Sunday, 16 March 2008

Past the half way mark

Last Friday was the half way mark of the noviciate, 6 months are gone by since the 14th of September, another 6 months now until the end of the noviciate.

The signs that it was coming up were already there a week earlier as I discovered that my mobile phone was not working anymore (as I didn’t top up for 6 months, so had to put new money in) and I realised that that was the day I went up to Limerick to start the retreat which is held before the start of the noviciate.

It is amazing how quick the time has gone by! I a way it seems like a long time since we started, and especially since I was home last, and I suppose 6 months is not nothing. On the other hand the time has really passed by very very quickly.

I now begin to appreciate what the noviciate is about, in my eyes, and what it could be. Slowly I begin to understand the importance of it, and begin to appreciate the advise from other Dominicans when they said to use “this special time, this once off opportunity” well. Such statements puzzled me a bit, and I decided from the start to really try and make the best out of it. However it is only now that I realise that it really is a year to learn to listen and to talk with God. A year to learn to be alone with God, to be alone in your room, to be alone in the church. Alone with yourself, and with God.

Now 6 months later I realise that I it is very easy to get distracted from this. I more and more begin to appreciate the importance of simplicity, of a simple life, of a life in which we are not dragged from one distraction into another. An example of this could be the internet or television but also other things one can flee to in order not to have to be alone in silence like going outside. The noviciate is a very blessed time in which we can try our vocation, and see if it is the way in which we want to live the rest of our lives. It is a time in which we have to discover if we are happy with this life, if we are happy with how it is now. How it is to be with God and if this is what we want to do, to see if we want to give everything to God, and trust on Him and be satisfied with living totally for Him.

It is very easy however to busy yourself with all kinds of things, and I probably very guilty of that. There are all kinds of things that seem important a good to do but which will prevent one from spending this time alone and to discover ourselves. I now realise that I have to make a bigger effort in trying to have more time for reading and silent prayer. The newness is now of the life, and I start to realise that there are aspects of the life in which I have to find my way. There are aspect of my personality I have to life and deal with, and areas where I have to undergo some painful, and sometimes indeed very painful, purification to I want to get any closer to being a saint (something we should all strive for).

It has been a very good experience however so far. Off course there have been times that you want to hit you head of the wall, and maybe more than a few times, but overall it has been a very blessed time, and I thank God and his Holy Mother for guiding me this far. Hopefully I will be able to focus a bit more on this year in the coming months. This year is the hopefully the foundation of the rest of my life, and I am determined to try and make it a foundation of rock and not of sand!

Well, I won't blab any longer, as I could probably write a whole book about this. I think however that atricles on a blog should be brief...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Prayer and Work

My last post was almost a month ago (save a day). I am wondering if I should keep this blog open or close it, as I am not really a person of having a lot of "half" projects... we see how it goes in the coming months.

Anyway, there was a scripture passage that struck m during the week, and I just want to say a few words on that. During office psalm 126 (127) came up and the line "If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labour".

It does not matter what we do, what vocation we have, everybody has his own work. It is very clear praying the psalm that the Lord has to be in the work, and that without the Lord the work will never reach its full potential.

When I was working I always took this very serious, and always tried to include God in my work. Asking him to guide me, to help me and strengthen me to make right and honest discussions. I always tried to keep a healthy prayer life on the side as well, although this was not always easy. God blesses us in our work, and because we do our work, and I could notice that subsequently when doing apostolic work with the Legion of Mary.

If we don't take our work serious, or do it half heartedly then this wouldn't be really following Jesus, and while proclaiming to be a Christian it would be hypocritical. Now then, the job of a religious, the path which I am discerning now, is for a big part to pray. I think it is important that we take this very serious indeed. It is not that it is something new as we see it in the life of the Saints and in the life of Holy men and woman and they all told us. For religious praying is a big part of our job description, and not living up to this expectation might mean in a way that we are hypocritical.

I think that this thought helped me focus, and allowed me to reflect on the path I am choosing. Would I not be comfortable with prayer as my main job then it might be better for me to serve God in the married vocation, to try and be a good example in having a catholic family, and to do the Lord work full or part time on the side. With God the love would flow though the relations in the family in imitation of the trinity.

For me though, I am happy with my job to pray, and I am happy that I will through prayer have the Lord himself as my closest companion

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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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