Life after Epiphany


Leave a comment

Global hour of power – shout it from the rooftops!

In a world first, Pope Francis is inviting everyone around the globe to participate in an hour of Eucharistic Adoration. This is to take place on 2nd June at 5pm-6pm (Vatican local time.)

Sydney-siders… this means an early morning that hopefully comes with Divine protection against “Monday-itis!” This will be Monday at 1.00am, EST.

Here are the times for a few other places around the world:

Houston, TX USA:                 Sunday 10.00am
Los Angeles, CA USA:           Sunday 8.00am
London, UK:                           Sunday 4.00pm
Seoul, South Korea:              Monday 12.00am (Yep, Sunday Midnight)
Mumbai, India:                      Sunday 8.30pm
Jerusalem, Israel:                  Sunday, 6.00pm

What wonderful leadership this initiative represents! Blessed be God for the gift of Pope Francis, who truly is leading his flock to the Lord. Let us follow – let us all participate in this holy hour if at all possible. What a wonderful thing to be a part of, the very first time in human history where there has been a global coordinated effort to ensure that someone in every place on earth is praising God ALL AT THE ONE TIME!

The holy Father’s intentions are:

1. “For the Church spread throughout the world and united today in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist as a sign of unity. May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word in order to stand before the world ‘ever more beautiful, without stain or blemish, but holy and blameless.’ That through her faithful announcement, the Word that saves may still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may increase love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, giving
back joy and serenity.”

2. “For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence.
Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations,
above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners,
and those who experience marginalization. That the Church’s prayer and its
active nearness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and
courage in defending human dignity.”

Thankyou to the Vatican Radio website for reporting this exciting event!
Update: Vatican News Service have released a booklet for this event – click here to download

Advertisements


Leave a comment

“irregardless” is NOT a word!

I have to admit to a pet hate: the increasingly common usage of “irregardless” in everyday English parlance. Butchering the language of Shakespeare should be restricted to ‘txt’-ing abbreviations like ‘ttyl’ and other similar shortenings that at least serve the purpose of speed and efficiency.

irregardless_thumb.png

When used, “irregardless” is intended to be interchangeable with either “regardless” or “irrespective” – subtly different in their meaning, I’ll grant you, but for all intents and purposes, close enough to synonyms for the sake of this conversation.

The actuality of the so-called word in question is that it NEGATES its intended meaning. The inclusion of the prefix ‘ir,’ added to the word regardless, effectively means the reverse of regardless. Further, it just lacks linguistic class… it creates a double-negative and makes its user sound illiterate.

Call me a language snob if you must, but please give consideration to the sense of the ‘word’ before you jump to this conclusion. I’ve studied linguistics as part of my higher education and I know that language evolves, but surely language is required to make sense if it is to be useful in attaining its end, namely, communication?

I guess the future of the cosmos doesn’t really depend all that heavily on the hopefully impending demise of the usage of “irregardless” but I feel better for having had my rant! Winking smile

(Don’t believe me? Ask OXFORD, who will tell you that “irregardless” is “regarded as incorrect in standard English!”)


2 Comments

Getting real about my confusion… (JGL 5)

So its been 4 months and 1 week since I did my Audrey Hepburn impersonation.

Have you ever watched The Nun’s Story?

**SPOILER ALERT!!**

In the closing scene Hepburn (Sr. Luke) goes into a little room near the back door of the convent in which she has lived. Changing into some simple clothes, she removes her habit and veil for the last time, revealing a mess of closely cropped hair and a combination of fear and excitement that is palpable.

Her solitude in this scene is confronting. Her goodbyes have already been said, without demonstration, without delays. She steps out the back door and it is all over.

Similarly, I went into a small room to remove my habit and veil for the last time, donning simple, comfortable clothes and partaking of a hearty meal (it was breakfast time) to prepare for the long trip  had ahead of me. Alone, in silence. Well, not really alone – the Lord was with me. I was blessed also that, when I had eaten and changed and emerged from this little room, I had companions for my journey. My novice mistress and a dear friend of mine accompanied me to the airport, helped me get organized, and stayed with me right up until the sign “Passengers only beyond this point” jumped out at me, taunting me, as I took that final step away from the life I had known.

Lets not over-dramatize this. I had not, like Hepburn’s character, lived the life for 20+ years. I had been a novice, I was in my second year of religious life, and I had not yet made vows. It is, however, quite remarkable how quickly that place and that life became my home, and how difficult it has been to let go.

When I left, I had absolute clarity  that although God had called me to live religious life for a time, that He was not calling me to make vows. That clarity was necessary, for without it I would not have been able to make the decision to leave. It was a beautiful mercy, that for that time I was able to see so clearly, for the Truth truly did make me free. I chose freely my path and did so with complete trust that the steadfast love of God would persist and that He smiled upon my desire to please Him in what I was doing. Although the FEELING of certainty is failing me these days, my intellectual capacity to choose to trust the Father who keeps His promises remains. I still trust in the clarity I was given at the time the decision was to be made and acted upon.

Nevertheless, for all that I choose to continue trusting, I still have a mess of feelings and confusion with which to contend. That disconnect between my head and my heart is causing disconcerting unease.

#1 gripe with the outside world? THERE’S NO SILENCE!! It really drives me nuts 😉

I live in a large family and it is unreasonable and uncharitable to lock myself away from them during normal living hours. I steal a few hours of silent, alone time in the wee small hours when I can, when I know its not going to make me an absolute zombie at work the next day.

But then there’s the question of how I use the little silence that I manage to procure whilst the world snores.

In the convent, the times and places of silence were designed to help me to be recollected in the Lord, to make every bit of time possible a meeting place with Him. It was prayer time!

Here? I know instinctively that I need the silence… but I get lost in my own thoughts so often and tend to run away from being alone with Him.

What am I afraid of?

I don’t want to let my intimacy with the Lord slip away into the night. My relationship with Him means everything to me. And yet even to cry out the words of Psalm 22 seems misplaced here – for it is not GOD who is doing the abandoning.

My God, my God, don’t let me abandon You! Help me to be faithful! Help me respond to Your grace!

Those times we would sit together in the chapel, and I would imagine we were walking together in the garden in the cool of the day? I long for those twilight “walks” again!

Teach me how to love You, how to abide with You, out here in the world since it seems that THIS and not the inside of a cloister is where You want me to be.

Meanwhile… I give thanks to the Lord amidst this confusion. I know that even this crazy time of being unsettled is itself a gift in the broader context of my salvation. A gift of providence from the Father who knows exactly what I need to ensure that one day I dwell with Him in Heaven.

Even in this whirlwind, I am experiencing God’s love.

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! His love endures for ever!

– – – – – – –

NB: JGL = Journal of God’s Love
What IS the Journal of God’s Love?


Leave a comment

Entreaty to a local Christian community radio station: please consider the prayer of Our Lord in Jn 17

enemyofmyenemyintodarknessYou’ll have heard it said “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and if you’ve read this in a book of quotes or if you watched the recently released Star Trek: Into Darkness, you’ll be spitting chips that I haven’t given the quote its attribution… purportedly an Arab from times long past. Actually, if you’re interested in really knowing the origins, you might find this fact -check of interest… turns out Spock was wrong.

Perhaps a less Machiavellian spin on the same idea is found in Christ’s lesson for St. John in Mark 9:38-40.  In the text, John gave a report to Jesus of a man who was casting out demons in Christ’s Name but was not from among Christ’s own party of Apostles. Perhaps it is my own projection of my littleness that suspects it, but I almost get the impression that John is expecting Christ to be angered and to take action against such an “outrage.” Perhaps he felt that someone was trampling all over his territory? At any rate – John sure got schooled! Christ’s response was to tell John to leave the man alone, that anyone who did mighty things in His Name could not quickly then speak against Him… an implicit suggestion that the power of His Holy Name precludes duplicitous/opportunist behaviour in those who sincerely call upon It, and on that basis that “he who is not against us is for us.”

John learned that he and his companions did not have the monopoly on goodness; the beloved disciple learned that he did not have the monopoly on the Lord’s love. The Lord can work great deeds through whomever He pleases and to do this is His Divine Prerogative. We put God in a box at our spiritual peril… for our attempts to make God smaller are then turned upon ourselves. We who are already nothing become even smaller.

It is on this basis that I call upon Sydney’s local Christian radio station, to whom I have donated in the past and whom in principle I support, to consider carefully what they choose to broadcast pertaining to other Christian denominations that don’t necessarily fit the “Evangelical” paradigm.

I was listening to the Open House program about 3 or 4 weeks ago, where Leigh Hatcher, the host of the program, was interviewing Richard Gill, a highly experienced educator who has been teaching music to children for many decades.

Hatcher questioned at length about the guest’s Catholic school upbringing, and highlighted many regrettable realities about the way that the Catholic school system operated some 60 years ago.  Simply asking the questions wasn’t a problem. I wouldn’t dream of disputing the truth of what happened back in those days in Catholic schools, nor would I dream of defending it.

I DID have concerns, however, about Hatcher’s stated purpose in asking the questions and dwelling on some of the responses. There was a none-too-subtle parallel illustrated between the inexcusable excesses with the cane of that time and the scandals for which the Church, among many other institutions across our nation, is currently under investigation by a Federal Commission.

The gentleman being interviewed spoke about the faulty and disordered understanding of sin, grace, forgiveness and freedom that left him disturbingly guilt-ridden. I regret that this is the understanding with which he walked away, but the views that he described are NOT representative of the views of the Catholic Church. In no Catholic exegesis of Scripture, nor in any Magisterial text, will you find those views espoused there. It certainly sounds as though there were teachers at his school who did him a disservice in both the content and the methods of his religious instruction. My concern is, however, that these unfortunate experiences of this man were being put forward as normative, not only for the time in which he was educated, but in contemporary times, too.

This is simply an unfair representation of the Church that quite frankly constitutes a nasty cocktail of detraction in so far as the events described truly did happen, and slander in that some of the interpretations and representations made thereafter are simply untrue. When misinterpretations are publicly aired they can do much damage.

Please hear me: for all our disagreements on points of doctrine, the primary mission of the Catholic Church here on earth is to evangelize, to spread the Gospel message and hopefully help others to embrace a relationship with Jesus Christ. In this, we share alignment in that task with which Christ commissioned us just before He ascended into Heaven.

Jesus Himself said that he who is not against us is for us. Why then would you slander those who are aligned with you in serving Him and spreading His Gospel?

I listen to your radio station because most of your content is wholesome, clean and fun. To hear what I have just described on a Sunday evening was VERY disappointing.

What does the Lord desire for us, His children? Scripture tells us that He prays for us at the Last Supper… this prayer gives us some insight into what it is that He wills for us. In John 17 Christ prays that all of those who come to believe in Him through the word of the Apostles become one. Authentic communion with each other in the Blessed Trinity. Well… we’re not there yet. I trust that the Father will answer the prayer of His Son in His good time. I also believe that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, He is already at work in us, shaping us slowly into one people, His people.

I love the Lord most dearly and I desire that His prayer be fulfilled. I trust that those of you who work on the Open House program also love Jesus and would wish to see His prayer answered. This is a work of God, yes, a work of His grace. But surely we want to COOPERATE with this work rather than place barriers in the way? The barriers won’t stop God from bringing about His Will, but I just can’t see how anything other than our best effort at full cooperation with His grace constitutes a response of love for Love.


Leave a comment

give thanks to the Lord for He is good… (JGL 4)

… His love endures forever! I experienced God’s love this past week:

  • a difficult but fruitful conversation with my Dad
  • in a productive and reassuring meeting with my PhD supervisor
  • in the enjoyment of a beautiful view of the harbour one clear, sunny morning during the drive into work
  • in a renewed appreciation of God’s mercy to me
  • in receiving reassurance about my the positive state of my Dad’s health
  • in the arrival of another Mother’s Day where both of my grandmothers as well as my mother are all alive and around; I am so thankful for these beautiful women in my life!

– – – – – – –

NB: JGL = Journal of God’s Love
What IS the Journal of God’s Love?