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Thursday, 27 December 2012

He is watching...


Sr Catherine Wybourne, of Holy Trinity Monastery, Tweeted on her Twitter account @digitalnun a phrase that Saint Benedict shared with us, "mansuetudo timoris Dei", which is Latin for "everything is done in His sight" [here is the Tweet]. As we came to the end of the liturgical year, you may have noticed many of the readings focused on the end, the apocalyspe, the time when we are no longer human flesh on this earth. This message about God's grace brings us, as Christians, a great deal of hope that we will not perish into a cease of existence for our souls will live on, and after purification in purgatory, we will one day be with God in his paradise.

In Jeremiah, in the Bible, we read and hear this, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5). This reminds us that we are all part of He who was, is now, and ever shall be our ever-living God, one in three persons. Nothing we think, say or do is ever unknown to Him, for He knew us even before we ever existed. He is our Creator, all knowing and all powerful and benign.

We also see in scripture that "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my Word will not pass away" (Gospels). This reminds us that He is watching and waiting, and He will come at a time that we least expect. There is never a time where anything slips by Him without Him taking full notice of it. Let that serve as a reminder to you all to always make you lift your heart up to Him in everything you do, for it was shared with me by the Mothers at Tyburn, that "the most important thing is to live in union with Jesus" and if we strive always to do this, while holding the many needs and intentions in our hearts, we can become like living holocausts ~ a living prayer for those needs we know and don't know. Just remember this, that "many who you do not know will benefit from your prayer".

I may add more to this at a later date, but that's it for now. Please feel free to add any comments.

"No created thing is hidden from him; everything is uncovered and stretched fully open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves." Hebrews 4:13
The omnipotence of God is something we can never truly comprehend, because we are in ourselves so limited. We are so limited in our sight; not just in what we can see with our eyes but the sight of knowledge. We are so limited in what we can see and know and understand. We cannot even truly know ourselves, He knows us far more intimately than do. We cannot understand being able to see beyond ourselves and beyond our limitations. Omnipotence goes far beyond our own capabilities as created beings. 
"And yet no one is forgotten in God's sight. Why, every hair in your head has been counted." Luke 12:6-7
God is the author of all creation. Everything is known to Him because everything was created by Him. There is not a hair on your head or a grain of sand in the sea that is unknown to Him. It is like looking at a painting, you only see the finished piece, the overall impression. But the artist sees every layer of paint, every brushstroke, every minor detail of their creation. And so it is with God's creation. Only He can see and know every detail of what He has created. 
"The Lord looks down from heaven, He sees the whole human race; from where He sits He watched all who live on the earth, He who moulds every heart and takes note of all men do." Psalm 33:13-15
We are so used to being able to hide things from people. We can keep parts of ourselves hidden and only reveal to others what we may choose too. We tell lies and keep secrets and put on masks. We can do this because others cannot see into our minds and our hearts just as we cannot see into theirs. We cannot know others beyond what they choose to reveal to us. But we cannot hide anything from God. He has moulded us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We are limited by our nature as fallen creatures. But God has no such limits. Although we can hide ourselves from our fellow man, we cannot hide anything from God. 

Update: Kim's Story

I haven't been at Mass all that much in the last couple of weeks (with the exception of Christmas when I had a couple  days off) due to changes to my work schedule because of the shortage of staff at work due to illness and other family related reasons. The thing is, the more I am away from Church, and the less I go to Mass, the more I want to be at Church and the more I want to go to Mass. I find that when I am in Church, and when I am at Mass, I am aware of God's presence to a fairly strong degree, yet when I am not there, and not in Mass, I am even more aware of God's presence in my life. I know it has been said that sometimes the more worldy it gets, the more one truly longs for the Lord, and in this window of opportunity, He comes to catch us when we most need Him, and therefore, we can be prone to a deeper awareness of His presence in such situations. Sometimes I really do wonder if there is something more to it though, like where the Lord really wants me.
I've been thinking and praying about a lot of things lately, and to be honest, I don't think I've ever experienced such a deepened desire in my heart to live in union with Jesus. I know that since I was fourteen, I would get "urges to pray" and very often I would find myself in a situation where I could do nothing more than lift my heart to the Lord and ask Him what He wants from me at that moment in time. I remember secretly praying the Rosary in the middle of a lesson once because I had finished my work early and really didn't want to do anymore at the time. Forgive me for being ungrateful for being in a good school at the time - I just didn't have the maturity to tell myself that extra work in other subjects other than those I really enjoyed and excelled in was worth it.
Last night I was awake several times. I had gone to bed at 8pm, but I woke up again at 10.15pm because I received a text message and one of my phones is a 24 hour contact number. I went back to sleep just before 11pm, only to find myself awake again at 3am in the morning. For some reason, I found myself praying for the souls of the faithful departed. I don't really know why - I was just moved by the Holy Spirit to do so. It was like I was praying for people and intentions I did not know of. I know that might sound strange, but that is how it seemed to me. I was then awake again just after 5.30am because I just knew I wanted to spend some time with the Lord before my housemates started waking up and playing music etc. I prayed for a while until about 6.30am, then woke up (for real) at 7.10am. So either I just have sleeping problems, or the Lord seems to want me awake and praying during the night every so often, but seeing as I have no trouble sleeping literally whenever I need to, and I can sleep right through the night with no problems - I never have jetlag while abroad either, I am tempted to believe the latter.
I cannot wait until I am able to receive the sacraments. It is only a few months away now and I will be able to fully participate in the Mass, receiving the Eucahrist and being able to go to the sacrament of reconciliation. I have waited so long for this, and although I do try to be patient, I am sometimes not. O Lord help me and prepare me as I progress along this journey. Praise be to God for helping me along the way up until now, and for the times to come that lie ahead. Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Christ is born! May Christ give you peace and joy as we celebrate this great feast of His nativity.

In Christ
Emily Ann

Monday, 24 December 2012


Blessings and Peace this Christmastide as our Lord comes as the Saviour of the World.

Prayers for all of you as always.

With all God's Love and Blessings,

Kim Lee
The Vocation Operation

Saturday, 22 December 2012

After Mass conversations...

After Mass yesterday morning, I went back to the convent of the Sisters of St Joseph of Tarbes. I was talking with Sr. Diana about moving into a hosue with a fairly elderly woman who has a couple spare rooms upstairs. I went with Sr. Diana to go and see the room and the house. It is only three or four streets up the road from where I currently live and would mean I officially fall into the parish boundaries for the Church I go to at current. I think I will move in after the new year, once I have sorted out how I am going to move my things and get the deposit back from my current landlord.

Another thing that was interesting was this: my mother is coming with me to Midnight Mass at Church. She hasn't been to a midnight Mass with me since I was about 12 or 13, and that was in an Anglican Church. She would never dream of going into a Catholic Church - and certainly not for Mass! I told her I was singing in the choir there, and that it was a Catholic Church, so she said she wanted to take me. Please pray that the Holy Spirit may touch her heart! I'm so sick of getting an earful from her about my vocation to the Catholic Church. Please please pray that she might see that I am only being true to myself, and pray that she might slowly come round to the idea that this is who I am. Thank you, God Bless. Amen.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Saint's Corner: Dominic of Silos

Name: Dominic of Silos
Feast Day: 20 December
Country of Origin: Spain
History: Benedictine monk. He was exiled from his original community, where he had been novice master and prior, along with two other monks. They found refuge in a struggling community, where he became abbot and revived the monastery, which still exists today. He raised funds to ransom Christians who had been kidnapped by Moors. Blessed Joan of Aza prayed at the shrine of Saint Dominic of Silos to be able to conceive, and she named her son Saint Dominic of Guzman (founder of the Order of Preachers) in his honour.

Birth & Death: 1000 - 20 December 1073

Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos
Vida De Santo Domingo (Spanish)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Vocation Stories: Sister Emily of the Mother of God

“My child, do you see, there is only One; it is He, the Only Truth! Ah, He fascinates,
He sweeps you away; under His gaze the horizon becomes so beautiful, so vast,
so luminous… My dear one, do you want to turn with me towards this sublime Ideal?
It is no fiction but a reality.”
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

These words of the young Carmelite, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity sum up what my journey to Carmel has been: a living encounter with Him who is The Only One.

The first time I ever thought of becoming a Sister was in the second grade while preparing for First Communion. We went on a day-retreat in the mountains and a Sister was in charge of all our activities. It was the first time I remember meeting a Sister and what struck me most was the sense of her being “set apart”. I had no idea what it meant to be a Religious, what their lives were like, the sacrifices that they made, but the short time we spent with her influenced me so deeply because her “set-apartness” for God was so real, so beautiful and so attractive.

I look back now and I see how God was planting seeds in my heart. The life of a Religious is a living sign of the encounter with “the Only One”, and in making this life seem so attractive to me, He was calling me to know Him for myself.

The memory of that first encounter with the Sister on retreat remained deeply in my heart. As life went on, the thought would come and go as many nice dreams often do. But the Lord intended that it be more than just a nice day dream! In His goodness, the Lord nurtured those seeds of longing for Him through the gift of my family.

I have grace-filled memories of hiking and camping, swimming down waterfalls, sleeping under the stars, rising at midnight to see Jupiter and Venus, learning to ski, and fish and climb big rocks. All of these experiences were so simple, yet, it is in the simple that God lets us see His face. It was through these experiences that my parents gave me the gift of encountering God and experiencing His goodness. They opened my heart to Him by teaching me how to wonder at creation: to feel small before the immensity of the ocean, to be lost in the thought of the endless universe and the awesome complexity of a little flower. On those long trips and hikes, we found hours of silence and learning to be in awe of the One from whose hands came all the beautiful things we saw.

The second thing I remember during those years of my life was the vivid experience of watching my mother battle cancer for seven years. There are few words to express such an experience, but in the midst of it all, God was making a space for Himself in my heart. When I was 11 years old and in the 6th grade, my mom died. Even though I could not see it at the time, in His providence, the Lord used this experience to direct my heart to “things above.” The suffering and doubts that every person encounters in their own unique life journey were means that our Lord used to reveal His Heart to me.

As I finished Middle School and got into High School, I searched and tried to make sense of my life, myself, the world. I was longing for something to fill my heart, and I was so unsatisfied with everything I turned to. As I went through High School that ‘haunting’ little thought of becoming a Sister kept coming to heart. Already there was a deep conviction that only by being His would I be truly happy. Nevertheless, I kept running from His nudging invitation and tried to make other things foremost in my mind.

The gift of music was invaluable to me. Thus, most of my time was spent in bands, orchestras, auditions, and hours of practice. Friends and parties filled whatever other time there was. Yet, even through music, Jesus was gently whispering to my heart. Soon the practices, concerts, and auditions meant very little to me according the successes of the world, but they became a means of allowing the deepest parts of my heart to speak to Him and to listen to Him reveal His goodness and beauty to me.

In my sophomore year of high school, He gently reached down and gave some concrete direction to all that He was doing in my life. I went on two retreats, which were truly life-changing experiences. Through these retreats, I encountered Christ in a totally new and completely PERSONAL way. I was “fascinated, swept away” and I made the resolution to attend daily Mass. This daily encounter with Christ sustained me and directed me on the path He was opening up before me, even though I did not always cooperate or understand.
The year following, (which happened to be the Jubilee Year 2000) a woman from my parish approached me and invited me to visit a convent of Sisters that she knew. Inside, my heart, still afraid of the weight of His love, said “LEAVE ME ALONE LORD!!!” but to her I said, “Sure, I’ll go if you want me to.” She arranged everything and one day I found myself driving in the front gates of the Motherhouse of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. Even though I did not want to be there, to my surprise I felt a deep peace and was filled with the clear conviction, “This is where I am going to spend the rest of my life- this is home.” A few months later, I had the tremendous grace of receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation and then traveling to Rome for World Youth Day.

Surrounded by millions of young people alive with faith, and walking the streets that hundreds of Saints have walked and listening to the words of our Beloved Holy Father strengthened me. The night of our prayer vigil with John Paul II, I stood alone in the huge crowd of pilgrims, overwhelmed by the encounter with the living Church that I saw in their faces. As I waited there, praying, watching for the Holy Father to drive past us, Jesus gave me the grace of firmly knowing what He was asking of me, and the courage to not turn back. After returning home from Rome, I wrote to the Sisters and asked to visit again. Throughout my senior year, I visited almost every weekend, and grew more deeply in love with their life of prayer, simplicity, joy and unity. But more than that I grew more in love with HIM.

Three months after High School graduation I began year of candidacy with our Community and the following year I entered the Postulancy. Each day I am filled with a deeper sense of gratitude for the gift of belonging totally to Christ as a Carmelite Sister. Each day He continues to open up before me that horizon which is “so beautiful, so vast, so luminous”- that horizon which is Him alone.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Prayer - God of Light

Dearest Lord,
Heavenly Father,
God of light,
Let your love shine in my heart,
That it may be a burning flame in my soul,
Which longs more and more for you each day.
Help me to know what it is you are calling me to,
So that I might find myself doing your work each day on earth,
And in all I do, Lord, be with me, so I may share the light of your love with all your children
All the days of my life.

I just wanted to share with all of you a prayer that I found myself praying as I was praying in the early morning in Church the other day. I was in just before 7am, and the Church was dark. The only light came from the candles in front of the altar. I was kneeling at one of the pews and I was silent, just listening to the Lord. It was only then I found myself saying these words silently in my heart. The brothers were praying silently on the right side to me, in the little adoration chapel bit. I like the atmosphere, the peace, the silence that allows us all to really listen and be undisturbed or disrupted by the matters of this world. Every time I go in that early (sometimes I am there at 6.30am), which is maybe 3-4 times a week, I find my desire in my heart for prolonged prayer grows deeper and stronger, and I sometimes wonder what the Lord wants me to do with such a desire. I once said to my parish priest, "Father, sometimes I don't know what to do" - he gave me one of the most surprised and funny looks I had ever seen in my life. He said to me, "What do you mean you don't know what to do? Pray!" - clearly seemed like a silly question to be asking when I suppose I did already know the answer - although you can forgive me for being 14 at the time!