Thursday, June 22, 2006

What has happened to my side bar?

it has sneakily dissapeared down the side of my blog. why did it do that? And, more importantly. how can i get it back?


Praising God for my Parents.

I wasn’t sure whether to include this, as it won’t make much sense to anyone else reading it, oh well, I don’t have a massive audience anyway! I was praying about how wonderful God is, that when you are prepared to sacrifice the things you love most to Him, He gives you a thousand times them back. I was thinking particularly of my family and my vocation (I’ve been praying a prayer St Jose-Maria wrote in Furrow, “God, I want only what You want, if this thing I’m asking for takes me as much as one inch away from Your Will, don’t give it to me.” Which is one of the hardest prayers I’ve prayed!) but more and more it seems God is going to let me be a Sister, and just before I arrived I got a letter from Mum to say that she loves me, and hopes I’ll find God’s plan for me on this visit. God is so good. So, without further ado:

God, I want to thank You for my parents. I want to thank You that they love each other so much; that’s the first thank You: their love for each other. I want to thank You for their love for me. Thank You that when Dad found out that Mum was pregnant he threw her in the air he was so happy; thank You that Mum was so totally besotted with her funny looking little baby. Thank You that when Dad was away on exercise in Belize for 6 months he wrote to me saying that my letter made him so happy he almost cried; thank You that Mum saved me from my depression with her tears when I was a teenager. Thank You that Mum and Dad were so sorry that they had broken our bond of trust over Caroline; that they forgave me and suffered with me and loved me when my relationship with Saverio ended. Thank You that Mum came to mass when I was received into the Church, and read her (non-Catholic) Bible. Thank You that Mum was heartbroken because she couldn’t support me in my vocation. Thank You that Dad tries to understand. Thank You that Mum wrote to me last week. Thank You so much for that.

Thank You that my parents’ vocation is to be the mother and father of a consecrated religious sister, and that You’ve given them a faith community that has not told them to turn on me. Thank You that Mum knows that this is all from You.

Thank you that Mum wrote to me last week.

May God give you His peace!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

He said he gives me his blessing!

Thursday 1st June. Feast of St. Justin.

I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the prudence of the prudent I will reject.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than men.

Spoke with Fr Andrew Apostoli today, founder of the CFR sisters, he said a lot of things I don’t remember (bother, bother, bother…) and how it was important not to come because of the Friars (I told him about how I nearly didn’t come because I’d only met the Friars, and I knew God wasn’t calling me to be a Friar! I’m so glad Fr Andrew said that, because I think the separation between the two communities is really important, and I’m glad they do too!) and he said that he saw great joy in me, which comes from the presence of the Holy Spirit in the soul… and he said he gives me his blessing

He gives me his blessing!

So the joy of the Holy Spirit is definitely in my soul now! Obviously it’s not just up to him, but he’s definitely a good guy to have on your side!

I give you my blessing

Get in!

Late have I loved You, beauty so ancient yet so new.

Points for meditation from Fr Thomas Dubay: “And You are Christ’s

This is a marvellous book. If anyone is at all considering a celibate vocation they should buy it. Entirely marvellous. Reading it and praying about the concept of gospel virginity, particularly as it applies to me. A side note, in Fr Leo’s homily, he mentioned a candidate for the Friars who had said, “I was living in a way that was breaking God’s heart.” How can we take any glory in past sins, when we look at them like that…? Anyway, Fr Dubay:

For the ancient Hebrew, to be “holy” referred not to excellence in humility and temperance, but rather signified that they had been called from the ordinary mass of mankind to a special relationship with the one God…

Lev 20:29. To me you shall be sacred, for I, the Lord, am sacred, I who have set you apart from the other nations to be my own.

God is so infinitely beyond all that is created, so utterly other, so completely transcendent and sacred…that persons partake in His holiness simply by being called into a special closeness with Him… selected by the Lord Himself from the generality of all other human beings to enter into the transcendental sphere of the utterly Sacred One in a new and exclusive manner – a manner that becomes a state of life…

Would love to quote the whole book… but these paragraphs stood out to meditate on in holy hour today…

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

He fills with greatness the small and the weak who believe in Him

31st May… Feast of the Visitation. Morning Meditation.

I feel kind of battered, I guess the devil finds every way to attack us, met a beautiful Sister at Hyning Monastery who was ever so old and ever so sweet, and told me that the most important thing in life is to “cling to Jesus.” That often comes to mind, and it’s what I think I need to do right now… realised today that I have carelessly slipped into the sin of pride, shoulda seen it coming yesterday “…now I’m not rejecting the world anymore…” *polishes halo* eugh! Does God want me here because I’m so great… no!

Office of Readings for the Feast of the Visitation, 2nd Reading from the writings of St Bede the Venerable.

When a man devotes all his thoughts to the praise and service of the Lord, he proclaims God’s greatness. His observance of God’s commandments, moreover, shows that he has God’s power and goodness always at heart. His spirit rejoices in God his saviour and delights in the mere recollection of his creator who gives him hope for eternal salvation… For the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. Mary attributes nothing to her own merits. She attributes all her greatness to the gift of the one whose essence is power and whose nature is greatness, for He fills with greatness the small and the weak who believe in Him.

So the first thing is to recognise my smallness, my weakness, my unworthiness, but as JDH pointed out last week, I can also marvel at the magnificent mystery of how God makes me worthy…

The Lord has chosen her, His loved one from the beginning, alleluia, alleluia.
He has taken her to live with Him, alleluia, alleluia.

Praise God.

the picture... it's a long story, but nowt to do with NY!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Diary from the Bronx: Part I

May the Lord give you His peace!

29th-30th May... NEW YORK...

ever so tired, but want to write thoughts on arriving today, as (from past experience) tommorow I will feel totally different! When I arrived I felt that I had never left, like I'd just gone out for the day and was returning... I'm not sure I'd say "home", but I do feel grounded here...

...the biggest bonus of jet lag is, of coure, that getting up at 5 am is a doddle! I'm so happy to be here! I felt this morning that a beneficial thing to do would be to write about where I am now - and what has changed since I last visited in December - because although it feels like I'd never left, actually God has blessed me a lot since then. Which leads me to a verse from the scriptures of mass today:

the Holy Ghost in every city witnesses to me

In the past when I've been here, I've felt like I'm in heaven, and I've (very literally) wept at the thought of going back to the world... and when in the world I've longed to leave it and return here, to this life of communion with God. When I was praying a discernment novena early this month (at the request of Fr K, my spiritual director) it opened my eyes to a reality that had been going on for some time, and that I'd not noticed. I was kneeling in the chapel in MRI (Manchester Royal Infirmary) in my nurses uniform and little headscrarf, just before or after my shift (probably after, I'm always running too late to spend much time before) and when I looked for some words to sum up what God was saying to me that day (as Fr K had advised) I understood that it was: I'm happy here. I think that's a vitally important (and radically different) place to start from. Last time I was in NY Sr Lucille asked me why I was so upset at the thought of leaving, now, part of the reason was that I was tired and jetlagged and rather overwhelmed, but there was more to it that that, I didn't love the world, I wasn't saying with St Clare "Oh world! I cannot hold you close enough!", but rather "Oh world! I can't wait to be rid of you!"... my reasons weren't wicked - I loved to be in New York because I love God... but God calls us to be perfect, and to be perfect must be to love God totally in His will at every moment... and as His will is currently for me to be a student nurse, I must take joy in that because it's His will. As I get closer to accomplishing this, the Holy Spirit will "witness to me in every city".

So what does this say in relation to my vocation? Perhaps to clarify it. In my heart I am entirely consecrated to Jesus Christ, no question, breath and heartbeat still stands. I love it here - it feels like a physical embodiment of the Gospel - and I feel that God is calling me here, even more strongly than before, but now there are two marvellous new factors to be considered

1) My vocation is not a rejection of the world, any more than it is a rejection of marriage and family life, but rather a sacrifice of a good, and

2) I love the world! I love to meet God in the world, and to serve God in the world, and to be a witness in the world, and not to want out of it is good, because the CFR are still in it (innit?).

God is so good.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Convent Diary!

May God give you His peace!

Just got back from my 2-week visit with the Community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, and thought a nice thing to do would be to blog bits and pieces of the diary I kept while I was there, so despite having masses of course work to do (although I've handed in my dissertation PRAISE GOD) I will attempt to update the reflections every few days. Don't expect any profound insights, I wasn't feeling particularly profound, just rather terrified about what God was planning for me... anyway, it's time to go to mass, if you pray for me I might be able to post more often... needing some grace right now!

You O Lord are my Lamp

My God who lightens my darkness

With You I can break through any barrier

With my God I can scale any wall

(from office of readings, can't remember which day, or what psalm it's from)