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Listing July - 2009
The following is the concluding piece from the reflection called ‘What I’ve Learned’. The author is unknown.

I’ve learned that credentials on the wall do not always make you a decent human being. I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry, I have a right to be angry but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel. I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief. I’ve learned that you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating and what a tragedy it would be if they believed it. I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do. I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change. I’ve learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will get hurt in the process. I’ve learned that even when you think you have no more to give, you will find the strength.
The following reflection is called ‘What I’ve Learned’. The author is unknown and part 2 comes tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them. I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back. I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust and only seconds to destroy it. I’ve learned that it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do. I’ve learned that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life. I’ve learned that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be. I’ve learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them. I’ve learned that you can keep going long after you think you can’t. I’ve learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. I’ve learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done.
The Thought called 'What I've Learned' is up tomorrow and the day after
The most famous book in the world is of course the bible. It has inspired millions and given so many renewed direction and hope. If one could summarize it in a few lines the following reflection is a good attempt.

Miracles do happen.
Somebody loves me, constantly and consistently.
I am not alone.
Love transforms people.
The majority are not always right.
Wonderful things can happen in the darkest moments of our lives because of the Resurrection.
Things can often look better in three days.
Death is a transition not an end in itself.
All things can work together for good.
A sigh can become a song.
Tomorrow does not have to be the same as today or yesterday.
There is a light behind every shadow.
We get what we give and equally we find what we expect.
One person can make a difference especially the person of Jesus in our lives.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, 'Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.' So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. ~John 6:10-12

The following reflection is by Rev. Joseph Cassidy

Even though we can look back on Jesus now in history, I don't know whether we know him any better than they did. Is he merely the Jesus of art, the Jesus of history or is he the ultimate meaning of your life, your nearest and dearest friend? There's a need in my life and a need in yours, a dimension in my life and a dimension in yours, that no human can supply. The sole supplier and distributor is Jesus.

I don't know whether your life is darkened or impoverished in any way - I don't know. But all our lives are darkened or impoverished from time to time by sickness or worry or sin or family discord or bereavement or whatever. In these circumstances, Jesus can be a tremendous support. May he always be a source of consolation, inspiration and challenge in your life and mine.
A little humour for the weekend:

A woman had been driving for many hours and she decided to take a rest. She drove on to a side road, turned off the car engine, closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep. A man out jogging knocked on her window, scaring her to death. “Sorry to wake you but can you tell me what time it is?” The woman glanced at her watch. “7.15” she said through the glass. “Thank you” the jogger said and left. “Just my luck”, the woman muttered angrily, “I’m parked on someone’s jogging route.” Then she tried to get back to sleep when there was a knock on the window. It was another jogger! “Do you have the time?” The woman sighed, “It’s 7.20” “Thanks” said the jogger and trotted off. She looked down the road and saw more joggers coming her way. Irritated, she wrote down on a large sheet “I DON’T KNOW THE TIME” and put it on the window and settled back to sleep. Just as she was dozing off a jogger knocked on the window. The woman pointed to the sign and shouted, “Can’t you read?” “I sure can ma’am. I just wanted to let you know. It’s 7.30”
'The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most.’ ~John Ruskin

We are all affected by colours that we see around us each day. The colour of our clothes often picks up our mood and how we are feeling. Nature provides many contrasts of colours. Different flowers planted in different ways can give many variations of colour. During these weeks of July our gardens are full of summer colour. The same goes for us in relation to colours as well. On our own we're just one colour, but working together as God's family can bring the best of colours together. We’re good at seeing the colour and positives of others but much slower in believing what we have. The message of the gospels is quite clear. Be proud of who you are, be proud of your colours and share as many of them as you can with others.
A story…

One day, a man found a cocoon of a butterfly. It had a small opening. He sat and watched the butterfly struggling to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. The man decided to help the butterfly, took a pair of scissors, snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon and the butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening was nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes struggles are what we need in our lives. If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles we would be weak, inexperienced, insensitive and out of touch with real life. Whatever our struggles we ask God for patience and the strength to get us through.
‘Fear imprisons while faith liberates. Fear paralyzes while faith empowers. Fear disheartens while faith encourages. Fear sickens while faith heals. Fear makes useless while faith makes serviceable. And most of all fear puts hopelessness at the heart of all while faith rejoices in God.’ ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Fear is something that is part and parcel of life. If we hadn’t fear, we would have no sense of danger. But like all things there are limits and boundaries. Sometimes we allow fear to dominate and take over our lives. When this happens it imprisons, paralyzes, disheartens and puts us down. One of the best examples in our Gospels is the storm at sea and the disciples are frantic, fearful and angry with Jesus for his lack of concern at their plight. The response of Jesus was: “Why are you so afraid, have you no faith?” The invitation is to turn our fears over to God and allow God to calm, encourage and give us all a sense of hope.
‘Loneliness is about feeling that no one loves you and that no one cares. We can be lonely in a crowd, lonely in a family, lonely in a marriage or lonely in a church community. And yet how little it takes, to cure the desolation of loneliness.’ ~Deborah Jones

Anyone can feel lonely. Most of us do from time to time. But for some loneliness taints the whole of their life. Some turn to various forms of addictions to escape the loneliness. The most obvious one is alcohol which can only bring us deeper into loneliness. There has to be something positive in everything, including loneliness. When we’re lonely we can journey within. When we listen to our own loneliness we are really put in touch with ourselves. Maybe we don’t always like what we see but at least we’re being honest. We help one another on that journey. Often it’s the small things that make such a difference: a kind word, a smile, a text, a letter, a phone call or an invitation over for a cuppa. Who have I not made contact with a while? Could I make contact with them during the week?
The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, 'You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while'; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. ~Mark 6:30-32

The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Cahill

In The World of Silence, Max Picard writes, ‘And yet sometimes all the noise of the world today seems like the mere buzzing of insects on the broad back of silence.’ There’s something substantial about silence. Often people describe it as ‘heavy’. Silence is formidable, even intimidating, if you’re not friendly with it. But to be friendly with it, first you have to be friendly with you. One way of finding out if you are, is to go off to a lonely spot and see how long you can stay there before unease sets in.

How many people follow Jesus’ advice to his disciples in today’s Gospel (Mark 6:30-34) to go to a deserted place for peace and quiet? Are they not more inclined to go to a noisy holiday resort where’s there’s lots of action, lots of people, lots of things to do to fill the gap, lots of ways to forget oneself? Is there not something desperate about having to have a good time, and worse yet to feel obliged to say you had, even though you may not have had?

Getting used to silent, solitary periods to relax, to refresh our spirit and take stock of our life is worthwhile. It helps us to think about important things that in the normal course of a day we rarely think of. Things like: life and its purpose, values we live by, people we hold precious, ambitions that drive us, the place we give to God in our life. Silence is necessary not for finding answers but for finding questions.
‘Everyone who asks receives.’ ~Matthew 7:8

We are always under the eye of a loving and kind God and never a harsh, cold or critical God. That is what prompted Jesus to say, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Do we truly believe that what we ask for will be given? The following may help:
Ask God to guide when we are confused. Ask God to provide when we lack. Ask God to heal where there is illness. Ask God to comfort where there is sorrow. Ask God to strengthen for a hard task. Ask God to lead when paths diverge. Ask God to watch over those who are struggling, lonely or depressed. Ask God to strengthen our relationship with another. Ask God to open new doors and pathways in our own lives. Ask God to transform a negative into a positive. Ask God to help you to be really you.
‘Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars and a God somewhere in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.’ ~Eric Hoffer

The sight of the Space Shuttle crossing high over Ireland last night at 11.25pm was a rare sight. 20 minutes earlier it had taken off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. After 1.33 seconds it was travelling at 1900mph. It passed over Ireland as a particularly bright light moving in a perfect straight line as it hurled into space. Why is there such a fascination with space? The ultimate exploration of space is knowing that our planet earth does not exist in isolation. We are a tiny small fraction of a vast universe. Yet all the indicators are that we are doing our best to destroy what has been given to us. Pollution, global warming, food and water shortages are all visible signs of a major imbalance. There is a belief that everything we have is something we will always have. All the indicators are that our planet can’t sustain the levels of depletion taking place at the moment. We need to treasure all that we have. It’s limited and needs great care and minding.

A little prayer starter today might be.....
We thank you God for all that you have given to us. We are part of your vast universe. We are not just an isolated part but a uniquely precious part. Help us to treasure all that you have given to us. Help us to nurture growth and to sustain life rather than destroy.....
‘St.Swithin’s Day, if it does rain, for forty days it will remain. St.Swithin’s Day, if it be fair, for forty days it will rain no more’ ~Old saying attributed to St.Swithin

Today (July 15th) is St.Swithin’s Day. This is the most famous of all the weather related saint’s days. St.Swithin died in 862 and was buried outside Winchester Cathedral. Later when he was canonised a saint his body was instructed to be moved into a tomb within the Cathedral. Legend has it that on the day the body was to be moved a storm broke on July 15th 971. It broke the end of a long dry spell and it continued to rain for a further 40 days after. This led the monks believing it was ‘Divine Displeasure’ and left the body in its original place. It is quite clear from weather records that there is little evidence to suggest 40 dry or 40 wet days following a dry or wet St.Swithin’s Day. But one thing we do know with certainty is that good weather is vitally important to the farming community and holiday makers at this time of year. We pray that good, dry, fine and sunny weather will prevail for the coming weeks.
‘Heaven is not there up in the clouds. It is all around us.’ ~Augustine Hoey

Belinda Carlisle had a hit in the 80’s called, “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”. She didn’t quite say where but heaven is closer than we think. It is something we all have different opinions on, without any one official account on what sort of a place it is. But that should not take from its significance. For believers the thought of heaven is our ultimate goal and destination. It is a unique non repeatable step on our journey towards completion and experiencing fullness of life. Are such thoughts a mere escape from the harsh realities of life? Not at all. It actually puts us more in touch with the rhythms of life. We know deep down that there must be something more, otherwise life is a boring cul de sac. Everything Jesus did in our Gospel stories was about bringing life and inviting people to new beginnings. He walked down many cul de sacs and pointed the way out of them . For Jesus life is a constant repetition of new beginnings. Such a vision is encouraging and full of hope. It is also extended to us too.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff - no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, 'Do not take a spare tunic.' And he said to them, 'If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.' So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them. ~Mark 6:7-13

The following reflection is by Fr.Tom Clancy

The world can be divided into two types of people, hoarders and scatterers. The former focus on long term security, holding on to anything and everything that just might be useful. They save for the rainy day and save a little extra in case there is a drought as well. Their motto could be, 'What we have we hold'. The scatters on the other hand live for today and let tomorrow take care of itself. Sometimes they are wasteful. Other times they are simply generous and trusting. In every human heart there is something of the hoarder and something of the scatterer.

Our gospel today places the emphasis differently. It suggests that following Jesus is like going on a journey and the recommendation is to travel light.The invitation is to trust. To grow in such an attitude, we must be continually giving away what we do not really need and even a little more. We must be generous fools for Christ and for his kingdom. Only the foolish can love. The cute could never risk it.
'Prayer may not change things for you, but it sure changes you for things.' ~Samuel Shoemaker

Deep down we know the value of prayer. We know it's such an important link with God. We don't always get it right and maybe sometimes God doesn't always get it right either. The following little story will explain better. A little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Sunday school. As she ran she prayed, 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late! Dear Lord, please don't let me be late!' While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again. As she ran she once again began to pray: 'Dear Lord, please don't let me be late, but please don't shove me either!'
‘It’s strange, significant, the way things come together – eventually even gentle curves create a circle.’ ~Mary Murphy

The spiritual life is best described as a collection of gentle curves. Every curve of life in some way touches God. This means that God is connected to everything that happens throughout our lives. Even in difficult times we are helped and supported. Without such support we hit sharp corners. They are always difficult to negotiate straight on. When it comes to spirituality we can choose the option of corners or curves. If we choose the option of curves or choose a sense of God in our lives, then those corners become much less of a hindrance. The invitation is to keep everything small and simple. Very few can work with complete circles. But all gentle curves do create a circle with time. God is incredibly patient and gentle with us. It is only ourselves and others who put expectations on us. There is an expectation to be a complete and perfect circle. It is an unfair expectation. Stick with small gentle curves and we’re definitely on the right road.
‘We are complex people carrying our own wounds that make us determined to go it alone, to nurse our hurts and regrets and to maintain our pride at all costs.’ ~Gary Wade

We will always be uniquely complex individuals. Mystery makes up life and is part of every single person. There will always be a part of us that others will never understand. Equally we can never fully understand everything about someone else. While it is true that others may not fully understand our hurt, pain, confusion, isolation, anger or whatever is going on for us, we should never have to go it alone. No person can journey through life carrying it all on their own. That is why there is always such relief when we can just share and talk about what’s going on for us. In sharing it, there is a great release from the pressure of going it alone. If you follow the life story of Jesus in our Gospels, it was all about how he allowed other people share their story. There was no room for solo runs or isolation but all about including every person’s story no matter how dark or painful.
A story…

A well known Christian speaker was speaking to a large gathering and held up a €100 note. Then he asked who would like it and of course all hands went up. Then he said: “I will give this to you but first let me do this.” With that he crushed the note, dropped it to the ground, stamped it with his shoe and picked it up dirty and tattered. “Now who wants it?” he asked. Still the hands went into the air. He paused, put his hand up for silence and said: “My friends you have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. Many times in our lives, we are crushed and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, not one of us will ever lose his or her value in God’s eyes. To God, whether dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, we are still God’s children and loved to bits. We are indeed priceless."
‘The voyage of my life at last has reached across a stormy sea, in a fragile boat. Neither painting nor sculpture will be able to calm my soul any longer.’ ~Michelangelo

Michelangelo is probably the most famous artist in the world. Millions have admired his work in the Sistine Chapel. He was an absolute genius with his work. Yet not as many know about his personal struggles in life. He also was a poet and it is through his writings that we get glimpses of his personal life. He died just short of his 90th birthday and in his final years he described his life as a fragile boat crossing a stormy sea. He questioned his faith and his beliefs. He felt unworthy and even rejected his own artwork. In his personal struggles he turned to God for help. All his life he tried to communicate the deepest mysteries of our faith in stone and paint. Here at the end was a man struggling. From his final works and writings we know he did find peace, comfort and healing. Whatever our age, we also are invited to turn to God with openness and honesty.
‘We are compelled to half do a lot of things, to half live our lives, half dream our dreams, half-love our loves. We have made ourselves into half people.’ ~Brendan Kennelly

Am I a half person? Do I half live my life? It’s an honest question that requires an honest answer. It is also a challenging question that could throw up a variety of answers. We know that for many people there is restlessness, a hunger for something more, an inner yearning that is not satisfied by what’s on offer at the moment. If we are living half lives then we are always going to leave ourselves well short. In our Gospels Jesus said he came to bring life and that we could have it to the full. He was never in to half measures but equally he never forced his offer on anyone. This hasn’t changed today or never will. What has changed is the world we live in. The pace of change and momentum is relentless leaving us no option but to choose at times half lives. The invitation is to move some little bit beyond half. Even a fraction beyond half will be great progress.
Jesus went to his home town and his disciples accompanied him. With the coming of the sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue and most of them were astonished when they heard him. They said, 'Where did the man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us?' And they would not accept him. ~Mark 6:1-4

The following reflection is by Rev.Joseph Cassidy

The pain of rejection is a very bitter pain indeed. To be rejected by a friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend whom we love very much or to be rejected by a partner in marriage is a very bitter experience indeed. For Jesus to be rejected at home was hard. The home made dagger always has a longer blade.

The kind of scepticism he encountered is not entirely outside our own experience. It is deeply embedded in some of our more familiar phraseology: "Who does she think she is?", "Sure we know where he came from, the back of the beyonds" There's a terrible begrudgery at the root of it. Even Jesus was taken aback by the extent of it in his own hometown. But there will always be some of us who can't or won't accept him. Despite our own inadequacies, if we do our best to accept him and try to respond to the implications of that acceptance, then we're moving in the right direction.
‘We pray today that we may never lose that vital contact with the source of all life and goodness or that we may never become the dried up withered branch of a rootless unconnected life.’ ~Aidan Ryan

Everyone seems to have their quota of the “R” word but it’s so hard to avoid it, even in the middle of summer. There have been many implications of the economic downturn. One is a realisation that we are vulnerable. Compare this to the height of the good times when we thought we were invincible. This vulnerability is being felt across every divide and every age group. Our immediate response is that we are now so conscious of the importance of roots, family roots, community roots, local roots, affirming and supportive roots. For those who believe in God there is a sense of spiritual roots. It’s hard to put it into words but these particular roots are the ones that connect us to a source of life, goodness, energy and a sense of purpose. All negative news drains us physically and mentally. It is so important that we replace this with the best root system that works for us.
‘What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt. It is sure to get where it is going and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.’ ~Hal Boyle

Few of us are as confident as a river. It may have twists and turns, it sometimes may be in flood but for the most part it journeys on at its own pace, seemingly unaffected by what’s going on all around it. If only we could be unaffected by what’s going on all around us. But we’re not because it is part of our human nature to be sensitive. Today is the feast of St.Thomas. He also was sensitive and he had his doubts. But yet he has been branded the “Doubting Thomas” as if what he did and said was wrong. But he should be praised for his honesty, openness and courage to ask the right question when it needed to be asked. We could also take a leaf out of his book and we could be much more honest in our relationships with others and with God. Thomas had the courage to ask. Like him we need not be afraid of doubts, questions and stuff we don’t understand.
A Relationship Creed…

You and I are in a relationship which is so important to me and I want it to be important to you too. Each of us is a unique person with separate needs. You have the right to meet you needs and I have the right to meet mine. Also, we have the right to our own beliefs and values. I will respect your rights and I want you to respect mine. When my actions interfere with your needs, I want you to tell me, then I will listen and change if I can. When either of us cannot change to meet the other’s needs let’s face our conflict and solve it together. I don’t want to lose by letting you win and I don’t want to win by making you lose. I want to find solutions that are acceptable to both of us so that we can both win. By following this creed our relationship has ever chance of growing. It can with your help, with God’s help and by journeying every step together.
In a world that is changing daily before our very eyes and often it seems unpleasantly so, it is comforting to have certainties to hold onto.’ ~Mary Murphy

We like to be certain about most things. It is no surprise that we sometimes say: “As sure as I’m standing here”, or “As sure as night follows day”, or As sure as I woke up this morning”. We are relaxed and comfortable with ourselves when we’re in a place with certainty, where one and one make two, when the month of June rolls into July as it has done today and when we know the right answer to a question. We’re not so relaxed when we’re wrong or when we make a mistake. To hold one’s hand up and say ‘I got it wrong’ is honest, truthful, and apologetic but it can also leave us vulnerable. We’re not always welcoming of those who say ‘I got it wrong’. Often our first reaction is to say, ‘Told you so’. What’s the point in trying to get one up on someone? The Christian response is to be supportive, to forgive and to help the person move on with their lives.


In the spirit of the above thought I hold my hands up and say I got it wrong!! Those of you who may have purchased the 2009 Charity Calendar, in shops or from this website will know that there is an error for the the month of July. The calendar is 2 days ahead throughout the month. The error was spotted some months ago but at that stage the calendars were literally everywhere including many parts of the world. It was a genuine mistake. It's a pity we hadn't spotted the error before it went to print. Given the current recesssion the option of reprinting would have been prohibitive and counter to raising money for the charities involved. Thankfully its just for the month of July and everything is grand again from August on. So apologies for the confusion.

Update:Thanks a mil to Etta and Betty for emailing the following solutions:

There is an easy fix to the calendar. copy April's add the 31, then tape it over July all fixed

another solution is to go to Microsoft Word, File, New, Other Documents, Calendar Wizard, and follow the instructions and print


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