Sisterhood of Saints: Margaret of Scotland
Circa 1045–November 16, 1093
They say it was love at first sight, the beautiful, educated, pious English princess and the rough and tumble warrior, widower, and Scots king twenty years her senior.
Margaret was devoted to the Lord; Malcolm III, not so much, though he considered himself a believer. Despite all their differences, Margaret and Malcolm proved to be exceptionally well yoked.
In addition to her royal household duties, which included raising their eight children and two sons from the king’s first marriage, Malcolm involved Margaret heavily in matters of state. It was through Margaret that Catholic traditions were integrated into court life, specifically through a synod that resulted in rules regarding the Lenten fast and Easter communion and challenged clerical abuse. She also lived her faith in seemingly small but very visible ways: she washed the feet of the poor and orphans. At meals to assist the needy, she made sure others were served before her. She set aside time for prayer and devotions, a practice Malcolm so admired (though he did not emulate it) that he had some of her books covered in gold and silver. It is said that while he never learned to read them, he was known to hold them and kiss the pages she had been reading.
The couple also founded a number of churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, where they are both buried. Margaret died just days after Malcolm and their oldest son were killed in battle. On her deathbed, she mourned them both; blessed their other children; and made a final prayer to the Lord.
It’s not always a bad thing when opposites attract. Margaret’s love for and influence on Malcolm helped Scotland mature into a well-run, compassionate land. May we seek to find the commonalities with those whose upbringings or worldview are different from our own. It may be an evangelization opportunity.
“O, my children, fear the Lord; for they who fear Him shall lack nothing, and if you love Him, He will give you, my darlings, prosperity in this life and everlasting happiness with all the saints.”
Saint Margaret of Scotland
Talk with your spouse or a close friend about your seeming differences and the similarities that lie underneath. Pray together about ways your strengths can be united to serve God.
Gary Bixler • 2 days ago Sept 2018
Actually, I believe that we could make a convincing argument on behalf of ethicide, which might be the killing of ethicists who advocate the killing of other human beings who do not measure up to their standards of "good enough" to live in this world. Do we not understand that all things imperfect in this world are given to us by God to test us, and to see what we will do with them? Those who've handled imperfect babies, who've raised imperfect children into imperfect adults realize that everyone is imperfect, and have learned to love the imperfect, including bioethicists, who are perhaps more imperfect than most. It is Hitler's medical henchmen all over again. Let's experiment on those unfortunates who weren't born into our idea of perfection? Let's just end their chance to become Helen Keller, or Stephen Hawking, because at what time does imperfection become a burden on society? The moment it occurs, whether at birth, or further along in the course of things. Absolutely ridiculous illogical arguments made by people who have seared consciences, and the moral standing of Satan himself. There will be a special place in hell for those who hurt and destroy God's children, which Jesus made clear in Scripture. So, ethicists, prepare your millstones now, and find the nearest lake. You're going to wish you had killed yourselves instead of these helpless, precious human beings when you stand before Him.
Dane carn • 4 days ago, 2018
I had a quick look through the guy's papers, and it seems that by not-convincing he either means that it hasn't been
definitively proven infanticide is wrong (or that there are errors in the pro-life arguments), assuming I understood him correctly. I can't say that I buy his ideas though, and he kind of seems to contradict himself given that the paper "Why pro‐life arguments still are not convincing: A reply to my
critics" dedicated to rebutting pro-life arguments against infanticide still has the line "I argued that whether a fetus has a right to life does not solve the debate of whether infanticide is morally permissible."
Moreover, only fair to note that one of his arguments in "Ectogenesis, abortion and a right to the death of the fetus" is the "right to property argument":
1. The fetus is property of the genetic parents.
2. People can destroy their property.
3. Therefore, genetic parents can destroy their fetus.
Now, I happen to think that he makes no case whatsoever for premise 1 other than the line "Common intuition seems to support both premises and therefore the Right to Property Argument." (and for what it's worth don't think he completely believe #2) And while he does attempt to avoid the fact that his premise leads to a justification of slavery by stating that "Obviously, children are not parents’ property. But that has nothing to do with mixing labour. Children are not property because children are persons: morally valuable individuals." (although he thinks personhood is to do with sentience).
I would note that such a view of his would seem to my mind to justify doing as one wishes to a child with severe mental deficiencies (including but not limited to treating them as a sex slave), even as he in one of his future papers does rightly say without controversy that sexual slavery is wrong. I dare say that if his premises lead to positions like that then he needs to rethink his views, and also that variations of the right to property argument are really not that different to those historically used to justify slavery in the past...
The President not only reinstated the “Mexico City Policy,” that halts the export of our nation’s toxic abortion ideology to other countries, but
He made it more comprehensive, so that instead of protecting $500 million from the abortion industry, it now protects $8.8 billion!
He has also
Enabled states to defund Planned Parenthood both of Title X funds and also of Medicaid funds
De-funded the pro-abortion UN Population Fund
Required health insurance companies to disclose whether their plans cover abortion
Protected employers from the HHS mandate that required them to cover abortion in the plans they offer their employees
Made very strong pro-life appointments in a multitude federal agencies
Created a new division within the government for the protection of conscience and religious freedom, so that, for instance, doctors and nurses forced to participate in abortion can have more protection
Placed explicit language in the official documents of the Department of Health and Human Services indicating that when we promote people’s “health,” that includes the whole span of life, from the moment of conception!
Announced new rules that create a physical and financial barrier between Title X funds and the abortion industry
And President Trump has publicly said that he remains steadfast in his resolve to cut off federal Medicaid funding of the nation’s largest abortion business, Planned Parenthood...And that process is well underway!!
He has also spoken plainly and clearly about abortion, about his promise to sign bills like the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,
And has spoken personally at pro-life events like the March for Life and the Susan B. Anthony List Gala!
And that is just some of what he has done!
He will be 72 on Thursday the 14th – and boy is he a young 72! I hope I have that much energy and vitality when I reach that age!
Monday, June 25, 2018 - 12:00 AM
Psychologist Enda Murphy has created a programme that will arm communities with the tools to deal with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ciara McDonnell finds out more.
I am a real raggy doll, according to psychologist Enda Murphy. We all are.
From St Pio
1. “Do not undertake any course of action, not even the most lowly and insignificant, without first offering it to God.”
2. “Every Christian who is a true imitator and follower of the Nazarene can and must call himself a second Christ and show forth most clearly in his life the entire image of Christ. Oh, if only all Christians were to live up to their vocation, this very land of exile would be changed into paradise.”
3. “Our body is like a jackass that must be beaten, but just a little, otherwise it will throw ust to the ground, and refuse to carry us.”
4. “Prayer is the best weapon we have; it is a key that opens God’s heart. You must speak to Jesus, not only with your lips, but also with your heart; actually, on certain occasions, you should speak with only your heart.”
5. “Do not ever lose heart when the tempest rages; place all your trust in the Heart of the most gentle Jesus. Pray and I might add, devoutly pester the divine Heart.”
6. “As long as there remains a drop of blood in our body, there will be a struggle between right and wrong.”
7. “In all that you do, always be humble, guarding jealously the purity of your heart and the purity of your body; these are the two wings which will raise to God and make us almost divine.”
8. “Satan fears and trembles before humble souls.”
9. “It is difficult to become a saint. Difficult, but not impossible. The road to perfection is long, as long as one’s lifetime. Along the way, consolation becomes rest; but as soon as your strength is restored, you must diligently get up and resume the trip.”
10. “Be content to obey, which is never a small thing for the soul who has chosen God as his portion, and resign yourself to be for now a small hive bee to make honey.”
11. “At all times, try to conform to the will of God in everything that you do, and have no fear. This conformity is the surest way to Heaven.”
12. “Let us become saints so that having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.”
Healing the Family Relationship
It is never too late to start an honest conversation about the hurts and resentments that can be part of family life.
Does the idea of healing your family relationships sound realistic, possible or worthwhile? Most adult children have had the experience of being upset with a parent. People, who are able to talk honestly about what affected them deeply, benefit from healing childhood traumas. Often counselling is necessary to enable one to talk about childhood distress and to forgive parents. Forgiveness is fundamentally for one’s own sake. It’s a way to let go of the pain of the past and move on with life. However it is really important to stress that to forgive does not mean to condone the unacceptable situation that created unhappiness. Parenting is probably one of the most difficult and rewarding jobs in the world. There is not a parent in the world who, with the benefit of hindsight, cannot identify many decisions that seemed right at the time but proved to be unwise. When there is marital conflict in an unhappy marriage, the misery and unhappiness children have to deal with is a fact of life that is rarely given the attention it deserves. The relationship between parents determines the atmosphere in the home. All family relationships are difficult because there are no perfect parents and there are no perfect children. The romantic couple who gets married and lives happily ever after only exists in fairytales. In real life couples have their difficulties. There is no marriage without problems. The state of a parent’s marriage has an enormous impact on how secure children feel and whether or not marriage is something they might want in the future. Children cannot feel secure in a family where there is daily evidence that mum and dad don’t love each other anymore. A common fear is that if they stop loving each other they might also stop loving the child.
Unhappy parents, who are vocal about being dissatisfied with a spouse, may try to reassure children. A child can hear every word in the sentence, “Even though dad and I don’t love each other anymore we will always love you”, yet feel insecure and unloved. No matter how hard mum and dad try to protect children from adult issues, children sense what is going on. When the ingredients that are necessary for a happy couple relationship are missing, children of all ages are likely to feel unsupported, insecure, angry and resentful. This is particularly hard on younger children whose
sense of self-esteem is formed almost exclusively by the family in the first five or six years. Family therapist, Virginia Satir, says that, “Feelings of self-worth can only flourish in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open and rules are flexible”. She believes that children who grew up in families with “crooked” communication, inflexible rules, criticism of their differences and punishment for their mistakes learned to have a poor sense of self-worth. Children grow up very quickly and their needs change rapidly as they go through different stages of development. No two children are alike. What works really well with one child may not work at all with another. Some parents say that being a parent to younger children was easier than coping with the changes that occurred during early adolescence. Others suggest that the teenage years when their angelic child turned into a self-interested, rebellious student were more difficult. Other would say that dealing with immature, demanding adult children is the hardest time of all.
Some adults whose parents made the sacrifice to stay in an unsatisfying relationship, for the sake of the children, appreciate this. Others don’t. Resentment at having to live with acrimony and conflict makes some people so angry and unforgiving that they are unwilling to learn about the trauma that parents who felt trapped in an unhappy relationship suffered.
It takes maturity to become non-judgemental of the obese mother, who used comfort eating to deal with the distress of her deteriorating relationship with her husband; the withdrawn father, who immersed himself in sport to avoid spending time around his constantly complaining wife, the blaming parent who refused to accept responsibility for his/her part in creating a cold, tense, humourless atmosphere in the home. Parents who separated, divorced, or stayed in an unhappy relationship can do a great deal to heal family relationships with their adult children if they are willing to be non-defensive and open to answering questions. It makes it less difficult to forgive and let go of the past when the positive intentions behind the decisions that were made are understood.
The insights that occur when family relationships are healed can be the catalyst for taking the necessary steps to ensure that family history does not repeat itself.
(Carmel Wynne in Reality Magazine July/August 2017)
THOUGHT: Don’t let your life slip through your fingers
by living in the past.
By living your life one day at a time,
you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have
something to give.
Nothing is really over until
the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit
that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds
us to each other.
O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
and whose breath gives life to the world, hear me.
I come to you as one of your many children.
I am small and weak ; I need your strength and your wisdom.
Make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made,
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught your children,
the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Make me strong, so that I may not be superior to other people,
but able to fight my greatest enemy which is myself.
Make me ever ready to come to you with straight eyes,
so that when life fades as the fading sunset,
my spirit may come to you without shame.
Prayer of a Native American
Queen of the May
Bring flowers of the rarest, bring blossoms the fairest,
From garden and woodland and hillside and dale:
Our full hearts are swelling, our glad voices telling
The praise of the loveliest flower on the vale.
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May
O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today
Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May.
Their lady they name thee, their mistress proclaim thee.
Oh, grant that thy children on earth be as true,
As long as the bowers are radiant with flowers,
As long as the azure shall keep it’s bright hue
From Moyvane Newsletter 14 May 2017
From Sean Sheehy
Life’s Only Sure Foundation
A solid foundation is essential for success in life. A building is only as durable as what it’s built upon. Adequate preparation is essential for accomplishment. Thus the emphasis by athletes on training. Benjamin Franklin wrote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The Tower of Pisa began leaning shortly after construction because it’s foundation was inadequate and the ground too marshy. What’s true for athleticism and buildings is also true for life. We’ll become lopsided, unfit, and eventually fall if our life doesn’t have an adequate foundation.
What are you building your life on or rely on for security and direction in your life decisions? People build their life on all sorts of things - pleasure, popularity, money, power, etc. – hoping for satisfaction. But will those foundations withstand life’s upheavals? To build a solid foundation for living we need principles. Principles are truths about living that have withstood the test of time and benefit everyone. They give us an understanding of the world and how to live in it with others constructively. They give us an insight into how and why things happen and guide us in new situations. They free us from fear of what others might think of us. They give us a reason for being unselfish, especially when there’s no personal payoff for us. Principles build character.
Sadly, the modern western culture seems to ignore principles as the foundation for living happily. It puts little emphasis on the importance of building good character. Its focus is on personality as the key to successful living. Feelings replace truths. Attitudes are deemed more important that beliefs. Show gets you more recognition than substance. Opinion is perceived as fact and reality is manipulated. The mantra is “Fake it ‘til you make it!” Is it any wonder that superficiality reigns while substance is perceived as being old-fashioned or conservative? Without a solid foundation life becomes a burden as is evidenced in the growing rate of suicide, abortion, euthanasia, violence, and addictions of all kinds.
Jesus came into a world infected by the lies of Satan who deceived mankind into thinking that life can be lived successfully by ignoring God and making ourselves into gods. He came to reawaken us to the fact that His teaching is life’s only sure foundation. He came to show us that it’s not personality but character that makes life durable and worthwhile. Truth is the key to success which alone guarantees us freedom to reach the fullness of our potential. He identified Himself as “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) Jesus is the only solid foundation for living that leads to total peace and happiness. He is the only “Truth” that sets us free. He teaches us, “Anyone who hears my words but does not put them into practice is like the foolish man who built his house on sandy ground. The rains fell, the torrents came, the winds blew and lashed against his house. It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined.” (Mt 7:27) Jesus’ teaching, then, is the rock which is the only solid foundation that withstands “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Any other foundation dooms us to collapse. This is why nourishing our soul is absolutely essential to healthy and vibrant living. We can’t nourish our soul without Jesus who has made Himself our “Bread of life.” (Jn 6:35) Where do we get that “Bread”? In the Holy Eucharist wherein Jesus gives us Himself in His Church’s celebration of the Holy Mass.
As life’s sure foundation Jesus gives us a beautiful future in which to hope. He assures us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and faith in me … I am going to prepare a place for you … I am the way, the truth, and the life, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do and will do greater things than me, because I am going to the Father.” (Jn 14:1-12) God teaches us, “See the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear Him, upon those who hope for His kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.” (Ps 33:18-19) As Jesus’ followers, He has given us a unique identity and purpose, “You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people He claims for His own to proclaim the glorious works of the One who called you from darkness into His marvellous light.” (1 Pt 2:9)
When we make Jesus’ teaching the foundation of our life we live according to His principles and not according to feelings, opinions, images, etc. We focus on building good character, not on tweaking personality. His principles are: 1. Worship the One God in His one Church; 2. Promote the dignity of human life; 3. Be humble; 4. Live a morally good life according to the 10 Commandments; 5. Be generous with time and money; 6. Be a person of integrity – practice what you preach; 7. Don’t be self-righteous; 8. Don’t hold grudges; 9. Be merciful and forgive; 10. Promote the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
If you live your life according to these principles and you will joyfully withstand all that’s alien to life. (frsos)
From Sean Sheehy
A man was asked, “What do you do for a living?” He answered, “I live for a living!” Back in the 1950s a film titled, “I Want to Live” portrayed a woman who’d made immoral choices and ended up being convicted of murder by association with a murderer. She didn’t commit the crime but was nonetheless convicted and executed. She protested her conviction all the way to her execution pleading, “I want to live!” Judging by the number of people who commit suicide it seems that not everyone wants to live. Still we possess an instinct that life is precious. So we naturally try to prevent people from harming themselves. Life is precious because it’s a gift from God. If someone gave you a gift and you threw it away it would indicate that you didn’t appreciate it or the donor. We don’t create our own life. It’s the sine qua non for everything we yearn for – love, peace, happiness, freedom, joy, etc. This is why we want to preserve and live life as fully as possible and forever. No reasonable person wants to die except in a desperate attempt to escape hopelessness. Even people who commit suicide don’t want to die; rather they want to escape a perceived bottomless pit in their life that, in their mind, has reduced life to nothing. The motivation isn’t to stop living but to stop hurting. So, in a distorted manner of thinking, by ending their life they’re trying to end what seems to be making their life hopeless. As the Life-Giver, only God can provide us with the wherewithal to live and make life worth living by giving us the help to rise from what pulls us down. Easter celebrates life that survives suffering and death and enjoy an eternal heavenly existence.
God didn’t create us to suffer and die. He created us to live for a living. But, through the abuse of free will, we separate our self from our Life-Giver and that puts us in the realm of suffering and death. Death is the result of separation from the Giver of life. It was to remedy this tragedy that God sent His Son, Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, to bring hope of life after death to the world. He revealed, “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) The “thief” is Satan who tricked Adam and Eve into thinking they could live without God only to have them experience death and suffering that has affected the whole human race. Sin causes suffering, whether personal, communal or institutional. But Jesus brought hope of healing and resurrection when He announced, “I have come not for the self-righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.” (Mt 9:13) Through God’s grace of repentance and the gift of forgiveness we’ve the power to overcome sin, overcome our suffering, and be resurrected from the dead.
After Jesus’ Ascension, St. Peter told his listeners when they asked what did they needed to do: “Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts2:38, 40) He comforted them by teaching them: “In His own body He brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By His wounds you have been healed for you had gone astray like sheep but you have returned to the Shepherd and the guardian of your souls.” (1 Pt 2:24-25) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life who enlivens our spirit and purifies our soul. If we focus only on the body we reap corruption because the body corrupts in death. But when we attend to the needs of our soul we attend to life that’s eternal because Jesus guards it.
Jesus is our Shepherd who guards our soul by cleansing it from sin in Baptism and Confession, and nourishes it with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. This is why the Psalmist reminds us, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want … He refreshes my soul.” (Ps 23:1-3) As the Shepherd and Guardian of souls, Jesus “calls His own sheep by name and leads them out … He walks ahead of them and the sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice.” (Jn 10:3-4) He identifies Himself as the “gate to the sheepfold.” “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe.” (Jn 10:9) As the Gatekeeper Jesus both protects us from harm and leads us to what nourishes our life so we can have it abundantly. We hear His voice through His Church as she proclaims His Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, and made visible in her Sacraments. Jesus is the Life-Giver and He alone leads us to the fullness of a life that’s joyful, peaceful, restful, loving, and eternal. If you want to have life to the full follow the Life-Giver in His Church. He alone reveals, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) (frsos)
WOMEN: International Women’s Day (8th March) originated from the trade union movement in America in the early 20th century, particularly in the activism of the women who worked in the clothing industry “sweatshops” of the time. In 1907 the women held a “Hunger March” in New York in protest at the dangerous working conditions and very long working periods, and calling for a ten-hour working day and improved wages. The police attacked the march, and the following year on March 8th 1908 a commemorative march was held, which became a milestone in women’s history. This date is what we now celebrate as International Women’s day, and by 1911 it had become international. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a time for women around the world to commemorate their struggles and celebrate their achievements. The United Nations formally proclaimed March 8 International Women’s Day in 1975. Their courage inspired the song “Bread and Roses” which has become associated with International Women’s Day. Bread symbolizes economic justice and roses represent quality of life.
Bread and Roses
As we go marching marching in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lots gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing: bread & roses, bread & roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men
For they are women’s children & we mother them again
(For men can ne’er be free til our slavery’s at an end)
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread but give us roses
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying thru our singing their ancient call for bread
Small art & love & beauty their drudging spirits knew
Yes it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days
The rising of the women means the rising of the race
No more the drudge & idler, ten that toil where one reposes
But a sharing of life’s glories – bread & roses, bread & roses!
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: Try not to waste your time and energy on things that are of little or no importance. Fret not about what others think or what you think they think! We waste so much time stressing and struggling with many of the cares of this world and we miss the beauty within and beyond. Do not let the world pass you by. After all, you have God by your side-now and always! Margaret Theresa Naughton
Relationships & Family, Social Skills
Last week, the APA released a study finding that Americans were experiencing the first statistically significant stress increase in the survey’s 10-year history
“The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism,” declared Peoria Bishop Daniel Jenky in 2012.
How God Serves Us
Someone suggested that the two most important days in our life are the day we’re born and the day we discover our true purpose. Obviously the day we’re born is a special day not only for us but also for family, relatives, and, indeed, the whole world, since we bring new gifts and hope with us from God. The day we discover our purpose is equally important since it’s the day when we realize why we’re here and what we’re meant to accomplish with our life. Without knowing our ultimate purpose life becomes a hit and miss affair, with more misses than hits. God serves us by revealing our purpose, which motivates and guides us in the use of our resources and efforts. Knowing our purpose tells us what fulfils us and makes us happy. It’s our dot on the horizon that keeps us on track and gives meaning to our life. God’s purpose for us is to do His will. What’s God’s will for us?
God revealed to Abraham that we’re to bring His blessing to others. “All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.” (Gen 12:3) He revealed through Isaiah, “You are my servant … through whom I show my glory …I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Is 49: 3)God wills that we give visibility to His presence in and among us, bring His light into people’s darkness, and demonstrate His saving presence to every man, woman, and child. This is the God-given purpose that brings fulfilment and happiness to all who embrace it. Thus the Psalmist proclaims, “To do Your will, O my God, is my delight, and Your law is written on my heart.” (Ps 40:9) God’s purpose serves us by giving us an identity, meaning, power, value, vision, and a mission to bring creation back to the Creator.
God doesn’t expect us to achieve His purpose for us on our own or figure out by ourselves. He never asks anything of us without giving us the wherewithal to accomplish it. He gave us a model that serves to show us how to achieve our purpose. That model is Jesus Christ, God-with-us in the flesh. Jesus not only demonstrated God’s service to everyone, and His purpose for everyone in His own life, but also equipped everyone to serve and be purposeful. He requested His Father to “protect them with Your Name which You have given me that they may be one even as we are one.” (Jn 17:11) The purpose for which God created us orients us not to this world but to the next world, for it’s there that purpose will be permanently fulfilled. Jesus prays for His followers, “They are not of this world, any more than I belong to this world. Consecrate them by means of truth – Your word is truth… I consecrate myself for their sakes now, that they may be consecrated in truth.” (Jn 17:16-19) Jesus serves us and helps us to serve and achieve our purpose by consecrating us in truth through uniting us with Himself in Baptism when we became a, “… holy people consecrated in Christ Jesus ….” (1 Cor 1:2) He reassures us in Confirmation by sending us the Holy Spirit with His gifts.
Our purpose on earth is to let God serve us by doing will. By letting God serve us He gives us the grace to serve Him and one another, which makes us a blessing to others. God serves us especially through His gift of Reconciliation, which Jesus made possible. John the Baptizer recognized Jesus as “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn 1:29) Jesus’ Church immortalizes John’s words every time Christ’s Mass is celebrated. Just before Holy Communion, the priest breaks a small piece of the Sacred Host and places it in the Chalice with the accompanying triple petition, “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us … grant us peace.” Then he holds us up the consecrated bread and wine, Jesus body and blood, proclaiming to the congregation, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” Jesus is the Lamb of God who sacrificed Himself to save us from our sins. God serves us through giving us the gift of His Son. Our greatest service to others is the gift of our presence to them. This is what God does through, with, and in Jesus who continues to make a gift of Himself to us through His Church in her Sacraments, and especially in the Holy Mass. Just as we can’t serve another if he or she refuses our service, so also God can’t serve us if we don’t let Him. This is why we continually need to invite the Holy Spirit, who came to us in Baptism and Confirmation, to guide our spirit in all our decisions through the use of His gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, prayerfulness, perseverance, and the fear of the Lord. God serves us with these gifts so that we can serve others in achieving our purpose and fulfilment. (frsos)
A Prayer on the Inauguration of a President
This prayer, from the U.S. edition of the Book of Blessings (no. 1965), is an adaptation of the prayer for the Church and for civil authorities which was composed by Archbishop John Carroll for use on the occasion of the inauguration of George Washington in 1789.
Almighty and eternal God, you have revealed your glory to all nations. God of power and might, wisdom and justice, through you authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment is decreed.
Assist with your spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to your people over whom he/she presides. May he encourage due respect for virtue and religion. May he execute the laws with justice and mercy? May he seek to restrain crime, vice, and immorality.
We likewise commend to your unbounded mercy all citizens of the United States, that we be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of your holy law. May we be preserved in union and that peace which the world cannot give; and, after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.
We pray to you, who are Lord and God, for ever and ever.
This Sunday is 103rd World Day for Migrants and Refugees World Day for Refugees and Migrants 2017
Prayer for Refugees & Victims of War
Lord God, no one is a stranger to you and no one is ever far from your loving care. In your kindness, watch over refugees and victims of war, those separated from their loved ones, young people who are lost, and those who have left home or who have run away from home. Bring them back safely to the place where they long to be and help us always to show your kindness to strangers
and to all in need Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A prayer for those away from Home
Loving God, we pray for those whom we love,but who are absent from us. Keep them safe from all harm, evil and danger. Bless them with peace, laugher, wisdom, love and joy. Grant that we may be reunited in the fullness of love; in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
From prayer of our hearts by Vienna Cobb Anderso
MINOR Migrants, vulnerable and voiceless
It is important that we come together to remember and pray for the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence. Children are the most vulnerable and hardest hit among the world’s migrants and require special protection,
Pope Francis in his message called for greater protection and integration of immigrants and refugees who are minors, especially those who are unaccompanied. Minors are especially fragile, vulnerable and often invisible and voiceless unable to claim or unaware of their
rights and needs. Visit the website www.catholicbishops.ie/ immigrants to read full text
Prayer for Unaccompanied Migrant Children
For Children Immigrating Alone
Mary, you travelled alone
To reach the loving embrace of your beloved family member.
Elizabeth welcomed you with Open arms and an open heart.
Be with those children Who are travelling across borders .
To seek solace with family. Protect them from exploitation
And from traumatising experiences.
Teach us by The example of the Visitation.
Grant us open arms And open hearts To receive your children
Trying to find the way To a new, life giving home.
Mary, Mother of the human family
Help us end the misery of children separated from family
By man made borders But not by love.
May they arrive, as you did, To joy and to the benediction
Of a loving embrace. Amen
Sister of Mercy
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF THE HEART
All of us are wounded by sin.
The part of us which is most deeply damaged by sin is the heart.
The heart is so beautiful, so innocent,
but it can be betrayed, scorned, and broken.
Darkness of heart is the blackest night of all.
Emptiness of heart is the greatest poverty of all.
A heavy heart is the most wearisome burden of all.
A broken heart is the most painful wound of all.
Only love can heal the wounds of the heart.
Lord, send your Holy Spirit to us,
to heal the wounds of our hearts,
so that we may produce the fruits of love.
May is the usual month in Jesus’ Church when children make their first Holy Communion. It’s the first time they physically receive Jesus Christ into their body and soul. Catholics don’t receive Holy Communion, rather they receive Jesus Christ and experience a communion with Him in which He makes them holy. It’s an experience of belonging in which Jesus gives us the gift of Himself and calls us to make a gift of ourselves to one another. It’s holy because the Holy Spirit joins our spirit to purify it and unite us with Jesus in the most intimate of communions. In Holy Communion Jesus literally enters our life as spiritual food to nourish us as He leads us to Heaven in the body of Hs Church.
The Latin word ‘communio,’ literally means ‘with gift.’ From this we get the words ‘community’ and ‘communication.’ Communion is about sharing oneself with others as a gift. It’s a mutual participation in the life of another. It calls for communication and the building of community. We need community to satisfy our psychological need to belong. A sense of belonging is essential to our human wellbeing and functionality. Loneliness reflects a lack of belonging, feeling isolated, unwanted and unloved. Every human craves community because there’s no person who doesn’t want to be loved for himself or herself. This love is found only in community where people are in communion with one another as gifts to each other. Jesus founded His Church to be God’s community where people can receive Him and experience Him in Holy Communion. God told Moses, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” (Lev 19:2) Peter reminds us of that command: “Remember, Scripture says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16)
We can’t make ourselves holy. God alone can do that since only He is holy. This means we must be in a communion with Him. As humans we rely on our senses to know what’s happening. We need to see, hear, smell, taste or touch something in order to experience it. The more senses we use, the more real is an event for us. We must sense community’s existence. It can’t be just an abstract idea for us. Communion with another has to be experienced if it’s to affect us. Making a gift of ourselves to another must be concrete in order to make a difference in our life and in that of others. So also in our relationship with God. When Jesus identified Himself as “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6), He wasn’t talking symbolically, but rather concretely about something that could be observed by our senses. His way could be seen; His truth could be heard; and His life could be received, tasted and touched. He made this possible through His Church in her Sacraments, especially in the Holy Mass.
Jesus made communion with Him a reality to be physically experienced on Holy Thursday when He instituted the Eucharist and ordained the Apostles and commanded them to “do this in remembrance of me …” (Lk 22:19-20). That evening Jesus took bread and said, “Take this and eat it, this is my body.” (Mt 26:26) Then He took a cup of wine and said, “All of you must drink it, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out in behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Mt 26:27-28) St. Paul reiterated what Jesus had said about the bread and wine: “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me … This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. Every time, then, you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes!” (1 Cor 11:23-26)Thus Jesus made it possible to physically experience Him in a Holy Communion within His Church.
The Catholic Church has always believed in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist. She sees it as “the source and summit of the Christian life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324). The Christian life is a spiritual life, therefore the Eucharist is essential to our spirituality. Spirituality is about being in communion with Christ. Sadly, from the first moment when Jesus announced, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him,” people began to reject His teaching, “… many of His disciples remarked, ‘This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?’” (Jn 6:55-60) Many still reject this teaching today. But Jesus meant what He said to be taken literally. Jesus alone, in the words of St. Peter, has“… the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68) “Eternal life is this; to know you, the only true God, and Him whom you have sent, Jesus Christ.” (Jn 17:3) To know God we must know Christ. To know Christ we must be in communion with Him. How? By receiving Him – body, blood, soul and divinity - in Holy Communion. (frsos)
Does Jesus Know You?
Many people say they know Jesus, but does Jesus know them? Friendship and acquaintanceship aren’t the same. We can’t know someone unless we let him or her into our life where the person can see who we really are and what we’re really about. Have you ever heard someone say, “I thought I knew him/her, but I guess I didn’t!” Relationships become superficial or fail because there’s no mutual knowledge. Mutual knowledge creates intimacy, enabling us to share our most precious dreams, deepest desires and highest hopes with confidence. Mutual knowledge is also required in our relationship with Jesus. It’s just as important to let Jesus know us as it is for us to know Him.
Many people think they know Jesus, but He doesn’t know them? Speaking about judgment day, Jesus said, “When that day comes, many will plead with me, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Have we not exercised demons by its power? Did we not do many miracles in your name as well? Then I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Out of my sight you evildoers!’” (Mt 7:21-23) Why didn’t He know them? Because they didn’t spend time in His company revealing who they really were. It isn’t knowing Jesus that saves us but letting Him know us, so that He can call us by name, perfect our faith, and say, “Come. You have my Father’s blessing! Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.” (Mt 25:34)
How do we make sure that Jesus knows us? By being His companion. “If anyone would serve me, let him follow me; where I am, there will my servant be.” (Jn 12:26) Mutual knowledge is impossible without spending time together talking, listening, sharing, and working. Relationships die when people don’t spend time together observing and discussing what they have in common and where they differ; examining their mutual values and admitting their vices with a view to seeing how they can enrich and perfect each other. The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. He wants us to know Him, but more importantly He wants to know us. But Jesus is God, and therefore knows everything about us and so there’s no need to tell Him who we are! That’s not the way Jesus wants a relationship. He wants to know you and me as persons who freely share with Him who we are. Jesus wants His relationship with us to be mutual, based on the mutual knowledge. Relationship is never a one-way street.
Jesus gets to know you and me when we spend time with Him. Where can we do that? He’s always present in His Church. He assured Peter, on whom He founded His Church, “And know that I am with you always until the end of time.” (Mt 28:20) There Jesus knows us as, “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me.” (Jn 10:27) He knows us as active members of His Church, His flock, as His adopted brothers and sisters. He knows us when we listen to His voice and humbly accept Him as our Shepherd, Lord and Saviour. He knows us in our prayer, sharing our needs, hopes, and dreams, sharing our fears, faith, and love as the “sheep of His flock” with Him as our Good Shepherd (Ps 23;100). He knows us in worship, especially the Holy Mass. He knows us in Confession when we bare our souls in a spirit of repentance seeking absolution and the grace to overcome sin. He knows us in each of His Church’s Sacraments gracing us with His presence to be His “instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47) bringing His light to dispel the world’s darkness. We spend time with Him doing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy ministering to the sick, thirsty, imprisoned, lonely, naked, homeless, the dying, counselling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, calling sinners to repent, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offences, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead.
Jesus gets to know us as His witnesses in these acts of love and mercy. By showing ourselves to Him Jesus shines His light on us to give us a true picture of our self and the insight to become our best self. In letting Jesus know us He assures us that we will never be alone, unloved or abandoned during our life on earth. To those whom He knows Jesus promises: “I will give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father, who gave them to me, is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:28-30) “He will shepherd you and “wipe away every tear from your eyes.” (Rev 7:17)
When we let Jesus know us by making Him our constant Companion in life, we know our true self so we can be true to God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Don’t be afraid to let Jesus know you. (frsos)
The Key to Salvation
A friend of mine asked recently how God would judge people who either haven’t heard of Him or who’ve been led astray in this confusing and sinful world. During this Year of Mercy we might well ask how God provides everyone with the opportunity to know and do His will. As a loving Father, God gives each of His children the opportunity to benefit from His love. How does God do this? Speaking through Moses, He tells us, “If only you would heed the voice of the Lord and keep His commandments and statute … with all your heart and all your soul … This command is not too mysterious and remote for you … It is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out.” (Deut 30:10-14) God writes His law on the heart of every human being from the moment of conception. Every human soul has a spiritual organ of religiosity that seeks union with its Creator. Every person has the ability to reason to the existence of God. Therefore no person can say he or she couldn’t hear or believe in God.
God formed a people to whom He personally revealed Himself and finally He came to earth Himself in Person through His Word, Jesus Christ. “Jesus is the image of the unseen God … for in Him were created all things in Heaven and on earth: everything visible and invisible … all things were created through Him and for Him … He holds all things in unity … the Church is His body, He is its Head … He was first to be born from the dead.” (Col 1:15-20) Jesus is God’s love for us made visible. “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Trial, or distress, or persecution, or hunger, or nakedness, or danger, or the sword?” (Rom 8:35) Nothing can separate us from God’s love except ourselves through sin. Jesus founded His Church on Peter to, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the Name ‘of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.’ Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world.” (Mat 28:19-20) It’s the responsibility of every member of Jesus’ Church to introduce Him to every human being? Why? Because to have a personal relationship with God it’s essential to know Jesus. He is the “image of the unseen God.” If people don’t now Jesus today it’s either because they have rejected Him or Christians haven’t introduced Him to them.
Sometimes Christians think they’re good because they haven’t hurt anyone. But they forget that Christianity isn’t only about not hurting others but about doing good to them. St. Peter urges us, “Above all, let your charity be constant, for charity covers a multitude of sins. Be mutually hospitable without complaining … put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he or she has received.” (1 Pt 4:8-10) Jesus warns us, “It is not those who say to me, ‘Lord, Lord’, who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in Heaven.” (Mt 7:21) What’s God’s will? It’s to love Him with all we have and love our neighbour as our self. When we love our neighbour we’re loving God and our self. Jesus emphasized love of neighbour as the key to salvation in His parable of the Good Samaritan. There are three kinds of people in the world. Those who act like, 1. “What’s yours is mine!” 2. “What’s mine is mine!” and 3. “What’s mine is yours.” The robber falls into the first category, the priest and Levite the second, and the Samaritan the third.
Every person has a free will and can choose either of these spirits when approaching others. The person who believes that “what is mine is yours” is the one who does God’s will, regardless of his or her religion. This person is like Jesus who heals our wounds caused by our sins. To selflessly reach out to others always signifies the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s God’s love made visible. It’s not those calling on the Lord who will be saved, but those who are charitable. Actions speak louder than words. God doesn’t want us just calling His Name; He want us to act in His Name. Faith without works is dead. Prayer without action is empty. A “religious” person without charity is less religious that a charitable person without religion. The value and purpose of religion is to bind us to God in a personal relationship so that, through prayer and worship, we might receive God’s grace and know His will, growing in our consciousness and creativity for doing good to others. Jesus tells us that we will be judged not on our Church attendance but on our consistent charitable attitude toward “the least of my brothers and sisters.” (Mt 25:40) We need to ask ourselves daily, “To whom can I do good today in my efforts to do God’s will and be saved from my sins?” (frsos)
THOUGHT: A tongue filled with laughter and praise is a reflection of a heart filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord. What a joy it is just to be with someone whose heart is full. A soothing tongue, a tongue that can say "I accept you where you are," or "I appreciate your questions" without offence or bitterness, is a secure place someone can go for help without fear of judgment, condemnation or censure.Mike Hoskins
From Moyvane Newsletter March 2016
While everyone this weekend will be focused on the Prodigal Son, maybe those of you reading this may think and indeed pray for OUR PRODIGAL DAUGHTERS!
Great poets have sung of the beauties of home -
its comfort, its love and its joys.
How back to the place of its sheltering dome
I welcome the prodigal boy
They picture his father with pardoning smile and glittering robes to unfurl;
But none of the poets thought it worthwhile to sing of the prodigal girl
The prodigal son can resume his old place as leader of fashions mad whirl,
with never a hint of his former disgrace –
Not so for the prodigal girl!
The girl may come back to the home she has left
but nothing is ever the same.
The shadow still linger o’er dear ones bereft,
society scoffs at her name.
Perhaps that is why when the prodigal girl gets lost on life’s devious track:
She thinks of the lips that will scornfully curl,
and hasn’t the heart to come back
Yes, welcome the prodigal son to his place;
kill the calf, fill the free flowing bowl;
But shut not the door on his frail sister’s face,
remember she too has a soul.
(The author of this beautiful reflection is unknown.
I think it is a very strong reminder to all of us to be sensitive as to how we judge or condemn others).
A MOTHER’S LOVE
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can understand our tears,
Can soothe our disappointments
And calm all our fears.
There are times when only a Mother’s love
Can share the joy we feel
When something we’ve dreamed about
Quite suddenly is real.
There are times when only a Mother’s faith
Can help us on life’s way
And inspire in us the confidence
We need from day to day.
For a Mother’s heart and a Mother’s faith
And a Mother’s steadfast love
Were fashioned by the Angels
And sent from God above. Mother Thank You!
A Christmas and New Year's Message from President Michael D. Higgins
by Irish Abroad on 18 December 2015 06:12AM
Christmas is a special time. For most of us, it is a time to be together with our loved ones, our families; a time to pause and reflect; a time to recognise and give thanks for the good people, and happy events in our lives.
If Christmas is a time to celebrate, it is also a time to share. We share each other’s company, each other’s achievements together with each other’s pains, hopes and dreams.
For we must not forget that Christmas is also a time of hope. At this time, in the deepest darkness of winter, we celebrate the triumph of light over dark, of dreams over the setbacks of the past. We renew our sense of possibilities not yet realised.
As we take stock over this holiday period, we are given an opportunity to reflect on our lives and the world we live in. As we do so, we are reminded of the hardship experienced by countless people in Ireland and the suffering of millions of our fellow travellers on this vulnerable planet we call Earth.
As we reflect on the story of Christmas and the birth of Jesus, on the plight of the homeless Joseph and Mary anticipating the birth of their child, and how they were aided by complete strangers, we can perhaps draw inspiration from what they experienced for our own lives and times. More than anything, the Christmas story gives us guidance on how to shape our own shared humanity with a regard for future generations. This year in particular, we welcome the acceptance of new obligations by nation states in relation to global poverty and climate change.
During 2015 we learnt that 1 in every 122 people on the planet is now a refugee, a “displaced person” or otherwise forced to leave their homes. Wars, conflict and persecution have forced more people to flee than at any other time since records began.
As people of a migrant nation we are perhaps uniquely placed to understand the great agony experienced by the 60 million displaced people.
In this context, it is heartening to see how countless people in Ireland have chosen to respond with warmth and real hospitality. Our NGOs, our medical services, and our uniformed services – both at home and overseas – are peopled by those who have chosen to take action, and to be the stranger that offers a helping hand, a shelter, a meal to those in need. How we treat the weakest among us is the finest test of us as a nation.
During the past year both Sabina and I have experienced and valued the warmth and friendship of people both at home and abroad – and it is something we deeply appreciate. In villages and towns around the country and on working visits abroad we have had the privilege of witnessing the contribution to community and the public world made by Irish people in so many different ways.
Together, we can strengthen that web of solidarity that binds us as a people and as a global community next year. As we prepare to commemorate the momentous events of a century ago that shaped the birth of our Republic, we are encouraged not only to recall those events, but also to re-imagine and take inspiration from the Republican ideals proclaimed almost a century ago.
It is my sincere hope that those ideals can inspire each and every one of us on our shared journey where each step made by each citizen, in every generation, matters; a journey that we all make together, never alone.
Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, guím gach dea-ghuí oraibh go léir agus go raibh Nollaig agus Bliain Nua shona agus shíochánta agaibh.
As President of Ireland may I offer people everywhere the warmest wishes for a peaceful as well as a happy Christmas and New Year.
Teachtaireacht na Nollag agus na hAthbhliana
ón Uachtarán, Micheál D. Ó hUigínn
From Father Pat Moore
We have reached the point where we can look back on 2015. Not a great summer but a wonderful month of Oct. Kerry winning the Minor All Ireland & in the Senior All Ireland Anthony Maher
bringing glory on our parish with an all star as did our primary school football team, so many in Scór, Community Games &Basketball. Congrats all, their families, coaches and carers.
In 2015 there were 19 Baptisms in the Parish. May we continue to create a community in which it is safe to grow up & grow old. In 2015 there were 20 Funerals in our two churches. We remembered them during November especially, every time we visit the graveyards & we pray for those who mourn their dead &will find this Christmas so hard. Light a candle, visit the crib and keep fond memories alive. In 2015 there were 9 Marriages in our churches. God Bless our newlyweds & welcome to anyone who has come to live among us
in the greater Duagh/Lyre area. Emigration, unemployment and sickness stood out for others this year in our parish.
Last February I was diagnosed with cancer. After chemo & radium treatment concurrently I was operated on in mid June and I am making a recovery slowly since. I am very grateful to God and to family, friends and the parish community that supported and inspired me through it all. As I continue to get better I am so grateful and thanks to you for all your goodness.
To everyone I say getting cancer is not a death sentence because there are now great treatments for different cancers. Every
One should get their bloods checked regularly; always keep in touch with your doctor/nurse. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself
when you feel something slowing you down. Accept help when it’s offered and you need it; focus on the positive when you might feel otherwise. Offer and give support to each other when it’s needed. There is great nature in people and it’s healing.
Value time together, meals, games, fun, laughter, these are where healing memories are minted. So too when we are travelling
from & to school, Mass & training. Our sports and leisure complex goes from strength to strength. On the first anniversary of its opening there was a successful gathering of over 300 ‘lovely ladies’! The building is fully paid for & self financing the envy of many communities
The new bell tower in the Church grounds is a credit to the vision and dedication of the Tidy Towns committee. Both graveyards in the parish are very special places to visit and great thanks are due to the people who look after them and make them such special places to
In my absence from the parish so many people worked so hard for our parish. Fr Declan in Listowel stepped up to the mark Fr.
Paul, Fr. Jack and Fr. Tom went above & beyond the call of duty to support The Christian Life of the Community. They were not for
wanting. Nina Hayes does sterling work as our Parish Secretary as do our sacristans Phil Meehan & Mick Naughton. People turn up regularly to help and participate in: Eucharistic Adoration, serving teas, cleaning the church, collections, the choirs, church decoration
, garden, readers, traffic control, distribute communion, altar servers, parents, child protection, board of management in our schools, community organisation. This all makes our communities live. Continue to look after one another. We are as strong as our weakest link and I felt weak this last year and felt held by you all.
For this I am so grateful. In looking after one another and being kind, Jesus lives again in our homes and parish. May we do the small things well, around the kitchen table, the altar, wherever we get internal as well as external heat from. Come to the crib in our Churches and live the simple things well as we see the baby Jesus stretched out in the straw among the animals. Go gently and kindly into each day of the New Year. And the great work the artist DJ Downey did around our church and grotto- Thanks to him.
Striking a Balance
A topic that is often discussed, particularly on radio and television, is the use of corporal punishment to chastise children. There are those who believe that giving a child a smack on the bottom is no harm to them and helps them realise that there are consequences to misbehaving and then there are others who are fervently opposed to any physical contact at all. Both sides can put up good arguments to back up their theories.
We must remember that it is only in very recent times that corporal punishment was prohibited in schools. In my days at school the rod was liberally used as a punishment for not knowing the correct answer to a question, misbehaving or indeed at the whim of the teacher. Most teachers were fair but there were some who went too far and over did the beatings. I remember one teacher in particular who, though a great teacher, had a bit of a drink problem. The day after one of his binges was dreaded. Filled with remorse and suffering from a hangover, he took out his feelings on us and used any excuse to use the cane. He would ask rapid-fire questions and if you weren’t quick enough with the answers you suffered. I remember one day answering all the questions he threw at me and I was so happy I allowed a little smile to cross my face. “What are you smirking at ?” he said and proceeded to give me a double dose for insolence. I hated every day I went to school unlike my grandchildren who love going. That is one change for the better. If you had the misfortune to mention at home that you got slapped at school, you got another beating at home because the teacher was right and you were wrong. Parents and teachers believed the saying “spare the rod and spoil the child” and it made our young days mostly forgettable. It made good liars of us though. You never admitted to wrongdoing and always made up a good excuse to avoid getting the rod or the strap. There is no doubt that it had a lasting effecting on some of us. I grew up believing I was totally worthless and I developed an inferiority complex that has plagued me for most of my life. Everything was so negative, even God was waiting for us to trip up so that we might be sent to burn in hell forever!. Nowadays there is more emphasis on love and understanding and less fear.
There is still the problem of discipline. At school errant children may be suspended for a period. This interferes with their education and is far more harmful than a couple of slaps on the hand. Some parents believe their children can do no wrong and let them do as they like. We all know what that leads to. We all have to learn that there are consequences to our actions and the best time to learn this is at a very young age. Parents face a huge challenge in dealing with young people who are getting most of their ideas from TV programmes and social media. It can be very provoking to be defied by one’s child but beating them is not the answer. The question is, what to do? I am no expert in this field so I am not going to give an opinion but I would question the total outlawing of a smack on the behind for a youngster who is throwing a tantrum. A balance has to be struck between giving in completely and physically hurting a child. I never want to go back to the awful days of my youth but I have to admit that on one or two occasions I gave a smack to my own children when they were young and never had to repeat it again. They have grown up ok and have a good sense of what is right or wrong. There is no perfect way.
Domhnall de Barra
THOUGHT:There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians ever imagine that they are guilty themselves....The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil; Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind...As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. C S Lewis.
THOUGHT: Have you ever noticed that Jesus is never recorded as taking a holiday? He retired for the purposes of his mission, not from it. He was never destroyed by his work; he was always on top of it. He moved among people as the Master of every situation. He was busier than anyone; the multitudes were always at him, yet he had time, for everything and everyone. He was never hurried, or harassed, or too busy. He had complete supremacy over time; he never let it dictate to him. He talked of "my time;" "my hour." He knew exactly when the moment had come for doing something and when it had not... a life lived in God is a life that masters time. One can see the distractions for what they are and centre down on the things that really matter. But of course this doesn't mean that Christians do less than other people. (Look at Jesus again, and think of those people - many of the busiest you have known - who have something of this quality.)
“A clay pot sitting in the sun will always be a clay pot. It has to go through the white heat of the furnace to become porcelain”. Mildred W. Struven
Letter from heaven
To my dearest family and friends
There’s some things I’d like to say, but first of all, to let you know that I have arrived okay.
I’m writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above,
Where there’s no more tears of sadness,
There is just eternal love.
The day Thursday, I had to leave you when my life on earth was through
God picked me up and hugged me and said, “I welcome you”
“It’s good to have you back again,
You were missed while you were gone:
As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on.”
Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight;
Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night.
God gave me a list of things that he wished for me to do;
And foremost on the list was to watch and care for you.
When you lie in bed at night,
With the days’ chores put to flight,
God and I are closest to you ……In the middle of the night.
When you are walking down the street and you’ve got me on your mind,
I am walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.
There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb.
But together we can do it by just taking one day at a time.
And when it is time for you to go from that body to be free remember that you’re not going…
You are coming here to me.
THOUGHT: Here is the secret of Divine all-sufficiency, to come to the end of everything in ourselves and in our circumstances. When we reach this place, we will stop asking for sympathy because of our hard situation or bad treatment, for we will recognize these things as the very conditions of our blessing, and we will turn from them to God and find in them a claim upon Him.
A. B. Simpson
Canadian poet Carol Penner, who is also a Mennonite pastor, reminds us that the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week are not simply historical events; they are present realities. Her poem is entitled Coming to the City Nearest You.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you.
Jesus comes to the gate, to the synagogue,
to houses prepared for wedding parties,
to the pools where people wait to be healed,
to the temple where lambs are sold,
to gardens, beautiful in the moonlight.
He comes to the governor’s palace.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you,
to new subdivisions and trailer parks,
to penthouses and basement apartments,
to the factory, the hospital and the Cineplex,
to the big box outlet centre and to churches,
with the same old same old message,
unchanged from the beginning of time.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you
with his Good News and…
Hope erupts! Joy springs forth!
The very stones cry out,
“Hosanna in the highest,
blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The crowds jostle and push,
they can’t get close enough!
People running alongside flinging down their coats before him!
Jesus, the parade marshal, waving, smiling.
The paparazzi elbow for room,
looking for that perfect picture for the headline,
“The Man Who Would Be King”.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you
and gets the red carpet treatment.
Children waving real palm branches from the florist,
silk palm branches from Wal-mart,
palms made from green construction paper.
Hosannas ringing in churches, chapels, cathedrals,
in monasteries, basilicas and tent-meetings.
King Jesus, honored in a thousand hymns
in Canada, Cameroon, Calcutta and Canberra.
We LOVE this great big powerful capital K King Jesus
coming in glory and splendor and majesty
and awe and power and might.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you.
Kingly, he takes a towel and washes feet.
With majesty, he serves bread and wine.
With honour, he prays all night.
With power, he puts on chains.
Jesus, King of all creation, appears in state
in the eyes of the prisoner, the AIDS orphan, the crack addict,
asking for one cup of cold water,
one coat shared with someone who has none,
one heart, yours,
and a second mile.
Jesus comes to Jerusalem, the city nearest you. Can you see him?
Canadian poet Carol Penner.
"The object of my school is to show how many extraordinary things even a lazy and ordinary man may see if he can spur himself to the single activity of seeing."
-- G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
The Hurler’s Prayer
(courtesy of Shannon parish)
Grant me, O Lord, a Hurler’s skill
With strength of arm and speed of limb,
A cunning eye for the flying ball,
And luck to catch it where ‘ere it fall,
May my stroke be steady, my aim be true,
My actions manly, my misses few,
And no matter what way the game may go,
May I rest in friendship with every foe,
When the final whistle for me is blown,
And I stand at last at God’s judgement throne,
May the Great Referee when He calls my name,
Say: “ You hurled like a man, and you
played the game!”
Fr Ray Browne was ordained on Sunday 4 July 1982 in the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, Athlone.
He was School Chaplain at Summerhill College from October 1983 to June 1986. He was Parish Curate in Roscommon Town from September 1986 to July 1988.
He contributed greatly to Galway Marriage Regional Tribunal as Staff Member from July 1988 to July 1995 and Judicial Vicar from October 2002 to July 2008
He took up the position of Parish Curate in Saint Mary’s (Cathedral Parish), Sligo from 1995 to 2002, then Parish Priest of Kilgefin Parish, Co Roscommon from August 2008 - 2013.
Fr. Ray Browne is also the current Diocesan Designated Person for Safeguarding Children in the diocese of Elphin.
Episcopal Ordination of Raymond Brown
Speaking Notes of Father Séamus O’Connell
Whatever else one can say about Martha in this gospel story we have just heard, she is not indifferent. Like the Good Samaritan whom we met last Sunday she sees the need of the other. She sees the need of Jesus and his disciples and, in compassion, opens her home to them. But unlike the Samaritan, Martha has her limits. Her frustration and fatigue show
themselves before the day is out. Like us all, she has her expectations
: she expects her sister to support her in serving and she expects Jesus to acknowledge what’s going on. But support she does not get! The Lord does not indulge her justified complaint. He doesn’t engage with it at all. He puts something else before her: the action of her sister, who, “was sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to his word.” (Luke 10:39)
Martha and we are left open mouthed before Jesus. The tension is NOT resolved. And that tension reaches down into this Cathedral and into this Diocese today. Her fatigue is like the fatigue that characterizes being part of the Church in Ireland in these days and years. We are more like Martha than we think! We often feel that things have passed the Church by,
that the action is elsewhere, that people no longer remember or appreciate the huge work in education, the hospitals, the outreach, the service to emigrants, the heroic sacrifice of missionaries, in every corner of the globe, beautiful young women and men who literally gave everything for the sake of
and who in the latter part of the 19th century and especially all through the 20th
gave and gave and gave. That appears to have faded All that appears to be left is the memory and the hurt from the betrayals and failures. And failures there have been. And betrayals. We fool ourselves if we think that the leaching of life from the Church is to be ascribed solely to the horrific betrayals, and failures and the inaction which followed for so long. The real roots of the fatigue and of the lack of life in the Church in Ireland ... and indeed in
Europe lie elsewhere. They lie at the heart of what is happening between Martha and the Lord. Martha has her limits! Martha’s big and generous and strong heart has blinded her to another part of life Her generosity has blinded to the the other, to the guest. There is the person who is to be met. Martha is so busy giving that she cannot receive her guest. She is so preoccupied with looking after her guests, that she does not look at them.
She looks through them. But the Lord asks not just be served, but to be attended to Without attending to him, her serving makes little sense. Like
in a marriage, the shared project, the shared activity, makes little sense without the shared life. You know what I mean. In the early
Summer of 1989, the Diocese of Stuttgart got a new bishop, just like ourselves. In his first pastoral letter which he titled, “A Letter to
the Parishes of the Diocese,” that new bishop noted that without our own personal conversion, all the reforms even the most necessary and well intentioned will fail and, without our own personal renewal, will end in empty activism. Without listening to the Word, without discerning the will of God, without a spirit of adoration and without constant prayer, there will be neither renewal of the church nor new evangelisation in Europe. That was 24 years ago! What Bishop Walter Kasper had to say to the parishes of Stuttgart,
still holds for parishes across Ireland today! In a way, that is what Jesus puts before Martha! And the Church was and is a community of Marthas! WE are
a community of Marthas. But the Church in its fullness is a community of Marthas before the Lord. And here is the heart of the matter: before the
Lord. Jesus invites Martha to remain in his presence, to be present to him, as he is to her. What the Lord puts before Martha, is neither easy nor
rapid. In the real world, change is slow, very slow and miracles have to be discerned. This still remains new territory for us in Ireland; this way of being Church. There are some who would say that the Church in Europe is broken and needs to be fixed. It might be wiser to say that Church in Ireland as we know it is leaving one place and the Lord is bringing us to a new place; the second reading today: ‘When you were dead ... God made you alive along with [Christ]’ (Col 2:13) It is God who does this, w ho brings us from death to life, from a dying Church to a living Church. The journey from death to life is
not an easy journey for people in the real world. However, we are not alone:
the Holy Spirit is in our hearts (see Romans 5:5) and our
Father in heaven gives the Spirit of the live giving Lord to all who ask (Luke 11:13; next
Our diocese is under the patronage of St Brendan, a person of fa
ith and courage who set out on uncharted waters. Today,in Brendan’s wake,
Raymond Brown is ordained as Bishop of Kerry. It is a very important day for us. It is a day of joy and a day of hope for all
of us who comprise the Body of Christ in this place.
Ray, you come to us as a person of significant pastoral experience and administrative skill, and more
as a person of integrity and openness, a person of faith, a
manof gentleness and respect, compassion and concern.
You are someone who will be able to build on the
significant legacies of our bishops since the Council
, and who will gather us and find a way with us, as we are brought
through these uncharted waters Today is a very important day for you too
. As we say in Kerry, “You’re stuck with us!” In a real sense, God entrusts
you to us; your life among us will be part of your way to eternal life (see Luke 10:25). These are big things, mysteries of faith. I pray that we may give you
the welcome you deserve, that we may engage with you and
be honest with you I have one thing to ask this day that God help us the realize that Providence is at work among us all. If the Lord is with the Church, then the way will be full of surprises, like the way of Jesus with the disciples.
A church which takes that way seriously is a church on the path to renewal. It is a Church which realizes that without Christ, there is no point in this endeavour. So let us not be afraid. Let us remember Bill Murphy’s Episcopal motto Nolite Timere Do not be afraid! Open, THROW OPEN the doors to Christ To his saving power.. Do not be afraid! Christ knows ‘what is in everyone’ [see John 2:25] ONLY HE knows it.The words of the 58 year old Karol Wojtya , in his inaugural homily as the newly elected
Bishop of Rome in October 1978. The call of a saint, a saint of our time, a man of our age. May God who has begun this good work among us, bring it to
THOUGHT: Anyone who tries self-sufficiency in the spiritual life soon falls prey to illusion. Anonymous.
“Make every product better than it’s ever been done before. Make the parts you cannot see as well as the parts you can see. Use only the best materials, even for the most everyday items. Give the same attention to the smallest detail as you do to the largest. Design every item you make to last forever.” – Shaker Philosophy of Furniture Making
“This Lawyer lived 130 miles from her elderly father. They had not seen each other in a few months. The father phones her and asks “When are you coming to see me”” the daughter proceeded to tell him about the demands on her time – her court schedule, meetings and so on – everything that prevented her from visiting her father . So the father says “I’ve been wondering about this for some time now – when I die did you intend to come to my funeral? the daughter was really upset and mad with this question and responds “Dad” I can’t believe you’d ask that, of course I’d come to your funeral . the Father replies ‘Good’ – let’s make a deal – forget the funeral I need you more now than I will then – Visit now love OK!”
THOUGHT: from Sr Thea Bowman, a Franciscan sister of Perpetual Adoration.
“Let us resolve to make this week holy by claiming Christ’s redemptive grace and by living holy lives. The Word became flesh and redeemed us by his holy life and holy death. This week especially, let us accept redemption by living grateful, faithful, prayerful, generous, just and holy lives.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by reading and meditating Holy Scripture. So often, we get caught up in the hurry of daily living. As individuals and as families, reserve prime time to be with Jesus, to hear the cries of the children waving palm branches, to see the Son of Man riding on an ass' colt, to feel the press of the crowd, to be caught up in the "Hosannas” and to realize how the cries of acclamation will yield to the garden of suffering, to be there and watch as Jesus is sentenced by Pilate to Calvary, to see him rejected, mocked, spat upon, beaten and forced to carry a heavy cross, to hear the echo of the hammer, to feel the agony of the torn flesh and strained muscles, to know Mary’s anguish as he hung three hours before he died.
We recoil before the atrocities of war, gang crime, domestic violence and catastrophic illness. Unless we personally and immediately are touched by suffering, it is easy to read Scripture and to walk away without contacting the redemptive suffering that makes us holy. The reality of the Word falls on deaf ears.
Let us take time this week to be present to someone who suffers. Sharing the pain of a fellow human will enliven Scripture and help us enter into the holy mystery of the redemptive suffering of Christ.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by participating in the Holy Week services of the church, not just by attending, but also by preparing, by studying the readings, entering into the spirit, offering our services as ministers of the Word or Eucharist, decorating the church or preparing the environment for worship.
Let us sing, "Lord, have mercy," and "Hosanna." Let us praise the Lord with our whole heart and soul and mind and strength, uniting with the suffering church throughout the world -- in Rome and Ireland, in Syria and Lebanon, in South Africa and Angola, India and China, Nicaragua and El Salvador, in Washington, D.C., and Jackson, Mississippi.
Let us break bread together; let us relive the holy and redemptive mystery. Let us do it in memory of him, acknowledging in faith his real presence upon our altars.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy within our families, sharing family prayer on a regular basis, making every meal a holy meal where loving conversations bond family members in unity, sharing family work without grumbling, making love not war, asking forgiveness for past hurts and forgiving one another from the heart, seeking to go all the way for love as Jesus went all the way for love.
Let us resolve to make this week holy by sharing holy peace and joy with the needy, the alienated, the lonely, the sick and afflicted, the untouchable.
Let us unite our sufferings, inconveniences and annoyances with the suffering of Jesus. Let us stretch ourselves, going beyond our comfort zones to unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work.
We unite ourselves with Christ's redemptive work when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God's healing, God's forgiveness, God's unconditional love.
Let us be practical, reaching out across the boundaries of race and class and status to help somebody, to encourage and affirm somebody, offering to the young an incentive to learn and grow, offering to the downtrodden resources to help themselves.
May our fasting be the kind that saves and shares with the poor, that actually contacts the needy, that gives heart to heart, that touches and nourishes and heals.
Bakh lo nogaya–Nothing will Touch You
There are big bears in the forest
And palpable fear
There are dances opposed fire
And snakes and owls.
There are monsters in the river
Hungry and awake
But your room is warm and nice
And you are asleep.
The breath of the mouths of innocents
Are quiet and calm
Nothing scares you and
Nothing will harm you
There’s a war in the middle of Europe
These are black days.
Caravan flees without a home
Because of the bad people
There’s a crazy virus that harms
But this room is warm and nice
And you are sleeping.
The mouths of innocent
Are quiet and calm
Nothing scares you and
Nothing will harm you.
"We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: "Tell our story". So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.
It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought, and some died, to make and keep us a nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.
It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those who we had never known before."
These lines written by a 13 year old who died of a brain tumour, which he had battled with for 4 years, he gave this poem to his mother before he died but it’s applicable to all who are sad this Christmas, having lost a family member.
“The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and goodwill of friends to you
The love of God’s son and God’s peace to you”
“I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below
With tiny lights like Heaven’s stars reflecting on the snow
The sight is so spectacular please wipe away the tear
For I’m spending Christmas with Jesus this year
I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear
But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here
I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring
For it’s beyond description to hear the angels sing
I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart
But I’m not so far away, we really aren’t apart
So be happy for me dear ones, you know I hold you dear
And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus this year
I send you each a special gift from my heavenly home above
I send you each a memory of my undying love
Please love and keep each other, as my Father said to do
For I can’t count the blessing of love He has for each of you
So have a Merry Christmas and wipe away that tear
Remember I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.
25th November, Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Christ came as a suffering servant to free us from the slavery of sin. His Grace flows through the sacraments. In this year of Faith is God calling you to be a priest? Contact Vocation Director: Fr. Liam Lovell, 064 6641352 firstname.lastname@example.org
Be thankful for the smallest blessing, and you will deserve to receive greater. Value the least gifts no less than the greatest, and simple graces as especial favours. If you remember the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem small or mean, for nothing can be valueless that is given by the most high God.Thomas a Kempis
- Be encouraging. We have to remember that most people in our culture are not active Christians who know and follow Christ. This means we have a lot of work to do. Encouraging someone to explore the faith, seek the truth, pray, etc are great ways to introduce them to Christ and His Church.
2 - Dialogue. Don't Argue. Fulton Sheen had the motto - "Win an argument. Lose a soul." I agree. If someone loses, they won't listen to what you said. Try presenting the truth, not beating someone up with it. Our job isn't to convince, it is to be faithful in announcing what it true in an attractive way.
3 - Re-read before posting it. Try to see if what you are writing could be taken the wrong way, sound defensive, be argumentative, etc. No need to be immediate in responding if it means you could hurt someone. You will drive someone off more quickly than bring them to Christ with one comment.
4 - Step away if things get too heated. Don't feel like you can't take a break or end a conversation if things aren't headed in a positive direction. If you can come back at a later time, then do so.
5 - Don't write anything you wouldn't say to someone face-to-face. People love to re-invent themselves on the internet. No need to be the internet tough-guy and beat someone up virtually. No good will come of it.
6 - Ask good questions. A great way to understand where someone is coming from and how you might help them is to ask questions. Furthermore, your partner in the discussion will have to think about what they believe and why if you ask good questions. Getting them to reflect is a great goal any way.
7 - Know who you are talking to. If you don't know your audience, then you don't know how to properly respond to them. Rarely should you quote the Bible to an atheist. Nor should you quote Vatican II to a Muslim. A rational non-faith-based argument works for most though - unless someone has asked a "where is it in the Bible" kind of answer.
8 - Be prepared to hear some far-out ideas and strange philosophies. Don't dismiss someone just because they don't think like you do. Every belief under the sun gets equal time on the internet. Be prepared for the absurd and irrational ones.
9 - Know that sarcasm, humor, irony, satire, etc may be misinterpreted online. I do this too often still. Nobody can see your facial expressions or know the real intent behind your posts. If it could be misinterpreted, then re-write it or don't post it.
10 - Don't be afraid to speak the truth, but do so with the right intentions. In all things charity. Remember what your goal is - to help others come closer to Christ, His Church, and the truth. So, offer up what is true, but do so convincingly, lovingly, and humbly.
REFLECTION FOR THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY
Any journey to Jesus, like the Magi’s begins mysteriously. As they are led by a star, we too are led in many ways to meet the Lord: through parents, teachers, friends, experiences (both sad and happy) of our lives. If a meeting with Jesus is at all memorable, it affects our lives, just as their meeting with him meant they went back by a different way. We could say that when we have met Jesus and heard his gospel, we will then go through life by a different path. It is a new birth. Everything is new: the stars in the sky are invitations to his depth and mystery and light, the beggar in the street evokes the good Samaritan in us. After we have met him, in prayer, in community, in service, we realise that he graces every human experience with the possibility of a meeting with God.
A meeting with the Lord is an exchange of gifts. What did he give to the magi? We don’t know for sure, but surely is was a sense of peace and joy that all peoples are called into his kingdom. This is the meaning of Matthew’s beautiful story. It is a message of newborn hope and joy for all the people who have ever heard this story. Their gifts seem huge. But in our case Jesus looks beyond the gift to the love of the giver.
The Christmas song, “Drummer Boy” illustrates this well. His gift to Jesus is his song, his music and his drum. “And then he smiled at me……….. me and my drum”. Our gift of ourselves, our talents, our love is what pleases the Lord. Any contribution we can make to the happiness of others and the peace and justice of our world is our gift to him.
Our Eucharist is “A holy exchange of gifts” (RM, Passim).
by Pat Buchanan on December 31, 2012 •
For two millennia, the birth of Christ has been seen as the greatest event in world history. The moment Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, God became man, and eternal salvation became possible.
This date has been the separation point of mankind’s time on earth, with B.C. designating the era before Christ, and A.D., anno domino, in the Year of the Lord, the years after. And how stands Christianity today?
“Christianity is in danger off being wiped out in its biblical heartlands,” says the British think tank Civitas.
In Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Ethiopia and Nigeria, Christians face persecution and pogroms. In Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, conversion is a capital offense. In a century, two-thirds of all the Christians have vanished from the Islamic world.
In China, Christianity is seen as a subversive ideology of the West to undermine the regime.
In Europe, a century ago, British and German soldiers came out of the trenches to meet in no-man’s land to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts. It did not happen in 1915, or ever again.
In the century since, all the Western empires have vanished. All of their armies and navies have melted away. All have lost their Christian faith. All have seen their birthrates plummet. All their nations are aging, shrinking and dying, and all are witnessing invasions from formerly subject peoples and lands.
In America, too, the decline of Christianity proceeds.
While conservatives believe that culture determines politics, liberals understand politics can change culture.
Sen. Patrick Leahy The Vermont Democrat said on Twitter recently that he would not support giving government agencies more surveillance power -- including warrant less access to Americans' e-mail accounts
Over its 4.5 billion year history, Earth has been bombarded from space by giant asteroids and comets, nearby Gamma-Ray Bursts could have sterilised its surface, there is also a threat from nearby supernovae and even viruses from space. Even the Sun could one day kill all life in earth! Tony Ryan has made a detailed study of all these threats and will present his findings in a lecture at TCD SNIAM Building on November 24th. 2012
Originally published on WhatMakesThemClick.net.
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/100-things-you-should-know-about-people-2010-11?op=1#ixzz25FJPv0yo
“The Majesty of Calmness”
From Self Control, Its Kingship and Majesty, 1905
By William George Jordan
Calmness is the rarest quality in human life. It is the poise of a great nature, in harmony with itself and its ideals. It is the moral atmosphere of a life self-reliant and self-controlled. Calmness is singleness of purpose, absolute confidence, and conscious power—ready to be focused in an instant to meet any crisis.The Sphinx is not a true type of calmness—petrifaction is not calmness; it is death, the silencing of all the energies; while no one lives his life more fully, more intensely and more consciously than the man who is calm.
The Fatalist is not calm. He is the coward slave of his environment, hopelessly surrendering to his present condition, recklessly indifferent to his future. He accepts his life as a rudderless ship, drifting on the ocean of time. He has no compass, no chart, no known port to which he is sailing. His self-confessed inferiority to all nature is shown in his existence of constant surrender. It is not—calmness.
The man who is calm has his course in life clearly marked on his chart. His hand is ever on the helm. Storm, fog, night, tempest, danger, hidden reefs— he is ever prepared and ready for them. He is made calm and serene by the realization that in these crises of his voyage he needs a clear mind and a cool head; that he has naught to do but to do each day the best he can by the light he has; that he will never flinch nor falter for a moment; that, though he may have to tack and leave his course for a time, he will never drift, he will get back into the true channel, he will keep ever headed toward his harbor. When he will reach it, how he will reach it matters not to him. He rests in calmness, knowing he has done his best. If his best seem to be overthrown or over-ruled, then he must still bow his head—in calmness. To no man is permitted to know the future of his life, the finality. God commits to man ever only new beginnings, new wisdom, and new days to use to the best of his knowledge.
Calmness comes ever from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they can penetrate only two or three hundred feet—below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control.
When the worries and cares of the day fret you, and begin to wear upon you, and you chafe under the friction—be calm. Stop, rest for a moment, and let calmness and peace assert themselves. If you let these irritating outside influences get the better of you, you are confessing your inferiority to them, by permitting them to dominate you. Study the disturbing elements, each by itself, bring all the will-power of your nature to bear upon them, and you will find that they will, one by one, melt into nothingness, like vapors fading before the sun. The glow of calmness that will then pervade your mind, the tingling sensation of an inflow of new strength, may be to you the beginning of the revelation of the supreme calmness that is possible for you. Then, in some great hour of your life, when you stand face to face with some awful trial, when the structure of your ambition and life-work crumbles in a moment, you will be brave. You can then fold your arms calmly, look out undismayed and undaunted upon the ashes of your hope, upon the wreck of what you have faithfully built, and with brave heart and unfaltering voice you may say: “So let it be—I will build again.”
When the tongue of malice and slander, the persecution of inferiority, tempts you for just a moment to retaliate, when for an instant you forget yourself so far as to hunger for revenge—be calm. When the grey heron is pursued by its enemy, the eagle, it does not run to escape; it remains calm, takes a dignified stand, and waits quietly, facing the enemy unmoved. With the terrific force with which the eagle makes its attack, the boasted king of birds is often impaled and run through on the quiet, lance-like bill of the heron. The means that man takes to kill another’s character becomes suicide of his own
When man has developed the spirit of Calmness until it becomes so absolutely part of him that his very presence radiates it, he has made great progress in life. Calmness cannot be acquired of itself and by itself; it must come as the culmination of a series of virtues. What the world needs and what individuals need is a higher standard of living, a great realizing sense of the privilege and dignity of life, a higher and nobler conception of individuality.
With this great sense of calmness permeating an individual, man becomes able to retire more into himself, away from the noise, the confusion and strife of the world, which come to his ears only as faint, far-off rumblings, or as the tumult of the life of a city heard only as a buzzing hum by the man in a balloon.
The man who is calm does not selfishly isolate himself from the world, for he is intensely interested in all that concerns the welfare of humanity. His calmness is but a Holy of Holies into which he can retire from the world to get strength to live in the world. He realizes that the full glory of individuality, the crowning of his self-control is—the majesty of calmness
Escape of Petra Anderson
It seems as if the bullet travelled through Petra’s brain without hitting any significant brain areas. The doctor explains that Petra’s brain has had from birth a small “defect” in it. It is a tiny channel of fluid running through her skull, like a tiny vein through marble, or a small hole in an oak board, winding from front to rear. Only a CAT scan would catch it, and Petra would have never noticed it.
But in Petra’s case, the shotgun buck shot, maybe even the size used for deer hunting enters her brain from the exact point of this defect. Like a marble through a small tube, the defect channels the bullet from Petra’s nose through her brain. It turns slightly several times, and comes to rest at the rear of her brain. And in the process, the bullet misses all the vital areas of the brain. In many ways, it almost misses the brain itself. Like a giant BB though a straw created in Petra’s brain before she was born, it follows the route of the defect. It is channelled in the least harmful way.
I can't recommend a trip to the Eucharistic Congress highly enough. We went up yesterday with the Castleisland Parish Group and only got a snapshot of all that is happening there. Loads of people tell me that they plan to go up for the final Mass in Croke Park on Sunday but then they will miss out on all that is going on since Sunday last in the RDS. We could have travelled with Jesus through Capernaun only that you'd need to queue for 15 mins to book and it was in such demand that the tours were booked out until 7pm last night and we were leaving after the Mass which finished at 5.30pm and was held in the Main Arena. We met the Army in their tents in the Simmonscourt Pavilion, got to hear stories from Chad and the Lebanon, handled the cross made from shrapnel, met Fr. Seamus Madigan's collegues, saw a display of crafts from the Traveller settlement beside the army. We attended a prayer service, talked to people from all over the world, listened to personal testomonials on life as a Catholic. It was just the best day and if you can go in the next few days then I can't encourage you enough.
CONGRESS Monday, Limerick Diocese.
Mondays focus was Baptism and Christian Unity. Some highlights:
It was great to hear Br Alois Loser (Taize, his talk is HERE) say "Forming one body in Christ, we belong to each other. “Is Christ divided?” (1 Cor 1:13), Paul asks, concerned at seeing the Christians of the same community separate from one another. And he called for them to be reconciled.".
You can watch an interview with him HERE
Dr Maria Voce of Focolare spoke of the Gospel as central to the Christian life. She said "Personally and together, we would like to repeat with Chiara: “If by some absurd hypothesis all the Gospels of the earth were destroyed, we would like to live in such a way that people could to some extent rewrite the Gospel by observing our behaviour.”"
Click HERE to read her words in full, and HERE to listen to an interview with her.
A very beautiful liturgy of Word and Water was celebrated with representatives from various Christian churches - Church of Ireland, Methodist, Russian Orthodox & Roman Catholic. The Taize prayer service in the Youth Space on Monday evening was stunningly beautiful in its simple, prayerful gentleness. It was truly moving to see people of all ages gather around the Cross to pray and sing and give thanks.
Severa more clips on youtube knockanurelocal
1932 Congress Dublin
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Kevin Cotter Article co-written by Mark Bartek
Here are six tips on how you can keep from ruining your summer.
1. Think about where you will find the sacraments during the summer.
Find the closest parishes and check times for Sunday Mass, weekday Masses, and Confession. Put these times into your weekly schedule. Summers are great times to pick up new habits!
2. Plan on a time to pray each day.
Whether you are having some amazing new experiences or are faced with a mundane summer lifestyle, prayer can help you reflect on what God is trying to teach you through it all. Be sure to spend time each day in the classroom of silence. For tips on how to start a habit of prayer, check out this guide.
3. Pick out any books for spiritual reading
I know wasting time on Facebook is important, but why not give yourself something that will truly fill you up. Here are three recommendations: Interior Freedom, The Virtues of Holiness, or The Way.
4. Seek out virtuous friends.
Scripture tells us, “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure” (Sirach 6:14). It can be tough to leave the college and all of the friendships you have behind. It can be even harder to come home where old friendships can bring back old temptations. While it is important to reach out to your friendship back home, find virtuous friends who will help you strive for greatness in your spiritual life.
5. Find a group of 10-12 people to reach out to.
St. Francis of Assisi tells us that “it is in giving of ourselves that we receive.” Summer is a great time to learn how to lead a Bible study outside the college campus. Could you do a BBQ Bible study or help out with your parish’s youth group? Are there other service opportunities that you could take part in and invite others to?
6. Think about campus outreach for next fall.
If you begin thinking about campus outreach for the fall, you will be that much more prepared when the time comes. Can you pray for your campus? Can you call those who you are in discipleship with? Can you talk to your FOCUS missionaries on what you can do to help?
We know that being Catholic is not about being part of a club, but being adopted into the Family of God, the Church. And that is not something that we ever take a summer vacation from!
The habits you form and the work you do could affect you for a lifetime!
Question: What are some habits you want to develop this summer? What are some challenges you will face?
HOW You treat people
1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.
During my second month of college, our professor
Gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student
And had breezed through the questions until I read
The last one:
"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
Dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
Blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
The last question would count toward our quiz grade.
"Absolutely, " said the professor.. "In your careers,
You will meet many people. All are significant.. They
Deserve your attention and care, even if all you do
Is smile and say "hello.."
I've never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her
2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American
Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
Unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man
Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
Put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
Knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
Giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
Special note was attached.
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
The other night. The rain drenched not only my
Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
Husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God
Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving
Mrs. Nat King Cole.
3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
Sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
Front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
Studied the coins in it. "Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.
By now more people were waiting for a table and the
Waitress was growing impatient..
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
The table and walked away The boy finished the ice
Cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress
Came back, she began to cry as she wiped down
the Table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,
Were two nickels and five pennies..
You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
To have enough left to leave her a tip.
4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
Roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
Anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
And simply walked around it.. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
Anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!
Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a
hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only
chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had
miraculously survived the same disease and had
developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.
I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will
Save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed
next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheek. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded.
He looked up at the doctor and asked with a
trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the
doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her.
Most importantly.... ”Live with no regrets, Treat people the way you want to be treated, Work like you don’t need the money, Love like you’ve never been hurt, and Dance like you do when nobody’s watching.”
THOUGHT: Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
4. When you say, 'I love you ,' mean it.
5. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Washington, D.C. - Bridgestone Americas and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood have officially released results of a nationwide survey highlighting not only what teens and young adults are doing behind the wheel, but why they are doing it. The survey revealed that while America’s young drivers are aware of what distracted driving is, they still engage in those behaviors because they believe they are not truly at risk. Bridgestone surveyed more than 2,000 young drivers, ages 15-21, and also found: One-third of those surveyed admit to reading text messages while driving; two-thirds of respondents believe they are “very safe” drivers; but only half of them say their parents would agree with that assessment; a quarter of those surveyed do not believe that talking on the phone while driving is dangerous; overall, girls engage in distractions behind the wheel far more than boys, and teenagers and young adults say their parents engage in distracted driving more than themselves.