Tag Archives: Connection

The Cathedral Connection 14 April 2019

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IN MEMORY OF ME

On Sunday we will recall the joyous entry of Jesus into Jerusalem with shouts of ‘Hosanna.’ Some of those who were there at his entry would later be shouting out ‘Crucify him’ in the courtyard of Pontius Pilate.

We will again hear the passion of Christ and the terrible suffering Jesus had to endure.

As Christians we are a committed to be a people that remembers the passion of Jesus: Whenever you do this, do this in memory of me.

We remember the victory of love over the powers of hatred and destruction. The triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and of life over death.

His terrible suffering that saved the world, yet it wasn’t his suffering that redeemed us, it was his love.

Surely suffering is something you and I would give almost anything to avoid. Yet we would gladly suffer for someone whom we love.

As Christians we must not only accept suffering but make it holy. Love makes it holy.  And keeping the memory of Christ’s passion makes us sensitive and attentive to the suffering of others.

The cross demands our attention as we recall the suffering of Jesus and the suffering of all who are victims of hate and violence.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 7 April 2019

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CHRIST IS ALIVE

This week, Pope Francis published his response to last year’s Synod on Youth. It begins with the words ‘Christ is Alive’, in Latin, ‘Christus Vivit’ and that will be the common title of this apostolic exhortation.  Unlike some of Francis’s other teaching documents, this one hasn’t made much of a media splash (the download link is inside this newsletter).

Francis addresses, first, young people, but then all the people of God.  He writes in his usual warm, encouraging, and realistic, style.  Of young people in particular, as well as the difficulties which afflict many, he emphasises their ‘genuine desire to develop their talents in order to offer something to our world. In some, we see a special artistic sensitivity, or a yearning for harmony with nature. In others, perhaps, a great need to communicate. In many of them, we encounter a deep desire to live life differently’ (section 84).

I recalled the courage and leadership of our young people in striking to raise awareness of climate change, three weeks ago, and how his words describe the young people with whom I work most days.

To the church as a whole, he urges that ‘we should not stand apart from others’ even while we try to live up to our ideals, including generosity, service, forgiveness, prayer, justice and social friendship (s. 36).  Francis also calls for balance; young people, he says, don’t want a silent church’,  but nor do they want ‘one that is always battling obsessively over two or three issues’ The church’s credibility, and not only with young people, depends on listening (s.41).

Perhaps some of Francis’s observations in this letter might be helpful to our parish community as we respond to Cardinal John’s request that we reflect on the best use of our buildings and other assets.  How can we equip ourselves to support each other as a faith community and as the people of God in the world?

Jim McAloon, Chair, Parish Pastoral Council.

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The Cathedral Connection 31 March 2019

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The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

 The parable of the Prodigal Son is probably the best known and best loved of all of Jesus’ stories. The younger son discovers that, in spite of his sins he is deeply loved and forgiven by his father. Gandhi experienced this when he was fifteen. He stole something from his brother. However, he felt so bad about it that he made up his mind to confess it to his father. He wrote out his sin on a piece of paper, asking for forgiveness and punishment, while promising to never steal again.

At the time his father was very sick and in bed. Gandhi handed him the note and sat by his father’s bedside waiting for judgment and punishment. His father sat up in bed and began to read the note. As he read it, tears came into his eyes. Gandhi himself began to cry. Instead of getting angry and punishing him, the father hugged the repentant son, and that was the end of the matter.

The experience of being loved while he was in sin had a profound effect on Gandhi. He said years later, ‘Only the person who has experienced this kind of love can know what it is.’

Those who experience this kind of love, know something about the heart of God and in the power of repentance and forgiveness. God never closes his heart to any of his children. No matter what they do, if they return to Him, the one thing they can be sure of is an unconditional and generous welcome.

With every blessing

Fr Doug

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The Cathedral Connection 24 March 2019

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REFLECT on LOVE

Over the last week we have all born witness to the outpouring of raw emotion around us following the senseless, violent loss of life of our Muslim brothers and sisters in Christchurch. We have all been shaken by the interruption to our comfortable lives. The uncertainty, not having the answers and being adrift from security all contribute to a feeling of helplessness.

Today’s Gospel, from Luke, sees people with similar questions as ours today. Questions of why, and how come? In the face of tragedy, Jesus provides comfort but also a sobering call for all of us to reflect and examine our own lives. Tragedy is much easier to stomach when there is someone else to blame. Indeed, we don’t even want to look at the truth of our own lives, our own inner reality, our fears, our brokenness, but we need to. We must dare ourselves to do so because it breathes life and hope for our future. This reflection is not a prison sentence. It is a hand outstretched that liberates us and transforms us.

As we gather today, we remember and take part in the embrace of Christ on the Cross. With his outstretched hands, he embraces both the dead and the living in love, and it is this love that we have seen reflected and shared around the country as the antidote to this act of hate.

May we show responsibility for ourselves and one another; may we gift ourselves to one another; and may we allow God’s gift of love and peace to embolden all our hearts so that we may share them throughout our world.

– Michael Fletcher, Director of Music.

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The Cathedral Connection 17 March 2019

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Prayer – Being in the Presence of Love

Today’s Gospel passage – the Transfiguration – would have been a ‘moment to be treasured’ for Peter, James and John. No wonder Peter wanted to prolong the moment – “let us build 3 tents…” He didn’t want the moment to end. Prayer is that meeting place with God. Our Catholic tradition has a richness of ways of encountering God in prayer. What they have in common is that they join in the prayer of Jesus to the Father. All prayer is through, with and in Jesus.

This Lent can be a good time to look at our prayer life. I would like to mention 2 forms of prayer that you may have heard mentioned recently.

Lectio Divina: The Latin phrase “lectio divina” means “divine reading.” It is a way of praying with the Scriptures. As one reads and invites the Word to become a transforming lens that brings the events of daily living into focus, one can come to live more deeply and find the presence of God more readily in the events of each day. The method follows four steps: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation), contemplatio (contemplation), and oratio (prayer).

Meditation: Whereas most forms of prayer involve words and song, either written, memorized, or spontaneous, meditative prayer concentrates on just ‘being in God’s presence.’ Meditative Prayer began in the earliest centuries of the Church, when men and women went into the Desert to find God. Cassian went to meet them with them. He asked them ‘What is prayer and how do your pray?’ The answer he received was simple and profound. Go to a quiet place and spend time with God. Take a word or a phrase, and gently say it over and over. When distractions come, return to your word. Cassian wrote about what he had been taught.

St Benedict, who began the monastic tradition, knew Cassian’s writing, and used it in his directions for his monks. Through the centuries, the practice of meditation continued through monasteries and convents. Many are rediscovering meditation and Lectio Divina as wonderful forms of prayer, seeing them indeed as a “moments to be treasured.”

Fr Ron

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