Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Saturday, 31 March 2012

This past week I spent 3 days with the Poor Clare nuns in Dublin. They asked me to give them a Triduum in preparation for Holy Week. Last year, I was with the Poor Clares in Bothwell, Scotland and like back then, I wondered how does one give some input on prayer to people who are 'professional pray-ers' The Poor Clare were founded by St. Clare of Assisi and their rule of life was approved in 1253 just two days before she died.  They live a contemplative life and have a vow of enclosure so they seldom go outside the monastery.

They are a powerhouse of prayer. They spend most of the day and night in prayer before the presence of the God in the Blessed Sacrament. There, they take all the intentions and worries of all the people who contact them for prayerful support. When you ask the Poor Clares to say a prayer, it is guaranteed they will do just that.  When I feel that my prayers are going nowhere or maybe God isn't listening, the Poor Clares never give up on prayer. Who said of the Lord; "Trust in me when trusting is the hardest thing of all."

Because their whole lives are devoted to spending most of their time with God at the service of the Church and the poeple, they are some of the happiest people I know.  While they spend very little time paying attention to the media, they are not unaware of the difficulties people have to face in the real world. They fervently believe in the good news and the importance of staying positive.  And the other good news is that the Poor Clares are not the only religious congregation who are devoted to a radical life of enclosure and prayer to God. Need a prayer? Why not contact this powerhouse and they will gladly take all your intentions to the good Lord.

For more go to /www.poor-clares.com/

Friday, 23 March 2012

The Concepts

I’ve been reflecting in the wake of the Report on the Apostolic Visitation to Ireland published earlier this week, and lately on the Report into The Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters and Payments, (Mahon Tribunal) earlier this week.  While it’s very important to call good and evil by name, I believe I have no right to judge. I’m conscious of my own sinfulness.  

I remember being very impressed and humbled by a group of men I worked on placement with when I was a student-friar in the early 1990’s. They were in a residential twelve-step programme and each of them was living one day at a time. Here are some of the ‘concepts’ they lived by...

The Concepts

Honesty, Consistency, and Responsibility.

It’s not enough to talk the talk; you have to walk the walk.

He, who does not examine his past, is doomed to repeat it.

Sooner or later it’s your fault.

You get out what you put in.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step

Do your thing and everything will follow

Experience defeats arguments

Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.

In order to keep it, you have to give it away.

Responsible concern.

What goes around comes around.

Remember where you came from.

Never assume anything.

“Always treat others they way you would like them to treat you.”

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Paradox of our Time - George Carlin

A wonderful Message by George Carlin:

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever. Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side. Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent. Remember, to say, "I love you" to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you. Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Monday, 12 March 2012

St. Francis of Assisi - The Canticle of Brother Sun

Saint Francis of Assisi

Canticle of Brother Sun

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, all honour and all blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You my Lord with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour,
Of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
In the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.

Praised be You my Lord through Sister Water,
So useful, humble, precious and pure.

Praised be You my Lord through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You my Lord through our Sister,
Mother Earth
who sustains and governs us,
producing varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praise be You my Lord through those who grant pardon
for love of You and bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
By You Most High, they will be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord through Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks,
And serve Him with great humility.

Chief Seattle's Letter: Very Franciscan Theme

Chief Seattle's Letter To All

Chief Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish Indians allegedly wrote to the American Government in the 1800's - In this letter he gave the most profound understanding of God in all Things. Here is his letter, which should be instilled in the hearts and minds of every parent and child in all the Nations of the World:


"The President in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. But how can you buy or sell the sky? the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?

Every part of the earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every meadow, every humming insect. All are holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know the sap which courses through the trees as we know the blood that courses through our veins. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters. The bear, the deer, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew in the meadow, the body heat of the pony, and man all belong to the same family.

The shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water, but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you our land, you must remember that it is sacred. Each glossy reflection in the clear waters of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father.

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give the rivers the kindness that you would give any brother.

If we sell you our land, remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life that it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also received his last sigh. The wind also gives our children the spirit of life. So if we sell our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow flowers.

Will you teach your children what we have taught our children? That the earth is our mother? What befalls the earth befalls all the sons of the earth.

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

One thing we know: our God is also your God. The earth is precious to him and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its creator.

Your destiny is a mystery to us. What will happen when the buffalo are all slaughtered? The wild horses tamed? What will happen when the secret corners of the forest are heavy with the scent of many men and the view of the ripe hills is blotted with talking wires? Where will the thicket be? Gone! Where will the eagle be? Gone! And what is to say goodbye to the swift pony and then hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

When the last red man has vanished with this wilderness, and his memory is only the shadow of a cloud moving across the prairie, will these shores and forests still be here? Will there be any of the spirit of my people left?

We love this earth as a newborn loves its mother's heartbeat. So, if we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it, as we have cared for it. Hold in your mind the memory of the land as it is when you receive it. Preserve the land for all children, and love it, as God loves us.

As we are part of the land, you too are part of the land. This earth is precious to us. It is also precious to you.

One thing we know - there is only one God. No man, be he Red man or White man, can be apart. We ARE all brothers after all."

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Not something I talk about everyday

I was over in the Carmelite Church in Clarendon St yesterday to go to confession. The sacrament of reconciliation or confession is not something you hear about everyday but I like to try and go regularly. When we confess our sins, we confess to Jesus Christ. The priest is there 'In persona Christi' and Christ told the disciples to forgive sins (Matthew 18:22 and John 20:21-23)

In popular culture today, it seems that people are more inclined to confess on primetime tv or radio. And some of these are car crash television or radio. I've heard people say to me; "Sure no one goes to confession any more." and "Nothing is a sin any longer."

As a priest hearing confessions from time to time, I know there are those who are fearful of confession. Perhaps it was because of a bad experience in confession in the past. Sadly, there were priests who got angry and acted as judge and jury and they were wrong to do so. This should not be the case today. Confession today should be life giving and an opportunity for real renewal.  And while I know people may still feel worried about what to say, the priest will always be there to help.

Well, the good news is that people do go. I joined a large queue of people of all ages for confession yesterday.  I must have waited for half an hour as people went in and came out of the Reconciliation Room there. And people were joining the queue after I left. The Carmelites (Both OCD Carmelites and OCarm) in Dublin City centre offer this service each day in their churches and the people come along.

Most parishes have reconciliation services coming up to Holy Week. Again, a great opportunity to make a fresh start.  One of the best parables in the gospels is the story of the Prodigal (merciful and generous) father, and the lost son. (Luke 15:11-32);

11 Then he said, 'There was a man who had two sons.
12 The younger one said to his father, "Father, let me have the share of the estate that will come to me." So the father divided the property between them.
13 A few days later, the younger son got together everything he had and left for a distant country where he squandered his money on a life of debauchery.
14 'When he had spent it all, that country experienced a severe famine, and now he began to feel the pinch;
15 so he hired himself out to one of the local inhabitants who put him on his farm to feed the pigs.
16 And he would willingly have filled himself with the husks the pigs were eating but no one would let him have them.
17 Then he came to his senses and said, "How many of my father's hired men have all the food they want and more, and here am I dying of hunger!
18 I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
19 I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men."
20 So he left the place and went back to his father. 'While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.
21 Then his son said, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son."
22 But the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 Bring the calf we have been fattening, and kill it; we will celebrate by having a feast,
24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life; he was lost and is found." And they began to celebrate.
25 'Now the elder son was out in the fields, and on his way back, as he drew near the house, he could hear music and dancing.
26 Calling one of the servants he asked what it was all about.
27 The servant told him, "Your brother has come, and your father has killed the calf we had been fattening because he has got him back safe and sound."
28 He was angry then and refused to go in, and his father came out and began to urge him to come in;
29 but he retorted to his father, "All these years I have slaved for you and never once disobeyed any orders of yours, yet you never offered me so much as a kid for me to celebrate with my friends.
30 But, for this son of yours, when he comes back after swallowing up your property -- he and his loose women -- you kill the calf we had been fattening."
31 'The father said, "My son, you are with me always and all I have is yours.
32 But it was only right we should celebrate and rejoice, because your brother here was dead and has come to life; he was lost and is found." '

Monday, 5 March 2012

Novena of Grace 4th - 12th of March at St. Michan's Church, Halston St, Dublin 7.
Each Weekday Evening at 7.30pm.

Speakers include; Fr. Tom Cox, Ferbane; Veronica Jackson, CYC; Bishop John McAreevy, Bishop of Dromore; Br. Niall O'Connell ofm, Merchant's Quay; Paddy Pender, Halston St; Fr. John Kelly, AMNCH, Tallaght.

The first Novena of Grace in Dublin was celebrated in our Parish in 1712 and it has been celebrated regularly ever since. This year marks the 300th Anniversary of the Novena of Grace.

Souvenir Booklets are available for sale at €1.00 and also available is a comprehensive history of our Parish; 'St. Michan's Parish, A Labour of Love throughout the Centuries.' Available for €10.00

For more see www.churchandhalston.irishcapuchins.com

Friday, 2 March 2012

Reflections on the Seven Last words of Christ;

This is happening each Friday Evening in Lent in the Capuchin Friary, Church St, Dublin 7, beginning at 8.00 p.m. It is prepared by Br. Liam ofm.cap. and Br. David ofm. and members of the CYC
(Catholic Youth Care)

The Seven last words of Christ are;

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
(Luke 23:34)
“I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)
“Woman, here is your son.”
(John 19:26)
“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Mark 15:34)
“I am thirsty.”
(John 19:28)
“It is finished!”
(John 19:30)
“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”
(Luke 23:46)

It is just another idea of what we can do for Lent....
All Welcome!