00:00 – 01:57 = Intro
00:59 – 01:58 = Topic Introduction and Context (Word of the Year – Happy New Year!)
01:59 – 20:55 = Word of the Year.
20:56 – 23:04 = Truth Beauty and Goodness
23:05 – 23:36 = Closing
Word of the Year episode
This has been intense year, but a good year.
Fr Sean Byrnes
Perseverance was the word and man was that necessary, or God thought was necessary!
I shifted from Narrandera to Wagga, and learned a whole new parish system. After already doing a big shift.
Had a million challenges thrown at me and several occasions where I felt like going: “Nope, I’m out.”
The word meant at the beginning of the year – not giving up, keeping at it despite the difficulties that may pop up.
There was a point this year where I had to ask, what exactly am I persevering in and why am I persevering.
To some extent, I think part of my challenge this year was to learn that when I persevere, I’m not on my own, and it’s not by my own strength that I actually engage in perseverance.
But taking it to prayer….
My prayer around this word was focused on Our Lord’s passion, particularly in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was frightened, he was exhausted, he was sweating blood, and still, he persevered in his Fathers will. And it’s not that he didn’t want to be spared all the pain that was to be his. As a true human man, he found death odious.
But he declared to his Father, “Not my will, but your will be done”.
I’m reminded of Augustine, who said that by this act of courage, we see the Lord giving us a lesson as to which will we should prefer in our lives – not our own will, but the will of the Father.
With this prayer in mind, as I came up against difficult moments and things I would have rather not had to deal with, a previous episode of this podcast kept coming to mind, a book study we did last season with Jaques Phillipe’s interior freedom. In this book he makes the point that when all other options are exhausted and suffering or difficulty remains, we are faced with the opportunity to choose the choice we otherwise would not have chosen.
This became the mode of my perseverance, and the motive of my perseverance I found being constantly purified and challenged.
Often it would be something like ‘this thing or person isn’t getting the best of me!’ which is ultimately rather prideful. But the more I brought these moments to prayer and spiritual direction and even supervision, I found myself being drawn to consider more deeply the question of persevering not because I was going to come out on top, but because this moment might be something I can offer up for my own soul and for others.
Not wanting to win a particular moment. What you want to win the imperishable crown.
How to get to that word?
Hadn’t thought about it. But sat with a few scripture passages and the word came up a few times.
Ecce – Behold
One of the first things we hear John the Baptist say as Jesus is approaching – Behold the lamb of God.
Jesus comes out in a purple cloak and a crown of thorns and Pilate says ‘Behold, the man’
Came froms taring at the word on a book on the bookshelf. Another word was coming up, but knew it wasn’t the right time. Then realised it was to be ‘Ecce’
To start with it was reflecting on ‘Gazing’ upon him, being in adoration, fixing my gaze – a reminder of lessons from a previous year of fixing my gaze and not sinking in the stormy water like Peter.
As the year continued it shifted to more of a ‘holding’ in the sense of a deeper intimacy where I have a kind of ‘claim’ to Him, like He is mine, and I am His.
Like He had captured me. A deeper sense and growing intimacy with Him in that.
It’s never just one way with Him – In that there’s been a lot of stretching. There’s been a sense of ‘what is mine is yours and what is yours is mine’.
A sharing of great joys, abundance, but also of deep pain, sadness and suffering.
A closeness that grew…and a lot of contemplation and/or attempted contemplation.
There’s been so much contemplation this year, and it’s been the first year that I’ve spent more time talking to him without any aids, more than processing or writing – I’ve yet to fill up a journal, and it hasn’t been due to forgetting to use it, or falling out of practice – I’ve just not required it to the same degree to help me remain in dialogue with him in this season.
Then from there it got me to Thomas – and really growing to accept that I need to gaze upon him for my faith to remain strong – not necessarily because I doubt him to be true or real, but because It’s been humbling to recognize at a different level that I’m weak, and that God knows this about me already, and he’s designed a fail safe in me for that – which is why he calls me to look at him – Blessed are they who have not seen yet believe – used to feel like an accusation, now it doesn’t sting as much because it’s like he’s following it up with ‘But I know you, so you gaze at me, and I at you, come in closer, I delight in this’ .
To be with him and adore him, it’s part of my design.
“You’re going to keep your eyes locked on me, and I’m going to keep my eyes locked on you, and we’re going to do this life together.”
A sense of delighting in one another. Not wanting or needing anything. Just delighting in His presence.
Thank you to our community and Patreon supporters.
Stina – reading
Conclude – New season begin sometime after Feb – Stay tuned to the socials to find out closer to the date.
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