August 18th

When We Gathered

One week before the Pope’s arrival in Ireland we gathered at Holy Hill under the theme: Nothing is impossible to one who loves. We wanted to break open the ground within ourselves to be able to be as fully present to Pope Francis’ message that we knew would be about the joy of the Gospel.

Br. Thomas’s long-time friend, Fr. Bob Cannon from Washington, D.C., celebrated Mass for us and appropriately teased Thomas after his talk: Becoming a Blessed Child of God which positively disposed us to become our best selves by stressing our inner childlike nature along with  our freedom of choice.

During our Rule of Life examen we checked in with once another, meeting new people and welcoming old friends.  One of our regulars said she wanted to come, “to get back in the zone.”  And perhaps that comment best says what most of us feel as we all gather to remind one another of our best aspirations and to bask in the depth of silence and communion we share.  Again we tried to set the stage for new seeds of grace by tending to our heart’s disposition.  “Do not be conformed to this world,” we remembered, “but be transformed by renewing our minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Rom. 12.2

Someone as renowned as Columkille was capable of truly messing up his life by helping to instigate a couple of wars, all based on revenge.  His contrite heart saved him.  Afterwards, exiled to Scotland, he tried to win for Christ as many souls as the body count after the battles.

Sr. Ceil immersed us in Pope Francis’ letter on Holiness in her talk: Being Heirs to Holiness. She unpacks pieces of his letter on holiness, Gaudete et Exaltate, To Rejoice and Exhult. Lingering over the meaning of Gnosticism and Pelagianism she talks about how we can err along these paths even today. Sr. Ceil suggests based on family experience, that perhaps the Irish have trouble accepting any not to mention the amazing gift, the magnificent inheritance destined for us. And she explores the notion of discernment.  Holiness is utterly available and possible so that like Therese we can trust –I can’t, but my Father will do it for me. Anything is possible to heirs of the kingdom.

Towards the end of this talk four new people slipped in. Since they were in Ireland for the World Meeting of Families some dear friends from Nova Scotia whom we had not seen for 20 years surprised us. Picking up from where they left off back then they lapped up the riches of the remainder of the day. Our silent adoration time was cut short and we are determined to remedy that next time so that we will have more time to interiorize what we are engaged in.

After all our self-examination, finally Gillian brought us into the most restful and delightful part of the day by leading us  into a favourite kind of prayer of St. Teresa. In her commentary on the Song of Songs Teresa draws us into its poetic ecstasies. “Sit under the shadow of truth,” says she. “Sustain me with flowers, I am dying of love.” We urge you to immerse yourself in this prayerful meditation since you will be enjoying the same kind of prayer-experience the Teresa raves about. Delight and joy begin now, she assures us.

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