Saturday, 22 September 2007

Settling in the new life...

The first week has ran as a novice of the Irish Dominicans!
It was a very interesting week, and very joyfull.

We went up to Dublin this weekend as it would be the last chance to meet all the brothers who are studying abroad and "sent out to the universities of Europe". Currently there are 3 brothers going to Maynooth (Ireland), 4 to Blackfriar's, Oxford (UK) and one toLille (France). It was a very nice occasion as we got to spent some time with the whole community in St. Saviours, Dublin and were all present at a very nice mass to mark the opening of the study year.

It is really a great experience, and I love being in the community. Sometimes I have still get a bit of a shock when I think of it, but I feel definable on the right place for the moment, and wouldn't change for anything in the world! For whoever things the Lord is calling in their life I would sure advise to give it time and prayer to discern because it is worth more than anything!

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." (Mt 13:45-46)

Monday, 17 September 2007

God loves us and searches for us

Yesterday in the gospel as read at mass was a combination of stories which show God searching for us and when he even finds one of us there is a reason for great celebration! God loves us so much that we cannot comprehend the rejoicing over one found soul.

I think however that we must realize that a 'soul who is found' does not means exactly that God found this person and decided to welcome him in hos family. The story of the prodigal son shows this, where the the younger son got 'lost' and gave in to the temptations of the world. After being brought completely to his knees he realised that he was much better of with his father at home, even if only as a servant! His father however never had any bad feeling towards him, and he rejoiced when he saw his son return!

It is exactly the same with God! We are the ones that run away all the time! We all give in to temptations, decide that we know better or don't give our relation with Jesus enough time to develop and subsequent slowly get lost.
It is not God however who in subsequent throws ignored us or is angry with us, but ourselves that reject His love!

If we would only understand how deep God's love for us is, and how wonderful life can be if we only gave only a small bit of time to get to know him. The relation with God is as with any relation! It takes time to get to know the other, and it takes effort to keep a good relation going. The only difference with this relation is that God is knows us already, and it is only up to us to seek him, and open ourself open to him.

God gave us complete freedom, which means that he gave us complete freedom to love him. As long as we reject him he cannot force his love on us! Often we are the stumbling block for His Divine grace to flow!

Christopher West in one of his talks on the 'Theology of the Body' says that God gave us all a bank account with 1 billion Euro/Dollar in it! Most of us however only withdraw 7 cent out of this account during our life!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Novitiate started!

Today the Novitiate started for myself and the other two novices. The picture shows ourselves and our Novice Master just after the clothing ceremony outside the church (wearing the full Dominican habit).

We only arrived back yesterday evening from a five day retreat which was a peaceful preparation for the start of the novitiate. The ceremony was preformed at the community mass in the morning, and was very prayerful. Although a bit nervous until it was all over I really enjoyed it.

Some friends came down and there was a nice gathering afterwards. The atmosphere was really welcoming, and I am really looking forward to the coming year! We as novices are now officially excepted for this year to try the habit and to get to know the Irish Dominicans. If we decide that God is calling us toward religious life with the Dominicans (and the order concurs) we will be officially received into the order next year on the 15th of September (after doing 365 days of novitiate).

It is great to feel the warm welcome of the community, and also as I may say, a warm encouragement of God. Making decisions nowadays seems difficult, but if we do, and do it while trying to do it with God, is very rewarding! Up till today I might have been nervous, but all the nervousness is gone now, feeling ready to enjoy this year! Sometimes we just have to get out of the boat! The sea might be roaring, and the wind blowing, but with our eyes on Christ we can walk on the water. Often we will fail and maybe get discouraged, slowly sinking into the deep, but every time He will quickly come to our aid and help us up again to give us strength to try again!

Friday, 7 September 2007

On our way to the retreat

Well, I had a few minutes to check my email and to write a quick post.

I arrived yesterday afternoon in Limrick for the Noviciate, together with the other two condidates. After a grand tour we joined in the evening prayer and dinner, and had a bit of time to ourselves to unpack. This is a big job for me as I had lots and lots of things I brough here before I went on my holiday... and I felt embarased when I saw Colm coming in with two bags... anyway I am almost done!

We are going to go down to Cork after lunch for our five day retreat starting in the evening and are coming back to Thursday for the official reception into the order on Friday when we receive the habit (and the noviciate really starts).

It is still a bit overwelming to be here, and it didn't really hit me yet that I am actually living here....

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Time to pack my stuff

I don't have much to write at the moment... in a bit of a void. 6 days left, and tomorrow I leave home to travel back to Ireland and to spend some time with friends for a few days.

I will be staying the few days with the "Fraternity of Mary Immaculate Queen" of which I know the comunity members quite well. It will be a nice prayerfull introduction before my start the noviciate with the Dominican Order on Thursday and I am looking forward to it!

I will be on retreat as an introduction to the Noviciate until the 14th when I receive the habit, so it will probably a while before I get a chance to post again. Hopefully I will be able to get a bit more a regular poster after that and share my experience and hope to include extending the articles I wrote about before!

Articles

The Irish Dominicans have a website called Dominicans Interactive with online resources. We also have an iPhone/iPad App, which can be found in the iTunes App Store.


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