This month's discussion guide is available in an easy print format here.
Right: Fr Frank Bird SM
Start your meeting with the Sign of the Cross and a prayer
Someone read: A reading from Matthew 25:35-36, 40
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. . . Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."
Read the Reflection:
Hi my name is Fr Frank Bird.
I've just been home in NZ on holiday and was invited to share a little with Marist Laity about who I am and what I'm up to.
I'm going to share about my call to be a Marist, why we are on the Thai Burma Border, what we are doing and an invitation to become a friend and supporter of the mission there.
I am a Marist priest from New Zealand. I was born and raised in Wanganui. Ordained a Priest in 2000 and now I'm working in the Marist Mission in Ranong.
Ranong is a fishing village and Border crossing town on the Thailand Burma Border and its filled with Burmese Migrants fleeing poverty and oppression in Burma or now called Myanmar
I really love being here, and loving and serving poor Burmese migrants it is wonderful each day.
My journey to become a Marist started when I was young. And I can trace it back to my Mum.
When I was about 8 I can remember going to visit people with my Mum. She would often visit the sick or people who had just come out of hospital. She was wonderful at baking a sultana cake at the drop of a hat… and I was the one who carried the cake when Mum went visiting.
I can remember seeing the joy that people had when my Mum came to visit them. I saw the joy Mum had in loving and serving those in need… and of course there was always the cuppa tea and sultana cake…
It made a big impression on me as the years went on….. I regularly went with Mum. I don't know if she planned it or not, but when I reflect back on my vocation to be a Priest and Religious, I know there was a point in my young life when I knew deep down it is possible to be very happy living a life of love and service for others. I think we all want to be happy, but in our young years it is so easy for this to be captured by worry about career…. In a subtle way career can become about a concern for what will bring me 'comfort' in the future (money and possessions and stuff), rather than compassion and caring.
When I was young I spent a bit of time thinking about this sort of stuff as I walked my dog along the riverside near our home. What do I really want to do with my life? What is my deepest desire? Will I live a life of comfort or a life of compassion? I knew deep down these two choices were quite different.
My Mum was Anglican and my Dad was Catholic. Every once in a while I would see Mum through the bedroom door kneeling beside her bed saying prayers at night. I would see Dad so committed to getting to Mass and supporting the parish. He was always helping the community with his time and talents as an engineer at the local swimming club, community polytech. He was bigger than just his family. He supported the community. He wasn't selfish even though they must have been busy as anything with us 7 kids and I was the last and a twin. Ha. Ha.
When I didn't have the words to describe or understand my faith, the example of my Mum and Dad was before me. Helping me. Growing ideas and inspiring me.
I'm so grateful to God for them now.
No.8 From our Charter
For your reflection this month
A Christian mother reaches out to support and encourage all
mothers and is open to receive the same from others.
"I thank my God whenever I think of you …
My prayer is that your love for each other
may increase more and more …"
Use the following questions as starters for your reflection and discussion:
"Mum taught me about mercy and compassion through her actions – I was invited to carry the cakes to those in need" … What are your memories of compassion in your family? How do you reveal God's compassion and mercy to others?
Fr Frank remembers Mum praying by her bed, Dad very committed to Sunday Mass. What would you like your family and loved ones to remember about your faith and relationship with God?
God writes his hopes and plan for us into our desires and a priest asked Fr Frank "What is your deepest desire?". How do you respond to this sense of desire and call in your life?
What is my strongest source of confidence and security or what is your response to: What is your deepest desire?
For your own intentions and other needs...
Conclude the meeting with the following:
God our Father, source of all our family has and is,
help us to follow the example of your Son and the holy family at
May we be mothers after your own mothers' heart.
May we love one another and always be open to freely share
the goodness and the mercy you have given to us.
Help us to be generous and kind to all those you have placed in our lives
and to be attentive to ways we might reach out to those who are in need.
Teach me what to give, and what to withhold,
help me be gentle and wise as a mother, teacher, mentor and guide to my children and family.
Through Christ Our Lord, Amen
Mary Mother of Tenderness, pray for us.