Spring has sprung in Ireland. According to the old Celtic calendar, Irish Spring starts each year on February 1st. Indeed, the days have lengthened by almost two hours since the winter equinox almost two months ago. Flowers are budding and seasonal birds have begun to appear. Time to get out and about and celebrate brighter days and new vitality.
Jesus himself lived in violent times. Yet he taught that the true battlefield, where violence and peace meet, is the human heart: for “it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come” (Mk 7:21). But Christ’s message in this regard offers a radically positive approach. He unfailingly preached God’s unconditional love, which welcomes and forgives. He taught his disciples to love their enemies (cf. Mt 5:44) and to turn the other cheek (cf. Mt 5:39).
In the gospel reading for the feast of St. John of the Cross, Jesus says, “The glory you have given me I have given them” – Jn 17:22. Throughout sacred scripture the glory of God is an image used to express God’s very self in terms of abundance, prodigality, extravagance and unlimited generosity.
Advent is a word that means arrival. It begins another year when we Christians commence again to celebrate the whole mystery of Jesus Christ from beginning to end. The season culminates with the celebration at Christmas of his arrival in our world.
A Sense of God
Someone was reading from Gerard Manley Hopkins on the car radio. I was struck by the poet’s description of the contrasting attributes of God’s beauty as I listened to the words “swift, slow; sweet, sour, adazzle, dim” (Pied Beauty).
“Is there a hereafter?” is a common or garden question. But there is no common or garden answer to it. Reason and science have nothing to offer about life after death, and tell us that there is no evidence for it one way or the other.
Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the Tax-collector at prayer is offered as a litmus test to the honesty of prayer. The Pharisee used twenty-nine words to pray, while the taxman used only six. The Pharisee’s prayer was long, complex and self-centered; The taxman’s was short, honest and God-centered.
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity- Discalced Carmelite – will be canonized 16th October.
Elizabeth was born on July 18th 1880 at the army camp in Avor near Bourges in France, where her father was a captain. She was baptised four days later on the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, a fact which she treasured. When she was 2½ her sister Marguerite, known as Guite, was born. Elizabeth’s father died when she was only seven years old. By this time the family was living in a camp in Dijon, but after the captain died, they moved into a flat. Elizabeth could see the Carmel of Dijon from her bedroom window. She was very high spirited and given to fiery outbursts of anger when things did not go her way. In 1891 Elizabeth received her First Holy Communion and it made a deep impression on her. From this time on the Eucharist became the centre of Elizabeth’s life and it gave her the strength and determination she needed to make a real effort to overcome her rages.
Job, blameless and upright and fearing God, cursed the day he was born, the day they said, “It’s a boy!” Our culture tells us that suffering is useless and has nothing whatever going for it. Not so, says our Christian tradition, not so. Christianity sees beyond, hopes beyond and believes beyond that which is immediately experienced here and now.