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Listing October - 2008
Happy Halloween!!!
‘You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise. Enthusiasm is the spark in your eye, the swing in your gait, the irresistible surge of your will and the energy to execute your ideas.’ ~Henry Ford

We all need a boost in our lives from time to time. Good news in our community, our family or in our own personal life is always welcome. It’s hard to be enthusiastic every single day but without it we are lost. Some people seem to have a deep reserve of enthusiasm and hope. A closer look and inspection will show that they often have a deep faith which brings meaning to their lives. Their faith is connected to their everyday lives and not just the externals. We pray to God today for enthusiasm, hope and energy in all we do.
‘Know that you are the perfect age. Each year is special and precious, for you shall only live it once.' ~Louise Hay

It’s fair to say that we sometimes wish we were younger and could turn back the clock. In looking back it is easy to say to ourselves that we could have done so much more and could have done things much different. But at that particular moment in time, it seemed the right option or we may have had no other choice available. How many would agree that we are the perfect age? Would we prefer instead to roll back the years? God always encourages us to do what we can, with what we have and to do it to the best of our ability. Wouldn't it be great if we could say that whatever our age, that we're happy with our lot. We may not be able to roll back the years but we can ask God's help in making the most of today and everyday.
‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.’ ~Pope John 23rd

50 years ago today Pope John 23rd was elected pope. It was generally understood at the time that he was simply keeping the seat warm until someone more suitable could be found next time. He proved them all wrong. One of his first words as pope were “Just throw open the Vatican windows. Blow away the cobwebs and let in some fresh air!” He called for the 2nd Vatican Council. There was much opposition. He was told “We can’t possibly prepare for it by 1963” “Then we’ll have it in 1962” he replied! He called for the church to be open to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pope John 23rd had a warm, simple and refreshing outlook in life. He has been called the most popular pope of modern times. We pray to him today for some of his wisdom, simplicity and positive outlook in life.
‘God’s presence is throughout all creation. When the sun rises in the morning, its rays touch everything in creation at the exact same instant. If God’s mind is like the sun’s rays, then God knows all the intimate details of all our lives in a single instant.’ ~Joseph Girzone

With the clocks going back an hour we know how early it gets dark now in the evenings. It’s not that the sun stops shining, it’s simply that the earth tilts away from the sun a little bit each day creating less light as we head towards the winter solstice. (Of course its all so different if you're living in the southern hemishpere!)

The image of God as light of the world and our lives is comforting. God never abandons any of us even in the midst of our deepest darkness. Every bit of light needs to be harnessed. We do so with a kind word of support, a word of encouragement, a smile, gentle reassurance, a word of thanks, a word of appreciation, a prayer or a smile. All of these and much more remind us of God’s gentle presence among us.
The following reflection is written by Fr.Silvester O'Flynn

Jesus said, 'You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself.' ~Matthew 22:36-38

Love of God whom we have never seen is bogus if it is not expressed in love of the people whom we do see. And love of people is incomplete unless it is infused by love of God. The Christian mission is to tell in word and deed the story of God's love. We are asked to love our neighbour as ourselves. Too many people cannot begin that programme because they do not love themselves. People with low self esteem will be negative towards others too. True self love is not in preoccupation with self but in respecting one's unique position in God's love.
Ten Spiritual Tips for the weekend. In Ireland it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend and in Cork it’s the Jazz Weekend!!

(1) Stop worrying. Worry kills life. (2) Begin each day with a prayer. It will arm your soul. (3) Control appetite. Over indulgence clogs mind and body. (4) Accept your limitations. There are few who are great and they have enough worries. (5) Don’t envy. It wastes times and energy. (6) Have faith in people. Cynicism is caustic. (7) Exercise. Go for a walk. Get out and about. It clears the mind. (8) Read a book to stimulate imagination and broaden your views. (9) Spend some time alone for the peace and solitude of silence. (10) Try to want what you have instead of spending your strength trying to get what you want.

Don't forget to put the clocks back 1 hour tonight!!
‘At the heart of the simple life is the emphasis on harmonious and purposeful living.’ ~Duane Elgin

We are all aware of the hectic pace of life. This coming bank holiday weekend and mid term break in schools will give many a respite and a welcome break. We never fully reach the point of completion in getting things done and we’re always sucked into more busyness. We wish for a more simple life but don’t believe it’s possible. It is if we intentionally choose it. Rushing and taking on more tasks will never get us there. But when we are attentive to the present moment and focussed on the one thing that is set before us, it is we who are in control. The benefits are many. We reduce stress levels, we know ourselves better, we make better choices, our health is better and believe it or not we actually get more done. Our prayer today is to ask God to help us choose a life that is simpler and to prioritise each day only what is really important and beneficial.
‘Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.’ ~Maria Robinson.

Cliff Richard recently described a visit to Bangladesh early in his career that was life changing. He was shocked by the poverty and began questioning whether a career in music was the right path for him. He said he confided to a nurse out there, “I don’t feel I should be going home. I’ve never seen things that I never knew existed. I think I should stay.” She simply said, “Can you give an injection or insert a drip?” When he replied “no”, her response was, “We don’t need you here. Go home. Help us do what we do best by doing what you do best.” Sometimes we think we can change the world and events all around us. Today and for this coming week we ask God to help us not to worry about things we can’t do and to keep doing all those things that we do best.
The following reflection is written by Ronan Barry to mark Mission Sunday which takes place today.

In a modern world often characterised by exclusion and individualism, our lives lived as part of faith community is a powerful witness to a more real model of community and togetherness – rooted in Gospel values. ~Ronan Barry

As we come to grips with what our call to Mission can be in 2008; the prophetic challenge of mission needs to prepare our Church for what Pope John Paul II called “Globalization without marginalization, globalization in solidarity”. This can only happen if the people of God, the followers of Jesus go out with the message of love, compassion and solidarity with the people on the margins wherever they are. Mission Sunday gives us a chance to reflect on the Church’s mission worldwide, especially in the Young Churches. There the specific missionary challenges can be different from our own. Challenges may come from an oppressive government or from the poverty, disease, hunger of the people they serve. As Christians we are called to transform our faith into action, to move our belief into mission, to bring ourselves into the reality where our compassion can affect not only those in our community but those in our global faith community as well.
‘If you defend truth, if you allow for weakness, oppose evil, respect others, promote growth and live honestly and do so because you love God, then you are a missionary.’ ~Tom Cahill

Tomorrow is Mission Sunday and covers all aspects of mission. At its core it is recognition that we are called to mission wherever we are. We have mission in our family, in our work, in our school, in our community and in our parish. At a wider level it’s a day that recognises mission across the world as well. So many people have given their whole lives or have volunteered to work in another country sharing their gifts and talents, sharing their enthusiasm and energy and above all sharing their love of God with others. Mission today includes conversion but it has a much wider scope. It is much more about including others and having a deep respect for other religions and their traditions. Through the lives we live and the example we lead, we are indeed all missionaries and it’s a weekend to ask God’s blessings on all of us.
‘Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.’ ~Frank A.Clark

How do you describe a generous person? One explanation is someone who is warm hearted and who delights in ensuring the happiness and welfare of others. In Irish there is one single word that sums it all up and it’s to be flaithiúlacht. There are many examples where God is generous or flaithiúlacht. In the wedding story at Cana, Jesus asked that the jars be filled with water but goes a step further by saying, ‘fill them to the brim’. In another story a huge number of fish are caught by the disciples who had given up on catching any. The fish are so many that the nets begin to tear and extra boats are called to help. God is lavish, generous and flaithiúlacht. When we think we least deserve God’s generosity is the moment when God is most generous.
'Very few burdens are heavy if everyone lifts.' ~S Wise

In Ireland yesterday we had a government budget and an attempt to cope with a financial crisis. It was an attempt to get everyone lift the burden together. Time will tell if everyone is willing to work together.
It is well known that trying to carry our burdens on our own is nearly an impossible task. Wisdom and experience has shown that if we share a burden it does become lighter. We can also help someone else with their burdens, by being there for them, listening to them and simply being a friend. We don't have to have the right words, in fact few are often needed. Our presence with someone else can make all the difference. The danger is that we often leave it to someone else and that someone else is also leaving it to us. We especially remember those beautiful words from our gospel: "Come to me all you who labour and overburdened and I will give you rest."
‘In all prayer we must be always on our guard against superstition, saying for example that nine times is more effective than five, or that this particular formula of words is more powerful than another and so on.’ ~George Wadding

We all have heard about chain letters and chain emails. They should simply be discarded and ignored. The same can also be said about chain prayers. These prayers tell us we must say them nine times, for nine consecutive days and then forward them to as many people as possible. Do this and we will be granted anything we ask. Not to do so will bring bad luck. They play on our guilt and often end up on tables at the back of churches. Is God impressed with such devotion? Not at all. God is loving but also wise. God knows our needs even before we ask. It’s not about numbers or never will be. Good prayer will always be about quality not quantity.
The following thought by Flor McCarthy Perhaps we are so busy, our lives are so full, that even God has difficulty in breaking through to us.' ~Flor McCarthy

God never compels us. God invites each of us. A command can't be so easily ignored but an invitation can. Often we don't know what we really want or even what is good for us. What we are seeking and what we really value deep down are not always the same thing. Only God knows what is best for each of us. God is calling us to a deeper and more authentic life here in on earth. To ignore God's invitation altogether is the worst form of refusal. It implies indifference. Indifferent people are the hardest to convert.
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. It is so easy 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.
“I invite you to pray for those with mental health difficulties, that they are not placed on the margins but treated with respect and lovingly supported as they live their life with dignity.” ~Pope Benedict

Today (Oct 10th) is world mental health day. One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their life. Good mental health helps us to enjoy life and to face disappointments, pain and sadness which we will all inevitably experience at some stage. The effects of mental illness can be deep and painful. One can loose a sense of direction and control in our lives. It can lead to isolation and loneliness. At the heart of world mental health day is an openness to talk about mental health problems. The good news is that the majority of people with a mental illness get better or learn to manage their symptoms in daily life. Jesus spent much of his time in this world with people who were oppressed by mental illness. We pray today for anyone affected by a mental illness and we pray especially for healing. The Samaritans can be contacted on 1850 609090
‘Our duty in this world is to help others by showing them their roses and not their thorns. Only then can we achieve the love we should feel for each other. Only then can we bloom in our garden.’ ~Author Unknown

A story is told about a man who planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it. He saw the bud that would soon blossom and also the thorns. And he thought, “How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns?” Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose and before it was ready to bloom, it died. The same goes for each of us too. Unfortunately many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, our weak points and what’s negative. We often do not see the rose within ourselves. Beyond every thorn, there is great beauty and potential. Sometimes we just have to make a bigger effort to see beyond those thorns.
‘The Kingdom of heaven is like someone looking for fine pearls and when they find one that is unusually fine, they go and sell everything they have and buy that pearl.’ ~Matthew 13:45-46

Someone asked Ignace Paderewski a famous concert pianist why he made time to practice on his piano each day. He answered, “If I skip one day, I notice it. If I skip two days, critics notice it. If I skip three days, audiences notice it.” For all of us there are special people and important things to do in our lives that need time and attention. It may be our family, a friend, a relationship, an interest or hobby. It may be time for prayer or rest. It may be looking after our health. We may have let what’s important slip us by, through a lack of time or a lack of effort on our behalf to make it important. When we choose not to make it important there is always a loss. But today I can choose to make someone or something a priority in my life again.
The thought/reflection below written by Fr. Peter O'Kane

'It was the stone rejected by the builders that became the keystone.This was the Lord's doing and it is wonderful to see? I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.'

On this day of prayer for life, we are called not only to care for the good news given to us, but to give it life, help it grow and by the lives we lead, bear fruit. Good news, through word and action gives voice to the life and dignity God offers every person, regardless of culture, time or place. Even when our lives don't always follow those of God, we are still offered opportunities to change our ways and re direct our lives back to God.

Another angle on A Day For Life from yesterdays thought.

"What you put into life is what you get out of it." ~Old Saying

A Day For Life came as a response to the proposal of the late Pope John Paul II that a day for life be celebrated to foster in ourselves, in families, in our community and in civil society, a recognition of the meaning and value of human life. Sadly we hear many tragic stories on a daily basis, from murders, rape, physical assaults, exploitation and so on. Life is often crushed and destroyed. We know of people who find life itself a struggle, caught in the web of depression and deep loneliness. What"s the point of a Day for Life? It is a day for us to appreciate our own life and life all around us. We take so much for granted especially life. It is fragile, delicate and there is great beauty to be found when someone bubbles with life. Our prayer this weekend is for all of us to nurture and treasure life but especially to pray for those whom life is an uphill struggle.
‘What you put into life is what you get out of it.’ ~Old Saying

Tomorrow across Ireland a Day for Life is to be celebrated. It came as a response to the proposal of the late Pope John Paul II that a day for life be celebrated to foster in ourselves, in families, in our community and in civil society, a recognition of the meaning and value of human life. Sadly we hear many tragic stories on a daily basis, from murders, rape, physical assaults, exploitation and so on. Life is often crushed and destroyed. We know of people who find life itself a struggle, caught in the web of depression and deep loneliness. What’s the point of a Day for Life? It is a day for us to appreciate our own life and life all around us. We take so much for granted especially life. It is fragile, delicate and there is great beauty to be found when someone bubbles with life. Our prayer this weekend is for all of us to nurture and treasure life but especially to pray for those whom life is an uphill struggle.
‘Hope is what sits by a window and waits for one more dawn, despite the fact that there isn’t an ounce of proof in tonight’s black, black sky that it can possibly come.’ ~Joan Chittister

The world economic crisis making all the news headlines lately can best be described as bleak and black. It has prompted deeper questions as to how and why we have got ourselves into this situation. Greed and profit seem to be the main culprits. Yet there is a sense of hope that somehow things will improve. Never before has there been such a collective response and people working together to come up with a solution. Many will say it was time for a reality check. While much can be taken from us, no one can take away our sense of hope. In the depths of our struggles and our darkest nights we rely on hope. We put our hope and trust in God that things can and will improve even when all seems lost.
‘Everyone no matter how humble they may be has angels to watch over them. They are heavenly, pure and splendid. They have been given to keep us company on our way. They have been given the task of keeping careful watch over us.’ ~Pope Pius XII

Today is the feast of our guardian angel. We all have our own personal guardian angel and they are as influential as we allow them to be. The more we believe in them and call on them, the greater their presence and influence in our lives. Our guardian angel is always with us and is always ready to help, guide and direct us. Pope Pius is famous for devotion to his guardian angel and said that without such devotion he would never have got through all the delicate and difficult situations he often faced. Today is a day when we can pray to our personal guardian angel. It’s not asking him/her to solve all of our life’s problems but to simply be a beacon of light and hope along our own daily journey.


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