Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Advent: a time to meet Jesus

2nd Sunday of Advent

Luke 3:1-6

Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent and the Gospel focussed on the second coming of Christ. In this the second Sunday of Advent the focus is on the announcement of the coming of Jesus to his public ministry with the appearance of John the Baptist.

Advent is a time of 'actively waiting', a time in which we wait for the Lord to come to us, while we prepare at the same time for His coming. This was very clear in the message last week, to be ready when Jesus comes. This week we read about John the Baptist, and his call to us to prepare the way and Saint Luke quotes here the prophesy of Isaiah saying "a voice cries in the wilderness: prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight".

Monday, 3 December 2012

Student discussion: IEC 2012

<>Recently we had another student discussion as we have done in the past. This time we looked back on the International Eucharistic Congress, which was held here in Dublin in the month of June. This is a recording of our dicsussion, showing some of our views on the success of the congress.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Opening of the Academic Year 2012

This is a recording of the homily given by Fr. John Harris OP on the occasion of the opening of the new Academic Year (2012). The theme of the homily is centered around the Year of Faith.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Do Not Keep Your Joy To Yourself

On the Gospel of Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

26th Sunday of the Year

At the beginning of this Sunday's Gospel we see some of the disciples trying to stop a man working miracles in Jesus' name. In the second part we hear about the risk of leading ourselves or others, astray.

Jesus makes clear that there is a distinction between people who work with Him for the cause of good, and those who work against Him. This reminds us that we are all called to help to bring others to know God, it is part of our calling we received at our baptism. The man in the Gospel cast out demons in Jesus' name thereby acknowledging that it is only Jesus who can release us from the burdens of life. Giving evidence to the sayings of Jesus that "my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Mt 11:30) and "I will give rest" (Mt 11:28). It is in the Lord that we find this liberation which sets us free.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Habit Reception and First Professions 2012

The 14th of September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is the traditional day in which new novices in the Irish Province of the Dominicans receive their habit and start their noviciate year. It is then followed on the 15th of September, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, by the simple profession of the novices who finished their noviciate year and who will subsequently move to the student house in St. Saviour's, Dublin.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Conversion is not just following the letter of the LAw


with unclean hands it is not that their hands were physically dirty, but that they didn’t observe the proper ritual. While ritual observances are not in themselves bad, and cleaning is especially good for hygienic purposes, the rituals had become an end in themselves; observance had the focus of religious practice without any connection with the original meaning of the ritual.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Episode out of the "Reunie"

In spring I played a part in a Dutch television program called "the Reunie".
In this program a secondary school class is reassembled in the studio to see what has happened with the various people. As part of this, a short clip was filmed here in Dublin, which can be seen below. Unfortunately it is not in English but it gives an idea...


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Sunday, 22 July 2012

Finding rest in the Lord


This Sunday's Gospel passage (Mark 6:30-34) continues the story of last week. Now the disciples come back from their active preaching mission, Jesus sees they need time away from the work and thus he wants to go away with his disciples to find a place to be alone in solitude. However, when Jesus and His disciples arrived at their destination, there are already crowds waiting for Him, and Jesus began to teach them.

This passage shows that Jesus tells us too that there is a need for a balance in our lives. Jesus and his disciples are very busy with preaching the Gospel, healing the sick and casting out demons. We read they don't even have time to eat! But now it becomes clear that it is not only about our activities and misistries. jesus is teaching all his disciples that there must be time away for prayer and relaxation. We can find examples in the Gospels of Jesus going to a lonely place to be alone so that he could pray,there are many such passages particularly in the Gospel of St. Luke in which  Jesus himself  gets up early to withdraw to pray, to spend time with His Father.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Bring the joy of knowing Christ to others!


The Gospel this Sunday comes from Mark 6:7-13. In the Gospel Jesus sends out the twelve apostles to preach the Good News to the people and "gave them authority over the unclean spirits" (Mar 6:7 RSV) and "they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them" (Mar 6:13 RSV). But one of the striking things is the fact that Jesus charged them "to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread;. no bag, no money in their belts" (Mk 6:8 RSV). There is an urgency in Jesus' charge to go out and preach the Gospel. The are to be no preparations for the journey but the bare minimum; the only thing to bring is the pilgrims staff.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Spending some time in prayer


It is now already two days ago, but Thursday I went to the are of the city where the Monstray of the Flagellation is and the Sister of Sion. It was very quite, and I enjoyed spending a few hours in the various churches.

Church of the Flagellation
Chapel of the Condemnation



It is nice to be able to spend some time in these places, places whereabout Jesus spend his final hours before his full giving sacrifice on the cross. While the past months have been busy, it is only when you have time to take a step back how much I realize I have missed some more quality time in prayer. It is great that when not being busy in the École Biblique it is possible just to walk into the Old City, and find the Sepulcher there within a 10 minute walk!

Stones which were part of the plaza where Jesus was presented to the crowd
Church of the Sister of Sion, with part of the 'Ecce Homo Arch'
Friday I participated in the way of the Cross, from near the Monastery of the Flagellation to the Holy Sepulcher. This morning I climbed the Mount of Olives before sunrise, but that can be for another day!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Jerusalem


It has been very silent on my blog for a while once more... In the last few months, with essays, exams and the International Eucharistic Congress not much time remained for some reflection for my blog. But maybe I will try again to write some more. Yesterday I arrived in Jerusalem, and will be here for the next six weeks. I am still settling in and we will see what happens!

The Damascus Gate
The Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher





Monday, 4 June 2012

Closing Academic Year 2011-212: Archbishop Charles Brown

Archbishop Charles Brown, Papal Nuncio to Ireland, celebrated the Mass for the closing of the Academic Year here in St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Dublin. The video shows a recording of the homily during the Holy Mass.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Symposium - Is Secularisation a Reality Today?

This month in our Symposium meeting here in St. Saviour's Dominican Priory in Dublin, Jim Corkery SJ talks about secularism in society.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Feature in a Dutch television program.

I took part in a Dutch television program which taken a class from secondary school. This Sunday it was turn for my class to look at the different life stories of my classmates. While it might be rather boring for non Dutch speakers I post it on my Blog anyway. The feature on St. Saviour's starts after about 35 minutes, with Fr. John (in English) saying a bit after about 44 minutes...

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Saturday, 21 April 2012

To believe... or not to believe (Part 2)

It might be an opinion held that to belief per definition means not to know. I suppose this is true, as we need to make the distinction in how we know. To believe means that we haven't personally encountered the object in which we believe. For example, if we see a cat, we can say that we know the cat is there. This is not belief, but if somebody comes to us and says "the cat is sitting outside in front of the door" then we have the choice to either believe him or not as we cannot see the cat. We don't know if the cat is really outside.

So simply said, to believe means that we accept somebodies else his witness. However, this does not exclude that we cannot reason about the fact. And I think this is something that is not often thought through. If our friend says that the cat is sitting outside we can either believe him or not. But in doing so it doesn't mean we cannot look around and see if we can see the cat. If we don't see the cat then it confirms that what our friend says is plausible.

Friday, 20 April 2012

To believe... or not... (Part 1)

During Easter week the gospel passage of the disciples on the read to Emmaus (Lk 24:13-35). In this passage two of the disciples leave Jerusalem as soon as the sabbath was over which was Easter Sunday.

On the road they meet Jesus but don't recognize Him and they explain their disappointment with the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday. But then Jesus says to them "You foolish men! So slow to belief the full message of the prophets!", and He explains the scriptures to them while they walk their way.

Last Sunday we heard the passage in which Thomas did not belief that Jesus was risen, even though the other disciples had seen Him and were witnesses. He would only belief when he would see Jesus himself, and said "unless I see the holes that the nails are in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe."

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Passion of Our Lord

The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to John. Sung on Good Friday in Saint Saviour's Dominican Church, Dublin, Ireland.

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Easter Triduum

This episode of Reason for the Season focuses on the Triduum, from Holy Thursday till the Easter Vigil. It explains why and what we celebrate during this highlight of the liturgical year.

Laster today we hope to have a video of a Sung Narration of the Lord Passion...



Have a look at Dominicans Interactive for more video's!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Holy Thursday

We are about to 'participate' in the most important journey that ever happened.

Tonight we celebrate the Mass of the Last Supper in which Jesus instituted the priesthood and gave the Sacrament in which he gives himself to us. God came down from Heaven to take not only upon himself the sins we have committed, making our redemption possible, but also gave himself fully and truly to us allowing us even here on earth to become one with him through the gift of his body and blood!

The reality of this is mind bowing, and deserves some reflection.
Not only now off-course, but the ceremonies of the Triduum and the subsequent celebration of Easter are off course a special grace filled time to reflect on what God has done for us.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Holy Week

During this week we follow Jesus towards the Triumph of the Cross. It is a journey, a difficult journey, but it is a journey worth making. Our Prior yesterday said in his homily during the Mass of Palm Sunday that some people said that Lent went so quick this year. The two reasons he gave was that some are so engaged with Lent that it's goes quick, the other that when failing to engage at all.

It is very easy to not engage with the season, and it would hardly be worth making a specific effort now with Lent ending on Wednesday. But it is maybe worth standing still by the fact that we did or didn't engage. What was the reason? Maybe we didn't really make any resolutions for Lent, or we failed to keep them, but at the end of the day, those are not the important things. While there is a place for penance and abstinence, we are meant to do it to get closer to God. Through simplicity of life we can subsequent better appreciate life and the gifts God has given us. But it is God who is supposed to the centre, not our external actions. Lent is not about giving up external things, but about an internal conversion of heart.

A remarkable thing in today's Gospel that stuck me is that it said that the religious leaders wanted to silence Lazarus as well, because people came to belief in Jesus through the miracle of his resurrection. It shows how they were engrossed in their daily lives of protecting existing structures, prepared to kill for their preservation. Maybe we can recognise for ourselves that we are engrossed in the business of our lives without wanting God really to be a part of it. A bit like Pilate on Good Friday who is not interested in the objective Truth, but can only see his own subjective truth. God is calling us at all times, calling us to let us be surprised by Him, but we need to allow Him to enter in, and this week might be a good week to make some time and open ourselves up!

So now, still at the beginning of Holy Week I would invite any reader to try and make the journey this week with Jesus. To be with him in Bethany as we read today, to walk with him around Jerusalem and finally climb Golgotha with His cross on His back. Even if we are busy with college or with work, maybe we can make a few minutes available to be silent, to read the Gospel passage of the day, or to visit a church on our way home to let the silence settle, uniting us with God in this grace filled season. It is not always easy, but it will open our hearts more to the reality of what Jesus did for us, how He went through it out of love...

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Palm Sunday

The Gospel passage which is read at the beginning of Mass before the blessing of the Palms (Mk 11:1-10) is about the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, five days before His death on the Cross. The disciples get a young donkey on which Jesus rides into Jerusalem and many spread their garments and palm branches on the ground before him. Those who followed cried out, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mark 11:9).

It is interesting to look at the contrast with the gospel of the Saturday before Palm Sunday, when we are told that the council of the chief priests and the Pharisees decided to put Jesus to death. Just as in the moments before a thunderstorm begins there is a tension in the air, an electricity; something extraordinary is going to happen here, whatever it is! The people are even wondering if Jesus would come to the feast (Jn 11:5).

But then suddenly there is the big spectacle of His entry and there seems to be a spark of hope. Not all is perfect, but something seems to be moving and the people sing "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming! Hosanna in the highest!" (Mark 11:10) their hopes being revived by the apparent imminent coming of the Kingdom of David. But as we now know and come to see more clearly as the week progresses,  things will take a sudden turn.

It is like being on a roller coaster, going up one moment, going down the next, swerving left and then suddenly right. Life can be a bit like that, things might be difficult, but suddenly everything seems to come together, prayers are answered, the excitement is tangible. But then again, even though everything seems to be going the right way, it does not materialize, and after some time of hope and anticipation the excitement wears of and we seem to be back at start, our hopes evaporated and our prayers seemingly unanswered.

However, the above is just our human understanding! Maybe this Holy Week it would be worth while to meditate on what actually happened nearly two thousand years ago. Never mind the human perception, but try to look from the perspective of  the infinite, the divine perception. As we travel through the week the human perception shows defeat, failure, betrayal and denial. But in the midst the greatest accomplishment on earth occurs, unnoticed by everyone bar a few, Jesus purchased for us eternal life!

The world would never be the same again, and even though it seemed like everything was a failure, in the wider scope of the bigger picture, unalterable changes had occurred! So we too should  reflect on our lives, and see the bigger picture and learn to trust on God, as Jesus did.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Looking at the world

Once more I failed to write a proper reflection this weekend. We had a 'Dominican Open Day' here in the priory on Saturday in which a group of people came in to learn about the various branches of Dominican life; the lay Dominicans, the nuns, the apostolic sisters and us the friars. There was also a Youth 2000 retreat on with well over a 100 young people attending, and I spend pretty much the rest of the weekend there.

In the Gospel we heard the Greeks coming to the apostles saying 'can we see Jesus'. This is a fundamental question, a question in everybody's heart. I think it is very clear when at a retreat as I was yesterday and today.

As Philip and Andrew, we need to be available to guide people to Jesus, to show them the way. It struck me that sometimes the teaching of the Church might seem start initially, but the teaching are the teachings of Jesus who is inviting us into communion. It is therefore import that in bringing people to Jesus we also explain the 'why' as it does make sense! Fr. John reminded us that we should look at theology as St. Thomas did, and start with God, not with ourselves. If we start with God everything becomes clear as everything flows from the love of God. But if we start with ourselves and try to make sense out of the world by making it, and God, conform to us then it will be an impossible task to make any sense out of it!

In the church all status are covered now, a sure sign lent is coming to an end and Holy week approaching with the light of Easter at the horizon!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Continuation...

I guess my previous post was a bit short, but put it out as a nice teaser. I thought I would get a chance to add something yesterday but didn't get to it. The reason that 'true knowledge of self depends on knowledge of God' struck me is because I was re-thinking the subject of suffering in the world.

While the link might not be particular obvious between the two I will begin to explain my thoughts. Last week I met an old friend who had lost a little baby who was only a few hours old. As anybody can appreciate, hearing it is a very very touching, and devastating, moment. It takes time to digest it.
As such, those moments are not the time and place to come up with philosophical, nor practical arguments for innocent suffering in the world. Even if anyone would have the strength to argue in that situation, I can say that I don't, and I found it very difficult even to say a single word of consolation.

However, it is a real question in our lives, and at sometimes a challenge especially for us who believe in a loving God. This last Sundays Gospel came form John 3:16, a well known passage, which reads that God so loved the world that he gave His only Son...

And I think this points towards something fundamental, that if somebody has faith, in some way there is another perspective. It would be relatively easy to see why 'bad' people would suffer as we could put it down to a 'punishment' for what they did. But it is always difficult to comprehend why a loving God would allow so much suffering of apparent innocent people. However for the believer it is clear that this is part of the world as it is, even if it is just from the fact that Jesus himself went thought it.

There is no need, in my opinion, to say that innocent suffering happens for a reason. It happens because of the corruption in the world, and that as the world as a whole. Through sin evil entered in the world, and it corrupts the world, suffering is a result of that...

But without knowledge of God, or knowledge of those fundamentals of the world, the above just does not make sense. And in a lot of the western world people don't know much about Christianity, and what it teaches. Looking at my own past the extend of my knowledge of God was that there was an all powerful God, and while not knowing much about this God, it seems that if such a God existed the suffering I would see was defiantly not speaking in favor of this God. It is only when we get a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the whole, as for example the role of free will, that this god can once more become a loving God.

I have to run now, but will probably pick up the topic again in the next few days... any thoughts are off course very welcome!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Knowledge of God and knowledge of self...

I was traveling today and was reading a book while waiting in the Airport called The Fulfillment of All Desires by Ralph Martin (which I recommend as spiritual reading). Then when at Mass this evening, Fr. Alan mentioned the same idea, so I just decided to put it out there as a thought before going to bed...

What struck me is the idea that knowledge of self is tied up with knowledge of God. Without knowledge of God, we cannot have proper knowledge of self. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Solemn Professions of last September

This is the recording of the Solemn Profession of Br. Colm and myself, last September. With the Solemn Profession we make our vows for the rest of our lives, given ourselves fully to God through our vows to the Dominican Order.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

New Dominican App!


As hinted at a few times, we have been working very hard behind the scenes in creating a new App. The new App is called iDoms Portal and is now available in the App Store. While the iDoms Reader will continue to operate as normal for some time, support for small things like notifications of new items (the unread counter) will stop at the end of February.

We have started from scratch with the new App, building it from the ground up. A lot of time has gone in creating a whole new system which has the capability to be very easily extended. One of the great advantages is that it also allows other organizations to use it to create and maintain their own App in a relatively easy way (please contact us at info@idoms.org if you are interested in discussing the possibilities).

In the last year we have created the iDoms Reader and established that there is indeed an interest in iPhone/iPad Apps which provide good quality Catholic content. While we haven't made the progress we intended due to the lack of resources, this new release is a huge step forward, and within a week or two an update will be issued with a great new iPad interface which didn't make it into the first release.
We hope you enjoy this update, and please don't forget to go to the App Store now and dowload the iDoms Portal!

(We have also created an App which can be used as a Vocabulary/Flashcard training tool for Greek, Latin and Hebrew, the iDoms Vocab. You can read more about it here: the iTunes store. )

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Cleaning out the temple?

I am a bit stuck in the past these days, and my mind is still with the Gospel of yesterday... It was the Gospel of the prodigal son, the story in which the youngest of two sons asks his inheritance from the Father and goes off to a foreign land, spends it all and eventually ends up with nothing and is at the risk of starving to death. Then he decided to go back to his father and to ask to be denounced as being his son, and life as one of the paid servants.

However on return, the father sees him coming in the distance, and goes out to him to welcome him back. He orders for the best robe to be brought to him to cloth his nakedness and a ring to be out of on his finger to give him back his dignity...

Friday, 9 March 2012

Only Jesus

I am on the road again this weekend, or actually, more off the road, as I spend my weekend in the retreat house attached to the Siena Monastery in Drogheda, of our enclosed Dominican nuns... It is nice and quite here, and it will give me two days away from my desk in which I can focus on saying a few prayers...

I just want to share something that struck me after I wrote my last reflection, last Tuesday. It was the line:
Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more except Jesus. -Mark 9:8

I was thinking, that this great event happened, Jesus appears in all His glory, clouds and thunder appear, suddenly there stand Moses and Elijah! Excitement, fear, everything at the same time... and then suddenly... They looked around and they no one except Jesus...

My question is, would I be disappointed?
And it seems to me that a first reaction is that maybe I would... But this ties in exactly with my previous post! On our journey through life, on our journey with God, weds get the moments of experiential closeness, excitement of knowing God! But those times come and go, they help us to strengthen our faith, but they are not fundamental... If it was only about experiencing sensations then our relationship with our Lord would not have a lot of depth. As with human relationships, there is much more to it then some occasional experience.

So our reaction should be, when we discover that it is 'only' Jesus who is with us, a reaction of joy, because Jesus is indeed with us! And as I wrote in my last post, he comes down with us, down from the mountain, down into our ordinary life, down with us towards His cross, where He offers himself out of pure love of us!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Transfiguration...

I was planning to write something short on the Transfiguration this weekend, but I didn't really get to it. I think the Transfiguration is one of those great Gospels which can be interpreted so well to reflect the life of the ordinary Christian.

It is in a way the experiential climax of the journey of the three Apostles who climb with Jesus up the mountain and there experience the transfiguration of our Lord, in which His majesty, of being God, radiates forth through His human body. But while this might be the climax of the journey, or at least the journey up to pentecost, it is not the greatest moment...

The greatest moment is not when Jesus shows His glory as God, but the greatest moment is when Jesus is nailed to the cross out of love of us! And this stark contrast shows exactly the stark contrast we experience in our lives as Christians. Maybe, because I am a convert, it seems more clear or more vivid to me, but it seems to me that the Christian life is a journey which can be seen in the journey of the Apostles, with the main difference, perhaps, that for us it happens over and over again, almost like our yearly liturgical cycle.

Initially the Apostles are touched by the encounter, and invitation, of Jesus. In the Gospel of St. John we read that Jesus says, 'come and see' on the request where he lives. Andrew and John, I think, go with Jesus, and spend some time with Him. From that moment their lives are never the same again! Another example is Nathaniel, who is suddenly converted just because Jesus says 'I saw you sitting under the fig tree'. Whatever happened there, it made a profound impact on Nathaniel, showing the profound touch Jesus can have in our lives.

An so it is with us, we are touched by JEsus, in some way. In some way this encounter makes a difference, and it opens up our being to a communion with God. But this is only the beginning of the journey. It is an initial invitation in which God asks us to trust in Him and to 'leave our nets behind' and follow Him. Then gradually he instructs us along the way while we slowly open up ourselves to His presence. For example, we start to read a small bit of the bible, the Word of God every night before going to bed, or say a small prayer on our way home when passing the local church. Slowly the reality of what life is really about, the depth and breath of what it is to be fully human. Sometimes this process takes a while, sometimes it can be difficult, but at the same time, slowly it reveals more and more of the beauty and goodness of God as everything is revealed to us to a point when suddenly we are on top of the mountain...

However, this is, as with the Apostles, a part of the journey, and not its end point. We might be on the mountain for a while, but eventually we are called down, we go back to our 'ordinary life' and it seems that the closeness of God is no more than a distant memory, maybe almost feeling like a fairy tale...

...this however is only illusion! God is always close to us. While on the way to Jerusalem, these forty days of Lent, we walk with Jesus who is with us. And while we might be discouraged along the way, might deny Jesus one, two or three times, He is always there for us to support us, He is there to be with us, and he goes down himself to give His life out of love for us...

Friday, 2 March 2012

40 hours of prayer...

I ended up going quite unexpected to our priory in Cork this weekend, and when arriving here I learned that they have '40 hours' of adoration... This promises to become a pleasant weekend!

While the forty hour, so I presume, is linked to the 40 year in the desert of the Israelites and the 40 days in the desert of Jesus, and as such very appropriate during lent, I think it is also nice as it is the weekend in which we read the Gospel account of the Transfiguration, the revelation of Jesus in Gory on the mountain. As the picture shows, it is almost an experience the same down here...

(and off course, any readers of this post who are in Cork, come along and drop in... there is no real excuse, it goes on until Sunday 11am so there must be a chance to make a few minutes time!)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Asking for a sign...

Well, I intended to write a reflection today but clearly haven't really managed... Still a few words, as I was thinking about the Gospel this morning.
In the Gospel Jesus says that the generation to whom he was talking were asking for a sign, and that non would be given...

I was wondering how that would link back to our won generation. In Jesus' time miraculous signs were seen as a manifestation of some divine power. The people were asking a sign to confirm that what Jesus was teaching was the truth, and wanted to have a sign from God to confirm this.

However, as is clear from the Gospels, Jesus whole public life was a sign, and consisting of one sign to another, one miracle to the next. These however people did not accept... So they were selective in what type of sign they wanted...

I guess the equivalence of such signs in the time of Jesus would maybe now be seen as proof by science. And I think the parallel can be drawn out to the same extend. When I can to belief in God, it was because for the first time I really looked at the signs of God in the world. The marvellous order in which everything is created and the miracle of the existence of life...

While so many people think that Science opposes God, it seems to me to be right in our face that that is not the case at all, almost making as bold to say it is contrary. Many people don't know the progress of science, the new discoveries being made in the last two decades... They might not be as contrary to God as men things...

But finally, and I think this is the important point. Science, and signs, are ultimately not that important, and that possibly is another reason Jesus refuses to give the sign the people want. Ultimately it is not about a sign to proof that God is true,ultimately it is the decision to accept that it might be true, and then humbly ask God to show you... To reveal himself to you... To show his face...

...once we open our heart and encounter God no sign is needed anymore...

Sunday, 26 February 2012

First Sunday of Lent

The first Sunday of lent is now almost over... It went by very quickly.
As hinted in my previous post, I have been working on getting a new App out to replace the iDoms Reader. There were a few hiccups in the last few days, but all is set to go now... I think...
Users of the current App might have experience a small view strange phenomena during the server upgrades earlier but all seems back to normal now...

But that is not the important thing... The important thing is how we today spent time in our preparation of Lent. Today in the Gospel we read that Jesus went into the desert for 40 days... It is like the 40 days Israel spend in the desert when coming out of Egypt, being liberated from their slavery, but purifying themselves after having rejected God when said to enter the promised land.

And this has similarities with our own journey, and it is good to be aware of this. Jesus went into the desert after His baptism. And while it was not a delivery from sin for Jesus, He was baptised so every thing was done right. For us, our baptism is a cleansing from our sin, and now we spend the time in the desert to prepare ourself to come closer to God, on a journey to find Him again after our own rejections in our own ways.

I think it is an idea to reflect on the fact that we are REALLY called to a closer communion with God. Sometimes our faith can become a bit stale, and we lose the 'wow' effect a bit. But maybe during this time of preparation, a daily 15 minute break from everything to reflect on the question 'where God is in my life' could be a good idea.

God is always close to us, but so often we put him aside. We like him to be there when we pray or are in need, but during the rest of the day there is sometimes little space available for Him. But this could imply that God is somebody for which we need to make time for to spend time with. This is true, but not the full truth, because is with us at all times. Like a husband and wife can enjoy each others company doing the daily duties and still being aware of their mutual presence.

Once we are aware of this, we can start to slowly change our habit of ignoring God, and including Him in everything we do. Then the wow effect becomes real again, once we realise how close God is to us at all times. Then we once more realise the change it makes to our lives when we keep close to Him!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Lent has started... yesterday...

Well Lent has arrived... and therefore I decided that it is time again to try and revive my blog a bit. I guess the fact that I started a day late might not be a good indication of the result of my intent, but I do hope to be able to share some brief thoughts a few times a week. A lot has happened since my series of reflections on my vocation, which I wrote late in August before my solemn profession. Since I have continued with the study if Theology, but I have also invested quite a bit, possibly quite a bit too much, energy in looking at different ways of spreading the Gospel using the modern media. The fruit, although not visible yet, is among other things a new App which will hopefully be launch in the next week, replacing the iDoms Reader which was the original experiment. But this in itself is not what is important. More and more I realise the paradox in doing this type of work. On the one hand it seems important to find new ways to interact with people, using video and other modern ways of communication, but on the other hand it seems by doing so I am not deepening my relationship with the Lord as much as I should and as I want. Even though the time spend in prayer might not have differed significantly over the last few years, the quality of prayer seems diminished when ones mind is somewhat distracted by complicated data structures needed to create an iPhone App. I met a small group of fellow Dutch country men at the beginning of the week, and it really brought it back to me once more. We had some very enjoyable talks together, and I realised that my primary aim in life is to be able to spread the Good News and share it with others. But important in this that this sharing does need some direct contact, personal contact cannot be replaced with any type of technology. So I think for me personally, this Lent needs to be a time to reflect once more on the best ways to use the technology we have to bring people into an encounter with God. By necessity, this encounter needs to be personal... So the question is how to use the tools available to us in a way that will bring the people who are away from God (back) towards the joy which it is to know Him.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Saint Thomas' devotion to the Blessed Sacrament

I forgot ton post this excellent homily given by Fr. John Harris OP on the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Fr. John talks, as the 50th Eucharistic congress is held here in Dublin this year, on Saint Thomas devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Audio series continued

I planned to keep up posting the Audio Series on Catherine of Siena on my blog, but as I am in the middle of my exams I have fallen behind a bit...

So if you are interested, please follow us on Dominicans Interactive.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

St Catherine of Siena: Christ the Bridge



From Ears to Hear:

This reading is a selection of excerpts from the Dialogue of St Catherine. The Dialogue is Catherine’s great work, and it’s structured, as the title suggests, as a Dialogue between God the Father and Catherine herself. In these excerpts, we meet one of Catherine’s keys to understanding the work of Christ: he is like a bridge between us and our home in heaven.

(Excerpted from 'Catherine of Siena: Passion for the Truth, Compassion for Humanity', ed. Mary O'Driscoll OP)



Saturday, 21 January 2012

New App for learning Latin, Greek and Hebrew.


The app is called iDoms Vocab, and is a continuation of the joint project between the Irish Province of the Dominicans and the St. Joseph's Province to use the new modern technologies in preaching and teaching the Gospel.

Have a look if you are studying Latin, Greek or Hebrew! It is free to download, and free to try. We do ask a small compensation for the bigger wordlists to help us cover the costs involved in our development, which are available as In-App purchases.

We have written to a few authors about permission to add in more word lists (e.g. JACT's Reading Greek and Reading Latin, and Familia Roma). As soon as we hear back we will release an update with more word lists. If you have any wordlists you would like to have added (preferably if you actually have the list in Word or Excel or so) please write to us using the contact form on the website and, pending copyright restrictions, we will add it.



Here are some more pictures:

Friday, 20 January 2012

St Catherine of Siena: Behave Like a Person in Love!


On Dominicans Interactive we have started a new Audio Series on Saint Catherine of Siena.

The reading that follows is an excerpt from St Catherine of Siena to her confessor, a Dominican friar, Bartolomeo Dominici. It highlights some of her classic images: God as a deep, peaceful sea, and God’s love as a fire.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Ears to Hear - Introduction to St Catherine of Siena


We have started a new audio series, this time on Saint Catherine of Siena.

For the full article about Saint Catherine please go to our website: http://www.dominicansinteractive.com/

or listen to the recording here below:

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Baptism of Our Lord

On the Gospel of Mark 1:7-11





This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. The Gospel is taken from the beginning of the Gospel according to Mark. It is a real beginning as John the Baptist specifically reveals Christ to the world, after centuries of expectation; John preached about Christ, and all those who received his teaching he baptized with water. This was a custom of the Jews which admitted converts to Judaism. It was a token of them cleansing themselves by repentance and reformation, and also of God's cleansing them both by forgiveness and by sanctification, which were the blessings promised.

It is striking how Jesus comes forward to be baptised. In the Gospel according to Matthew we can read that John protests against baptising Jesus, but Jesus firmly holds that it is necessary. Jesus really took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh, so that, although He was perfectly pure and unspotted, He was still washed as if He had been polluted. For our sake He sanctified himself, so that we also might be sanctified, and be baptized with him (cf. Jn. 17:19). The event at the river Jordan, while revealing so much of the Father's love and of the Trinity itself was, from the worlds point of view, only something noticed by a very small group. But the encounter with God is usually small but significant I find, and we have to learn to see God working in our lives in the small but significant ways He does.

It sounds majestic when the heavens opened, and the spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove, but we too receive the Spirit, and we can perceive the Spirit descending and working in us, even if it is only a small whisper and not a loud voice. The encounter with God is an encounter that goes deeper than anything else, it always leaves us changed, but we have to allow it to go deep.

What really strikes me on the feast of the Epiphany is the verse in which the Magi left and "they departed to their own country by another way" (Matt 2:12 RSV). The Magi came a long way to see this King, and "they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (Matt 2:10 RSV) when they arrived. They went into the house... and they only found a little child...

But this was the encounter and "they departed to their own country by another way", they did not go back the way they came! They were changed by the encounter with the child, and their life was never the same again... this seemingly little insignificant event in the history of the world made a deep impact on their lives...

So let us allow the encounter with God, as little as it seems to be, to make a significant impact on our lives, and then, we too, as adopted children of God, will hear the words of the Father: "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."


Monday, 2 January 2012

Symposium - How in Heaven's name did we get from Bethlehem to here?

'How in Heaven's name did we get from Bethlehem to here?: What we can learn from the early Church'. Fr Tom McCarthy OP, a priest of the Irish Province of Dominicans, guides us through some of the main developments in early Christian theology, showing how the whole process is really an unpacking of the central Gospel event: God becoming man in Jesus Christ.

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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