28 Feb 2014

One year ago today.......Sede Vacante...........

"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the barque of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is."
 
Pope Benedict XVI  - 11th February 2013



 
Amid applause, Benedict XVI made his way to the Vatican's heliport on February 28, 2013. Just minutes later, at 5:05PM, bells rang out at St. Peter's Square, and across Rome, as the helicopter carrying the German Pope took off. It circled some of the Eternal City's most emblematic monuments before heading south to Castel Gandolfo, the temporary home for Benedict XVI during the upcoming conclave.




"Thank you – thank you from my heart! 
Dear friends, I'm happy to be with you, that I can see the Creator's beauty around us, and all the goodness you've given to me – thank you for your friendship and your affection!

You know that this day of mine hasn't been like those before. I'm no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic church – at least, at 8 o'clock I won't be – now I'm just a pilgrim beginning the last part of his journey on earth.

With all my heart, with all my love, with my prayer and all my strength – with everything in me – I'd like to work for the common good of the church and all humanity. I feel your kindness so much.  
Let us always move together toward the Lord for the good of the church and of the world. Thank you for bringing yourselves [here] – with all my heart, I give you my blessing….

Thank you and goodnight!"




One year ago, at 8PM, local time in Rome, the Swiss Guards closed the doors to the Apostolic Palace at Castel Ganfoldo. This simple act came to symbolize the end of Benedict XVI's pontificate, and the start of the Sede Vacante. Minutes earlier, the Pope emeritus had addressed a crowd outside the Palace, telling them he was "simply a pilgrim the last leg of his pilgrimage on Earth.” As the Catholic Church closed a chapter in its history, a new one would begin shortly.

22 Feb 2014

Resources for Lent 2014


Ash Wednesday falls on March 5th this year when we enter into the "joyful season" of Lent as we refer to it here on Sacred Space 102fm. To help you with your preparations and journey through the season we have pulled together a list of links and resources which are listed in the sidebar on the top left of the blog page and will remain there until Holy Week.

The list may be updated from time to time so check back especially as new web resources will only go online from next week particularly for Irish people with the launch of the Trocaire Lenten Campaign.

One of the resources we recommend this year is the online Lenten retreat with Ignatian Spirituality.com. (click on the link)

The Ignatian Workout for Lent: An Online Retreat

We also recommend that you could begin your Lenten journey with Pope Francis and read and reflect on his Lenten Message for 2014.



23rd February 2014 - Reaching out to our neighbours: corporal & spiritual works of mercy (a repeat) - 7th Sunday in Ordinary time Year A


As most of our Limerick/Irish listeners will be aware, last weekend was rather a stormy weekend across the island of Ireland and WL102fm in Newcastle West was no exception with some disruption to the regular broadcasting of the station. As a result last weeks programme didn't go out on air (although we did manage to get it out via the blog), so this week John and Lorraine are repeating the section of the programme on reaching out to our neighbours with Lorraines reflection on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.We have our regular reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel for the 7th Sunday in ordinary time as well as some other liturgical odds and ends.

You can listen to this weeks programme HERE.

Reaching out to our Neighbours: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy



Older listeners will remember lists of things to be learnt off as part of their cathechism - 10 commandments, 7 deadly sins, 8 beatitudes, 4 cardinal virtues, 3 theological vitures, 7 sacraments, 12 fruits and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc etc

This week Lorraine reflects on mercy and reaching out to our neighbours focusing on the corporal and spiritual Works of Mercy which are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.
Could mercy be the trademark for Catholicism? After all, we share much of our faith with other Christians, even with Jews and Muslims. We even share many things that make up our faith with all people of goodwill everywhere. But the works of mercy—those really are uniquely Catholic. Perhaps that’s why Pope John Paul II named the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. In this Update we’ll take a look at what mercy means, and then how our corporal and spiritual works of mercy flow from mercy itself: God’s grace in our lives.
Continue reading HERE.
 
The Corporal Works of Mercy

Corporal Works of Mercy are those that tend to bodily needs of others. In Matthew 25:34-40, six specific Works of Mercy are enumerated, although not this precise list — as the reason for the salvation of the saved, and the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Book of Tobit
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy

Just as the Corporal Works of Mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the even more important aim of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering. The latter works are traditionally enumerated thus:
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead

You can listen to the reflection extracted from the programme HERE.

Gospel - Matthew 5:38-48

The Second Mile by Michael Belk from Journeys with the Messiah
This week's Gospel includes Christ's call to "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." God demands that we go past the limits of human endeavors and strive for perfection in the moral life. It is easy? Of course not. That is why God provides grace to us.
The Second Mile: this image shows Jesus carrying the bag and rifle of a Nazi officer. ““Love your enemies as yourself. Pray for those who persecute you. Forgive people seventy times seven.” Jesus reminds us that, just as God forgives us, we are expected to do the same for others.”

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy

Liturgical odds and ends

Saints of the Week

February 24th - Blessed Tommaso Maria Fusco
February 25th - Saint Laurentius Bai Xiaoman
February 26th - St. Porphyry of Gaza
February 27th - St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows
February 28th -  St. Oswald
March 1st - St David

Quote of the Day



"In our society there is a tyrannical dominance of an economic logic that excludes and at times kills, and of which nowadays we find many victims, starting with the elderly..........we see the existence of a “throwaway” culture, in which those who are excluded are not only exploited but also rejected and cast aside.

“Health is without doubt an important value, but it does not determine the value of a person. Furthermore, health is not by itself a guarantee of happiness, which may indeed by experienced even by those in a precarious state of health...........poor health and disability are never a good reason to exclude or, worse, eliminate a person; and the most serious deprivation that the elderly suffer is not the weakening of the body or the consequent disability, but rather abandonment, exclusion, and a lack of love”.

“The teacher of welcome and solidarity is, instead, the family: it is in the bosom of the family that education draws in a substantial fashion upon relationships of solidarity; in the family it is possible to learn that the loss of health is not a reason to discriminate against certain human lives; the family teaches us not to fall prey to individualism and to balance 'I' with 'we'. It is there that 'taking care' of one another becomes the foundation of human existence and a moral attitude to promote, through the values of commitment and solidarity”.

- Pope Francis
 
Message to the participants in the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of its institution.
 

Pope: Professing the faith without good works is just spouting hot air

Pope Francis saying Mass at the Casa Santa Martha - source Catholic News Service
From Vatican Radio:
“A faith that does not bear fruit in works is not faith.” This was the affirmation with which Pope Francis opened his remarks at Mass on Friday, following the readings of the day.....The world is full of Christians who often recite the words of the Creed, while very seldom putting them into practice – [and of] erudite [scholars] who reduce theology to a series of neat categories, neatly removed and shielded from having any influence on real life. It is a danger that St. James feared even two thousand years ago, and that Pope Francis made the subject of his remarks to the faithful after the day’s readings on Friday, “[St. James’ statement],” said Pope Francis, commenting on the passage from his Letter, which was read at Mass, “is clear: faith without fruit in life, a faith that does not bear fruit in works, is not faith.”
 
Continue reading/listen to Vatican Radio report HERE.

NCR coverage HERE.

Catholic News Service coverage HERE.

Go directly to confession, don't wait, pope says at audience



From Vatican Radio:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: Through the Sacraments of Initiation, we receive new life in Christ. This life we carry in earthen vessels, however, and we still experience temptations, suffering, and death. Because of sin, we can even lose this new life. Jesus therefore willed that the Church continue his works of salvation for her members, in particular through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which flows from the Paschal Mystery. The forgiveness we receive is not the result of our own efforts, but is the gift of the Holy Spirit reconciling us to God and to each other. While the celebration of the Sacrament is personal, it is rooted in the community of the Church, in which the Holy Spirit is present, uniting us all in Jesus Christ. When confessing our sins then, we confess to the priest who represents not only God but also the community of the Church that accompanies us on the path of conversion. Though this Sacrament is a great treasure, we may be tempted to dismiss it, perhaps due to laziness or embarrassment, or because of a diminishing sense of sin and its effects. Too often, we see ourselves as the centre and measure of all things, and our lives can go adrift. The Sacrament of Reconciliation calls us back to God, and embraces us with his infinite mercy and joy. May we allow his love to renew us as his children and to reconcile us with him, with ourselves, and with one another.




Further reading HERE

16 Feb 2014

16th February 2014 - Reaching out to our neighbours: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

On this weeks programme John and Lorraine reflect on the Christian imperative to reach out to our neighbours especially through what are called the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We have our regular reflection on the weekly gospel and other odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of the full programme HERE.

Reaching out to our neighbours: Corporal & Spiritual works of Mercy


Older listeners will remember lists of things to be learnt off as part of their cathechism - 10 commandments, 7 deadly sins, 8 beatitudes, 4 cardinal virtues, 3 theological vitures, 7 sacraments, 12 fruits and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc etc This week Lorraine reflects on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy which are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.
Could mercy be the trademark for Catholicism? After all, we share much of our faith with other Christians, even with Jews and Muslims. We even share many things that make up our faith with all people of goodwill everywhere. But the works of mercy—those really are uniquely Catholic. Perhaps that’s why Pope John Paul II named the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. In this Update we’ll take a look at what mercy means, and then how our corporal and spiritual works of mercy flow from mercy itself: God’s grace in our lives.
Continue reading HERE.
 
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Corporal Works of Mercy are those that tend to bodily needs of others. In Matthew 25:34-40, six specific Works of Mercy are enumerated, although not this precise list — as the reason for the salvation of the saved, and the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Book of Tobit
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Just as the Corporal Works of Mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the even more important aim of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering. The latter works are traditionally enumerated thus:
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead
You can listen to the reflection extracted from the programme HERE.


Catholic and Church of Ireland Diocese join ranks to support St. Mary’s Parish flood relief fund
 
The Bishops of the Catholic and Church of Ireland Dioceses of Limerick have called for the public’s support for a flood relief fund established to assist the people of St. Mary’s Parish in the aftermath of the recent severe flooding that has affected hundreds of residents. The ‘St. Mary’s Parish Relief Fund’ by St. Mary’s Parish will be an opportunity for people from across both denominations to donate to one of the areas worst affected in the country by the recent flooding. The monies from the fund will go towards providing provisions such as food and fuel, clothing and bed clothing.

The fund will be administered though the parish in association with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which will also receive a direct contribution from the Catholic Diocese of Limerick and the Limerick Social Service Council.
 
 
 
Donations can be made by cheque, payable to St. Mary’s Parish - Flood Relief Fund and given to local parishes who will forward it to St. Mary’s Parihs. Alternatively, they can post cheque to St. Mary’s Presbytery, Athlunkard Street, Limerick. People can also donate through their bank to the relief fund account at the Allied Irish Bank, Raheen, Account No. 82611088, Sort Code 93:52:47.
 
Said Catholic Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy, “We have taken this step in response to the great need there is for support in St. Mary’s Parish. Minister Brian Hayes said this is the worst flooding he has seen in the country and there is an acknowledgement that no community has been worst affected.
“People’s homes are not liveable, they have huge amounts of personal belongings destroyed and, in an area with significant socio economic disadvantage, this has hit really hard. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can and we are delighted to be joining with Bishop Trevor Williams and the Church of Ireland Diocese in putting the call out to the public to support this fund. “While we have all been struck by the plight of the people of St. Mary’s Parish in this crisis, I think we have also been reminded of the magnificent sense of community spirit that exists on Kings Island as there has been as proud a sense of unity and solidarity in the area in this crisis as you could imagine.”

Said Bishop Trevor Williams: “It is a terrible experience to watch your home being destroyed, knowing that you can do absolutely nothing to stop it. This has been the experience of so many residents of King’s Island recently. “This disaster has been met with a wonderfully generous response by those who want to help. But some people may not know how their gift can find its way to those most in need. St Mary’s Parish Relief Fund is there to make sure those who wish to help, can do so. “It’s at times of real need we can see that the impulse to care for one another is alive and well, and this appeal is to help us all support many families rebuild their lives.”

Gospel - Matthew 5:17-37

This Sundays Gospel is, as always, perfect for exactly where we find ourselves. Gods Word always, always has something to say to our reality. So here we hear Jesus say: 

" ‘...if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven."
If we keep the laws but miss the meaning, then we miss the point. To grow as Christians, we first need to keep learning and going deeper so that we understand Gods teaching and His challenge to be Disciples of Good News in the world. Do you remember the old verse that said: "Paddy went to Mass each week, he never missed a Sunday. Paddy died and went to Hell for what he did on Monday"? It pointed to the fallacy of being overfocused on rules, so that you missed the relationship God is calling us into. Pope Francis also recently challenged us not to get so caught up in particular rules, but instead to go deeper so that we might access the fullness of faith - the joy of the Gospel. 

 
This is not about relaxing the rules, or throwing anything away. Instead its a challenge to develop a mature faith. Any parent will tell you that they are more relaxed with their younger children - not becuse they love them less, but because they know what matters is much deeper than they initially thought, what matters is the relationship not the rules. As we struggle in Ireland in these days with opinions on right and wrong; may we avoid the temptation to name call or to judge. Instead may we take time to learn what our church teaches, to listen with compassion to all sides and to come to mature decisions as people who have chosen to witness to Jesus Christ's Good News in the world. 
 
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2, 6th week of ordinary time

Saints of the Week

February 17th - St Fintan
February 18th - Bl William Harrington
February 19th - Saint Boniface of Lausanne
February 20th - Bl Jacinta Marto (one of the seers of Fatima)
February 21st - St Peter Damien
February 22nd - The Chair of St Peter


16th February 2014 - Reaching out to our neighbours: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy - 6th Sunday in Ordinary time Year A


Technical difficulties abound this morning both at WL102fm HQ and also on the SS102fm blog. However, so that our regular listeners dont miss out on this weeks programme we are posting the link to the podcast HERE and we will post our regular blog post later in the day.

Regards
SS102fm Team

7 Feb 2014

9th February 2014 - Newcastle West Family Prayer Book - 5th Sunday on Ordinary Time (Year A)

On this weeks programme, John and Lorraine are joined by Sr Eileen Crowley and Patricia Guiney from the Newcastle West Parish Pastoral Council who tell us about the launch of a parish family prayer book. We have our regular reflection on the gospel and other liturgical odds and ends.
 
You can listen to the programmes podcast here.
 
Newcastle West Parish Family Prayer Book Launch

This weekend Bishop Brendan Leahy joins the parish of Newcastle West to launch the parish family prayer book which has been put together by the parish pastoral council. Sr Eileen and Patrica join Lorraine and John explaining the seeds of the idea and how it came together. It is a wonderful resource for supporting family prayer with simple and up lifting prayers for each family in the parish of NCW.

You can listen to the interview about the prayer book excerpted from the programme HERE.
 
Gospel - Matthew 5:13-16
 
"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
 
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus compares his disciples to salt, light, and a city set on a hill. All these things exist not for themselves, but for something else. In the same way, Christians are meant to make the world a better place. Christians are meant to be salt, light, and a city on a hill.
If you are a follower of Jesus living the beatitudes, you matter. You have an important role to play because you are the salt of the earth. Salt preserves and Christians help preserve what is good in the culture. In the ancient world, salt was very valuable: the Greeks thought it contained something almost divine, and the Romans sometimes paid their soldiers with salt. A soldier who didn't carry out his duties “was not worth his salt.” You are a seasoning agent. In a sense, you can bring the distinctive flavor of God's values to all of life. You can make life palatable.

Note that salt, to be effective, must be in contact with the meat or fish it is to preserve. To be effective, we must be involved where we work and where we live. This puts us in a tension because the dominant culture doesn’t necessarily like us. The majority of the time, living according to the beatitudes may make us more successful in work. But we need to be prepared for the times it doesn’t. What will we do if showing mercy, making peace, or working for justice jeopardizes our position at work? Withdrawing from the world is no answer for Christians. But it is difficult to live in the world, ready to challenge its ways at any time. In
Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus acknowledged the reality of persecution. But in our contacts with the culture, we must retain our “saltiness,” our distinctiveness. It’s a balancing act we’re called upon to maintain.

“You are the light of the world.” The job description of a Christian is not only to maintain personal holiness, but also to touch the lives of everyone around us. At work, we touch many people who do not encounter Christ in church. It may our most effective place to witness to Christ. But we have to be careful about how we witness for Christ at work. We are being paid to do our work, and it would be dishonest to stint our employers by using work time for evangelism. Moreover, it would be dishonorable to create divisions at work or a hostile environment for non-believers. We must avoid any possible taint of seeking self-promotion by proselytizing. And we always run the risk that our failings at work bring shame on the name of Christ, especially if we seem to be enthusiastic about evangelism, but shoddy in actual work.

With all these dangers, how can we be salt and light at work? Jesus said our light is not necessarily in the witness of our words, but in the witness of our deeds—our “good works.” “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father who is in heaven.” The beatitudes have just spelled out some of those good works. In humility and submission to God, we work for right relations, for merciful actions, and for peace. When we live as people of blessing, we are salt and light—in the workplace, in our homes, and in our nation. (Source)
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
 
Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical Odds and Ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter Week 1, 5th week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

February 10th - St Scholastica (virgin)
February 11th - Our Lady of Lourdes (World Day of the Sick)
February 12th - St Anthony Cauleas
February 13th - Bl Jordan of Saxony OP
February 14th - St Cyril & St Methodius (co-patrons of Europe)
also St Valentine
February 15th - St Claude de la Colombière (promoter of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart)

Praying for Victims of Slavery and Human Traffiking - February 8th - feast day of St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan

A video reflection in honour of St Josephine Bakhita from Sudan, kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child. Her feast day - 8th Feb - has become special day of prayer for victims of slavery and trafficking around the world.







St. Josephine Bakhita was born in Sudan in 1869. This African flower, who knew the anguish of kidnapping and slavery, bloomed marvelously in Italy, in response to God's grace, with the Daughters of Charity, where everyone still calls her "Mother Moretta" (our Black Mother").
 
Bakhita was not the name she received from her parents at birth. The fright and the terrible experience she went through made her forget the name her parents gave her. Bakhita, which means "fortunate", was the name given to her by her kidnappers.
 
Sold in the markets of El Obeid and Khartoum, she experienced the physical and moral humiliations and sufferings of slavery. In the Sudanese capital, Bakhita was bought by an Italian consul, Callisto Legnani. For the first time since the day she was kidnapped, she realized with pleasant surprise that no one used the lash when giving her orders; instead, she was treated with love and cordiality. In the consul's residence Bakhita experienced peace, warmth and moments of joy, eventhough veiled with nostalgia for her own family whom, perhaps, she had lost forever.
 
Continue reading her story HERE and HERE.


Croi Nua - Monica Brown and Hilary Musgrave speak about the programme

Friends of SS102fm Monica Brown and Hilary Musgrave were recently recorded on iCatholic about their programme Croi Nua and they explain what the programme is about.


 

Croí Nua - a programme towards renewal in Ireland for adults who are seeking to move forward into a deeper and more informed, hopeful and enlivened faith. The Croi Nua Programme consists of a series of eight small group gatherings based on reflective reading, group sharing and prayer rituals. It is a faith sharing programme designed for groups of a maximum of 10 people coming together in welcoming hospitable settings such as homes, community centres, retreat centres, etc.To find out more about the Croí Nua programme or call the office on +353 894966995

You can listen to a SS102fm programme we did with Monica and Hilary about the Croi Nua programme HERE.

6 Feb 2014

Pope Francis Lenten Message 2014 - "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (cf. 2 Cor 8:9).

Pope Francis' Message for the Lenten season 2014 was released at a Vatican Press conference on Tuesday.

The theme of the Message is drawn from a Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, "He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (cf. 2 Cor 8:9).




LENTEN MESSAGE
OF OUR HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
2014


He became poor,
so that by his poverty you might become rich



(cf. 2 Cor
8:9)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As Lent draws near, I would like to offer some helpful thoughts on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These insights are inspired by the words of Saint Paul: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2 Cor 8:9). The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to encourage them to be generous in helping the faithful in Jerusalem who were in need. What do these words of Saint Paul mean for us Christians today? What does this invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean to us today?

Christ’s grace
First of all, it shows us how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: “though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …”. Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things (cf. Phil 2:7; Heb 4:15). God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us. Indeed, Jesus “worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he truly became one of us, like us in all things except sin.” (Gaudium et Spes, 22).

By making himself poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own sake but, as Saint Paul says “that by his poverty you might become rich”. This is no mere play on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross. God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different! When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery. It is striking that the Apostle states that we were set free, not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty. Yet Saint Paul is well aware of the “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8), that he is “heir of all things” (Heb 1:2).

3 Feb 2014

2nd February 2014 - Ed & Fiona Collins (Part 2) - Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (Candlemass Day) - World Day for Consecrated Life

On this week's programme, we have the second part of  the interview with Ed and Fiona Collins about their journey in faith. Both are members of the Emmanuel Community based in Belfast and go on ‘Mission’ on with other members of the Community on the third Saturday of each month in the Tallaght Shopping Centre.


Ed has written a book entitled ‘ Heart of Love’ which details the amazing series of events that were to change their lives and as Fiona writes in the Forward 'led our two paths to become one'. Although both were brought up in Catholic families their path in faith started differently. Ed had a deep-rooted and solid faith where as Fiona as says 'I was caught up in the material world searching for a meaning to life and wanted my freedom'. This week we listen to part two of a 2-part interview, which as Ed says, 'is their journey to the Sacred Heart of Jesus though Mary'.  Ed's book is available from Veritas in Belfast. If you would like to contact Ed or Fiona, their email address is: fionaedmund@fsmail.net


The podcast of the full programme is available
HERE.

The second part of the interview from this weeks programme is available
HERE.

You can listen to the first part of the interview from last weeks programme
HERE.

You can listen to the full interview with Ed and Fiona
HERE.

Gospel - Luke  2:22-40- Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

The old man carried the child, but the child was the old man's Lord. The Virgin gave birth to the child yet remained a virgin for ever. She knelt in worship before her child

- Magnificat Antiphon Vespers I,
Presentation of the Lord (reflection here)

The Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd commemorating when Joseph and Mary brought the infant Jesus to the Temple forty days after his birth to perform the ritual of purification. It is commonly referred as Candlemas, since the blessing and procession of candles is included in today's liturgy.

In ancient Israel the Temple was the most important place in the world. It was the dwelling place of the Lord; it was where divinity and humanity embraced. But the nation of Israel had gone away from right worship of God. The Christ child is the divine and human in one and thus brings humanity back on line with God.

You can read up on the history of the feast and other reflections on previous blog posts here and here. Over at Blue Eyed Ennis, Phil has a wonderful round up of her own previous reflections on this feast and also some excellent links as well.





"And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."
 
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
 
And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
 
And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him."

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans

Pope Francis homily for the feast of the presentation

"The Feast of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is also known as the Feast of the Encounter: the encounter between Jesus and his people. The liturgy tells of when Mary and Joseph brought their child to the Temple in Jerusalem; it is when the first encounter between Jesus and his people took place. This day is also called the Feast of Encounter because on it the New Testament, represented by the Baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna.

He points out it was also a meeting between the young and the elderly: the young were Mary and Joseph with their infant, and the elders were Simeon and Anna, two characters who always attended the Temple.

We observe what the evangelist Luke tells us of them, as he describes them. He says four times that Our Lady and St Joseph wanted to do what was required by the law of the Lord (cf. Luke 2, 22.23.24.27). One perceives that Jesus' parents have the joy of observing the precepts of God, the joy of walking according to the law of the Lord! They are two newlyweds, they have just had their baby, and they are motivated by the desire to do what is prescribed. This is not an external fact; it is not just to feel right, no! It ' a strong desire, a deep desire, full of joy. That’s what the Psalm says: "I rejoice in following your statutes…. Your law is my delight (119, 14.77).

And what does St. Luke says of the elderly? He underlines, more than once, that they were guided by the Holy Spirit. He says Simeon was a righteous and devout man, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and that "the Holy Spirit was upon him" (2:25). He says that "the Holy Spirit had announced "that before dying he would see the Christ, the Messiah (v. 26); and finally he went to the Temple “moved by the Spirit “(v. 27). He says Anna was a “prophet” (v. 36), She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying" (v. 37). In short, these two elders are full of life! They are full of life because they are animated by the Holy Spirit, obedient to his action, sensitive to his calls...

And thus, this is the encounter between the Holy Family and the two representatives of the holy people of God. Jesus is at the centre. It is He who moves everything, who attracts all of them to the Temple, the house of his Father.

It is a meeting between young people who are full of joy in observing the Law of the Lord, and the elderly who are filled with joy for the action of the Holy Spirit. It is a unique encounter between observance and prophecy, where young people are the observers and the elderly are prophetic! In fact, if we think carefully, the desire to keep the Law is animated by the Spirit and the prophecy moves forward in the path traced by the Law. Who, more than Mary, is full of the Holy Spirit? Who better is docile than she to its action?

Dear Brothers and Sisters, in the light of this Gospel scene, let us look to consecrated life as an encounter with Christ: it is He who comes to us, led by Mary and Joseph, and we go towards Him guided by the Holy Spirit. But the centre is Him. He moves everything, He draws us to the Temple, to the Church, where we can meet Him, recognize Him, welcome Him, embrace Him.

Jesus comes to us in the Church through the foundational charism of an Institute: it is nice to think of our vocation in this way! Our encounter with Christ took its shape in the Church through the charism of one of its witnesses. This always amazes us and makes us give thanks.

And in the consecrated life we live the encounter between the young and the old, between observation and prophecy. Let’s not see these as two opposing realities! Let us rather allow the Holy Spirit to animate both of them, and a sign of this is joy: the joy of observing, of walking within a rule of life; the joy of being led by the Spirit, never unyielding, never closed, always open to voice of God that speaks, that opens, that leads us and invites us to go towards the horizon.

It's good for the elderly to communicate their wisdom to the young; and is good for the young people to gather this wealth of experience and wisdom, and to carry it forward, not so as to store it in a museum, but to bring it forward addressing the challenges of life, to carry it forward for the sake of respective religious orders and of the whole Church.

May the grace of this mystery, the mystery of the Encounter, enlighten us and comfort us in our journey. Amen.


World Day for Consecrated Life

 
In 1997, John Paul II called for consecrated life to be promoted throughout the universal Church. He declared February 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, to be observed as World Day for Consecrated Life (WDCL).

The celebration of World Day for Consecrated Life invites all the Church to reflect on the role of Consecrated Life within the Christian community. Those who choose to live a consecrated life do so for the sake of the gospel.

Some Christian women and men respond to God’s call to become followers of Jesus through profession of vows and a life dedicated to prayer and service. They live out the consecrated life in different ways. Religious sisters, nuns, brothers, religious priests, and monks consecrate their lives through their profession of the evangelical vows and live as part of a community. Single lay people may choose to be consecrated virgins and make private vows to the local bishop as they live out their vocation in various walks of life. Secular institutes are another form of living the consecrated life as single people. Those who become followers of Jesus through the consecrated life bless the Church.




 
 
 
Pope Francis on Sunday highlighted the great value that nuns bring to the Church. “What would happen” – the Pope said – “if there were no nuns? No nuns in hospitals, in missions, in charitable institutions, in schools… Can you even imagine a Church without nuns…? No it is unthinkable!”.

And speaking on the day in which we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life, the Pope said that nuns are great women. He said “they are a gift, the leaven that carries the message of Christ”. “These women – he said – are great!”
 
The Pope’s words came before the Sunday recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, after having presided over Mass in the Basilica on the Feast Day of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, a Feast which is traditionally dedicated to Consecrated Life.
 
To those gathered in the Square Pope Francis said that consecrated persons in different sectors are “the leaven of a more just and fraternal society”. He said that “Consecrated Life is a gift of God to the Church and to His people”.

The Pope said that the Church and the world needs the witness of religious and consecrated lay people to the love and the mercy of God, and he asked for prayers so that many young people may say “yes” to God who calls them “to consecrate their lives to Him and to be of service to their brothers and sisters”.

Pope Francis recalled .that the year 2015 will be dedicated to Consecrated Life and asked for prayers for this initiative. After the recitation of the Angelus Prayer, Pope Francis reminded those present that in Italy “The Day for Life” is celebrated today with the theme “Generating the Future”. He sent his greetings and encouragement to those committed to the defence of life from its conception to its natural end

 



 
Liturgical Odds and Ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 4 - 4th Week in ordinary time

Saints of the Week

February 3rd - St Blaise (Blessing of the Throats)
February 4th - Bl John Speed (martyr)
February 5th - St Agatha
February 6th - Ss Paul Miki & Companions (Martyrs of Japan) 
February 7th - St Mel (bishop)
February 8th - St Josephine Bakhita of Sudan