Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas: the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

I first of all want to wish all the readers of this blog a very Blessed Christmas.

I haven't been able to keep my Advent resolution of a reflection daily, as I have been struggling without the flu for the last few days, but managed to get some-kind of a reflection on the Gospel of Christmas Day together (which can also be found on Dominicans Interactive, as it was my turn to write):

The Gospel for Christmas day is taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint John. In a highly condensed way, this chapter echo’s the journey we have walked during Advent, a preparation for the coming of God into the world. God has made all things, and everything is made through the Word. It illustrates the magnitude of God’s power, showing an incomprehensible difference between the awe-inspiring God and the finitude of human beings. St. John also tells us about John the Baptist, the voice in the wilderness, witnessing to the Saviour who is to come. The last few weeks have led us to experience the full weight of the enfolding of salvation history as it was proclaimed by the prophets in the Old Testament, and finally by John the Baptist in the New Testament. The might of God enfolding itself towards the fullness of time as salvation history is moving further and further along the road of the eternal plan of God.

Discussion on Pope Benedict's address in Westminster Hall

This is a recording of a discussion on Pope Benedict XVI's address in Westminster Hall during his visit to the UK:

Monday, 20 December 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (13th November 2011)

This week I wrote a brief Gospel reflection as usual:

There is also ussually a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive'!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (30th October 2011)

This week I wrote a brief Gospel reflection as usual:

We also just published a video on our Pilgrimage to World Youth Day i Madrid this summer:

There is also ussually a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive'!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (9th October 2011)

This week I wrote a brief Gospel reflection:

It is today the day of the national Dominican Pilgrimage to Knock, so say a prayer for us!

Also have a look at the video of the Reception of the Habits and the Simple Professions , and

There is also ussually a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive' (but this week it is the same as on my blog). Please keep Br. Colm and myself in your prayer as we make our Solemn Profession on this Sunday!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (17th September 2011)

This week I wrote a brief Gospel reflection:

We finished the video of the Reception of the Habits and the Simple Professions of last week, and there can be found on Dominicans Interactive. Hopefully the video of the ordinations will be available in a view days!

There is also ussually a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive' (but this week it is the same as on my blog). Please keep Br. Colm and myself in your prayer as we make our Solemn Profession on this Sunday!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

The final run has started

First of all, for those readers in Ireland, the Youth 2000 Christmas Retreat in on this weekend in Newbridge College. It is always one of the highlights of the year when about 500 young people gather together to pray and have fun! There are free busses from all around the country! More information can be found on the Youth 2000 website.

Today is a bit a turning point in our advent journey. So far we have been reflecting on Jesus' second coming. There was an emphasis on the call to conversion and repentance, and John the Baptist features predominantly in these weeks.

Now we start to focus of the first coming of Jesus, the birth in Bethlehem. The Gospel of today is the beginning of Matthew's Gospel and tells of Jesus' genealogy.

So this can be a call to start reflecting on what it means that Jesus became incarnate and was made man, and the way he was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Today's Gospel also invites us to think about the reality of this whole event, and firmly settles it in history... It is not some kind of fairytail, but an historical event which makes a difference to the life of any human being!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Encountering God

Today's Gospel continues with the topic of expectation; who do we expect Jesus to be. This time it is the passage from the Gospel of Luke (7:18-23) in which John, imprisoned, sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask if He is the one to come.

Jesus answered John's disciples to experience what is happening and quotes Isaiah, showing the works He does to confirm and support His authority.

Again it would seem that it was very clear to John that Jesus was the one. John at this point almost gave his life for the Gospel message. Still when imprisoned, when it comes down to the daily difficulties of life, it does not always seem so clear.

Sometimes God's presence in our live can become clouded. We are not sure what to expect anymore. But that is why it is important to continually return to God, I guess in a way as John did. Knowing that Jesus exist on itself is one thing, but the encounter in our heart is another. Just an outward acceptance of this reality is only a tip of the fulness of reality which is offered by God to us by a true inner conversion and communion with God.

And as the disciples of John experienced the Jesus and could bring this back to John, so all of us are called to bring the light we receive to others we meet in our daily life.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (11th September 2011)

This week I wrote a brief Gospel reflection before our retreat started:

I also added a last reflection on my vocation, so here is the whole 'series':

There is also ussually a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive' (but this week it is the same as on my blog). Please keep Br. Colm and myself in your prayer as we make our Solemn Profession on this Sunday!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Hardness if heart

Jesus is challenging the scribes and Pharisees, challenging their hardness of heart. Yesterday we heard that they didn't dare, or wanted, to speak the truth because of the crowd, now Jesus picks them up on the issue again.

It is as if Jesus is saying that for them too it is clear that John the Baptist was a prophet, and I guess at this stage in Jesus His life it is clear enough about Himself as well. They however do not change their mind, they do not repent from their ways, do not change their hardness of heart.

Once it becomes clear that one might be wrong, it is important to embrace the truth. Not doing so can often be the result of either selfishness or pride, and both of them are contrary to the life of love God is calling us to.

Love engages and is open, it always seeks the goodness of the other. Today is the feast-day of St. John of the Cross, who wrote such beautiful poetry about the lover seeking the beloved...

Monday, 13 December 2010

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (4th September 2011)

I didn't get a chance to write a specific Gospel reflection this week, but share my two reflections on my vocation, and hopefully I get a chance to write a third one this afternoon:

There is a Gospel reflection on our website 'Dominicans Interactive' and also some pictures of the ordination of Fr. Brian Doyle OP, which we celebrated yesterday. Please keep Fr. Brian in your prayers while he starts his ministry!

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

What do we seek?

Yesterday's question still resounds: "what do you seek". Today the people in authority ask where Jesus gets His authority to teach from. The answer Jesus gives at the end of the passage is always a bit of a mystery for me, and maybe somebody can enlighten me. Jesus says that neither will He tell them where he get the authority to do what He does.

It seems clear that Jesus has authority. It is mentioned in other places in the scripture that He teaches with authority, not like the Pharisees and the Scribes, and His works of healing are a support to His claims.

So why the question? I guess Jesus' message makes people uncomfortable, and He is a threat to the established system. And so is the Cristian message a threat to the way people live nowadays. It is a challenge to try and live a better, fuller live, and in doing so asks us to change.

While the change can be difficult, it is really in fully accepting Jesus that we find joy. Along the path to the narrow gate we might doubt if we are going the right direction, as did John the Baptist. But it is noticeable that slowly there start to build in us a relationship with God which will opens up depths of meaning we never believed existed.

It takes time, but only letting go of our banal ways of live and raising our eyes up to Jesus will make us realise our full potential as humans, and only this will bring us the fullness of joy.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Rorate Caeli

We released however another video. This week it is a recording of the Rorate Caeli. The English and Latin txts are included, and it is very nice to meditate on. There will be an explanation shortly on Dominicans Interactive.

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival (4th December 2010)

The students here in St. Saviour's had our Advent Day of recollection yesterday and went down to Dalgan Park for the day. It was a lovely day, with some good spiritual input, and some precious time to walk around int he snow and have a conversation with God. But as a result, I haven't been able to write a reflection on this Sunday's Gospel yet, but will try this afternoon.

I continued to write a few lines on the Gospel reading every day, which found under:

There are also a few video's like to bring to you attention: We did a recording of the Rorate Ceali, which is very nice to meditate on. Also, the series 'The Reason for the Season', in which we this time explain some aspects of Advent is off course still very prominent. 

As usual I also point to the website 'Dominicans Interactive' of the Irish Dominicans, dedicated to preaching using the internet. This website includes currently a weekly reflection on the Gospel, brief reflections on the Dominican Saints on their Feast days and any actualities.

Also have a look at our other video's, we are on iTunes as well with Podcasts

Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Friday, 10 December 2010

What is this generation like?

In the Gospel (Mt 11:16-19) Jesus is looking at the people around Him and tells them what the generation is like. It is a generation hard to please, as He points out. And this is a theme which recurs many times in the Gospel.

But it is not something only in the far past. Our own generation, and myself, are like that. There seems to be an innate rebellion which does not like to accept authority and tries to find all kinds of excuses in order not to have to submit to it.

But this shows a complete wrong understanding of God and His Church. The Church does not teach rules and regulations in order to limit our own freedom. Instead, it helps us to see how we can be free from slavery to sin, and are free to do good. She helps us to find the real freedom which is found in love, and God is love.

But I think the only way to realise this is to stop rebelling and actually listen to what God really has to say The voice of God is not some loud commanding voice telling us what to do, but a soft and gentle loving wisper.

So again, there is an invitation during this time of Advent to reflect on what God is asking us to do, and to try and listen to Him in the silence of our hearts.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

John the Baptist

In today's Gospel (Mt 11:11-15) Jesus is telling us that John the Baptist is the greatest of all born among woman. I find it an interesting passage, especially after reflecting yesterday on the Immaculate Conception, and the Gospel Passage of the Annunciation.

Some might quote exactly this passage against this teaching of the Church, as surely somebody Immaculately conceived is born of a woman and greater than John the Baptist. But if that statement is made about Mary, then it can also be said of the case of Jesus, and it doesn't single her out.

So where does this passage fit in? Well Jesus does say that John is the greatest among those born of woman. As sin came into the world through Eve, all born of woman could mean all fallen men. Whereas Jesus and Mary were both without sin and as such part of the kingdom of heaven. This too would count for the Saints who have gone straight to Heaven after the Resurrection.

It invites us again to get closer too God, too keep our eyes fixed on Him, that we too will be counter as those in the Kingdom when the time comes.

Anyway, this was a bit more a theological reflection this morning...

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The Immaculate Conception

Today the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Gospel passage is taken from the Gospel of Luke (1:26-36), the passage about the annunciation.

So far this advent I have reflected of the calling of God to come to Him, to prepare the way of the Lord. Today's reading is off-course the calling of callings in a way. Mary is asked to become the mother of God.

I think reflecting on this passage is amazing, and there is one aspect that I would like to bring forward. In regards to the apparent absence of God screaming voice in our lives it is easy to just think 'it was all easier then'. It was easier for the apostles as they saw Jesus and there was an angel who appeared to Mary... God seemed to be screaming to them, but is silent to me...

But it isn't that easy. We know how much the apostles struggled to follow Jesus, and how they all failed at some time. Coming back to Mary, she was initially 'greatly troubled' when the Angel appeared.

Mary is often portrayed as praying while the angel Gabriel appeared. We can leave in the middle how Gods messenger appeared, the important thing is that we can model our life on Mary in being completely orientated towards God.

Once more, we need to create the space in our heart, make some space for God, so we can hear His loving wisper and distinguish it from the noise around us. Like with Mary, sometimes the voice seems to suggest something unbelievable, something hard to grasp, but when we accept it it is also something too beautiful for words.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

God is searching

Todays Gospel (Mt 18:12-14) is about the hundred sheep of which one gets lost. We have heard the voice calling in the wilderness in the last few days. God is calling his people, and we know it in our hearts. Something deep down in our human nature corresponds and responds to the call. The Pope writes in his new book "light of the world" that each human being has a desire for infinite love.

There has been a lot of reflection also on healing, and on forgiveness. God is calling his people back to him, and is the father who is looking out every day to see the appearance of the prodigal son on the horizon.

But God is so in love with each one of us, so determined not to let anybody go, that he doesn't stop by passively calling his sheep back, but even risks the 99 in order to go after the one... And this one is you and this one is me. Each one of us is that important to God...

Monday, 6 December 2010

Spiritual healing

Today's Gospel, taken from Luke 5:17-26, is about the paralytic who was lowered through the roof because the crowds prevented him from Bering brought to Jesus. Jesus seeing their faith forgive the man's sins, and this causes a stir among the scribes and pharisees.

At this time, people are flocking too Jesus from all over the country, and he taught them. Whatever the main reason for all those people to come, bringing is directly the teaching, the encounter of the Word, or the healing is not always clear, but here it becomes clear that the two are closely linked.

I think it is important not only to look at the healing miracles from a physical point of view, but also from a spiritual. In the Western world we might not see as many physical healing, although they do happen, we can defiantly see the need for spiritual healing.

Jesus is calling us all the time to come to him and to be healed. He can give us healing of our souls, as is clear in this passage as he demonstrate his authority to forgive sins. But we have to open our heart to him, and allow the healer to make us whole.

Yesterday some of us went to see the film "of Gods and men", which is about the Cistercians who were killed in Algeria at the end of the 90's. That film shown the profound change real knowledge of God can have, but it is a reality which most people today do not recognise.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Prepare the way for the Lord

On this, the second Sunday of Advent, we hear the voice crying in the wilderness: "A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight." (Mt 3:2). The first reading raises the expectation of a "shoot springs from the stock of Jesse" (Is 11:1) and St. Paul writes "Everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God" (Rom 15:4).

There is a profound atmosphere of expectation... something is about to happen...
This is advent, a preparation for the coming of the Lord. While the second candle on the wreath is lid, we move on along the road to Christmas. It is good to try and make a bit of space for this to enfold in our hearts, we need to give it space. Advent is a special time, a special time of preparation and of anticipation, a blessed time which leads us to the coming of our Lord and Savior... He who is God comes to us in the form of a little child.

Yesterday, in preparation for this reflection I was meditating about the 'making the paths straight'. So I just want to share some of my personal thoughts. It seems to me that it is very easy to get too busy with all kinds of activities. Looking at my own week, there are lots of little projects which are very worthwhile doing. Thinking for example of maintaining the Dominicans Interactive website and creating the video's explaining some of the aspects of Advent, or even the funny video of us having a snowball fight. It allows other people to join in in our contemplation, and allows in some way to share a bit of our lives. And even, now and then, a bit of work needs to be done for college.

But while those things are good in themselves, there is still a need for a balance. Before I joined the Dominicans I experienced the same, that it is possible to be busy doing good things at all times, but that while doing this we can neglect, in a way, our relationship with our Lord, even if what we do is all for Him. It was in the novitiate that I really discovered what it is to have a close relationship to Him to whom I want tot give my live, and the difference it makes. It seemed as a reality I never experience when I was running around trying to do Gods will.

Therefore in the last two days I decided to try and make a change to my day. I put in a bit of spiritual reading, even if only half an hour, and make sure I put in a bit of study of St. Thomas Aquinas (which I really enjoy and gives some new inputs). Almost immediately I experienced much more closeness to God. I guess it doesn't matter how many things need to be done, the one important thing is our relationship with Jesus, as he himself tell Martha while Mary is sitting at His feet.

Advent therefore is a good time to try and make some extra space for God, by making a commitment to do something which gives a bit more direct input into ones spiritual life, something that helps to grow closer to God. It might mean to leave some other important thing undone, but will make space for the most important...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Ask the Lord of the harvest to sent laborers

The line that struck me most this morning is "The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest" (the Gospel reading at Mass are taken from Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8).

Jesus had pity on the people who came to Him, as they were "they were harassed and dejected". Taking dejected as 'sad and depressed' is seems to me that nothing really changed. There seems to be a profound lack of real joy in society nowadays, with a life-style in which 'having fun' is reduced in a lot of cases to a planned event. Even when not consciously, the speed of life automatically makes one move form one thing to the next without taking the time in between to stand still and actually live. The result is a profound search for something which is often not recognized as the yearning for the love of God.

Jesus asks us to pray for missionaries, but foremost missionaries to our own people, our own friends and family. In the Gospel he says "go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel", which I guess in our case are first of all our fellow Christians who are running around like sheep without a shepherd.

Jesus sent out the disciples so that they might cure the 'diseases' and so we need to go out and bring the light of the Gospel to others, that they might encounter the Lord, and they too be healed.

Friday, 3 December 2010

A Dominicans Snowball Fight!

I didn't manage to get a reflection up this morning as a few things did not go according to plan... I hope to be back in business tomorrow.

We released however another video. This week has been unusual because the amount of snow we have had, very un-Ireland like. So off-course, the students couldn't stay inside, but had to play in the snow...
For more information about our lives, please have a look at Dominicans Interactive.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Advent Wreath

This video is part of the new series - The Reason for the Season - in which we attempt to explain the significance of the Advent Wreath. For more information, please have a look at Dominicans Interactive.

Build your house on rock

Yesterday I just mentioned to somebody that the rock which seems so solid, and which I might have used for a bit of foundation, might turn out not to be that solid after all. It is interesting how scripture can link in sometimes with our day to day experience... It shows that the Word of God is indeed alive.

The Gospel reading today talks about building your house on rock, and not on sand. Jesus is the rock, and it is important to realise this. It is only God on who we ultimately can trust. He is always reliable, always there for us. Any other foundation will sooner or later give way, but God is the ultimate goal of our lives.

The wise man hears the Word of the Lord and keeps it (literally 'does it'). While we hear the Word it should touch our hearts, and it should make it's home there. There is a transforming power in them which, if we allow it, can completely change our lives. The first line of the Gospel (Mt 7:21) tells us that our faith is not about lip service. Just saying "Lord Lord" won't get anybody into Heaven.

Knowing Jesus should makes a real difference, and knowing Him puts the foundations of our lives on rock. Any other foundation will eventually prove to probably not be as solid as we might hope, but Jesus never disappoints.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Jesus feeds the multitude

The Gospel today comes from Matthew 15:29-37. Jesus goes up a mountain and sits down. Presumably he sits down to teach, as sitting down is a sign of authority, like Pilate who sits down on the judgement seat when condemning Jesus to death.

We read in this passage however that they bring all the sick to Jesus, and that he heals them. This too I suppose shows authority of God over creation, that God can heal ailments others cannot.

But what are the crowed amazed with? Is it that Jesus can heal the sick, or is it that they encounter God close to them. When St. Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus it was with the message "we have found the Messiah" and presumably the brothers were called soon after to give everything up and follow Jesus.

It seems that Peter and Andrew followed Jesus exactly because they found God, but did the crowd? Leaving the question unanswered I would just like to ask the question to myself? Do I follow God for who he is, or because he is 'useful'? Does knowing God fill my soul's desire or my belly? Is it the real encounter or is God just a convenient helper? Something to pounder...

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Follow me!

Today is the feast of St. Andrew. The Gospel is taken from Matthew 5:17-22. This is the story of the calling of the fisher men to become fishers of men. First Peter and Andrew are called and then James and John.

It is an amazing inspiring story. Jesus calls them and ask them to 'come behind' him. To follow him and to trust him. He picks them out of the crowd, and chooses them specifically for a task.

Yesterday I mentioned that I will try a d focus on the reality of Jesus in our lives, the fact that it is true that he is close to us, and personally close to you and to me.

Some might have had an encounter like Peter and James, in which it seemed very clear what Jesus is asking, others have not. But this is not the important thing, as the important thing is to stay close to him!

All the Apostles ran away when Good Friday came, and it helps us to understand that following Jesus is not as easy as it might seem reading this passage. However it gives encouragement when reflecting on this, and to learn that how we experience our faith is not new from two millennia ago. It was not harder or easier in that sense, like now, it just was... And Jesus will always support us on our journey! Stay close behind him!

Monday, 29 November 2010

The journey of Advent

Todays Gospel (Mt 8:5-11) tells the story of the centurion who comes up to Jesus and asks him to heal his servant. This is a remarkable passage from different points of few.

The centurion is not a Jew, but shows great love by making the effort to go up to Jesus and ask for healing of his servant. He also shows great faith in Jesus, and does not need to Jesus to do something, but just to 'will' (λογος) the servant to be healed.

For me personally, it makes me think of my attitude towards Jesus. Am I, generalising, in the camp of the centurion or in the camp of the Jews. The centurion trusts in Jesus unconditional the Jews demands signs all the time and were fairly skeptical about Jesus.

For me, during this time of Advent, it seems good reflect on this question. On the mystery of God and how he is present in my life. The reality of God is something, while firmly believing in it, something which can become very abstract and distant, till almost the point of contradiction...

This seems a good time to try and make reality more real again. Jesus help us to find you, that we might realise how close you really are to us!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Advent has started

Regular reader of my blog, or maybe not so regular anymore, have noticed that I have been slacking a bit on writing my reflections. The past few week have been very busy, especially with video production.

Yesterday we did our first 'studio' recording of the Credo series, as can be seen in the photo above. In the next few weeks I hope to be able to give a preview of two of the episodes which will discuss the different articles of the Creed. With the preview will be the invitation for any comments, so we know what e should change in the remaining eleven episodes which will complete the series. I also want to invite anybody who has any question regarding their faith to either post it on my blog or the forum on the Dominicans Interactive website.

However, as Advent is a very special time of preparation for the coming of Jesus, firstly in the first two weeks the second coming, and then in the last two weeks for Christmas, I will try to do a brief daily reflection every morning... let's see if it will work, I will start tomorrow.

Part 2 of the Discussion on the address of Pope Benedict XVI in Hyde Park

This is Part 2 of the discussion The students in St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Dublin had about the address of Pope Benedict XVI during the Holy Hour held in Hyde Park on the Vigil of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

(Part 1 can be found here)

For more information, please have a look at Dominicans Interactive.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Priestly ordination of bro. David Barrins OP

David Barrins OP

We will celebrate the ordination to the priesthood of Brother David Barrins OP today, Sunday November 21st at Saint Mary's Dominican priory church, Pope's Quay, Cork. The ordination ceremony is at 3.00 pm and the bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr. John Buckley will be the ordaining prelate. Please pray for David as he will be ordained priest!

Discussion of the address of Pope Benedict XVI in Hyde Park - Part 1

The students in St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Dublin discuss the address of Pope Benedict XVI during the Holy Hour held in Hyde Park on the Vigil of the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman.

(Part 2 of the discussion will follow soon)

For more information, please have a look at Dominicans Interactive.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Video of the reception of the ministry of Acolyte

And here is the video of the Institution of the Acolytes, with an explanation of what the ministry is.
For more information have a look at Dominicans Interactive.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The Ministry of Acolyte

This weekend bros. Colm Mannion OP, Luuk Dominiek Jansen OP and Matthew Martinez OP were instituted into the Ministry of Acolyte, here in Priory Church of St. Saviour’s in Dublin.

The Ministry of Acolyte was reconstituted after Vatican II in its present form in 1972. There are different ministries in the Church entrusted to the faithful. Some of these functions, more closely connected to liturgical celebrations, were considered as preparatory institutions for the reception of Holy Orders. Before Vatican II there were Minor Orders and Major Orders. The Minor Orders were Porter, Reader, Exorcist and Acolyte. The Major Orders were Sub-deacon, Deacon and Priesthood. Today there are the Ministries of Lector and Acolyte –Acolyte having its original functions as well as that of Sub-deaconate.

The functions of the Acolyte are mainly, but not exclusively, connected with the celebration of the Eucharist. It is his duty “to attend to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass". The Acolyte is an auxiliary Eucharistic minister, which means that he can assist in the distribution of Holy Communion if there are for some reason not enough priests or deacons available. The Acolyte can also, under the same extraordinary circumstances, publicly expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful, and afterwards replace it in the tabernacle without blessing the people.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Those who argue that there is no resurrection

This Sundays Gospel is taken from Luke 20:27-38. It is near the end of the Gospel, and Jesus is getting near to his passover. In the Gospel some Sadducees, "those who argue that there is no resurrection" (Lk 20:27), challenged Jesus with an application of the law of Moses, namely that a brother should take his brothers widow if he left her no children to provide off spring. The Sadducees ask Jesus and who's wife this woman would be after the resurrection.

Saint Luke specifically states the fact that these Sadducees do not belief in the resurrection, which makes the whole question all the more interesting. Why did they ask it? Just to try and catch Jesus out, or is there a deeper meaning in the whole scenario. Defiantly it seems to me that they asked the question to try and push Jesus in a corner, in order to weaken the faith of the people around Him. In this case they used a doctrine they them self did not even belief, but which so they thought, would get Jesus into trouble.

In every age there have been men that have tried to undermine the fundamental principles of revealed religion. As there are people now, so there were people like the Sadducees in Jesus' time. They made fun of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come, though they were plainly revealed in the Old Testament, and were articles of the Jewish faith and they themselves knew that. As it seems to me, as anybody who has read part of my conversion story, that is also the case with religion nowadays. It seem plainly revealed, but it is brushed aside as non-sense.

But there is also a chance that there is a wrong understanding of what the resurrection is about. The idea of the resurrection as the Sadducees propose it seems, in their challenge to Jesus, a continuation of our present life but then after death. And this is something we can probably also see widespread in our won societies. Pope Benedict touched on this in his encyclical "Spes Salve":
But then the question arises: do we really want this—to live eternally? Perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment. To continue living for ever —endlessly—appears more like a curse than a gift. Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end—this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable (Spes Salve - 10)
A wrong understanding leads indeed for people to “grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Th 4:13), as there is no hope in an understanding eternal life as an endless continuation of the present life. It is therefore important that we are always ready to give an answer concerning the logos—the meaning and the reason—of our hope to others (cf. 3:15). So that they too can discover reality as it really is, and experience how it can make a change in their lives! It is all relevant now. Quoting the Pope again:
When the Letter to the Hebrews says that Christians here on earth do not have a permanent homeland, but seek one which lies in the future (cf. Heb 11:13-16; Phil3:20), this does not mean for one moment that they live only for the future: present society is recognized by Christians as an exile; they belong to a new society which is the goal of their common pilgrimage and which is anticipated in the course of that pilgrimage.
Eternal life in Heaven is being in full communion with God in love. This is what every human heart longs for, and this is what we are made for.

I will leave my reflection at that, as it is time to go down to the Church for our weekly Holy Hour as requested by the Pope in his letter to Ireland. Spes Save can be found on the Vatican Website.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Zacchaeus, come down ... for I must stay at your house!

This week was our mid-term break... a week I was really looking forward in order to be able to catch up on a bit on college work... Now the week is over I am still looking forward to to do this, while slowly realising that the week is over and it is time to go back to college again tomorrow!

However, a lot of things happened during the week, which just took a bit more time than anticipated. There has been quite a bit of background work done on the Dominicans Interactive front. Apart from recording and editing the video discussion I just posted on this blog there has been a forum added to the website in which people can ask us questions which we will try and answer with a video response (and we would like to experiment with some people somebody leave a video message with a question (e.g. on our Facebook Page) so we can embed it in the response).

We also integrated the website more with our Facebook Page and added a Twitter account. There are all sort of other interesting idea's brewing, so I would say that is is defiantly worth keeping an eye on the website, and maybe provide some feedback and idea's through the forum or contact page!

Anyway, all that distracted me somewhat from the studies, and obviously from reflecting on the Gospel of today. I feel a bit like Zacchaeus at the moment. With the madness of running around, it seems to me that Jesus got lost in the crowd (from my point of view). The crowd in this case are not people, but the crowd are all the little projects that are crowding God out of my life.

As with the Israelites in the Exodus, it can sometimes look that we are chased around. But that is often the time when God calls us to a stop, to halt and recollect ourselves (cf. Ex14:13). Realizing that there is nothing wrong as long as we keep the Lord at the center, not to fear but to listen to Him "to go forward". (Exo 14:15 RSV)

So for me, this week I will ty and come down from my own little world of business and receive Jesus joyfully: "[Zacchaeus] made haste and came down, and received him joyfully"  (Luk 19:6 RSV) The Lord is waiting, he beckons, and there is nothing stopping us to accept His invitation...

Posted as part of Sunday Snippets–A Catholic Carnival. This is a weekly opportunity to share our best posts with the wider Catholic blogging community. To participate, create a post named "Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival" highlighting posts of the last week that would be of interest to Catholics and link to the host post . Then go to the host blog and leave a comment giving a link to your post.

Discussion among the Students about the Pope's letter to Seminarians

In the last week we had a discussion about the letter Pope Benedict XVI sent to all seminarians int he world. We made a recording of the discussion which can seen below. We intent to have regular discussions on topics like this in the future, so keep an eye on my blog or on Dominicans Interactive.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

True conversion of heart

This week I didn't manage to write a proper reflection myself. The Gospel is very interesting, and I was planning a continuation of last weeks reflection. There is much scope in the Gospel to deepen the relation of prayer and the conversion of heart, not saying empty words, but really growing closer too God. What comes to mind is the passage in Amos, chapter 8, where the people are saying:

"When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and sell the refuse of the wheat?" (Amos 8:5-6)

The Pharisee in the Gospel is telling how well he keeps the Sabbath and follows all the commandments, but that is not enough, and it should not stop there. It is clear that just observing everything we have to do can actually lead to pride, and therefore the Lord tells us that only one left the temple that day righteous.

We are called to make the transition from Law to Love, to not just observe the degrees laid before us, but to use the degrees in growing in holiness and make them our own. The "laws" can be a tool to make us live our life better. Once we grow in love with God, this love flows over into all our daily actions. Then we truly start to life the most important commandments: to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

O God, you are my God, for you I long, for you my soul is thirsting

The Gospel today is taken from Luke 18:1-8. "Jesus told his disciples a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart" (Lk 18:1). He tells the parable of the judge who, after a widow is continually asking him to pronounce justice, finally gives in to her wish purely because her perseverance, and so Jesus advises us to do.

In the Office of Reading today we read a passage of the letter of St. Augustine to Proba. The passage finished with "When the Apostle tells us: Pray without ceasing, he means this: Desire unceasingly that life of happiness which is nothing if not eternal, and ask it of him who alone is able to give it."

What really stuck me about this line is, with the risk of taking it slightly out of context, the link between praying unceasingly and to desire unceasingly. It seems to me that the two are maybe the same, that once we conform our heart towards God, if out whole life is a prayer, it is really a continual desire for God, a continual lifting up of ones soul to God. Recently I gave a very brief reflection on prayer, reflecting on what prayer really is. I will share a bit of that reflection here: 

During prayer or with prayer, we experience God. But what is this, this experiencing of God, as most of the time prayer is not necessarily that much of an experiential activity. I think though that it is at the same time. If we stop praying we notice a difference. Something is missing, even though it is hard to put our finger on what this 'something' is. 

As much as prayer is maybe not accompanied by an obvious sensational experience, neither is this ‘something missing’, but we still notice it. Regarding prayer we could maybe say that the non-experience of an experience is maybe an experience in itself.

We also notice the fruits of prayer, over time. If we look back over a few weeks, months and years, we can see the difference a life with more prayer makes. The fruits of a deeper understanding, knowledge or friendship with God can for example be noticed in the presence of the theological virtues; a disposition of faith, hope and charity. I think that the most noticeable fruit is a profound sense of peace and meaning, a sense of things being right in some kind of way.

With a bit of practice of the will prayer starts to flow over from our dedicated time to every action in our life; prayer becomes habitual and as such a virtue. We always carry God close to us in the cell of our heart, and God is present in everything we do. This brings with it a sense of groundedness, which can profoundly alter our lives. It can seem that Gods presence flows though our veins, and is it as Jeremiah explains, a feeling of our bones being on fire. A much deeper reality seems to open up, a depth of meaning we would never have dared to hope to exist in this life at all.

But what if this reality does not seem to be so real at all? It is important to realize that there are (al least) two reflections important here. First, what is reality, and what seems to be reality. God does not abandon us even if it might sometimes seem that He does. But it is important to realise that this is just on a sensual level, not on a spiritual level. Secondly, how God works in the soul is something which cannot be sensed directly most of the time. The few times the grace of God really flows over into the sensual is in itself a gift from God, but it is extraordinary, not ordinary. 

The groundedness remains, even if God seems absent. It gets stronger the closer we grow to God, it is a way of being, not a fuzzy feeling or not an emotional high, but a steady disposition which often manifests itself with a profound sense of peace. A blessedness which is beyond telling and beyond expression, just a way to be. It makes us cry out with the psalmist:

"O God, you are my God, for you I long, for you my soul is thirsting. 
My body pines for you like a dry, weary land without water. 
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary to see your strength and your glory." Psalm 62(63)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Dominicans on the Pat Kenny show

Last Wednesday the Dominicans featured on national radio in connection with our annual pilgrimage to Knock. Have a look at Dominicans Interactive and listen to the recording.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Dominican Pilgrimage to Knock 2010

Yesterday was the annual Dominican pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Knock, Co Mayo. This is traditionally the last official big pilgrimage of the season, and the Dominican pilgrimage each year consistently attracts large numbers from all around the county.  

So, also yesterday several thousand people were present at Knock Shrine for the event. The pilgrimage gave opportunity to availe of the sacrament of reconciliation, the celebration of the sacrament of the sick, the celebration of the eucharist and finished with the rosary procession. 

This years preacher was Fr Anthony Morris OP of the Sligo community, who gave us a wonderful homily on Our Lady, and her central role among the people of God.

Jesus, Master, have mercy on us (Lk 17:13)

(I posted my reflection of this weekend on my other (Dutch) blog... but as I wrote it anyway, post it here now as well, sorry for the delay in realizing my mistake)

This Sundays Gospel tells us about the story of the ten lepers who see Jesus coming into the village and shout to him for mercy. The text of the first reading (2 Kings 5:14-17) has the strong parallel in the story of Naaman's who was cured of his leprosy by eventually obeying the prophet Elisha.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Video of the Youth 2000 Summer Festival in Clonmacnois

Below a short video for the Youth 2000 Summer Festival which was held in Clonmacnois last August. Youth 2000 organises national and regional retreats for young people on a regular basis, as well as the Christmas retreat just before Christmas and this Youth Festival in August. Please visit the website of Youth 2000 for more information!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Increase our faith (Lk 17:5)

This Sunday's Gospel is a continuation of the Gospel of Luke (17:5-10). What struck me straight away, and it might have to do with my own journey, is the first verse: "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith" (Lk 17:5). The Lords reply is quite interesting, as he gives the parable of the mustard seed, but my thoughts went out to the disciples and why they asked the favour.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Lazarus and the rich man...

College has started again, so this week was a time to try and tie up loose end of the summer and to start to focus again on the work in the year ahead. This will be my last year philosophy before I start my study of theology. And I must say that I am looking forward to both, to finish my philosophy (although I am a bit looking up to it at the moment) and then to continue my studies with theology, and be able to apply what I have learned.

As it is already running a bit late, and as I will be away most of the day tomorrow I just wanted to share a brief thought thrown together on the Gospel of this Sunday (Luke 16:19-31). It is the Gospel of Lazarus and the rich man, where the rich man during his prosperous lifetime completely ignored Lazarus who is laying at the gate...

When both of them die Lazarus is carried of to Heaven, to the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man goes to hell and is in pain. 

After the rich man begs Abraham to sent a Lazarus to relieve his suffering by cooling his tong with water, which request is denied, he asks if Lazarus could rise from the death and go to his brothers to warn them. But Abraham replies "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." (Luk 16:29 RSV). The rich man replies "No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent." (Luk 16:30 RSV) But Abraham said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead." (Luk 16:31 RSV)

God has fully revealed Himself to us, though His Son. God gave His only Son, so we might be saved (Jn 3:16ff), that is how much He loves us. All the signs are there to help us on the way, if only we open our hearts and welcome God into our lives:"The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place; but they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets" (2Ch 36:15-16 RSV)

We are made in the image and likeness of God, and we are made for God and our hearts can only rest when they rest in God as Saint Augustine tells us. God is love, but we can reject God and this is what happened with the rich man. During his life he did not even see Lazarus. His heart was closed, and he rejected the natural love of God. To love God has as its fruit love for our neighbor, and there was no sign of this in the rich man.

God is love and God has fully revealed himself through His only Son "not to condemn the world", but out of love, so "that the world might be saved through him" (Joh 3:17 RSV). However, "He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (Joh 3:18 RSV). God is ready to open us with open arms, but He cannot force us to come to Him, it is our own decision.

If we would only embrace the offer of His love, if we encounter the event, a person who is Jesus Christ, if only we would step into the light so we can see clearly what it is all about... only them would we find happiness, only then can we experience true love!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Video of the Simple Professions

The Irish Dominicans joyfully celebrated the first profession of eleven brothers of the province who have just completed their novitiate year. The event took place during the celebration of the Eucharist at Saint Mary's priory church at Pope's Quay in Cork. The video below shows the highlights of this great event:

Please note that instead of putting the video's of the Irish Dominicans under my own channel on YouTube I created a new channel: If you were subscribed to my personal channel and enjoy the video's, please also subscribe to this new channel. Any future video's of the Irish Dominicans will appear here.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The good or the bad steward?

The last week has been very busy here in the Irish Province of the Dominican Order. The more regular followers of this blog have noticed the brief notes I have but on. With he launch of the website Dominicans Interactive I must confess that time to post regularly substantial post on this blog has been a bit more scarce.

So, I am afraid, also this week.
The video of the Reception of the Habits, which took place last Tuesday, the 14th of September on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, has been published and hopefully in the next day or two the video of the Simple Professions of last Wednesday, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, will follow.... Our newly professed brothers will join us today in St. Saviour's, so please keep them in your prayers as they settle down in their new life as students.

So I will only share a brief thought on the Gospel, hopefully everything will be back to normal next week! Something that struck me when quickly reading through it is the apparent contradiction in the parable of the wasteful steward. It seems that this steward indeed is not doing the right thing. First of all he is called by the rich man to make an account of his stewardship because of this fact, but then he even wastes more of it by trying to buy friends for when he is without job.

The response we expect of the master is that he would punish him for this second offense, apart from only firing him from his job. But instead the master praised the steward for his astuteness...

But can we apply this parable to ourselves in a 'spiritual' way. We are all wasteful of God's love, and are continually breaking our relationship with Him. We are the unfaithful servant! The Master has all right to dismiss us and sent us away.

But even though we are broken through original sin, the Master still loves us, and as He sees how we are astute in managing our worldly affairs, unable to undo of our own accord the damage we have done to our relationship with Him, He sees that we are still trying to build relationships with others humans around us. Our end towards we are living, and for which we are made for, is ultimate the relationship of pure love with God in Heaven. While falling short in fully living in a pure relationship with God here on earth we are still yearning for loving relationships... the commandment of loving God with our whole heart is quickly followed by the commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves, an expression of our love for God.

This week we had the Gospel of the woman who had a bad name in the town and came in washing Jesu His feet with her tears and hair (Luke 7:36-50). Jesus says to the Pharisee that "I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much" (Luke 7:47). We are sinful, and again, wasteful of everything God gives us, but through 'astute' stewardship of the love and gifts God has given us, we can try and live  as good a life as we can, always trying to do the best.

Just a thought...


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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