Saint of tooday
Tell a Friend
Feedback / Queries
Add to Favorites
Set as Homepage
Join Us On Facebook
Home About Site About Photographer Photo Archive Thought Archive  





Listing February - 2009
'Jesus taught us to love people and to use things. But in our society we use people and love things.’ ~Richard Rohr

What a wise reflection and so true. We have placed great importance on things such as cars, clothes, gadgets and houses. It’s easy to try and be ‘one up’ on others. We’ve got so used to it that we do it automatically. That’s why we love things and sadly we have projected our sense of worth on what we have and what we own. The current recession though is a reality check for all of us. Happiness comes from within, so it’s going to be much harder to find it if we expect it outside of ourselves. Jesus in our Gospels encourages us to use things and not love them. There is a world of a difference between the two. Most importantly we are encouraged to love each other, to respect difference and to nurture every bit of good news. The only time ‘one up’ is allowed on someone is if it’s a word of praise, encouragement or thanks.
‘If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.’ ~Napoleon Hill

Today is Shrove Tuesday or better known as Pancake Tuesday. This day is always celebrated before the beginning of Lent. Its origins go back in time when fasting was a much stricter part of the Lenten journey. Everyone used up their supplies of fat, butter and eggs before Lent began and so the custom of making pancakes began. The recipe is so simple using a combination of eggs, flour and milk. In life the tastiest and most rewarding moments often come from a combination of a few simple ones put together. It is never one big one on its own. These are rare and exceptional. Often it’s the simple things done well that always stand out. Many pancakes will be made later on. They will be a gentle reminder to us, how important it is to do the small things well.
Jesus, said to them, 'Why do you have these thoughts in your hearts? Which of these is easier: to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven" or to say, "Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk?" But to prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,' - he said to the paralytic - 'I order you: get up, pick up your stretcher, and go off home.' And the man got up, picked up his stretcher at once and walked out in front of everyone, so that they were all astounded and praised God saying, 'We have never seen anything like this.' ~Mark 2:8-12

The following reflection is written by Fr.Denis McBride

For Jesus, forgiveness is the most profound healing a person cna experience. We know know from experience how people can remain disfigured and paralysed in spirit when they live without forgiveness. We know how our unwilingness to forgive others can keep us imprisoned and chained. Jesus opposes that with all his might.
There is little point in questioning God's generosity in the matter of forgiveness, wondering whether God hides from sinners. The problem is not with God's forgiveness but with our own. The theological question is not whether God forgives but whether we do. God's track record on forgiveness is impeccable and has been practising the art since the beginning of time. The concern of Jesus is to involve us in the same work.
There is a story told about Leonardo de Vinci’s famous painting of the Last Supper. He searched far and wide for what he considered to be an ideal model for each person in the painting. For Jesus he began with a fine looking young man, full of life, very anchored and chose him as a perfect model of Jesus. His work on the painting took several years to complete. He left Judas till last and chose a down and out who was sleeping rough, who looked untrustworthy and who he felt might represent Judas. While the work was in progress de Vinci came to realise that this man had been in his studio before when he stood in as Jesus. He had gone astray, lost his way and was now a homeless man. It came as a great shock to de Vinci and a moment of conversion for him. We too can never presume anything with certainty about anyone. Life is fragile and so are we. No matter how strong on the outside we may seem, we are fragile and the only response is love and lots of it.
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: 'If you want to' he said 'you can cure me.' Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. 'Of course I want to!' he said. 'Be cured!' And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, 'Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your bealing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.' The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town, but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him. ~Mark 1:40-45

The following reflection is written by Fr.Tom Clancy

In our gospel today , Mark recounts the curing of the leper very early in the ministry of Jesus. For the Jews, leprosy was not only an incurable disease but it was seen as a sign of God's displeasure and punishment. Lepers were ostracised and forced to live apart from the socially acceptable community. Jesus broke through the conventions, touched the leper and cured him. Desperate for a cure, the victim had turned to Jesus as a last resort and his faith filled hope was rewarded.

Sometimes in our desperation, we need to imitate the leper and challenge Jesus to cure us from sin, sickness, selfishness and self pity. Sometimes too, we need to step out beyond the conventions to minister to one another in our needs.
‘Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk everything, you risk even more.’ ~Erica Jong

Today is St.Valentine’s Day. The cynic will see it as a day of commercial exploitation and say the day is a waste of time, effort and money. But every day will have its critics if given a chance. We often take for granted the precious gift of love. It’s great to have at least one day in the year when we put it top of our list again. The challenge then is to keep it up there each day. Love like the wind is constantly changing direction and strength. It needs encouragement, time, effort, forgiveness, laughter and honesty. It takes a while to build up love but only a second to loose it. You can’t buy it or even sell it. It is up to us to treasure this precious gift from God. Today St.Valentine’s Day could be a great day to start.
‘We need to plan and to trust. Act on what lies within our control. Leave what is beyond our control beyond our control. Change what we can. Accept the rest.’ ~Joe Armstrong

It is a natural instinct to be in control. We have heard about the longest journey beginning with a single step. That single step forward means we are in control, knowing where we are going and how to get there. But life often puts many things beyond our control. We can’t control the weather, the outcome of the ongoing recession, the timing of an unexpected event or crisis. Many fear that today Friday 13th is a recipe for negative events outside our control. But such fear is built on other people’s fear. Why choose to let others be the cause of your fears and worries? Today may be Friday 13th but I can choose to do something good and positive today. I can choose to do my best throughout this day. I can choose to make someone’s life even a tiny bit better today. I can ask God to gently direct and get me through this day.
‘Know that everything you do comes back to you. Step outside yourself and consider the consequence before you make a move. If your action will bring peace to yourself, it’s the right thing to do. ~Tavis Smiley

The greatest pitfall in the world and in our lives is thinking that our actions do not have an impact on anyone else. Everything we do, good or bad does make an impact. Isaac Newton’s most famous science law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Science also translates into real life. So if we choose something that we know in our hearts is wrong, then we can be sure that it is indeed wrong. But if we instead choose something good and positive we can indeed be sure that the benefits will be great. Even if we ignore our inner voice, God never closes the door on anyone. God never wants to knock us, we do enough of it ourselves.
‘Love is a medicine for the sickness of the world. It is a prescription often given and too rarely taken.’ ~Author Unknown

Today is the feast of Our Lady Of Lourdes and it is also World Day for sick people. It is more than 150 years since Bernadette Soubirous saw the first apparitions at Lourdes in the foothills of the French Pyrenees. Five million pilgrims visit Lourdes each year. Anyone who has been there will know it’s a significant and special place. Love bubbles everywhere in Lourdes. Its effects are felt by everyone. It is contagious, life giving, refreshing and so alive. Anyone who has been to Lourdes will often say, “If only I could bottle what’s here and bring it home’. It is at home but it may not always be as evident as it is in Lourdes. Today is a day to make sure that God’s greatest medicine called love gets shared. All of us are instruments of God’s healing love. We pray today for all who are sick and we include doctors, nurses, carers and anyone who needs our prayers on this special day.
‘How will God ever make unity out of our extraordinary diversity, especially when each culture is so committed to its own pair of glasses?’ ~Richard Rohr

A popular programme on television each Sunday evening in Ireland is RTE's ‘No Frontiers’ when we get a glimpse of many different parts of the world through the eyes of a camera and some good reporting. There is a great sense of how diverse our world is and how cultures vary enormously. Where does God come into this picture? Is our world just a random series of chaos and disorder or is there something more? Our belief is that there is indeed something more. God is always present in what is different and diverse. It is something to be embraced and celebrated. Yet at the same time we are also challenged to be aware of many inequalities in our world today. You or I will not solve these on our own. We pray for unity and equality in our world today especially in the midst of our extraordinary diversity.
The following is food for thought…

The most destructive habit is worry.
The greatest joy is giving.
The greatest loss is that of self respect.
The most satisfying work is helping others.
The most endangered species are dedicated leaders.
Our greatest natural resources are our young people.
The greatest boost we can get is encouragement.
The greatest problem to overcome is fear.
The most effective sleeping pill is peace of mind.
The most crippling parasites to progress are excuses.
The most powerful force in life is love.
The greatest soother and comforter is prayer.
The most dangerous pariah is a gossiper.
The world’s most incredible computer is our brain.
The worst thing to be without is hope.
The deadliest weapon is a sharp tongue.
The two most powerful words are ‘I can’.
Our greatest asset is faith.
The most worthless emotion is self pity.
The most beautiful attire is a smile.
The most appreciated word is ‘Thanks’.
The most contagious spirit is enthusiasm.
To the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world.
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon's mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped, her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them. ~Mark 1:29-30

The following reflection is courtesy of Reality Magazine

One of the most amazing things about Jesus was his compassion. He cared for people like nobody else before or since. It didn't matter who or what they were. He just had to help, heal and comfort all who were in need.

We see this in the extract from Mark's Gospel above. Peter's mother-in-law is ill in bed with fever. But as soon as Jesus hears about her sickness, he goes to her and cures her. Later he spends the entire evening curing others of all kinds of sickness of mind and body. So many people came to him for help that the whole town is crowding round the door. Jesus doesn't have a minute to himself, but he turns nobody away. He is there for them all for as long as it takes, even long after sunset.

Jesus' whole ministry, his entire life, was about bringing the love and healing touch of God to others especially those who needed it most, the sick, the broken and those on the margins. As Christians, we too are called to be there for others, to let them see in our care and concern for them the loving face of God.
‘The old attitudes and the old answers have been shown not to suffice in this restless new world. At least one and possibly two generations have in large part been lost to the Church’. ~Oliver Maloney

We can respond to change in various ways. We can hide and deny it or we can be open, welcome it and be energised. The Church has been slowest of all to adapt to change. The sweeping changes of Vatican II should have pushed the Church into the forefront of adapting to the needs of a restless new world. Sadly it stuck to old methods, attitudes and answers that were stale, outdated and often irrelevant. A lack of openness meant it was out of touch with a new generation of people. Many of these have been lost. But it’s not all bad news. Reasons for hope have not been extinguished. There is a now a slow shift towards a much more open and inclusive Church. This has to be welcomed. We pray this weekend that more people will continue to feel included and involved. We have come a long way but there is such a long way to go yet.
‘There is such a thing as a prayer place and many people are very aware of that in their lives. It’s a place where I can get away from it all. A life without reflection is not worth living.’ ~Jack McArdle

We sometimes think that prayer must be confined just to a church. Anywhere else seems out of place. But we can simply pray anywhere that works for us. That can be in our kitchen, a bedroom, a favourite armchair, a favourite walk through a forest, along a seashore or even working in our garden. The choice is ours and there is great freedom in finding that place that works for each of us. It mightn’t work for someone else but if it works for you then that prayer place is your sacred place. It’s a place where we can simply get away from it all. It’s a place where we can recharge, renew and reflect on the blessings in our own lives. It’s a place where we can pray to God and share whatever is going on in our lives. Where is your favourite prayer place?
‘Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God protect you from all ailments of the throat and from all forms of evil. Amen.’ ~Blessing given on the feast of St.Blaise (3rd Feb)

Today is the feast of St.Blaise whose life was very simple and ordinary. Yet he is known worldwide for his care of those who were sick and particularly those with ailments of the throat. Saint Blaise's protection of those with throat troubles apparently comes from a legend that a boy was brought to him who had a fishbone stuck in his throat. The boy was about to die when Saint Blaise healed him. He was a physician who was very close to God. The sick came in crowds to consult him and some even brought animals as well. St.Blaise cured many people of their ailments and always sent them away with his blessing. He cured not just physical ailments of the throat but spiritual ones as well. We pray to St.Blaise to heal us from all ailments of the throat, we ask for his protection on us and we ask his special blessings on each of us today.
‘If Candlemas day be sunny and bright, winter again will show its might. If Candlemas day be cloudy and grey, winter soon will pass away.’ ~Traditional Rhyme

Today (Feb 2nd) is Candlemas Day. Like many Christian celebrations its roots lie deep in pagan times. The date lies half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It is a time of transition from winter into spring. On the Christian calendar it was renamed ‘Candlemas’ to mark the presentation of Jesus in the temple. It is a day that is rich in meaning and symbolism. We live in a world that is often darkened by evil and darker forces. We believe that the light of Christ is powerful and strong enough to wipe out all forms of darkness. This light knows no limits or boundaries. It’s a light that is never forced but when we choose to be open to this light, great things begin to happen. Today we invite this light into our lives, into our darker corners and wherever such light is most needed at the moment.


Copyright © Today is My Gift to You