Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Handed Over

“The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.” Handed over! On one level, on the surface, Jesus was handed over to his enemies by Judas. But on a deeper level, for love of us, with a complete yielding to the Father’s redeeming purpose – he unreservedly handed himself over.

Jesus, we are told, set his face resolutely toward Jerusalem and all that awaited him there. He could say: “Nobody takes my life from me. I lay it down of my own accord.”  

It was a moving forward in love, a letting go totally into the hands of God,  allowing his life fall like a grain of wheat into the dark earth.  It was with such absolute trust that Jesus went to the Cross and, with such abandonment to the Father, he handed over his life for us.    

And what of us, as the Lord’s disciples? St Francis so often refers to the Scripture: “Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you might follow in his footprints.” And it is, above all, this interior disposition of trusting surrender that is the heart of Christ’s example we are called to follow.

The saints constantly teach us this message of handing over all our lives, especially the inevitable, unavoidable sufferings and struggles and trials we face. St Ignatius prayed: “Take, Lord, receive... all is yours. Dispose of it wholly according to your will.” John Newton, slave-trader turned servant of the Gospel, wrote in a time of great trial: “It is sufficient that the Lord knows how to dispose of me, and that he can and will do what is best. To him I entrust myself for I trust that his will and my true interests are inseparable. To his name be the glory!”

The saints know that in the end the Lord asks for everything so that we might receive everything. There has to be an immense space for the gift of God!

Something to hold in our hearts as we approach the week we call Holy.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Not Withholding Ourselves

Lent is a time to take a deep look are our lives in the light of Christ's love. People make a special effort to celebrate his compassion in Confession. 

But to be honest, many do not find this easy to do.

Elizabeth O'Connor suggests a way to approach the sacrament in a more positive way.

"When our repentance is real and not a whip, it has the possibility of giving us a whole new attitude. Actually, Confession is made for the revealing of our light - gifts of love, faith and creativity.

Understanding this, however, will not always make the resistance to Confession less. If we exercise love, we become vulnerable. If we confess our gifts, we are apt to be asked to use them.

In the end, the sin we must all come to look at is the sin of withholding ourselves. This is the sin that keeps us beggars in life."

Monday, 19 March 2012


St Teresa of Avila rightly prayed: "God save us from sour-faced saints." St Francis constantly emphasised opening ourselves to " the joy of salvation". They got it right - the goal of the Gospel is that we share in God's own joy. "The joy of the Lord is our strength."

Cardinal Dolan of New York, speaking recently of his time in Rome, said: "When I was a new seminarian at the North American College in Rome, all the first-year men from all the Roman theological universities were invited to a Mass at St. Peter’s with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal John Wright, as celebrant and homilist. We thought he would give us a cerebral homily.  But he began by asking, 'Seminarians:  do me and the Church a big favour. When you walk the streets of Rome, smile!' The witness to Christ must be a person of joy. 'Joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence,' claims Leon Bloy."

Even at this stage of our Lent journey, a new resolution - in simplicity of heart I will open myself to the gift of God's joy.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Expensive People!

Are you an "expensive person"?

A quote from Caryll Houselander provides food for thought during Lent or any other time!

"The expensive people are those who, because they are not simple, make complicated demands - people to whom we cannot respond spontaneously and simply, without anxiety. They need not be abnormal to exact these complicated responses; it is enough that they should be untruthful or touchy or hypersensitive or that they have an exaggerated idea of their own importance or that they have a pose - one which may have become second nature but is not what they really are.

With all such people we are bound to experience a little hitch in our response. In time, our relationship with them becomes unreal.

If we have to consider every word or act in their company, in case it hurts their feelings or offends their dignity, or to act up to them in order to support their pose, we become strained by their society. They are costing us dearly in psychological energy."