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Listing June - 2012
Reading is to the mind like running is to the body. If a person wants to exercise their mind, read a good book.' ~Lamar Cole

Much research has been done on reading and its many benefits. Those who read books seem to have a better chance for a successful fulfilling adult life. They tend to have many interests, develop an ability to understand how other people think and feel and tend to be more flexible in their own thinking. One woman who celebrated her 100th birthday put it well: "When I go somewhere I have to go in a wheelchair. But when I read, I can go anywhere, anytime I want. And no one has to help me!"

Today is the last day of June are we are about to move into the summer holidays. July and August are a time time of year when many plan to unwind and relax. A book can be a very important part of that plan. Books have never been easier to get. A root around any bookshop and you will always find a bargain. Don't be afraid either to try a spiritual book. Sometimes we think these books are just for the converted and for those who think they have it all worked out! Not at all! Many of them are easy to read. They are often warm, enriching and great food for the soul.
'Any person who knows all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions in the first place.' ~Author Unknown

It would be great if we had all the answers. Every single one of us has so many unanswered questions. Life can be so unpredictable, unfair and cruel at times. What did I do to deserve this? Why me? Why not somebody else? Why now? It's easy to blame somebody else or to blame God. This is understandable. It becomes unhealthy when we're stuck in blame and never move on with our lives. Today (June 29th) we celebrate the feast of St.Peter and St.Paul. Their lives were marked by courage, conviction and enthusiasm. But they too had their struggles and questions. Even at times their deep faith left them short. The invitation is to live the questions and with time we may get glimpses of an answer. Sometimes the unanswered bits and pieces pull together when we least expect. We pray today for the strength to live with all our questions and the strength to walk forward with our lives, even if it's only small faltering steps.
A story on the importance of quitening down..

A Zen master was walking with one of his disciples along a mountain trail. When they came to an ancient cedar tree, they sat down under it for a simple meal of some rice and vegetables. After the meal, the disciple a young monk broke the silence by asking the Master, "Master how do I enter Zen?" (How do I find God) The master remained silent. Almost five minutes passed while the disciple anxiously waited for an answer. He was about to ask another question when the Master suddenly spoke. "Do you hear the sound of the mountain stream?" The disciple had not been aware of any stream as he was too busy thinking of other things. As he began to listen for the sound, his noisy mind subsided. The more he listened the more he heard. "Yes I can hear it now" he said. The Master raised his finger and with a look in his eyes that was both fierce and gentle, said "Enter Zen from there".
'A happy heart makes the face cheerful' ~Proverbs 15:13

One of the most influential personalities of the last century was Pope John 23rd. There were many raised eyebrows when he became Pope but he quickly made his mark. He guided the Church through Vatican II, with inspirational guidance, enthusiasm and a level head. He was also noted for his great sense of humour. There are many stories but one of the first to be recorded was shortly after he became Pope. His family came from their country village to visit him. They were overwhelmed and almost intimidated by the ceremony and protocol of the Vatican. Sensing their uneasiness, the pontiff tenderly and humorously said, "Don't be too nervous - it's only me!'

Sometimes we also need to relax, be ourselves and not take ourselves too seriously at times. There is enough negativity out there, without adding to it just for the sake of it. The people who add humour and light heartedness to our lives are indeed special and precious.
'If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.' ~Andrew Mason

I can remember in school our science teacher telling us that a weed is a flower in the wrong place. It was a simple explanation but a good one. If you go into any gardening centre there are so many weed killers on display. Surely these cannot be a friend to a garden? You may destroy the weed but how many other living organisms also perish under the deadly spray, not to mention breathing it in ourselves. The weed is also symbolic of those people that we don't like or those people that simply irritate us. These people like a flower, also have their good qualities. But because we see them as a weed, they tend not to be welcome in our own gardens.

The following prayer might be useful today: 'Lord, it's hard to get on with everyone. In fact at times it's nearly impossible! When someone is really annoying me, help me to see the flower rather than the weed. This may be difficult right now. But Lord, I do want to give it a go, knowing that there are times too when I'm not always a flower!'
'Notice that all of the great liturgical prayers of the churches end with the same phrase: "through Christ our Lord, Amen." We do not pray to Christ; we pray through Christ. Or even more precisely, Christ prays through us. We are always and forever the conduits, the instruments, the tuning forks, the receiver stations. We slowly learn the right frequencies that pick up the signal of God.' ~Richard Rohr

We often talk about praying to God or praying to Jesus. Somehow if we pray hard enough our prayer flies straight to Jesus and that's all we have to do. But it is totally different to say that prayer is praying through Jesus or that Jesus prays through us. This is very comforting when we find prayer difficult or when our energy levels are low. Like a receiver, an instrument or a tuning fork, all we have to do is be open and let God work through us.

As a priest I often find the thought of giving or sharing a homily daunting. How can I adequately say what needs to be said. Just before I begin I always say a short quiet prayer that no one else notices but enough to give me the confidence to go: "Lord, it's not me here but you, so over to you!" Somehow it works for me and reminds me that I am simply tuning into the signal and sharing it with others. We are also invited to tune in as best we can and let God do the rest.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett called 'That Way'

Today we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist and listen to Luke's account of his nativity. Don't panic, Advent hasn't arrived yet! John's story is one of sacrifice and humility. His parents know there will be something very special about this child. Jewish historians account that John was a preacher around the time of Pontius Pilate who went around calling people to renewal! He spent a lot of time in the wilderness, eating wild things and wearing sackcloth. People flocked to the River Jordan to be baptised by him, a symbol of their repentance or renewal of relationship with God. John was a preacher, a prophet, a signpost pointing people in the right direction. We can pray today for all those people who acted as signposts in our lives and brought us closer and closer to God:

'Lord, we thank you for people who guided us, but did not try to possess us: parents, teachers, spiritual guides, friends. For a time we stood with them. Very simply, like John the Baptist, they said to us, "Look, there is the one you should follow," and hearing this we followed that person' (Michel de Verteuil).

The following is by Fr.Silvester O'Flynn to mark St.John's Day

Q. Why are bonfires lit in parts of the country on St John the Baptist's Eve?
A. Bonfires on this night developed from the mid-summer festival when the sun reaches its highest glory but then begins to wane. That is how John the Baptist understood his mission in preparing the way for Christ. 'He must grow greater, I must grow less' (John 3:30). John the Baptist was the light destined to give way to the light of Christ. In a neat piece of counterpointing, the birth of Christ is celebrated just after mid-winter's day when the sun begins to return. Christ is the light come into the world as a tiny baby destined to grow. I remember an old lady who used to bless our bonfire on this night with the plant known as St John's Wort.
'I feel that each image should either tell a story or ask a question. I will leave the interpretation to those who view them' ~Pat McCarrick

Pat McCarrick has just launched a book on behalf of Bóthar to raise funds for the charity. Their main work is to provide poverty stricken families with a farm animal together with training and support. The book is called 'Faces and Places'. In his speech Pat talked about the developing world. For many years it was called the third world. We hear many statistics on the developing world: 1.2 billion live on 1 Euro a day while another 2.8 billion live on 2 Euro a day. 33,000 children die each day in developing countries. Each minute more than one woman dies during childbirth. 11 million children under 5 die each year from preventable causes and a staggering 163 million children under 5 are underweight. It is estimated that 100 million school age children will not be in school by 2015. Contaminated drinking water and inadequate supplies of water affect millions, while 2.4 billion people are without access to basic sanitation.

There are many more statistics but as Pat McCarrick pointed out we tend to push them to one side because they are from the developing world and we move on. So instead of using the words 'developing world' we need to come up with something new. Even to use the words 'our world' puts a whole different perspective on things. To say that 33,000 children die each day in our world is quite different to saying it happens in the developing world. The book is a moving and uplifting collection of photographs from many parts of the world where Bóthar is involved. It is available in all bookshops and money raised from the book will go to Bóthar.
'Let go of the desire to control. Let go of anger. Let go of shame. Let go of guilt. Let go of worries. Let go and let things follow their natural course. Let go of the need to use every second to the full. Let go of fear. Let go of tension. Let go of the need to be right. Let go of the need to be successful. Let go of the need to seem strong or know it all. Let go of the future you had charted out for yourself. Let go of the need to be the best. Let go of self rejection. Let go of the impulse to do more than can reasonably be done in the time available. Let go of regrets and disappointments. Let go of trying to change others. Let go of criticism. Let go of being harsh on yourselves and others. Let go of prejudices and biases. Let go of interfering.' ~Joe Armstrong (from Reality Magazine)

What a powerful reflection. Don't we carry so many unnecessary burdens with us each day. What can I let go of today?
'Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.' ~Martin Luther King Jr

Today (June 21st) is midsummer's day in the Northern Hemisphere. Across Ireland it feels as if we are marking the winter solstice with all the constant rain and so little sunshine. As it is midsummer's day darkness will be limited to just a few hours tonight. We are sometimes afraid and fear the dark. This is not something new. It stretches back thousands of years. It is true that God loves light but it's also true that God embraces darkness as well. In the book of Exodus we are told that the people stood at a distance while Moses drew near to the darkness where God was. Life is a mixture of light and darkness for all of us. We flourish and thrive when we are in the light and we often struggle in the dark. But from God's point of view, God is with us in light but also in darkness too. So no matter how dark, sad, dreary or depressing our lives may be at times, our heartfelt belief is that somehow God is present in there as well.
As the primary schools begin to wind down before the summer holidays, two light hearted stories for today.

The first is about John who gave his end of year school report to his father. "That's dreadful," his dad said. "You came bottom of the class of twenty boys." "It could have been worse," John replied. "There could have been more boys in my class!" The second is of an eager young teacher who wanted to introduce her class to the beauty of classical music, so she organised a trip to an afternoon concert at a classical music hall. She wanted to make the occasion memorable, so she treated them to lemonade, chocolate and ice cream. After the concert, as the class were getting back into the coach, the teacher asked Mary if she enjoyed herself. "Oh yes, Miss," Mary replied enthusiastically. "Everything was lovely, except for the music!"
'I would like to hope that people get encouragement from the week. I hope that people experienced during the Eucharistic Congress, a Church that was friendly, that was inclusive, that was healing, that was humbled, that had the courage to face the issues directly and was then able to find a space where a huge variety of voices could be heard.' ~Bishop John McAreevy speaking last night on RTE

Croke Park has seen so many wonderful sporting occasions, not just hurling, football and camoige but in recent years rugby and soccer as well. Yesterday it became a place of prayer and celebration as the 50th Eucharistic Congress came to a conclusion in front of 75,000 people and was transmitted live on television all over the world. It was impressive and colourful to say the least and so well organised. The contribution of the singers, choirs and musicians was moving. There seemed to be a lovely energy in Croke Park with many people waving and smiling whenever the camera picked them up on the big screen. With so many Church stories screaming of negativity and darkness in recent years it was great to see such light and hope yesterday.

Seeds of change and renewal were sown during the Eucharistic Congress. But what is sown must see a follow through, to make sure germination is given every chance. So much more honest soul searching has to take place and will need to continue for many years to come. There are many who feel let down, marginalised, not listened to and out on the fringes. There is much work to be done to make sure the priority of Church is always inclusion. We all have a part to play but at least for today we can say a little start has happened. Let's hope it continues.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett called 'Sowing Seeds'

The parable of the mustard seed seems pretty straightforward at first glance, but as always there is more to it than first meets the eye. Jesus did not compare the Kingdom of God to a majestic tree. There is an ancient text which forbade planting mustard seeds in Palestinian gardens because the shrub takes over wherever it is planted. It is wild, gets out of control, and attracts unwanted birds. The Kingdom of God grows from something small to something large, but more than that, its growth is overwhelming and it will grow even where it is not wanted.

The Eucharistic Congress comes to a close today and no doubt lots of seeds will have been sown during this week in the RDS, in our parishes and on the streets of Dublin.
'May your Holy Spirit transform us into one body and lead us to walk humbly on the earth, in justice and love, as witnesses of your resurrection' (IEC prayer).
'I fear waking up one morning and finding out my life was all for nothing. We're here for a reason. I believe a bit of the reason is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. When you are kind to someone in trouble, you hope they remember and are kind to someone else and so on. Soon it'll be like a wildfire.' ~Whoopie Goldberg

What a pity if it dawned on us, that our life was all for nothing and a waste of time. That must surely be the one of the saddest moments in life that we could face. But that day can be firmly kept at a distance if we treasure each day as a gift from God to us. It can be kept at a distance if we treasure the small moments that always add up to something significant. It can be kept at a distance if we share some of our light with others whose light is dim or struggling.

As the Eucharistic Congress comes to an end this weekend in Dublin, we celebrate the fact that the Eucharist is one of the greatest lights we have. Through the Eucharist we bring light and hope into our life, into our dark corners, into the lives of those nearest to us and also those whom we come in contact with each day. Even if it's not part of our lives, it's good to know that through the Eucharist someone is remembering and praying for us each day. It's not done out of pity or duty but done simply because God loves us. The Eucharist reminds us that our lives are not for nothing but have meaning, depth and direction. It is Jesus who is at the centre of Eucharist and who is always the reason why.
'Even in adversity there is positivity' ~George Hamilton commentating on the closing stages of the Spain V Ireland game last night

The Euro 2012 will be remembered for lots of things but surely the last 10 minutes of the game last night will not be forgotten too quickly. Ireland were losing 4-0 in a game when the Irish were totally outclassed and outplayed by a fabulous Spanish team. For Irish fans, it could not get much worse and particularly as it meant we would be progressing no further in the tournament. Then the Irish started singing 'The Fields of Athenry' and the stadium rocked to the sound of the Irish singing their hearts out as if they were winning 4-0! To an onlooker it might seem odd and strange to be in such good form, when things are going so bad for your team. But to the Irish fans, it comes naturally. Even in defeat there is something to celebrate. Even when we are down we keep the head up. There is no room for bitterness, blame or giving out. That is why the Irish supporters are always such a colourful addition to any tournament. The tournament rolls on, games will be quickly forgotten but the positive attitude of the Irish fans will certainly live long.
When he had finished speaking he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch." "Master" Simon replied, "We worked hard all night long and caught nothing but if you say so I will pay out the nets." And when they had done this they netted such a huge number of fish that their nets began to tear. ~Luke 5:4-7

There is a lovely message to this story. We can all relate to times when we feel let down by God, when we have tried everything and caught nothing. During these turbulent economic times there is a sense that at times we are on our own. It is easy and tempting to blame others and even easier to throw in the towel. Yet the call is to put our trust in God. God never abandons us or never tries to outsmart us. There are already enough in life trying to do this. Once we are willing to take the initiative and put our trust in God, then we are ready to face anything life may throw at us. It was good that Simon questioned, it was good that he trusted and in the end he got far more than he expected. So can we.
'The old path is worn out and not very inviting to most people. But the meadow itself is fresh and vibrant, always growing and changing. It would be a tragic mistake to abandon the meadow when we reject the old path. There can be many refreshing paths into this magnificent landscape.' ~Tolbert McCarroll

The Eucharistic Congress taking place all this week is putting the spotlight on the Eucharist, what it means, how it should be celebrated and connecting it to our everyday lives. There is an honest attempt to put the spotlight onto good news while recognising that some old paths have worn themselves out. If the Eucharist is like a meadow then there are endless new pathways which are fresh, vibrant and refreshing. Most importantly they are waiting to be discovered.

Many people are also spiritually hungry and are searching for these new pathways. The Eucharist is like a bridge in helping people find these new pathways. There have been enough obstacles put in peoples way like the recent English translation of the Roman Missal. It would seem that there are some who are very comfortable walking along old pathways that have simply worn themselves out. Let's hope and pray that the events of the Eucharistic Congress will lead to a renewed sense of optimism and renewal. At the heart of the Eucharist is Jesus, who will always lead us to what is fresh, vibrant and energetic.
'The Eucharist gives us the surest way to be close to God. There is no way that I know of being closer to God. And there is no more powerful prayer.' ~Sally Read

The Eucharistic Congress is in full swing this week at the RDS in Dublin. Many talks, lectures and workshops are taking place. The main focus of course is on the Eucharist which is often misunderstood and certainly taken for granted. For many years we simply had too many Masses. Mass became so routine and ordinary. 'Getting a Mass in' became a duty and something to get through. We lost a sense of celebration, meaning and what it was all about. Today things are very different with reduced numbers of priests and masses. Many people have walked away because they are fed up, disillusioned with the church and feel it is out of touch. Others feel their local church is hugely important and going to Mass is a meaningful event.

When we celebrate Eucharist we do it as part of a community. God built us for relationship and when Jesus gave us the gift of the Eucharist he wanted to pull people together. At Eucharist we come together during happy and sad occasions. We come when we are searching, when we are feeling down, when things are going great and when we are uncertain. When we go to Mass we are not going to an isolated event and then returning back to our normal lives. Eucharist and our normal everyday lives are so connected and interwoven that you cannot separate. Through the Eucharist Jesus wants to hold our everyday lives, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the trivial and the special moments. Not just a few things of our lives but simply everything.
'If you don't get everything you want, think of the things you don't get that you don't want.' ~Oscar Wilde

Much has been written about prayer. The value and merits of it have been well documented. But it doesn't always work for everyone and for some, prayer has left them disappointed. They asked for something and their prayer wasn't heard or so it seems. I'm sure a few prayers have been said for Ireland to do well in Euro 2012. It would seem that after last night, only a miracle can get them through now!

But if you were to sum up all the great writings on prayer, all would say that every prayer is answered in some way. It may not be in the way we expected, it may not be straight away but every prayer has some benefit and is never wasted. That's why prayer can be such a precious gift, not just to you but to so many others as well. Every time we pray for someone, we extend our love, concern and support to them. We may not fully understand why or how but it's enough to know that God is doing far more than we realise. Whom would you like to pray for today?
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett called 'Though we are many we are one body'

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi and for Ireland this year it is a special day as the 50th International Eucharistic Congress opens in Dublin. Lots of preparation over the past few years has gone into this event as we play hosts to thousands of pilgrims from around the world and across the country who are gathering together. Some people may be unsure as to what this event is about, others are completely immersed in it. Many will have joined with youth groups, parish groups, pastoral preparation programmes, while others will have questioned the entire process. Whether we stand on the periphery or have been counting down the days, this week is sure to bring us to a new point. We pray that it will bring people together in sharing, honest dialogue, celebration and exploration in hope for the future.

'Be broken for each other. Pour yourselves out for each other. This is what it means to become my Body on earth. And we recognise Him in the breaking of a burger bun and the pouring of a coke'. (Margaret Silf)
'We cannot separate our lives from the Eucharist; the moment we do, something breaks.' ~Blessed Mother Teresa

The 50th Eucharistic Congress begins tomorrow and will run all next week in Dublin with the final liturgy taking place in Croke Park on Sunday June 17th. This gathering of people from all over the world takes place every four years. It's main purpose is a deeper understanding of the Eucharist in our world and in our lives. It was last held in Ireland back in 1932. That Congress was all about massive numbers, deep piety and an outpouring of religious and political goodwill. How it has changed today. The Congress of 2012 will have to compete with football and Euro 2012! It will have smaller numbers attending and will have limited impact in the lives of many people. To be fair to the organisers, they have tried to reach out to every community in planning this Congress with success. The Eucharistic bell that travelled across Ireland, reminding people of what was going to happen worked. Every parish across Ireland will have representatives at this Congress. Given the collapse and free fall of the Irish Church in recent years, this Congress is coming at a very good time. From the pile of ashes, some green shoots will emerge from this gathering of people. Words like renewal, healing, listening, forgiveness and hope will feature in many of the talks next week. The hope is that the events of the 50th Eucharistic Congress will inspire people with a renewed energy and enthusiasm. There is no going back to the days of big numbers, lots of Masses, many priests and everything in a neat package. Today it's all about smaller communities, sharing resources, life giving liturgies and allowing as much creativity as possible.
'Spirituality is about seeing. It's not about earning or achieving. It's about relationship rather than results or requirements. Once you see, the rest follows. You don't need to push the river, because you are already in it - and floating along!' ~Richard Rohr

We live in a world that puts a lot of attention on earning, achieving and results. It is hard to say let's do something else, when we've been constantly told it's all about doing and achieving. It very much applies to spirituality too. For many years we lived on a spirituality that put the focus on pleasing God and earning God's favour. The more prayers you said, the more masses you went to and the more novenas you said, meant you were well in with God! You were well up the ladder with God, and the more you did, the higher up you went. But in recent years fog has rolled in on the upper tiers of the ladder. The best views now are near ground level. There is a growing realisation that God is indeed to be found at ground level, in the middle of everything we do and in the middle of life itself. It is all about relationship and knowing that God is with us. This takes the pressure off us. We don't have to prove anything. It is all about knowing that God is with us on whatever journey we are on.
'In order to experience everyday spirituality, we need to remember that we are spiritual beings spending some time in a human body.' ~Barbara de Angelis

Yesterday the planet Venus crossed between the sun and the earth. It appeared as a small black dot on the face of the sun. Why did it cause such excitement? Why all the fuss? The main reason is that the event is so rare. The next time will be in 2117. The first time it was seen was back in 1639 by an astronomer called Jeremiah Horrocks. It was a huge step forward because it allowed scientists to calculate the distance between the sun and the earth, which is 95 million miles or 153 million kilometres. From this they were able to calculate the distance to all the other planets. What is the spiritual significance of all this? Well for starters we are just a tiny dot in the bigger picture of the universe. Above us and around us there are planets and stars turning and rotating. We are often not even aware of such events yet somehow they are all connected and intertwined. A downside to technology is that we have lost touch with the cycles and rhythms of nature. Our grandparents and the generations before them were much more clued into what was going on around them. They were more grounded, more sure of themselves and better able to cope with an unexpected crisis. They also had a simpler and more holistic approach to spirituality. There was no intensity to it, just a realisation that God was somehow connected to everything. Getting back to the simple basics of what we believe in - is a good and healthy place to be.
Exam Prayer for Students

Lord pour out your Spirit of Wisdom on me
Help me to remain calm
To attend carefully to the questions asked
To think clearly, to remember accurately
and to express myself well.

Grant that I may reflect the best of the work I have done,
and the best of the teaching I have received.
Help me not to become unduly stressed.
Lord I place all my trust in you.
'There are more than 10,000 ways for life to unfold when one takes that last step out the door of the school and into the great adventure of life. Exams provide one stepping stone on that journey, but they are a means to an end rather than an end in themselves.' ~Maria Byrne

Tomorrow the Junior and Leaving Cert exams begin. The long wait is nearly over. It is an anxious time for so many starting the exams and also an anxious time for parents. It is such an unfair system that everything seems to rest on the outcome of these exams. There has been much talk about a better way of doing it and we are still waiting! It seems easy to say that there is always life after exams. There is always a bigger picture. Exams are stepping stones in life. Education is life long and many opportunities will unfold no matter what happens with the exams taking place over the next week or so. They say exams are not there to catch anyone out but to find out how much a student knows. So let's hope and pray that each exam will give every student an opportunity to show how much they know. Saint Joseph of Cupertino is the patron saint for those doing exams. He struggled big time with study and exams. Somehow he always scraped through. Today he is a friend to everyone doing exams. We pray to him to gently calm, direct and help every student starting their exams tomorrow.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end Amen. ~Prayer of praise and glory to God

Yesterday was the feast of the Holy Trinity. Why celebrate something distant and abstract such as mystery? Instead of being afraid of mystery we are called to be open to it. No matter how mysterious or complicated life may be we are reminded that God is in the middle of it, helping us along and through it. One of the first prayers we learned was the sign of the cross. It's so simple but we often take it for granted. When we touch our foreheads to begin we open ourselves to our Divine creator. Next our hands move down close to our hearts reminding us of God's special love for you and me. Nothing we do will ever change this. It is eternal and always will be. The next part of the prayer is our hand going from shoulder to shoulder reminding us that from the beginning to the end of every day God is with us. We finish with Amen and even if it's only a whisper, it means we are putting our trust and hope in God. If the only prayer we say in the morning is the sign of the cross it will be one of the most meaningful and powerful prayers we can ever say.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett called 'We Gather'

In today's Gospel Jesus calls his community together. The disciples who gather in this passage, despite seeing the risen Jesus, have a mixed reaction of doubt and faith. Doubt can sometimes help us in our faith, it keeps our mind open, our hearts searching and can bring us to a new point if we allow it. Like the disciples, we bring our doubts and our faith to our celebrations. Today's Gospel should give us much hope in times of struggle, especially in our struggle for renewal in all aspects of our lives and especially in the Church. Jesus' reaction to this mixed group of worshippers is not so much to answer their questions but to give them a command: 'Go!' The command to us at the end of every Eucharist we celebrate is the same: Go, live the Gospel. Whatever period of doubt or faith we are going through we must persevere and know that Jesus said: 'I am with you always - to the end of time.'
A prayer during the month of June from the book 'Praying Each Day Of The Year'

Lord our God, open us to your Spirit living within us, that we may live fully each day of our lives, particularly during this month of June. Touch us that we may become more aware of all that is around us, growing in a sense of wonder and awe. Help us to appreciate all that we see, hear, touch, taste and smell. May we live in such a way, that we never take anything for granted. May we always be appreciative and express our thanks to those who are part of our lives. Amen
'Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment.' ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Today is the first day of June and we are probably planning the month ahead already. We perhaps are also looking back on the month just gone. It is so easy to get caught up in the past and looking ahead to the future. We often lose precious energy in jumping from the past to the future and it can leave us drained and tired. How often we forget about today and the present moment. It is in the current and present moment that life is lived to the fullest. It is here that we will find God best and it is the place where we can simply be. We don't have to earn God's love. We don't have to prove anything. We don't have to earn points or try to be perfect. We don't have to pretend. All we need do is just be true to ourselves. This can only happen in the present moment. The present moment can be challenging, difficult and at times surrounded by sadness. But for the most part it is a good place to be, it is a place where there is no pretence and it is a place where we are honest with ourselves. There is no hiding in the present moment. It is where God is closest to us, nearest to us and totally on our side.


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