Holy Thursday 2017: Service and Love



Image: “The Washing of the Feet” by Ghislaine Howard (2004)

Service and love – two key themes for reflection on the feast of the Lord’s Supper, that we celebrate today, this Holy Thursday.

To love without service is not really love, because love calls us out of ourselves and into the other. To serve without love might work for a little while, but it inevitably brings difficulties, because the mere doing of tasks that do not come from a place of love eventually bears nothing.

It is my personal prayer for each one of you, and in holding the memory of Marie Madeleine whose feast was 5th April, that love and service be part of your daily activity. My own heart is filled with love and gratitude at being able to serve in my own way, through these blog posts. With blessings for you, this Triduum, and toward Easter.



FCJ Mission and Identity Promoter

Day 18 of #31DaysWithIgnatius


Have been thinking about my #motives today; about my intentions, and why I do the things I do. I’ve tried to be as Mary, to evaluate the#inner, rather than jump from one task to the next task, like Martha. What it comes down to is this reminder and challenge: to clothe oneself with kindness, #compassion, tenderness and mercy. To serve from a place of love, yes, but not without first attending to Love by sitting still.

#31dayswithIgnatius #marymartha #gospel#reflection #meditation #self #awareness#prayer #ignatian #mercy #love #Jesus

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 2 of #31DaysWithIgnatius


#day2of31withIggy: The #sun is setting on 2 July 2016; Election Day in#Australia. This goes out with a #prayer for peace, for guidance and adherence to the #HolySpirit; indeed the good spirits that #StIgnatius teaches us about following, under the banner of #Christ.

The right to #vote is something I take seriously, and something I am so grateful for, since so many in the world are denied a voice for effective change. I bring to mind the #asylumseekers and#refugees who’ve ran from their homelands to seek a safe haven in Oz, especially those locked up and denied#freedom. May God rouse our leaders to compassion, righteousness and love under the values of all that is holy and good. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

#31dayswithIgnatius #findingiggy#IgnatianSpirituality #spex #fcjasau #fcj#sunset #nature #phonephotography#nofilter #amdg


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’. Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

Our Lady’s Blessing


“Our Lady of Tenderness” Icon, written by my own mother, Cecilia Tan, 2012.

For Mother’s Day today, we pause to remember the maternity of Marie Madeleine, but also of the many sisters who followed in maternal likeness. We continue to pray for the Society, and for the FCJ Sisters; that each may continue to strive toward and serve in the likeness of maternal selflessness, warmth and compassion. We remember our own mothers and mother-figures too.

We ask the intercession of Our Lady, the model exemplar of motherhood to inspire and encourage us in our mission as companions of Christ. We do so, in the recitation of the FCJ Society prayer,

Our Lady’s Blessing

Holy Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Queen, Superior General of our Society, our Mother, Mother of the Novices, Postulants, and Companions in Mission, and Mother of all those to whom we are sent, pray for us.

My good Mother, beg of your divine Son to give us his blessing, and please give us yours also: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Holy Feast: Holy Thursday 2016

Holy Thursday. The feast of the Lord’s Supper.


“Did you know that Holy Thursday is a special feast for the FCJs?” I commented.

My daughter replied, “That’s clever!”

“Why is that clever?”

“Because the FCJs were founded on a holy day.”

I probed a little further for her to tell me what Holy Thursday is about. The body and blood of Christ. Jesus’ gift.

I asked if she could explain it to me as if I hadn’t heard of this person called Jesus. “What words could we use to describe it that were universal?” We thought about it together and we both agreed on:

Love and friendship
Communion and community.

It’s about fellowship and companionship and relationship.

As we enter this holy space of the Triduum, perhaps you too, might ask yourselves how you would explain Holy Thursday to someone who hasn’t even heard of Jesus.

Happy Feast to all, and especially to the FCJ family.


Jesus in daily life with this painting on an urban wall.

Mid-Lent Heart Check-up

The following extract is from a reflection from the Apostleship of Prayer. It provides a succinct and accessible way to check in with God as a cardiac review of sorts, midway through Lent. I encourage you to click through the link to read the entire exercise.


Heart Check-Up
A couple of weeks ago, I shared an excerpt from Pope Francis’ Message for Lent 2015:

During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord: “Fac cor nostrum secundum cor tuum”: Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.

“Make our hearts like yours.”

How’s that going?

– Original source: Apostleship of Prayer

Source: Apostleship of Prayer

Insight: The Slow, Patient Love (Omid Safi)


Too often, at least from personal experience, busyness gets in the way of forming and sustaining bonds. Yes, we are busy, however we are robbed in the process, of something fundamental to life: intimacy.  Omid Safi shares his thoughts on this, in this article.

What kind of love do we show? Can we be more present? More attentive? More sincere?

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.

Image of Veronica: What does tenderness look like?

I found a postcard someone sent me, here it is below with some text I added:

What does tenderness look like?
When have you wiped the face of another, sunken in their suffering?
Have you let another soothe your aches? Have you received their kindness with graciousness?


22 July 2014: Feast of St Mary Magdalene

Today’s feast day reflection on St Mary Magdalene is from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

The Risen One

Until his final hour he had never
refused her anything or turned away,
lest she should turn their love to public praise.
Now she sank down beside the cross, disguised,
heavy with the largest stones of love
like jewels in the cover of her pain.
But later, when she came back to his grave
with tearful face, intending to anoint,
she found him resurrected for her sake,
saying with greater blessedness, “Do not –”
She understood it in her hollow first:
how with finality he now forbade
her, strengthened by his death, the oils’ relief
or any intimation of a touch:
because he wished to make of her the lover
who needs no more to lean on her beloved,
as, swept away by joy in such enormous
storms, she mounts even beyond his voice.


Photo: G. Anderson, 2014.

For Reflection:
When has the need to let go in your grief led to “joy in such enormous storms”?

Have you experienced this? Are you being called to do just this? What might the joys on the ‘other side’ look like?