Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eucharistic Congress Bell

On Tuesday the 29th of March we had the privilege of welcoming the Eucharistic Congress Bell during its tour of Armagh Diocese in preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress 2012. Below are the texts of two reflections given by our Sisters during the welcoming ceremony. The first is an short Introduction and the second is based on the icon of Our Lady of Refuge, which accompanies the Bell (see photo).

For Christians the bell has long been associated with the invitation to gather, the sound being perceived as God’s voice, God’s call which draws people to assemble.

Our day here in this monastery is punctuated by the sound of the bell calling us to leave our work and assemble in God’s presence to sing His praises and intercede for our Church and our world – begging for His mercy on ourselves and on people everywhere.

A bell is a symbol both visible and audible. As we hear this bell being rung tonight may we respond wholeheartedly to the invitation to begin our pilgrim journey of preparation for the forthcoming Eucharistic congress. We pray that it will be a time of grace – a time of healing and renewal for all of us and for the whole Irish Church – a time when we grow in awareness of the abiding Presence of our Risen Saviour.

Speak Lord, you have the message of Eternal life and may we hear and respond following the example of Mary, your mother and ours.

Our Lady of Refuge (Reflection)
Near the Cross of Jesus stood His mother

At the cross her station keeping
stood the mournful mother weeping
close to Jesus to the end.

Christ above in torment hangs
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.

Make me feel as thou hast felt
make my soul to grow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.

To be with you Mary in this place where you are at the feet of your dying Son – to say nothing - to gaze at your face, - to say nothing, but only to sing because my heart is too full, because you are beautiful Mary even in your grief, because you are a women of courage and fortitude, a woman of such faith that did not waver in the darkness.

Dear Holy Spirit who once overshadowed Mary we ask you during this year of preparation for our Eucharistic Congress to come and brood over us and let your power overshadow once again our Irish people. Come into our hearts with fire and love and make them one with Mary's love and Mary's will to save the world so that we with her, His Mother, may bring Jesus to the world and to the souls who hunger for Him, so that they and we, renewed through the power of his Sacred Passion, may once again become a missionary nation. And then when the battle is won may we reign with her forever in the Glory of the Trinity.
Our Lady of Refuge we thank you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Spirit if the Lord seized on David, and stayed with him. (first reading at Mass)

“The Spirit of the Lord seized on David.” This is the strength that is given to great hearts, this is the light of brave and faithful souls, that unhesitatingly can believe what they cannot see with the eyes of the body and direct their longings beyond the range of human sight.

In 1 John 4.16 we read: "We have known and believed the love that God has for us.”
If we believe and know that the Spirit is love, then we have a means to return love with love.

If we know and believe in our heart that we too have been seized by this same Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation then we will know that this great love is above us, and around us and in us. It will make no difference whether we sense God’s Presence or not, it should make no difference whether He sends us joy or pain, because we believe in His personal love for each one. Indeed the more we are tested the more our faith grows, because faith in this Spirit Who has seized us pushes through all obstacles, until we are completely captivated by Him and unable to break out of the circle of His radiance.

It is true that David broke away from the Spirit's grasp from time to time, but in experiencing his own weakness he gave us, who are weak and sinful, that deeply repentant Psalm 50:

Have mercy on me God in your kindness
in your compassion blot out my offence,
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

It is so true, the Spirit of the Lord seizes us and helps us somehow in our very blindness to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus. With the man in to-day’s Gospel we beg the Spirit that we may see. He can change our cowardice through His gift of fortitude - we can see how the disciples experienced this. The Spirit became their armour so that they did not yield to the attacks of their persecutors, but held fast to the love of their Master and Teacher.

As our thoughts are with David we must not forget another heart which was also seized by the Spirit - Mary
"The Holy Spirit will came upon you Mary and the power of the most high will overshadow you"

Just as David left us his wonderful psalms, Mary gave us with THE WORD MADE FLESH through of the power of the Holy Spirit who seized her and stayed with her throughout her life.

Mary pray that we too may be seized more and more by this same Spirit.

“O consuming Fire, Spirit of love descend within me and reproduce in me as it were an incarnation of the Word that I may be to Him another humanity wherein he renews all His Mysteries.” (cf Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity).