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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vibrating the Goodness of God

Thomas Keating said that "We're all like localized vibrations of the infinite goodness of God's presence. So love is our very nature. Love is our first, middle, and last name. Love is all; not love as sentimentality, but love that is self-forgetful and free of self interest."
The above was quoted by Richard Rohr in one of his online posts. I am fascinated with the idea that we are all "like localized vibrations of the infinite goodness of God's presence." This thought has stayed with me and helps me as I look around and see so many who are really vibrating God's goodness. I hope it is contagious and we will convert the world!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Mapping our Interior Life

Having spent a very fruitful time going back over my own Eucharistic history, from my First Holy Communion until the present, I want to share me next project that is rather connected in the sense that I am going back over my interior life. I wrote about my exterior life several years ago. It was helpful and I was able to include some family pictures and then some important events. I had never thought about mapping my interior life, but I am attempting it now. I suggest you try it, too.
I have been saying that as we age, the interior life is more exciting than our exterior life. Now, I am going to try to recall all the most amazing graces that happen interiorly and I am starting by a sort of "Mapping" the interior journey by reflecting on the sign posts that have marked my life. Then, I will go back and fill in as I believe I will see a pattern and maybe a division of chapters when I try to write it up. Will I share it? Probably only with a few, at least at first. However, I am inviting each of you to do the same. Al least take some time to go over the moments when you are aware of your interior life with Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Prayer to Mater Admirabilis

We recited this prayer yesterday at the Liturgy and I thought I would copy it here for you as it is one that I love. It is adapted from the Circular of R. Mother de Lescure, 1949.

Mater Admirabilis, precious jewel of the Society,
virginal guardian keeping watch at the threshold of the sanctuary,
treasure of calm and serenity, flowing into acti9vity from the
Source without ever exhausting or troubling it . . .
we come to you under the pressure of over-activity which at times consumes and disturbs us, or scatters our energies here and there in doing what is visible and accidental...
Virgin of the invisible and the Essential...
we beg you to detach and free us from all that is passing,
lead us to fix our gaze upon the Invisible which your eyes behold:
the Invisible Presence, the Invisible Life, the Invisible Action, the Invisible Love: eternal values, the great realities of our faith.

Keep us, throughout our busy and over-crowded days,
in the radiance of things not seen, "firm as if we beheld the Invisible."
In the midst of non-essentials which entice us and carry us away,
we run the risk of weighing down our souls and confusing our values. Give us a right understanding of the Essential and a hunger for it! One thing alone is necessary: the will of God and the work of His Love to which we are consecrated.
Whatever God will to mark with His seal. no matter it's size,
importance or worth in human eyes, there is the essential;
there, in full activity, is the strength, fruitfulness, and deep happiness flowing from God's action, life and love.

Mother most Admirable, teach us this wisdom...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mater's Feast

What a wonderful feast for all alumni of the Sacred Heart all over the world. Mater was our own image of Mary as a young girl who became our confident, our helper, our recourse in all out troubles, our protector, and advocate. Her image has been in every Sacred Heart convent and school certainly since the mid 1800s - a school would not be complete without a statue or picture of Mater placed in a prominent place - some schools have special Chapels dedicated to Mater.
The children still have the tradition of wearing pink on her feast and we always had a special pink snack in the afternoon. I suspect that many of our schools still do that.
My months caring for the little Chapel of Mater at the Trinita dei Monti in Rome have remained a special grace in my life. I have her picture in front of me as I write this blog and I am wondering what I can do for her that will be special on her feast.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What do you think?

This is from Pam's musings:


When I have watched a  person
throw a lump of clay on a wheel
and begin to form a cup, a bowl-
this question surfaces:

Why in life situations does
the outside of something become
more important than the inside?
or we are more concerned that
others  see the outer side.

Outside/inside,it's one thing! side is not the whole thing.
we can hide one side or discover
it as part of the whole- just another
view or angle, but  both sides
make it what it is.

I copied this today as I continue to mull over the newfound fascination with the interior life over the exterior life. I think that as we grow older, the interior life becomes much more exciting, more important, and opens up endless possibilities as we are talking about life with the Trinity - the indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in each of us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Feast of St. Luke

St. Luke 'Collect for the Mass speaks of his love for the poor and asks that all who glory in his name may persevere as one heart and soul...

Pope Francis is always urging us to read the Gospels each day. Luke has some stories that the others do not and they show us God's love for us and his mercy. Luke also gave us the Acts of the Apostles and shows us how God was acting in ongoing history. Luke helped Paul and I am grateful for the trouble Luke took to write both his Gospel and the Acts.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch

I am quite fond of St. Ignatius of Antioch. What I want to share today though is from the first reading from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. It is a quote that I often go back to and remember how much it impacted me in my first directed retreat over forty years ago. It made me realize more than ever the great love God has for each of us.

"But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is a gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork..."

The Psalm 100 is one of my favorites and the refrain is "The Lord made us, we belong to him."

That is enough for several meditations and we are to sing joyfully to the Lord, and enter his gates with thanksgiving...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Prrsistence in Prayer

This Sunday's Gospel has a clear message: keep persisting and it will be given to you. That unjust judge did not want to heed the widow who had no one to intercede for her and no money to bribe him. He would not have rendered a just decision except for the fact that the widow kept bothering him. Jesus tells us to "Pay attention" - ...will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?"

How persistent am I in prayer? And what is God asking me to pray for today? Paul says in his Second Letter to Timothy: "Proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient of inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching."

I guess we have enough to reflect on today.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Do not worry...

Sometimes a picture will trigger a reflection; any kind of road or path always invites me to think how we are all on an interior journey. Perhaps I am drawn to autumn because it is this time in my life when I look back and let go of so many things the way the trees are letting go of their leaves. At the same time, I press forward to continue my journey into the love of God. His love is infinite and He calls all of us to follow Him.
The Gospel has Jesus telling us that He will acknowledge us before the angels of God and we are not to worry as the Holy Spirit will teach us what we should say. Now, I do not expect to be hauled before the authorities, but I think the advice Jesus gives us is so helpful: "do not worry...for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say."
I just need to keep on my interior journey and trust the Lord; Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to inspire us, to help us discern our way when we come to a fork in the road. It is the Spirit who keeps nudging us forward, helping us to overcome obstacles. Indeed, I find it is often the Holy Spirit who writes this blog!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Questions rather than answers

This thought has stayed with me this week:
Over a lifetime of practice, contemplation gradually helps you detach from who you think you are and rest in your authentic identity as Love. At first this may feel like an “identity transplant” until you learn how to permanently rest in God.

The thought comes from one of Richard Rohr's meditations, but I wonder when we can say that "I know who I am" and not be fooling ourselves. I know who I think I am, but even that seems to change. This week I have done quite a bit of reflection on what my life is now as compared to other years. Some questions keep coming to me. One is "Why did God bring me back to life when I had actually stopped breathing in the hospital when I had that aspirated pneumonia two years ago?" Another is "Why am I so loved by God?" "What is my way of giving joy to Jesus and others here at Oakwood? How am I called to follow Jesus poor?" "Am I pleasing Jesus by my daily choices?"

Lots of questions and I am counting on the help of the Holy Spirit to show me whatever the Lord wants of me now. It gives me great peace to feel surrendered, open, and, hopefully able to say yes to whatever is asked of me.

I suspect as we get older we still have more questions than answers. However, if we take time to reflect on the questions that are surfacing in us, we may find that the Holy Spirit is working in us through the questions. The questions may be more important than the answers.  I have found that my interior life is really more interesting than my exterior life. I wonder if that is true for many.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Eucharistics memories

My preparation for my First Holy Communion was during first grade at the Academy of the Visitation. Those of us who were preparing to receive both First Communion and Confirmation on the same day from Archbishop Glennon {later a Cardinal but he also had been my Dad's tennis partner when both were younger), were taken to a special room with a large chart with pictures of what were thought to be the most important stories for us to know. These same pictures were in a book that we were given and there were gold stars around the pictures in my book as I was absolutely fascinated by all we were learning and could tell the stories and answers all the questions, thus earning all those gold stars! I think I fell in love with Jesus during that year of preparation. I wish I could say that the moment of my First Communion was life-changing. The truth is that I remember that I had the responsibility to lead the class into the Chapel. Since I have seen pictures of my First Communion dress and veil and even of the gifts given to me at breakfast after Mass before returning to the Chapel for the Sacrament of Confirmation, it was too much for a six year old to take in and I just remember being very happy. All my relatives seem to have been present for the ceremony.
I do not have a great memory about our participation in Masses at school but do know that I liked to steal into the Chapel when my Dad dropped me off very early in the morning on his way to work.
That was a habit that stayed with me, quick visits at the back of the Chapel or Church.
To be continued, perhaps, but do think about your own Eucharistic history.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

God comes to us in so many ways

This picture is worth a meditation by itself. God has given us such beauty. Although I miss the autumn colors here, California is a beautiful state and I rejoice in the beauty around us.
I continue to read again the Letters and Conferences of Sister Clare Pratt who was Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from 2000 - 2008 and now is our community director at Oakwood.
In Clare's letter for the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 2005, she invites us to share our stories. She says: "Let us get in touch with our own 'Eucharistic histories', share our own Eucharistic stories.... Let us begin from our experience: significant moments, ...shifts in our understanding and sacramental practice, 'where we are now'.
Some of us have walked a straight road from childhood. Others have known mountains and valleys..."
I was caught - hopefully it was an inspiration of the Holy Spirit - and decided immediately that I would try to trace my own Eucharistic history in order to both thank and ask forgiveness. I spent our day of silence listening to my memories of Eucharist from the preparation for my First Holy Communion when I was six to my love of the Eucharist today about 80 years later. I may share some of this.