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...

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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