Thursday, 22 April 2010

Fr Seán ÓLaoire

I get very enthusiastic when I find someone who I feel has a message for me. This chap is no exception. I think others who read this blog will also find an interest in him. I particularly think of Gay Mystic who if he doesn't know Fr Sean O'Laoire by now he soon will do.

I have pasted a sermon as a taster below. If you would like to find out more click here for more sermons or here for his website. meanwhile click below and listen to his sermon.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

ONE : The Movie

Just discovered this interesting movie which asks the following 20 questions to a range of spiritual leaders, writers and so on. ONE filmmakers asked 20 questions of religious and spiritual teachers as well as artists, authors, atheists, and people on the street.

The answers are intertwined with the image of a “nameless traveler” who has grown weary with the suffering and negativity of the world, and who begins a search for meaning and truth. The religious documentary covers a broad range of spiritual and philosophical themes such as the source of fear, enlightenment, spirit, the meaning of life, compassion, life after death, diversity, the nature of God and Heaven, and religion (including Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sufism, Taoism, New Age, New Thought Spirituality, Hare Krishna, Native American Spirituality, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Christian Fundamentalism).

ONE also explores contemporary themes of war, conflict, terrorism, peace, global change, social responsibility, and environmental concerns. Prior to editing the movie, the filmmakers consulted with contemporary American philosopher Ken Wilber, founder of the Integral Institute.

The 20 Questions asked of participants were:

1.Why is there poverty and suffering in the world?
2.What is the relationship between science and religion?
3.Why are so many people depressed?
4.What are we all so afraid of?
5.When is war justifiable?
6.How would God want us to respond to aggression and terrorism?
7.How does one obtain true peace?
8.What does it mean to live in the present moment?
9.What is our greatest distraction?
10.Is current religion serving its purpose?
11.What happens to you after you die?
12.Describe heaven and how to get there?
13.What is the meaning of life?
14.Describe God?
15.What is the greatest quality humans possess?
16.What is it that prevents people from living to their full potential?
17.Non-verbally, by motion or gesture only, act out what you believe to be the current condition of the world.
18.What is your one wish for the world?
19.What is wisdom and how do we gain it?
20.Are we all One?

Benedict XVI's fifth pontifical anniversary

International Movement We are Church asks all the faithful to support Hans Kueng’s open letter to the bishops

The International Movement We are Church regrets that the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict XVI's election is so much tarnished by the deep crisis our Church at present is undergoing. We refer to the world-wide disclosure of sexual abuse scandals and their cover up for such a long time.

"It is not growing secularism that has caused the most profound crisis of our Church, but the inability of the Papacy to read the signs of the time", declares Raquel Mallavibarrena from the Spanish Somos Iglesia, present Chair of the International Movement We Are Church.

Read the whole article by clicking here or on the We Are Church logo.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Litany of Saints - John Becker

Found this setting of the Litany of Saints. I imagine their Easter Vigil celebration was a prayerful one.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

US Clergy abuse map

USA Clergy abuse map

So sad to have discovered this map of clergy abuse in USA. How many lives have been affected by their abuse ? When looking at the map (and I advise you to) remember those who were abused.

Click here to view the map

I felt compelled to place this on the blog as it is such a potent . . . can’t find words to describe it and I certainly haven’t worked out what it all means. What I do know is that any platitudes don’t deserve to be heard. A radical approach is necessary.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I enjoyed this prayer sent to me on the St Mary's in Community in Exile newsletter.


May God bless you with discomfort…
at easy answers, hard hearts.
half-truths and superficial relationships.
May God bless you so that you may live
from deep within your heart where God’s Spirit dwells.

May God bless you with anger…
at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people.
May God bless you so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe
that you can make a difference in this world and in your community,
so that you may courageously try what you don’t think you can do,
but in Jesus Christ you’ll have the strength necessary to do.

May God bless you that you remember we are called
to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place,
in and through God’s name, in God’s Spirit, continually creating and breathing
new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

Reminds of a prayer by Brennan Manning from "the Ragamuffin Gospel"

"May all your expectations be frustrated,
May all your plans be thwarted,
May all your desires be withered into nothingness
that you may experience the powerlessness
and poverty of a child
and sing,
and dance
in the compassion of God who is
Father, Son & Spirit.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Peace be with You !

At last . . . In terms of liturgy and being “in church” the long wait is over. Our Lenten fast and observance of the triduum liturgy is complete. Sometimes it feels like a marathon, an uphill struggle. At others we freewheel, but surely when the Easter Vigil is over it feels good if we are honest, in many different ways.

If you disagree with that statement how about reflecting back on the empty promises made over the past three nights by Peter and the disciples close to the Lord ! Yet it will come around again all too soon. This churchy mix of death and resurrection.

Real life feels very much the same. We relate to times when life gets hard and rejoice in the moments when life is good. This mixture of hot and cold, bad times and good times, scarcity and abundance is surely a mirrored reflection of death and resurrection.

In Matthew’s account of the resurrection (Mtt 28: 1-10), first an Angel and then Jesus say to those present, “Do not be Afraid.” In John’s gospel (Jn 20:19) Jesus says “Peace be with you,” to the disciples who had locked themselves in a room for fear of recrimination from the Jews.

These were Jesus’ first words to the women and disciples, many of whom had denied him, run away from him and were left confused at what was happening the previous day. Jesus didn’t judge or condemn. Instead he says,

“Do not be afraid”
“Peace be with you !”

To us also he meets us, just as we are, in all our goodness, in all our need and says,

“Do not be afraid”
“ Peace be with you !”

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Holy Saturday

All that had looked so hopeful, all the promise, all the feelings of being part of something ‘special’ were now crushed and replaced by grief, disbelief and fear of what was to come.

That Saturday after the first Good Friday was surely difficult for Jesus’ mother, disciples and friends.

What would have gone through their minds ? How would his mother have “pondered these things in her heart” ? (Lk 2:52).

Many know the pain of grief and loss. It has often been called the “price we pay for love.” We all respond to grief in different ways. Some go slowly over all of the events leading up to their loss again and again, as if drawing strength from last hours of their loved one.

Others seem to carry on with life as if new strength has been poured into their veins to cope with the stark reality. Still others heap recrimination on themselves. “Couldn’t I have done this for them?” “If only I’d have been there sooner?”

Common to all is how ‘unreal’ and yet so full of ‘reality’ this period after the death of a loved one is. It’s a very ‘different’ time in life. One that leaves it’s mark and ‘forms’ us, each in a different way. It can make sense or nonsense out of everything that went before.

How would Peter be feeling after his denial ? How would John be feeling after having Jesus’ head on him only two nights ago, and supporting, consoling Jesus mother ?

All of life is here as we try to hold on to ‘life’ so present to us, so emotionally raw. None of the rash words, promises or grand gestures that led up to Friday’s disaster. As with all bereavement we question, we weep, we feel empty, we wait . . .

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

All the events of Holy Thursday, the promises, remonstrations, and empty gestures become part of today’s events. Most of Jesus closest followers are nowhere to be seen. Those that are present were ‘watching from a distance.’ All the paradoxes continue. Why is today called ‘good,’ why is today’s liturgy called “A Celebration of the Lord’s Passion.” ?

We looked so closely at the stuttering and stumbling friendship of the followers of Jesus. Time and again they promised all to Jesus and got things so terribly wrong.

Ask yourself - Where do we see ourselves when reflecting on the passion narrative ? If we say we would try to prevent Jesus’ capture, surely we become Peter drawing his sword. Would we have said ’of course I know this man’ warming ourselves by the fire ? Would we have stood ’at a distance‘ ? All the shortcomings, frustrations, empty promises, paradoxes and gestures, present in the disciples, are they no less present in our lives also?

Much of life’s harsher side is here, including the dark side of human behaviour. If we know grief His mother is there, if we know anxiety for our children so too do the women of Jerusalem. There are angry crowds, unwilling help from Simon, mockery from the soldiers - “he saved himself”, two thieves, and despair. Yet in the midst of this, all is not as it seems. Jesus makes a promise that “today you will be with me in in paradise,” and the centurion gives “praise to God saying ‘this was a great and good man.’” What could possibly bring such light out of such darkness?

Today all our failures and shortcomings, stuttering and stumbling can be put to death with him. “He was pierced through for our faults . . . On Him lies the suffering that brings us peace and through His wounds we are healed.”


Although not a part of the Triduum, the events occurring after the last supper play an important part in the rest of the evening of Holy Thursday.

Confusion, anxiety and overstatement continue. “Even if I have to die, I will never disown you” says Peter to Jesus. Such strength of feeling for one who sleeps through his Masters immediate agony in the garden. At Jesus’ time of greatest need his friends are asleep.

Nothing is as it seems. Even a kiss becomes the sign of betrayal. Jesus does not condemn Judas, but calls him ‘my friend.’ Again his followers demonstrate strength of feeling by drawing their swords to prevent Jesus’ capture. They are reproved “put your sword back, for all who draw the sword, die by the sword.”

How can the disciples keep missing the mark ? Again and again they do not comprehend Jesus and yet make gestures, promises and grand statements, only to fall asleep when they are needed most, show they have not learned what they have heard from Jesus, and finally desert and deny the master they so passionately vowed to follow and support.

"Not I surely ?"

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Paschal Triduum : Holy Thursday

The first part of the Triduum begins with a message to everyone, “the whole community of Israel”. All are invited to eat together the same meal on this “day of festival.” A meal is prescribed, so too is how to cook it and even what to wear. Nothing is left to chance. (Exodus 12. 1-8, 11-14).

Our second reading takes us to another meal (1 Cor 11:23-26). Paul recalls Jesus’ action the night he was betrayed. It was simple, he thanked God for bread to eat and wine to drink. He then took us beyond the meal declaring “this is my body" and immediately gave of himself - “which is for you." Something new has begun. Jesus asks us to “do this as a memorial of me”.

Although the “Eucharist” is the ‘source and summit’ of our communities worship, it does not become the central theme of the night’s liturgy whose sub theme has long been the institution of the Eucharist. The Gospel takes us further. Instead of Jesus being “Master and Lord” he becomes the servant, turning the disciples expectations of him upside down. This ‘new’ revelation of Jesus is too much for some. Certainty is replaced with confusion, and misunderstanding of the paradox. “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" questions Peter. Jesus asks him to have faith and trust in him. “you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Jesus tries to explain, but even then, Peter overstates his case, to show he hasn't understood, “(wash) not only my feet but my hands and my head as well.”

Todays readings have taken us from the prescribed, certain, clear instructions in the book of Exodus of how the people of Israel must celebrate a feast in honour of the Lord, to a community who are confused and uncertain about their encounter with Jesus the 'Master.’ All they felt sure and certain of has been turned on it’s head. Their confusion and anxiety is not about to be resolved either . . .