Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY SIX

Each weekday for the next 14 days, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19? THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY Setting: crucifix and candles with some violet or purple cloth, palms or other greenery. Prayer in praise of this day: A new day signals freshness and the chance to make a new start. I want so much to leave behind the fear, the anger, the upsets and unloving thoughts I have allowed to enter this time of isolation. Cleanse me, merciful God. Flood me with your calming Spirit. Free me from any sense of isolation that I may feel and know your presence and the embrace of your mercy.   In a conversation that became a book in 2016, The Name of God is Mercy, Pope Francis told journalist, Andrea Tornielli, that he thought of the Church as a field hospital, where treatment is given to those most wounded. He pointed out that Jesus declared himself as having come, not for the healthy who do not need the doctor, but for the sick. [Mark 2:17] Mercy is a key ingredient for the Christian faith. It is not about letting people off the wrong they have done or the harm they have caused; it is about understanding the guilt they feel, the trap they have got themselves into, the choices they shouldn’t have made, and about providing the opportunity to heal. It is also about knowing my own mistakes, deliberate or otherwise, and the overwhelming feeling that there’s no way out. A word that has sprung into life with the coronavirus crisis is KINDNESS. Be kind is the first piece of advice health officials give. Look out for one another. Kindness is closely related to mercy, as it is to love. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. [1Cor.13:4-8] Using this well know quote from St Paul, make a personal examination of conscience. The following quotes, psalm and prayers may help bring you peace. The more conscious we…

Tuesday 7 April

From Marist Messenger Isaiah 49:1-6; Psalm 71; John 13:21-23,36-38 Light of the Nations There is the contrast between light and darkness, between love and sin. Even the close companions of Jesus fail him at the hour of crisis. He remains more and more isolated and vulnerable. The opposition is overwhelming and his support negligible. In his weakness, helplessness and fragility the power of love will shine through. We pray that our hearts be touched by the Passion Story. Leave a Response

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY FIVE

Each weekday for the next 14 days, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19? SHOCK, LOSS, CONFUSION Setting: The crucifix, in the centre of your prayer space, should be the only object displayed during this session. Prayer in praise of another day: Glory and praise to you, O God. You gift me with a new day to discover more about myself and to ponder the mystery of your love. As this time of isolation continues, I am feeling the loss of my independence and am confused by my inability to live a normal life. Yet, my desire to praise you rises strongly in my heart. For I trust your goodness and believe that, as the Good Shepherd, you will guide us to fresh and green pastures. Glory and praise to you, O God.   Shock, loss, confusion are words used by Daniel O’Leary in the introduction to his final book, Dancing to My Death (2019). He used them to describe “a routine that is suddenly up-ended and knocked entirely off track.” This Irish born priest, teacher and bestselling author was referring to his 2018 cancer diagnosis and his book invites the reader into an emotional and extremely “raw” conversation as the tumour progressed to take his life in January 2019. With COVID-19, taking hold a year after his death, the “routine” of the whole world has been “suddenly up-ended and knocked entirely off track”. Individuals know this especially in their time of isolation, unable to live life normally, visit friends, shop, or even work. Today’s prayer draws from the experiences described by Daniel O’Leary. His journey through shock, loss and confusion, while echoing the feelings, frustrations and fears of those in isolation and communities in lock-down, also offers life-lines for anyone willing to listen, to reflect and be open to discover goodness and peace even in the worst of times. What I am trying to do…is to make my wound into a sacred wound; to make the stones of darkness into welcome stepping stones of light across the turbulent river. [p.22] Jesus, you are God’s gift of light for all the nations. In you we live and move and have our being. Help me to make this connection; to fill it with meaning; to enter more deeply…

Monday 6 April

From Marist Messenger Isaiah 42:1-7; Psalm 27; John 12:1-11 Here is my Servant Opposition to Jesus increases. Jesus is in danger. Even Lazarus is threatened. Jesus’ faithfulness is evident – he perseveres. His purpose comes into clearer focus: “to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison and who live in darkness from the dungeon”. It is all for us. We need salvation. This is how it all came about. Wonder. Gratitude. Leave a Response

Sunday 5 April

From Marist Messenger Isaiah 50:4-7; Philippians 2:6-11; Matthew 26:14-27,66 Palm Sunday Holy Week begins. We prayerfully relive these last days of Jesus’ life, remembering and pondering. Here we see so clearly faithfulness and love, generosity and courage, perseverance and trust. We let the memory and meaning of these days come to clearer focus and let our hearts be touched by all that happened. The two questions to ponder prayerfully: Who is this who suffered? and Why? Tagged as: Sunday Leave a Response

Saturday 4 April

From Marist Messenger Ezekiel 37:21-28; Canticle: Jeremiah 31:10-14; John 11:45-56 “I will be their God” Ezekiel gives us a captivating glimpse of God’s plan. God wants to gather people together, to rescue them, to cleanse them. “They shall be my people and I will be their God”. To follow Jesus is to accept God’s plan with trust and generosity as Jesus did even when the going becomes difficult and we experience opposition. Leave a Response

Daily Lockdown Reflections – DAY FOUR

Each weekday for the next 14 days, Father James Lyons (Wellington) will be helping us reflect on God’s Word while we are in lockdown. What is God saying to us as we globally unite to defeat Covid-19? NO FEAR Setting: Light several candles near the crucifix and scatter bright coloured cloths, paintings or drawings around your prayer space. Prayer in praise of this new day: Daylight takes care of the darkness of night and the fear darkness often brings. I thank and praise you, loving God, for your gift of Jesus, the light of the world, the One in whom there is no darkness, who comes to light our way home. Watch over us in the time of uncertainty. Strengthen our faith, our hope and our love. Grant us peace of mind and heart as our isolation continues.   News of the spreading Coronavirus sparked panic buying and rumours sending great alarm through the population. Such behaviour sparks fear, fear only made worse when people are isolated from one another. Fear is a natural response to danger, whether real or perceived. It takes a leap of faith to prevent the paralysing effect of uncontrolled fear. No doubt that is why the Hebrew/Christian scriptures are filled with assurances not to be afraid. The first female Anglican bishop in the UK, Libby Lane, met considerable opposition to her appointment and found her situation potentially isolating and fearful. But, in a later interview she said her faith had given her a deep sense of belonging and reassurance, and concluded by sharing her most valuable piece of advice: “It is a constant refrain in Scripture: ‘Do not be afraid’ – don’t live out of fear. Of course, it is natural that we all sometimes feel afraid. We’re afraid of being alone, of failing, of not coping. But if we live our lives from a place of fear, it is damaging to us, to our relationships, to our communities. One needs to find something that gives a sense of safety, of security, of home. And that comes with accepting we are all known by God and loved by God. If you allow that truth in, it enables you to find freedom from fear. So you can live out not of fear but of hope and gratitude.” [If I could tell you just one thing…, Richard Reed, Canongate Books, 2018, p290-1] Scripture Reflection The first two…