Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our two new Saints...

This Sunday two great Christians will be canonised by our Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Look what happened when Angelo Roncalli and Karol Wojtyla responded to the Lord's call!
Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II inspired and encouraged millions of others.
Let us pray to them for guidance this weekend.
Take a look at our Congregation website for details of coverage of Sunday's ceremony...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

'Where is your Galilee?'

I hope you've had a wonderful Holy Week and Easter celebration. Of course, this Easter season continues for 50 days until Pentecost!

Pope Francis' homily at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night was really interesting. He reflected on the scene in  the Gospel of St Matthew where the women encounter the risen Christ. Jesus tells them to "Go to Galilee" where he will meet them again.

The Holy Father poses this question to us:

"For each of us, too, there is a 'Galilee' at the origin of our journey with Jesus. 'To go to Galilee' means something beautiful, it means rediscovering our baptism as a living fountainhead, drawing new energy from the sources of our faith and our Christian experience."

So, during this Easter season, let's reflect on where 'Galilee' is for us.  Where did we first encounter Christ? Was it in our family, our school, our parish? Who were the people who helped us to grow in faith? Let's pray for them.

And let's thank God for the gift of our faith.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Who am I?

Holy Week began yesterday with Palm Sunday. Pope Francis gave us a fantastic reflection to carry with us for the week ahead.

He said, “We would do well to ask just one question: who am I? Who am I, before my Lord? Who am I, who enters into Jerusalem in celebration? Am I able to express my joy, to praise Him? Or do I keep distant? Who am I, before Jesus Who suffers?”

The Holy Father listed the names of the characters who appear in the Gospel.

He asked an excellent question which should strike a chord with those who are discerning their vocation in life: “Is my life asleep like that of the disciples who slept while the Lord suffered?"

He challenged us to ask, “Am I like Judas, who pretended to love, and kissed the Master to give him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?”

Pope Francis listed the other players in the account of Christ’s Passion, calling us to ask ourselves if we are like one of these: Pilate, who washed his hands of his responsibility in condemning Jesus; the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas over Jesus; the soldiers who struck Jesus and mocked him; the passersby who mocked Jesus as he hung on the Cross.

Then, in contrast, the Pope went on to name those in the Gospel reading who showed their fidelity to Jesus: Simon of Cyrene, who helped carry the Cross; Joseph of Arimathea, the “hidden disciple,” who offered his own newly-hewn tomb for Jesus’ Body to be laid in; the women who wept and prayed before the tomb. Am I like Mary, he said, the “Mother of Jesus, who was there, suffering silently?”

Pope Francis concluded his homily saying that this question ought to accompany us through Holy Week: “Where is my heart? To which of these people am I most alike?”

Read the Pope's words here
We're off to a good start...


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spiritual Accompaniment

When I started in this role as vocations director two years ago, I quickly realised that I would need to develop the skills necessary to help men to chart the waters of discernment. It's a real privilege to accompany another person like this. But it requires certain skills. 

So, I enrolled last September in a course in spiritual accompaniment here in Cork. It takes two years and involves attending a meeting for one weekend per month. I look forward to these monthly meetings with twelve other participants. 

We share the fruits of our reflections and what we have been assigned to read. We learn the skills of accompanying another person on his or her spiritual journey. 

I've noticed that these weekends have really helped my own self-awareness. It's important for the director to know that he is not the finished and perfected product!  

One learning that I want to share with you concerns busyness and activity. It's hard to develop as a person if one is constantly running from one activity to another. It's vital to stop and listen in order to know God, to know myself, and to grow in understanding of how I relate to the world. 

Spiritual accompaniment helps me to become more aware of God’s presence, both in my life and in the world around me. This awareness opens up the door to increased responsiveness to God. And that makes room for growth in becoming more Christ-like. This is all advice that I already give to discerners. But it's nice now to hear it myself. 

Awareness...responsiveness...growth, that's quite a package but it's worth it!