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Listing September - 2013
One of the bestselling books in recent times is 'Calm the Soul' by the Poor Clare Sisters in Galway. It is a book of simple wisdom and prayer. The following is an extract from the introduction with plenty food for thought:

There have been phenomenal changes in the past decade and we now live in a very different world, an extremely busy world. The reality is that today, people are trying to juggle more and more activities in their day to day lives. Advances in technology and the way we communicate have brought with them incessant demands for our attention. We seek serenity of heart but find that there is no space given for our souls. Silence is all but gone and yet silence itself can be healing. Allied to this is the reality that for many people, the pace of life has increased greatly. A rushed quality pervades our world and can rob us of peace.

Living constantly on a treadmill, it is hard to appreciate how much energy can be depleted through constant rushing. The result is that there is a high level of unease. God wants us to live in peace, to have serenity and harmony in our hearts but today these things can be difficult to find. Sometimes the importance of the spiritual aspect of life is not appreciated and from what people have told us, by post or when they visit the monastery, there's a real hunger for some tranquillity and silence. Despite the great changes that have occurred in our world, human nature is still the same, with the same needs.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett

A major theme in Luke's Gospel is 'reversal'. We see a clear example of this in today's Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Notice how the rich man is not given a name. This is significant as names were important for people who were considered to be of high status, it gave them recognition. It is the poor outcast beggar who does have a name - Lazarus. Names are significant. Lazarus means 'God helps'. The lives of these two men are radically different. The rich man wears purple robes, the most expensive colour dye at that time, and he feasts every day. A gate also separates these two men, the rich man is far above Lazarus in terms of status and wealth. The rich man does not even see Lazarus.

When they die, their situations are completely reversed and we are reminded of the Magnificat in the first chapter of Luke (1:52-53) 'He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty'. The rich man is unwilling to change, even in the afterlife he wants Lazarus sent, ordered, to go to his brothers. It is not proof or special signs that they need. Their vision has been blinded by wealth and dreams.

'The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.' ~James Baldwin
"Christ came to bring joy: joy to children, joy to parents, joy to families and to friends, joy to workers and to scholars, joy to the sick and joy to the elderly, joy to all humanity. In a true sense, joy is the keynote of the Christian message and the recurring motif of the Gospel. Be messengers of joy" ~Pope John Paul II

Joy is a word we don't hear too much today. The word 'happy' seems to be mainly used but the word 'joy' is also a very important one. But what does it mean? Joy in Hebrew is 'chedvah' meaning rejoicing or gladness. In Greek it is 'chara' meaning cheerfulness or a calm delight. This joy is not a happiness that depends on our circumstances and our moods which constantly change. Joy is something constant and lasts much longer. It comes from within. The feeling is the same whether one is on a mountain top or deep in a valley. It recognises that life is fragile, that we have our ups and downs and that we are far from perfect. Yet in the midst of everything we can have a joyful attitude and that God is our reason why.

There is a beautiful reference to it, in the Gospel of John when Jesus says: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you and that your joy be complete". We too are called to be messengers of joy. Who can you share some joy with this weekend? It is often the small beautiful moments done out of love that bubble most with joy. They are precious and special. We can be open to them and we can also share them.
The ploughing championships in Co.Laois were an outstanding success over the past three days. I was lucky enough to get the chance to go with my school Coláiste Choilm on Wednesday. There was a crowd of 100,000 people there and there was just so much to see and do. There probably isn't enough time to get around and see everything in one day but certainly enough time and variety of events to make it a great day. One item that drew huge attention and crowds was the robotic automatic milking machine. All the cows looked happy and content as they queued to be milked. They came in their own turn and it all seemed to work so easy. What got my attention was the chat between farmers as it all went on. The good old days kept coming up: "I remember when I hand milked my cows" or "I remember walking with my cows to the mart" or "I never thought I'd see the day when a robot would milk a cow".

Sometimes the past seems such a long way from the present. Technology has moved on at an incredible pace. But no matter how forward we move with new ideas and technology, we can never completely forget the past. Traditions, values, stories and memories and life lessons are so important and can never be ignored or pushed to one side. We build the future on them. The values, stories and life lessons that are presented in the Gospels are also special and important. They still speak to our modern world today and keep us connected to what's really important in our lives today. They remind us of God's constant presence in our world today. Nothing stays the same as the world moves forward, but God's love for us will always be constant and will never change.
As I was away all day yesterday at the Ploughing Championships, I did not get a chance to write a thought. Here is a little bit of humour as a fill in!

Why did the farmer bury all his money in his fields? He wanted rich soil!
How do you make seven even? Take away the s!
Have you heard about the restaurant on the moon? Great food but no atmosphere!
Why did the woman wear a helmet at the dinner table? She was on a crash diet!
What's an eight letter word that has only one letter in it? An envelope.
What is the longest word in the dictionary? Smiles because it has a mile between the s's!
What's the hardest thing about falling out of the bed? The floor!
What kind of pet can you stand on? A carpet!
Why didn't the musical instruments email each other? They preferred to write notes!
How can you find a really cool website? Put your computer in the fridge!
How does an elephant climb an oak tree? It sits on an acorn and waits until it grows!
'Experience is choice. We can choose to shop less, we can choose our words, choose to listen more, we can decide to become more patient. In the tiny threads that make up the fabric of this day, there is a choice behind every action and every word and a freedom behind every action and every thought.' ~Michael Meegan

We are faced with endless choices every day. Many of them are routine and straight forward but still important. Beyond the basic choices like eating, hygiene and sleep there are many more that can make all the difference between a stressed out life style and one that is balanced and more relaxed. If we are honest some of the choices we make are random and have little depth or roots. A little bit more thought into what we choose can make a difference. Any choice that is built on or around love will always be a winner and one that will always put us in a good place. Any choice that allows us to become a better person is a good one. Any choice that allows us to do our best and make the most of the present moment is precious. Any choice that is built on Gospel values will always bring balance. Our prayer today is for the strength to make some good choices and ones that we know have value and depth.
The following reflection is a different take on Psalm 23 and puts the emphasis very much on the need to slow down and not to be rushing without reason or purpose. It is called "The Lord Is My Pace Setter" and the author is unknown

The Lord is my Pace Setter, I shall not rush. He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals. He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity. He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace. Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day I will not fret. For his presence is there. His timelessness, his all importance will keep me in balance. He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity, by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquillity. My cup of joyous energy flows. Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours, for I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in his house forever.
'No servant can be the slave of two masters: they will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.' ~Luke 16:12-13

I had the opportunity to attend Mass in St Mary's Cathedral, Killarney yesterday. We got a homily full of wisdom, on how money is important but equally has the potential to be divisive and block what matters most in life. The priest Pat Horgan shared a story with plenty food for thought.

The story is about a rich man who went to a rabbi for a blessing. The rabbi took him to a window facing a busy street. "Tell me what you see", he said. "I see lots of people moving in all directions", the rich man added. Next the rabbi took him to a mirror and again asked the young man to report what he saw. "I see a reflection of myself" he said. The rabbi paused and then spoke: "You have just seen through two different panes of glass, but the difference with the mirror is that behind that one, lies a veneered sheet of silver. It's a bit like money and when it becomes your sole priority in life, all you can see is yourself. But like the normal window, if you can balance it with the other essentials in life, you always include other people and yourself.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett

One of the most scandalous economic stories in the Gospels is the teaching in today's parable. A manager is about to get fired by the CEO because he has not made the highest profit. But is Jesus really condoning using money to buy friends and stealing from employers?! What is the manager doing? He is telling his debtors to falsify their bills so that they can be free from their debt. Some owe huge amounts. The manager is using the position he is in to recklessly release people from debt, to even up the tables. This will of course win him everlasting friends, their hearts and minds.

The manager is praised for his astuteness, he has his priorities straight, he is happy to let debt go, to redistribute the load. Ok there is still some self-interest there but Jesus is telling us that the only value the money really has is in the way it is disposed of - to make friends with the poor. The manager won't be the most successful man on the planet compared to the 'children of the light' who are more concerned with accounts than with real people. He can be trusted to value what is really important. Yes he is a bit of a scoundrel, but Jesus liked scoundrels, once their efforts were put to good use.

'If a white-collar criminal is smart enough to pull off this sort of stunt, imagine what the children of God can do! It is an invitation to holy mischief.' Shane Claiborne
'We are all equal in the fact that we are all different. We are all the same in the fact that we will never be the same. We are united by the reality that all colours and all cultures are distinct and individual. We are harmonious in the reality that we are all held to this earth by the same gravity. We don't share blood, but we share the air that keeps us alive.' ~C Joybell

Today (Sep 21st) is the feast of St Matthew. He was a tax collector and as a result people hated and despised him. As a result of his lifestyle he was an outcast but yet Jesus saw beyond his role as a tax collector and knew that he had so much to give his expanding team. As a tax collector, his life was in darkness. His life was lonely, empty, dull, lacking meaning and direction. Matthew's life can speak for us too. We all at times have felt empty and where our lives lacked direction. Maybe right now this is where we are. Matthew's life completely changed when he met Jesus who believed in him and gave him a reason to rekindle his human spirit. The same possibility is extended to us today as well.

His feast day also coincides with the autumn equinox, of equal light and darkness. Matthew himself was the writer of the first of the four gospels and his gospel highlights the equality that Jesus brought to everyone he met. For Matthew every person was to be valued and respected for who they were. Today's feast day also challenges us in how we treat others and encourages us to treat others equally and fairly.
'Buried deep within each of us is a spark of greatness, a spark that can be fanned into flames of passion and achievement. That spark is not outside of you it is born deep within you.' ~James A.Ray

The image of a spark is full of meaning and so symbolic. When we say we have lost our spark for life we are in a very difficult situation, there is no energy flowing in us, we feel surrounded by darkness and find no motivation to do anything. There are so many sparks we could talk about, a spark of kindness, of love, of support, of understanding, of comfort, of light, of hope, of meaning and so much more. The Divine spark within each of us is the ignition for every other spark. This Divine spark is unique and is not outside of us. It has been born deep within us. It is special; it is always there and can help rekindle the spark of life within us. We pray to day asking God to be our spark, to be the spark that fills us with hope, that gets us restarted and the one who gives us meaning and purpose.
'Rest is not a matter of doing absolutely nothing. Rest is repair.' ~Daniel Josselyn

I had the privilege yesterday of taking Transition Year students from Coláiste Choilm on retreat to Gougane Barra in West Cork. After high winds and showers early in the morning, the sun thankfully broke through to make for a lovely day. We sometimes underestimate the importance of time out and rest in our daily lives. Young people crave for it. A day of retreat gives them every chance, particularly with all phones strictly switched off. Rest is taking it easy for a while, giving ourselves and our bodies a chance to unwind and relax. It is during this time that our bodies repair, refresh and rejuvenate. Resting doesn't necessarily mean doing nothing. Rest is slowing our pace, becoming less active and less tense. In a place as beautiful as Gougane Barra we rest our souls and we leave energised. If we look back on any given day it's easy to see how we are often racing around getting things done. It's as if there's some big handout or bonus points if I get everything or as much as possible done today. Rest is God's gift to each of us. It's a gift that helps us appreciate more of what's around us and helps us appreciate the gift of this present moment.
'Each day awakens in me a deep sense of the giftedness of my life, of each moment as it comes, freshly minted, from the hand of an infinitely loving God. I have no right to it, no hold on it, no resources in myself that can guarantee the next newly given moment.' ~Author Unknown

We often mention that life is fragile and precious. We should be grateful for the many good things we have in our lives at the moment. But if we're honest we do take a lot for granted. Sometimes its easy to grumble rather than praise or affirm. It's when some crisis or unexpected event happens that we begin to rethink. The current economic downturn has caused massive challenges and readjusting. It has allowed everyone to look at life again and to rethink our approach to living with less. This has been happening over a period of time and we are adapting better to living with less. We are making sure that we survive and adapt to lots of changes all around us. We have had to re think our values and priorities. Some of these are age related but one that is the same across all ages, is to see each moment of every day as precious and sacred. It puts us in a much better position to adapt to the world we live in. Each moment is lent to us, to use and maximise. Equally we can also waste or ignore them. It is so much easier to use and maximise them, if we see them as given to us from the hand of an infinitely loving God.
'What person among you with a hundred sheep, losing one, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the missing one till he found it? And when he found it, would he not joyfully take it on his shoulders and then, when he got home, call together his friends, and neighbours? "Rejoice with me," he would say "I have found my sheep that was lost." In the same way, I tell you, there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety-nine virtuous people who have no need of repentance.' ~Luke 15:2

The following reflection is by Jane Mellett

In today's Gospel, we hear three parables, all about things that are lost and found. We see the 'searcher' portrayed as male and female as Luke strives for gender equality followed by the very human story of the Lost Son. These three parables of things lost and found emphasise the unending forgiveness of God and his rejoicing when we return to him. But as with all parables, we are left thinking and wondering, disturbed even. A sheep and a coin we can rejoice over, but when it is a person who has done us harm, hurt us in some way, it is much easier to behave like the elder brother in the third parable.
The elder brother tries to disown his younger brother by saying 'this son of yours' - the response he is given is 'this brother of yours - was lost and now is found'. God restores all things, the sheep to the shepherd, the coin to the woman, the son to the Father and it is a frantic search in each parable. We are encouraged to search, to be 'seekers', to discover the lost and, when we need it, to let ourselves be found.

'The sheep may be lost in the fog or wandering aimlessly but the shepherd is always in search of it. No matter how desperate our plight we may always rely on the love which will never tire of seeking us out.' Cardinal Basil Hume
"Let me just get the feel of it", my mother used to say when we cooked together; she would take the spoon and stir. She would know from the way the spoon felt in the mixture just how far we were from finished. Ten thousand spoons and ten thousand mixtures later, so do I! ~ Barbara Cawthorne Crafton

"Let me just get the feel of it", are lovely words. They suggest that every moment is to be savoured and nurtured. They suggest that nothing stays the same and how we need to be flexible with the beat of life. So often we rush, race and are flying in every direction. We have so much to get done in limited time. We are going so fast that we miss the beauty of the present moment. There isn't time to feel the moment and the loss is ours. It is also a sizeable loss. We miss out on so much simply because we're going too fast to notice. It would be great to justify our speed and our endless lists of things to do, if we could say that it was worth it all. But why are so many people unhappy, unsettled, tired, stressed, lacking energy and wishing that there was time to slow down? To get the feel for something needs time and only we can give it the time. Where can I slow down this weekend to get the feel for the present moment?
'The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life.' ~Mandy Hale

We sometimes search for an answer to everything. Life is often so complex that those answers are not there or at least not just now. 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.
'I realized that there are two paths you can take in life. One is seeing life as a series of problems, fears and failures. The other is seeing life as experiences, opportunities and adventures. It is exactly the same life. It's just that the perspective is different. You can either walk path A or path B. The choice is always yours' ~Thea Alexander

Over 60,000 students received their Junior Results yesterday. The results right across have been superb and their was a great sense of excitement when the students got their results. Many of them have now begun Transition Year and it is a mighty platform for these students to embrace new experiences, opportunities and adventure. The new Junior Cert programme which begins next year will put the focus on creativity, encourage engagement, make learning relevant, make it enjoyable and will put an emphasis on life long learning. It will be a whole new chapter in Irish education but also an exciting one as well. It will put emphasis on the wholistic education of each young person, making them ready to deal with the many challenges of life. I am going to finish this thought by asking you to pray for young people today and to thank God for their enthusiasm, their energy, their uniqueness, their openness and their ability to embrace the opportunities and blessings of today.
'When hiking on any mountain it is always recommended that one hikes with at least one person in case of an emergency. There is also a second and more positive reason, someone with which to share the joy of the experience.' ~Brendan McGuire

Yesterday I had the privilege of climbing Torc mountain near Killarney with a second year group from Coláiste Choilm. A great deal of planning goes into the day, getting the right footwear, clothing and the importance of the group working together as a team. It is much the same with our spiritual journey. It is difficult to do it on our own and there is so much more to be gained when we journey together. Jesus gathered people together on the sides of hills, in the homes of neighbours/friends and along the seashore. Today we have different places of worship, churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, chapels, oratories and so on. All serve the same function, to give people a chance to come together to worship and pray. We are occasionally reminded about the many personal benefits we gain because of our particular faith journey. But it is one we cannot do exclusively on our own. Growing in faith together is a journey that is good, beneficial and supportive. Its advantages far outweigh trying to do it all on our own.
'Fairness is not the end result, it's the opportunity' ~Tim Heulskamp

Last Sundays's drawn All Ireland hurling final was a massive talking point. It probably was the only talking point yesterday in Cork! The phrase that kept getting repeated on the radio and tv was "A draw was a fair result". Nobody can argue with this and there is so much now to look forward to later in the month.

When we talk about fairness it's a word we use more than we realise. Life can sometimes be so unfair, throwing unexpected events and setbacks our way. Some people and some families seem to get hammered and we rightly say "It's not fair". We wonder where is God? Why can't God make things more fair? It is always an honest question. One thing we can say with certainty, is that God does not cause life to be unfair. God does not set up traps or difficulties to trip us. In our Gospels Jesus stood up for people who were treated unfairly or for whom life was unfair. He was their voice when no one else would speak for them. So when life is unfair God is especially with us. We do our best to help each other, to make life as fair as possible for everyone. It sometimes seems an impossible task, but one we should never shy away from.
'Every time we celebrate the birth of Mary we can confidently hope for an increase of peace in our hearts and in the world at large.' ~Leonard Foley

A birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of you to the world. Yesterday (Sep 8th) was the feast day of the birthday of Mary. It is a day to celebrate Mary and all the contributions she made as the cornerstone of God's story. Her parents Anna and Joachim were infertile and they prayed for a child. When their daughter Mary was born there was much to celebrate but little did they know the impact she would make. Mary was a woman who was brave, courageous and strong. Her life was far from straightforward but she kept going despite not understanding everything that was happening around her. Mary's birthday gives us a chance to celebrate her life but importantly it gives us the chance to pray to her today. It is a day of blessing and hope. Mary brings us these and so much more besides.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett

This account is troubling. Surely Jesus does not expect us to hate our families, friends and even ourselves in order to be his followers? Maybe he didn't really mean it? Crosses and possessions, we can understand that bit. Perhaps Jesus is making a point here about how we attach ourselves to things and to people, even to images of ourselves. Attachment can cause all sorts of suffering in our lives. If we are to grow, we move on from the comfortable. If we are to be agents of change, we let go of the familiar, and that can often be painful whether it be old rituals, a group we were once part of, friends who don't understand. The two parables in this story remind us to think things through and weigh up the cost involved. This Kingdom of God stuff does involve sacrifice even though we would prefer to skip the bits that make us uncomfortable. It's not so simple Jesus.. I find it difficult and sometimes it feels like 20,000 against 10,000.

So this passage is a call to conversion and we read it from the various forms of discipleship that we are in: parenting, advocacy, political life, social work and so on. In order to achieve our goals we make sacrifices. Jesus turned to them, he is speaking from experience. Jesus' words are harsh, but spend time with this text today, his words can be interpreted as passionate, urgent, focused and even offer us a great freedom and encouragement in whatever form of discipleship we have chosen.
'After each game, I want to be able to say: I gave it all I could, I gave it my best' ~Author Unknown

It's just great that Cork are in the All Ireland final tomorrow. There is such a buzz in the city and county. There are so many Cork flags, proudly waving everywhere. There were many schools who did a red and white day yesterday. In my school in Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig there was great excitement and banter all day. One of our teachers Cathal Leahy who is from Co.Clare, put a blue and yellow flag on top of our rebel display at the school entrance! He had a big smile all day with his Clare jersey on, until he went to his car after school and found it all wrapped in red and white tape from top to bottom! The rebels always have their say!! It goes without saying that we are so proud of our team. They have given everyone such a lift. The team are such a huge positive influence on so many young people. Sport is the real winner here and how important it is to be part of a team, part of a community and part of a family where we all play our part and how each of us makes a vital difference. It's going to be a great weekend, a great game and a great result. Up the rebels!
'If you celebrate your uniqueness, the world will too. It believes exactly what you tell it - through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one of a kind creation, who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated. ' ~Victoria Moran

It's true we take a lot for granted. Our hearts beat an extraordinary 100,000 times a day. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in our body. There are 100 million light sensitive cells on the retina of our eyes. Our brains can make thousands of calculations in a second while only using the same amount of power as a 10 watt bulb. We can distinguish over 4000 smells and we can see stars that are million of miles away. In the middle of all these interesting statistics we have our own unique finger print and DNA print. Scientists believe that human DNA carries about 25,000 protein-coding genes. Each gene may be thought of as a "recipe" you'd find in a cookbook. Some are recipes for creating physical features, like brown eyes or curly hair. Our bodies are truly extraordinary and yet we often trivialise much of what we do because we simply take so much for granted. Everything around us just doesn't happen. We are part of God's tapestry, God's unique masterpiece. What a shame if we take it all for granted.
'It's good to have money and the things money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure you haven't lost the things that money cannot buy.' ~ George H.Lorimer

The early days in September are always tough for parents with children back to school. There are so many demands for money and there seems to be no end to the requests. Having enough for the essentials is a constant struggle for many people. Then there is the other end of the scale when you hear of Gareth Bale's transfer from Spurs to Real Madrid for just over 100 million Euro. For one player it is a staggering amount of money. Thankfully there are still many things that money can't buy like friendship, peace of mind, happiness, a balanced outlook in life, meaning and fulfilment, love and so much more. It's out there that money can buy everything. It simply can't. What do you have most that money can't buy?
I wish.....

I wish I were big enough to honestly admit all my shortcomings.
I wish I was tall enough to tower above all negativity.
I wish I was strong enough to treasure love.
I wish I could believe that I am making a difference.
I wish I was brave enough to welcome criticism.
I wish I was compassionate enough to understand people's limitations and human frailties.
I wish I was wise enough to know how precious my blessings are.
I wish I was humble enough to admit when I've made a mistake.
I wish I was human enough to forgive someone who has hurt me.
I wish I was enthusiastic enough to get the really important things done each day.
I wish I could pray for those who need some help today.
Many of these are not just wishful thinking and many of them are within our reach.
'Let us not give into pessimism and discouragement. The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. We have that firm confidence which the Holy Spirit gives us, with a mighty breath, the courage to persevere and to seek new ways to evangelise, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth' ~Pope Francis

It is so important to be upbeat and positive. It's not easy doing what we uniquely do each day. It's not easy today when money is tight, when jobs are scarce, when expectations are different, when the world is changing fast and when what worked well in the past doesn't always work today. But despite difficulties, setbacks and uphill struggles we have to be people of hope. This is at the heart of the gospel message and is the breath and energy of the Holy Spirit. Our new Pope Francis says the Holy Spirit gives us the courage to persevere and to seek new pathways.

These pathways are there but they are not motorways. These new pathways may not always look inviting initially but they will lead us to a better place. Pessimism and discouragement are signposts not allowed on these pathways. We pray to the Holy Spirit today to help us explore and persevere in finding new pathways that will help bring balance and meaning into our daily journey.
'Masons when they start upon a building are careful to test out the scaffolding, make sure that planks won't slip at busy points, secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints and yet all this comes down when the job's done showing off walls of sure and solid stone. We may let the scaffolds fall confident that we have built our wall' ~extract from Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney

Much has been written and said about the late Seamus Heaney. His life clearly touched many. I like the image of scaffolding. It explains how some jobs can't be done on their own. Supports are needed and they must be secure and firm. From a spiritual point of view the scaffolding stands for people who support us in our lives and who make life a better place for us. These supports are mainly to be found amongst family and close friends. They know us through and through and are always there for us. Another important support is our faith and what we believe in. A belief in a loving God is a very firm scaffolding as we build the wall of life. Our faith supports us gently but firmly on the journey of life. Our parents, grandparents and the generations gone before us, have walked this path. Their scaffolding has come down, they have built a fine strong wall. Today we proudly continue to build that wall, confident that God is the foundation, the scaffolding and the corner stone.
The following reflection is by Jane Mellett

Jesus is at table eating and drinking more times in Luke than in any of the other Gospels. In today's Gospel Jesus is at the house of one of the Pharisees for a Sabbath meal. The parable which Jesus tells them concerns humility as he watched the guests take the places of honour at the table. The host in the parable is obviously the insightful one, one who is able to expose phoniness in the community. This doesn't always have to be a negative, sometimes we need people like that to show us our weaknesses, to help us grow.

In today's world real humility can be interpreted as low self-esteem or even a false humility. Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple said, 'Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself at all.' Hospitality to the stranger is the next topic of conversation as Jesus urges those present to invite, not those who are known to them, but those who are poor, crippled in some way. Real hospitality is the second lesson of this story, to invite people in and to do so without expecting reward. Through real hospitality to the stranger, humility is there.

'If we only pride ourselves on our service record and nothing more, we end up going wrong. We have to be humble, but with real humility, from head to toe.' Pope Francis


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