30 Nov 2010

Rome Reports: Victims from attack on Christian church in Baghdad describe religious persecution

Advent Reflections - What does Advent mean to me?

Over the next few weeks, we will post some reflections from various people about what Advent means to them. Please feel free to add your own reflections and thoughts in the comment boxes.

J, L, M & S

Sr Maria Rose Nannyonjo IHMR (Uganda)

"We have began the Season of Advent. To me it has the following meanings:

- Advent is a time of preparation, renewal and refreshment. This Season is like a springtime in nature, when everything is renewed and so is fresh and healthy.
- Advent is meant to refresh us and make us healthy, to be able to receive Christ in whatever form he may come to us.

- In this Season, we should stay awake and stand ready, because we do not know the hour when the Son of Man (Christ) is coming.

Let us continue to pray to the Lord that he may help us to participate actively in preparation for His coming and may we enjoy the fruits of the forthcoming Christmas 2010.
I wish you a happy feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and a grace-filled month of December 2010.

May God bless you abundantly.
Sr. Maria Rose Nannyonjo

29 Nov 2010

Advent Reflections - Patrick Kavanagh's "Advent"



Advent
by Patrick Kavanagh

We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.

O after Christmas we'll have no need to go searching
For the difference that sets an old phrase burning-
We'll hear it in the whispered argument of a churning
Or in the streets where the village boys are lurching.
And we'll hear it among decent men too
Who barrow dung in gardens under trees,
Wherever life pours ordinary plenty.
Won't we be rich, my love and I, and
God we shall not ask for reason's payment,
The why of heart-breaking strangeness in dreeping hedges
Nor analyse God's breath in common statement.
We have thrown into the dust-bin the clay-minted wages
Of pleasure, knowledge and the conscious hour-
And Christ comes with a January flower.

Advent Reflections - Pope's Angelus for the first Sunday of Advent

Advent, A Time of Expectation
Popes Angelus for the first Sunday of Advent

VATICAN CITY, 28 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the first Sunday of Advent and beginning of the liturgical year, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope remarked on the dual nature of the period of Advent, which "looks both to the first coming of the Son of God, when He was born of the Virgin Mary, and to His glorious return, when He will come 'to judge the living and the dead'". He described this "expectation" as a "profoundly human aspect in which the faith becomes, so to say, a single thing with our flesh and our heart.

"Expectation and awaiting represent a dimension that touches our entire individual, family and social existence", he added. "Expectation is present in many situations, from the smallest and most insignificant to the most important". These include "a couple expecting a child; awaiting a relative or friend who comes to visit us from far way; ... the expectation of the result of some decisive examination; ... in personal relations the expectation of meeting the loved one. ... We could say that man is alive so long as he expects, so long as hope remains alive his heart. And man can be recognised by his expectations: our moral and spiritual 'stature' may be measured by what our hopes are".

Thus, "in this time of preparation for Christmas each of us may ask ourselves: what do I expect? ... And this same question can be posed at the level of the family, the community, the nation. What do we expect together? What unites our aspirations, what brings us together?" In this context, Benedict XVI recalled how "in Israel in the period prior to Jesus' birth there was a very strong expectation of the Messiah, ... who would free the people from all moral and political slavery and establish the Kingdom of God.

"But no-one could have imagined that the Messiah would be born of a humble girl like Mary, who had been promised in marriage to the good Joseph. Neither could she have imagined it; yet in her heart the expectation of the Saviour was so great, her faith and hope so ardent, that in her He could find a worthy mother. ... There is a mysterious correspondence between the expectation of God and that of Mary, the creature 'full of grace', completely transparent before the Almighty's plan of love. Let us learn from her, the woman of Advent, to live daily life with a new spirit, with feelings of profound expectation which only the coming of God can satisfy".

In his greetings following the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI made various references to respect for unborn life. Addressing Polish pilgrims he said: "With Mary, who lovingly awaited the birth of the Divine Child, let us persevere in our prayers, thanking God for the gift of life and asking Him to protect all human existence. May the future of the world become the civilisation of love and of life".

28 Nov 2010

Reflections on Advent

November 28, 2010
First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Is 2:1-5; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44

“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” Is 2:3

Advent, this powerful liturgical season that we are beginning, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us signs of the attention he has for each one of us. How often does God give us a glimpse of his love!

Homily in Celebration of First Vespers of Advent
November 28, 2009

Taken from "Advent and Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI" - USCCB

27 Nov 2010

UPDATED - 28th November 2010 - First Sunday of Advent Year A


 O Come O Come Emmanuel



Happy New Year!!

No we haven't lost our minds! This weeks show falls on the First Sunday of Advent which is the beginning of a new liturgical year which we commemorate with the blessing of our Advent Wreath. Fr Frank Duhig gives us a small reflection on Advent and its meaning which is followed by our regular Sunday morning discussion on the weekly Gospel, Saints of the Week, a review of interesting pieces in this weeks Irish Catholic and a preview of up coming programmes on EWTN.

Blessing of the Advent Wreath in the Home

All make the Sign of the Cross. A member of the family recites the following blessing while another lights the first candle on the Advent Wreath:

Lord God
Let your blessing come upon us as we light the candle(s) of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Advent

Fr Frank Duhig (PP of Newcastle West) is a welcome visitor back in studio this week and gives an introduction and reflection to Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year. We discuss some of the traditions of Advent including the Advent Wreath and the way that Advent is a time to individually prepare penitently to welcome the Lord. 

We also discuss Advent in terms of the period of preparation for the celebration of Christmas celebrating the coming of the Lord as the Word Incarnate to fulfill the desires and promises made to the Chosen People but also the season of preparation for the second coming of the Lord and also a season for us to prepare for the coming of the Lord into our lives and hearts. 

UPDATED: Some short daily reflections for Advent and Christmas with Pope Bendict XVI compiled by the USCCB.


Gospel

This week we move into a new liturgical cycle and with it we begin the reading of the Gospel of St Matthew opening with a reading of Mttw 24:37 - 44. Each Sunday gospel during Advent has a distinctive theme and this Sunday's focus is on the Lord's coming at the end of time.

The gospel can sound frightening but actually is a reminder to us all that time is transient and we do not know the time when the Lord is going to come, either for each of us individually or at the end of time. It is not a condemnation of the daily busy-ness of life but rather a call to remember to always have God as the ultimate destination on our journey through life, to be alive to  the sacrament (sacredness) of the present moment. The past is gone never to return, the future may never happen, we only have this present moment.

It is also a reminder to us that as followers of Christ, we are called to rouse a slumbering world which is in danger of loosing its soul and at the same time that while sometimes we try to reach God but our hands are too short, we should let Him reach out for us.

Some more reflections here, here, here and here

Saints of the Week

November 29th - St Brendan of Birr
November 30th - St Andrew, Apostle
December 1st - St Edmund Campion SJ
December 2nd - Blessed John of Ruysbroek
December 3rd - St Francis Xavier SJ
December 4th - St John Damascene

And finally another musical number for the Advent season


Thanks for listening

John, Lorraine, Michael and Shane

NEWSFLASH!! NEWSFLASH!!

We interupt our regular broadcasting to bring you some breaking news.

For our regular listeners who sometimes miss the show, Sacred Space is going to be repeated each week on Thursday night between 10.30 - 11.30pm on West Limerick 102fm. So if you miss us, you have another chance to catch up with the show!

You can tune in on 102fm or listen on line using the live streaming connection on the right hand column.

Thanks for listening

John, Lorraine, Michael and Shane

Some web browsing..............

Well Il Papa created quiet a stir during the week around the world (although not so much in Ireland, we were too busy trying to figure out what was going on with IMF/ECB/Banks/Government etc) but it seems the Pope said something about the use of condoms and the fight against AIDS.

Now one of the first suggestions we would make is that you should have a quick look at Humane Vitae. Everyone thinks they know what the Church teaches in relation to this issue, but how many of us can actually say we bothered to read it. Then for the A+ students have a look at Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body.

Now rather than tell you what we think Pope Benedict XVI said this week, we would encourage you to actually read the text here.

Commentary during the week was extremely varied with alot of misunderstandings and down right misleading even among Catholic bloggers but a few links for you to browse through and make up your own mind, with Sacred Space 102 highly recommending this Q&A section in this weeks Irish Catholic.

Some other links:
  • Deacon Greg has some reaction and links from all around the internet,
  • The Anchoress has lots of links for you to read around too
  • Peter Seeweld who actually wrote the book with the Popes interview which contained the comments Pope Benedict made thinks that Benedict XVI Misunderstood by Many
  • Vatican Information Service (VIS) has a summary of the press conference about the new book "Light of the World"
  • A Jewish perspective on how the Pope plays it right
  • ThinkingFaith - the online magazine of the British Jesuits looks at The Pope on Condoms: Change or no change.
  • America magazine gives a bit of background to the whole debate.
  • Elizabeth Scalia poses the question "Did Benedict stir the water on purpose?!" From that article, this quote jumps out, "He’s a professor, a teacher, and he’s challenging his students to think, argue, debate, discuss — and he’s drawing theologians into a wider debate that will ultimately, I suppose, lead to a more definitive statement. He understands that the thinking of the Church can and does change (though the teaching mostly doesn’t)."
But the best response to the media frenzy about the Pope's comments, "Father Lombardi [Vatican Media Spokesman] said he had asked Benedict if he had recognized the risk in publishing a book of interviews in a complex media landscape where his words might be 'misunderstood'......The pope smiled"

Although perhaps we should say a quick prayer for the Papal family as they had a brevement during the week.

We all try to work on our prayer lives from time to time, two reflections we came across during the week; The Life of Prayer: the sure path to freedom, and  Recollection in Prayer: hurry up and come down.

The American bishops conference was meeting recently and noted that the modern social media is "As Great a Challenge as the Reformation and that the church needs to engage positivally with its users, looking for missionaries for this digital continent.

Vaticanista John Allen looks at the relationship between the Vatican, the media, and the sex abuse crisis in 2010.

Why does Marxism always fail?

An inspiring story about how each life is precious, A Life beyond reason.

Some good news during the week was the ordination of David Barrins OP, who was the third Dominican ordained in the last year. For some of the media reaction to his ordination have a look here and Ad multos annus Fr Barrins.

For our cousins across the pond, Thursday just past was one of their biggest holidays - Thanksgiving - and Pat Gohn reminds us Catholics that through the Eucharist, Perfect thanksgiving has nothing to do with turkey.

Another Irish farm (sort of) bites the dust...........

Another good news story during the week was that Teenage boys survive 50 days adrift in South Pacific
And for the tough times that we live in and something from Monthy Python to pick you up

20 Nov 2010

21st November 2010 - Christ the Universal King



Hail Redeemer, King Divine,
Priest and Lamb the throne is thine,
King whose reign shall never cease,
Prince of ever lasting peace

Angels Saints and Nations sing
Praise be Jesus Christ our King
Lord of life, earth, sky and sea,
King of Love on Calvary.

This weeks show falls on the Solemnity of Christ the Universal King and John and Michael as usual explore and reflect on the gospel readings for the day. As well as our usual gospel reflection we also have an interview with Trocaire about their Global Gifts campaign as well as a quick review of the saints for the week, the Irish Catholic and EWTN.

Trocaire - Global Gifts Campaign.

This week we have an interview with Mary Sweeney from Trocaire, who is originally from Glin. Mary is currently Trocaire's Regional Liaison Officer for Central and West Africa based in Maynooth. She has been working in overseas aid for years and has lived in quite a few African countries. She speaks about how she got involved with Trocaire and her experiences overseas and goes on to introduce the Trocaire Global Gifts which he has also seen  in action in plenty of occasions.

"Think beyond the present"
Make Trocaire Global Gifts part of your Christmas Traditions and help change some one's future.


From decorating the tree to giving gifts that show you care, Christmas has always been a time for traditions with real meaning for you and your family.........When you buy a Global Gift, a family or community in the developing world will receive the gift you have purchased. You in turn will receive a beautiful illustrated gift card and certificate to pass on. Global Gifts offer hope, dignity and real change to those that receive them.


Some of the Global Gifts available this year include a solar lamp, olive trees, beehives, care for women and children..................
For further information go to Trocaires website or contact 1850 408 408


Christ the Universal King - Gospel Readings



This weeks feast celebrates the Kingship of Christ, the feast was erected at the end of the 1925 Holy Year by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Quas Primas where he sought to give due honour to the Divine Kingship of Christ. 

Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP noted,"The Church's year ends with the Feast of Christ the King. Jesus is portrayed as a triumphant king reigning over all creation. This is the same Jesus, son of Mary and son of God, who has preached the Good News and declared the imminence of God's kingdom. The obedient Son suffered and died for us, rose from the dead, ascended into glory and sent his Spirit so that we may have another comforter and someone to speak for us. Creation has been restored, and we have been saved from our sins and foolishness. The cycle is now complete. Although the enormousness of God's saving work has yet to impress itself on most people, nevertheless we believe that there will be a moment at the end of time when the Son will come again in all his glory, and creation will reach fulfillment. That is why we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, we rejoice in what Jesus has done for us, yet at the same time we look forward to its completion........".

Reflections can be read here, here, here, here and here.



Saints of the Week

November 22nd - St Cecilia, Patroness of musicians
November 23rd - St Columban, co-Patron of Europe or St Clement of Rome
November 25th - St Catherine of Alexandria or St Colman of Cloyne
November 26th - St Leonard of Porto Maurizio
November 27th - St Fergal, Bishop 

As always, thanks for listening.

John, Michael, Lorraine and Shane


14 Nov 2010

We are the Christians of Iraq - Letter of an Iraqi Priest to His Wounded Country

The martyrs of the Church of Our Lady of Salvation showed the world once again who we are, the Christians of Iraq, and they joined the martyrs of our Church, those who sacrificed their lives to Christ our Lord, who taught us to bear witness to the resurrection of life, for forgiveness, for hope, for love, for faith, joy.

The blood of our fallen heroes cries out to the world and all humanity, and urges the Christians of Iraq, wherever we are, to "preach" to the world about the suffering and risen Christ who lives in our wounded land.

Yes, I say "preach" because our faith is good news, as it "was and will always be." Who has ears to hear, hear us now, and know that Christ lives in the Christians of Iraq. It's a witness that lives and will continue to live. And if there is someone who does not feel the importance of witnessing in life, we would only say to him and to the whole world, that for us it is life itself. What the world calls "nothing," for us it is "everything"!

Continue reading here.

To send letters to the Christians of Baghdad

We all watched in horror and read with disgust about the attack on the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad on 31st October, an attack against people who were at prayer to God.

"Exactly two weeks ago, late on a Sunday afternoon, a young woman named Raghada al-Wafi ran to her local church, with some wonderful news to share with the priest who had married her: she was going to have a baby. She asked the priest for a blessing. He was happy to give it. It ended up being one of the last acts of his life. Moments later, the priest, Raghada and her unborn child were slaughtered. They were among the Catholic faithful killed by terrorists at a Baghdad cathedral - Our Lady of Salvation -- on October 31st. It was a horrific attack. Gunmen stormed into the church and accused the Christians of being infidels. Then they began randomly firing on them. Dozens of worshippers sought sanctuary in the church sacristy. But many more weren't as lucky. The siege lasted four hours. When it was over, more than 50 Iraqi Catholics had been killed, including two priests. It was one of the deadliest attacks on Christians since the Iraq war began. It wasn't the first. It won't be the last."

It seems appropriate today to recall the martyrs of this attack in the context of todays gospel Luke 21:5-19

“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately..........You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls."

The gospel calls on us to trust in God and is a harsh gospel to us in our safe, secure lives.

Deacon Greg Kandra also has a challanging homily this week.

A member of Communion & Liberation, Maria Teresa Landi came up with an idea during the week; send letters of encouragement to the Christians of Baghdad, who are suffering horrible persecution and killings. They are the Church's modern-day martyrs. 

By day's end, the Nuncio at the United Nations was offering his diplomatic pouch (direct mail). He proposed to have all letters and messages sent to him by Tuesday night in a package and he will send the package to the Nunciature in Iraq on Wednesday morning. Please address your emails to the families, to His Beatitude Emmanuel Delli, Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad at tonuncio@gmail.com. He will print out the emails and put them in the pouch.

Why I am Catholic blogger Alison Salerno has posted some quotes from Maria Teresa Landi's email:

"I kept thinking at their suffering, at their mysterious participation in the cross of Christ, and what this means for me and for the history of Iraq, the Middle East and the entire world. I thought to offer my work for them, to do it very seriously as my way to be present to them. And to pray for them, to ask the pastor of my Church to say a Mass for them, that they could be sustained in this difficult time and not feel alone in their struggle. That they could recognize Christ in these challenging circumstances.

Suddenly, I had an idea and this is why I am writing to you.

In addition to praying for them, why don’t we all write letters to them, many, many letters as soon as possible, also from our kids, to tell them that we are with them, that even if we are far away, we are One in Christ, we pray for them, and we thank them for their presence in that precious land and in our lives? We can witness to them the miracles we see in our lives, the path we are following, our certainty in the presence of Christ in any circumstance, so they could be sustained in their faith.

It is a small gesture, like a drop in the ocean, but Christ can use it to make great things, because, as He said, when two or three are gathered in His name, He is in their midst."

Technical Difficulties

Morning folks

Sadly we had some technical difficulties after recording the show on Thursday evening so we wont be able to broadcast the regular show this morning, so we are going to repeat a show we had in May 2010 about Knock.

Our sincerest apologies and thanks for listening

John, Lorraine and Shane

10 Nov 2010

Some web browsing....

To get us started this week, an inspiring story about Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest suvivor of the Nazi holocaust and the role of music in her life and how it gives her hope despite the tragedy in her life.




This week we had the feast of Pope St Leo  the Great who challanges us still across the centuries,

"Christian recognize your dignity and, now that you share in God's own nature, do not return to your former base by sinning. Remember who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Never forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of the Kingdom of God."


If you want to read a reflection on this famous Pope and his encounter with Attila the Hun read it here.

"Christianity survived in the Middle East because of married priests" is one of the eyebrow raising comments from Melkite Archbishop George Bakhouni of Tyre.

In an era of church closures especially in the USA because of lack of priests, declining congregations and financial considerations, Msgr Charles Pope poses a challanging alternative look at the issue and the need to reawaken in people the need for evangelisation by asking the question "More Church Closings – So What is God Teaching Us and How Will We Respond?"
"........We have some serious repenting to do as Catholics. It is so easy to blame “mean” bishops, arrogant chancery offices and so forth. Surely there is some blame to be had in these areas. But in the end this is about the numbers of the faithful. It is simple to say the priests should do something, but it is also a fact that shepherds don’t have sheep; sheep have sheep. And it is a simple fact that the sheep are not in the fold. Every survey agrees, only 27 – 30% of Catholics even bother to go to mass any more, much less support their parishes financially. We simply cannot continue to maintain our parishes and other entities with this decline of people in the pews. The faith has largely been set aside by most Catholics who still expect their parish to “be there” at important moments like wedding and funerals, baptisms and crises. And for those who do remain faithful and attend each Sunday, (God bless them), there are also questions. How serious have they been about evangelizing as they saw their parishes growing empty?......."


You can read more about it here.

Last weekend, Pope Benedict XVI visited Santiago and in Barcelona lead the the stirring ritual of dedication of Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. First, the Pope anointed with oil the four corners of the altar, while several bishops made crosses with chrism on the columns and walls of the church. Then, incense was then lighted on the altar to make it sacred. After this, the altar was covered with a tablecloth, candles, and flowers for the celebration of Mass. Finally, all the lights were turned up in the church to symbolize the presence of Christ, the light of the world. Once this ritual is completed, Mass may then be celebrated at the altar. To read more about the cermony go here and to see a video of the highlights go here. If you want to begin to read more about this amazing building and the symbolism of it you can start with the Wikipedia article and follow the links at the bottom.

During his homily at the Mass, Pope Benedict called on "Europe, Be not afraid!"

Irish writer and journalist Mary Kenny writing for the BBC during the week makes the point that Cases of depression have grown around the world. But while awareness of the illness has helped lift the stigma it once attracted, have we lost touch with the importance of just feeling sad.

For our fellow Christians in Iraq trying to come to terms with the bombing of the Syrian Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation on October 31st now have to consider the issue of whether to stay or go, with one Syriac Orthodox archbishop is urging Christians in Iraq to get out now.

Fr Brendan Hoban, parish priest in Ballina, Co. Mayo, said that there might be a need for Protocol guidance needed for non-believers in church.

Does God speak to you? Thomas L. McDonald shares a personal experience of communication that brought peace “beyond all understanding” and a healing that continues until today.

John Waters in last weeks Irish Catholic has an interesting piece about the role of public anger and its manipulation by the Irish media.

Do we have a Church if we don't have priests?

Two Irish Domincan students speak about their vocation.

Swiss monks turn to highflyers for recruitment: Wanted: Bankers, traders or lawyers for full-time, lifelong position. No pay.

The BBC gives an apology for broadcasting a series of reports claiming money raised by Live Aid to fight famine in Ethiopia was spent on weapons.

Combining travel and volunteer work, a trend known as "voluntourism" is a rapidly growing industry around the world. One of the most popular activities among international "voluntourists" is working at orphanages and child-care centers in Asia and Africa. But in South Africa, some researchers now claim that foreign visitors aren't actually helping the children they work with. In fact, they might be harming them. Read more here.

And some workers in the area of development call for a change of mentality around the issue of charity and the Developing World.

David Mills writes about how the Changed Times Dont last.

In a world of suffering, Philip Yancey asks "What good is God?"

For an alternative view of life beyond consumerism.

And finally over the past 2,000 years, the Virgin Mary's face has been imagined anew by every generation. We depict her beauty according to current standards of attractiveness, re-inventing her to reflect our own priorities. Judith Dupre has a fascinating look at the many faces of Mary where some may challange our views of the Madonna.
 

7 Nov 2010

7 Nov 2010 - Irish Eucharistic Celebration in thanksgiving for the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, St John's Cathedral, Limerick



If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of one my heart enjoys,
Of one who whispers, warm and calm,
Of one whose tender touch persists.

If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of beauty barely seen,
Of shadow gums and string bark,
Of tracks and water hard to find.

If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of women seen as fools,
Because, in Joseph’s hidden way,
They crossed an empty land with trust.

If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of women working hard,
Receiving bits of broken bread,
And poor enough to serve the poor.

If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of Christ who chose the Cross.
His wisdom brings the might down.
His strength uplifts the stable’s child.

If I could tell the love of God
I’d sing of Christ who chose the Cross.
His justice mends a broken world,
His mercy turns the grave around.


Noel Rowe, from retreat notes written by Mary MacKillop


Irish Eucharistic Celebration in thanksgiving for the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, St John's Cathedral, Limerick

Homily
Fr Chris O'Donnell

"Two creatures feature on the Australian coat of arms - the emu, which is a flightless bird, and the well known kangaroo. These animals were purposely chosen because they share a very unusual characteristic. You see, both the emu and kangaroo can only move forward, they cannot move backwards. And so the Australian coat of arms serves to remind us of the importance of always moving forward. It is fitting that Australia’s first native saint, Mary MacKillop is one of the finest examples of a person who always sought to move forward.

There were plenty of really tough times in Mary’s life and at no point did she give up. Rather than be held back by her past or even her current challenges, Mary always sought to move forward. So what helped her rise above the many challenges that life threw her way? Well I feel it was down to her faith. Mary had many great characteristics but overriding all of these and in fact underpinning all of these was an incredible faith. She once said, ‘Faith is the first essential if we are to cope with life's difficulties.’

Unfortunately it’s hard to fully capture what faith is as there are so many different sides to it. But ultimately true faith will involve prayer, trust and service. That trust was clearly evident in Mary’s life. In the midst of her difficulties she never doubted that God was with her. In fact she believed that wherever we are, no matter how messy it is, we will find God. This gave encouragement as she knew she could always rely on God, in fact she once said, “God gives me strength for what is necessary”

And while it’s lovely to celebrate Mary’s virtues today I feel she would not be happy if that was all we did. She was a practical, hardworking saint and she would want today to serve a purpose. Yes honour her and especially offer genuine tribute and thanks to the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, sisters who have given and are still giving incredible service in Australia and also a lot closer to home, here in our diocese. However the practical side of Mary MacKillop would want us to leave this celebration willing to try harder to make a difference in our personal lives, in our communities and then even in our world.

So today we should ask ourselves what we can learn from Mary. You see Mary’s life shows us what is possible and what we are capable of. Mary would not want us to feel that her faith and life are beyond us. Instead she would want us to know that we could all have a similar faith. You see faith is like a muscle, if we want our faith to grow stronger we simply have to exercise it, we have to use it. Deepening our faith involves putting effort into praying, into trusting and into serving.

So a practical difference we could begin in our lives today is to try to deepen our faith. And because Mary’s trust in God was such an important part of her faith we could begin by trying to increase our trust in God. Mary’s incredible trust may be beyond us, but at least we should start somewhere. Having a sense of trust or providence in our lives means that we believe that everything that happens, be it good or bad, happens for a reason; and then knowing that in the midst of it all God is with us. Trusting this, should encourage us to live more fully irrespective of how messy or tough things are. And deepening our trust isn’t beyond any of us. Trust deepens the more we trust. So we just have to make the conscious decision to actively trust God more. Rather than rely simply on our own resources and become weighed down by our own difficulties and shortcomings, we should give it all to God. We must try to always entrust to him every minute of every day, every worry, ever situation, knowing that if we place these in God’s hands, they are in the best of hands.

Another way we can make a difference is to adopt Mary’s motto for life. Her motto was ‘never see a need without doing something about it.’ She wanted everyone to know something of the compassionate heart of God. If we are people of faith we cannot turn a blind eye to the genuine need of others. The more we grow in faith the more we should grow in compassion and service. Obviously we can’t do everything, but we can do something and as Mary once said, “Do all you can with the means at your disposal and calmly leave the rest to God.” Mary shows us what is possible when one person cares enough to try and make a difference no matter how small they feel their efforts might be.

Mary remained inspiring even to the end. In fact she used her dying breath to utter two tiny words – four letters really. Now, what could you say in four letters, well in Mary’s case, with four letters you can say everything. Mary’s final words were ‘Go on’ - it is hardly surprising that such a practical, hardworking and faithful saint would use her last words to simply encourage us to keep going no matter what.

The best service we can pay to Mary today is to try to imitate her virtues. She was a person of prayer of trust and of service who always moved forward and never gave up. May we try to be people who do the same. And remember Mary’s motto, ‘never see a need without doing something about it’, may we try to live this as best we can. And finally based on her dying words of encouragement, may we be people who always go on, go on trusting, go on praying and go on serving, knowing that God is with us and if we truly believe that God is with us, sure what else would we need. And when we face difficulties, if we find ourselves questioning our ability to make a difference in this world, may Mary’s life encourage us and in the midst of our doubts may we hear her whisper ‘Go on’"

6 Nov 2010

7th November 2010 - 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

After the "stress" of last weeks live show from West Limerick 102fm HQ, this week we get back to a more normal routine and the Sacred Space 10fm team have an interview with Sr Dympna Clancy FMA about her life as a Salesian Sister and also about VIDES which wraps up our series on mission and missionaries on Sacred Space 102fm.


Salesian Sisters and VIDES

Sr Dympna tells us about her early life, her call to enter the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians a.k.a the Salesian Sisters and about her work in education and parish ministry.

She also introduces us to VIDES (Voluntary International Development Education and Service)which is an international association supported by the Salesian Sisters which consists of groups of volunteers who give time abroad and who share their time and their gifts for limited periods working with the sisters in development projects abroad.

Vides Ireland continues to operate and invite volunteers to make contact if they are interested in giving time abroad. The Irish delegate is Sr. Dympna Clancy who can be contacted at dymclan@eircom.net or phone 086-3708652 or 061-348510

The next meeting of VIDES will be in Saturday 4th December 2010, in Castletown (near Mountrath) Co Laois and if you are interested in attending it is best to contact Sr Dympna before hand.

Gospel

Although we don't discuss this weeks gospel with Sr Dympna on the show, for our regular readers we are posting the text for you to read and reflect on, as well as some links to reflections and other pieces about it.

This weeks scripture readings for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
The readings offer hope to us regards faith in the resurrection particularily in this month of November when we especially remember our dead. Some reflections on this weeks readings can be found here, here and here .

We also want to introduce you to Fr Robert Barron from the Archdiocese of Chicago and his ministry of evangelisation through the Word on Fire website and would recommnd his site as a source of informtion and reflection on the weekly gospels and current affairs. This weeks reflection on the gospel can be heard here

Thanks for listening


John, Lorraine and Shane

2 Nov 2010

Commemeration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls) - November 2nd


"The souls of the just are in the hand of God and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself.
As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."


-- From the Book of Wisdom, (a reading for Mass on All Soul's Day).

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed. Through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Amen

In paradisum (English: "Into paradise") is an antiphon from the traditional Latin liturgy of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass. It is sung by the choir as the body is being taken out of the church
In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.


May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem. May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest.

Mozarts Requiem Mass in D Minor



 

1 Nov 2010

Solemnity of All Saints - November 1st

"When I invite you to become saints, I am asking you not to be content with second best. I am asking you not to pursue one limited goal and ignore all the others. Having money makes it possible to be generous and to do good in the world, but on its own, it is not enough to make us happy. Being highly skilled in some activity or profession is good, but it will not satisfy us unless we aim for something greater still. It might make us famous, but it will not make us happy. Happiness is something we all want, but one of the great tragedies in this world is that so many people never find it, because they look for it in the wrong places. The key to it is very simple - true happiness is to be found in God. We need to have the courage to place our deepest hopes in God alone, not in money, in a career, in worldly success, or in our relationships with others, but in God. Only he can satisfy the deepest needs of our hearts."

-- Pope Benedict XVI (read more of the sermon here)

A couple of reflections and links for this special day:
And to round out this celebration of that holy cloud of witnesses