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Listing May - 2009
 
  Saturday
May-30
The Chaplaincy/Student Support Team in the Cork Institute of Technology celebrated its silver jubilee yesterday. The following blessing was used as part of the celebrations.

May the light of your soul guide you. May the light of your soul bless the work you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in the bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises. May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into night blessed, sheltered and protected. May your soul calm, console and renew you.
(Congratulations to everyone involved in the Chaplaincy Student Support teams and God’s many blessings on your work in the years ahead.)
 
 
 
  Friday
May-29
This coming Sunday marks the feast of Pentecost. The following reflection are the words of the Holy Spirit to all of us:

When you’re lonely, I wish you love.
When you’re down, I wish you joy.
When you’re searching, I wish you direction.
When you’re happy, I wish you contentment.
When things get complicated, I wish you simple beauty.
When you’re angry, I wish you an inner calm.
When things look empty, I wish you hope.
When you’re confused, I wish you understanding.
When you’re relaxed, I wish you an inner silence.
But most importantly of all I give you my greatest gift, the gift of my presence: that I’m with you right now, during this day, during the week, during the years ahead. I’m with you always.
 
 
 
  Wednesday
May-27
The alphabet of friendship…

A friend Accepts you as you are
Believes in you
Calls you just to say hello
Doesn’t give up on you
Envisions the whole of you (even the unfinished parts)
Forgives your mistakes
Gives unconditionally
Helps you
Invites you over
Jokes with you and has a sense of humour
Keeps you close at heart
Loves you for who you are
Makes a difference in your life
Never judges
Offers support
Prays for you
Quietens your fears
Raises your spirits
Says nice things about you
Tells you the truth when you need to hear it
Understands you
Values you
Walks beside you
Xplains things you don’t understand
Yells (gently!) when you won’t listen
Zaps you back to reality.
 
 
 
  Tuesday
May-26
Pope Benedict on his recent visit to the Holy Land, showed great respect for Judaism by visiting and praying at the Western Wall of the old Temple. For Jews this is the most holy site in the world. It is better known as the Wailing Wall and like the late Pope John Paul II he placed an envelope into a crack in the wall. It contained the following prayer:

God of all ages, on my visit to Jerusalem, the city of Peace, spiritual home to Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, I bring before you the joys, the hopes, the aspirations, the trials, the sufferings and the pain of your people throughout the world. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful and the bereft. Send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East and upon the entire human family. Stir the hearts of all who call upon your name, to walk humbly in the path of justice and compassion. The Lord is good to those who wait for him and to the soul that seeks the Lord.
 
 
 
  Monday
May-25
‘We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.’ ~Nelson Mandela

Yesterday was World Communications Day. For the past year or so world news has been dominated by negativity, evolving around a global economic recession. Good news stories seem scarce and World Communications Day was an attempt to put balance into how we communicate with each other. It’s all about confidence. Am I confident enough to believe that God is a gentle yet significant presence in my life? Am I confident enough to believe in my own light? Am I confident enough to believe in my own goodness? Good balanced communication gives us the freedom to speak, allows us to listen fairly and allows us to nurture good news when it might otherwise be lost.
 
 
 
  Sunday
May-24
The following reflection is by Fr. Tom Cahill

In his book, Jesus Today, Albert Nolan writes, ‘It seems that systems of various kinds often exist in a state of chaos or, as they say, “on the edge of chaos,” and then suddenly and unpredictably there emerges something called a “strange attractor” that rearranges the chaos into some new order.’ Today, on the feast of the Ascension we celebrate not the arrival but the departure of the strange attractor: the Risen Lord. Change ‘systems’ to ‘individuals’ above and you have many a person’s life story. Confusion and doubt are necessary for intellectual and psychological growth. As Timothy Ferris writes in Coming of Age in the Milky Way, ‘Yet it is turmoil and confusion and not calm assurance that mark the growth of the mind.’

Into our personal confusion steps the ‘strange attractor’. As we flounder, his helping hand pulls us up and out of our confusion – not, however, on to a placid and permanent plateau, but to a higher level of confusion. No sooner are our feet placed firmly on Mother Earth than we are whisked to heights that make us dizzy. If our faith doesn’t s-t-r-e-t-c-h our mind, we’re not people of faith, but people of reason. Belief in the Ascension should make us gasp. Do we realise what we’re saying we actually believe in! First: that someone flatline dead didn’t just revive and return to his former state but resurrected to a higher, super-human, everlasting one. Second: having done so, then ‘ascended’ to a totally new quantum-leap environment we call ‘heaven’. Wow! Wow! Wow! is all I can say.
 
 
 
  Saturday
May-23
‘Doubt is like the dark. A room may be dark because the sun is not shining or it may be dark because the windows are dirty. One cannot turn on the sun, but one can wash the windows.’ ~Chinese Proverb

Doubt is something that is a part of all our lives. It is okay to doubt, to have reservations, to question and to feel we need to know more. In our Gospels Thomas is one of the most obvious examples of someone who had major doubts. But they did not become a limiting story for him. His doubts allowed him to move on in his life with even greater conviction. We sometimes allow our doubts to take over and we forget to trust. Using the image of the dark room we sometimes need to wash the window. We need to allow more light to filter through into all our doubts.
A prayer starter might be: Lord, I doubt from time to time. I have doubt in my own abilities and where I am going in life. Please shine some of your light and hope into any area of my life that feels in darkness and in particular those areas of my life where I have major doubts.
 
 
 
  Thursday
May-21
The following few words were spoken by Cathal Leahy, (6th Year Head) during the Graduation Mass for Leaving Cert Students of Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig yesterday. The words here are so positive and affirming. They are a reminder of the multitude of blessings that our young people bring us no matter where they are.

A community college is about participation and learning. You have embraced the idea of a community in the last 5 months in particular. Your teachers have been impressed by your understanding of what to do when a community needs support. The spirit of generosity and friendship that you have shown to each other is what a community is all about. We are sure that you will carry this spirit into your work, study and personal lives in whichever community you choose to live.

This community spirit has been seen in you not just in the last few months but also over the years. The school is proud of your achievements in football, basketball, hockey, camóige, golf, table tennis, hurling, athletics, soccer, music, choir, musicals, performances, public speaking, debating, school participation, art, young scientist and in a host of other extra-curricular activities.

In a world characterised by greed, your school has proven that a generous spirit exists. Your teachers have given generously of their time and talents so that your talents might be nurtured. It is now your time to pay it forward and bring that spirit of generosity out into the world. Remember you will gain more and profit more by giving rather than taking. Make use of what you have learned inside and outside the classroom. Get involved, volunteer, play a part, use your talents. Both you and your community will be enriched. As Seamus Heaney says: “It’s time to swim out on your own and fill the element with signatures on your own frequency.”

Thank your parents – they have worked for you. Thank your teachers – they have educated you. Work hard in the coming weeks. Good luck and do your best, that’s all that anyone asks of you.
 
 
 
  Wednesday
May-20
The following is a selection of the few words that I will be sharing with these students in Coláiste Choilm today.

Maps may be important but satellite navigation systems have taken on a more prominent role. But modern technology and different maps can never tell us the feel of a road and its character. The only way to find out is by travelling along it. The same can be said of your journey through Coláiste Choilm. It’s a journey that has taken you through many twists and turns. Some of those have been expected and some totally unexpected. I have been so touched by your courage, resilience, bravery and openness on that journey. You have been a map and a compass to each other. As your journey through Coláiste Choilm comes to an end, new journeys will begin for every single one of you. No matter where the journey takes you know that you are never ever on your own. No matter what our age we can never be without our map and compass. Treasure your map and compass, be it your closest friend, your extended friends, family and a loving God who is always by our side.
 
 
 
  Tuesday
May-19
‘We need to be aware that drifting off course is almost a certainty. As in sailing, the wind - its direction, force and velocity can easily knock us off course. Our job as followers of Christ is to fight to stay on course’ ~Martin Tierney

The phrase ‘drift away’ is a nautical one and describes how a boat or ship can drift off course. Even the most experienced sailor is constantly working to counter drifting away. The same is also true of our own lives. There are many things that happen each day that can throw us off course and allow us to drift. Sometimes we might not even be aware we are drifting. It is good to check in with ourselves once in a while. If we are honest with ourselves it’s easy to know if we are drifting. Often putting back in place important priorities is always a good starting point. Any contact, space or time for God is always one of those priorities. Even a simple honest prayer can be a great starter: “Lord, I feel I am drifting in life. Please help me back on track again”.
 
 
 
  Monday
May-18
My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God's love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

Today's First Reading (1John 4:7-10) is a tricky one. Having just told us the wonderful news that 'God is love' (v8), John now seems to undo it all by saying that God 'sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins' (v10). Here we have that seemingly awful image of God, as the one who demands appeasement for the sins of humanity by the death of his beloved Son. So which is it? It can't be both, can it? How can a God who is love possibly want the one he loves to be slaughtered to appease him? To put it bluntly: is there some way of honouring the text without dishonouring God?

Now you can try to resolve the dilemma by saying it is God"s love for us that compels him to send his son to be killed. But, the possibility that God could love human beings more than his 'beloved' son stretches the mind that little bit too far, don't you think? If God, indeed, is love, and totally independent in how he expresses it, then why on earth would he demand sacrificial appeasement? Does that not smack of hardness of heart, even vindictiveness?

You may introduce justice into the equation and claim that divine justice demands it. But is that not making love subservient to justice? And love is greater. Indeed, as Paul says in 1Cor 13:13 "the greatest of all is love". Once God forgives, justice goes out the door. So, are love and demands for appeasement mutually exclusive? If you find out, let me know.
 
 
 
  Sunday
May-17
My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God's love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God's love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.

The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

Today’s First Reading (1John 4:7-10) is a tricky one. Having just told us the wonderful news that ‘God is love’ (v8), John now seems to undo it all by saying that God ‘sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (v10). Here we have that seemingly awful image of God, as the one who demands appeasement for the sins of humanity by the death of his beloved Son. So which is it? It can’t be both, can it? How can a God who is love possibly want the one he loves to be slaughtered to appease him? To put it bluntly: is there some way of honouring the text without dishonouring God?

Now you can try to resolve the dilemma by saying it is God’s love for us that compels him to send his son to be killed. But, the possibility that God could love human beings more than his ‘beloved’ son stretches the mind that little bit too far, don’t you think? If God, indeed, is love, and totally independent in how he expresses it, then why on earth would he demand sacrificial appeasement? Does that not smack of hardness of heart, even vindictiveness?

You may introduce justice into the equation and claim that divine justice demands it. But is that not making love subservient to justice? And love is greater. Indeed, as Paul says in 1Cor 13:13 ‘the greatest of all is love’. Once God forgives, justice goes out the door. So, are love and demands for appeasement mutually exclusive? If you find out, let me know.
Fr Tom Cahill SVD, Divine Word Missionaries, Donamon, Co Roscommon Email tomcee@eircom.net
 
 
 
  Saturday
May-16
‘No feather borne hither and thither upon the wind moves with such grace and freedom as do they who allow themselves to be carried by God.’ ~Nicolas Barré (founder of Infant Jesus Sisters)

Today marks the centenary celebrations of the Infant Jesus Sisters in Ireland better known as the Drishane Sisters. One hundred years ago they established Drishane Convent in Millstreet, Co.Cork. As a boarding school it had an excellent name down through the years. Education has been described as preparing the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. The Drishane Sisters gave many young women a great start in life and instilled in them the belief that education goes on all our lives. The impact of 100 years of education in Drishane has yielded much fruit with much more to come. Today is a day to share in their joy and celebrations. It is a day to give thanks for many blessings received during those years. It’s all about letting ourselves be carried by God. Sometimes we’re hesitant and shy about doing so but the Infant Jesus Sisters remind us that when we put our trust in God the harvest is indeed rich.
 
 
 
  Friday
May-15
‘Labels are everywhere: gay, goth, skanger, chav, queen, anorexic, retard, geek, clown, druggie, freak, knacker and so on. But what you might regard as harmless stereotyping is actually a practice that can have serious, far reaching and even fatal consequences. ~Karen Cogan

Labelling whether positive or negative is disabling. People have rich and varied personalities. We are indeed unique, complex and made up of a wide variety of beliefs. But we do no favours to ourselves or others when we try to squeeze people into boxes. God never created any of us to be squeezed into categories or labels. We so often make assumptions about someone based on externals or on what we’ve heard from other people. This is so limiting and unfair. God created each of us to be free but we often try and limit other people by what we think of them and what we say. Our need to label people often comes from a lack of understanding about a particular group of people. We pray today for a better understanding in how others are trying to live their lives. They too are trying to do their best. Let’s give them a fair chance.
 
 
 
  Thursday
May-14
‘The greatest thing any of us can do is to be our real self and to live our lives as lovingly and as faithfully as we can and in a way that is pleasing to God.’ ~Ronan Scully

Many books have been written about God. There is one obvious link between them all in describing God as love and that this love is very different from human love. God’s love is unconditional and it’s not based on feelings or emotions. No matter what our standing in life, poor, rich, successful, unsuccessful, struggling, depressed, hopeful, God loves each of us as we are and not as we would like to be. It is we who push up the expectations. We need to be patient and much gentler with ourselves. We need to learn to accept ourselves as we are. God’s love for us is beyond our understanding, it is totally genuine and it gives our lives meaning and depth. When ever in doubt or struggling, hold on to the following words: ‘I am unique in God’s eyes and nothing will ever change God’s total love for me’.
 
 
 
  Wednesday
May-13
‘Each of us is like a seed that is planted. With each seed, there is the possibility of new life and new beginnings.’ ~Author Unknown

Every act of kindness involves a letting go meanness. Every act of love involves a letting go of selfishness. Every act of courage involves a letting go of running away from something. Every act of listening involves a letting go of trying to take over. Every act of support involves a letting go of taking the short cut. Every act of forgiveness involves a letting go of holding onto something. Every moment of every day involves some letting go. We let go to make space for something else. Our belief is that this space is filled with the gentle presence of God.
 
 
 
  Monday
May-11
‘May I learn to accept and live with the polarities, tensions, paradoxes and contradictions of our world. May I learn to accept without understanding, find unity in diversity, as I move through each day and as I move through my life.’ ~Sr.Stanislaus Kennedy

There is no such thing as a perfect world or a perfect day. Monday can be one of those days when the best of plans are sometimes turned upside down. The same can be said of any day. We are often pulled, torn and dragged by tensions, problems, misunderstandings and stuff that few on the outside know about. It can be a lonely and difficult journey. We sometimes blame ourselves and our circumstances. We say “It must be me” or “I must have done something”. The first step forward is to know that you are not at fault or to blame. Life is full of complexities and the unknown. Each day we use many life skills to get us through. Some of these we are still learning. Our faith and our belief in God is one of those precious life skills that help us cope and give us strength.
 
 
 
  Sunday
May-10
'I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Make your home in me, as I make mine in you. ~John 15:1-3

The following reflection is written by Fr.John Byrne

In a relationship connectedness is important. Relationships cannot be taken for granted and need time and care to be life-giving. In what ways do you see that you have been ‘pruned’ by the experiences of life, or by the word of God, to be a more fruitful person? Perhaps you have also experienced the need for ‘pruning’ in significant relationships in your life. We are also reminded that we are not the source of our own life. It is a gift from God, from our parents and from all who have nourished us. Give thanks for those who have been a source of life for you.
 
 
 
  Saturday
May-09
‘We prostituted Christianity when we told our people they had to “save their souls”. That attitude often affirmed the ego spirituality which is very dangerous and deceptive.’ ~Richard Rohr

We speak of material consumerism but there is also spiritual consumerism. This is mainly about going through the motions simply for the sake of it. Part of this mindset believes we have to please God by doing certain things. It’s almost like a points system and the more points I have, the better chance I have of getting to heaven. There is absolutely nothing wrong in doing things that please God. But there surely is something wrong if it becomes obligatory, something compulsory and something you have to do. Everything about Jesus in the Gospels is freedom and openness. He extended so many gentle invitations. Some accepted and some ignored. Nobody can say they have it all worked out and no one can say tough on those who don’t. The most honest approach is to try and love God in whatever way we can. Whatever way we choose must never be exclusive or cause us to judge others. God will always love us whatever journey or path we choose.
 
 
 
  Friday
May-08
‘A wise old owl sat on an oak tree,
The more the owl saw the less it spoke,
The less the owl spoke the more it heard,
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?’ ~E Richards (Poet)


It is true that if we spoke less and paused to look all around us we’d be surprised what we might see and hear. May is a month bursting with colour, promise and opportunity. It is possible to get so caught up with the immediate that we fail to see the beauty of this day all around us. It’s not difficult to make an effort to appreciate more of what’s around us. We could begin tomorrow or next week but what a waste if we let today slip us by without taking notice of even something small and significant.
 
 
 
  Wednesday
May-06
‘In seeking solutions, the world works from the outside in and Jesus works from the inside out. The world would take people out of the slums. Jesus takes the slums out of the people and then takes them out of the slums.’ ~Harold Buetow

We live in a world with a big emphasis on the externals. How we look, what we wear, where we live, what we drive and even how we speak are on the list of what’s important. Sadly there is not enough emphasis on the person within, on our potential within and on those many areas where we need a lift. Within each of us there are areas that need healing, areas that need letting go and areas that need space for new beginnings. Jesus right throughout our Gospel stories placed the emphasis on the person within. He always began by healing, forgiving and encouraging. He instilled confidence in each person and allowed them to believe in themselves. Then he worked on the problem that was dragging the person down. The problem was often well gone after he worked from the inside out. It’s a mindset we could all adapt and one that makes a lot of sense.
 
 
 
  Monday
May-04
A poem called ‘Starting A New Day’

I meet my God in the morning when my day is at its best and with so many possibilities and opportunities to look forward to. When God’s presence comes to me like a sunrise I feel my day has started well. All day long that presence lingers, long after any perfume or scent. All day long God will stay with me as we sail through calmness or troubled waters. So now I think I know the secret. You must seek God in the morning if you want God through the day.
 
 
 
  Saturday
May-02
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor and to give new life to all those in need.’ ~Luke 4:18

The word Spirit is mentioned 505 times throughout scripture. Clearly the Spirit of God is hugely important but yet we often don’t talk much about it. We feel it’s a bit abstract and so best left to one side. A better description is to be found in John’s Gospel where the Spirit is called ‘The Paraclete’. This translates as someone who walks alongside. We believe the Spirit of God is everywhere but especially that God walks alongside us throughout our lives. This is comforting and consoling. God doesn’t happen to be with us occasionally or abandon us when we do something wrong. God’s presence is constant, assured, near and always alongside us. We struggle sometimes to understand how near and close God is. In our joys, struggles, hurts, failures, disappointments, sadness or whatever may be going on for us, God is always there too.
 
 
 
  Friday
May-01
 
 

 

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