Bishop's Message

 

BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION

27 April 2020

The journey from loneliness to solitude!

We are social creatures, interaction and connection are a part of who we are. However, there needs to be space in togetherness. If we do not have space, we lose ourselves. We need to reflect, be in touch with our feelings. If we do not have time to be alone, we just react to life and are in danger of living on the surface of life.

Loneliness can be fearful, there can be an ache wanting to be filled in in our inner space and vacuum. We wait for someone, something to fill the loneliness within us. We want reassurance that we are lovable, likeable.

The reality is that no one can take our loneliness away. However we do not need to stay lonely.

Being alone does not mean that we have to be lonely, we do not have to experience isolation, we can choose to journey from loneliness to solitude.

When two lonely people come together trying to take away the loneliness within, what you end up with is two lonely people together.

You can be lonely in a crowd.

We can move out of loneliness when we begin to believe that we do matter. We have a God given sacredness, goodness, in the core of who we are.

Yes, we can remind each other of this reality. The core message of the Gospel says very clearly how much we matter to God. When we live the Gospel with each other, valuing, honouring, respecting, forgiving, etc. each other we become living reminders that each one of us does matter. When we do this, we help facilitate ‘God moments’ for each other.

Jesus needed time out often, to pray, to reflect. Retreats, quiet times every day at home, in nature, and other places help to ground us, keep us in touch with the deeper realities.

Solitude and silence can be beautiful, indeed good forus!

Saint Anthony of Egypt spent 20 years in the desert as a hermit. When he came back to connect with people, they expected to see an eccentric, half mad person. Instead they experienced a healthy and sane human person. This was the early 300s. He became a founder of the monastic movement of the desert fathers and mothers in Egypt and the MiddleEast.

Most of us are not called to be monks or nuns. We are all called to have times of solitude. We need to reflect, to pray, to be alone with God, connecting with nature and the environment.

In fact some solitude is necessary if we are to be wholesome healthy human beings. When we show respect for others, we can help them move from loneliness to solitude!

 

God Bless you today.

+ Charles Gauci

Bishop of Darwin


 

BISHOP'S  DAILY  REFLECTION

5 April 2020 

“Hosana!” they shouted, as Jesus came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It was a greeting for a hero, a King. It was a proclamation of who Jesus was, the Messiah!

A few days later, the crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Jesus was not immune to fear and pain. He knew that he had big challenges to face. In all this, whilst tempted, and even though he struggled, he remained faithful.

Foolish is the one whose happiness depends on the opinion or the mouth of others. Someone praises you, and you naturally feel good about it. Someone disparages you, and you don’t like it.

Both are understandable reactions, however, if I go down in the dumps and become miserable just because someone insults me, or is rude to me, then I am giving them power over me!

I remember a story from Anthony DeMello that I came across many years ago. A man goes to buy the newspaper and a friend is with him. The newspaper vendor is rude, very rude to him. He still buys the newspaper and goes away. His friend is amazed. “Is he often rude like this?” asks his friend. “Yes, every day,” is the response from the man. “Then why do you buy your newspaper from him?” asks his friend. “Because it is convenient to me. Why should I let his rudeness determine where I buy my newspaper from?” He was a free man!

It is our insecurities that make us question ourselves when others are unreasonable towards us.

We give someone power over us when we act like a ‘yo yo’ depending on whether they make a disparaging remark or smile at us.

Am I free enough to keep loving when I am not being loved back? Am I free enough to be committed to loving rather than too pleasing?

Becoming a ‘yes’ person or one who is over concerned with pleasing others all the time is not necessarily loving.

Jesus kept loving even though it made him enemies. He remained faithful to his convictions and to what is right, even though it displeased some people. His love was not conditioned by the reactions he got from others. He died forgiving those who did him harm.

It is not easy to love like this. Unlike Jesus, we often fail in our ideals. However, God never gives up on us, so let us never give up on ourselves or each other.

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin



BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

4 April 2020  

We all want to be happy. I have sat down with many couples preparing them for marriage for over 43 years now. I often ask the question, “What would you like to do for your partner?” Very often many would say, “I want to make them happy!” Then most often I say, “You cannot do that!” I get very puzzled looks and challenges to my statement. 

My answer is, “You can share happiness, but you cannot make anyone happy. Happiness is a choice and you make it from within.”

Indeed, I believe that happiness is a choice. Euphoria, feeling high can be a by-product of happiness but is not necessarily a measure of happiness.

One of the prerequisites for happiness is detachment. If I am attached to something and make myself miserable because I cannot get it, that is a choice. For example, I go out to a meal and ask for tomato soup. However there is no tomato soup available. I am offered the choice of three other types of soup and decline them and keep on asking for tomato soup. I keep getting worked up, making a fuss and getting bothered because I cannot get it; that is a choice.

In life we need flexibility, we need not ‘sweat the small stuff’ and almost everything is indeed small stuff compared to the big picture. Even death leads to eternal life.

So does it mean that we can deny our feelings and live in some type of utopia, of course not! It is about flexibility, it is about being open to alternatives, it is about not having just one plan, we need plan A, B, C, etc.

Being anchored in God, source of life and goodness, grounds us in reality. I can decide to be true to myself, to my commitments, I can decide to keep on loving even when love is not adequately returned.

If we expect someone or something to make us happy, we are asking the impossible. We are adding an impossible burden upon them. Indeed this is the cause of many disappointments in relationships.

My attitude to life and its many challenges is so important!

So often we of course do not live up to our ideals. The biggest mistake that we can make is to give up trying.

Jesus helped so many before us in his own lifetime and throughout the ages since, to change, and to become free. Are you willing to let him help you be happy?

God bless you.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

3 April 2020

So often we hear bad news. Of course we need not to ignore or pretend that bad things do not happen. However, in the interest of justice as well as our sanity, we need balance. We can focus on individuals as well as organisations and find out all the bad things about them. We can then put all things together and end up with a very disjointed understanding of the full  reality. 

I hear people so often generalise about those of a particular race, or social economic status, or religion or lack of religion, etc. It’s also done within families, ‘you’re always like that’, ‘you always do that’, etc.

Without ignoring the ‘bad’ and while also being just, we can make sure that we do not become at least partially ‘blind’ to the good that is also in others.

Human beings are frail, are weak, make mistakes and even sin. I REPEAT, we can never condone evil and we need to always be there to help and protect the victims of evil, in all its forms.

As we reflect on our lives, it is good to ask the question: Are we encouraging each other to do better and acknowledging the good others do?

Yesterday I was talking to Peter who works for Green River Association at Daly River and he told me how much he appreciated the work done by CatholicCare NT in that town, particularly at this time.

I wish to acknowledge the work of CatholicCare NT, Catholic Education NT staff and St Vincent de Paul Society who are doing so much to support people at this time. Together, with others, including many of our Priests and other pastoral workers who are in remote areas – are doing a fantastic job.

We also acknowledge our medical staff and other care givers everywhere on the forefront of helping others. Some of them have made the supreme sacrifice of their own lives in the pursuit of helping others.

What an encouragement to us all to always be INSTRUMENTS OF HOPE, LOVE AND COURAGE.

Nelson Mandela said that we are afraid of our power not so much of our weakness. The power to do good, to be instruments of transformative change, is within us. However, it takes courage to unleash this energy for doing good and love.

LOVE requires work and it is risky. It requires commitment. We know what it cost Jesus! But after that, commitment brings freedom to be who we are meant to be.

God bless you.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

2 April 2020 

I have seen a lot of changes during my lifetime; I was born in Malta in the 50’s not long after the end of World War II. I have parents who lived during the war when the population were on the verge of starvation during a siege that lasted for years. We always had enough to eat but we also never threw anything away that could be recycled or fixed. 

In many ways, consumerism has been a bit like a runaway train. The waste that we and other 1 st world countries produce is massive. So much good is thrown ‘away’. In many ways, compared to most of the world, we live very affluent lives. I know of course that not all Australians share equally in this abundance and indeed there are many who struggle.

Recently, we have been finding empty shelves in the supermarkets. There is a limit on how many items we can buy. Income has suddenly come under threat for so many. For most who live in this country, this is a new experience. Gratification is not a bad thing. If you are hungry you eat, thirsty you drink, tired you rest or sleep.

Balance in gratification, is however also healthy and necessary. If I take something that belongs to someone else without their permission that becomes stealing! If I eat too much, I am a glutton, etc.

Gratification of the senses and desires all the time without checks or balances, is demeaning to our dignity and ultimately also a cause of unhappiness. Acting without wisdom and balance leads us to strange and unhealthy places. I need to choose what is right and good and not just what is easy or expedient. It does not mean that something is right just because I can do it or feel like it!

Maybe the empty shelves and other challenges that we are now experiencing can help us to be more reflective about the right way of fulfilling our desires and gratification. Just because I want something does not necessarily make it right.

In our daily reflection, it would be very helpful to share my desires with God, the source of all wisdom.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and the rest will be given to you. And afterwards, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

1 April 2020 

In the middle of all that is happening around us, we can forget or at least put on the back burner that this is the time of lent. This is perfectly understandable when our lives are anything but ‘normal’ at the moment and are likely not to be ‘normal’ for quite some time. 

Yet lent is about not being ‘normal’, i.e. if normal means business as usual.

An unaffected life is only partially lived. Call it mindfulness or by some other name, being truly present to the moment is about being present to reality as reality is, not as we construct it to be or wish it to be.

Life can be hard. Things happen that we rather not happen, sickness, relationship issues, grief in so many forms, trauma, etc.

Lent is an invitation to reach out. We can get caught up in ‘my worries’, ‘my pain’, ‘my anxiety’, my, my, etc. We can get trapped going around in circles inside our heads. A sure way to feel trapped, depressed and to start playing games in life, in relationships.

WE FIND OURSELVES WHEN WE GIVE OURSELVES.

  • a)How am I treating myself? Do I acknowledge that I am unconditionally loved and that in the core of my being is a spark of the divine? Do I allow myself to receive healing and renewal in my life?
  • b)How am I treating others? Am I respectful in my thoughts, actions, words, attitude, my secret thoughts, to my wife, husband, children, parents – to all? Do I keep on making decisions to be respectful? Do I never give up trying to be respectful?
  • c)How do I relate to God who holds me and the whole universe and all that there is in God’s heart?
  • d) How do I relate to life and creation around me; am I open to seeing it all as a miracle?

We do not deny in the imperfections. We accept them, do what we can to continue growing and to continue to LOVE……

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

31 March 2020

Change can be interesting, exciting, stimulating, but it can also be scary and unsettling. 

Like many other creatures on this earth we develop habits, good, bad or indifferent.

We are certainly being challenged by a lot of change at the moment. This affects how we socialise, interact with each other, how we live and work and in so many other ways.

How we react to all this can determine whether we are going to grow as human beings or whether we put ‘life on hold’ or maybe even slide into ways of living or acting in ways that we would rather not be doing.

Change calls for a response. Fear and a certain reluctance to work can inhibit our growth as human beings, our spiritual growth.

Fear of the unknown can be immobilising; it can also cause us to want to escape. I see this in animals, it’s also present in us.

What is unknown to me is not necessarily unknown to the experience of others. We share a common humanity; yes, we are different in so many ways, yet “What it is most intimate, most personal, is most universal” (quote from Henri Nouwen’s booked called Reaching Out).

Deep down we share a common humanity and can learn from the experience of others even though we have new experiences in a changing world.

To grow also requires effort and work. There is a certain ‘laziness’ that can slow our initiative to grow.

Am I committed to grow spiritually? As I deal with ‘fear’ or ‘laziness’ then I can make a decision to chose to grow.

I take my decision to choose to live life more fully to prayer for the energy that comes from connecting with the source of all life, the Holy Spirit who makes all things new!

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

30 March 2020

I was blessed with parents who loved each other and loved their children.

I came across a quote, from Richard Rohr’s daily meditation, which was inspired by the Christian medieval mystic Julian of Norwich. Julian reminded us that the ideals of a good father and mother are both found in God.

For those who have experienced less than ideal parenthood, some even horrific experiences, this can, even subconsciously, harbour a bitterness at the idea of God as a nurturing father or mother.

Yet our God is the wisest, most creative force of LOVE that there is. God is not limited by the poor examples that we have had. God delights in reframing the word LOVE for those who have been hurt by love.

The three in LOVE, we know as the Blessed Trinity has included you in LOVE. If you imagine the person you are most fond of, the person you like most, God loves you more than that.

Even the most ideal lovers on earth, real as their love is, precious as it is, is but a reflection of God’s love for us.

Please keep remembering how deeply and unconditionally loved and loveable you are. Nothing in heaven or on earth can ever negate this!

You are beautifully and wonderfully made forever, regardless of what faults and mistakes you have made. Please remind each other of this.

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

29 March 2020

Today I heard a man shout abuse at a woman in the street sitting with her friends across the road as I was watering some newly planted trees. The abuse went on for a long time, pure anger. It was exhausting just listening to it. Sadly, I hear this type of abuse often at the bus stop which is just across the road.

I have learnt when to intervene and when to just watch making sure that it does not turn physically violent, when I always intervene.

We waste so much time on what does not matter. The anger within because of a lack of self-love and because of a belief that we are not respected, often comes out in the way we treat others.

Last night, Pope Francis at his Urbi et Orbi, addressing a completely empty St Peter’s Square, questioned our greed and sometimes our thoughtless ways of life. He said that only ‘brotherhood and sisterhood’ and solidarity can solve humanity. The planet is one big boat and we sail or sink together.

We need to reflect everyday how we have distinguished the truly important from the banal.

Take a few moments every day to reflect on how we have related to others today.

Take it to prayer and with God’s help make a choice to be respectful in all interactions the rest of today and tomorrow.

God bless you.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION

28 March 2020

Grief is something we journey with throughout our life. My youngest brother died when he was four and half years old and I was thirteen. I was with my Mother at the Children’s Hospital in Adelaide when he died. This was August 1965, almost 55 years ago. It was the first time that I had seen anyone die.

I was reading about the death of a young boy today, and suddenly I could not stop the tears. I immediately connected with the experience so long ago, and yet so profound.

I really believe that my brother John is with God, my parents and all those who have gone before us into the fullness of life.

I believe this because the resurrection of Jesus and the promises that Jesus made. However, I think that the unusual times we are living at the moment contributed to my teary reaction.

Our faith does not stop us from feeling sadness or grief, rather it helps us to deal constructively instead of destructively with grief.

I think that my experience of sadness enabled me to feel empathy for the grieving family of the young boy whose death I heard about today.

Let us be gentle with ourselves and with others as we face these unusual times together.

Challenging times can trigger connection with other challenging times. We give a great gift when we walk with someone, with respect and be truly present to them.

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION

27 March 2020

Dear Friends, 

Don’t forget to live and enjoy life in all that is. Whatever happens, every second given is a unique and special gift.

It is easy to become one other worried person with lots of other worried persons.

We need to intentionally stop and feel the earth underneath our feet. Feel the breath coming into our lungs as we take a deep breath.

Look at colour, the birds, the trees. Hear the sound of the wind and rain.

Look into the eyes of people you love. Remember the blessings in your life.

We are not denying the reality of dangers and challenges.

Dare to believe in the God who can write straight on curved earthly lines.

In times of crisis you do not benefit less, but more from prayer.

Indulge in God’s love, it is the best antidote to fear. Look after others.

God bless you today.

Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION 

26 March 2020

Dear Friends,

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Annunciation when Mary accepted to be the mother of Jesus in a great act of faith in God.

When she said yes, God became flesh in Jesus Christ!

Jesus is the best way we have of being who we are truly meant to be.

To be Christian is to be the human beings that god calls us to be. This is why Jesus calls us to be LIGHT OF THE WORLD and SALT OF THE EARTH!

We are not better than anyone else! However, in Christ and his message we have been given so much!

We are called to be living reminders of faith, hope and love for others.

We are called to help bring out the God given goodness of others that is within them.

As we face increasing challenges, let us through prayer and reflection remain grounded and connected with Jesus who is our way, truth and life.

God bless your day

Bishop Charles Gauci

Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION

25 March 2020

Dear Friends,  

Fear is the opposite of love. Fear is not bad in itself. If you are crossing a road and see a truck heading your way and you run because you are scared of being run over that is a good thing. Fear that stops you from jumping into an attractive pool of water on a hot day because there is a good chance of a crocodile being there, is also a good example of healthy fear.

Being afraid of the coronavirus is sensible.

However, we also need courage and hope; both are gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need to remember that LOVE helps us to overcome fear.

Of course, we need to follow proper medical procedures to protect ourselves and others from catching this disease.

However, this is not a time for panic. We need to keep things in perspective. We must not lose our humanity.

In all things we need to act with LOVE.

It is not a case of denying our feelings. It is about keeping things in perspective.

Please take your concerns, fears, anxiety in prayer to God.

God is there, God cares, and God LOVES you.

Love puts fear in perspective.

There is no place for selfishness and panic in LOVE!

God bless you.

Bishop Charles Gauci                      

Bishop of Darwin


BISHOP'S DAILY REFLECTION

24 March 2020

My mother died about 20 years ago this year. Before her death, she had been ill for many years with a number of serious illnesses. A brave and resilient woman who surprised her doctors and managed to live a normal life under difficult circumstances. About 10 years or so before she died, she had a lengthy stay in hospital, and we thought she was about to die. I remember coming out of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide and the thought struck me: "it is normal for things not to be normal".

I was reminded that we all have expectations of how life should go, it doesn't always follow that this is what actually happens. It is understandable that we can at times get disappointed because our expectations are not met. Especially when these are not unreasonable expectations.

As we face the challenges of life, whether it is health issues, employment issues, financial challenges, etc., we need to remember that there is always a constant in our life. The image of the ocean waves roaring on top of the water and the quieter waters underneath are a good reminder for us to be embedded deeper in our lives than just on the surface.

In the core of our being there the love of God abides. Whether we are aware of it or not, God is within our hearts, always a constant, always an anchor in the many tempests of life.

These are turbulent times, very disruptive to many of our normal living activities. Although we may not always feel his presence, God is there within us as a constant and anchor as we are tossed about by unexpected and unplanned forces.

Take some time to be still, remind yourself that God is within your heart. Try to express to him what you are feeling, what is happening in your life. And just stay there with him, to let him talk to your inner self.

From the words of Jesus: "My peace I offer you, not as the world gives it; my own peace I give to you"

God Bless you.

Bishop Charles Gauci

Bishop of Darwin