Life after Epiphany


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My sunburnt country: Bushfires near Bilpin, NSW

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The Australian Flag flying proudly against a backdrop that threatens a terrifying summer.

My home is one of the many that lies on the projected fire path of the State Mine bushfire that is currently blazing a devastating trail through the Blue Mountains. We are watching the Rural Fire Service updates and we’ve cleared the leaves out of our gutters and we’ve kept the ground around our house moist. At present we don’t need to evacuate, but we may have to with very little notice… all we can do is watch, and wait, and try to fit as much normal life into the gaps in between the half-hourly bushfire updates on our local radio station.

The updates for the fires and instructions to residents can be found at: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?cat_id=684

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The colour of the flames reflecting from just over the horizon.

If you chance across this post and would like to help those many people who have lost their homes and everything they own, you can do so over the phone by calling the Red Cross donation phone line: 1800 811 700

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Huh? The sky is BLUE, you say? Not here in the Mountains. Apricot is the new blue.

Our gratitude goes out to the many volunteer and career fire fighters who are trying to contain these threats to our homes. Also to the many wonderful volunteers helping victims and running evacuation centres.

The Holy Father Pope Francis, ever mindful of those who suffer, has sent word through his Secretary of State to encourage Australians at this time:

MESSAGE FROM THE HOLY FATHER ON THE AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES

His Holiness Pope Francis has asked me to express his concern for the people of New South Wales and all who are affected the devastation wrought by the extensive fires in the region.

He prays especially for those who have died and for those who have lost their homes and workplaces, as well as for the numerous personnel working to combat the fires and provide comfort and care for those who are suffering.

Invoking the spiritual gifts of solidarity and perseverance upon the communities touched by these trying events, the Holy Father sends his blessing.

+Archbishop Pietro Parolin,
Secretary of State

From the Vatican, 19 October, 2013

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The billowing smoke on its approach as it settles over the Mountains like a pall.

The photographs included here were taken last Thursday from the vantage point of my front yard. This was just the beginning. The angry sun, the apricot glow and the smokey haze have all intensified as the situation has worsened. Please pray for all those who are affected by this disaster!

I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains
Of rugged mountain ranges
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons
I love her jewel seas
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me.

~ Dorothea Mackellar

The Angry Sun: Fluorescent Pink!

The Angry Sun: Fluorescent Pink!

Burnt leaves and ash have been falling in the yard.

Burnt leaves and ash have been falling in the yard.

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Feminists fighting females, socialists being anti-social… the types of people who think abortion is OK

I was on retreat this weekend. I switched my phone off, I left my laptop at home – I voluntarily disengaged from all news and contact with the outside world for 2 short but precious days of silence, prayer, and growth.

I returned home from that relative calm to read a report of chaos and violence in the following article:
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/the-left-reveals-an-ugly-face-in-antiabortion-rally/story-fni0ffxg-1226739222330

As I read the observations reported of what transpired in Melbourne during the annual March for Babies, I have to admit that as disgusted as I was, I wasn’t really all that surprised. This behaviour is GENTLE compared with the murderous practices for which these people are campaigning.

Fanatical feminists attacking women whose opinions differ from their own; socialists denying the right of ordinary people to rally against oppression… it is no wonder that the journalist reporting felt the need to conclude that the left in Australia is the “natural home of the totalitarian and the bully.” That is precisely what we are seeing here.

In this demonstration I saw socialists and feminists betray almost every principle they profess to hold.     ~ Andrew Bolt

Let it be understood that I am not promoting the right side of politics in Australia either. Both extremes are far from perfect and both hold unconscionable views on a range of issues of ethical import. On the issue of abortion, however, the ideological opposition to truth, goodness and beauty does appear to have its primary thrust from the left.

As we pray and work and try to make Australia better, there is something important that I think we need to keep in mind. Our well-intentioned efforts to make the world a better place can result in consequentialist behaviour, in the loss of our own ability to love God and others, if we go about things the wrong way. Father Paul Scalia teaches on this far better than I could, and so I direct you to his article and sincerely recommend that you read it with an open heart, lest we who wish to see peace fall casualty to our own battle against evil: http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/the-church-militant-or-the-church-belligerent


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Prayer to St. Thérèse of Lisieux (taken from the book “Blessed be God”)

O servant of God, Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, who in thy dying moments did say: “I will spend my heaven in doing good upon the earth,” hasten to let fall upon me a Shower of Roses that I too may be inflamed with that fire of love which burned so brilliantly in thy breast and which brought thee so gloriously to the arms of Jesus, my Lord and my God. Amen

Happy Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux!
If you prayed the novena with me, I thank you!

The book Blessed be God: A Complete Catholic Prayer Book with Epistles and Gospels for Every Sunday and Holiday of the Year  by  Fr Charles J. Callan OP and Fr. John A. McHugh OP (reprinted in 2010 by Preserving Christian Publications) is a real little treasure. It was published in 1960 so it is modelled on the old Roman calendar rather than the current calendar, but it is absolutely teeming with beautiful prayers and devotions. Vinyl bound with gold edging on the pages and a page-marker ribbon, just beautiful!It includes aspects of catechesis on the virtues and whatnot, too (c’mon, the authors were Dominican!) and I can’t recommend it enough. I received mine as a gift from a friend just last week. It is already well-used and well-loved!