Lenten Reflections

RYM Daily Lenten Moments

Day 24 : '24 For 24'

Today is no ordinary day!

It's Day 24 - and we are already at the half-way point on our Lenten journey together!

It also marks the day known as '24 Hours for the Lord'.

Pope Francis has called on the whole church in this special Jubilee Year of Mercy to celebrate a special day of prayer from today Friday 4th until Saturday 5 March 2016.

Throughout the world parishes and dioceses are asked to provide opportunities for Eucharistic Adoration and for people to come together in guided prayer and quiet reflection!

There will also be the chance to attend Mass and to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during organised events.

Stations of the Cross along with recitation of the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplets, as well as talks and time for quiet reflection/ music will also form part of the special day of prayer in many parishes!

The 24 Hours for the Lord is a wonderful opportunity for us to experience Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament and His Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It's also a great day for us to extend that love and forgiveness to our neighbours, family and friends.

Why don't you find out what's happening in your own parish or diocese and go along to for some part of the day?

Perhaps you can spend just an hour before the Lord in Adoration, or pay a visit to a church during your lunch hour!

Also why don't you invite and encourage a friend to go along with you and share in this wonderful day?

I have the honour of attending the 24 Hours for the Lord event at the beautiful St George's Cathedral, Southwark in London - where at 2am I have the privilege of giving a talk on two of the spiritual works of mercy - 'Forgiving others willingly' and 'Bearing wrongs patiently'.

The event is mainly being led by the Southwark Catholic Youth Service (SCYS).

Talks will take place on the hour each hour during the night with perpetual Adoration, recitation of the Rosary and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

So please pray for me today as I prepare to give this talk! I need courage to let the Holy Spirit work in me - and energy that I may keep awake to give my talk in the wee small hours of the morning!

As we continue through the midway point of Lent, let us renew within us a deep desire to follow Jesus more closely, seek His mercy more often and spend time before listening to Him in silent Adoration.

Let us make it a day to remember!

Let us make Day 24 a special '24 Hours with the Lord'.

Paul Murphy  Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM). 

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 23 : 'Beauty of Life'

Perhaps it's the psychologist in me - but I love thinking about life!

Quite I often will just sit, go for a walk, people-watch or pray - and think about life!

Regardless of where I am - 'beauty' is the word that almost always springs to my mind!

They say 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder' - and I guess that's true!

I see God's beauty every day - in the wonderful people I meet, the nature that surrounds me, in the family I love, in the faith I cherish!

Pope Francis reminds us that 'every expression of true beauty can be acknowledged as a path leading to an encounter with the Lord Jesus'.

So when we see something 'beautiful' - let us see God in that beauty and give Him thanks! Be comforted that in doing so we are drawing ever closer to Him.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky the Russian novelist once wrote that 'beauty will save the world'.

As Catholics we need to offer people pure beauty - a beauty that touches the heart!

In a world where there is so much pain, turmoil, suffering and apathy, the world requires more beauty.

We must be ready to proclaim the beauty of the Lord - by the lives we lead, the way we act and the way we treat people!

The world is not prepared for the beauty of God - so we must give them it today!

Paul Murphy Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM).

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 22 : 'Listen in Silence'

I have a little gem of a fact for you today!

Have you ever realised that 'listen' and 'silent' consist of the same letters?

Well if you haven't - you have now!

I just discovered this the other day - and it is ironic that this has come to my attention during our Lenten season.

In the past few weeks - I've been making a conscious effort to create more time for 'silence' - more time to 'listen' to God!

It's through sacred silence - that we can draw closer to Christ - and discern His will for us! No distractions - just you and God!

Modern day life however is not used to silence - it often feels uncomfortable to sit still and just be present!

We fill up our time with some form of noise or distraction - mobiles, music, TV, Internet - leaving little time for silence!

Listening doesn't come easy to us either!

How often in our conversations do we truly listen to what someone is saying to us - without wondering what we are going to say next?

God I think was trying to tell us something - when He gave us one mouth but two ears!

He was giving us the capacity to 'listen' twice as much as we speak.

If we are to make one commitment this Lent - let us try to create more time to 'listen' to God in 'silence'.

Simply come before Him in silent prayer and in Adoration, and 'be still in his presence'.

Speak Lord, for your servant is listening ' (1 Samuel 3:9)

Paul Murphy - Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM).

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 21: 'Forgive & Forget'

Can you forgive me?

Well I hope you can - as I'm going to write today about something deep - 'forgiveness'.

Forgiveness is a concept we talk about almost daily - but is one which we struggle to put into practice!

It is often hard to forgive and forget those who have hurt us badly! It can be so difficult to 'let go' of our feelings and pain.

In the Gospel today - Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive those who wrong us. 'Seven times?' - he asks.

But Jesus replies saying 'Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times'.

Jesus challenges us to forgive one another - - to forgive from the heart - time and again.

Sometimes however the person we need to forgive the most is ourselves!

In this special Year of Mercy - two Spiritual Works of Mercy seem very appropriate here :- 'forgiving others willingly' and 'bearing wrongs patiently'.

Perhaps we can turn to our Merciful Father seeking His 'forgiveness' in two lovely ways:

1) By tasting the Father's abundant 'mercy' through the Sacrament of Reconciliation; &

2) By praying the 'Our Father' more regularly.

When we do let us pause and contemplate the words 'forgive us our trespasses - as we forgive those who trespass against us'.

Pope Francis beautifully reminds us that 'To love and forgive as God loves and forgives is a program for life that cannot know interruptions or exceptions'.

So Lord help us today to 'forgive' and never 'forget' to seek your mercy!

Paul Murphy Coordinator Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM). 

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 20 : 'Leap of Love'

Today is a special day for all us single guys!

It's truly a day of Olympic & World Cup proportions! A once in a four year event!

It's the 29th February - it's leap year - and it's tradition for a woman to propose to a man.

So ladies don't all rush at once - please form an orderly queue (haha).

Joking aside - it got me thinking about love!

I've recently been blessed to be part of a great group of young men and women in London who have been discussing Pope St John Paul II's 'Theology of the Body' - his wonderful teachings on love and relationships.

It's been beautiful and refreshing to journey together - sharing what it means to truly love someone - in an authentic, real and selfless way.
I've been impressed by the depth of commitment from so many young Catholics who are seeking a love that is pure, wholesome and self-giving.

There's a saying that 'Everyone is looking for the right person, and nobody is trying to be the right person'.

So it's amazing to see young people who are being counter-cultural - who are seeking a love which is self-giving rather than self-seeking.
St John Paul II teachings on love and responsibility are deeply beautiful but yet challenging for our modern world.

'Real love is demanding' he tells us!

More than ever we need a culture where men and women commit to loving one another subjectively rather than objectively - a love that is complementary and in true union.

Perhaps Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the French author sums it up best when he wrote that 'Love is the only thing that grows when it is shared'.

So whether we are single, married or in a relationship - let us seek today a love which is self-giving and authentic.

If we are serious about loving God and one another - we must find time today to pray!

Paul Murphy :  Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM)

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 19 : 'Call to Mission'

The beautiful city of Kraków will host World Youth Day this summer - and I'll be there!


Millions of young Catholics from every corner of the world will travel to Poland, to share their faith and meet Pope Francis.


At World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011 something powerful happened to me -something which changed my life!
Despite having a strong faith - it was the first time I truly witnessed the global nature of the Catholic Church.
Sharing my faith with 2 million young people at the same time in the same city - was a mind-blowing experience.

After Madrid - I became more aware of God's presence in my life. He was calling me by name - calling me to do more - calling me to mission!

It began a process which led me to where I am today - working in Youth Ministry.

It wasn't easy - I had to take a massive 'leap of faith' - leaving everything I knew behind : my profession, my home, my country and my family - to go 'follow Him'.

Today we hear God calling Moses by name - challenging him to do more than he was used to - presenting him with a mission!

Like Moses we all share fears and doubts about accepting God's call, but through prayer we are given courage to trust Him.

Is God calling you by name today?

Paul Murphy is Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM)

 

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 18 : 'Lost and Found'

A major crisis unfolded last week in London!

I lost my mobile!

Yes - I was separated from my hand's extension for a few hours - and it was truly traumatic (haha).

Prayers to St Anthony were offered, they worked a trick as always - it was 'found' and I was reunited with my digital friend.

We all know the feeling of losing something precious; the sense of relief when it is found.

In today's Gospel we hear the Parable of the Prodigal Son - the beautiful story of the 'lost' son returning to his father seeking forgiveness and mercy.

Like the father who forgives his son and welcomes him back with open arms - so too does God our Father!

Many of us lose our way at times. We go in search of worldly goods and our spiritual sat nav has been switched off.

There's a saying 'If God feels far away from you, guess who moved'.

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sums it up well : 'I think you travel to search, and you come back home to find yourself there!'

So if we have lost our way - Lent is a good time to return home to our merciful Father!

'Amazing Grace' that beautiful hymn reminds us that 'I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see'.

Paul Murphy Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry 

RYM DAILY LENTEN MOMENTS

Day 17 : 'Wonderful World

I fell in love some years ago.......

.......with the legendary Louis Armstrong's song 'What a wonderful world'.

Beautiful lyrics speak of the wonders of our world - of creation, nature and love.

Roses blooming, babies crying, colourful rainbows, friends shaking hands, blue skies, white clouds, bright blessed days and dark sacred nights.

It's a song for me that truly captures the sheer wonder and awe of God's creation!

But how often do we take our 'wonderful' world for granted? How often do we fail to appreciate the wonders in our own life?

Psalm 104 today reminds us to 'Remember the wonders the Lord has done'.

Life isn't easy and we all have our struggles - and at times it can be hard to think our lives are wonderful.

But there's a beautiful saying that 'Life doesn't need to be perfect to be wonderful'.

Pope Francis in his encyclical 'Laudato Si' calls each one of us to be open to the wonders of creation and lift our hearts and minds to praise the Lord.

Let us follow his advice today - and like Louis Armstrong think to ourselves 'what a wonderful world!'

 

Paul Murphy

Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 16 : 'A Matter of Trust'

There was a special moment in my life which I'll never forget - and I want to share it with you!

Some years ago I was on private retreat at St Mary's Kinnoull, our beautiful Redemptorist Monastery in Perth in the heart of Scotland.

One afternoon as I was leaving the oratory after a time of prayer, I felt a gentle tap on my shoulder.

I turned around and was greeted by an unfamiliar yet friendly, smiling face of a religious sister - who simply placed a small folded piece of paper in my hand.

She said : 'Take this, read it and never forget it!'

Saying no more, she left and I then unfolded the paper which revealed just 8 words.........

'Trust in the Lord and He will act.'

These words from Psalm 37:5 have never left me - and to this day they shape my life and faith.

They encourage me when I struggle; renew me when I'm weak.

They remind me that if I truly place my trust in the Lord, He will not let me down.

Psalm 1 tells us today 'Happy the man who has placed his trust in the Lord'.

Do we fully trust in the Lord? Do we really believe He can change our lives?

If we begin to trust God more - He will act!

So perhaps when we lack faith - just repeat these lovely words:

'O Sacred Heart of Jesus - I place all my trust in you.'

Paul Murphy

Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 15 : 'Less is More'

You've all heard the saying - 'Less is more!'

I must admit it was a phrase which confused me a little at first - but I've grown to love it.

For you see - when I was younger I used to think that 'more was better'. I used to think that if I had more of something I was doing well - 'more sweets, more time for football'.

Society today still seems to place value on having 'more' - more money, more friends, more gadgets and gizmos.

Yet as I get older I'm starting to really appreciate the importance of this saying - 'less is more'.

A simple smile, a friendly word, the sight of a sunset, the glimpse of a rare bird. The small things in life make me happy!

And 'less is more' for Jesus also!

In Matthew's Gospel (25:40) - we hear Jesus say that 'whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'

He also challenges us when He says that 'the last shall be first and the first shall be last' (Matthew 20:16)

Jesus in his public ministry focused very much on reaching out to the marginalised in society at the time ; those who were deemed as having 'less'.

Pope Francis too places emphasis on reaching out to those whom society often overlooks - the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the lonely, the addicted.

So today let us make a small act of kindness and mercy to help someone in need - because our 'less' will mean 'more' to them than we can ever imagine!

Paul Murphy

Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry

RYM Daily Lenten Moment

Day 14 : 'Humble Hearts'

I do like some pie at times - especially steak pie served with a healthy dose of chips and veg ; or even hot apple pie with ice cream.

Allow me to ponder and salivate at that thought for a moment! Mmm.

I'm not so keen however on eating that other type of pie - you may know it as i do -'humble pie'.

So often in our lives we have to get down from our lofty elevated positions of self-righteousness and admit that we are wrong - even when it pains us to say it.

It's all too easy for us to think we are better than we are, that we are superior to others, and that we know better than everyone else.

In today's Gospel (Matthew 23:1-12), we hear that 'anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.'

C.S Lewis once wrote that 'Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less'

Obedience to God begins with humility.

So let us approach the Lord this Lent with 'humble and contrite hearts' asking forgiveness for the times we place ourself on a pedestal; for the times we judge others as being 'beneath us' or inferior to us ; and for the times we expect others to satisfy our every want and need.

Today let us really try to see the 'face of Christ' in everyone we meet.

Perhaps only then we will give them the love, respect, and compassion that every single person deserves.

Let us make a personal commitment to 'act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly' with our God.

Paul Murphy

Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry

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