Living the Word this week: 14th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sometimes, even with the best will in the world, it can be difficult to recall the Gospel from Sunday.
But if we can’t remember it it can not feed us, and nourishment is exactly what the Good News is to be for us.
Here are some reflective questions to enable you to chew over the message held in the Gospel.
After all we need the Gospel to sustain us daily not just on Sunday, for the Good News and Eucharist are both food for the journey.
Where does your life give praise to the Lord of heaven and earth?
What burdens are you able to surrender to the Lord?
What does it mean for you to accept the Lord’s yoke, even if it is easy and light?
Children
The Gospel tells us that it is to you that the Father reveals things.
What has God shown to you?
What would you ask Jesus to teach you?
Families
What can you learn about the Kingdom from your children?
The holidays are almost here. How can you find time to answer the invitation to Come to the Lord and rest together to refresh your faith?
Prayer
Dear Lord,
no one can carry two yokes.
To take up Your’s we must put our own yoke down:
a yoke that is heavy, burdensome, that restrains us and keeps us slaves.
And that needs us to come to You with a childlike trust.
Then it is possible to put down our burdens, surrender ourselves to You, knowing You only want our best.
Harnessing our will to Yours may we learn from You how to live as You intend.
Amen.
Image result for yoke
Have a sated and blessed week.
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The invitiation

This week the Church offers us an invitation to love. We are invited to enter into the love of the Trinity ever more deeply, and to experience the love God has for us.

6 OT Trinity Rublev

Lent is not about punishment, the Lord knows life is hard enough! Lent is a space in the year for us to focus consciously on our relationship with the One who calls us beloved. Lent is a place where we can go to look at our lives in the light of this abundant, unconditional Love. For some of us, or perhaps most of us, to accept that invitation will not be without some pain. To reflect on any relationship and discover that it is lacking is painful.

Lent is a time of transformation. When we see where things could be better; in us, in the way we love, in the way we live, another invitation is given. We are invited to reconfigure our lives, to repent, to turn back to the Living Lord who waits for us like the Father in the story of the Prodigal son. Every moment, God watches and waits for us, waits for us to realise that things are not right, to want to return. When we do He rushes to meet us and enfolds us in a welcome embrace. We only have to make the first step, He does the rest.

Lent is about forgiveness. It strengthens the transformation. that begins when we want to repent.

If Lent is the invitation, then it is to Easter that we are invited and there are three ways to prepare for the Feast: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

These pillars of Lent are also not about punishment but are aides that enable us to see where changes need to made to our lives. I have lost count of the many times I mean to send a donation various charities and never seem to get around to it. Lent affords me the opportunity to focus on the why of that inability and to put a practice in place that might change it. Some research has shown that for a new habit to become embedded takes 6 weeks.

Spending time in prayer, possibly discovering a new way to pray, a new way to listen and talk with the Lord is an exciting prospect. As Keirkergaard says, we pray not to change God but to change ourselves. And ultimately that is what Lent does, it changes us.

Fasting is more that just going without, it can be a way of seeking solidarity, even for a short while, with our sisters and brothers for whom fasting is a way of life not a choice. It can be a way of refocusing on what is more important – our family, our faith, our community. It is also a way of exercising self control. Self control, rather than being something that binds us, can be a way of cutting the ties to the things that enslave us and living in freedom when its motivation is love.

Lent invites us to spend time renewing and deepening our relationship with the Triune God. Say YES to the invitation, spend time in prayer, fast and give to those in need so that we can participate in the life of Christ, transforming us so that we may ‘turn away from sin and be faithful to the gospel”.

Happy Lent!

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Reclaiming the F word

‘Mum, what are you doing?’

‘Writing a post for my blog.’

‘YOU HAVE A BLOG?  What is it about?’

‘Faith, Family and Feminism’

‘You’ve gotta loose that F word mum, no one will read it otherwise,’ he said laughing.

And I wondered… Was he right? No of course not, but he did have a point. Mention Feminism and people roll their eyes and assume that they know all about you. What you are going to say, what you think, what you believe, what your responses are.

Couple that with being a Christian and all sorts of land-mines go off in people’s heads. Other Christians, or more specifically other Catholics think that as a feminist I only want Ordination opened to women. Secularists, question why I remain part of one of the most anti female religions on the planet.

Neither will engage in dialogue. Yes they listen politely but they don’t really want to know what I think, what I bring to the conversation or any insights I might have. Because they already know. And they are too busy telling me why I am wrong.

Which is why I have put off this post since day 1. Maybe it is still too soon, it doesn’t read as well, it is more emotional, not as clear as I would like, but I have to get it out there and this is the beginning…

Feminism is  neuralgic issue. It polarises people.

For me I am a feminist precisely because I am a Christian. For me feminism goes hand in hand with Justice. It’s about God gifting each one of us regardless of our gender. God’s gifts are limitless not limiting. Feminism, like Christianity calls us to build a place where all can call home, where all are valued, where all are respected and where all have choice. And ‘all’ includes both female and male, for men are bound by sexism too.

Yes we have come a long way since our grandmothers and great grandmothers fought for and won the vote. But there is still along way to go before the Kingdom is a reality. We can not say we are building the Kingdom, or that we live by Gospel values if we turn a blind eye to oppression. And that includes oppression of women which includes oppression of men too.

Every time we allow comments such as ‘she was asking for it’, ‘what was she wearing?’ to go unchallenged we are colluding with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

 

Every time we allow the same traits to be described in positive ways for men and negative ways for women we collude with sexism

And we all need feminism.

Every time we work to end poverty but do not see that women make up the largest section of the poor we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow figures of speech which gender objects or situations negatively as female to go unchallenged we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

Every time we allow language, dress, actions to keep women (and men) in their place we collude with sexism.

And we need feminism.

Every time we do not hear that the story is being told from the standpoint of patriarchy we collude with sexism.

And we all need feminism.

For me feminism is not about women being or seeing themselves as better than men. It is about not being humiliated, made to take the blame, being patronised because of gender, made to feel ashamed because I am a women. It is about equality, about having choices, about having the right to education, healthcare, of being valued because we are all born in the image and likeness of God, ‘female and male God created them’.

And I haven’t even started on the issues of gender and church…

But I will.

Anna the Prophetess

Hello,

This is my first blog post and I have been putting it off since before Christmas. During that time I have questioned whether I even want to be here, who will read it, what is the point and all those other questions you, the blogging community, have undoubtedly asked before you wrote your first blog.
This morning I was determined to start, so I sorted my home page, chose the picture, the colour, the headers and the design. When all was ready I made some bread, cleaned the cooker and washed up.

So much for starting after morning prayer! Now here I am, no more prevaricating or procrastinating.

What better day to begin a blog on Faith, Family & Feminism when the Gospel tells us the story of Anna, one of the women to be named and lauded by Luke. An elderly prophetess, who fasted and prayed and served God in the Temple.

Praying the Gospel this morning I was struck with her perseverance. She obviously had no family to look after her, hence her time in the Temple, no grandchildren to mind, to sing or tell stories to. In many ways, from the outside an unfulfilled life. A widow woman left to wither away in the Temple. Yet she knew there was more, she believed that there was a reason to go about her daily routine, praying and fasting.

How different Anna and I are! The story doesn’t tell us whether Anna despairs, or wants to give up. Yet if I were Anna I am sure that despair would have overwhelmed me. Even in the writing of this blog, I wanted to give up before I had even begun.  But I keep hearing the word perseverance when I think of Anna, and I know that she too would have had her off days, but she didn’t give up, and Oh! what reward was hers – to be in the right place at the right time, to reveal Christ to those around her.

What a gift, what a Woman.  anna

One reason I have started to blog is that people (ok, my friends) have asked me to. They tell me that I have good things to say, they enjoy my reflections (and ramblings), that they wait for me to post things on Facebook as a way of keeping up to date with what is going on. When I looked back over the type of articles I post I realised that they fell into 3 main areas; faith, family and feminism.  Now if you have come here bypassing the ‘About’ page you might find it useful to pop in there to read what I understand by faith, family & feminism before defining them for me.

And Talitha Kum,  that’s the Living Lord calling me to ‘Stand up’ for what I believe.

I don’t know how often I’ll blog  but hopefully once a week and I would love it if you would pour yourself a cuppa, pull up a chair and journey with me and perhaps even leave a comment or two.