Shane Dwyer

Shane Dwyer

Shane Dwyer is Director of the National Centre for Evangelisation, of which the Catholic Enquiry Centre is a part. He is a Catholic educator with experience in theological course provision, resource development, spiritual direction, faith and spirituality formation and ministry support.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019 16:40

In the Midst of Chaos, Peace

Pieta
Sr. Wendy’s favourite Vatican treasure, Michelangelo’s Pietà

Since last we corresponded a significant little figure who added her own beautiful take on how to understand the wonder of human creativity has died. She was the unexpected television star, winning a following the world over as she made the journey from country to country, gallery to gallery, work of art to work of art, to contemplate the essence of what she saw before her.

Sister Wendy Beckett was a natural guide and teacher. A nun vowed to the life of prayer and simplicity, she responded to the invitation to share her insights into the world’s great art because, in faith, she believed that was what God was asking of her. She had never seen a television program, much less understood what had to go into making one. Producers were initially perplexed by her as she refused to provide them with a script. She would talk off the cuff about what she saw before her, drawing spontaneously from the many hours of study she had put into her favourite hobby.

Monday, 17 December 2018 11:42

Getting on with the Journey

Manger

The Christmas story is all about journeys. The journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. The journey of the shepherds from the fields to the stable. The journey of the wise men from the East. The journey of the Holy Family as they flee from Herod into Egypt. Their journey back to Nazareth once the coast is clear. These are the obvious journeys associated with these stories. There are others.

For a start, there’s the journey the celebration has taken from Jesus’ likely date of birth (probably sometime in September) to its current date of 25 December. Explanations vary widely as to why this has happened. Of course, the moving around of a birthday has precedents in our experience. Queen Elizabeth II was not born on the second weekend of June, any more than Jesus was on 25 December. But the latter will do as a date to celebrate in the absence of any other certain date. Those of us who have been part of ‘Christmas in July’ festivities know that, for the southern hemisphere at least, the feast has the potential to be once more on the move…

Man standing on rock looking at sunset

The word ‘spirituality’ is all the rage today. It has become one of those commonplace ideas that gets used by all sorts of people in all sorts of contexts. Today you can scarcely watch an interview with a celebrity without them humbly noting that, while they may not be religious, they are ‘spiritual’. And let’s face it, it sounds fair enough. Being religious – that is to say – identifying yourself as belonging to a particular religion, is not something that sits easily in the world in which we live. It sounds like you’re limiting your options and unnecessarily restricting yourself. Instead, ‘we all really know’ that there are many forms of truth out there, and we are beyond identifying ourselves with just one of them…Isn’t that right? So when Hollywood celebrities describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ we applaud them for being so open-minded…so in touch with themselves…so nice…so beyond religion.

Saturday, 20 October 2018 12:30

Paying Attention to Reality

An Older Black Woman Mournful

Have you ever been to a funeral that seems to be more an upbeat celebration than an acknowledgment of the sadness of death? Or have you noticed how many people today refer to somebody as having ‘passed’ rather than simply saying they have ‘died’?

As a culture, death and dying are increasingly realities we find difficult to even contemplate. Ironically, we’ll spend inordinate amounts of money and energy on prolonging our lives and yet, as soon as death is on the horizon, we’ll argue the case for being able to pull the plug prematurely. Our relationship with death is, as a culture, one of either ‘let’s avoid it at all costs’ or ‘let’s get it over with’.

Monday, 17 September 2018 19:05

Walking in the dark

bigstock Hands Holding A Burning Candle 45272758 300x300

There are times when the spiritual journey we are on takes us into the darkness. As a metaphor, ‘darkness’ expresses those experiences where the way forward is unclear, and the real meaning of what we are (or are not) experiencing isn’t immediately apparent to us.

We can resist these moments and imagine that they are a sign that things aren’t as they should be. As someone said to me once: ‘I made a deal with God: I believe in him and he makes sure I have a nice life’. So when his ‘nice life’ began to evaporate, my friend thought it only fair that he should stop believing in God…

Thursday, 23 August 2018 17:00

Taking a Step Forward

Hiker at crossroadsThere are certain moments in your life when you are confronted with a choice: do you continue on the path you are currently following, or do you take a turn to the left or the right? You weigh up all the options and you attempt to take into account all the information you have at your disposal…and then you decide.
That works for many of the decisions we need to make. However, it doesn’t work in the journey of faith. That’s because we need to consider more than ourselves, or simply those factors that we believe need to be taken into account.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018 13:38

Who’s in, who’s out?

JourneyIn his recent communication, ‘Rejoice and Be Glad’, Pope Francis gently touches on this important question: who will be saved? It is a thorny issue for, on the one hand, we want to acknowledge the centrality of the person of Jesus Christ, and the fact that it is only in him that salvation resides. And yet, on the other hand, the role of the Church (and each one of us in it) includes recognising and celebrating the ways in which God is clearly at work in the many people whose lives reveal they are very close to God – whether they experience themselves as ‘belonging’ or not.

Monday, 25 June 2018 11:05

Alone or Together?

bigstock Group of People ParkBelonging is part of being human. Right from the start we are nurtured in the womb of our mothers, and placed into their arms for nourishment, comfort and security. Things get a bit complicated after that, of course, as we seek to establish ourselves and assert our autonomy, but the pattern is set: human beings primarily discover who they are in relationship.

Grandmother serving granddaughterHave you ever thought of yourself as ‘holy’? Holiness is a tricky word for most of us. In my experience we don't tend to associate it with ourselves or even with the people we love. If we think of it at all, we think of holy people as being the saints, men and women before our time who don't live the sort of lives we live.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018 17:18

Allowing the questions to come

Pope Francis"Rejoice and be Glad". With these words Pope Francis begins his latest offering to all members of the Body of Christ, and to all people of good will. I encourage you to read it yourself. In the meantime, here are some thoughts…

In number one we read: "The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence..."

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