• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018 15:57

At Christmas Jesus is knocking at the door of our hearts - reflection

Fr Michael Knight SVD 150By Fr Michael Knight SVD

Christmas is the time when Jesus enters our lives in a special way. However this can be overshadowed by all the other activities at this time, like partying, shopping sprees and the giving of gifts. Also, I have now discovered that Christmas does not have to be a “once off” event for the year, but rather has an essential all year round character.

About 20 years ago I was asked to leave my beloved mission in Ghana in West Africa and return to Australia for Formation ministry. My mission in Ghana had been Parish work, in a very traditional area, where the people were subsistence farmers. After a time of local language learning I became very committed to my missionary work. For the most part this comprised going around, by motorbike, to the different villages for the purpose of basic catechesis as also for initiating development projects concerning the digging of wells and boreholes and for managing a Primary Health care project. At that time the people did not have a scientific understanding of disease and sickness. In this part of the world getting access to a healthy water supply was also a real challenge especially during the long dry season. Missionary life for me in Ghana was all   go..go..go… I did what I believed all good SVD Missionaries did, that was my motivation.

Christmas reflection 2018 450When I arrived in Melbourne I enrolled in the Heart of Life programme for Spiritual Direction, as part of my preparation for Formation ministry. As the first activity of the year, our group of six people and our Director went to a local Retreat Centre.

On our first morning of the retreat our Director asked all of us in the group to take our Bibles and go somewhere in the grounds and see what particular Bible passage engages us. So I took my Bible and sat under a tree and decided to open it at random and see what happens. The passage I got was that towards the end of John’s gospel, when the risen Jesus appears to the Apostles at the Sea of Tiberias, and Jesus asks Simon Peter: ‘Simon, do you love me?”

That impacted on me as:  “Mike do you love me?”  I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. Here I was a returned bush missionary and I had never faced such a question from Jesus. I thought, “This is too much”. Then I decided that I would close the Bible and look at the gospel of Luke which has a social activist slant. That would be more my style. However when I paged through Luke nothing engaged me at all, it seemed rather dry. I couldn’t believe this so I closed my Bible again. 

Then I decided to try opening my Bible at random again and would you believe it, I was looking at the same passage from John’s Gospel: “Mike do you love me?”

So I went back to the group and shared with them what had happened. They were very supportive and my Supervisor told me that this is now the time for me to go deeper into my motivation for being a religious missionary at an emotional and a faith level.

This period in my life was very important for me, something like a watershed time and I also look on it as a “Christmas”, when Jesus was born again in my heart, and indeed in my life, as a religious missionary.

In reflection I could look back at my time as a missionary in Ghana and realise that there had been indications of Jesus trying to break through in this way but because of all my busyness and other pre-occupations I wasn’t able to hear this invitation from Jesus, addressed to  a  deeper level within myself.

Another learning that has come for me in this regard, is that of allowing myself about 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each day to sit quietly and go back over the different situations of the day and try to discern when Jesus has been present in a special way. This may have happened, for example, in different situations with different people and often in the most ordinary circumstances. I am not talking of dramatic happenings but simply Jesus reaching out to me in the more ordinary events and situations that have unfolded in the course of daily life.

In this sense Christmas is now for me, not a once off annual feast, but rather a year round event with Jesus seeking to be incarnated in my mind and heart and in my daily life.