Vol 38 No 3
SPIRITUALITY FOR EARTHLINGS
THE LONG JOURNEY HOME: SEARCHING FOR EUCHARIST TODAY
THE LONG JOURNEY HOME: SEARCHING FOR EUCHARIST TODAY
REFLECTIONS ON SPIRITUALITY AND THE CHURCH
ON THE RISE AGAIN: NEO-FUNDAMENTALISM IN AUSTRALIAN CATHOLICISM (PART
and Liz Chatelier
MARRIAGE: GROWING IN LOVE
KEEPING ALIVE THE MSC TRADITION
NEW RELIGIOUS BOOKS BY AUSTRALASIAN AUTHORS
Growing in love
ANDREW AND LIZ CHATELIER
Andrew. When Liz and I got engaged we had a celebration Mass and
as part of it we read the poem Footprints. For us this poem expresses
our sense of Gods presence in our lives, then and now. Wed
like to share that with you now, to begin with
Andrew and Liz (by turns):
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach
with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene
he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and
the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at
the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path
of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that
it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. Lord,
you said that one I decided to follow you, youd walk with me all
the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in
my life, there is only one set of footprints. I dont understand
why, when I needed you most, you would leave me.
The Lord replied, My precious, precious child, I love you and I
would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when
you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.
Weve been married for almost five years now and this church is where
it all began.
Andrew. I remember the first time I met Lizor, rather, heard
Liz. She used to read at Mass and sing and I remember being in aweas
if every word she said or sang was to me and only me. She had the power
to touch your emotions
As I looked closer I saw this beautiful, radiant, exotic beauty of which
little has changed. She used to sing and read at this church once a month
and then in three other parishes, and Id wander in and out of this
church at different times seeing her only a couple of occasions but always
wondering when I went to Mass if shed be there.
I can tell you, it made me a stronger Catholic, or should I say, church
goer. Well, things developed and once Liz discovered I was interested
in her she wore more and more glamorous clothes! (There are a few stories
Eventually, after exchanging music CDs, photos and chats
our first date at Bondi. Both of us were on our best behaviour and not
much was eaten or said many blushing glances and tentative words.
* * *
Liz. My first impressions of Andrew were: Oh Lord, how great
thou art! But then I thought, how on earth am I ever going to get
him to notice me, knowing all too well that good Tongan girls dont
go running after men the men do all the running. But God seemed
to have read my desperate thoughts, for before I knew it Andrew was working
with my dad doing odd jobs around Tempe church, which meant I got to see
him more often. But Andrew hadnt made any moves, let alone signs
that he was remotely interested in me.
Liz. Finally, after months of polite hello-s, good-bye-s,
how are you-s? and what -have -you-been-up-to-s?,
Andrew finally asked me out on our first dateBondi beach! Never
has my heart pumped so hard and so fast, never have I blushed on and off
like Christmas tree lights, and never have I felt so warm and fuzzy than
on that day. Even now, when I think about it, my heart still flutters.
* * *
We courted for two years during which we experienced much turmoil, coping
with cultural traditions, rules and expectations. This put a lot of strain
on us, raising questions whether it was worth going through so much pain
and stress. The answer was yes; the pain and stress were beside
the point. It was Gods plan. This was his way of preparing us for
the Sacrament of Matrimony, tough as it was. But it did help us grow stronger
in our belief and love for Him and for each other.
Our first year of marriage was like a roller-coaster. The honeymoon was
definitely over. Here we were, two different people with different personalities,
different upbringingsthere were lots of differences. Except for
one thing: we were (and still are) extremely stubborn. We used to fight
over the smallest things, from frustrations over wet towels left repeatedly
on the bathroom floor to, You said youd be home by five, its
now five past! Things were often blown out of proportion as emotions
were running high and both wanting to be always right and be the one to
say: I told you so!
Learning to say sorry was another thing that didnt come easily or
was not said quickly enough, but was expressed or said in many different
waysa smile, a little love note, a cup of tea or simply, Im
But it wasnt all doom and gloom, for our first year had its glory
days too. We enjoyed the pleasure of each others company alone for
hours on end, sleeping in, going out, hanging out, spontaneous weekend
escapes, and undisturbed peace.
Andrew. Id always known Liz would be a good mother, so it
wasnt a matter of when to have children but how many. Liz has an
amazing aura about her. Shes passionate about anything and everything,
shes captivating and a vital person. Having children was no different.
Suddenly two became three and then four. any problems or difficulties
we faced as a married couple were now compounded
Lack of sleep,
food and often money put a strain on things. Yet in the midst of it all
there was God. We believe God is the one who brought us together, keeps
us together, and makes it all possible.
In the past we often attended Mass and the sacraments on time; now the
fact that weve made it to church is a blessing
dressed and peaceful not to mention mum and dad. Much of our time
now at church is spent focussing Ashleigh, diverting her attention, teaching
her when to stand and sit, and also answer numerous questions about: Whos
that? Whats that? and Why? Why? Why?
Amidst all this confusion and carrying on, theres Joshua. Putting
him to sleep, feeding him and pacifying him. To top it off, theres
invariably, I need to go toilet! from Ashleigh, followed by
a mad rush to the door outside, only to discover she didnt need
to go after all.
Prayer and Family
God is there through it all, drawing us to the church, being part of the
community and receiving the graces and strength from receiving the Eucharist.
Our prayer life is always up and down. Yet Liz is always constant. She
prays continuously when we leave the house, when were in the
car, before or after special days, on good days and bad. So together we
try to acknowledge Gods presence: thanking Him, praising Him or
asking for His blessings.
In the chaos of our daily family lives these prayers are often short sentences
that start with the sign of the cross and end with a hearty Amen!
from Ashleigh. God is there in our midst, not always first, sometimes
last before we sleep. But God, we believe, is the guiding hand in our
marriage and family life.
And so the circle of life for us continues. Ashleigh is nearly three years
and Joshua just eight months. This is just the beginning. Each day is
a challenge, knowing when to say yes or no to our children and to each
other, when to give in or give up, when enough food and vegetables is
eaten and when its not. As parents we are role models and instruct our
children by our words and actions. They learn from what they see and hear.
When Andrew and I have had disagreements, voices are raised, tones change
and the mood is hostile. Before we know it, Ashleigh is there between
us mimicking our behaviour, and this usually stops us in our tracks.
So now when we fight, its not if well make up but when. For
every moment, minute, hour or day spent in anger, frustration or silence
impacts on all of us: how we operate in our family, how we spend our time
together, and the way we treat others when they come into our home or
when were out and about.
We believe God is there at those times, guiding us as we learn to give
and take, as we respect each others differences and live as Christ
That is our challenge as a family and a married couple. This we believe
is our vocation of marriage.