Sunday, 25 November 2012

Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny, chats with Friar Pat Lynch at the official opening of the Riverbank Centre, Dublin, on 21 November.
Merchants Quay Ireland's (MQI) new centre for homeless and drugs services provides nearly 7,000 hot meals a week, along with a warm welcome, counselling, medical and dental services and a needle exchange programme. 

Clients comment: “I was abused. A lot of my childhood was snatched away from me. If MQI wasn’t there, I would have killed myself through overdose” (Niall).

“If I need to get a phone or need a letter, MQI helps me with that" (Miora). 

“The staff at MQI give you their ear, they are thoughtful. They remember your name. Fairly simple stuff, but it was big to me at the time” (Brendan). 

"My teeth were gone. Every simple little thing, now I have my health, I am able to walk around” (Martin).

Minister Provincial, Hugh McKenna, invokes the blessing.
On Saturday 24 November, the blessing of Riverbank  was celebrated with Dublin Orchestral Players giving a concert in Adam and Eve's Church, Merchants' Quay, Dublin.
May the Centre be a place of warm Franciscan welcome and healing grace for all who enter its doors!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hearts Wide Open to Beauty!

As our brothers and sisters in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving - a prayer of joyful gratitude for the blessings and beauty of the world around us.
O God, we thank you for this earth, our home;
For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common
grass underfoot.

We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the
songs of birds,
And see the splendor of
the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.

Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

                           Walter Rauschenbusch

 Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Growing in Faith

I have a have personal responsibility for my own journey of faith. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of a “faith that seeks understanding. It is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what the Lord has revealed. A more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.”

 We are warned that while faith is “an entirely free gift that God gives to a person, we can lose this priceless gift. To live, grow and persevere in the faith to the end we must nourish it, and beg God to increase our faith.” 

Jesus calls us to love God “with our whole mind.”  An Irish Cistercian nun writes: “For me the surest path to contemplation does not involve emptying my mind but rather filling my mind with the marvels that God has done for us in Jesus. Reflection on the mystery of Christ is for me the surest path to praise, thanksgiving and contemplation. Using my mind, not suppressing it, leads to prayer and union with God.” 

Many of us discover as we get older that the certain understandings that guided our youth are insufficient to light the next stage of our life. Many would like their faith to be deeper, better informed, richer. They realise it needs to grow more mature or to be purified of alien elements so that they can live it more faithfully and help steady their uncertain steps.
St Paul tells the Christians in Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves.” But then he adds, “Do you not realise that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corithians13:4). Our faith can only become what it is meant to be when we realise how magnificently Christ is in us, unceasingly inviting us to respond to the grace of the Spirit

Then during this Year of Faith we can be gifted with a faith that is living, lived and life-giving.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Disciples and Apprentices

The New Testament word mathetes is usually translated “disciple”. At that time, however, it could also mean an “apprentice”. This humbler term reminds us that we are always apprenticed to the “Master” – “You have only one master, the Christ” (Matthew 23:10). 

The Gospels refer to the Lord’s public ministry as “teaching” some 150 times. He still remains our supreme Teacher who enlightens our minds and instructs us. 

St Augustine said to his people in one of his sermons: “Christ lives in the heart of each one of us, and He is our best teacher. I, the preacher, am pouring out a torrent of words in your ear. My words are meaningless unless He who dwells within you reveals their sense to you. Your true teacher will always be the teacher within. It is He who enables you to understand, in the depths of your being, the truth of what is said to you.” 

The Lord’s outreach and in-breaking into our lives is unrelenting, if we but realised it. Pope Benedict speaks in one of his encyclicals of “the life-less reduction of religion to duty without joy or energy.” He contrasts that with the awareness that “we stand before the astonishing experience of Gift”. 

This Gift is the gratuitous outpouring of divine love that is the source of our creation and redemption, a gift we glimpse when mind and heart are touched by Christ’s light. 

During this Year of Faith may our minds and hearts indeed be touched by that transforming light.

"Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!"