"I’m very conscious that this is the calling of the Church in our own time; this is what we mean by the New Evangelization: a willingness to enter into the mystery of the life of the Trinity in communion with Our Lady (because we can't do it without her, it's just impossible because it means a new spiritual rebirth) so that we participate in Jesus' overwhelming concern for the world and its need for salvation. .. This requires of us a new kind of attitude of self-giving in our prayer, in our willingness to spend time with Him so that He can begin to draw us into a deeper awareness of who He is and what He achieved on the Cross. It's to be filled with his salvific concern for our brothers and sisters, and with Him to lay down our lives, to love others as He has loved us, to become disciples, to be disciples who proclaim the message of God which is fundamentally about the forgiveness of sins and the call to new life in Him. And this is how we can see Our Lady attuned to the heart of Jesus, not just in her own personal life but in our lives too, because she sees us as the image of her son being called precisely to participate in her salvific concern for the world. And she's appearing all over the world, not just in Medjugorje, but she does have the capacity to reveal her presence to so many people and the message is always the same: conversion of life for your brothers and sisters. Jesus also says to us: 'Give yourself to me so that I can present you to my mother.' The two work hand in hand. So that is how I see both Our Lady and Jesus working together. It's when we somehow sense that the surrender of ourselves in prayer, 'Let it be done unto me according to they word', that I'm drawn further and further into this life of, first of all, my own inner transformation but also concern for others, and it must include that. This is the message that Pope Francis is talking about. Then Our lady comes alive in a new way for us."
(talk - 35 mins - given in July 2013))
"The film Child 31 is an amazing gift to us - a very kind person in America funded the making of the film - and in so many ways that’s just the story of Mary’s Meals over and over again: lots and lots of gifts that never cease to amaze me.
I think it would be good if I started just by telling a little bit about myself and the story of Mary's Meals, just simply so perhaps we can understand how this is God's work and not so much our work. When I was fourteen years old I was sitting at our family breakfast table in Scotland, Craig Lodge, in what was a small hotel that my parents used to run and also our family home. This particular morning my sister Ruth was reading the newspaper and she suddenly said 'Look it says here that there's a report that some teenagers in Yugoslavia are having some visions of Our Lady.' We started saying to Mum and Dad that if that's even possibly true, we should go there and find out. We'd been brought up in a devout Catholic family and we knew about Lourdes and Fatima, so we started saying to them 'Can we go?' and much to our amazement our parents said 'Well yes, you can go. We're much too busy running the hotel but if you want to go, you can.' So we did, about ten of us, all teenagers, I was the youngest at 14, my sister Ruth was the eldest at 19, we gathered some friends and cousins and headed off to Medjugorje in Bosnia. The few days that we spent there, this was in 1983, really changed our lives and we came back home believing that Our Lady was appearing there and that she had a message for us to decide for God in a new way, to try and put God in the centre of our lives."
"For prayer to blossom, be free, be detached, don’t be self-indulgent, be loving, don't be an egotist, be humble, don't think you're the greatest thing in the world, you know, for prayer to blossom. St Teresa's message in life is 'Don't wait to get to your lives together, don't wait to be loving, detached and humble, before you start praying. Enter into that relationship now, and see where God takes you.' So, love of our brothers and sisters, this isn't people pleasing or being hostage to our likes and dislikes. But loving without self-seeking, and she notes that people who love like that 'Do you think that such people will not love anyone but God?' She says 'They will love people much more than others do, and with a love that is more genuine, more feeling, a love that really does the other person good, in short there really is love. .. Secondly, detachment. This means not so much a 'no' to what attracts us as a 'yes' to the centre of all our loves. Well, she says, you will say no if you've got a bigger yes. 'So it's not so much a no to what attracts us, as a yes to the centre of all our loves. With determination the person embraces the good Jesus Our Lord. Since she finds everything there, she forgets everything.' And, thirdly and finally, humility which, if I put it thus, is the main one and includes them all …. Teresa is laying out a horizon, it's about prayer but it's also about life, and it is light. So we're saying here that she's encouraging us to live for them, to have that sense of mission, vocation, that Jesus is the one who is sent and we are the ones who are sent. Secondly and mainly, that the horizon, the one who sends is the risen Jesus Christ, and it's the anticipated power of His love that colours everything. Thirdly, if it's about relationship and if it's about mission, and not just about an exercise, then I really want it to hum, and for it to hum, then I've got to let my life be brought in tune, and so determination, and love and freedom and humility."
(talk - 50 mins (was given more as a seminar but the chit-chats have been edited out))
"I find it very significant the way Our Lady of Mt Carmel gets to be honoured. Hermits were living on Mount Carmel and their way of life was enshrined in a monastic rule very early in the 13th century. And they were known as the Hermits of Holy Mary of Mt Carmel. A 13th century pilgrim guide to the Holy Land speaks of the Brothers of Carmel, 'they have a very beautiful little church of Our Lady'. And then, when they came to Europe, when the Saracens kicked them out of Palestine, they came to be identified for the scapular... So we've got a mountain, a chapel and a piece of clothing, and what all of those have in common is that they are simply there. The beautiful mountain of Carmel is there; the chapel was there in the midst of the friars; and the devotion, the scapular, you wear it, it's on you, day and night. And that speaks of a particular connection with Our Lady; that Our Lady, as Mary of Mt Carmel, is a woman who is constantly present in your life, who we might say clothes you, shelters you, carries you. And that continual presence fits with silence, serenity and calm; not so much with a lot of activity or a babble of words. It fits with an attitude of gratitude, a heart that's turned towards the Lord, gratefully gazing. It fits with a disposition to carry people's sufferings in your heart. "
(talk - 9 mins)
From Gangland to Promised Land
"I can only say to you that the greatest gift in my life is being able to love. I couldn't love before - I couldn't love myself and I couldn't love anyone else. Do you know what I beg God for every day? To be able to love more.
I was in a prison in Swellside speaking to lifers and there was a real spirit of intimidation, a real spirit of macho-ness, all that stuff I used to be caught up in. And there were 80 guys in there, real aggressive guys and you know, at the end of that talk, it was the spirit of love, and a lot of these guys were crying. And do you know what I said - any spirit of anger, any spirit of intimidation, will always be destroyed by love. Whatever we face, if we face it for Christ, we are always victorious, always."
(talk - 43 mins) John is a member of St Patrick's Community in Ireland - more info here.
"What's all this about? Why I think it's so important is the theology of the resurrection. This is what Teresa teaches us about. As St Paul to the Philippians says: "All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by conforming myself to the pattern of his death." Teresa teaches us: 'If ever I become a saint, I will surely be one of darkness. I will continually be absent from heaven to light the light of those in darkness on earth." The paradox of darkness is that it is the gateway to light, through the cross to light - per crucem ad lucem. The key to holiness in every Catholic's life - not just in the lives of the great saints, every one of us is called to sanctity - must be this interiorisation of the Passion; of what St Paul of the Cross calls 'participation in the Passion.' Because if we can interiorise the Passion of Jesus Christ, live it in our own suffering, then we are open boundlessly to all that the Passion is for the redemption of the world. It is the means of our own purification, living our suffering, but even when we have done that, it is the means of reparation also, that we share Christ's redemptive role in the world, which is the dignity conferred upon us in our baptism. Mother Teresa says to the sisters going to daily Mass: 'Each sister is to do the work of the priest where the priest cannot go, and do what he cannot do. She must be imbibed by the spirit of Holy Mass, which is one of total surrender and offering. For this reason, Holy Mass must become the daily meeting place where God and his creature offer each other for each other and the world." What a staggering theology of the Mass - that you go to Mass offering yourself to God for the salvation of the world and, yes, God offers himself to you for the salvation of the world, and in that intimacy and communion we have joined the Cross and the Resurrection. Because, when St Paul tells the Galations: "I am crucified with Christ and yet I am alive. Yet it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me', it looks as if he is talking about the crucifixion, about darkness; but he's not talking about the crucifixion. He never knew Jesus of Nazareth on earth; he has only known the Risen One and what he is talking about there is the power of the resurrection, the power of 'per crucem ad lucem.' The last words to Mother Teresa: "The joy of loving Jesus comes from the joy of sharing his sufferings so do not allow yourselves to be troubled or distressed but believe in the joy of the resurrection. In all of our lives, as in the life of Jesus, the resurrection has to come, the joy of Easter has to dawn." So in the very darkness she lived, she was a witness to the resurrection and all of us are called and have that same gift offered to us in the daily suffering that we have in our lives."
(talk- 30 mins. Apologies for sound quality - there was a torrential downpour going on outside during the talk!)
Joy and living the truth of a Christian life
"When Jesus says that he came to bring tidings of joy, that is what it means to be evangelised - the Gospel, the Good News is when we have opened ourselves to this tidings of joy that Jesus came to offer, and I often wonder if we have really discovered this Christian joy. Do we really understand what Jesus means when he speaks of the Good News? ... Our Christian life demands from us to be on the battlefield. St Thomas Aquinas doesn't hesitate to say after the Cross there is more suffering in the world than before, and the closer is the return of Christ the more the suffering will increase. It is important to accept that trials are an essential part of our Christian life, destabilisations are an essential part of our Christian life, the battlefield is an essential part. Jesus didn't come to bring us back to the peace and harmony of the garden of Eden; he came and demanded from us that we live again and again with Him all the tension that he has lived at the Cross. There, so easily, so quickly, we run away from the battlefield..we prefer to run away rather than stand in hope ... to discover that whatever suffering we go through, this is the battlefield that Jesus is waiting for us and there that he is willing to meet us in order to give us this joy that the world cannot give us, to give us this peace that the world cannot give us. "
(talk - 40 mins; q&as 10 mins) Father Dominique is a priest with the Community of Saint John.
Made for What?
"Christ fully reveals man to man himself."
"Christ by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear."
(talk - 8 mins) Sister Hyacinthe is a Dominican Sister of Saint Joseph.