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 reflection
‘To Love You Must 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… 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.

Excerpt below from Water from the Rock- Marist Brothers Publication
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

Charter No. 8

A Christian mother reaches out to support and encourage all mothers & 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 …” Philippians 1:3-11

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

How does that Scripture touch you?

What strikes you most from the reflection?

What might the tassels of Jesus cloak be for us as women today?

See Charter No.8 (above). How can Marian Mothers be the presence of Jesus for other women and families?

“Families and communities are crucial for each one to grow, be sustained, healed and encouraged.” How can we better encourage, and sustain one another?

We remember to pray for mothers,
pregnant mums and for children
and grandchildren as they head
to new schools, universities & workplaces.

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

Lord, Mary listened well as a disciple and a mother.
Refresh us to listen well and be attentive to your call to mission and encounter in Mary’s name in our families and community.

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

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

Help us be present to our others 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, you raised Jesus to be caring, merciful and attentive to God, pray for us as mothers. Amen.