Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ. Try to imitate God as children of his that he loves and follow Christ loving as he loved you, giving himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God. Ephesians 4:32-5:2
by Sr Ann Catherine Swailes o.p.
[The sisters of St. Catherine's Convent, Cambridge are giving a reflection each week at Vespers on Wednesdays in Lent. This week SrAnn Catherine reflects on kindness]
And so, here we are again in Passiontide, and as we enter this chapel, it looks different, with statues and images clothed once more in the familiar unfamiliarity of their seasonal amorphous purple. The obscuring of these obvious visual focal points at this point in the Church’s calendar, perhaps parallels for some of us at least, a kind of absence of spiritual bearings, a sense of place giving way to dis-location; perhaps tired from our efforts to do Lent well, or at a loss to know how to get back on track towards the end of a Lent that seems to have somehow passed us by this year, perhaps simply stunned by the pain of the world around us, knowing that we ought to be able to make a connection between what we consume obsessively, or turn away from queasily, in our newsfeeds, and the events we will be reflecting on in the coming days, but too overwhelmed by anger, or sorrow, or doubt, to trust ourselves to do so. In whatever state of fatigue, or anxiety, or confusion we stand at the door of the coming Holy Week, we lift the eyes of
Work for your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, you will be children of God. (Philippians 2:12-15)
by Sr Mary Magdalene Eitenmiller o.p.
[The sisters of St. Catherine's Convent, Cambridge are giving a reflection each week at Vespers on Wednesdays in Lent. This week Sr Magdalene reflects on the virtue of humility]
This short passage that we have just read from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Chapter 2, verses 12-15, encourages the Christians, in what is perhaps a better English translation, to “work for your salvation with fear and trembling.” “Fear and trembling.” What does it mean to work for our salvation in fear and trembling? St. Thomas Aquinas understands this to refer to the need for humility. “For the proud one does not fear, but the humble person does,” he says. And St. Paul warns, “let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he falls” (1 Cor 10:12). All that we do must be in keeping with the goal of our salvation, as well as the salvation of others. And we work for our salvation precisely by allowing God to work in us. But we must be humble in allowing God to transform us, for as Christ teaches, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). This is not to deny our free will, but rather, it is to show our absolute dependence on God’s grace and mercy. Humility involves a recognition of this need for God, as a little child needs the help of his loving father or mother.
And Humility helps us realize that God alone is the very goal of our
'Those who are sowing in tears shall sing when they reap.'
by Sr Tamsin Mary Geach o.p.
[The sisters of St. Catherine's Cambridge are giving a reflection each week at Vespers on Wednesdays. This week Sr Tamsin reflects on the Our Father as a mini Gospel]
The Our Father, among other things, is a snapshot of the Incarnation, a mini Gospel. Christ, on earth hallows, or ‘glorifies’ the Father: ‘Father, glorify your name’(Jn 12.28); He preaches that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt4.17)and is Himself that Kingdom; He pre-eminently fulfils the Father’s will. He gives us His Body under the appearance of Bread at the last supper, and He suffers for us our temptations, both in the desert, throughout His life and in His Passion and Death, and so delivers us from evil.
I want to focus in upon the ‘fiat voluntas tua sicut in caelo et in terra.’, in particular on the word ‘fiat’ – let it be, become, be made. On 25th we will celebrate that most celebrated ‘fiat’ of all time, Our Lady’s ‘yes’ to the plan for our redemption. Those of you who have been taught Latin by me will know that I get excited about this word Fiat, (some of you might have been tempted to feel I should get out more!).
by Sr Rose Rolliing o.p.
[The sisters of st Catherine's Cambridge are giving a reflection each week at Vespers. This week Sr Rose reflects on the topic of complaining.]
Do everything without complaining and arguing, that you may be innocent and pure, as God’s perfect children.
One of the most transformative experiences of my life was spending a year as part of a Catholic charismatic lay community. To consecrate the year ahead, I was invited to receive prayer ministry, and asked: what do you want God to do for you this year? What is it that you seek? I responded very intuitively by saying: “I want God to break something inside of me”. I didn’t know what that something was, but I did know that I wasn’t ok with God, and I wasn’t ok in myself, and with some incredulity, I began asking the Lord to help me re-surrender.
Five months later, I found myself in crisis. Surprised and confused by the turn of events, I started complaining: “what is going on, where is God?” The mentor who was accompanying me through this process rebuked me amidst one of my griping sessions and said: “you have been praying for God to act in your life, and now that He’s doing it, you complain”! Her words changed my whole perspective – where I