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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Follow the Lamb, reflections

I've been reading 'Follow the Lamb', and there are a few things that stick in my mind: "Keep both eyes on God, not one on God and one on your neighbour, beware of useless judgements" - that is important as in order to really discern, the only person who can truly know if something is for them, or whether they are making the right decision is YOU, no one else, not even one's SD can tell you where is right for you. In keeping in mind that it is between you and God, I find it is much easier to contemplate and meditate and pray about God's will for each of us. We all have a vocation, but where we are called to is for us to discern. Something my SD always says to me is that you don't have to go through set prayers or meditations etc, you can just say something like, "Lord, this is how things are right now, this is what I think, this is what I want, but only if it's right for me according to your will, or else lead me to where you want me to be" (that would be the generalisation of the specific things he said to me, obviously I am keeping my conversations at a fairly private level, as you understand).
Another thing that stuck me was about the retreat book was this: The Three Foods: The Word of God, The Eucharist, The Will of God - these for me, are three of the most important things to bear in mind in living out our faith. Without bearing these three things in mind, we are going nowhere. We are wondering around like "Sheep without a shepherd". I will write more on that when I get the chance.
Email me if you like: vocationoperation@live.co.uk, scholar-kg@hotmail.com
If you are in the UK, you can also ring me, but email me first and I will give you my number.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Cambridge visit

I've been in Cambridge since yesterday evening and have been staying at a friend's house. I am planning on staying until tomorrow, when I will return in the evening. I went to Mass this morning at OLEM, my secondary school's parish, where I used to go to as much as I possibly could. It was nice to be able to go there for Mass and give everyone a shock about being back. The Sacristan who played a key role in my "undercover instruction" while I was still (by Canon Law) underage, said, "Welcome home" to me and was glad to see me. I haven't had a chance to have a proper catch up with him, but I hope I will tomorrow when I pop in for the Toddler Group - another one of my really random groups I loved to go to while at college. I was at the Rosary group this morning after Mass and I really enjoyed the opportunity to lead the Rosary again - I get to do that every time I pray the Rosary with that group. It is a bit unfortunate that I don't get much of a chance to do so in St. Antony's - it's such a big parish and there are always loads of people praying the Rosary together that I have only been able to lead a decade once...but then again, I should rejoice that so many people would want to come together for such a wonderful devotion - O Lord, forgive me for being selfish!
I've met up with a lot of people, including my Theology teacher from my much loved Catholic girls' school. We went into the staff room for a tea and a chat - I must admit, that was always a forbidden area for us as students, so it was rather exciting! :P (I know, call me a child, but it was a revelation in itself!) We spoke about a number of things and had a very interesting catch up. I also saw some of my other teachers, which was lovely. My Theology teacher had to share me with everyone else too - it got to a point where she was just sitting there patiently waiting for everyone to speak to me so she could continue our conversation. Going back to school was a nostalgic experience, it reminded me of how happy I was there, despite having to cope with my mother's torturous endeavours to try and stop me embracing the Catholic faith and being in a Catholic school. It never worked, I tell you, and it never will stop me. That faith I have in my heart, the thirst I have to grow in love and live in a deeper and deeper union with Christ will allow me to persevere, to continue to practice the faith - it will always win - in my heart and in my mind, whenever people tell me things and try to discourage me from believing, an inner voice is saying to me, "This is between me and God, and in the end, it will be me and my soul before the Lord, NOT you people who try and lead me on a path that leads astray" - and this is going round and round in my mind and in my heart so strongly that I cannot stop it - and believe me, I dare say I've tried, just like I've tried to ignore the "urges to pray", and where has that led me? Only to frustration and wanting it more. I have reached a stage where if I believe it is the Lord's will for me to do something, I will respond as generously as I can, and not try to do otherwise. I keep this always in mind when praying, that it is not my will, but His will. I do not believe one could ever truly find fulfilment in doing everything their way and "storing up treasures in this life". My family's aim is to be rich and wealthy in material goods, but mine is not. Perhaps that's partly the reason why they are worried, why they are so concerned and desperate to separate me from my devotion to Christ. I cannot let go of something so strong and so deep inside me, so central to who I am. Without the Lord, I am nothing. In doing His will, I have found so far that although it is sometimes scary, I have always come through well and found my spirituality deepened and my prayer life so much more fulfilling.
I have been spending quite a bit of time in prayer too, in OLEM, and I must admit I do miss being here in Cambridge, although at the same time, I love where I am in London and believe God wanted me there for a number of reasons, some which I am beginning to find out, and others that I may not until I am on the other side of the grave! My Theology teacher did say to me that patience is a virtue, and that it does take time to acquire - that was because I told her I was getting impatient waiting to receive the sacraments! O, it's only just over 2 months...and I have waited like 15 years, so I guess it's really not much longer! O Lord, teach me patience, please! Amen and Amen.
I also spent time at the CJ (IBVM) convent with one of the sisters I know from school. It was lovely to have a catch up with her and she kept saying to me that I was blessed to have the network and support that meant I was really very well instructed in the faith. We had some very interesting conversations about formation and parishioners at Mass who neglect their prayer life, struggling with the Our Father and Hail Mary, and not really understanding the Creed - it was funny when she said that I show people up when I am around.. I try not to think of it like that, as I want to see myself as setting an example and bringing people back to being faithful rather than scaring them or "showing them up".
I'm still discerning God's will for me, but I do know this, that I need to ensure I have a certain intensity in my prayer life such that I do not neglect my thirst and hunger for the Lord, or else I will end up a very frustrated young lady! And trust me, you don't want to see me when I am! I do also know that I want to be very pro-active and involved in service to the Church and community - not that I would "spiritually exhaust" myself, I do know where my limits are (or at least I thought I did until I surprised myself by spending extended periods in prayer and realised how much I loved and needed it, and wasn't exhausted by it in the slightest!)... Anyway, I must get back to my friend's house - I've been out far too long that I ought to go and keep my friend and her family company now.
God Bless, and I will keep you in prayer as always.
Kim Lee :)

Monday, 21 January 2013

My own little retreat and revelations...

I've just spent five days in Church all day, from morning, with the brothers, with the Office of Lauds until after Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament after Vespers with the brothers in the evening. I've been doing things around Church as and when I am needed, and have been at Daily Mass as usual, which was lovely. I also sometimes joined them for Sext (Midday Office) and spent time in prayer on my own too. It gave me time to reflect on a lot of things that have happened over the last few weeks, some of which deeply affected my prayer life. It is okay now though, as I have got my prayer life back and am no longer struggling with it. In fact, last Thursday I was praying straight through from 5.20pm until after Adoration, which ended at 9pm, and I thought it would spiritually exhaust me, but instead, I found I truly loved it. I thought it would be really intense, but something inside me made me try it and do it anyway, to some extent, I sort of wanted to see what would happen. It confirmed the desire I have in my heart to be closer and grow in love for our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and showed me that actually, I do have a very strong love for the Eucharist - I remember our youth co-ordinator saying to me one day after Adoration some time ago, "I was praying for you, and I was just thinking, Wow, Kim's going to love it when she can receive communion, some people just have such a love for the Eucharist..." - It made me think...wherever I end up in the future, wherever this is leading me, I know I can never adore the Blessed Sacrament enough, I can never get enough of the holy Eucharist - my soul thirsts so deeply for it that I cannot imagine what the world would be like without such a devotion.
People in the parish have been saying many things to me and about me. Lots of people think I'm a sister (as in a nun) and I always laugh and joke about it, but really inside it makes me wonder why. It is partly because of how I dress, and someone, this time I won't say who, said it's because of that "garb" I wear... :P They also said it was because of the way I speak - apparently it's quite evident that I am close to God (or at least, I always try to grow in closeness to our Lord). One parishioner said to me that I had "the mark", then explained she thought I was at a spiritually deep level, and with a prayer life that seemed to many to be very contemplative, she thought I would end up in a convent somewhere. Funny how many people have said this to me. I hope that the Lord might show me His intentions and Will for me one day soon, but of course, in His time. I still have to be patient as my immediate priority at the moment is to receive the sacraments at Easter. I am baptised, and turns out I was four when I was, but I need to receive First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation, which I pray and hope will be at the Easter Vigil this year. It is not long now, so hopefully all will be as I hope. Please leep that intention especially in your prayer as I continue my journey of faith.
Each day, my heart longs more and more to be in union with Jesus. I cannot concentrate a lot of the time on things I am doing because all I want to do is spend more time in adoration and doing works of charity to help those in need...
I need to go as I'm at a friend's house in Cambridge at the moment, but I will write more when I get the chance to. Know you are all in my prayer as always.
With all God's love and blessings,
Kim Lee :)

Friday, 11 January 2013

Blog update: Events and Retreats

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year. I hope you have all enjoyed the season of Christmastide. I have just posted up the latest retreats and events for both men and women. These can be found under the labels: 'Retreats' and 'Events'. There is a list with the details on the blog for you to see. Should you require further information, please do let us know by emailing us on: vocationoperation@live.co.uk . I am also working on a page for Retreat places, which I will post up soon.

With every blessing and prayers as always,

Kim Lee

Retreats with Religious Congregations

Retreats with Religious Congregations 

Listening to the Heartbeat of God
An afternoon of reflection and prayer for young women who wish to know and understand the Heart of God more
Sunday 20th January 2013, 2-5pm
Location: Emmaus Community, 208 Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middx UB3 2AJ
Contact: Sr Barbara Sweeney societyofthesacredheart@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 0191 272 3000


Open your heartsThe Cistercian community at Hyning invites 18-35 year olds (male & female) to an alternative way of living the Christian life
Friday 25th January - Sunday 27th January 2013Cost by donation
Location: Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning, Warton, nr. Carnforth, Lancs. LA5 9SE
Contact: Sr. Mary Bernard  hyningbookings@yahoo.co.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 01524 732684


Dying and Rising in Christ: Entering into the Easter Mystery: Young Adult Retreat (18-35s) @ Worth Abbey
An experience of the Benedictine way of life and inspiration for Christian living through participation in the monastic rhythm of prayer, and reflection on key themes of the monastic tradition. Hosted by the monks of Worth Abbey and The Wellspring Community.
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th February 2013Location: Worth Abbey, Paddockhurst Road, Turners Hill, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 4SB
Cost: Donations per young adult between £58 (unwaged) and £100 (waged). Please give what you can afford.
Contact: Alison (Bookings Secretary): TOC@worthabbey.net This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. More information: www.facebook.com/events/1629569533848997 


Vocations Weekend with the RedemptoristsAre you a single, Catholic man? Are you aged between 18 and 35? Are you interested in bringing the Gospel to the poorest and most abandoned? Are you passionate about the New Evangelisation? Could God be calling you to the life and work of a Redemptorist Missionary?
Friday February 22nd - Sunday February 24th 2013Location: London
Contact:  vocations@redemptorists.co.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Journey into the depth of God and the heart of our worldA residential weekend for young women open to a call to religious life; time for prayer, reflection, discussion and sharing with others on a similar journey
Friday evening 1st March - Sunday afternoon 3rd March 2013
Suggested offering: £25

Location: 11 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PS
Contact: Sr Barbara Sweeney societyofthesacredheart@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 0191 272 3000


Day of Prayer and Reflection for Young Women interested in the Religious Life
With the Poor Servants of the Mother of God

Saturday 9th March 2013: 10.30am - 4pm
Location: St.Joseph’s Prayer Centre, Blundell Avenue, Freshfield, Formby, Liverpool L37 1PH
Contact: Tel. 01704 879 665 or e-mail  theprayercentre.stj@googlemail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Signposts: A toolkit for discernment
A weekend for men and women (18+), hosted by the Salesians of Don Bosco
Friday 8th (evening) - Sunday 10th March (lunchtime) 2013Cost: £75
Location: Savio House, Bollington, nr Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5RW
More details: www.salesianvocations.co.uk/news.html
Contact: Fr David O'Malley SDB davidomalley@lineone.net This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Discernment weekend
With the Ursulines of the Roman Union, for single women (aged 20 - 40)
Friday 15th - Sunday 17th March 2013
Location: Ursuline Sisters, 28 Mansel Road, Wimbledon SW19 4AA
Contact: Sr Zela zela@btinternet.com or 07852882620


Day of Prayer and Reflection for Young Women interested in Religious LifeWith the Poor Servants of the Mother of God
Location: The Kairos Centre, Mount Angelus Road, Danebury Avenue, Roehampton, London SW15 4JA
Saturday 23rd March 2013: 10.30am - 4pm Contact: Tel: 020 8788 4188 or E-mail: bookings.kairos@psmgs.org.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Vocations discernment day with the Salesian sisters"I know what plans I have in mind for you... plans for peace, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.." (Jer.29:11)Do you know what plans the Lord has for you? Ever wondered? We invite YOU to join us for a day of prayer, reflection and socialising in order to give God the space to share HIS plans FOR YOU, WITH YOU!!Location: Salesian Sisters, Easterhouse (Diocese of Motherwell)
Saturday April 6th 2013Contact:  formationteamfma@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Signposts: A toolkit for discernment
A weekend for men and women (18+), hosted by the Salesians of Don Bosco
Friday 12th (evening) - Sunday 14th July (lunchtime) 2013Cost: £75
Location: Savio House, Bollington, nr Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5RW
More details: www.salesianvocations.co.uk/news.html
Contact: Fr David O'Malley SDB davidomalley@lineone.net

Event for Discerners (Men)

Day for men discerning a calling to religious life or priesthood

Saturday 27th April 2013

@ Mount Street, Mayfair, London
More details to follow...
To be kept informed about this day please contact: enquiries@ukreligiouslife.org

Event for Discerners (Women)

Day for women discerning a calling to consecrated Life (Birmingham)

Saturday 26th January 2013 (10am-5pm) @ Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy, B15 3QS

An invitation for young women to come to a joyful day to encounter Our Lord in the Sacraments and discover His call to follow Him to the place He has chosen for us. Like the Samaritan Woman, Our Lord waits to meet us, to invite us to listen to Him say "If you knew the gift of God..." 
Supported by the Missionaries of Divine Revelation from Rome, the National Office for Vocations, the Episcopal Vicar for Religious from the Archdiocese of Birmingham, and the Newman House Catholic Chaplaincy, and many others.

YOUNG WOMEN: For more information or to confirm a place (we need to know how many to cook for!), please email Winnie at vitaconsecrata2013@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
EVERYONE ELSE: Please pass this on to young women, and pray for us please!

Day for women discerning a calling to consecrated Life (London)

Saturday 2nd February 2013: The World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life @ St Aloysius parish, Somers Town, near Euston Station

On Saturday 2 February Westminster Diocese will be holding its second Day for Women (aged 18 to 40) discerning a possible calling to Consecrated Life. The first such day in February 2012 attracted over 30 women and was a day of great grace and blessing for all involved. February 2nd is of course the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and has, for some years, been celebrated in the Church as the world-wide Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life – for those already living this vocation and for those discerning a call to it.
The patron for our 2013 day will be St Hildegard of Bingen, recently canonised and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict. Drawing on St Hildegard’s inspiration, a variety of women, consecrated and lay, will reflect on how the world is enriched by consecration and what is at the heart of the consecrated life, in all its variety of forms.
It is essential to register in advance. For more info and to register, contact Fr Richard at richardnesbitt@rcdow.org.uk This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.