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World Day for Consecrated Life – 2 February

Consecrated women and men — together with Catholics in general — are invited to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. Established by St. John Paul II, the day recognizes the beauty and impact of a life dedicated to poverty, chastity, and obedience.

When is it celebrated?

The Catholic Church celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, also known as Candlemas or the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Consecrated women and men — together with Catholics in general — are invited to celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life.

In his message for the first World Day of Consecrated Life, the late pontiff stressed the importance of the day.

“The mission of the consecrated life in the present and in the future of the Church,” he said, “concerns not merely those who have received this special charism, but the entire Christian community.

The consecrated life, he added, “is at the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission, since it ‘manifests the inner nature of the Christian calling’ and the striving of the whole Church as Bride towards union with her one Spouse,” citing his apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata.

In his 1997 address, Pope Saint John Paul II listed three reasons, beginning with thanking God for this “stupendous gift!”

The day “answers the intimate need to praise the Lord more solemnly and to thank him for the great gift of consecrated life,” he said. Next, “this day is intended to promote a knowledge of and esteem for the consecrated life by the entire People of God.”

The last reason, he said, concerned consecrated persons.

“They are invited to celebrate together solemnly the marvels which the Lord has accomplished in them,” he said, “to discover by a more illumined faith the rays of divine beauty spread by the Spirit in their way of life, and to acquire a more vivid consciousness of their irreplaceable mission in the Church and in the world.”

 

Source: Text: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/    Images: pexels.com (Mikhail Nilov, Mart Production)

Feast of the Body and blood of Christ, Year B – 2021

“A dream come true!”
We often hear this expression from someone who had been hoping for something and this very thing happens, or is given to the person.
The words are spoken spontaneously with jubilation.

This phrase came to me as I read today’s gospel text (Mk.14:12-16,22-26)
following the Alleluia verse (Jn.6:51) which says:

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. 
Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” 
 
Jesus had spoken these words some years before on the day after he had fed the crowd having multiplied the   loaves.
Of course, the people had come back the next day… for more!
But, the ‘more’ which they received what Jesus’ promise of another kind of bread –
the one he was now providing during this Last Supper.

We could say, in our usual way of speaking, that it was for Jesus ‘a dream come true’.
He wanted to share with us his love and his life, a life that would endure for ever.
He found the way to do precisely this in giving us the Eucharist
which is known as the sacrament of his real presence.

This is what we remember and what we celebrate today on this Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
We do so as well every time we take part in his offering of himself in the Eucharist.

A dream come true.
A promise realized.
A life enduring for ever.
A gift beyond what we could have imagined or hoped for!

 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at:

 

Source: Images: Catholic Current   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Feast of the Holy Family, Year B – 2020

 We live an unusual situation and this period of pandemic is definitely upsetting.
Our daily lives have been turned upside down –
our ways of doing and being can no longer be what they were only nine months ago.
And we are… wondering – wondering where we are going, where this will lead us to…

The 2nd reading of today’s feast tells us of Abram (He.11:8,11-12,17-19)
who also experienced his life being transformed by an unexpected call.
We are told:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, 
obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going…”

At that time, Abraham was in the dark, so to speak, it was only later that he would see
that the place he was going to would become a gift.

Fast forward to our 21st century:
Could it be that this period of pandemic would also become… a gift later?
 
And in today’s gospel we meet Mary and Joseph bringing their new-born child to the Temple (Lc.2:22-40).
It is said that:

“The child’s father and mother stood there wondering…”
 
The English word ‘wonder’ has, in fact, a double meaning:
To wonder can mean asking oneself questions about something or someone;
To wonder can also mean to marvel at something, some situation or person.

Our present situation of social distancing and confinement may lead us to ask many questions:
When will we be freed from this situation?
Will there be a cure one day?
Will our lives return to what they were before this pandemic?

 

What if our wonder about what is happening now
turned out to be wonder at what God will have done for us later?

God’s ways can be really wonder-full!

Note: Another reflection on a different theme is available in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-sainte-famille-annee-b-2020/

 

Source: Images: Votaws.com   Pinterest

14th Sunday of Year A – 2020

This period we are living – that of the Covid-19 pandemic – has taken us unawares, it is certain.
It has brought in its wake, all kinds of things totally unexpected.

But, when we think about it, our lives are filled with things which are precisely that: unexpected.

  • The promising encounter.
  • The unannounced visitor.
  • The surprise promotion.
  • The welcome help from a friend.
  • The mysterious gift left at the door.
  • The improbable happy event.
  • The unforeseen loss of work.
  • The tragic accident.
  • The sudden death…

And the list could go on of all that we had neither planned nor envisaged as possible.
Things, events, situations, people – all can belong to this category of the unexpected.

And two of the readings of this Sunday (Ze.9:9-10) (Mt.11:28-30)
make me think that the God they describe is also an… UNEXPECTED GOD!

A God who is humble, riding a donkey – not a horse as someone powerful.
A God who is gentle, humble in heart…
This is NOT the kind of God we would expect…

Yet, the story – the REALITY- started long ago…
The birth in a manger in poor surroundings,
the death on a cross condemned by jealous religious leaders and killed by the occupying power.

This has been – this remains – God’s choice… we have yet to understand…
to really meet and come to know… the ‘unexpected’ God.

Then, slowly, we may come to realize that he can also work – unexpectedly – wonderful things in our lives.
 

Note: Another reflection on a different theme in French can be found at: https://image-i-nations.com/14e-dimanche-de-lannee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: Zoe Ministries

 

 

 

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, Year A – 2020

A young Jewish couple brings their first-born child to the Temple, as it was the custom.
An older man is there, Simeon, who is known to be faithful to the Lord.
Of this man, it was said that he was:

“looking forward to the consolation of Israel.”

The gospel of this Sunday is a long text (Lk.2:22-40),
But there is one sentence that struck me and… questioned me…
The question addressed to me is whether I expect the consolation of God.

Our prayers to him are of different kinds, and length, and intensity!
Of course, we praise him and we thank him.
But, we – most of us – have a long list of petitions that we address to him regularly,
especially in times of doubt, difficulty, distress.

But do we look forward – as if we were sure that it will come – to his consolation?
It may be that, for a long time, God has wanted to give us this special gift and…
he has not been asked for it!

Or, is it that… we did not recognize it?
Simeon held a baby in his arms and he recognize God’s salvation!

We are told that he was “guided by the Spirit”,
perhaps we need to allow this same Spirit to guide us also…

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/fete-de-la-presentation-de-jesus-au-temple-annee-a-2020/

 

Source: Image: youtube.com

 

 

 

 

Christmas, Year C

Some years ago, I saw a Christmas card of a very unusual design. It depicted the star of Bethlehem, shining bright. And the shadow this star cast on the ground had the shape of… a cross.  

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Quite a prophetic expression and a unique evocation of the meaning of the Nativity. More than once, I searched the web in vain to find back this illustration. But the message has remained with me…

From the darkness of the Christmas night in Bethlehem to the darkness of Golgotha, a LIGHT has shone – the very one which has led the prophet Isaiah to say:

“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Is.9:2)

And of the coming of Jesus in our world, the apostle John said with conviction:

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn.1:5)

The light of him who could say:

“I am the Light of the world; whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn.8:12)

“The light of life” this is the gift of Christmas offered to us by God himself.

A unique gift, the one we can’t do without!

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/noel-annee-c/

 

Source: Image: youtube

 

 

International Day of the Bible – 24 November

The First ‘International Day of the Bible’ was launched on November 24, 2014. Bible ministry groups across the country are asking people to read or promote scripture publicly or online at noon on Nov.24 in what’s been dubbed the first International Day of the Bible.

« This is a very simple act of faithfulness and honor to God about His word, » Richard Glickstein, president of the National Bible Association, told The Christian Post. « God’s word is meant to encourage us and bring us personal hope, but it is also meant to bring us together to realize that this is such a great gift … and trust that He can change our world through it. The words of God changed my life and continues to. It’s not our event, we hope it’s an event for the body of Christ and those who love God, come together and thank Him. »

The day is being sponsored by the National  Bible Association along with support from the American Bible Society and the YouVersion Bible app.

Source: Text: Amanda Casanova | Religion Today Contributing Writer | Friday, November 7, 2014. Image: American Bible Society

 

 

4th Sunday of Advent, C

life-is-meant-to-be-happyAre you happy? Oh, I know, this is a personal question and you need not answer me. Some philosophers or ‘masters’, or ‘gurus’ will tell us that, yes, « Life is meant to be happy ». But… we all know that true happiness seems, at times, to be in short supply for many people. If you asked yourself and tried to reply in all honesty to the question, what would you say? Perhaps you would admit that you are sometimes truly happy but that, at other times, you are not carried by a big wave of happiness. But, if you pursue your introspection, or soul searching, and look at what makes you truly happy you may admit that the love of those around you, good health, success in your daily activities, some appreciation of friends and colleagues – all this can bring some measure of happiness, yet . . .

If someone dared to ask: « Are you happy because you believe? » You may be taken aback and, to save time before you give an answer, you may ask the person: « What did you say – happy because… I believe? » You may never had thought about it… happiness born of… faith.

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In the gospel of this 4th Sunday of Advent, this is what Mary’s cousin, Elisabeth, told her: « Happy (or blessed, in some translations) is she who believed… » (Luke 1:45).
In the early Church, there was a tradition that honoured Mary more because of her faith than because of her being the Mother of God. At first, this may seem surprising, but when we think of it, somehow, it makes sense! God asking Mary to be the Mother of his Son, was a great gift HE was giving her – making her the Mother of God! But Mary accepting this very special offer – believing that God wanted her to be exactly that – was HER gift to God! Of course, she said her ‘Yes’ with the help of the Holy Spirit, but it was HER ‘Yes’! Elisabeth added: « … because you believed that the promise of the Lord would be fulfilled ».
Have you thought of giving God a gift this Christmas? Another question you need not answer … but you may like to think about it, and FAITH in his promises to you might be… the perfect gift for HIM! 

Religious Art, Dorothy Webster, Blessed Mother, The Visitation on Pintarest