Thursday, 19 December 2013

2013 Wrap Up

This will most likely be my last blog post of the year since tomorrow is my last day in the office. So until I return in the New Year with more weird and wonderful life reflections, here are my favourite posts from the past year:

That should keep you going until I'm back in the New Year!

I pray for many peace and blessings on you and your family this Christmas and New Years,

Monday, 16 December 2013

All of the Lights

So it's Christmas. Correction: it's the Third Week of Advent (which is actually the last "full" week of Advent  since the Fourth Week of Advent is really only two days). "Christmas" holidays, "Christmas" decorations and all those office "Christmas" parties can deceive us into thinking Christmas has already come. In turn, we can skim over the importance of Advent.

See, Christmas isn't just about remembering the Birth of Jesus. It's also about preparing for His second coming. Advent gives us the opportunity to prepare ourselves to go about making Heaven a reality on earth. What we do and what we say, how we act and how we love others reflects Christ's presence in the world today. So when we celebrate Christmas, we welcome Christ into our lives in a renewed way. Advent gives us the opportunity to examine our lives and find those places we need to invite Christ into.

If you're anything like me, maybe you've let the first half of Advent slip right by. Well, before you run out of preparation time, here's a thought to carry with you til Christmas: Shine some light into your life.

Light is a pretty major symbol during Advent: we light the candles of the Advent wreath and we hang strings of Christmas lights all over the place. While we're lighting those candles and hanging those lights let's remember to "hang lights" in our lives as well.

What are the areas in my life that perhaps I'm unaware of, ignored or neglected? Are there areas in my life that I need to pray about? Do I need mentoring about a certain situation in my life? Have I developed bad habits or sin patterns? Is there a relationship that needs more attention? 

Don't wait til New Year's to make resolutions (c'mon, we know most of those resolutions barely make it to February anyway!) Before you get swept up in the feasting (and associated food comas), gift giving, carol singing, midnight mass and whatever traditions your family may have; remember WHY you're celebrating this Christmas: He came that we may have life and have it to the full (Jn 10:!0). During this Advent, let's reflect on the areas of our life that aren't yet full, and how we can allow Jesus to fill those places as we celebrate his coming at Christmas.

May Advent lead us to a fuller journey with Christ and may God bless us all this Christmas. Peace.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Auto Pilot

I sat, leaning back, comfortable in the driver's seat of my little yellow granny car, comforted by the sounds of wheels running along bitumen, the rhythmic click of the indicator, the hum of the engine and the soft tunes coming out of my radio turned down low. The glow of street lights overhead pierced the dark night, fresh air rushed through my window, wound all the way down, the cool breeze dancing around my short-to-medium length hair. I was deep in thought. Drowning in thought actually. Thinking about the day just gone, planning for the day to come, looking ahead to next year and every year thereafter. I was thinking about everything except where I was driving to. That was until I pulled into the driveway...of my old house. Auto pilot, it's a dangerous thing.

Have you ever been so consumed in thought or worry or concern or planning, that you switched your consciousness to auto pilot. Your attention turns to those pressing matters, relegating your day-to-day tasks to your subconscious. Sometimes you get away with it. Sometimes you drive to the wrong home.

Consciousness is an underrated thing and is becoming increasingly under-appreciated in the world of mobile "phones" (which double as mp3 players, cameras and internet modems) and multi-tasking. As I drove into my old driveway it hit me in the face like a sledgehammer: how easy it is to get stuck in the past or consumed by the future. What about NOW?

The question I had to ask myself was this: how often do I switch off to the present; and what am I missing as I'm cruising along? Every moment of everyday is an opportunity to experience God or to share that experience with someone else. If all I'm presenting in the present is a sub-conscious front, how am I meant to participate in those "God moments"? I ended up in the wrong driveway, I didn't even make it close to the right suburb. Our habits and routines can lead us in the wrong direction. We arrive in destinations that are familiar and comfortable, but may not be where God is calling us to be.

The challenge to be conscious is to be aware of how God is moving and working in our lives. It can be tempting to set our faith life to cruise control, but if we are truly alert and aware in the way we live out our faith than surely it will become clear how God moves and works in, through and sometimes, despite of us!

Monday, 2 December 2013


Earlier today I was racking my brains trying to write this blog post. An idea would come and I would begin typing, my fingers aimlessly wandering across the keyboard as my mind aimlessly wondered what I was trying to say. A paragraph would form, yet, unsatisfied and uninspired, my ring finger would fiercely punch away at the backspace key and the process would repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

After each attempt my frustration grew. I could sense within a passion rising, yet each attempt failed to articulate that passion. After several attempts I resigned myself to failure and stared, defeated at my computer screen. Until tonight. Something in my head clicked. The word "undercurrent" sprang up in my consciousness:

noun underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere and is not expressed openly;
2.a current of water below the surface and moving in a different direction from any surface current.

I was experiencing an underlying feeling to express something ( I didn't know what), yet couldn't articulate it at a surface level. And then it clicked: that something I wanted to write about was undercurrents. 

Undercurrent is an odd word. We might use the words "gut feeling", "soul", "conscience", "little voice". Some people would say that our lives have a story which we have to figure out. In my field of work we talk about God's calling on our lives. Whatever you want to call it, you may have experienced that certain pulling or drawing towards a certain direction.

But there's something about the word undercurrent that really struck me tonight. It's something below the surface, something deeper. And it's something that pulls us, perhaps against what may seem to make sense. What a perfect analogy for calling and discernment!

Discernment doesn't (and can't) happen at the surface level. I can't decide I'm not called to be a priest because I find women attractive. It's a normal thing for a man to find women attractive, that's a surface level observation. I have to go deeper than the norm to discern where God is calling me. That means doing something. I drum on a lot in this blog about discerning being more than "thinking about" my vocation, but the reality is unless you change the pattern of your life you won't learn anything new about yourself. 

God isn't shallow, neither should our faith be. Our God is deep, and if we're to follow Him we need to go deep within ourselves. That means facing up to the junk in our lives, that means owning up to our own realities and limitations, and it means surrender to where the undercurrent might be flowing. 

The thing is, we don't just figure out God's will for our lives in our mid-twenties then live happily ever after! The Christian journey is about re-living that commitment everyday, daring to seek where the undercurrent may lead every single day of our lives.
Still you insist on sincerity of heart, in the depths of my heart teach me wisdom
                                                                                                         Psalm 51:8