21 September 2016: Celebrate Being Alive

 

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Pilgrims – celebrating friendship – in the footsteps of Marie Madeleine. 2014.

“A birthday,” said my daughter, “is to celebrate how long you’ve been alive.”

 

We worked out how old Marie Madeleine would be if she were still with us today: two hundred and thirty-five.

Though the years are numbered, one can say that her spirit lives on with each story told, each memory shared and every time we pause to reflect on her life. To celebrate Marie Madeleine’s birth and life, we need not ceremony or lavish feasts, but hearts that are open to meeting her, and in turn, God’s gifts to the Church.* We can read about her, as my daughter has done so tonight in curiosity and interest, or we can hold near to us, what knowledge or insight we’ve gained over the period we’ve known her. We can reflect on the physiological aspects of her life: her birthplace, the family to which she was born, the time period in France, and ponder their significance or effect; or we can look at her legacy in the lives of her direct descendants, or the order of nuns she founded, and in the lives of many whom she continues to inspire.

Today is also the International Day of Peace, and I draw from the words of the newly-canonised St Teresa of Calcutta: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” Celebrate being alive, with those nearest to you, may they be your family, your community or whomever lives in your heart.

 

*We remember that Marie Madeleine has been declared Venerable by the Catholic Church, formally recognising her saintly virtues. Here is a Prayer for Healing, which you might like to say:

 

More details about the Cause for the Canonization of Marie Madeleine can be found on the Society’s web site.

 

 

Day 27 of #31DayswithIgnatius

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Be still and know that I am God.

#31dayswithIgnatius #rest #still #peace #prayforpeace

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Day 24 of #31dayswithIgnatius

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#Day24of31withIggy: A news headline from #TheSun paper, dated #1945, found today while browsing through antiques.
It struck me because while it marked a #historical time, I cannot help but think of the recent happenings around the #world, especially in #Europe.

God, we ask for your love to fill the minds and hearts of those who inflict #hurt. May #compassion and #peace win over.
#31dayswithIgnatius #history #ww2 #worldwartwo #wwii #humanity #humans #currentaffairs #news #media #vintage #Antique #paper #press #history #historical #prayer

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Day 13 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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Today’s insight comes from #discernment of spirits. St Ignatius taught that #consolation is an increase of grace, the good spirit “strengthens and encourages… establishes#peace” whereas the #badspirit “proposes all the problems and difficulties in living a good life”. [#spex315]

I am especially #grateful for this insight. And am so grateful for my #Ignatian#formation in unlocking this. (Quotes from#SpEx from “Draw Me Into Your Friendship” by David Fleming)

#31dayswithIgnatius #IgnatianSpirituality#LoyolaPress @loyolapress #qotd #quote

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Day 6 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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Day 6 of #31DaysWithIggy: Encountered a person who is not at#peace; a troubled soul. It’s taken me a little while to articulate what I wish to express to her and to all those who suffer and blame the world around them with hostility. I know I’ve been there before in my own self. I’m sure you have too. So together let’s #prayforpeace

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Video: All Souls

In remembering All Souls’ Day, we recall and give thanks for the lives of so many who’ve gone before us.

Vinita Hampton-Wright from Days of Deepening Friendship has this simple reflection you may find helpful in your prayer.

Insight: Peacemaking Calls for Courage

We recall the words of Marie Madeleine: “Have courage and confidence, but above all, great confidence. “. Today, with thanks to the Redemptorists of Australia & New Zealand’s prayer app, Bread 4 Today, we have a prayer for peace offering the following insight that peace ultimately calls for courage.

Peacemaking calls for courage to say:

  • ‘yes’ to encounter and ‘no’ to conflict;
  • ‘yes’ to dialogue and ‘no’ to violence;
  • ‘yes’ to negotiations and ‘no’ to hostilities;
  • ‘yes’ to respect and ‘no’ to provocation;
  • ‘yes’ to candour and ‘no’ to deceit.

It is a long, hard road!

Peace Road, Saudi Arabia | Keeping-Company.com

Image: ‘Peace Road’ sign in Tabouk, Saudi Arabia by ChrisVSWorld, via Flickr.com.

Let us take time to not only pray for peace, especially in the Middle East, and for all who suffer the effects of war and hostility the world over, but also to ponder how we render peace in our lives. How are we courageous men and women,  in order to become peace?    

The Advent

Aside

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The Advent

by Anthony de Mello SJ

The events of history were controlled
for my coming to this world
no less than for the coming of the Savior.
The time had to be ripe,
the place just right,
the circumstances ready,
before I could be born.

God chose the parents of his Son
and endowed them with the personality they needed
for the child that would be born.
I speak to God about the man and woman that he chose to be my parents
until I see that they had to be
the kind of human beings they were
if I was to become
what God meant me to be.

The Christ child comes, like every other child,
to give the world a message.
What message have I come to give?
I seek guidance from the Lord to express it
in a word
or image.

Christ comes into this world
to walk a certain path,
fulfil a certain destiny.
He consciously fulfilled what had be “written” for him.
As I look back I see in wonder what was “written”
and thus far been fulfilled
In my own life,
And for each part of that script,
However small,
I say, “Thanks”
To make it holy with my gratitude.

I look with expectation
and surrender
at all that is to come
and, like Christ,
I say, “Yes. Let it be done.”

Finally I recall the song the angels sang
when Christ was born.
They sang of the peace and joy
that give God glory.

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As we travel more closely toward the Feast of Christmas, may we continue to be mindful of all that we have been given in terms of graces, insight and memory. May we continue to strive to walk with God and follow Him, and to do so especially with those who need our help.

Thank you for your support and encouragement, input and contribution. We would like to wish you a happy holy and Merry Christmas, filled with the peace of Christ and the joy of salvation.

Ubuntu and the Peaceable Kingdom

Following on from the previous post about Boyd Varty’s TED talk, let us open up a discussion about the ubuntu philosophy and the peaceable kingdom of Isaiah.

In 2008, Anglican archbishop, Desmond Tutu shared some thoughts on ‘ubuntu’:

One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu – the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity.We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.

Keeping-Company.com Ubuntu

Let’s have another look at Isaiah 11:1-5:

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

What do these two texts speak of the call and challenge of living righteously? Of living harmoniously? Of being people for others, in striving to restore justice?

Ask for the grace of stillness, so you may listen and recognise the gentle voice of God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in this.

Advent at Twilight: Justice will reign (2nd Week of Advent)

New Zealand by air. Justice will reign. Keeping-Company.com

2nd Sunday of Advent: Justice will reign

Written by Geralyn Tan for Keeping Company. 2013.

The coming of God’s reign will bring peace. It will bring harmony, and restore a balance where all will be put into right relationship.

Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.

Justice will show itself as deep peace, profound tenderness and overwhelming compassion.

There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD.

Listen to On That Holy Mountain by Joe Mattingly, which expresses so hopefully not only the ideals of peace and justice, but the promises of them too, provided we are faithful.

In the Gospel passage, we hear of John the Baptist, who lived and preached in the wilderness, outside of towns and villages, far from the comforts the people of Jerusalem, as an example, might have known in the city. One can imagine the coarseness of his appearance. He did not choose fine silk for his clothes or fattened calf and extra-virgin olive oil with pita bread for his diet. He was a stand-out sort of character and he did not fit the norm.

Yet people went to him. They went in droves, outside of their comforts to listen to his preaching and to be baptised by him. Why? Perhaps he was charismatic and could tell a good story. Or perhaps he challenged the people to ‘walk the talk’.

We have seen in the beautiful examples of Pope Francis, the work he does in restoring right relationship, in bringing about the kingdom of God. His embrace of the poor, the excluded and the little ones offers and gives to them, a profound sense of love. Vinicio Riva, the disfigured man whom Francis embraced has spoken out saying that he only felt love. In describing the encounter, he said that it felt like eternity.

In our daily encounters then, we are invited to seek out the poor and the needy, so that we may be bearers of Christ’s light to them through mercy, compassion, tenderness and welcome. In producing good fruit as evidence of our repentance, in walking the words of the good news, we help to bring about this peace.

In what ways might we be as an experience of heavenly peace and harmony for others? In what ways have you experienced this deep sense of unity?