A Prayer for Openness


I don’t travel alone much, and when I do, I feel the whole process interiorly – from the planning of itinerary; to the packing, the transit and the journey.

I was reminded of one particular stay in Sydney two years ago when I was there for a conference. It was night, and many of the participants had either travelled in groups or were familiar with the locality. To add fun to the story, it was wet and quite cold that winter night, but because I was a Melbournian going to Sydney, I had decided on principle (and in stubbornness) that I wouldn’t need an umbrella with me. (Melbourne winters are not for suckers.) We had to organise our own meal and I was getting hungry and tired from the commute, and I was without the securities of shelter, familiarity and knowledge.


Sydney in the rain, by night, 19 August 2014. Image credit: G. Anderson.

I mustered courage and ventured out nevertheless, with a borrowed umbrella, and walked around the precinct awhile. Businesses were closing and people were going about their regular routine, leaving work, etc. It was not a tourist district, so everyone looked as though they knew where they were going. I did my best to imitate them, and found a haven of authentic #Japanese fare open, as if just for me. The interior was cosy and intimately lit (dark!), and I was the only customer at the time, yet there was something warm about it (apart from the steaming hot #miso). The service staff spoke little English but we managed with smiles. どうもありがとう 🙇

This was not the #Sydney I had known before, it was something else altogether, and in part, I think it was because I let myself be vulnerable yet reliant on whatever strengths I had in me.

When was the last time you lived with openness of spirit? Are you being called to openness? How can you be a welcome for someone today?



Prayer for Openness

God of Love,

Your birth knew no welcome on a barnyard floor

Your childhood estranged from the land of your home.

As an adult you lived among outsiders and lepers,

the lost and the forgotten, on the edges of sociability.

Rejected and renounced, to be abandoned by your kin

You were left to die alone, save for a few.

Even in rising, you were found unrecognised

yet remained ever faithful to the truth that is Love.

God of Love,

In knowing this, and in all you’ve given me,

Make me a haven of welcome and warmth,

that I too, may be open, to your coming again.

#spiritual #insight #instafood #restaurant #door #doorway #opendoor #travel#memories #fcjasau #mission

Advent at Twilight: Taking God into our Home (4th Week of Advent)

Advent at Twilight: Keeping-Company.com

4th Sunday of Advent: Taking God into our Home

Written by Geralyn Tan for Keeping Company. 2013.

The coming of Christ invites a response of hospitality and welcome, something that is present in every journey. We have come to the fourth and final installment in our Advent retreat. This week’s reflection, to use the journeying motif again, looks at the stage of homecoming. In any journey out, we rely on the hospitality of others to give us food, accommodation or company. But when we return, hospitality and homecoming to ourselves are just as important.

Consider for a moment, your identity as a person of faith in God, in light of the following verses from the Second Reading (Romans 1:1-7):

Through him we have received the grace of apostleship,
to bring about the obedience of faith,
for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles,
among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ;
to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy.

Keeping this in mind and heart, listen to O Come, Emmanuel as performed by The Piano Guys.

In the First Reading, Isaiah prophesies the coming of the one named Emmanuel. We are told the meaning of the name in Matthew’s gospel – God-with-us. Through the birth of the baby Jesus, God enters physically and bodily into our world.

God wants to be part of our world. God wants to be part of us. How do we welcome God into our homes, into our hearts?

The Christmas rush is upon us but there is still time to throw off the cloak of darkness and put on the light, which is to live according to the gospel of love. There is still time to bring about the peaceable kingdom where justice and peace reigns. In this Sunday’s gospel, we hear that Joseph wanted to divorce Mary quietly (because she was pregnant by another), that is, in private and out of the public eye, sparing both of them too much humiliation. Are we courteous with one another, especially our next of kin? What about the people we welcome into our homes over the Christmas season? And what about those we include even after the festivities have wound down?

Recall the apprehension of Mary in the reflection for the First Sunday. Though unnerving, Mary and Joseph set out on the journey, modelling for us to do the same, while with the assurance of following in the light of God. Now in the Fourth Week, the name and nature of God is proclaimed. God is with us, God is for us and God wants to remain with us for eternity.


As we end this retreat, we do so with gratitude for our time together in prayer and sharing. We continue to ask for God’s graces throughout the coming days as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord.

The World as Icon #2

Waking up in a different neighbourhood is an interesting experience. I walked down to Mass this morning like one of the locals, but took in the sights and sounds of the residential streets, as if fresh air. Although this is still Melbourne, still the same city, I could not help but feel such newness.

One of the things that stood out for me was this tree:


Image: Australia, by Geralyn Tan for Keeping Company. 2013

And I thought to myself, “My, my, Australia, with your eucalypt and gum nut. No where else in the world is there a place like you.”

So today, I pray for Australia, for all its inhabitants, and especially for its people who share the responsibility for its protection, sustainability and continuity.

For our leaders and policy makers, for the poor and disaster-struck among us and for those who long to call Australia home.

As a nation, may we strive to live out the words of our anthem, always in a spirit of hospitality and generosity, for indeed it is true that “we’ve boundless plains to share.”