Live the Good News
This section of Blessed + Broken is for the days between each gathering.
It includes suggestions for further reading and reflection, and steps for concrete actions.
- This week focus on some ways this week you can ‘wait on’ others. Perhaps for someone young, or elderly, who needs your attention and patient care.
- Download and read our free 8 page booklet Living Lent on different aspects of the season of Lent:
- Ashes to Light
- Fasting for Enlightenment
- The Faith we Live (the Creed)
- Purple – the Lenten colour
- Prayer Light for the Soul (Our Father).
- At the age of 25 and 21, brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, were executed on February 22nd, 1943 for non-violent resistance against Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Regime. Her deep Christian faith was an inspiration for Sophie’s brave actions. Watch the movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days for a wonderful witness of vocational discernment by young people. What is the Spirit calling you to awaken and stir to action this week?
- In our ‘Blessed and Given’ story this week Katelyn speaks about difficulties and challenges she faced about poor body image. One survey reported that 76% of high school girls wanted to be thinner and one in five young men reported that body image is their number one concern. What are some positive steps you can take this week to help turn this around … in conversations, comments on social media, protesting to advertisers? For helpful background information, charts and statistics, (eg eating disorders affect 9% of the population) check the website for the National Eating Disorders Collaboration: www.nedc.com.au
Real Talk Australia has a resource called Girl Talk that parishes, schools and families can use to explore these issues: www.realtalkaustralia.com/resources
- Download Fr Bill O’Shea’s excellent The Mind and Message of Mark
- Caritas Australia’s annual Lenten fundraising and awareness-raising appeal is Project Compassion for a Just Future. Watch the videos about the featured stories at www.caritas.org.au/projectcompassion
- This week find out what your parish, diocese and nation is doing for the Year of Youth.
- Anointed and Sent provides a common vision of the Australian Catholic Bishops for animating and nurturing the spiritual life of young people aged 12-30. Check out the website and download the PDF
- Reach out to an elderly relation, neighbour or member of your church this week. In your schedule appoint time to listen to their stories, wisdom and insight. Are there ways you can connect them to other people at church, in the neighbourhood or in the community?
- Seek out moments for the ‘more’ this week: dawns and sunsets, a smile, laughter, some unexpected window into the beauty of God’s creation. Listen attentively to the natural sounds in your day: birds, children talking, flowing water, a breeze rustling leaves. Give thanks to God for these blessings of creation that surround and brighten your day.
- In On Care of our Common Home (Laudato Si’) Pope Francis writes that:
‘We need to take up an ancient lesson, found in different religious traditions and also in the Bible. It is the conviction that “less is more”. … To be serenely present to each reality, however small it may be, opens us to much greater horizons of understanding and personal fulfilment. Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us.’ (222)
This week how will you be ‘serenely present to each reality’? What will be the ‘small things’ you will appreciate? In conversations look for ways to shift the focus to ‘less is more’.
- Read the Australian Catholic Bishops Social Justice Statement 2017–18: Everyone’s Business – Developing an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy. In his opening letter Bishop Long gives us these simple, but profound, words: ‘This Statement is inspired by the teachings of Jesus and by the unswerving vision of Pope Francis: that the most vulnerable and excluded are the ones who need to take first place in our hearts and in our actions as individuals and as a society’. Documents may be printed from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council website.
- Our ‘Blessed and Given’ story this week is by Clare Sultmann. Her book, Standing On My Own Two Feet is an inspiring account of how this horrific accident changed and altered her life. All profits from sales are donated to Youngcare, an organisation that provides dignified housing to young people with high care needs.
- Br David Stendl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who has given presentations to groups all over the world on the theme of ‘gratefulness’. His TED talk, Want to be happy? Be grateful, has been viewed over 6 million times.
- Ann Voskamp’s two books, The Broken Way and 1000 Gifts, are available as DVD and discussion guide.
- The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed the horrendous statistics and long-term damage caused to victims/survivors, their families and the community who had suffered abuse by priests, religious or lay workers in the Church. One of the goals of the Year of Youth is for a safe environment, physically, emotionally and spiritually for young people. The Institute of Child Protection Studies at the Australian Catholic University has produced an excellent four page brochure, ‘What do children and young people think about safety’. Print copies for your group and parish.
- Archbishop Mark Coleridge has produced an excellent series of Youtube videos on the Mass. Watch some of these during Holy Week.
- Our Gospel Reflection this week is by Fr Rob Galea from Shepparton, Victoria. Fr Rob has an international audience through his music and website. He was a contestant on X-Factor. But this is a far cry from his troubled youth in Malta – stealing, drug-taking and suicidal. Read Rob’s newly released autobiography, Breakthrough – A Journey from Desperation to Hope, or give it to a young person in your parish. www.frrobgalea.com
- In Ora Duffley’s inspiring story this week in the ‘Blessed and Given’ section we heard about the amazing work of SOS Cretins’ d’Orient. To learn more about this French charity and how you can help the Christians of the Middle East visit the website: www.soschretiensdorient.fr (click on translate into English).
- In October this year there will be a Synod of Bishops on the topic, Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment. During Holy week pray for this gathering to ‘discern the signs of the times, indicated by the Spirit’ listening to aspirations of young people and ‘glimpse the paths the Church is to follow’ (Preparatory Document for the Synod of Bishops). Download the full document