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Happy friendship Day- St. Aeldred of Rievaulx

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Today the Church marks St. Aelred of Rievaulx, a 12th-century Cistercian monk who wrote the book on 'Spiritual Friendship' and is considered a kind of patron of friends. As today I put away the crib that was in my room, I put one of my icons back in its place. This icon is very meaningful to me. It bookended my arrival and my departure in Canada. A week after my arrival I received it as a gift, in poster style and it graced my wall for the duration of my 2 year stay there in Deschatelets Residence. The icon was one I had actually never seen before and was a gift from Taize, a copy of the Coptic icon which belonged to Brother Roger Schultz, the former prior there. The original icon dates from seventh century Egypt and is usually referred to as “Christ with the believer” but is just as frequently referred to as “the icon of friendship”. Then when I was leaving Canada, my PDDM Sisters in Canada gave me a gift of the icon of this same image, that they had prepared as a print on w…

Ordinary in an extraordinary way!

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Christmas has officially finished! Until next year that is.  With the second Vespers of the Baptism of the Lord, tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time. We get back into the ordinary course of events. Through the period of Ordinary Time following Christmas, we become increasingly aware that this marvel of birth and growth will mature into something challenging.  However we need time to focus on this and we are gifted with the time of Lent which culminates in the great event of the Resurrection, the battle of life over death, light over darkness. Lent greets us somewhat earlier this year and believe it or not, but Ash Wednesday is on the 14th of February, Valentine's Day! Just 5 weeks away.

With the way the calendar fell this year, it seemed that the time after New Year's and normal time just flew. Jokingly, I said that the shops will already have the Easter eggs in soon. I wasn't too far wrong, in fact, they are already in the shops since New Year's Eve (not impressed  T…

Baptised-blessed-beloved

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"And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” You are God’s beloved. That word “beloved" means every inch of what it sounds like. In Greek it is, “agapetos” which means “loved with agape” – loved with a love that is deep, active, self-sacrificing and absolutely unconditional. This is a love that doesn’t have to be earned. This is a deep love that just is.God gives us life and unconditional love. We are told to give God – nothing. Nothing is demanded of us before or after in return. There is nothing we can do that will cause God to stop loving us. Nothing will cause that love to be taken away. Instead we get an invitation, one that we are free to embrace or ignore. God invites us just to trust in the gift, to trust in the active, unconditional love God has for each one of us. Just to trust in it. Happy feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the day where we recall our own Baptism, where we became part of a community of Christ, as belove…

%@*!#/!& bleep!

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No, my laptop hasn’t a virus…read on! This year, more than 120 million babies will be born on earth. And of course, they will receive a name. Some parenting websites say that that a name holds the power to shape a child's self-esteem and his identity and influence how he's seen and treated by others. And then there's the belief that names have been proven to affect everything from a child's self-confidence to his grades in school and his future professional success.

In the Catholic baptismal ceremony, the priest meets the parents, godparents, and baby at the door of the church building, and the first thing he says is, "What name do you give your child?" After the parents answer this and other questions, the priest invites the parents and godparents to trace the sign of the cross on the child's forehead. Today the Church celebrates the Holy Name of Jesus. In the liturgical revisions of Vatican II, the feast was removed, though a votive Mass to the Holy Na…

Waiting in joyful hope! Advent begins

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Advent begins not with a cute baby scene but one which might even disturb us. We do not begin our Advent journey with the baby Jesus snuggled in the arms of his parents all aglow in a tranquil postpartum nativity scene.  Instead we begin right in the middle of the birth pains that accompany a difficult delivery. The prophet Isaiah lets out a gut wrenching cry: “O God that you would tear open the heavens and come down.”  The world around us is in turmoil, God.  We need your presence.  Come and occupy our world now! The world cries out for the Lord.
Nowadays people don’t like waiting. In the past I’ve thought of waiting as wasted time, such as when I wait for a bus or in a doctor’s surgery. This kind of waiting requires little action on our part; it’s mostly a matter of biding our time. Everything is so instantaneous that we no longer know how to wait. Yet, these are opportunities to pray. The Second Reading from St. Paul reminds us that as we wait, we do so with a grateful heart. We h…

Be careful with butterflies!

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A thought for today:
Be careful with butterflies,
For they are fragile and easily damaged;
Do not think you could manage easily without them...
It is not for you to say,
For they are bound up with you in the pattern of life,
And their brief and beautiful existence
Is precious in the eyes of God.
Be careful with people,
For they are fragile and easily damaged;
Do not think that some are more important than others,
It is not for you to say.
For we are here to serve and not to rule,
And the bruised and easily broken ones
Are precious in the eyes of God.
(Br. Daniel O’Brien OFM. Cap.)

The hills are alive with the Sound of Music!

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Happy feastday to all musicans and lovers of music!

Today the Church marks the feast of St. Cecilia, a saint whom I often invoke!  The most interesting thing about this saint is that even though she is the patroness of music, surprising as it is, she was neither a singer nor a musician. What rendered her deserving of this title is the fact that her life was a continuous song to God. Tradition has it that even whilst the musicians played at her own wedding she sang in her heart to God only. When the Academy of Music was founded at Rome (1584) she was made patroness of the institute and her veneration as patroness of church music in general became still more universal.

 It is fitting to apply the words which we find in the today’s Office of the Reading for her: “ You ask, what is singing in jubilation? It means to realize that words are not enough to express what we are singing in our hearts.”(St. Augustine). Every couple have ‘their song’, the song which reminds of the first time they…

Living in the 'present'

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Pope Francis has set aside the 21st of November, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, as a day to pray for and support cloistered religious. It is called Pro Orantibus Day (“For those who pray”), also known as World Day of Cloistered Life. At the very beginning of my vocational journey I did consider the cloistered life but the Lord had a very different idea! He has now called me to serve them in a particular way through my ministry in the Office for Religious in the Archdiocese. I continue to be in awe of these amazing brothers and sisters who choose a very hidden way of life to carry in prayer the whole world! And God knows, we need it! Considering we are 'semi-enclosed', we claim it as our feastday too! In Europe, we celebrate within our Order, the feastday of our Postulants. We are blessed to have Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary sisters staying with us so we join in their joy on their titutlar feastday! Happy feastday to all!

Called to be a saint!

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You are called to be a saint of God. You – yes you! You might think, how could I be a saint? I have already messed up my life, I am beyond redemption. Before you stick to your 'excuse', you might want to look at the lives of these people who allowed themselves to be open to God and to be used by God to do mighty things. They were far from 'holy'!
Check this list out:
Noah got drunk
Abraham was too old
Sarah laughed at God’s plans...
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a trickster
Joseph, well he was a show off in that fancy coat of his.
Moses stammered
Miriam gossiped
Gideon was insecure
Samson – let’s just say ‘my, my my, Delilah!’
Rahab was a prostitute
Ruth was a foreigner
David was an adulterer and murdered Bathsheba’s husband.
Isaiah...er, preached naked for three years
Jeremiah struggled with depression
Jonah ran from God...
and in the New Testament:
Zaccheus was too small
the woman at the well had had five husbands
Martha was a worrier
Mary M…

The will of God will never lead us where his grace will not keep us!

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On this day, 29th of September 1998, early in the afternoon, accompanied by my Mam and Sr. Brid, I made my way to the Divine Master Convent in Dublin to begin my official discernment and formation with the Disciples of the Divine Master. It is amazing to believe that 19 years have passed. In those 19 years so much has happened and I can truly say, it has been pure grace. My siblings have grown up and are no longer the 8,10,13 and 15 year olds that I left when I went to the convent. Life goes on and we journey continuously toward our eternal Home. 
The liturgical memorial of the Archangels is one very close to my heart. In my vocational journey, the angels and archangels have always been close to me. I entered the community on their feastday, I began novitiate on this feastday and then in 2004, I professed my vows on the feast of the Guardian Angels. Today’s commemoration has given me a programme of life, once which was re-echoed on my family’s wish for me on my Profession c…