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Listing August - 2022
The following prayer was read to staff on their first day back to school after the summer holidays in Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig yesterday

Lord, we thank you for our summer break giving us all a chance to refocus, relax, unwind and refresh. We thank you for quality time during the summer, particularly our fine weather, allowing us to reconnect with ourselves and with others. As we begin a new school year give each of us the strength to face challenges that may lie ahead. Help us to teach our students to the best of our ability and to offer each of them a sense of belonging and community. Help us to offer guidance in times of uncertainty, to offer hope in times of sadness and to know that one step at a time will always get us through. Help each of us to listen to each other and to our students. When we are in need of an answer, a question, inspiration, a plan or guidance, help us to know that you are there to provide it. Most importantly help us to know that our work is your work. Amen
'To me, God lives within me, God lives in my heart. The image of the potter is what summarises my image of God. We are in daily formation. Every single day, God moulds and fashions me.' ~Nina Isabelle Chillion

Pottery has been around for thousands of years. Each potter has their own unique style and finished product. But they all start with the same lump of clay. It may not look much but it has huge potential. The potter patiently works with it, allowing it take shape. Even if it falls out of shape, the potter will patiently start again. It is no surprise that God has been compared to a potter. Like a potter God works with us gently. There is recognition of our uniqueness and the something special which we all have. Like clay that sometimes fall out of shape, we also make mistakes but that is never a reason for God to push us to one side. We are in daily formation, constantly trying to do our best, growing and maturing, while learning new things about ourselves and others. Are you open to this ongoing formation today?
'Once you choose hope, anything's possible.' ~Christopher Reeve

A boy was in the burn unit of a hospital for many weeks making little if any progress. His teacher was asked to visit him and tutor the boy with some schoolwork while he was in hospital. As she tried to tutor him it was obvious the boy was in a lot of discomfort. The teacher felt ashamed of putting him through such a senseless exercise. The next day the nurse asked her: "What did you do to that boy? His entire attitude has changed. It's as though he has decided to live." A few weeks later the boy explained that he had given up hope until his teacher arrived. "They wouldn't send my teacher to work on nouns and verbs with a dying boy, would they?" We too journey into people's lives and into places and events that on the surface seem to have no meaning or purpose to us. Yet God gently works through us, creating many surprises and in ways we least expect.
The following prayer was written by Marjorie Ahern:

I have the power to choose to see things as they really are. I choose to see things as God does, with the eyes of love. Since it is the nature of God to be present everywhere, I know that all there really is in this entire universe is the love of God. The love of God surrounds me, dwells within me, goes before me and soothes the way for me. I am a beloved child of the universe and the universe lovingly takes care of me now and forevermore. When I need something, I turn to God who created me. I ask for what I need and then I give thanks even before receiving, knowing that it will come to me in the perfect time, space and sequence. Amen
'People cultivate five thousand roses in one garden and still they do not find what they seek. Yet what they are seeking may be found in a single rose or a drop of water.' ~Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

Down through the years we've been led to believe in the numbers game. A consumerist society feeds into more and plenty of everything. The more you have the happier you'll be is the motto. But this is not always the case. Recent surveys have shown that people are not happier and that they seek and search lasting happiness. A close look at our Gospels indicates that happiness and contentment are actually within our grasp. The words used are 'finding the kingdom of God'. It is among us, around us and within our reach. It's a bit like the Rose of Tralee, many will say they couldn't be bothered watching it, yet over 1 million tuned in to last Tuesday night. We might say we couldn't be bothered with spiritual matters yet we do want it. One person, one gesture of love and kindness, one smile, one text, one word of encouragement, one prayer can be enough to make it begin to happen. The power of one cannot be measured.
'What's the point in living the life of a priest? I do some good if I am a person of love, one who champions and exemplifies the values of compassion, justice, forgiveness and tolerance. Through my living I must mediate the God of love to people, I must highlight injustice, I must offer hope. If I do not, then I am not witnessing to what I profess. In fact I become a counter-sign.' ~Fr.Gerard Moloney

Only 16 men entered Maynooth last Sunday as they begin a 7 year priestly formation programme. Last year 36 entered so this is a drop of 56%. This is a fairly staggering decline. Nationally the average age of the Irish priest is now 61. It's estimated that by 2028 the number of priests in Ireland will be 1,500 and that will work out as one priest for every five parishes. It is only now that the full extent of the vocations crisis is hitting home. The unselfish lives of many good priests are a great gift and blessing to our communities but for many of them their workload is increasing. Despite efforts to promote more lay involvement there seems to be a crisis of confidence and morale is low. We are entering challenging and extra ordinary times. The spirit of God is steering us through unchartered territory. Fresh and new pastures are waiting even though the path towards same is painful and uncertain. We journey together.
'Once you begin to learn about yourself and begin to take yourself seriously, things begin to happen.' ~Gareth O'Callaghan

We are sometimes slow in believing in ourselves, slow in believing our potential and slow believing in the endless possibilities we can generate. Unless we first believe in ourselves we can never believe in anything else. Our world is complex, fragile and difficult at the best of times. In such a world we need to believe that there is something more. This something more can be different things, but to many it simply is a belief in God, who loves us, cares for us and wants us to believe in the vast goodness and potential within. God always accepts us as we are but sadly many don't believe that God works this way. We can begin to believe that we have something significant and positive to bring to any day. It's not about how much, but much more about each of us realising that we have far more than we realise.
Thought for Today resumes on Tuesday August 24th
'We need God. Without God who alone is absolute, we soon lose our perspective on life and can no longer distinguish between what is important and what is trivial. Without God, we begin to fashion other little gods, wealth, success, clothes, good looks and they are cruel. They make more and more demands on us, demands we cannot cope with at times.' ~Vincent Twomey

Today is a special day in Knock, Co.Mayo. It was on this day back in 1879 when Our Lady appeared at Knock. The apparition was witnessed by 15 people, young and old. Today Knock Shrine is an international place of pilgrimage and prayer where one and a half million pilgrims come each year. What brings so many people to this place each year? It would be unfair to label these pilgrims as having it all worked out or spiritual freaks. These people are searching and yearning. They have a great sense of the need for God. They are aware that life can be a struggle and how it is often uncertain. They come to Knock to pray, to ask God and Our Lady for spiritual guidance, direction, healing and a place where they can share what is really going on in their own lives. Many of us will not be able to travel to Knock this year but we join the many thousands who will visit the shrine this weekend. We are all united in our different prayers today and in particular asking Mary's many blessings on each of us.
10 commandments to get along with people

(1) Say less than you think. Cultivate a calm voice, how you say it often means the most.
(2) Make promises sparingly, keep them faithfully.
(3) Never lose opportunities to say a kind word to or about somebody. Praise work well done.
(4) Be genuinely interested in others. Let everyone you meet feel that you regard them as if they are the only person that matters in the world.
(5) Be cheerful as best you can.
(6) Keep an open mind on all debateable questions. There's a big difference between discussing something and arguing something.
(7) Don't give in to gossip. It is so destructive.
(8) Respect the feelings of others.
(9) Pay no attention to those who think less of you. There are always knockers in this world but know that there are many more people willing to uplift and encourage.
(10) It won't cost you anything, smile!!

Can you add anything to this list?
'He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord's year of favour' ~John 2:8-9

It is sometimes hard to change assumptions already made by other people. What we do each day is important but it isn't the only factor in deciding who I am. Much more important is who we are inside and what values are special and important to us. Jesus clearly set out his agenda which was so different, refreshing, inspiring and challenging. His starting point was those who were ignored and pushed to one side. He wanted everyone on equal standing. For him everyone had some important contribution to make. While others condemned and ignored, Jesus cherished, nurtured and embraced everything about that person. The same invitation to celebrate everything good, life giving and positive about you and me is freely extended. The invitation is not next year or next month or next week but today!
Thought resumes as normal tomorrow 19th August
'There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.' ~Edith Wharton

There is a story about a man who was abroad on work commitments in France. He bought a rock that intrigued him. It looked ordinary but the shopkeeper showed him how each of the cracks in the rock would shine with different coloured lights in the dark. The businessman bought it for his wife as a symbol of their love and packed it away in his suitcase. On returning home some weeks later he asked his wife to turn out the lights, took out the rock and gave it to his wife. But nothing happened. The man was upset, "I've been cheated and I paid a lot of money for this." He explained to his wife that he had bought the rock as a symbol of his love for her and that each crack on the rock was supposed to glow with a different coloured light in the dark. She graciously accepted the rock, put it back in its box and kissed him lovingly. Next day she took the box to her neighbour to translate the French words on the side of the box. "It's a simple instruction", said the neighbour, "If you want me to shine in the dark, expose me to the sunlight." Because he had kept the rock in his suitcase it couldn't shine. The rock can be symbolic of many things in our lives. Spiritually it means we remain in the dark until we turn towards God, the greatest source of light and energy in our world.
'Today those who wish to preach the gospel need to connect with their audience, speaking to them in their own language and connecting with their hopes and fears, their aspirations and disappointments.' ~Francis Cousins

If you were to do a review of the last 25 years how would you sum it up? It has been a constant evolution of changes. The biggest change has been the digital revolution and how technology has progressed at an incredible pace. From a spiritual point of view we also have to adapt to the progress all around us. Some would say is it really progress? But such an attitude will simply leave us watching from the sidelines with many opportunities slipping us by. The gospel message will always be the same, fresh, energetic and uplifting. The challenge is to connect it to peoples lives by using every modern means of communication. There is still room for tradition and bringing forward many things that worked well for us in the past. But only if we're open to exploring new methods of evangelisation.
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This feast really is a test of faith. Today's First and Second Readings don't make things any easier. I suppose for many it's just a feast and that's it. Just something we commemorate because the Church teaches infallibly that it happened. Interestingly, she says nothing about how it happened but asserts that it did. I think this feast should not be seen as an isolated event. If today's readings are telling us anything it's that the event we commemorate is part of a grand plan unfolding.

The First Reading from the Apocalypse, using what for us at this distance is very strange imagery, tells of the conflict between good and evil. We can all identify with that to some degree as we experience this tug-of-war on a daily basis in our own lives. The purpose of this reading and its weird symbols is not to tell us that such conflict occurs - we know that already - but that the outcome is assured: victory for the good. That is not something we may know already, or always experience. We may be duped at times into thinking that evil is more powerful than good. How wrong we would be should we think that way. Today's feast should help to convince us of that. So too should our Second Reading from Paul (1 Cor 15:20-26): 'The last enemy to be destroyed is death'. Mary did not undergo death as we know it, according to Church teaching. She did not undergo bodily corruption. In Jesus' resurrection, the perceived finality of death has been shattered.
Thought resumes as normal tomorrow Aug 15th
'The Universe is like a safe to which there is a combination. But the combination is locked up in the safe.' ~Peter DeVries

Tonight (Aug 12th) is apparently the best night to view the Perseid Meteor Shower. Our planet earth is currently passing through a cloud of dust left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle. As Earth moves through this cloud, the particles fall into our atmosphere and burn up, creating spectacular streaks of light in the sky, known as meteors or shooting stars. This shower is named after the constellation Perseus, from which the meteors appear to come from in the sky. It has always been said that a shooting star is a sign that a soul had gone straight to heaven. A meteor shower and indeed the sight of any star is a visible sign that we are only a tiny fraction of this vast universe. Our universe began with a 'big bang' some 13.7 billion years ago. If all the events in the history of the universe until now were squeezed into 24 hours, Earth wouldn't form until late afternoon and humans would have existed for only 2 seconds. Our universe is mystery, which is why we say God is also mystery. In the midst of all this mystery, God is somehow in there helping us make sense of all the complexities of life. In the middle of mystery there must be a reason. Others may beg to differ but our firm belief is that God is the reason.
'Often the first sign of friendship is that we are delighted to discover the world in a similar way. We find ourselves laughing at the same jokes, enjoying the same novels, sharing other friends. We treasure the same things. Similarly we are God's friends not by thinking things about God but seeing things with God, through God's eyes as it were.' ~Timothy Radcliffe

Good and faithful friends are such treasures. We would simply be lost without them. Life would indeed be difficult, lonely and frustrating if we didn't have the company of friends. There is a world of a difference between a friend and an acquaintance. An acquaintance is someone we know through work or someone who lives in the same area. We may know many acquaintances but our real and true friends can often be counted in one hand. It would be nice to think of God as a friend rather than an acquaintance. As a friend God is in touch with our every need. Rather than someone aloof, distant and separate, God is someone who is close and near. A friend stays with us through thick and thin. As a friend God journeys with us through all that is good but is also with us through the mess and struggles of our lives as well. We thank God for our friends and we can include God on that list too.
A little story......

A recent arrival in heaven met St.Peter who showed him around. The two of them passed a number of large buildings full of angels. St.Peter stopped in front of one of them and said to the newcomer, "this is the section for receiving and answering prayers of petition." In this building there seemed to be thousands of angels opening, classifying and answering the enormous volume of petitions which kept being left at the reception area. They then went past a corner and came to a small building something like a rural post office. To his surprise there was only one angel working in this building and didn't seem to have much to do. "This is the section where we receive the prayers of thanksgiving," said St.Peter. "How is it that there is so little work here?" said the newcomer. "You would hardly believe it," Peter replied, "but the percentage of those whose prayers and petitions are answered either forget or never bother to thank God!"
'We are a people obsessed with appearance, with image, with looking good and with being good looking. For us today, by and large, it is more important to look good than to be good, to look healthy than to be healthy and to say the right thing rather than do the right thing.' ~Ronald Rolheiser

Image today seems to be everything. Huge amounts of money are spent on advertising telling us what to buy, what to wear, how to stay young and healthy. Appearance seems to be what we are really concerned about. There is a fear of growing old and instead an obsession with staying young forever. It is of course good to be concerned with physical appearance, on being healthy and feeling good about ourselves. But there is not enough attention on looking after the soul or spirit of each person and we have all neglected the sacred within. We carry around too many burdens, hurts, worries and scars within us. We don't give ourselves a chance to let some of them go and instead we don't give a fair chance to nurture all the goodness and reservoirs of love within each of us. In our Gospels Jesus sought to bring balance to every person, not just on the outside but also within as well. Today we are experts in what to wear, what to eat, how to exercise but we're not in balance. Unless we go the step further and nurture our soul or spirit we will always be out of balance.
The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

Scientists can be on the ball just as much as footballers. Take Danish physicist Niels Bohr (d. 1962) for example. He watched westerns. As he did, he noted that something strange happened in them: the gunslinger who went for his gun first, often was the one who was shot first, even though he had the advantage. Bohr was fast enough to draw the correct conclusion from what he saw: reacting is faster than acting. It has now been confirmed that we move faster when we react to something that someone else is doing than when we start to do something ourselves, about 21 milliseconds faster.

How fast are we on the draw when responding to God's word? In today's Gospel reading (Luke 12:32-48) God says he gives us the kingdom. How do we react to that? Do we change because of it? God doesn't hesitate to give. We mustn't hesitate to respond. We can't claim that we don't know what to do because it's spelled out for us: we've to sell our possessions, give alms, make purses that don't wear out because the treasure they contain is in heaven; we've to be dressed for action, have our lamps lit and be ready for the Master's return. In short, we react to the gift of God's kingdom by living like people who belong to it. So we live with thanks for the precious gift of life. We share that gift graciously with others. We react to life with love, generosity, faith and courage. That's really being on the ball!
'A candle flame has a fascination for people of all ages. It is a kind of living thing; it breathes the air and drinks the molten wax to nourish its life. Though it stirs occasionally like a sleeping baby, it lives mostly in silent contemplation.' ~Ned Grace

A candle can represent many different things for people. A candle is comforting, consoling, uplifting and can be a sign of great hope particularly during a difficulty or crisis. The candle can also represent people who live quiet lives. These people may not grab the headlines and may not do anything seemingly extra ordinary. Yet these people are truly inspirational. They may be quiet in the background but their value and importance can never be measured. Big strong spotlights are prone to breaking down and giving up at the wrong time. But you can always rely on the safe and steady light of a candle. Even in total darkness, the light of a candle is truly extra ordinary. Today is a day to thank God for those people in our lives who mirror a candle, quiet and gently getting on with what needs to be done. These people continue to inspire, nurture and bless us all.
Any bit of local slang will work for this pic! The above is Cork slang! The seagull literally gulped it all down in a few seconds.
'We must cut our coat according to our cloth and adapt ourselves to changing circumstances.' ~W.R. Inge

Most homes have a thermometer and a thermostat. What is the difference between the two? A thermometer merely tells what the temperature is in a particular room. If you move it from a cold room to a warm room, it will rise and change to register what that temperature may be. It always adjusts to its environment. The thermostat is different because it adjusts the room temperature. If you want a fixed temperature to save on high energy bills the thermostat is your friend. It will regulate the heating at whatever temperature you want. In life we are either a thermostat or a thermometer. We can either blend in with the crowd (thermometer) or we can make a difference (thermostat). In our Gospels Jesus calls us to become thermostats. Instead of going with everything and anything we are instead called to be people with conviction, self belief, a sense of pride and that we have something genuine to offer. Like a thermostat we can and do make a difference. Unlike a thermometer that can be all over the place and unsure of where to go next, we can like a thermostat find a balance in our lives that's good, healthy and important. Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

A constant thread in the feedback is the question asking if there is copyright on the thoughts that accompany this page. The answer is no unless they are used for financial gain. Feel free to use the thoughts in newsletters or whatever. Out of courtesy it might be nice to mention the link to the website Thanks
'I would say many people limit God and then don't look God up. You know, I think God is very much alive in every kind of person and every kind of walk of life and every kind of faith and religion. Because God is the whole of creation there's no way I'm gonna get a picture of that. So if I get your piece and my piece and his piece and her piece, then I have a fuller understanding than if we each have just one piece.' ~from 'Finding God Again'

It's one of the biggest traps we fall into thinking we have it all worked out when it comes to God. We never can or never will! But we certainly can get a feel for the bigger picture and that is a good place to be. God's beauty and love continues to unfold and evolve with every passing day. It is a privilege to get a taste of that each day. Such is the hectic pace of life we can often miss these beautiful moments. But God is indeed alive in every person, from every walk of life, of every faith and religion. The variety is incredible, amazing and unlimited. The biggest mistake of any religion is to claim ownership or exclusive rights. The wisest religion is the one who thanks God for their pieces but is also willing to embrace the variety of experiences of God that are out there. If each piece, viewpoint or experience of God is a colour, then we truly have an amazing canvas of colours. On its own your colour would stand out but within all the other colours it is the brightest colour of all.
'Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.' ~Oscar Wilde

There are many things that can be taken from us in life. Even under lock and key nothing is absolutely safe. But there are many things within each of us that are just so precious. These are special and unique to you. They are in that sacred place called the soul of each person. Your faith may be barely hanging in there, lukewarm or deep rooted. But it can never take from what's special to you. The problem is that so many completely ignore the vast treasures within each of us. Our world may not be the nicest of places at times, but there is such a reserve of deep love in so many people that it can't be ignored. This deep reserve is God's most precious gift to each of us.
The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

Brain scans are revealing. Take the ones done on teenagers listening to music. These show that insecurity and not personal preference dictates what songs they call 'cool'. In one study they listened to tracks and rated how much they liked them. After a break, they listened to them again some having been shown a popularity rating based on how many times a track had been downloaded. While 12 per cent of those who didn't know whether others liked a track or not changed their ratings, 22 per cent of those who knew that a tune was a hit changed theirs. Of those, three quarters moved in tune with the song's popularity rating.

Today's first reading (Eccles 1:2, 2:21-23) is tailor-made for that sort of thing. 'Vanity of vanities!' it proclaims. 'All is vanity.' Human toil it sees as an annoyance, and notes that even at night our minds don't rest. Worry persists. We don't like truth packaged in pessimism. Yet, truth made one researcher remark that many people who think they're individuals with free choice actually are slaves to what others think. Those words on vanity from the third century bc, could just as easily be from today so accurately do they hit the spot. If we have to be slaves to what another thinks, then let that other be the Other.


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