Day 27 of #31DayswithIgnatius

IMG_20160727_220606

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).

One Way to Pray: Articulating Desire

Some unwelcome anxiety visited me recently. I grew restless, bothered and even fearful. But then I recalled a song and let it play, and soon this prayer became my prayer and the anxiety fleeted.

What I learnt here is that one way of praying is by being open and availing in oneself, space for the Spirit to work. Furthermore, this doesn’t always require words or gestures, merely presence and sincere desire.

God will take care of the rest.

image

This is my desire:
To honour you.

In my waking at first light.

Through each task before me,
Whether a challenge or easy.

In every word and thought
Every blessing and every greeting
In every grit and every grace

No matter the score
In victories or loss
In worry or doubt
In confidence or contentment

Until the cloak of night
At the end of the day.

This is my desire:
To honour you.

Where have you been open to God?

From the Archives: Veronica

Originally published in 2013. Updated version: Good Friday, 18 April 2014.

A quick Google search of “Veronica’s Veil” will bring up many images of the imprint of the face of Jesus on cloth, or of a woman holding out a cloth, such as this one by Hans Memling, c. 1470.

KEEPING-COMPANY.COM | Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus
Source: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus via Faith in the 21st Century

For this post however, I have deliberately chosen the one above because of the interaction between the two main figures. Notice the way in which Veronica faces Jesus front-on. She looks at him intently and he too, returns and holds her gaze. Furthermore, this image captures the moment of their meeting. Veronica is not exhibiting the shroud or veil on which the imprint of Jesus’ face as if Jesus has passed her by, or no longer alive. Both Jesus and Veronica meet, they breathe, they exchange glances, they both express some form of pain, vulnerability and need of each other. They both meet in mutual humanity.

Here, Veronica is portrayed as standing front-on, facing Jesus. Many images of the scene will show you either a woman exhibiting the shroud with a face on it, or some sort of representation that covers Jesus’ face. This artwork does neither. Jesus and Veronica are right there in the moment, as if someone has frozen time.

What do you see?

I see a woman standing, facing and confronting with compassion, the suffering of a man, her Lord and Saviour.

I see a woman present to the needs of her Master.

I see a faithful companion.

Prayer: For Looking Beyond the Visible

The following are the words of fellow blogger, Cookie, in response to the image of Pope Francis embracing the disfigured man. Her post touches on the importance of recognition – of being present to another, and in that, recognising them as who they are in the love of God.

Keeping Company Pope Francis

Photo credit: Unknown

Prayer for Looking Beyond the Visible

May we, may I,
Look beyond the visible surface of appearance, reaching out to those who yearn to be touched and loved and connected; to those who just wish to be sure of the companionship of another human being who recognizes that they too are human beings, longing for recognition and for the connection of a deep intrinsic bond – to touch and be touched; to love and be loved.

Amen, Amen

Graced Moment

rainbow, grace, FCJ, Keeping-Company.com

Image credit: ‘A Rainbow Appears’, Wellness360studio.com

Graced Moment

A yellow sunbeam beckoned me
before day turned to night;
the air was clear and magic,
the sky was bright.
To westward, sheets of golden silk
shimmered and glowed,
luminous clouds hung in the sky,
rippled and flowed.
I turned around, an urge to seek
the eastern sky,
and there, clear arched above the road –
a rainbow high.
Both ends were anchored in the earth,
a perfect bow,
a blessing from the sky above
and earth below.
The colours radiated clear,
distinct, yet one.
A double arc crept into view;
the work was done.
Such scenes have happened here
since time began:
an arc with seven rungs –
part of the plan
to lift our minds to cosmic truth
and draw us home
to love’s embrace, the ancient goal –
no more to roam.
A cosmic child, summoned to tell
all time and space,
Earth speaks of star-dust images –
Creator’s face.

– Sr Mary O’Shannessy FCJ

In Everyday Splendour (Melbourne: Poetica Christi Press, 2011), 104.

21 September: Birthday of Marie Madeleine d’Houët

It is with quiet endearment that I recall the events of my day today, Saturday 21 September 2013 – the anniversary of the birth of FCJ founder, the Venerable Marie Madeleine d’Houët.

Much like the post I wrote on her feast day, I had plans and desires to ‘make something’ of the day, if not physically by attending Mass with the Sisters in the Epping North community (after which was a short presentation given by Sr Maureen on the life of Marie Madeleine), then praying or reflecting more deeply on her life and legacy. It was a day of celebration for me, and also for the Sisters who have been such gracious companions to me in my role as Mission and Identity Promoter.

My husband and I made our way across town, (and then some!) to join the Sisters in thanksgiving. But when we got there, we received a phone call notifying us that my husband’s aunt was in hospital in a coma, “unlikely to last through the night.” So naturally, off we went again, this time to the hospital, sadly missing out on Mass and the presentation. Would this day come and go without anything ‘special’ to show for it?

Of course not! It was already beautiful in the way the setting sun dripped through the clouds. And as it grew dark, the lights from the highways and CBD enchanted me like the sighting of a circus tent. And although I missed out on meeting the Sisters, I knew I had to be present at the hospital, if nothing else then for moral support.

Somberly we arrived at the hospital, at the same time as my husband’s parents, unsure of what was going to happen but steady in our resolve to be there. We prayed the chaplet and called for a priest to give dear Kathy the anointing. My husband and I left soon after, but on the way to the car, we found the chapel and I saw this:

Alfred Hospital window, Keeping-Company.com

A window panel from the original Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.

Although our aunt’s situation is critical and we suspect her last days are upon us, being there and at prayer was peaceful. I like to think that Marie Madeleine would be pleased – I imagine, with her gentle smile. Yet even so, there it is, portrayed so beautifully in the window panel – the charism of the Sisters and the Companions-in-Mission – in waiting, watching, praying and being with the other, whomever in need.

So I close now, with thanks for the life of Marie Madeleine d’Houet, with thanks to God who called her to all she did in her life, and with thanks to the Sisters of the Faithful Companions of Jesus who in their hearts, desire daily that they will walk with us.

Happy birthday, beautiful lady!

Written by Geralyn Tan.

In Celebration of Twitter Joy

Keeping Company

There’s celebrity (noun., a well-known or famous person) and then there’s celebrated (verb., originally of the Mass, from the Latin celebrare, meaning ‘to assemble in honour’).

Keeping CompanyWe are celebrating that editor of America magazine, author and prolific Ignatian voice, Fr James Martin SJ (a celebrity-of-sorts in our view) is officially our first ‘follower’ on Twitter. This may sound like childish star-struck glee combined with a certain geekiness for all things Ignatian, but perhaps it is also in fact, a real celebration of life and the makings of connection.

Let me explain.

There is no fanciful media circus here, but a simple acknowledgment and recognition of the other. In our following of @JamesMartinSJ, we expand our network and even horizon by reading what he’s tweeting about. Likewise in his following of Keeping Company fcJ (@walkwithyoufcj), he too will receive tweets and updates about our work and mission. Of course in no way does it mean that we’re now best buds, but a connection has been made, especially so for us, I feel, because he is our ‘first’. (Oh gosh, maybe I am a star-struck geek!)

It always feels good, it is always affirming and it is always good news when people work together. This is what community is about, what Church is about, ekklesia. Too often we hear of one party in opposition of another, or of one group as distinct from another, what about drawing on what we share in common?

Inclusion, community, welcome, mutuality, humility, acceptance, recognition and connection – these are the values of the gospel. We may never meet, Fr Martin and our mob down under, but that doesn’t matter because working for the Kingdom of God is already gift and grace itself. To be called, to be chosen, to be followers of Christ, that is something to celebrate!

So don’t mind my geeky exuberance about this little and seemingly insignificant gesture – I am celebrating that God really is present here. Even on Twitter. Even on the Internet. Please join us on Twitter, and celebrate life with us. Like us on Facebook if you haven’t already. And keep reading, talking and giving us feedback! At the end of the day, it’s not about our cause of “FCJ mission and identity promotion”, but about working together with one another for the coming and already-present Kingdom of God. And don’t you think it’s already a little like heaven?  As Jesus said to his disciples: “I no longer call you servants, but friends…” (John 15:15)

For reflection

  • How have you spread the good news today?
  • How has joy shown itself in your day? Is it something you have shared?
  • Has an encounter made a difference to your day? Or perhaps you’ve made a difference in someone’s life?
  • We are not random and separate entities. Through our baptism and through the Spirit of God, we are united. By our very creation in God, we are all held together in love.

AMDG.

The Love You Seek

image

The full tweet from the Chopra Foundation:

image

INVITATION…
Still yourself.

Consider what it is you seek.

Contemplate where that love might be showing itself.

Practise being attentive and aware so you are alert.

Give thanks for the moment.

The Joy of Being in Company

image

We had a brief meeting today and my son came along for the ride. We managed to talk shop as well as play with him. I found these old tiles from a Scrabble set dating back to 1948, with the words ‘Novitiate FCJ’ imprinted on the box. We made words and enjoyed simply being with each other.

Something I read recently fits this sentiment:

At first sight, joy seems to be connected with being different. When you receive a compliment or win an award, you experience the joy of not being the same as others. You are faster, smarter, more beautiful, and it is that difference that brings you joy. But such joy is very temporary. True joy is hidden where we are the same as other people: fragile and mortal. It is the joy of belonging to the human race. It is the joy of being with others as a friend, a companion, a fellow traveler. | Henri Nouwen

My thought for the day then is that no matter where we are on the ‘board of life’, no matter the ‘level of difficulty’ at which we play, what remains important is that we are in it… not to win it, but simply to be in connection, in dialogue and in conversation. Such is the joy in companionship. Thanks be to God.