Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Advent Reflection 6

In the midst of todays business and maddness, 

my last reflection is to wish you a happy Christmas, send you love and this blessing.

I hope my mutterings have been of some use to you!

“A Blessing"

May the light of your soul guide you.
May the light of your soul bless the work that you do
with the secret love and warmth of your heart.
May you see in what you do, the beauty of your own soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light
and renewal to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never weary you.
May it release within you wellsprings of
refreshment, inspiration and excitement.
May you be present in what you do.
May you never become lost in bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find you awake and alert,
approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected.
May your soul calm, console and renew you.

John O'Donoghue

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Advent Reflection 5

You know ’the time’ has come: you must wake up now               (Reading from Morning Prayer)

All this thinking about not being afraid has made me a little uncomfortable.
It can easily lead me to not being afraid but then not doing anything!
I need to relinquish my fears and move into the new way of being that the birth of Jesus begins.

Since Jesus was fully human like you or I, he felt scared and afraid too.   
I wonder about how God felt sending Jesus into space and time.            
Can God feel scared?                                                                                  
But somehow, in some way, God and Jesus overcame their fears and acted out their true nature – total love.

Mary and Joseph must have been scared too.                                       
Raising the Son of God! Terrifying stuff!                                               
But they too had to overcome their fear and get on with the stuff of life –decisions to be made, relationships to be had, life to be lived.

The time has come. God is amongst us. 

As I celebrate again the Coming of Jesus I want to live and love out of that reality.

I want to be like the magi and be on the journey deeper into Christ.

I want the obedience of the shepherds, to follow where God calls.

I want what Jesus came for to be the touchstone that I bring to others.

The time has come. I’m waking myself up.

The day in nearly here and I want to be ready

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Advent Reflection 4

Soooo busy today so I offer you a lovely poem by my favourite poet R S Thomas


The moon is born  
and a child is born,  
lying among white clothes  
as the moon among clouds.  
They both shine, 
but the light from the one  
is abroad in the universe  
as among broken glass  

- R S Thomas

Friday, December 19, 2008

Advent Reflection 3

But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. (Reading from Mass)

After I wrote about “Do not be afraid” yesterday, today was a day that seemed to be trying to drive the point home to me!

I tried to get a bit of silence and reading after the kids were up this morning. I have been using a reflection book that uses quotes from Henri Nouwen for each day, and a bit of Scripture. Nouwen’s words for today contained this:

“The Days before Christmas must be days of deep prayer to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. We must be really ready to receive him. Christ wants to be born in us, but we must be open, willing, receptive, and truly welcoming.”

I heard again about the things that matter. How much of my fear is about externals. About how Christmas can transform my worry, my doubt, my mangy selfishness – but only if I “let it go” (as someone I know well continually says!) and allow the child in . . . do not be afraid!

Later this morning I had the privilege to be a musician at a friend’s mother-in-laws funeral mass. It is a privilege because when we hear anothers life story we can marvel at their faith and their achievements. To hear about the hidden self of another is an encouragement, a testament to living in Christ from baptism to death, and the wonders that God brings.   

Yet again, I heard “do not be afraid”.

Just as I sat to write to you this afternoon I checked my email and in the inbox was the Christmas Letter from Archbishop Philip Wilson. Guess what!?! His theme: “When we welcome Jesus into our hearts and into our lives, we begin to make sense of the things happening around us. Hope, joy and peace begin to take the edges off our anxiety and fear . . . (You can read the whole thing here:

Anyway, I hope that all of us are getting the message! Facing the Christchild brings me to the truth about myself and others – that we are beloved by God and that God is with us and with all of creation. Our struggles and fears find their place in that mystery.  I’m gonna try living that a little today.

With Love


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Advent reflection 2

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid  (Reading from Mass.)

I was once told that the most common thing that Jesus says in the Gospel texts is “Do not be afraid”.

I love that, and I need to hear it because as those who know me well have probably realized (In fact I know they have because they tell me!), I am a bit of a worrier. I especially love that a good priest friend of mine always prays that “we will be free from all wasteful anxiety” – because, from personal experience I know that it wastes time and that it hurts me – stopping me being whole and available for God.

Christmas can be a time of being afraid too.

Of what people think of my gifts/house/food/music/kids….

Of what Christmas day will bring.

Of how to negotiate shopping/driving/spending/partying/drinking/eating . . .

Of my credit card bill!

But I get the feeling that the newborn baby really doesn’t care about this stuff. Like all babies, he wants love. And the funny thing about love is that it draws us out of ourselves and into the mystery of what we are loving . . .

So take some time to sit in awe and wonder. Allow the story to touch you again. Take it with you through your day.

And may you find some peace. And not be afraid.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent reflection 1

Advent reflections for the next 7 days. 

Feel free to join the conversation but be aware that possible heresy may only be greeted by applause . . . 

And Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;         of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.                                 (From the Gospel of the day, Matthew 1: 1 -14)

The genealogy of Jesus is today’s reading. Tracing the line from Abraham through trial, tribulation, belief, disbelief, obedience, disobedience all the way to the messiah.

This reading is so multi – layered  - it’s a beginning, its about humanness. It’s about connectedness of generations to the divine story. But for me today, in true Benedictine fashion, it’s a story of community. Of how those people around us, with whom we share our lives, matter and fit into the bigger story of God coming amongst us in Jesus.

Today I celebrated life with two communities. I celebrated the Eucharist with those I live and work amongst as we ended our year together. I celebrated a meal with that same group, and talked and laughed. In the evening I celebrated with my own little community as we shared gifts, drank red wine, walked, talked and shared together.

As I look back over the day, I wonder where God was?

In the eyes of the children opening their gifts!

In the care of some of my colleagues to another who was not well.

In a few quite deep conversations I had at the strangest times!

In the healing of some students I had been visiting.

I saw God in interactions today. In people spending time, and love with one another. 

As I get closer to Christmas I want to keep this perspective. 

Seeing God in those people I meet as the days pass in busyness and stress.                                                        

To take time to wonder at the beauty of Gods creation in each other. 

To able on Christmas day to celebrate the birth of a Jesus, who came as one of us, to show us Gods new way of living.    

Blessings to you all – and keep your eyes open!!   

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WYD - so wot did it mean?

This is a good question. 

What DID it mean?

In a very real sense this is a personal question. Each and every pilgrim would have a different high point, a different point of reference, a different expectation either met or unmet.

When answering a friend this week I wrote:

It helped me remember why I became a Roman Catholic. Being part of this HUGE church which is present everywhere, regardless of language or race - and I am a part of it - WOW! 

I LOVED being with the French communities and celebrating mass from my heart not ears and head.
Good chat with a French Nun about family life and being a dad and my priorities there in terms of being a good husband and father. Living my life from my spiritual centre and not allowing other stuff to get in the way too much - it will of course but prayer and community are the key to dealing with it.

I can recommend the next WYD in Madrid - not only for the Tapas and Spanish Sherry, but for celebrating the wonder of journeying together in the faith.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008



A rest day which I spent getting to know my Sydney relatives better. Time to reflect on what was going on at WYD and what I was taking away from it . . .

Up early to the train and then picked up with my school friends to go to Wollahara, just near Randwick Race Course, for breakfast before the Papal Final mass.We decided against going to Randwick, as one of our team was not really up for the walk, and we wanted to stay together.WE joined a few thousand and watched the mass on a large screen, It was an intimate view and allowed us to join in regardless of our location.

And what a Mass it was. 400 000 gathered to worship Our Lord. Thousands of Bishops and Priests. The confirmations. The silence after communion. The smiles on the faces. The togetherness in diversity- of being the universal church in truth rather than just as a spoken ideal. Riches in Music, in word, in dance. An overpowering experience!

The announcement of Madrid was greeted very enthusiastically by the crowds. and by us too! Bring on 2011!

After being dropped in the city I shopped a bit more for family gifts and then returned home weary and exhausted from an amazing week - more enriching and rewarding than I could have imagined!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Woke up feeling very sore in back and legs. This Cris crossing of the city is no good for me!
Had a late start and made it into town to once again join the Community of St Jean and the Beatitudes Community as the led the contingent of French Speaking pilgrims for the Eucharist.
Once again it was a moving and beautify experience that, despite my problems with the language, spoke to my heart.

After meeting the girls for lunch, we found a space at Darling harbour and watched about 1/2 of the Stations of the cross from there. It was a very dramatic and powerful presentation which moved all who watched. Apparently there was a large TV audience as well which was very encourgaing.

After struggling to find somewhere for tea, we went to Taize prayer early which was just as well as the place over flowing with pilgrims, and an unannounced visit for prayer by the Prime Minister which was sweet! It was a powerful moment to sing my favourite chants with young people from around the world singing in their own language too. Taize is indeed a powerful place and a message to be heard.

Saturday was a rest day which I spent with my extended family and loved it!

Something on the papal final mass tomorrow!

Friday, July 18, 2008


The french are blowing me away.

On my way back into town yesterday I passed the location where the St Jean community and the Beatitudes community are based. Mass was beginning so I stayed.
I was in tears most of the time as when you pray with a language not your own you are forced to feel rather than think.
The liturgy was beautiful. the music awesome. Silence. Peace. God present.
The whole experience made it worth my while been here in the hustle and bustle.

Today is stations of the cross and then taize. Looking forward to it.

Ciao and pax Friends

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Great day yesterday.
Up early and train into city where I spent the morning with Pilgrims up at the park Near St Mary's cathedral. It was insane but fun. Lots of people milling around and singing and just being friendly and church together. Met up with crew for a Pizza lunch and then while they went off to the Fransician Beach Party at Bondi, I met up with Fr O and went to Taize prayers which was both awesome and packed! Then after a lovely Spanish Tea I went off home - exhausted but happy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Opening mass

So me and the girls from school go to the Opening mass with George Cardinal Pell. Wow!!
120 000 people packed into the Barangaroo area, in stalls like Cattle.
Most of the fun was getting there. About a 1 1/2 km walk from the upper centre of Sydney. Ethnic and Country groups singing hymns and songs, bouncing beach balls around, having a good time. Manic. Busy. Crazy stuff. Almost too much for me.
The Sanctuary about 800m from where I was standing.
3 Large video screens all around so everyone could see.
Tents for reconciliation set up.
Bishops, Priests, Monks, Nuns, Sisters everywhere. Rosary beads everywhere.
Lovely music written for the occasion. Awesome soloists.
Pell spoke well if a little long on the Parable of the sower.
To be part of this church. To be part of all these people coming in allegiance to Christ was awesome.
Today I am having a quiet morning whilst the youngsters go to teaching and mass.
I will visit the Taize brothers this afternoon and the World Community for Christian Meditation on Saturday.
In between the Pope arrives and we will have stations of the Cross.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Chris is there
our man on the ground at WYD

Reporter: So how is it Chris

Chris: How it what? I love this cafe with internet access!

Reporter: World Youth Day?

Chris: oh, OK. So far, all it seems it to involve is queues. Queues at the airport. Queues to get registered. Queues to get food. Queues to get the train. Mmmmmm.

Reporter: and so?

Chris: I better finish this and get out of the queue!

That was our man, the CK. Stay tuned for more from the Queues at WYD!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Happy St Benedicts Day!

Happy St Benedict's Day Everyone!

What does the OSB and the rule they live by mean to you in your Spiritual Journey?

(The image is of St Benedict giving his rule to his followers)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

We are still alive and Groovin'

We seem to go through times of just BEING community - and so there's not much to write.

We are always learning to love and live together:

This is togetherness and truth and trust.
This is hope and joy.
This is the wonder of the new, and the security of our history.
This is prayer and silence.
This is meals and wine.
This is breakfast and coffee
This is holding hands and tears and laughter and dreaming together.
This is children and friends and wisdom.

This is just getting on with being us.

Hope you are travelling well friends.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

From Michelle

What is authentic community for me? It is the fullness of life. It is perseverance when facing the discomfort of home truths. It is the ability to shake off misunderstandings and laugh at our foibles. It is politics, messes, sicknesses, and all the other magnificent stuff that makes us human. It is living closely and authentically with others and all the battering that this implies. It is the road to real love and the road to becoming real. It is a gift to us and it is beautiful. As beautiful as an innocent man carrying a cross on which he will be nailed for the love of all.

- Cathy Kennedy

Ta Love! (I think this came from an online spirituality newsletter she gets)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good idea

I'm not a great one for synagogues or other places of worship.
When I want to listen to that little voice I go out there for a walk
Geza Vermes

h/t Maggi

Nice site here.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Eucharist Articles

Herbert McCabe, "Eucharistic Change"

Terence Nichols, "'This is my body': how to understand transubstantiation"

Aidan Kavanagh, "The True Believer"

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, "Eucharist, Communion and Solidarity"

Pro Ecclesia article: "Eating Christ"

Thanks to the Crew at De Cura Animarum for the links :)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Who are we ???

Alan sent me an email recently and I have taken a long time to answer it! He asks me (amongst other things) :

I've thought about you and the community that you guys have there a good deal. I wonder a lot about how it works. How "are" you a community together? What does that involve for you guys? How does it work in relation to different traditions in the same community?

So I asked the other dudes. Here's what they wrote (and Alan, an email is on its way tonight!!)

Being there for each other; sharing your lives in times of joy and in timesof sadness; being faithful to God and the community; and enjoying the wine of God and man.

For me it involves sharing each others life. The ups and downs. Meals...lots of meals (which I love) and of course drinks and brekkie each Saturday morning.

It's about time, commitment, loyalty, love . . .turning up when you don't feel like it 'cos you know that feeling will be gone soon,knowing that sharing life is a key way to grow,that connection is valuable and necessary for ALL of us . . .knowing that I am going to share the rest of my life with these buggers (me included!) And to drink wine, eat good food, laugh, cry, complain, share, parent, hope, dream, love, forgiveKnowing you are not alone . . . And an occasional prayer!

Having a bunch of shoulders to lift each other up in the really hardtimes (a bunch is so much better than one), and an understanding ear (orthree) to listen when you just need to get some sh...stuff off yourchest. I guess we are there to share all the bits of our lives (the goodand the bad) as well as sharing a meal or 2 ... and plenty ofwine/coffee. We pray together when we can and probably sometimes wish wehad more opportunities to do so. As a group we have become a bit morelike family than friends.

The different traditions in our community are not really all thatdifferent, and the diversity that does exist only enriches ourcommunity. Some of us have 'changed' (maybe moved is a better word)traditions but we all share our differences helping each other to grow.Not that we always agree with each other, but we're prepared to listenand accept where each of us is in our personal journey with God. In theend I think we are all embracing this sense of a group of people wantingto live out our faith in our daily lives together.
- Matt

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday after Wine

Have you ever thought
that growing up meant
realising you don't fit anywhere
and happily getting on with living . . .

Sunday, January 13, 2008