“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.”
One morning this week as I was making breakfast, I noticed that Mary had written this message on the whiteboard that hangs in our kitchen. As this week progressed, I became more and more aware of how this message is central to all of our ministries. The greatest joys that Teach Bhríde experiences are delivered through the realization and sharing of love among the communities we have been blessed to join. God brings us into many new and different friendships and communities throughout the journey of life, and each interaction is an opportunity to more fully appreciate and share a message of love with the world.
All four of us have had our first meetings with our personal spiritual directors over the past couple weeks, and all of us have greatly enjoyed the initial meetings and are looking forward to the growth and lessons that the upcoming year of direction holds. On Wednesday, I traveled to Enniscorthy to have my first spiritual direction meeting with Father Billy Swan. Father Billy and I had a great afternoon of discussion, and what struck me most about him was his kind and gentle personality that created an aura of peace and goodwill. After talking for a while at his home, Father Billy treated me to lunch and very kindly walked me to the bus station and waited with me until the bus arrived to take me back to Wexford. His eagerness to give himself to others and show love for everyone he encounters reminded me of the tremendous positive impact that an attitude of selfless love and charity has on the self and the world.
On Thursday morning, Father James, Mary, and I assisted with the Opening of the School Year Mass at Scoil Mhuire, one of the local primary schools. The theme for the Mass was respect, and with nearly the entire school packed into the auditorium, the celebration reminded all of us that showing love for each other is a fundamental part of building and maintaining a successful and joyous community. Having respect for others means genuinely loving others as well as valuing the importance of this love, and Thursday morning’s Mass displayed the love that is present within the school and community. The children sang many hymns with full hearts and great enthusiasm throughout the Mass. The sharing of peace was also a special moment, as getting to see the joy on many children’s faces as we wished peace to be with them was uplifting and touching. The Opening of the Year Mass left Mary and I feeling blessed to participate in the promotion of respect and love in wonderful communities like Scoil Mhuire.
This week also brought a bittersweet moment for Teach Bhríde and Clonard, as we said goodbye to Father Martin Pender, who this week returned to South Africa after spending the past few weeks with our parish. It was a pleasure getting to know Father Martin over the past few weeks, and it was also a privilege and joy to celebrate Mass with him on several occasions as well. We want to thank Father Martin for devoting his presence and ministry to Clonard, and we look forward to hopefully seeing him back in Wexford sometime in the future.
Throughout all of our ministerial activities, we continue to see an emanation and growth of love in the Clonard community, and the love that so many people have shown and continue to show each other and us inspires us to serve God and the community to the best of our abilities. May we always remember that love is of God, and love is the message He has called us to share.