23 Aug 2016

Autumn 2016 Scripture Courses

There are some great new Scripture courses being run in Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre this Autumn by our good friends Sharon Clohessy and Eilish Carter. Each of the courses are delivered in a gentle yet thought-provoking style with PowerPoint, video and music clips and time for reflection and discussion. Places for each of the courses are limited so do book as soon as possible if you are interested in attending. 






20 Aug 2016

Nashville Dominican Sisters arrive in Limerick

Sr Eileen Lenihen RSJ (Vicar for Religious), Fr Frank Downes OP, Sr Mara Grace OP, Sr Beatrice OP, Bishop Brendan Leahy DD, Sr Rose Miriam OP, Sr Caitriona OP
(Source - Fr John Walsh OP)
Regular listeners to the programme may remember an interview we did back on 7th February 2016 with the Nashville Dominican Sisters in Tennessee. Well after the sad departure of the Dominican Friars, Limericks Dominican tradition has been renewed with the arrival of the four sisters to St Saviours in Limerick!

We welcome them to Limerick and to the diocese and look forward to having them back on the programme again!

Update - Irish Dominican coverage

21 August 2016 - Abbeyfeale Faith Camps - 21st Sunday in Ordinary time

On this weeks programme John and Anne are joined again by Martina O'Sullivan and Mariah Cullity but this time it is to discuss the Abbeyfeale Faith Camps which were held a few weeks ago. As well as that we have our regular update on the weekly celestial guides and a reflection on this weeks Sunday gospel and other odds & ends.
 
You can listen to the podcast of this weeks full programme HERE.
 
Abbeyfeale Faith Camp 2016
 
Martina and Maria join John and Anne on this weeks programme to share the experience of Faith Camps and in particular the St Ita's Catholic Camp which was held in Abbeyfeale between August 2nd - 5th. The camp was for 5-12 years old in St Mary's National School. The camp included activities in art, drama, sport and faith teaching. 
The interview and discussion with Martina and Mariah is excerpted from the main podcast and is available HERE.
Previous programme about the Faith Camps was broadcast on 5th July 2015.


Gospel - Luke 13:22-30

 
 
Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, ‘Lord, will only a few be saved?’ He said to them, ‘Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us”, then in reply he will say to you, “I do not know where you come from.” Then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.” But he will say, “I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.’
 
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
 
Word on Fire
English Dominican
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections
 
Liturgical odds & ends
 
Liturgy of the Hours: psalter week 1; 21st week in Ordinary time
 
Saints of the Week
 
August 22nd - The Queenship of Mary
August 23rd - St Eugene
August 24th - St Bartholomew (Apostle)
August 25th - St Louis of France
August 26th - St Mary of Jesus Crucified
August 27th - St Monica

15 Aug 2016

15th August 2016 - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Dormition of the Birthgiver of God



 It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give You thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.
For today the Virgin Mother of God
was assumed into heaven
as the beginning and image
of Your Church’s coming to perfection
and a sign of sure hope and comfort to Your pilgrim people;
rightly You would not allow her
to see the corruption of the tomb
since from her own body she marvellously brought forth
Your incarnate Son, the Author of all life.
 
(The 1973 version of the Preface for the Mass of the Solemnity)
 
August 15th is the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commemorated by the Orthodox churches as the Dormition (or Falling asleep) of the Virgin Mary.
 

Dormition of the Theotokas
According to Orthodox tradition, the apostles were miraculously gathered from the various countries in which they were preaching the gospel to be at the bedside of the BVM as she passed from earth to heaven
Shout, O David, and declare: * What is this present feast? * And he says: Today has Christ * unto the mansions above * translated her from whom He was born without seed * and whom I have extolled * in the Book of the Psalms * as daughter, child of God, * and as a virgin as well. * And for this reason do mothers and daughters * and brides of Christ now rejoice and say: * Rejoice, O Lady who were translated * unto the royal courts on high. (Source)
 



 The dogma was officially declared by Pope Pius XII in 1950 in the apostolic constitution  Munificentissimus Deus. The apostolic constitution traces out the ancient understanding of the dogma going back through the centuries and emphasises that its official declaration by Pope Pius XII was seen as only the official confirmation of a belief long held in the Tradition of the church rather than as something new.
 
Rather than something imposed by Pius XII, consultation was made with the bishops and on May 1, 1946, a letter "Deiparae Virginis Mariae," was issued which asked "Do you, venerable brethren, in your outstanding wisdom and prudence, judge that the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin can be proposed and defined as a dogma of faith? Do you, with your clergy and people, desire it?" with a response very much in the affirmative.
 
So, Pius XII declared that:
"Hence the revered Mother of God, from all eternity joined in a hidden way with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination,(47) immaculate in her conception, a most perfect virgin in her divine motherhood, the noble associate of the divine Redeemer who has won a complete triumph over sin and its consequences, finally obtained, as the supreme culmination of her privileges, that she should be preserved free from the corruption of the tomb and that, like her own Son, having overcome death, she might be taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven where, as Queen, she sits in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages.......after we have poured forth prayers of supplication again and again to God, and have invoked the light of the Spirit of Truth, for the glory of Almighty God who has lavished his special affection upon the Virgin Mary, for the honor of her Son, the immortal King of the Ages and the Victor over sin and death, for the increase of the glory of that same august Mother, and for the joy and exultation of the entire Church; by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory......
 


The following reading on the Assumption (known by eastern Christians as the Dormition) of Mary is taken from the first homily of St. John Damascene on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
“But even though, according to nature, your most holy and happy soul is separated from your most blessed and stainless body and the body as usual is delivered to the tomb, it will not remain in the power of death and is not subject to decay. For just as her virginity remained inviolate while giving birth, when she departed her body was preserved from destruction and only taken to a better and more divine tabernacle, which is not subject to any death . . . Hence I will call her holy passing not death, but falling asleep or departure, or better still, arrival. . . .

"Your stainless and wholly immaculate body has not been left on earth; the Queen, the Mistress, the Mother of God who has truly given birth to God has been translated to the royal palaces of heaven. .

 "Angels and archangels have borne you upwards, the impure spirits of the air have trembled at your ascension. The air is purified, the ether sanctified by your passing through them. . . the powers meet you with sacred hymns and much solemnity, saying something like this: Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, elect like the sun? [cf. Cant 6:9] How you have blossomed forth, how sweet you have become! You are the flower of the field, a lily among the thorns [Cant 2.1] . . . Not like Elijah have you entered heaven, not like Paul have you been rapt to the third heaven; no, you have penetrated even to the royal throne of your Son himself . . . a blessing for the world, a sanctification of the universe, refreshment for those who are tired, comfort for the sorrowing, healing for the sick, a port for those in danger, pardon for sinners, soothing balm for the oppressed, quick help for all who pray to you. . .

“Good Mistress, graciously look down on us; direct and guide our destinies wheresoever you will. Pacify the storm of our wicked passions, guide us into the quiet port of the divine will and grant us the blessedness to come.”


The gospel reading for the Mass of the day is taken from Luke 1:39-56
Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ 
And Mary said: 
‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord
and my spirit exults in God my saviour;
because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid.
Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed,
for the Almighty has done great things for me.
Holy is his name,
and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him.
He has shown the power of his arm,
he has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away.
He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy
– according to the promise he made to our ancestors –
of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home.
 


 


 


13 Aug 2016

14th August 2016 - World Youth Day 2016 - Our Reporters Report!

On this weeks programme John, Anne, Shane and Lorraine are joined by Mariah Cullity and Aidan O'Rourke to discuss World Youth Day 2016 which was held in Krakow in Poland. We have some liturgical odds and ends on the programme and links to reflections on this weeks gospel are provided in the blog post.

You can listen to the full programme podcast HERE.
 
WYD2016 
Lorraine, Aidan and Mariah share with us their experience of the WYD 2016 in Krakow as part of the Limerick diocesan pilgrimage to WYD2016.

You can listen to the WYD element of the programme on podcast excerpted from the main programme HERE.

You can find all posts from SS102fm on WYD2016 at our tag HERE.
 
The theme of the XXXI World Youth Day Krakow 2016 was: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7). Pope Francis chose the fifth of the eight Beatitudes, given by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, to show the importance of the Beatitudes which are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching. In his first Sermon, Jesus presents us with eight examples of qualities that bring us closer to the Kingdom of God.

The choice of Krakow and World Youth Day’s motto lead us to the Spark of Mercy. Since the appearance of Jesus to St. Sister Faustina, Mercy has been radiating from Krakow-Lagiewniki to the whole universal Church. Krakow is widely known as the centre of worship of God’s mercy, and young pilgrims who came visited the place of the revelations, Sister Faustina’s tomb, and the shrine – the place where St. John Paul II entrusted the world to God’s Mercy.


It’s worth noting that the fifth Beatitude sums up the first two years of Pope Francis’ pontificate as well. During that time he has striven to show the Church God’s love towards man and the necessity of being merciful to each other.







 


Limerick's Timetable for the Week
  • Monday, July 25th - Travelling!! Departed Shannon at 10.20am. Flew to Wroclaw first and then bussed to Krakow – walk through the old city. Orientation – found the ‘Crescent Shopping Centre’!
  • Tuesday, July 26th - Morning prayer, icebreaker (people bingo!), registration (poor Fr. Chris loves a good queue!) Official opening Mass Blonia park celebrated by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz (phonetically Dgivitch!) who asked us to consider three questions: First, where do we come from? (from all parts of the world!) Second, where are we today, in this moment of our lives? (We are all here because Christ has gathered us. He is the light of the world.) And third, where are we going to go and what are we going to take with us? (Maybe we will make some important decisions during these days? Maybe we will set some new goals in our lives? Maybe we will hear the clear voice of Jesus, telling us to leave everything and follow Him
  • Wednesday, July 27th - Pilgrimage of Mercy – Began at the St. John Paul II Sanctuary where Fr. Chris gave us an introduction to Saint John Paul II. We then made the pilgrimage of mercy to the Divine Mercy Sanctuary while praying the Divine Mercy chaplet which was a prayer given to St. Faustina by Jesus. At the Divine Mercy Sanctuary we had the opportunity to go through the Holy Door, which in this Year of Mercy has an indulgence attached to it, and we had an opportunity to pray in silence in the sanctuary.
  • Thursday, July 28th - Catechesis session – with Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago who taught us of the importance of letting God's mercy into our lives not just for the sins we commit, but also for the sins that are visited on us. In other words, God wants to bring us his healing and love and wants to untie those hurts that paralyse us. He reminded us too that each of us is loved immensely by God and mercy is the key to bringing about peace in our world. Reconciliation brings peace because to reconcile means to see eye to eye. Even when it seems that people don't respond to our attempts at reconciliation, love never fails. We are called to be witnesses to God's unending love and mercy in this world. In the evening we had the papal welcome ceremony at Blonia Park. Pope Francis reminded us that mercy had an ever youthful face.
“It pains me to meet young people who seem to have opted for “early retirement”. I worry when I see young people who have “thrown in the towel” before the game has even begun, who are defeated even before they begin to play, who walk around glumly as if life has no meaning… It is disturbing to see young people squandering some of the best years of their lives, wasting their energies running after peddlers of fond illusions (where I come from, we call them “vendors of smoke”), who rob you of what is best in you. We are gathered here to help one another other, because we do not want to be robbed of the best of ourselves. We don’t to be robbed of our energy, our joy, our dreams by fond illusions. So I ask you: Are you looking for empty thrills in life, or do you want to feel a power that can give you a lasting sense of life and fulfilment? Empty thrills or the power of grace? To find fulfilment, to gain new strength, there is a way. It is not a thing or an object, but a person, and he is alive. His name is Jesus Christ.”
  • Friday, July 29th - In the morning we had our own catechesis where we saw that each of us is the result of a thought of God, willed, loved and necessary and how we are all created out of love and for love. That is what holiness is about – we are called to love. But often we miss the mark through sin. We reflected on Bishop Brendan’s definition of mercy – mercy is love that fills the gap. Wherever there is a need in our world mercy fills the gap. We looked at how Jesus is the Divine Mercy and then reflected on the corporal works (corporal: To feed the hungry; To give drink to the thirsty; To clothe the naked; To harbour the harbourless; To visit the sick; To ransom the captive; To bury the dead) and spiritual works of mercy (To instruct the ignorant; To counsel the doubtful; To admonish sinners; To bear wrongs patiently; To forgive offences willingly; To comfort the afflicted; To pray for the living and the dead.). We looked at where we saw these works of mercy being practiced at WYD and then we looked at how we might practice those works of mercy at home. Friday evening we had a profoundly moving experience of the Way of the Cross in Blonia Park with Pope Francis. We may actually record a programme based on this Way of the Cross later in the year.
  • Saturday, July 30th - The epic trek begins! Tram journey half the way to Campus Misericordiae. 7 km walk in 30 degree heat with our rucksacks etc.  The Evening Vigil with Pope Francis which was a really beautiful experience with testimonies from those in war-torn countries. Pope Francis appeals to us to join in prayer for the sufferings of all the victims of war and for the many families of beloved Syria and other parts of our world. Our response to a world at war has a name: its name is fraternity, its name is brother and sisterhood, its name is communion, its name is family.
Pope Francis warns us against sofa-happiness:

“In other words, to think that in order to be happy all we need is a good sofa. A sofa that makes us feel comfortable, calm, safe. A sofa like one of those we have nowadays with a built-in massage unit to put us to sleep. A sofa that promises us hours of comfort so we can escape to the world of videogames and spend all kinds of time in front of a computer screen. A sofa that keeps us safe from any kind of pain and fear. A sofa that allows us to stay home without needing to work at, or worry about, anything. “Sofa-happiness”! That is probably the most harmful and insidious form of paralysis, since little by little, without even realizing it, we start to nod off, to grow drowsy and dull while others – perhaps more alert than we are, but not necessarily better – decide our future for us. For many people in fact, it is much easier and better to have drowsy and dull kids who confuse happiness with a sofa. For many people, that is more convenient than having young people who are alert and searching, trying to respond to God’s dream and to all the restlessness present in the human heart.”
 
Pope Francis invited us to leave our mark on the world, to build bridges:
“Come on, build it now, here, this first of bridges: take each other’s hand. This is a great bridge of brotherhood, and would that the powers of this world might learn to build it… not for pictures on the evening news but for building ever bigger bridges. May this human bridge be the beginning of many, many others; in that way, it will leave a mark.”
  • Sunday, July 31st - WYD Closing Mass with Pope Francis. We had the reading of Zacchaeus. Pope Francis taught us that Zacchaeus had to face a number of obstacles in order to meet Jesus. At least three of these can also say something to us.
The first obstacle is smallness of stature. Zacchaeus couldn’t see the Master because he was little. Even today we can risk not getting close to Jesus because we don’t feel big enough, because we don’t think ourselves worthy. This is a great temptation; it has to do not only with self-esteem, but with faith itself. For faith tells us that we are “children of God… that is what we are” (1 Jn 3:1). We have been created in God’s own image; Jesus has taken upon himself our humanity and his heart will never be separated from us; the Holy Spirit wants to dwell within us. We have been called to be happy for ever with God!
Zacchaeus faced a second obstacle in meeting Jesus: the paralysis of shame. We can imagine what was going on in his heart before he climbed that sycamore. It must have been quite a struggle – on one hand, a healthy curiosity and desire to know Jesus; on the other, the risk of appearing completely ridiculous. Zacchaeus was public figure, a man of power. He knew that, in trying to climb that tree, he would have become a laughingstock to all. Yet he mastered his shame, because the attraction of Jesus was more powerful. You know what happens when someone is so attractive that we fall in love with them: we end up ready to do things we would never have even thought of doing… For us too, this is the secret of joy: not to stifle a healthy curiosity, but to take a risk, because life is not meant to be tucked away. When it comes to Jesus, we cannot sit around waiting with arms folded; he offers us life – we can’t respond by thinking about it or “texting” a few words! Pope Francis encouraged us to respond whole-heartedly to Jesus - to ‘risk’ giving Him our very all.
The third obstacle was not an interior one, but was all around him. It was the grumbling of the crowd, who first blocked him and then criticized him: How could Jesus have entered his house, the house of a sinner! He demands of us real courage: the courage to be more powerful than evil by loving everyone, even our enemies. People may laugh at you because you believe in the gentle and unassuming power of mercy. But do not be afraid. Think of the motto of these days: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Mt 5:7). People may judge you to be dreamers, because you believe in a new humanity, one that rejects hatred between peoples, one that refuses to see borders as barriers and can cherish its own traditions without being self-centred or small-minded. Don’t be discouraged: with a smile and open arms, you proclaim hope and you are a blessing for our one human family, which here you represent so beautifully!
Epic trek back to the hostel – 14 km walk J. In the evening we had the most powerful thunder and lightening storm! Dinner with Bishop Brendan and Bishop Donal. Night prayer in which each person was ‘nominated’ most awesome at…
  • Monday, August 1st - The return journey home – tired and joyful. Impromptu sing-song at Wroclaw and Shannon airports.
Gospel - Luke 12:49-53
 
Reflections on this weeks gospel:
 
 
Liturgical Odds & Ends
 
Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 4; 20th week in ordinary time
 
Saints of the Week
 
August 15th - Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
August 16th - St Stephen of Hungary
August 17th - Our Lady of Knock
August 18th - Saint Ronan of Iona
August 19th - St John Eudes
August 20th - St Bernard
 

Ad multos annos - Glenstal has a new abbot - Fr Brendan Coffey OSB


12 Aug 2016

Monastic Experience Weekend - Roscrea - 14th - 16th October 2016

 
“Come and See” John 1:39
Seeking God in Prayer and Community

Mount Saint Joseph Abbey are hosting a Monastic Experience Weekend from Friday 14th - Sunday 16th October 2016. It is an opportunity for men between the ages of 20 and 40 who may be discerning a monastic vocation to find out more about monastic life and to listen to God’s call by sharing the rhythm of the monastic daily prayer schedule. ...There will be an opportunity to speak one-to-one with a monk and reflect together on the monastic vocation.
This might be for you:
  • If you feel attracted to monastic life and wonder whether it might be for you.
  • If you have thought sometimes that God might be calling you to religious life, but have hesitated to take the first step.
To make an enquiry or to arrange a meeting to talk about your vocation discernment, please contact our Vocations Director, Br Malachy Thompson, by email to malachy@msjroscrea.ie or text ‘INFO’ to 085 8338503.


Glenstal to elect a new abbot


Dom Patrick Hederman’s period of office as Abbot of Glenstal has drawn to a close after eight years of service. The community is grateful to him for his leadership during that time. We pray that he will enjoy many years of fruitful retirement.

In the evening of Friday 12th August, the community will begin the process of choosing a successor to Abbot Patrick. The Abbot is elected by all of the monks who have made their solemn (ie lifetime) profession of vows and the process will probably take two or three days. The election will be overseen by Dom Ansgar Schmidt, the Abbot-President of the family of monasteries to which Glenstal belongs, the Benedictine Congregation of the Annunciation. In our congregation, abbots are elected for a period of eight years.

According to Saint Benedict, the Abbot ‘is believed to hold the place of Christ in the monastery, being called by a name of His, which is taken from the words of the Apostle: “You have received a Spirit of adoption …by virtue of which we cry, ‘Abba — Father’”.’

Please join the monks in prayer as they seek God’s guidance for the important choice they have to make:
God, our Father,
you are present among us in your Holy Spirit.
Take from us everything that hinders us in our journey towards you.
In this election of an Abbot,
direct the minds and hearts of your servants
to do only what is in accordance with your will.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

6 Aug 2016

Pope Francis visits Assisi and reminds christians to seek and give forgiveness





Vatican Radio - Pope in Assisi: forgiveness can truly renew Church and world



7th August 2016 - Catholic News Roundup 2 - 19th Sunday in Ordinary time

On this weeks programme John, Shane and Anne continue our news roundup with a discussion of numerous things including the tragic murder of Fr Jacques Hamel in France. We have our regular review of the saints of the week, our reflection on this Sunday's gospel as well as other odds and ends.

You can listen to the full podcast of this weeks programme HERE.


Catholic News Roundup 2




On the morning of 26th July 2016, in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a working-class suburb of the cathedral city of Rouen as Father Hamel was celebrating Mass two men with knives entered the small church and slit his throat, an attack that horrified people across France and the world. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the two assailants — who were shot dead by the police — were “soldiers” retaliating against the United States-led coalition fighting the group in Iraq and Syria. Condemnation of the attack was swift from around the world. Articles and commentary below:




Other things covered on this weeks programme:
Annual Novena to Our Lady of Knock

Events are finalised for the National Novena to Our Lady of Knock will take place from the 14th – 22nd August. The theme for this year is ‘Merciful like the Father’ in keeping with the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Novena will open with Most Rev. Bishop Michael Smith and the Meath Diocesan Pilgrimage as well as guest speaker, Mr. Noel Smyth, Businessman and Solicitor who whose talk entitled ‘God and Mammon- doing the right thing’ will explore the topic of business and ethics. As in recent years, workshops will take place daily at 12 noon and 6pm on a range of interesting and content.

You can read more about it here including the timetable of events.






Gospel Luke 12:32-48

Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy












Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - psalter week 3; 19th week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week
August 8th - St Dominic
August 9th - St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
August 10th - St Lawrence
August 11th - St Clare of Assisi
August 12th - St Lelia and St Jane Frances de Chantel
August 13th - St Fachtna

31 Jul 2016

Reek Sunday 2016


Homily Notes of Archbishop Charles J Brown for the Annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

The path of Christian faith is still alive in Ireland in 2016. Perhaps at ...times we are tempted to be downcast, to keep our eyes down and our heads down. Even physically, many of us, and I include myself in this, have our heads literally down as we read our smart phones and type and text. But Jesus Christ is saying to each of us today: “sursum corda” – hearts up! – Archbishop Brown

Homily Notes:

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains, from where shall come my help? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).

Brothers and sisters in Christ, from the dawn of history, human beings have been fascinated by mountains. There is something intangibly mystical, attractive and enchanting about the high places, something profoundly renewing about just being in the mountains. The American naturalist, John Muir, the father of the American National Park system, famously gave advice to his contemporaries about finding peace: “Climb the mountains” he wrote, “and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

For Catholic Christians, the mountains are something more than a place of beauty and refreshment and renewal. The mountains are places where we come in contact with the mystery of God: in the Old Testament, it is on the Mountain of Sinai that Moses encounters the unspeakable majesty of God and receives the Ten Commandments. In the New Testament, on the new Mountain, the Mountain of the Beatitudes, the disciples of Jesus receive from him the new law of love.