A day to remember people in detention

Posted: Friday March 29 2013 in Lent

2012 Good Friday from Piaras Jackson on Vimeo.

This video is of a cross that was used on Good Friday last year when I spent several hours in the closed world of Maltese detention centres, moving between the ‘Zones’. A Polish colleague and I thought we went to lead others in prayer but left having been brought to see the cross anew. The devotion and participation of the detainees was impressive and the result you see here shows something of their character and faith: they made the cross their own. Lets’ pray that having been close to Jesus on his journey to Calvary, we may experience the joy and promise of the resurrection.

The seven last words of Jesus

Posted: Friday March 29 2013 in Lent

Seven short movies of the last words of Jesus.

Seven last sayings

We celebrate the Eucharist. Why do we wash feet?

Posted: Thursday March 28 2013 in Lent

Bill Grimm MM reflects on Holy Thursday.

Holy Week: a time to do nothing

Posted: Wednesday March 27 2013 in Lent

Jesus saw in the disciples something they had lost sight of in themselves: he called them to life. In different ways and to varying degrees they resisted and answered his call. Some of them wanted to do something, some realised they couldn’t do enough. Holy Week reminds us that there are times when we can do nothing – we simply have to be, to receive.

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us… It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely…I have no program for this seeing.  It is only given.  But the gate of heaven is everywhere.”

Thomas Merton
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Alice Maher, Ombres 170 x 370cm Charcoal on paper

Alice Maher, Ombres 170x370cm Charcoal on paper

The Irish Museum of modern Art recently presented the work of Alice Maher in the National Concert Hall. I went to be mesmerised, recalling other times I have seen her work. I recently tried to describe her drawings of hair and found that words fail to communicate the complex simplicity and mesmerising ordinariness of her work. She pays attention to something common and through painstaking – for such it must be – strokes invites the viewer to meet someone.

The Gospel describes the lavish attention Mary gave to Jesus.  To the superficial view, it was a waste of resources, and extravagance. Can we imagine how Jesus saw her action? Surely he more than tolerated her aromatherapy; he saw it for what it was: the wholehearted response of somebody who knew who he was and who was comfortable with who she herself was.  Mary, pray for us.

Lift up your eyes

Posted: Saturday March 23 2013 in Lent

Psalm 121 invites us to lift up our eyes.

What’s on your coat of arms?

Posted: Tuesday March 19 2013 in Lent

An eight-hundred-year-old tradition sees popes choose a coat of arms. These devices are used to distinguish papal events and are found on print and in stone, commemorating activities and appearances of the pontiffs. If you were to choose some symbols to represent your desires and aspirations, what would be on yours? Read the rest of this entry »

The scene from Jesus of Nazareth portrays the events of today’s gospel (John 7:40-52). The homily of Pope Francis will enrich our reflection and prayer.

Wisdom from the desert

Posted: Friday March 15 2013 in Lent

Brothers: How should we pray?
Saint Macarius: There is no need of much speaking in our prayers. Stretch out your hands and say, ‘Lord, have mercy upon me as Thou wilt and as Thou seest best.’ If your mind is disquieted, then say, ‘Help Thou me.’ He knows well what is best for us. Of His own will He grants us mercy.”

Just who are the Jesuits anyway?

Posted: Thursday March 14 2013 in Lent

This is a very curious day for Jesuits! The election of Jorge Bergoglio SJ as Pope Francis has thrown us all in a spin, with a great variety of reactions and opinions as people come to terms with what it means to have global attention on our Society.  Answering a journalist’s questions on Irish language radio brings me back to the heart of what I value about being a Jesuit and challenges me to express it as clearly as I can. That’s a good exercise!

Meanwhile, today’s Gospel…

Today’s reading from John’s gospel calls us to recognise some compass points we might choose to orientate our lives:

  • What we learn from the witness and opinion of people we respect?
  • Can we recognise and trust in the activity of God’s Spirit in our lives, seeing in our own actions how it is that God works through us?
  • Can we see that it is not just in our activity which matters to God: who we are as critical – God’s Spirit dwells within us
  • What do we hear on the scriptures as we remain in continuing dialogue with God who calls us into relationship, who tells the story of our lives?