Thoughts for the Month
The Jesus I know is no cold, hard Iron-Christ; nor does Jesus deserve to be reduced to smug, glib and uncompassionate irrelevancies when the real meaning of His love is what people need so desperately.
"Who is Worthy?" Ted Kennedy
On December 26th 2005, our beloved Maureen Flood died. It was a peaceful death and so we lose a dear friend but of course we know that we have not lost her for her spirit is embedded in the Sacred Site of Redfern and within each of us. We extend our love andprayers to her family and to all the Blessed Sacrament Sisters.
On Sun Jan 1st, Marnie began her commentary as follows:
This morning on the first day of the New Year, 2006, we acknowledge with respect the original inhabitants of this land, the Gadigal people.
We celebrate in Eucharist on the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, the life of our loved Maureen Flood who died on Dec. 26th. I would like to quote from her own words that reveal her deep commitment to the Aboriginal People:
"In St Vincent’s Redfern Community the air we breathe, the land on which we stand is laden with the suffering of generations of the dispossessed original peoples of Australia. The overwhelming spirit of the Community is of longing for Justice and Reconciliation for and with a people who have been so comprehensively and unjustly dispossessed.
Daily contact, conversation, laughter and many tears are great sorrows shared with Aboriginal people in and around St Vincent’s Community and have coloured and dictated my life, my thinking and my theology."
May Maureen’s spirit live on in us.
On Monday night a group gather to share stories of Maureen and who she had been for us. We heard many stories of this woman. I would like to share one of them. Christine Smith wrote,
For me Maureen Flood was one of those 'always there' people. If I think of her I see a warm smile and her eyes beaming out acceptance and respect. Her tone of voice said "You are of value". She would say "Hello Chris" and I would feel so appreciated. I loved her dignity and fineness and she was what I would call a lace collar person, which meant delicacy and refinement. Maureen had many gifts, but what I loved about her was her ability to understand and comprehend what people were saying, and to listen and feed back good wisdom. Maureen kept a little aura of reserve about her that I also loved. She could have never spoken to me and I would still have found her lovable. Maureen came to Wilcannia a few times and we came to call her' fifty six' after the big flood of 56. One of the photos I have of Maureen is of her assisting me to change a tyre. She assisted me to change many tyres in her time and always did it with good humour. I am glad she had some good friends to 'be there' for her in her dark days. All I could ever say of Maureen Flood was ' I just love that woman' fifty six.....deluge......floody......She reckoned I was the only person who called her those names. Thanks to you Maureen so much....
Chris Smith, Wilcannia
At Maureen’s funeral these words of Peirre Teilhard de Chardin SJ were read -
The Final Reflection, Advent 2005In the 4th week of Advent we imagine Mary now to be quite pregnant and maybe finding it cumbersome to get around.
In the time of Christ’s birth to be unmarried and pregnant was simply unacceptable with repercussions that were possibly fatal and so Mary must have been worried, to say the least, as she cried out, "How can this happen?"
Her pregnancy was too obvious to hide anymore. Was she now confined to staying indoors, unable to move freely around the town? Jesus in his mother’s uterus was, like his mother also cramped and with no room to move.
Are we cramped in our lives by shutting one another out from God’s love, - in our family, or workplace, our church, our country and our world? Are we shut out by the boundaries of fear and piety?
Who are we to love like this? The answer only continues to grow as we respond in love, reaching out beyond ourselves as individuals and as a group, to those around us – to stand with and stand up for those smaller than ourselves, to stand together in a God of Truth, Justice and Peace so as to make room for freedom of movement for all.
Mary, though fearful had conviction and lived her life in this way. This is the mystery we hear about today, as anything is possible in God.
A Prayer for the New Year
The planet is small, love must rule us all
I pray that 2006 will be the year that people all over the world realize that all religions emanate from the same deity, and that all sacred writings have the same message of love, justice and peace.
I pray that in 2006 the spiritual barriers which make people hate those who call God by some other name will fall, and that Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Taoists, Wiccans, and all Indigenous peoples will recognize our sameness.
I pray that 2006 will be the year in which the elders will look their grandchildren in the eye, and say, "I will make sure there is a good world for you".I pray that it will be the year in which citizens of all nations will withdraw their energy from the corporate rulers, and find ways to cooperate locally, and build communities that work.
I pray that 2006 will be the year in which warmongers will be ejected from positions of power, and peacemakers will take charge. I pray that it will be the year in which all nations begin to work together to solve global problems of climate change, pollution, oil dependence, hunger, disease. A blessing for all of us.
In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman
Listen to the Spaces.Spaces have their own lives.
In the quiet of your mind
Let them speak. Give them the time they need
Listen to them with your eyes
To tell their stories
Excerpt from a poem y Noel Davis
"Imagination is the first step in creation whether in words or trifles. The mental pattern must always precede the material form."
Another year has passed. Another is beginning. We may be inclined to judge the past year harshly. Some terrible events occurred. But let’s not be overpowered by the negative in our recollections. Many moments of beauty and love occurred also. It is not a black and white world. The coming year will have its events to stir fear, anger and sadness. And it will have its moments of beauty and love.
As the calendar turns over another year, perhaps we should pause to prepare ourselves. If we go ahead in anger and pessimism, what good can we accomplish? If we live in fear, what harm will we do? Let us imagine a better future and consider what we can do to help build it. Let us prepare ourselves by reflecting upon our dreams and and intentions. Where do they intersect? What do we dream of, and what can we become willing to do to make them real? If we dream of being stronger, but have no intention to exercise, we have just a dream. If we clarify our intention to make things happen and then apply our will to the task, we can get results.
Practice: Take some quiet time to reflect upon your hopes and dreams for the future. Think about your personal hopes and dreams, and also those you have for the world we will live in. What do you wish for your family, your friends and associates, the place where you work, the area where you live and the culture you live in? What are your hopes for the country and the world as a whole?
Pick one or a few of these hopes to focus on. Visualize your dream. See it in detail in your mind. Get as clear a picture as you can, and hold it for a while How would you need to behave in order for your dream to be realize Contemplate the level of your commitment to your dream and what makes it the way it is. What thoughts, beliefs or emotions keep your commitment lower than it might be? What might motivate you to act?
© 2003 Tom Barrett
Marnie’s Commentary Jan 1st 2006On the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, the readings have the freshness of a beautiful painting with the paint not yet dry – so appropriate for this first day of the New Year.
Central to the canvas is the young mother and the newly born babe lying in the manger that hugs the earth – one with all that makes up the wonder of Creation. The first Reading from the Book of Numbers is a cry of praise and thanksgiving for this happening summed up in the 2nd Reading from the letter to the Galatians.
"But when the right time finally came God sent his own Son – as the son of a human mother."
This mother in Luke’s Gospel is the true contemplative, pondering in her heart all that is happening around and within her.Maureen Flood lived such a contemplative life in all its beauty and its struggle. She wrote of it in these words.
"The faith and love offered by the Christ-figure are not invisible virtues. They are incarnate in the plain flesh and blood of ‘ordinary’ life-and-death experience.
Traditional spirituality is sometimes interpreted as ‘real’ or ‘true’ only if it moves away from what appears to be ‘ordinary’, away from ‘dailyness’ into the extraordinary.
But …….. ‘Living is dailyness’….. and so is dying …
The joy of life and love becomes somewhat more immediate when Creation is perceived with a simple gaze."
Mary of today’s Gospel "kept all these things and pondered them in her heart".
Below the surface of things is the shimmer of divinity.
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