We need to dream… bigger…. And bigger again.
So we begin again, a fresh new year, and remember our desires for the year ahead, the promises and wishes that inhabit our hearts. As Christians /Catholics we have just beheld the nativity scenes, the story of Jesus, the wonder of the revelation at this time of Advent. God has come into our world, us, just as we are, here amongst us. As non-Christians, too, God is amongst us… not distinguishing.
There was Mary’s ‘yes’. So here amongst us there are so many ‘Yes’s’ in a world that seems to be about ‘No… later, not now.’
Ignatian Spirituality is about ‘Yes’, it has at heart the need for us each to discern, to decide, to make our choices, making them over and over from the ‘Yes’ that will decide everything else. What is the deepest desire in your heart? It is this that will decide everything else.
The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius start right here, looking at our choices, what are you choosing for your living…do you live out God? ’Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.’
He concludes his Principle and Foundation  with ‘desiring and choosing only what is most conductive for us to the end for which we are created.’
These words are dry, they give us plenty of capacity to moisten them with living, just as Mary’s ‘yes’ came alive. All ‘Yes’s’ are different, but there is something recognisable in the movement, perhaps because it holds each of us, our journey is implicit, our linking to each other.
]I remember walking into the office of St Canice’s, like many, many others have over the last nineteen years.
We come for some ‘reason’, to drop off clothes, to see the priest, to talk to about spots in the columbarium, the death of a loved one, to ask of a cup of coffee a blanket.
Underneath is something like a ‘silent cry’ …who will meet us, who will know and speak and respond to that place.
And we are met… right there, in the heart of the silent cry.
So at this moment when we are working on our ‘Yes’s’, let’s take a look around at the others whose have made that simple ‘Yes’. To the many women in our parish, simple and profound in their pastoring, their enabling, weaving lives back together again.
This is how I met Elizabeth. I was shy and out of my depth and I was met by someone who saw me with the eyes of her heart.
Nothing much has changed over the years that I have known her, the priests have come and gone, the people around her have stayed or gone, her health has changed back and forth, but still she is there, open, warm and available, always willing and always with a deep knowing of the fragility of human nature and a love for each person.
She holds the history of the parish, but for me she holds what this parish represents: it accompanies those in need, those in the community, without fuss or fanfare, noise or attention. The plans about this or that need not be big, but what happens between us is, it is life changing.
None of us of has any idea what a ‘yes’ means for another: what will be required, what we will need to relinquish, what fears and doubts will arise, what darkness and joys we will face. But we do know that Mary ‘pondered many things in her heart’.
This is what Mary gave us all in her “Yes”, and this is what has greeted us at the office door from Elizabeth for the last nineteen years, as well as from the many women in this parish, who serve and lead, succour and mend, who heal and wait.