Tuesday, June 28, 2011

St Francis de Paola

St Francis de Paola at the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts  - at the top of the Spanish Steps, Rome
I have just discovered this amazing saint - St Francis de Paola. I took this image at the Church of the Trinity of the Mounts, at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome. He is the patron saint of mariners. He was a vegetarian, a hermit and was founder of the Order of the Minims  - the least. The image depicts his hidden life as a hermit. He decreased so that Christ could increase.

Trinita' dei Monti is a famous church in Rome, well known because of its location just above the Spanish Steps that descend into the Piazza di Spagna. The church is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It was built near the monastery founded by St. Francis di Paola in 1493. In the square at the bottom of the Spanish Steps is a fountain shaped like a boat. I wonder if that is because of one of St Francis of Paola many miracles, the one when he walked on the waves?

Here is a letter written by him -
St. Francis of Paola, Vatican Website, Prepared by Pontifical University Saint Thomas Aquinas
A reading from the letters of St Francis of Paola, Hermit (Letter AD 1486)
Turn to the Lord with a pure heart"May our Lord Jesus Christ, who repays most generously, reward your labour. You must flee from evil, and drive away dangers. We and all our brothers, although unworthy, pray constantly to God the Father and to his Son Jesus Christ, as well as to Mary the Virgin Mother, to be with you as you seek the salvation of your souls and your bodies.
Brothers, I most strongly urge you to work for the salvation of your souls with prudence and diligence. Death is certain, and life is short and vanishes like smoke. Therefore you must fix your minds on the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who so burned with love for us that he came down from heaven to redeem us. For our sakes he suffered all the agonies of body and mind, and did not shrink from any torment. He gave us a perfect example of patience and love. For our part, we too must be patient when things go against us.
Put aside hatred and hostility. See to it that you refrain from harsh words. But if you do speak them, do not be ashamed to apply the remedy from the same lips that inflicted the wounds. In this way you will show each other mercy and not keep alive the memories of past wrongs. Remembering grievances works great damage. It is accompanied by anger, fosters sin, and brings a hatred for justice. It is a rusty arrow spreading poison in the soul. It destroys virtue and is a cancer in the mind. It thwarts prayer and mangles the petitions we make to God. It drives out love and is a nail driven into the soul, an evil that never sleeps, a sin that never fades away, a kind of daily death.
Be lovers of peace, the most precious treasure that anyone can desire. You are already aware that our sins drive God to anger, "so you must repent of them, that God in his mercy may spare you. What men conceal is open to God. Turn to him with a sincere heart. Live in such a way that you bring upon yourselves the blessing of God, and that the peace of God our Father may be with you always."
Born at Paola in Calabria in the year 1416.  He died at Tours in France in 1507.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Act of Consecration to the Holy Spirit

On my knees before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body to You, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the strength and light of my soul. In You I live and move and am. I desire never to grieve You by unfaithfulness to grace and I pray with all my heart to be kept from the smallest sin against You. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for Your light, and listen to Your voice, and follow Your gracious inspirations. I cling to You and give myself to You and ask You, by Your compassion to watch over me in my weakness. Holding the pierced feet of Jesus and looking at His five wounds, and trusting in His precious blood and adoring His opened side and stricken heart, I implore You, Adorable Spirit, helper of my infirmity, to keep me in Your grace that I may never sin against You. Give me grace, O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son to say to You always and everywhere, "Speak Lord for Your servant heareth." Amen.
Holy Spirit Come with Your healing love to New Zealand
 (photo - Queenstown - showing the extraordinary beauty of NZ)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Pentecost Sunday - What of the Holy Spirit’s call to us

Reading & Meditation
“There came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house.” Acts 2:2. Pentecost Sunday.
AS I sit on the back verandah of the country house in the early morning, the silence is palpable. The world seems to have somehow put itself on hold. You feel inclined to hold your breath. Nothing stirs. You can imagine how God made it – just like this. Leaves, flowers, grass, birds, mist, clouds. Silence.

And then suddenly, as if a switch has been thrown, it begins to change. The wind stirs the trees, little sparrows seem to hop out of nowhere on to the geraniums on the verandah steps. Then in an irreverent burst of energy, the screeching sulphur-crested cockatoos arrive, yelling at each other and the world. But is the beauty of creation disturbed or merely added to?

The Lord comes in a gentle breeze, in subtlety and in silence. The Lord also comes in the strong driving wind – and in the cacophony of cockatoos.

What of the Holy Spirit’s call to us? In flaming fire as on the day of Pentecost, or in the silence of one’s own company? Does God speak to us more clearly in silence because it is an all-too-infrequent commodity nowadays, and so we take notice of it? How is God lighting the fire in our life? Are we giving God the chance?

Lord, help me to make my petitions shorter and my silence with you longer.
Glories of Creation
Reflection by Geoff

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Women’s Breakfast 5th June at Harden/Murrumburrah with Sue and Leo Kane

Women’s Breakfast 5th June at Harden/Murrumburrah NSW
Sue Kane co author of The Little Brown Book, about St Mary MacKillop
Guest speakers - Sue and Leo Kane authors of ‘The Little Brown Book’

The guests are the authors of - The Little Brown Book, Sue and Leo Kane. The book, delicately illustrated by Sr Helen Barnes RSJ who is artist in residence at Galong, with symbols of Mary's experiences, makes access to Mary's spirituality possible. The book is meant for any one who wants to know more about Mary MacKillop. They explore her personality and spirituality and what she could mean for each of us. The authors endeavour to show the reader how to make her words relevant as we live the Gospel in today’s world.
Jean Shea arranged a delicious Women’s Breakfast for 53 women from the Harden/Murrumburrah community at the CWL centre Whichcraft in Murrumburrah.
Jean welcomed the women of the district and quoted St Mary of the Cross MacKillop ‘Never see a need without doing something about it’. Jean said to the women present – this is for all of you ladies as a big thank you, for all you do in visiting the sick and caring for the community and responding to each need you come across. Country women do extraordinary things in a quiet way. Like Mary, generously and quietly go the extra mile.

Leo, Di, Janice, Lorraine, Mary-Anne, Gemma, Chris, Barbara, Jean, Sue

When invited to come to speak at Harden/Murrumburrah Sue said to her husband Leo, "these people are the salt of the earth – this is Mary MacKillop country". Jean had attended a Retreat Day at St Clement's Galong several months ago, led by Sue and Leo who wrote ‘The Little Brown Book’, and was inspired by their wisdom and gentle caring natures. Sue said Mary MacKillop was an Aussie battler, a saint of the ordinary people.
 “I long at times for quiet” Mary MacKillop wrote, "we all need time out to think about what is important to us.”  It is not a luxury; we need time out to look after our own needs. Mary practised this and knew her own needs and took time out to restock.
Mary’s passion was to bring opportunity to those who needed help. She said, "the good of Australian children is alone what we seek" (1873).
She set up schools, homes for orphans and Provinces – homes for unmarried mothers. Each person was shown utmost respect.
Sue and Leo told many stories of the life of Mary MacKillop and how she lived her life with love and passion. Sue told a story of Mary going to a wild prisoner on death row. He was uncontrollable. But Mary showed him respect and spoke with him gently, with love. He became settled and quietened, then spoke with her for some time. If she had been permitted she would have stood with him on the gallows. She saw a need and did something about it. She trusted the providence of God throughout her life.
We are all but travellers on the road. We need each other on the journey supporting each other.
It was a beautiful morning of fellowship, fun and friendship. It was time to have a cuppa with God.
Thanks Jean.