it be that a civilian plane carrying 298 children, women and men could be shot out of the sky? Forgive us all, oh God.  Forgive those who fired that death-dealing missile, forgive all those who hunger for war and violence instead of peace and gentleness and forgive all those of us who live so complacently and even silently with glaring inequalities and injustices…There is soul-searching for all of us to do, there is work for all of us to do so that lives are no longer wasted in so many inhumane ways.  Let us join together in praying for peace with justice and let us work together to make this happen.  Meanwhile we pray for those lost and for all who are grieving and who will go on grieving long into the future.  Dear God forgive us and help us to be people of peace…

AN HONORARY “CATHOLIC YOUTH”!

May 13, 2014

Our two novices were away last weekend at a vocations event in a nearby City and I offered to replace them at a regular meeting: Catholic Youth Fellowship.  I could only smile to myself as I took my place in the circle and danced to the tune of “Train of Love”!  Actually, it could be said that the term “Youth” was broadly applied…the youngest little fellow in front of me looked about 2 and the oldest members were in their late teens!  I had a great evening.  The members didn’t seem to mind that I was way past their age – and the leaders were pleased that the FCJs (well one of them) were present to support them.  Later that evening I was interested to hear the story behind the founding of this brave little youth group.  When their teenage children started to complain that they no longer found church interesting a set of parents decided to do something about it and founded CYF and to bring more life and energy into their faith life.  Those parents started the group and ran it and funded it – and they are still the main supports of it.  Several years later the group is still going.  Meetings are held every two weeks.  What makes this story even more amazing to me is that the family concerned lost their entire business in the terrible earthquake of 2006 – yet they picked themselves up restarted a new business and have even found the energy to spend the last few years creating a lively “space” where Catholic youth can meet and pray together.  I really enjoyed my time as an honorary youth – and what’s more – I’ll be back again!

Saints and saints!

April 28, 2014

How amazing that the Church has just canonised two men who were each great and saintly characters and how very interesting that they were so very different!  However, it is not only John  XXIII or John Paul II who captures my imagination right now. I find myself thinking of the women, men and children beyond number who are “saints” of the quiet type. They may never be known outside their own context and never receive public acclaim and yet they are just as saintly as those officially identified as such.  Today I want to give thanks for all those who do their best to bring a little more love into this world of ours…Thank you to the kind, the gentle, the thoughtful.  Thank you to peacemakers and to those who work for justice.  Thank you to those who tend to nature and who work to keep our world beautiful and fruitful.  Thank you to good neighbours, friends and relatives.  Thank you to those who pray and reflect, to those who dance and sing, to those who stop and smile..Thank you to all those of good heart and good will.  How good to know that our world is full of saints and will continue to be so…Look around and be glad of heart – there are saints all around you and you may well be one yourself!

HOLDING THE WORLD IN MY HEART AT EASTER…

April 20, 2014

I tried so hard during the Holy Week services to hold in prayer all those I love and everything I care about.  I prayed for my family and friends, for the FCJs and CiM, for the needs of the world and indeed for the whole of creation.  I moved from the particular – for example from praying for each member of my family – to praying for all those parts of the world where there is particular suffering – to holding the whole of the created order in my heart and prayer.  My prayer moved back and forth constantly in my simple attempt to align my heart with God’s and to open a way for the grace of Easter to transform the world.  I continue to pray for everyone and everything…May the Risen Christ bring healing, peace and the fullness of life wherever it is needed…

THE JOY OF BEING ON REREAT – PRAYING FOR OUR WORLD AND PRAYING FOR YOU…

April 7, 2014

I leave for my retreat tomorrow and I am so, so happy to have the great gift of time for silence and prayer.  I can’t wait to enjoy this time with God and with the scriptures.  I will be holding the world and its needs in my heart – and I will be praying for you…In companionship and prayer…