Prayer Resources

raindropsagapantha 150As I write this reflection, I am conscious it is the first day of Spring. During our first retreat since March, and which concluded yesterday, we experienced some beautiful, sunny days and those on retreat remained in good health. The pond and dams are full. The grass is lush. Ducks with new ducklings are paddling gently on the pond and cattle with their calves graze the paddocks, while wildflowers abound in the bush. Signs of new life and hope abound.

bushblossoms01 150It is four months now since we began these weekly reflections as a means to keep in touch during the first Covid-19 lockdown. On behalf of the retreat team, I thank you for your support and encouragement during this difficult time. Next week, we are hoping to begin a staged re-opening of the retreat centre. Please keep an eye on the website calendar to check on activities. From August, we will continue the reflections as a monthly item, and members of the team will continue to pray daily for you and your intentions, and our world, at midday in the Trinity Prayer Room.

flower01 150In one of the Gospel accounts this week from Matthew (Mt 13:10-17)  Jesus speaks about prophets and righteous people living in ages past who, “…..longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear but did not hear it….” (Mt 13: 17)

During these uncertain times we can become overwhelmed by anxieties, fears, a feeling of foreboding amongst lockdowns and restrictions placed upon us.  These can veil the reality of what Jesus is speaking of in the Gospel story. We don’t live in ages past; we live in the here and now.  We see and we hear all that Jesus has to reveal – if we chose to!

sunsetlake02 150I often go to Parramatta Lake for a walk. One particular afternoon, my eyes were captured in delight by the reflection of the sunset on the lake.  I sat down and watched it glimmering on the surface.

Whilst the sun was setting, the colours of the reflection kept changing. Gradually the sun sank gently and peacefully, and no matter how much I wished the reflection to remain with its beauty and colourful shimmering, it faded away. Perhaps you have had this experience, too. Holding onto something precious and wanting it to last.

gate01 150I was attracted to the readings for today, Thursday 9th July, for this reflection. As Jesus sent his disciples to preach the nearness of the Kingdom, he sent them also to be uncluttered in their ministry.  They were to give freely of what they, themselves, had received. They were also to take nothing extraneous.

laketrees01 150The words spoken by Jesus in today’s Gospel are among his most moving invitations to anyone who is feeling overwhelmed. He invites us to come and find rest in his love. His invitation is all the more moving when we read it in context. Jesus’ heart has gone out to the people who are harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd, but he has just been rejected by the leaders, the very ones who are failing to care for the people and, in God’s name, are laying burdens on them that are too heavy to carry. Jesus invites us to come to him. We still have to suffer the burdens of life, but if we come to Jesus we will find that the yoke sits easily on our shoulders and we can carry the burden, for it is fitted to us, and Jesus is carrying it with us.

juliannorwich01 150Living each moment, even in Pandemic - hints from Julian of Norwich

As the weeks have turned into months and we now start to live with spikes and outbreaks of Covid19, have you noticed any change or development in your prayer? It is interesting to note that Julian’s often quoted  “All will be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well” is a great reminder of hope and trust at a time when things are not yet quite well!

sacredheart01 150This week we celebrated the Solemnity of the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It is a moment when we can pull out all the stops to immerse ourselves in the love of God poured into our hearts by the gift of the Holy Spirit.  We pray for an experience of joy that only the risen Jesus can invite you and me into.  What will be your response?  Could this be a time when we can revel in joy – a joy that we have been released into; into our own full potential as human beings?

shepherd 150On Sunday 14th June the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. It is a providential opportunity for us to reflect on the meaning of this feast for us, at a time when we still cannot welcome the whole local community to celebrate the Eucharist. We miss the deep and richly graced Eucharists that we enjoy here in the Retreat House.

lightreflection 150Since the COVID 19 Pandemic started, I have remained at home most of the time. During this time,  I have been able to spend much time with mind and heart work, as well as physical work.

One of my physical works has been cleaning windows at Marymount Spirituality Centre, Castle Hill. I have discovered that the many windows of the Centre are very different in size and shape, as well as in colour and glaze. All the windows give benefits such as light, beauty, warmth through the sun in winter, and fresh air when open.

pentecost 150In the gospel for Pentecost Sunday, we are told that Jesus “came” to the disciples. They were full of fear and behind doors that were locked for fear of their fellow Jews. Little wonder! Their master and friend had been murdered. Their hopes and dreams for a new world had crumbled. They were lost and cast adrift without the one who had become such a friend to them. Given that they were Jesus’ closest friends and followers they must have wondered if they were the next to be murdered. What must have been going through their minds and hearts, as they huddled together paralyzed by their fear?

smtpondbench 150As we come closer to the end of our Easter season, we can recall many post resurrection events from the gospels. The other day I had an interesting experience down by the dam. It was a very good reminder of not only where we look for Jesus but how even when we think we have him in our sight, we must always be prepared to look further. Luke’s version of the scene at the empty tomb comes to mind. You will recall the two men in dazzling clothes questioning the terrified women about where they are looking for Jesus.

archentrance 150A reflection on the readings for the sixth Sunday of Easter We have reached the climax of Jesus’ farewell speech to his disciples. Three times Jesus insists on covenant love as being the essential response required of us: ‘If you love me you will keep my commandments’(14:15). ‘The one who receives my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me’(14:21). ‘Those who love me will keep my word’(14:23). Three times he assures us that we will not be left alone: ‘I will ask the Father and he will give you the Spirit to be with you for ever’(14:16). ‘I will come back to you ... I will show myself to you’(14:18,21). ‘My Father and I will come to you and make our home in you’(14:23). Each time he assures his disciples that this intimate communion with the Spirit, with himself, and with the Father is something that those who reject him (‘the world’) cannot experience. It is a communion possible only for those who respond in love to what God is offering.

stpaul rublev 1506 day Guided Retreat 11-16 May 2020

Presenter: Fr Michael Fallon msc

In keeping with the silent and contemplative nature of our retreat work, St Mary’s Towers Retreat Centre is offering a reflective online retreat experience on "Paul's Letter to the Galatians".

lakechair01 150“Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1).

As we come to today’s reflection, we find ourselves in a different place to that of several weeks ago. Perhaps this week provides the opportunity to reflect on our reactions to the global spread of the Covid 19 virus. As cases were diagnosed in Australia and the spread of the virus was rampant in Italy and Spain, what were your reactions?

maryjesus raulberzosa 150During the 1960s there was a movie with a theme song titled “The Mother is Dear in the World”. It was sung by a young girl and, even after 50 years, is still famous today and often played around Mother’s day each year.

sunsetlake01 150At the end of March we began our reflections for this ‘Corona-time’ with a passage from the Revelations of Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth century anchoress who lived through the plague. Strangely enough, I had the good fortune to spend three full days in Norwich in October last year. I remember listening to the history of the city as we drove past a park where many of the plague victims had been buried. It was hard to imagine half a city being wiped out like that. It was hard to reconcile the joy that permeates Julian’s writings with the reality of her times.

lakereflectionsunset01 150The women came back from the tomb, “Afraid yet filled with Joy”. This phrase certainly contains within it a great deal of fear, change and uncertainty. Yet at the heart of it is joy and resurrection. I think that this passage, while seemingly not as emotional as John’s Gospel, gets at the heart of the emotional ambiguity that Easter 2020 is bringing for all of us: “Afraid yet filled with Joy”.

crucifiedrisenchrist lcm 150In recent weeks, there have been two main themes running through the daily readings: the constant overtures of a longing and compassionate God to God’s children and the growing hostility and threat to Jesus’ life as the authorities sought to have Jesus killed. As this latter theme grows in intensity, we hear God’s outpouring of love and longing.

He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was. Jn 13:1