Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

 With Spring in the air, here's a poem from Gerard Manley Hopkins to remind us what it's all about!

  Pied Beauty
"Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
     Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim. All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him."

International Women's Day


This word of thanks to the Lord for his mysterious plan regarding the vocation and mission of women in the world is at the same time a concrete and direct word of thanks to women, to every woman, for all that they represent in the life of humanity.

Thank you, women who are mothers! You have sheltered human beings within yourselves in a unique experience of joy and travail. This experience makes you become God's own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child's first steps, who helps it to grow, and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.

Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your future to that of your husbands, in a relationship of mutual giving, at the service of love and life.

Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then of all society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity…

Star gazing

Already at the second week of Lent, the liturgy presents us with varying images for the journey. Sunday is the day in my week where I  stop and take stock of how the journey is going. We are on a Lenten pilgrimage but from where and towards where?

Pope John Paul II writes in Incarnationis Mysterium 7: “A pilgrimage evokes the believer's personal journey in the footsteps of the Redeemer: it is an exercise of practical asceticism, of repentance for human weaknesses, of constant vigilance over one's own frailty, of interior preparation for a change of heart. Through vigils, fasting and prayer, the pilgrim progresses along the path of Christian perfection, striving to attain, with the support of God's grace, “the state of the perfect man, to the measure of the full maturity of Christ” (Eph 4:13).”

A pilgrim needs to be able to read the signs of the times around them, of the people with whom they live and journey with and of nature itself. A few years ago, a friend of mine ga…

Thank God for life!

A post just to give thanks....for the gift of life, for the gift of my parents who gave me this gift and collaborated with God's plan to bring me into this world.
Life is a gift: each day I become ever aware of this. Some of you know that I was a premature baby. It reminds me that just as life is a gift, it is a fragile gift and we carry this gift in clay vessels as Scriptures remind us. My friends in Ottawa used to say I was precocious since I was a baby! I couldn't wait to embrace the world and all that it contains. I pray I may still see with world with fresh eyes each day. There is so much good to be seen, first of all, in the people around us, in the beauty of creation, in the flutters of grace which pass by each day.
Birthdays can be strange things. Some people like to celebrate them, some people prefer no mention or fuss be made. For me to mark a birthday is to say to a person: "I thank God that you were born," I am grateful that you are alive and in this wo…

Happy friendship Day- St. Aeldred of Rievaulx

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!

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…


"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!

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

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!

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.)