Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Reflection on my Last Weekend at Manresa House

I really look forward to weekends at Manresa for my course in Spiritual Direction (Soul Friendship). I think the first reason I look forward to them is because they are blocks of time carved out of my otherwise busy schedule for me to rest, reflect, rediscover God and His infinite love and activity in my life. Yeah, I do really enjoy going to the centre at the weekends. In a sense (because the weekends are scheduled as part of the course), I feel as though my monthly time at Manresa is more of a gift than if I had to find space on my own accord. I breathe more slowly and deeply at Manresa.

This past weekend was not only much anticipated, but also much needed. I am really hungering to be stretched these days and to grow in every aspect of my life. And God has held true to my original request for the time I spend in the course – He’s made me uncomfortable in various ways in order to present me with the opportunity to draw closer to Him. Last weekend was no exception.

The weekend progressed like many others before it. As Sister Angela has said, the structure is often the same every weekend but there is scope for variety within that structure. Just past the halfway point of the weekend we read a case study about twenty-nine year old Simon. He was a busy socialite within the seminary in which he was studying for the priesthood. He found little time for quiet space with God to reflect on the Scriptures (or to pray the Scriptures as Catholics often say). My first reaction to Simon was very empathetic because his scenario sounded very much like my own when I was at university. I identified with his desire for intimacy with Jesus and also his choice of a hectic schedule - but no more than that initially. It was on Sunday morning that God shed new light on my own life.

I realised (like the sun revealing itself over the distant mountain range) that I not only empathized with Simon because of my life style choices while at uni, but also currently in my day to day schedule. I have the desire to be fed by God through interaction with Him, but seldom do I make the time I desire to have. Even less often do I make space in my life for going to 'thin places' – those environs where I truly sense God’s nearness more acutely. It isn’t that I don’t want to grow in intimacy with Christ, it’s something more. I recognised that God had been speaking to me for some time on this very reality through various modes and He had brought it to a head with Simon’s case-study.

In some way, I have been ‘running’ from God in my life. I’m still processing through all of this, but God has made clear to me that I am ‘running’ from Him – or maybe more accurately from His demands upon my life. I have been struck with the reality that I am in a new phase of my life professionally, relationally, financially and spiritually. The current season I’m in smacks of the need for intentionality, vision, wisdom and persistence. I believe the next four or five years are especially important – more so that the previous six odd years. I think God is calling me further on with Himself but in some ways I am stalling, procrastinating and somewhat fearful of what I have to leave behind in order to do so. One thing is for certain, whatever decisions I act on will have a major impact on what’s left of my life and the lives of my family. So the question is: “Do I stay or do I go?”

The recognition of this reality is the first step in addressing the issues I have become aware of. I am inviting God to illuminate which areas I must release or re-release to His care in order to move forward with Him. It’s almost like coming to faith all over again – but this time with a little more understanding of the cost involved. There is no question about which choice is ‘right’ or ‘best’, just questions about fears, comfortability and control. I pray God will empower me to release all to Him that I may know the reality of Saint Ignatias’ words: “Few people would know what God could make of them if they would whole-heartedly abandon themselves into His loving care.” [para-phrased]. God is good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hero of the Month

Marchs' Hero of the Month is none other than that lovable red-haired, red-lipped, overly happy clown himself . . Ronald McDonald. It's not that I'm a big proponent of the Micky D's lifestyle or even their menu; but my submission for marchs' Hero of the Month is a pragmatic one - namely for the sake of convenience. I often stop at the 'golden arches' when I leave home for early morning trips to order up some of the one-of-a-kind egg mcmuffins (mmm, mmm good). Yes, I do have the guilty pleasure of salivating over these tasty treats. It may be that I'm usually half asleep when I eat them that makes them appear so desirable . . who's to say? At any rate, here's to Ray Crock (CEO extraordinaire, now deceased possibly to heart failure) and the millions, nay, billions working at and served within the 31 thousand locations world-wide.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Hero of the Month

It's also been a while since I've posted a 'Hero of the Month', so here I go with my updates for the past three months. The first is for February and is none other than artisan Kevin Max. As many of you know, Kevin's former fame was as a member of hip-hop/rock/soul act dc Talk during the 90's. As of late he has been creating quality art as a solo artist. His most recent submission to the entertainment scene is The Imposter - a substantial, fulfilling contribution to the music enthusiasts' ears - and a significantly inspiring piece. I highly recommend this album (which is a cut above his previous efforts - although good as well). Here's to February's Hero of the Month!

My Travels

This is an image of my travels since the beginning of the year. I had gotten out of the way of posting my normal updates since our move and still haven't regained the regularity due to our lack of an internet connection at home. I am posting this at 7:26 a.m. (yawn - got three hours last night thanks to my much loved son!) in Shannon airport as I wait for my in-laws - Sam & Pam - to arrive from the US. The family are really excited to have them stay with us for the coming week. God's richest blessings on you this day!

Here's the key:
Green house - where we used to live in N. Ireland / Red house - where we currently live in Co. Tipperary / Blue stars - places I made stops for work or play / Yellow line - my route on the way (note: houses not shown to scale).