Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feast of Christ the King

From all eternity , O Lord, you are Ps.92.

Our Responsorial Psalm in today’s Liturgy gives us an insight into the depth and origin – although He has no origin – of this Person, this One in Three, whom we call our God, our King – the one St. Teresa of Avila, affectionately addressed as “Your Majesty”-. “The world you made firm from of old – yes, from all eternity, you are’.

During the past week, a few other passages from our daily Scripture, helped me to fathom a little deeper this line: ‘From all eternity, O Lord, you are’.

Amos, the prophet, tells us:
‘He it was who formed the mountains, created the wind –
he made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns the dusk to dawn and the day to darkest night.
He has built his high place in the heavens,
and supported his vault on the earth. Amos 4:5,9.

And this is only a brief glimpse into the mystery and wonder of it all.

We have only to read what our Scientists tell about the origins of our mountains and streams, our stars and planets, created billions of years ago – our minds boggle at the whole geographic scene, and yet this same mighty God is He who comes to us in a wafer of bread, and a drop of wine – his Body and Blood consecrated by the Priest at every Mass. As Cardinal John Henry Newman prayed: “You are now, though in Heaven, just the same as you were on earth; the mighty God and yet the little child – the all holy yet all sensitive one” – our Lord and King inviting us into His Kingdom. Only by faith can we even dimly comprehend this mystery – this love story.

‘Jesus, my King, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech you send me what I long for so,
Some day to gaze on you face to face in light,
And be blest forever with your glory’s sight.
St. Thomas Aquinas O.P.

And now, your Majesty, I make one last prayer in the words of Jesus, your Son:

"Father, I want these you have given me to be with me where I am – so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundations of the world" Jn:24.17.

Yes, indeed Father, may your Kingdom come to every one of your children.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meeting of the International Commission of Dominican Nuns


Our community was privileged to host the annual meeting of the International Commission of Dominican Nuns from the 6th to the 13th October 2012.

The International Commission comprises eleven nuns who represent the eleven 'regions' into which the Domincan Nuns are divided.  They meet each year with the promoter for the nuns - presently Fr Brian Pierce OP hold this position.  The commission cannot legislate for the nuns but they are an important organ of communication between the Master of the Order and the nuns and also foster communication among the nuns themselves. 

It was a great joy for us to welcome these sisters, some of whom came from as far away as the Phillipines, South Africa, Peru, Mexico and USA while others came from countries nearer home - Italy, Czech Republic, Spain and Switzerland.  Fr Pablo Condrac OP joined them for a few days. All the meetings are conducted in English/Spanish - this year a Lay Dominican, Monica Maher who works in South America did the necessary translation from Spanish to English and English to Spanish.  The Eucharist, Lauds and Vespers were celebrated in Spanish on two days during the week. 

The members of the commission work very hard during this annual meeting but this did  not prevent them from joining our community on two evenings for the evening meal and recreation in our community room.  Mid week they took a day off and visited Glendalough - a few of our community accompanied them - unfortunately it was the one day that week which rained all day!! Later in the day we visited the Dominican Sisters in Wicklow who warmly welcomed us and told us about their work in the ecology centre. On our return jouney we joined our Domincan brothers in St Saviour's Priory for Vespers and supper where again we received a very warm welcome.

One of the highlights of the week was a cultural evening of song and dance - our photos do not fully capture the atmosphere of joy which pervaded our time together - however, we share them with you in order to give a little glimpseof what was a very happy and joyful evening.









Visit to Glendalough



Reflection on the Gospel - 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, we see an anxious Scribe asking Jesus, ‘which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied. ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength’ – heart –soul – mind, strength, these are extremely strong words; if we stop to ponder them deeply, each contains a great depth of meaning, a call to give our love totally to God with every fibre of our being. Most of us are familiar with these words of Jesus. For myself, it is loving God with all my heart and soul and strength, that has always struck me forcibly, but reflecting anew on this Gospel text, it was the word ‘mind’ which drew my attention today.
What does it mean to love God with all my mind? At first sight it sounds very intellectual and even calculating, though we do speak of a person having a beautiful mind, or of someone asking us to be mindful of them in our prayer or in some other way. Our minds are indeed a very precious gift from God.

But it is the heart which is known world-wide as a symbol of love - we hear people say ‘I love this or that person with all my heart, but I have never yet heard anyone say, I love you with all my mind, there would surely be a few raised eyebrows, to say the least!

It is interesting to note that the Scribe who asked Jesus this question responded by saying: ‘Well spoken, Master; ……to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength….this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice’. He uses the word ‘understanding’ instead of ‘mind’ and this gives us the insight we need to ponder and reflect upon.

St. Paul enlightens us further when in his letter to the Philippians 2;1-6 he says; ‘ If in Christ there is anything to move you, any incentive to love….I appeal to you, make my joy complete by being of single mind, one in love, one in heart and one in mind. Make your own the mind of Christ’, he entreats us, ‘who being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped but he emptied himself.’ To be called to make our own the mind of Christ is indeed a profound, even fearful, challenge.

St. Paul throws further light on this call to love God with our minds as well as our hearts ,when in his letter to the Romans 12:1-2 he pleads with us ‘I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to God – a living sacrifice….the worship offered by mind and heart’. Further on in the same letter he again exhorts us ‘let your minds be re-made and your whole nature thus transformed. Then, and only then, will you be able to discern the will of God and to know what is good, acceptable and perfect’.
For those of us called to the Dominican way of life, our Rule reminds us the first reason for which we are gathered together in community is to live in harmony having one mind and heart in God.

In this year of Faith which our Holy Father Pope Benedict has inaugurated, he says in his Apostolic letter: ‘ever since the start of my ministry as Successor of Peter, I have spoken of the need to rediscover the journey of faith so as to shed ever clearer light on the joy and renewed enthusiasm of the encounter with Christ’… he goes on to say ‘we must rediscover a taste for feeding ourselves on the Word of God…and on the Bread of life. What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart, by the Word of the Lord, and capable of opening the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end’.

Pope Benedict ends his Apostolic letter by inviting us to ‘entrust this time of Grace to the Mother of God, proclaimed ‘blessed because she believed’. (Lk:1.45)

Responding generously to the appeal of Pope Benedict, with the help of God’s ever present Grace, we will truly be responding to today’s Gospel passage i.e. to ‘to love God with every fibre of our being , heart, soul, mind and strength’ as Mary did.