Reflective prayer: Presence to Self & Others
Patricia McMahon rsm (Great Britain Union)

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Script of Video

We have winter in the Northern hemisphere – a winter like none other. It is a “time to be slow” as John O’Donohue[1] reminds us in his poem of that name. We know that Winter hides a promise of Spring beneath its coat. It takes faith, hope and courage in these days to listen to the inner voices and remain present as we prepare for a season of giving and receiving. We know too that Covid19 roves our world irrespective of borders and life is fragile. Change too arrives unannounced and we search for a new way of unfolding to the mystery of life that surrounds us.

Time is not a linear path we travel but rather it comes towards us formless and has to be negotiated now – the only time we have. There are moments in our lives when we are aware of our closeness to God. It comes in a flash and cannot be manufactured. Yet it goes as swiftly as it is experienced, and it is as if you come into your own presence in order to awaken the presence of the Divine.

All the great religious traditions offer us ways of contemplation to lead us to awareness of the divine alive at the centre of our being. The challenge is to get past the words to the experience. To be present to self asks us to be unhurried, to find a place where stillness is possible, and every breath and heartbeat assures us of the mystery of presence. These Advent days are days of waiting and expectation...

[1] Excerpt from Benedictus (Europe)/The Space between us (US)

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Patricia McMahon rsm is a member of the Union of the Sisters of Mercy Great Britain.

'My  ministry has been mainly in Education. I have served on the Leadership Team for the congregation and have spent 3 years in South Africa in Parish and prison ministry. I am now co-ordinator of the Mercy Community at Hardinge Street, London.'

Annette McCartan is a Sister of Mercy in the Union of the Sisters of Mercy Great Britain. 

'I trained as a General/Paediatric nurse and midwife and enjoyed that ministry for 28 years.  In 2000 I moved into a primary school working with multi-ethnic groups of children in a support role. 

During Covid life has had to change.  I have been voluntary for the last few years and in the current situation volunteers are not allowed in school.  Currently I am involved in Parish ministry and being available for IT support to Sisters/others who have issues with technology.'