Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who do you think you are?

Have you had a look at next Sunday’s Gospel yet? Do you realise what you’re missing out on, by waiting for the priest to proclaim it at Mass? Well, just to whet your appetite a bit, what follows is a little something that may give you some food for thought.

The Gospel this coming Sunday is taken from St Mark, chapter 2 – you have to love Mark, he’s in such a hurry for you to get the message! It is the account of the cure of the paralytic. What I found striking this week, were the words of Jesus to the paralytic – he called him “My child”.

‘… Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “My child, your sins are forgiven.” …’

So, there you are – whoever it is you think you are – the truth is, when you come to Jesus – and He is the Truth – that is how he thinks of you, no matter what. Read the Gospel text and you will notice the paralytic described as a paralytic right the way through it. But, Jesus doesn’t look at him that way, doesn’t see him that way: To Jesus, he is ‘My child’. To Jesus, you are ‘My child’ – that means without condition, just as you are, warts and all. You don’t have to make yourself perfect in order to be acceptable to God, you don’t have to make yourself clean and saintly or holy – and anyway do you know how? Could you even make a beginning?
If the work of purification belonged to ourselves alone, to myself alone, I wonder would I summon up the energy to do it? I wouldn’t even know where to start. And reading this Gospel text fills me with hope, because I am reminded that God is love; Jesus is love – and his love isn’t waiting to be given to me when I am good enough to deserve it. It is waiting for me now, if I will come to Jesus just as I am. He is the only one who can look at me and love me as I am, without attaching conditions – I can’t make myself good enough for him, but in his love, his infinite love for even me – even you – he wants me, and he wants you, and it is his joy and desire to make us good enough.

Will we let him???????

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Vocation discernment weekends

20th – 22nd March 2009
8th – 10th May 2009
19th – 21st June 2009

(Friday evening – Sunday after lunch)

Young women, interested in learning about our contemplative monastic way of life, are invited to a weekend of prayer and reflection - with sung liturgy, Eucharistic Adoration, conferences and opportunity to meet with sisters.

Contact: Sr Breda OP
Monastery of St Catherine of Siena
The Twenties, Drogheda

2016- Jubilee of the foundation of Order of Preachers

Since Advent of 2006 the Dominican Family worldwide has been preparing to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Order of Preachers, which will happen in 2016. We began this grace-filled pilgrimage by commemorating the founding of the first Dominican community in Prouilhe - the birth place of the Holy Preaching.
The brothers and sisters who minister in the General Curia at Santa Sabina in Rome, in an attempt to give these ten years of Jubilee Pilgrimage a central focus, have decided to group the entire decade of Jubilee years under one general guiding theme, «Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel!» (cf. 1 Cor 9:16). These words of St. Paul, which could be said to be at the heart of our Dominican vocation, will be the guiding light that enlightens our steps as we journey to the Jubilee celebration of 2016. The sub-theme provided for each year offers us the opportunity to focus on a particular dimension of our Dominican life and ministry.
Advent 2006 until Epiphany 2008 was proclaimed as a special jubilee year marking the foundation of the nuns. As each monastery was a place of pilgrimage during this year all the members of the Dominican family were invited to join with the nuns in “giving thanks to God for our Dominican vocation to Praise, to Bless and to Preach God with the Church, in the Church and for the Church”
This past year Advent 2007 to Advent 2008 we remembered the important place that the Holy Rosary has played in the history and tradition of our Order.
As it is the figure of St. Dominic that unites us during these important years, during this year Advent 2008 to Advent 2009, we are invited to pause and focus on the theme: «In the beginning was the Word: Dominic, Preacher of Grace». During this year we the nuns are encouraged to focus in a particular way on Lectio Divina and to study the documents related to the recent Synod of Bishops on “the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church”.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


A religious vocation is above all a response to Jesus Christ – a going out of the heart in love to Him whom we believe has called us. To believe in His call we must know Him and this knowledge is not a cold intellectual knowledge but rather an experiential knowing in love and with that knowing a person responds with all one’s heart.A vocation is a call from the living Christ to follow Him, just as He called Peter and Andrew from their fishing nets. In St Mark’s Gospel (Mk 10: 17f) we have a beautiful example of a call from Jesus. As Jesus was setting out on a journey Mark tells us that a young man ran up and kneeling before Him asked what he should do to win eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments and He listed them for him: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not defraud, honour your father and mother etc. But this young man could honestly say: “I have kept all these ever since I was a boy”. At this point we are told very simply: “Jesus looked steadily at him, loved him and said: ‘one thing you lack, go, sell everything you have, give the money to the poor and then come, follow me.’” This is the essence of a vocation: Jesus looks on a person and loves her/him and the response can be like Peter and Andrew, James and John when they left their boats and their livelihood to follow Jesus (Mk 1:16f; Lk 5:1) or the response can be like that of the rich young man “who turned away sad because he had much wealth”. At least he was sad and he knew the personal love of Jesus who had looked into his eyes and loved him, but he turned away ‘sore in dread lest having Him he must have naught else beside” (The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson).Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He still calls people to leave everything and follow Him in love so that they may share with Him in His saving work. A vocation is always a divine initiative and it requires from us love’s response. It implies an invitation to friendship and intimacy with Jesus and through Him with the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.Jesus’ call is gentle and unobtrusive – He does not force but while gently inviting us He waits for our free response. He accepts us as we are with our fears and weakness and all our human failure. In fact very often fear accompanies a genuine vocation – Mary was afraid when the angel announced to her that she was to conceive and give birth to a son. But once we say our ‘yes’ God’s grace is always there to support us.A vocation to the monastic contemplative way of life is never a ‘me – myself’ affair – through Baptism we are members of the one Body of Christ – the Church. We carry in our heart the joys, hopes and fears of all humankind especially the poor and suffering. When we come before the Lord in prayer we never come alone but bring all those near and dear to us as well the countless masses that we have never met. They are all there in our hearts as we come into God’s presence to ask for His love and mercy for all of us and we know that our God answers our prayer according to His own mysterious plan.