Sunday, June 26, 2011

Solemn Profession of Sr Mary Teresa

We invite all our readers to join us in spirit on Wednesday the 29th June as Sr Mary Teresa makes her solemn profession as a Dominican nun. In the above photo the Master of the Dominican Order, Bro Bruno Cadoré OP, extends his best wishes to Sr Mary Teresa on his recent visit to our monastery.

Those of you who live close by are welcome to join us in the chapel. Mass begins at 12.30 p.m.

We hope to share with you later in the week the highlights of this special day.

Feast of Corpus Christi

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (6:51-58) for this Corpus Christi Sunday, what struck me forcibly was the word ‘life’ and ‘living’. In the Gospel this word appears 11 times. The opening line contains it:

I am the living bread which has come down from Heaven.

And the last line contains it:
anyone who eats this bread will live forever

In his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Bl Pope John Paul II takes up this theme of life:
The Church draws her life from the Eucharist

and again:
Proclaiming the death of the Lord ‘until he comes’ entails that all who take part in the Eucharist be committed to changing their lives and making them in a certain way completely ‘ Eucharistic’

Each day and every day we are privileged to receive this ‘living bread’. I ask myself am I truly and consciously aware of the ‘life’ that should be growing in me, that should be changing me?

If I am receiving this ‘life’ what growth is taking place in me? These questions have challenged me over the last couple weeks.

Jesus himself encourages us to draw life from Him in this Gospel:

As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father,so whoever eats me will draw life from me

And to quote Bl Pope John Paul II again:
From this living bread the Church draws her nourishment (7)

When referring to ‘life’ I have to keep reminding myself that it is supernatural life we are speaking of - the life of grace and not natural physical life.

St. Thomas distinguishes and compares these two types of ‘life’ – the life of the body and the life of the spirit in his treatise on the effects of the Eucharist when he says:

Our spiritual life is sustained, built up, restored and contented by the Eucharist in the same way that the physical body is nourished by food.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him.

People have different views about what ‘life’ and really ‘living’ mean. In the secular world it might include having a good time, having plenty of money, taking regular holidays abroad, having a great variety of entertainment. If only people would give as much attention to their spiritual needs as they do to all their other needs I’m sure they would be happier. Today there is this great lack, imbalance and disorder in people’s lives. We need to reclaim the great truth of the Eucharist as Bl Pope John Paul II expressed so well:

The Eucharist, as Christ’s saving presence in the community of the faithful and its spiritual food, is the most precious possession which the Church can have in her journey through history.(9)

and :

The Eucharist is the gift par excellence, for it is the gift of Himself, of His Person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work.(11)

Truly, in the Eucharist, Jesus shows us a love which goes “to the end” - a Love which knows no measure.(11)

Realizing all this and living out of it and from it is true life. Again St. Thomas reminds us:

How precious and wonderful is this banquet, which brings us salvation and is full of all delight!

No sacrament contributes more to our salvation than this; for it purges away our sins, increases our virtues, and nourishes our minds with an abundance of all the spiritual gifts. (Pg. 31, V.III)

There exists a union between God and people which is thoroughly real and continuous, a union in which Christians share in the life of God, who is the Father’s giving of himself.

We are offered so much of this true life in the Eucharist for Jesus Himself has said elsewhere:
I am the Way the Truth and the Life.

The only way I can gauge that this life is growing in me is if the fruits of the spirit are evident in my life – I ask myself am I growing in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control? (Gal 5:22) Receiving the Eucharist daily I have really no excuse not to.

And so we pray in the second opening prayer of the Mass for this feast of Corpus Christi:

Lord Jesus Christ,
we worship you living among us
in the sacrament of your body and blood.

May we offer to our Father in heaven
a solemn pledge of undivided love.
May we offer to our brothers and sisters
a life poured out in loving service of that Kingdom
where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Visit of the Master of the Order

On Thursday 16th June we had the joy of welcoming to our monastery, the Master of the Dominican Order, Frere Bruno Cadoré OP, who was on a short visit to the Irish Province of Dominican friars. He was accompanied by the provincial Pat Lucey, OP, Larry Collins OP, the vicar of the Master for our Monastery and Gregory Carroll OP the prior of St Saviour's Dublin. Our brothers from the local priory, Dermot Brennan OP, Joseph Heffernan OP and Christopher O'Brien OP joined us for the occasion. After a short meeting in the parlour we celebrated Vespers at which Frere Bruno preached - some of the local Lay Dominicans were present in our chapel for this. Afterwards we had a meal in the community room. we are happy to share some photos of the occasion with readers of this blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday

Recently I awakened around 4 a.m. to a howling south west wind knocking furiously against the window, the large drops of rain are running 'pit pat' and I marvel at its power and playfulness. Then through all this – guess? - the single voice of a lone bird penetrates clearly this cascade of sound. I listen hardly daring to breathe when suddenly within moments the great dawn chorus breaks out, filling the air with beauty and joy, and harmony. The words of the Psalm we would sing later come to mind: 'The Lord fills the earth with His love'

I too marvel at the majesty of our God and remember the time that Moses asked Yahweh: 'Show me your glory’ and Yahweh replied ‘I will let my splendour pass in front of you ------ here in a place beside me, you must stand on the rock. And when my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and shield you as I pass by. (Exodus 33)

And here I am being made aware of the 'glory' of my God at play outside my window-pane.!

We could say much more and still fall short: to put it concisely 'He is all'
Many mysteries remain even greater than these,
for we have seen only a few of his works,
the Lord himself having made all things.
(Eccles 43)

Today on Trinity Sunday our first Reading at Mass presents us with another scene from the Book of Exodus where God reveals himself to Moses as “a God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness”.
This is the same God who revealed himself in human form in the Person of Jesus Christ. St John’s Gospel which we read this morning tells us:

God loved the world so much
that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
but may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
not to condemn the world,
but so that through him the world might be saved.

(Jn 3:16 – 18)

St Paul in the second Reading reminds us that the God of love and peace will be with us if try to be helpful to each other and live in peace and harmony with each other.

We remember Blessed Pope John Paul II's exhortation Novo Millennio Ineunte at the beginning of this century:

To make the Church the home and the school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning, if we wish to be faithful to God's plan and respond to the world's deepest yearnings.

But what does this mean in practice? Here too, our thoughts could run immediately to the action to be undertaken, but that would not be the right impulse to follow. Before making practical plans, we need to promote a spirituality of communion, making it the guiding principle of education wherever individuals and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons, and pastoral workers are trained, wherever families and communities are being built up.

A spirituality of communion indicates above all the heart's contemplation of the mystery of the Trinity dwelling in us, and whose light we must also be able to see shining on the face of the brothers and sisters around us.

A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body, and therefore as "those who are a part of me". This makes us able to share their joys and sufferings, to sense their desires and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship.

A spirituality of communion implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a "gift for me".

A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6:2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy. Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, "masks" of communion rather than its means of expression and growth.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Video of the Eucharistic Congress Bell

Below is a fifteen minute video clip of what happened with the Bell throughout the Armagh Archdiocese - it includes footage of the Bell's visit to our Monastary (at 8.16min) and to our Dominican brethren in Drogheda (at 5.30 min)

You might also be interested in the reflection given by one of our nuns on the occasion of the visit - click here