To Love Is To Encounter
To Love Is To Encounter
Your February Reflection and Guide

Click HERE to download this month's reflection.

Click HERE to download the guide.


Begin with Prayer
Then read:

Matthew 9:20-22

A woman suffering haemorrhages for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the tassel on his cloak. She said to herself, “If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.” Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” And from that hour the woman was cured.


Read the Scripture again to yourself.

Share a word, phrase, or sense that touches you.

Then together read the ‘Marist Moment’ and again share what touches you.

Marist Moment

Fr Colin used to speak of spending time in Nazareth with Mary to be embraced by God, hear the voice of the Spirit and be empowered to go out, carrying the Presence of Jesus - sharing His love. We stop to discern our unique personal call to mission and service, to encounter - be it in our families, in our wider community, in our parish and in so many different environments where God has uniquely placed us.
From Marist Brothers Publication


Read the reflection
To Love Is To Encounter Victor Frankl (1905-1997)

Presented by Bev McDonald

The early Jewish Communities were given the command to stop and listen to the voice of God. The daily Shema prayer of ‘hear O Israel, the Lord thy God is one…’ is a command to Stop and listen which still speaks to us today. It was from this stopping and listening that they allowed the word of God to seep into their hearts allowing them to go courageously into the world proclaiming the love of God in all they did and to all they met. However, if we are really honest with ourselves, making time to be still and listen to that voice of God who calls us is a constant challenge. How often do we stop to listen? How often do we stop to reflect on who it is we are called to be and what we might be called to do? God has called us each by our very name because of His divine Love for us.

He says: ‘I have called you by your name, you are mine. When you pass through raging waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers , they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flames shall not consume you…..you are precious in my sight, and honoured and I love you….Do not fear for I am with you’ Isaiah 43:1‐4

God has a plan for each of us; we have been called by our very name to proclaim the Good News. We have been called to Mission ‐ to go out into the world on God’s work of evangelization; if you like, on Mary’s work, of carrying Christ into every corner of the earth. We are challenged to go on an adventure encountering others. Pope Francis has said each one of us is a mission from God.

St. Teresa of Avila tells us we are the hands and feet of Christ on earth. This in itself is scary stuff! Because if we are called to be Christ like, to be the hands and feet of Christ on earth, then we are called to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We are called to venture to places where we often feel uncomfortable. If we are to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, like Him, we must encounter those we would not choose to spend time with….the Leper, the prostitute, the outcast, the Samaritan, perhaps that one who never stops talking, or who repeats the same story over and over, the one profoundly different to ourselves.

Today as a Marist Community we are being invited to listen to the voice of God speaking in our hearts. Fr Colin used to speak of spending time in Nazareth with Mary to be embraced by God , hear the voice of the Spirit and be empowered to go out, carrying the Presence of Jesus - sharing His love. We stop to discern our unique personal call to mission and service, to encounter - be it in our families, in our wider community, in our parish and in so many different environments where God has uniquely placed us. We stop and spend time with God to gain strength for our mission and our encounters. We stop to find strength to reach out and serve those on the margins of our society. We stop to seek courage to go beyond our comfort zones. It is from this voice that speaks within each of our hearts that we can learn of God’s individual and communal mission for each one of us.

In our scripture passage we encounter a woman who has no name and because of illness, effectively no life. Being ritually unclean for 12 years has separated her from people. She is socially dead even if not physically dead. To be avoided by everyone is to be rendered utterly isolated and irrelevant. Life can be unbearable in social isolation.

The dead woman’s faith restored her to life; she was determined to encounter Jesus. She was willing to take the risk of touching Jesus so that she might be healed and revitalised. Jesus crossed social boundaries within this story by healing the haemorrhaging woman. He showed that the power of touch would not contaminate him, but rather bring healing and inclusion. He calls each one of us by name, loving us, despite our faults and failings and longs for us to be His hands and His feet and to reach out and touch and encounter those around us.

Excerpts below from Water from the Rock- Marist Brothers Publication

95. Jesus’ message is simple but challenging: Love one another as I have loved you. Jesus not only preaches communion, he lives it. At its heart, Christianity is communion made real in the love of neighbour. In Christ we find that a common mission unites us in community and in turn, community compels us to mission.

96. As we build communities and set up structures that support their vitality, we must share and live a spirituality. Marist spirituality understands community as an excellent place where both self and God are revealed to us through others.

101. In a world thirsty for connection and belonging, home is such a powerful symbol. Families and communities become a crucial place for each one to grow, be sustained, healed and encouraged.

God Bless
Bev


Use these questions as starters to help you share on the reflections

What strikes you most from the reflection?

What might the tassels of Jesus’ cloak be for me personally? Us as church, the body of Christ in a particular place?

How can we discern ways we (Marists or Parish) are invited to help our wider community encounter Gods mercy?

“To be avoided by everyone is to be ... Isolated, irrelevant.” How could we connect with the isolated or irrelevant amongst us in genuine encounter?

“Families and communities become crucial for each one to grow, be sustained, healed and encouraged.” What support do families and the community need in our area?


Pray for each others' needs and for your community and the world.
Then use this closing prayer

Lord, Mary listened well.
Refresh us to listen well and be attentive to your call to mission and encounter in Mary’s name.

Empower us to go to those in need with hopeful courage, carrying the Presence of Jesus - sharing His love.

Equip us to be your hands and feet as we encounter the lonely and the irrelevant.

Help us be present to people in ways that allow them to feel safe and reach for the tassels of your grace.

May our families, parish and communities become
graced vehicles of mercy and encounter with God.

Mary, filled with the Holy Spirit, pray for us. Amen.