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Listing May - 2022
The following reflection was read at the Grauation Mass in Coláiste Choilm yesterday......

Don’t let go of hope. Hope gives you the strength to keep going when you feel like giving up. Don’t ever quit, believe in yourself.

Don’t let anyone hold your happiness in their hands, hold it in yours, so it will always be within your reach.

Don’t measure success or failure by material wealth, measure success by values that are precious to you and the ones that no money can buy.

Don’t let bad moments overcome you, be patient and they will pass. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help, we all need it from time to time.

Don’t run away from love but towards love, because it is our deepest joy. Don’t wait for what you want to come to you, go after it with all that you are, knowing that life will meet you halfway.

Anytime you learn something new about yourself or about life, you have progressed. Don’t ever forget to laugh or be too proud to cry.

As we say goodbye to Coláiste Choilm we hold precious all those seeds that have been sown, germinated and blossomed during our time here. Most important of all we take from here what is really important in life and that it is being who we are, that we live life to the fullest.
May has traditionally been a month dedicated to Mary, the mother of God. Many people make the most of fine weather to visit a local shrine and say a prayer to her. She is often asked for help particularly for those doing upcoming exams. The following light hearted story might explain why she is so popular!

The story is told about how God made a tour of heaven to check out the recent arrivals. God was taken aback at the quality of many of those who had been allowed in and so God went to Peter, the gatekeeper, to ask him the meaning of this. “You’ve let me down again”, Peter was told. “You have let in a lot of people who should not be here,” God added. “Not me” said Peter. “How did they get in so?” asked God. “Well” said Peter, “when I turned them away at the front gate, they went around the back and your mother let them in!”
Africa Day is celebrated today and is the official day of the African Union. It is an opportunity to celebrate African diversity and success and a day to join Africans around the world in highlighting the cultural and social energy of the continent. To mark the day here is an African Prayer………

Lord, we pray for ourselves and for the others of this country, for the youth of Africa and of the world. We are awakening and we do not know if we are strong enough to carry the responsibility that awaits us. We come to you, Lord. You understand us. You have experience. You know what we must do and how to do it. You can lead us so that we will be the hope of our beloved countries. Help us contribute our share to the development of our countries here in Africa, and beyond. We want our faith to play its role, not because it is ours, but because you are our Father. Let us be servants to our countries, the engine in the car driving towards a good future. Remove our fears and misgivings. We ask you, Lord, let us be good road signs that we may lead many people to you. But, first of all, we must invite them. And that is the challenge! But with your Holy Spirit and in your Holy name, everything is possible. Amen.
'Every time we say, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” we mean that we believe that there is a living God able and willing to enter human personality and change it.’ ~JB Philips

Tomorrow is the feast of Pentecost. It is a significant and important day for all of us. How does one describe the Holy Spirit? We have all been in a restaurant where the waitress has asked, “Can I warm up your coffee for you?” The cup may be half full and cold after sitting on the table for a while. When she pours the new coffee in, she refills and warms up the whole cup once again. In ways we are like the cup of coffee as well, perhaps we are spiritually cold and empty. We need a spiritual boost. The feast of Pentecost is asking God to fill each of us with the Holy Spirit, to renew and refresh, to instil hope and to impart life in each of us. We ask the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us and to teach us what’s really important in life. It would be a pity to let the weekend go by without a simple prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance, direction, a sense of hope and courage in everything we do each day.
The following reflection was used during the Graduation Mass
The Spirit of God and the Spirit of the World....

The spirit of the world says that externals are all important including looks, property, possessions. You are what you have. The spirit of God says that your looks and appearance can be very deceptive. You must look into your heart, into the depth of your life to see who you really are.

The spirit of the world says that life is a test and success is everything. It hates failure and disappointment. The spirit of God says that failure can be more important than success. We can learn even from the sad and difficult times.

The spirit of the world says that the great problems of the world like unemployment and violence have nothing to do with me. I’ve just got to mind my own patch. The spirit of God says that my vision must always be outward not inward and this will always include others.

The spirit of the world says that love is about things going well in accord with my plans. The spirit of God says that love is about giving of myself even when I feel that I cannot.

The spirit of the world says that there is no such thing as forgiveness because there is no such thing as sin. The spirit of God says that forgiveness is the greatest reality that we know. We sin, we fail, yet we can be freed to go on.

The spirit of the world says that honesty and commitment are impossible and don’t really exist. The spirit of God says that honesty and commitment are the only things that matter in the end.

The spirit of the world says that the sick and the disabled are not really alive. Sickness and disability are disastrous. The spirit of God says that the sick and disabled are often those who are most alive for they know their dependence, they know that life is not in their control.

The spirit of the world says that death is the end of life and proves that life is futile. The spirit of God says that death is not the end of life as the great spirit present in us is not extinguished but transformed.
My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy, you don’t make them because they are cheap, you don’t make them because they are popular, you make them because they’re right.’ ~Theodore Hesburg

We make many decisions each and every day. Some are done with effort and ease, some we have to think about and some we find difficult and almost impossible to make. It’s the difficult decisions that often throw us. Do we always know when we’ve made the right decision? From experience we know that at the time it may have seemed right but with hindsight we were proved wrong. But every decision is made in the present moment. Hindsight belongs to the future and is no help. We are free to choose and make our own decisions. Sometimes it calls for great courage. Sometimes it calls for prayer and guidance. This month of May has traditionally been dedicated to Mary, the mother of God. Why not pause today and ask for her blessings, guidance and courage with whatever is going on in our lives at the moment.
‘The wind blows where it chooses but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ ~John 3:8

There is a lovely story told about an eight year old boy called Sam who asked a very honest question: “What if everybody in the whole world laughed at the same time? What would it sound like?” No doubt he thought it would make a big difference. ‘What if’ questions are always full of possibility and potential. ‘What if’ questions have led to many new discoveries particularly in the whole area of medicine. The same can happen in the whole area of spirituality. What if we all were open to the spirit of God in our lives? What if we all did something good and positive together instead of moan and complain? What if we all said a prayer for someone in need today or for a special intention? Next Sunday is the feast of Pentecost and it’s a day that will prompt the question what if? We all have the Spirit of God within. We all have hopes, dreams and things we would like to do. What if I allowed the Holy Spirit to inspire me? Can I take that step this week and into next weekend?
'I believe that there is - despite the fact that we humans have caused so much damage to the world, a reason for our existence on this planet. I think we are here because the universe, with all its wonder and balance needs to be marvelled at and we are the only species that has the ability to do do. We are the one species that does not simply accept what is around us, but asks why it is around us and how it works' ~written by a twelve year old child

We often don't look at the deeper questions because we are in too much of a rush. Maybe to be seen doing so puts us into the category of acting strange or odd. Our faith and belief in God allows us to search and look deeper. It is not a strange thing to do but normal and important. Life is meaningless, empty and void unless we allow ourselves ask deeper questions. We may not always get the answers but we do get a sense of something more beyond the humdrum of daily living. We get a sense that God is the great weaver in our lives, pulling threads to and fro and helping us untangle the many knots we face on our daily journey through life.
The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

A recent survey conducted by researchers at Durham University, England, on people’s attitude to sermons came up with some surprises: 96.6% of those surveyed said they liked the Sunday sermon, and 60% said it gave them a sense of God’s love. Attitudes differed according to faith groupings. Evangelicals liked sermons most, Catholics wanted ones that educated rather than challenged. Baptists and Catholics favoured use of the Bible in sermons more than Anglicans and Methodists did. And, while Baptists wanted sermons to span an hour and then some, Catholics wanted them short. Ten minutes max.

So, what to say about the Ascension of the Lord that may be educative, and, yes, challenging too, yet brief? Its description in the first and third readings today (Acts 1:1-11 and Luke 24:46-53) takes only seconds to read. To focus the mind, then, let me ask you which you think is weirder: to believe that the Ascension was real, or to believe that the value of a 6ft bronze sculpture by Alberto Giacometti, sold recently in Sotheby’s, is really worth the £65 million paid for it.

The fact of the Ascension is of immeasurably more value than any worked on piece of metal could possibly be. It has the power to stir the imagination, to engage the heart and to intrigue the mind with its promise. And, unlike artfully pressed and pounded metal, faith in the Ascension has the power to effect change. Belief in God’s Word ascending can raise even hearts of stone with money to burn to hearts of flesh burning with love for those who suffer.
'Prayer is the very core of life. The one who hungers for the awakening of the divine within must fall back on prayer. But prayer is no mere exercise of words or of the ears. It is no mere repetition of empty formulas. Any amount of repetition of God's name is futile if it fails to stir the soul.' ~Mohandas Gandhi

Countless books have been written on prayer. Even if you google prayer you get 66,800,000 possibilities. But all the information in the world can never get away from the simple fact that prayer is important and life giving. It's not about lots of words, its not about praying out of obligation but its all about connecting with God in some way. The simple, honest and heartfelt prayers are often the best and most meaningful. There is a huge sense of failure among people when it comes to prayer. There is a sense that it is too difficult or beyond us. The more we try and complicate prayer, the higher the chance we will give up. The simpler we keep it, the more meaningful and important it will become.
‘If you reach for a goal, you may not get there but at least you’ll get a lot further than if you hadn’t reached at all.’ ~Author Unknown

It is good to have goals. Some are long term, some short term and many of them are about today. All the bits and pieces of today make up our own unique story. Each story is special and important but also each of our stories is complex and varied. We deal with each day as it comes and unfolds. It is God’s gift to us to use in the best way we can. To have a goal each day is always good and important. It is good to be motivated, to have a sense of purpose and to know that all will be well. It’s not about getting everything we do right, it’s not about trying to get everything done but all about giving each day our best attempt. We can do absolutely nothing more than that. Even if things don’t work out, at least we will have made so much more progress than doing nothing at all.
A young person's angle on prayer

At first I learned the Our Father. At that time I did not realise the great effect that this prayer would have on my life. Once I began school, prayer was taught through song and action. It was fun but God was simply someone up there and beyond. I particularly remember my Confirmation. Although it was a long time ago I know it was turning point for me in my own life. I realise gradually that God was not a myth but rather a very real energy in the world. I didn't feel alone any more. I pray best when I am being artistic in drama or through craftwork. God speaks to me in the enjoyment I get from this creativity. I truly believe that I would not survive without God. God is the love and the beauty that I find in my life. Sometimes I don't pray as much and I feel empty inside. I feel sad that some people cannot find God. God is a feeling that can never be taken from us, a feeling called love. I pray because I need the warmth that God gives to me each day.
A man came into the doctor’s surgery one day and he was very worried. He explained his problem, “Every part of my body that I touch is very sore, my nose, my elbow, my head, my left hand.” The doctor gave him a thorough examination, x-ray, blood tests etc. The man returned the next day for the results and was very nervous. “Did you find out what’s wrong with me?” he asked the doctor. “I did” he replied. “What is it?” enquired the very worried patient. “All that’s wrong with you” replied the doctor, “is that your finger is broken!”

We often think the worst. We worry and fret about many things. Many of them are outside our control. Even if they were within our control we’d still be nervous and anxious. In our Gospels Jesus called for a change of mindset. Instead of a closed, negative outlook he called on people to think positive, to trust in God and to know that everything is not as bad is it first seems.
'Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.' ~Benjamin Franklin

Haven't we all put our foot in it. We have simply said the wrong thing at the wrong time and the moment we said it we know we shouldn't have. Gordon Brown knew all about it during the recent British General election. For the most part we recover and learn from the moment. When what we say is juicy gossip the results are even more destructive. There is a story told about a teacher who gave a student a bag of feathers and asked her to drop some of the feathers along the footpath on the way home. Next day the teacher put her to the same task. "This time on your way home I want you to collect my bag of feathers picking each feather on your way back," she said. Next day the teacher asked for her bag of feathers. The student replied: "I only picked up one or two. The wind blew away all the rest." The teacher replied: "The same goes with juicy bits of gossip. Once out and blown around you quickly loose control of where they go."
‘Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.’ ~Pope John 23rd

It is so easy to focus in on our limitations, fears and what we can’t do. If we keep hearing it all around us, it is easy for us to begin to believe it. Many lack self confidence and an inner belief that much is possible. Our Gospel stories make no apologies about encouraging us to concentrate on our hopes, dreams, potential, spiritual growth and our ability to seize endless possibilities all around us. These stories acknowledge our own difficulties and struggles but they never glorify or sensationalise negative news. Maybe during the coming week could be a good time to start focussing not on everything that’s negative, useless and unfulfilling but instead begin celebrating our hopes, dreams, potential and everything that we are so good at doing.
The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

There’s a memorable scene in The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) plays Duettino-Sull’aria from Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ over the prison loudspeaker system. Prisoners stop what they’re doing enthralled by the operatic duet. As you watch their rapt features, ‘Red’ Redding’s (Morgan Freeman) background commentary tells you that for a few minutes these prisoners feel like human beings again. The beauty of the music blocks out the ugliness of their surroundings and transports them to another place where refinement, beauty and spirit reign. It’s a powerful, touching scene.

Now another scene. This time in Suffolk, England. A 5ft by 7ft dilapidated beach hut. Its window is broken. Its paint is peeling. It lacks a door, gas, electricity and water. A local council regulation forbids overnight use of it. For sale at a whopping £40,000, its estate agent says it’ll be snapped up. Other huts similar in size but in better condition have sold even more ‘whoppingly’ for £100,000. Why? Location, location, location. They command a spectacular view of the sea. Again, a place of beauty – and for people of faith, a sense of Presence therein.

Our third and last scene is in today’s Second Reading: the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. (Apoc 21:10) Refinement, beauty and Spirit reign there. No need for gas or electricity – not even for the Sun. The glory of God is its light, God’s presence its air. Like the Shawshank prisoners we too need our moments of rapture whether it be from love, nature, art or faith. For without a peek into eternity human nature just cannot peak.
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God’s Voice…

It is the voice of reaching out, courage, healing and forgiveness. In the hospital ward it’s the voice of a friendly word or a gentle prayer. In the home it’s the voice of love, companionship and togetherness. In the school it’s the voice of laughter and shouting in the playground. In nature it’s the voice of a gentle breeze, the sound of birds singing, raindrops, running streams or the waves lapping on the seashore. In a church it’s the voice of a community praying to their God. If we pause for a brief moment, not matter where we might be or the time of the day, God’s voice is all around us, loud and clear. Often it’s the voice of God full of surprises. We will find that God’s voice is all around us but to hear it we must listen carefully!
'Gerry Ryan really cared for the people of our island. A voice that went out, compassionately, to hundreds of thousands of people every morning has been silenced way before its time. I think he inspired many of us to think for ourselves. He gave us our own voice by giving us his. With a heart as big as his appetite for life, Gerry's passing will be a great loss to the people of Ireland.’ ~Colin Farrell

The death of Gerry Ryan had so many in shock last Friday. It was clear he had touched many people’s lives particularly through his radio programme on 2FM. Many tributes have been paid to him and all heartfelt and genuine. He was mischievous, generous, fun loving, brave, spiritual and was honest and open in everything he did. Today his funeral Mass takes place in Dublin and the following lines are appropriate in his memory. You can shed tears that he is gone or you can smile because he has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see or hear him or you can be full of the happy memories he has left. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. May he rest in peace.
If Somebody says to you……

If somebody says to you, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong’ what they really mean is that they don’t want to be contradicted.
If somebody says to you, ‘Far be it from me to say’ what they really mean is that they know better.
If somebody says to you ‘I’ll get in touch’, the chances are high that they won’t be in touch.
If somebody says to you, ‘I’m sure you’re right’, what they really mean is that they doubt that you are.
If somebody says to you, ‘I must have got it wrong’ what they really mean is that they are right but couldn’t be bothered arguing with you.
If somebody says to you, ‘We must have lunch sometime’ what they really are trying to do is to be nice, but know its not going to happen.
If somebody gives you a smile today or a gift or a word of encouragement, let’s hope they mean it!!
Your Love For Me...Author Unknown

Lord, we thank you for the poverty, the pains and the passion that you suffered for me. You slept in a manger that was not your own. You cruised on a lake in a boat that was not your own. You were buried in a tomb that was not your own.

Your holy fingers made the meadows, yet they produced the thorns that crowned your head. You made the forests, yet they gave the tree upon which you hung. You made the sky, but it darkened over your head when you died.

And it was for love of me that you suffered all these. Your love is so great, so vast and so mighty that I could count the leaves of the forest trees or the sparkling drops of dew at sunrise but never could I tell the depth of the love you have for me. Thank you for your love and help me to walk with you each and every day.
The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

Avatar is a visually stunning film. In 3-D the incredibly colourful and fantastic planet Pandora, where the story is fancifully set, totally captivates the imagination and sweeps one away on the light fantastic. Facing drab grey cement and noisy swarming traffic on leaving the cinema was also ‘stunning’ – but as in stunned or dazed. The town where the cinema was set – also in 3-D – was anything but captivating by comparison. Indeed such comparison according to one newspaper report caused some people who had seen the film to experience bouts of depression afterwards. The comedown that real life is was just too much for them. That report prodded me to see the film for myself. I’m glad I did. It reminded me never to underestimate the power of beauty to touch the human spirit, and to open up the human heart to the spiritual around, within and beyond us.

So let’s open ourselves to the spiritual and mind-travel to that location of beauty in today’s Second Reading (Apoc 21:1-5): the new heaven and the new earth. We give our imagination free rein. We try to visualise the wonder of all things made new, glistening with health, spirit and immortality. We try to picture a level of life unlimited by anything, as we soar creatively achieving everything we were incapable of in this life. And that just for starters! Let’s not be mean-minded or timid. The new heaven and the new earth leave fanciful Pandora in the shade and leave us to feast sumptuously in the radiant glory of God.
'A life without love is like a year without summer.' ~Swedish Proverb


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