The Logo and its symbolism
The shamrock has long been a symbol of the Irish nation. At its centre has been placed Mary’s Immaculate Heart. The Spiritual Transformation apostolate is an instrument that God can use to give Ireland a new heart, a ‘Marian heart,’ a heart on fire with love for God and his people.
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and one of the patrons of this movement. St Patrick used the shamrock to explain the mystery of the Trinity which is at the core of this spiritual transformative operation. In baptism, we are immersed into the communion of love that is the Trinity. We are baptised in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. One of the spiritual aims of this apostolate is to renew our baptismal promises and to live our lives in the life and love of God.
The Spiritual Transformation logo also shows the intimate relationship that Mary has with the Trinity: She is a beloved daughter of the Father, the Mother of Christ and the Spouse of the Holy Spirit. She is our Mother too because she was entrusted to the Church as Christ was dying on the Cross (cf. John 19:26). Hence, her involvement in our journey to spiritual fitness is indispensable. As Queen of Ireland, Mary desires to be the Queen of Irish hearts once again for a new generation.
The letters S and T found on the shamrock represents Spiritual and Transformation respectively. So ST is the acronym for the name of the programme: Spiritual Transformation. ST is also commonly used as an abbreviation for the word ‘Saint.’ And in our case here, it is appropriate because the ultimate aim of Spiritual Transformation is to generate new saints in our times.
The green shamrock also reminds us of the lush and beautiful landscape of Ireland. Participants in the programme will come to a deeper appreciation of and respect for God’s creation, our ‘common home,’ which reflects the beauty and grandeur of God. It is generally recognised that a love for nature has enormous benefits for one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
At the beginning of January 2017, I preached a homily at a Mass for young people in Cavan, during which I drew many comparisons between the spiritual life and the Operation Transformation programme that was airing on television at the time. In February 2017, many young people across Ireland took part in a challenging programme of prayer and reparation. As a result, while on a retreat in early February, I got the inspiration to begin an Irish programme, based on the Operation Transformation television programme.
There are many health and fitness programmes out there that focus specifically on our physical fitness and forming good eating habits and improving one’s overall wellbeing. But very few of them refer to the soul- to the core of who we are! So I have crafted a Spiritual Transformation programme – an Operation Transformation for the soul!
Fr Sean Maguire