Life after Epiphany

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Is freedom of religion in Australia a thing of the past?

I’m currently looking for work.

The part-time role that I have been covering since I returned from the convent is about to come to a close; it was only ever a temporary arrangement and I’m nearing the end of it, and trying to look for an alternative to move into when this one has finished.

I received an email today from a recruiter for a company with whom I have actively sought to obtain employment. Here is an extract from the letter:

I wanted to reach out to you to introduce myself and ask a few questions to learn a bit more about you and see if we can match what you’re looking for.
1. Availability
Were you seeking Part-Time or Full-Time position with us, and what days would you be able to work? Please note our Part-Time requirements are at least four full days of availability, including full availability over the weekend. Our Full-Time requirements are seven full days of availability.
Yes folks, that’s right.
This organisation requires availability ALL DAY on both Saturday and Sunday.What about people from Catholic, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventist and various other denominations of Christianity or other faiths that entail obligatory worship on either Saturday or Sunday?
The email closed with:
We are committed to diversity. <COMPANY NAME> are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
That sounds like they’re committed to diversity so long as you are prepared to waive your right to freedom of worship.
Is this even legal?
I’ve noticed that most organisations in the Retail industry are imposing similar availability requirements as a matter of policy. This sounds like institutionalised religious discrimination to me.

Having spent 24 hours considering all of this (and fuming over it!) I realise that the odds of getting any momentum behind an effort to do anything about this in any serious way is zero to none.And so this particular post remains a soapbox rant. Nothing more.

Seriously, though – am I the only one tired of a society where this sort of thing is OK?


12 generous women

At this very moment, the twelve novices with whom I used to live in community are professing public vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They are on the other side of the world from where I live, so I am unable to be present to celebrate with them. The best that I could do was to go to Mass for them earlier today, and to be up now, at this crazy hour, thinking of them, praying for them, and making a note in my blog about it to mark the occasion.

When I was a religious sister, my name was Sr. Catherine Thérèse. My patronesses were Catherine of Siena, and Thérèse of Lisieux.

One of my patronesses, St. Thérèse, wrote a stirring poem of deep significance to myself and my sisters, entitled The Melody of Saint Cecilia. I have included an extract below that I think is fitting as my sisters approach the altar today:

“Your union, spotless, chaste, shall win great souls to God
Souls that no other spouse than Christ shall seek on earth
And near His heavenly throne, when life’s hard path is trod
There you shall see them shine, in saintly joy and mirth”

Cecilia, lend to me thy melody most sweet:
How many souls would I convert to Jesus now.
I fain would die, like thee, to win them to His feet;
For him give all my tears, my blood. Oh, help me, thou!

Pray for me that I gain, on this our pilgrim way
Perfect abandonment that sweetest fruit of love.
Saint of my heart! oh, soon, bring me to endless day;
Obtain that I may fly with thee to heaven above!

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dulce et decorum est

The Poet quoth the Roman:

“Dulce et decorum est
pro patria mori”
Were “Patria” Your Kingdom,
the Truth this mayhap be
and yet, if mori happens
though not for love of You
it makes these words sheer vanity
and renders them untrue.

– – – – –

(A dusty sketch started in November 2012, completed September 2013)


Sharing a quirk from my daily drive to work: The Beatles and urban art

imageJust had to share. I’ve been driving past a Smash Repairs shop for years… Since back in the days when I was an undergraduate. In 2002 possibly the worlds coolest graffiti image of The Beatles appeared on the wall to this shop. This is one of the little things that put a smile on my face each morning during my 1.5hour commute to work.

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“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.


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!”)

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Benedict XVI: For the record

This post, on a blog I stumbled across this morning for the first time, is a wonderful tribute to the Pope Emeritus. None of this detracts from Pope Francis, whom I believe may just prove to be as saintly a Pope as his more recent predecessors. But the media ought to be ashamed of themselves for failing to report the real story. The real story here is the CONTINUITY of humility, the CONTINUITY of holiness in the Papacy. Slightly different styles, slightly different emphases… but CONTINUITY where it counts. Fidelity to Truth. Fidelity to Love. Fidelity to God.

I believe that all of the media circus about Pope Francis is an attempt by the media to gain some kind of leverage in shaping the direction of the messages that come out from Rome. I kind of almost get the feel that, due to Pope Francis’ country of origin being in Latin America, they are trying put an insidiously subtle liberation theology spin on everything he does…

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Did not our hearts burn as He talked to us on the road? An Eastertide Scripture reflection

This beautiful Emmaus Painting can be purchased as a print from the original artist, who has other work for sale also:

I LOVE the Emmaus pericope.

Our human experience is so often characterized by our confusion at what is happening to us and around us. We get preoccupied with trying to make sense of it all and without our recognizing it, Jesus draws near.

How often we are oblivious to His presence!

Nevertheless, Jesus walks with us. He is present to us in our pain and confusion. Perhaps He is silent sometimes – but He is there.

Verse 16 tells us that the eyes of Cleopas and his companion (Luke himself?) were kept from recognizing Christ. I wonder if God doesn’t do this sometimes to help us see our need for Him, to help us desire Him more? Just like the lover in the Song of Songs, whose relationship with His beloved is characterized by alternating periods of presence and absence… yet even when He is absent, He leaves behind his fragrance, the rememberance of Him… is He ever TRULY absent?

The question He asks next seems indicative of an invitation to prayer. Jesus knows the answer to the question He asks – He is the Risen Lord, after all! He asks the question to prompt a conversation. Jesus wants us to bring our troubles to Him, even though He already knows about them. He helps us to reflect thoughtfully… and then He asks us to listen to Him.

The thoughtful reflection is important, but the crucial step is the listening, for it is then that our hearts burn. We are made for union with God. God is our ultimate end, our absolute good. It makes sense that as we listen to Him, something inside us starts to sing. “Only the lover sings” as Josef Pieper would say! Yes – something inside us starts to sing, and our deepest desires are revealed to us. The Lord knows our desires – but do we? Really?

The journey on earth is long and arduous at times, and it would perhaps be cruel if the Lord were to heighten our desires but never to satiate them. Whilst our desire for fullness of union with God, and the ability to see Him as He is, can never be realized until the next life, we can receive a foretaste of this union at the Mass, our portal as it were into the heavenly banquet, the wedding feast of the Lamb.

This very account is the Scriptural basis for the structure of the Mass. The Mass consists of a celebration of the Word where we allow the Lord to speak to us through Scripture, and the priest in his homily seeks to help us understand the Gospel message by explaining the Scriptures in the broader context of Salvation History such that we can see how it points to Christ. Then we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, a representation (in the Hebrew understanding) of the once and for all Paschal Sacrifice. Time and space diminish in their relevance – all of the angels and saints are truly present at each Mass, where heaven is united with earth, and it is NOT a repetition of the Sacrifice that transpires – rather it is the very same Sacrifice – we become mysteriously present at Calvary.

It is here, in this place, during the breaking of the bread, that we are able to recognize the Lord and understand what He has spoken to us.

“O Sacred Banquet – in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is recalled and the pledge of future glory is given to us!” – St. Thomas Aquinas

Do you desire intimacy with Christ?
Come to Mass and meet Him there!

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bad behaviour – piers morgan shows complete disregard for civility

Honestly, I find it hard to believe this guy still gets airtime. His behaviour in the clip below is absolutely appalling. Piers Morgan and Suze Orman bullied and browbeat their way through a 15-minute segment managing to avoid any rational or civilized debate at all. They tag-team to pontificate to Ryan Anderson, a young man who showed great composure and courage under fire on national television.

Why ask questions to which you don’t want an answer? Just about every time Morgan asks Anderson a question, he cuts him off toward the end of Anderson’s first sentence of reply, not allowing him to finish answering but firing another question in his direction.

The tone of the discussion was deliberately kept emotive rather than rational.

It is a known fact in the marketing industry that it takes 7 seconds for a message or image to be processed emotionally before it starts to be processed intellectually. Advertising will rarely involve a single image or idea being maintained for more than that 7-second window. Advertisers want to keep viewers on an emotive level as an emotive decision rather than a rational decision is much more likely to lead to sales.

I believe Morgan was employing a similar tactic. Firstly, the quick changes were designed to throw Anderson off balance. Secondly, it kept the conversation in the domain of the emotive and did not allow anyone to truly engage critically with the subject matter.

Morgan isn’t interested in presenting both sides of an issue. He had already decided his view and was using marketing techniques to sell that view to public opinion.

I’m willing to bet that the composition of the audience was carefully designed for favourable studio audience responses to Morgan’s view.

Shame on you, Mr Morgan. Where is your integrity?

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on poetry

brief musings, most –
but half expressed;
their potency in the reception.

a glance at all the words address,
good food for deep reflection.

and is it art?
for those that study – aye.

yet not for we
the faithful scribes,
notating thought and feel in shorthand

the talent lies not in telling;
artistry resides in receiving.

– – – – –

(A dusty sketch from 28 Nov 2009)

this piece is not intended to proffer the view that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I believe that beauty is a transcendental, an objective reality, and the extent to which beauty can be apprehended is in the extent to which one’s perception corresponds with that objective reality. What this poem intends to convey is best encapsulated in the last couplet, written after the pattern of a Hebraic Parallelism, if you will. Most of the skill is required and applied at the level of receiving/beholding/interpreting. In this world of ours, groaning under the oppression of modernist ideology, it is a notable achievement to be able to perceive truth, to be able to apprehend reality. I suppose my need to include this addendum attests to my belief that our ability to identify truth is under attack and needs all the help it can get.