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Friday, February 12, 2016

Double Joy

There are ways to double joy. Children show us by suddenly wanting to dance, jump for joy, or make a joyful noise. God must be pleased when we double our joy by realizing what a gift it is and being thankful. The gratitude we then feel is doubling our joy.

Here is another quote from Mother Stuart:
"God knows and loves you, and He knows better than anyone what each person needs, and He will provide. God who looks after the robins...will surely not forget us. God loves us poor little things who can only shiver and tremble and wait for the sun. Keep on looking towards it, looking to heaven and as little as possible to the troubles of earth."

This got published ahead of the date for some reason!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ash Wednesday

We begin our Lent today with fasting and ashes - let the forty days of Lent be a time of renewal for each of us and a time of growing intimacy with Jesus.

God knows and loves you. He is waiting for you and wants this season of Lent to be a time of turning to Him with all our heart.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Notice Joy

Are we aware of our joy? the joy of others? Do we notice when the sun shines, the leaves turn, the birds sing, etc.?

I love to watch little children as they express their joy with such freedom. I suppose you could also say that they also show their disapproval in too free a way (I am thinking of the tantrums and sulking that can also occur); however, I have so many scenes in my head where the children just spread joy by their exuberance. One of these is the picture of a class of little ones learning to swim and the smiles and shouts of joy when they managed to reach the first the instructor and then return to the side of the pool. Another scene that has never left me was a little boy of perhaps two or three years who kept climbing the steps of a porch to run throw himself off of it into the arms of his grandfather. The joy of both was a delight to watch, but also the blind faith of the little one that the grandfather's arms would always be there to catch him.

Notice where you have felt and expressed joy today?

Mother Stuart said, "Do not lose a particle of your spiritual joy for any failure that you find in yourself to come up to your aspirations and to all that God has done for you. He is not disappointed for He knows exactly what we are like, how sensitive, how easily wounded, how too easily discouraged."

Monday, February 8, 2016

Apostolic Couage

Today is the 56th anniversary of my final profession in Rome. It was a day full of joy for me as I had been chosen to be one to go to the missions. I had known since Christmas eve that I was not to go home, but was being sent straight to Chile to our school in Vina del Mar. I was so happy that I could finally speak about this as it was a real gift of the Lord. I felt so given that day and knew that the Lord would go with me and never leave me alone.

The name of our group was "Courage apostolique" and I felt full of courage. I had no idea what it would be like to land in another country and not be able to speak or understand the language. Still, the Lord protected me and was with me in a special way that 8th of February.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sunday Before Ash Wednesday

Shrovetide, one way we refer to the days before Ash Wednesday, is a time of joy. It is also an opportunity to give joy to many with all the parades, parties, and king-cakes - at least that is how New Orleans celebrates these days.

I went to New Orleans for Mardi Gras when I was a Freshman in college. We were a group from our class and most stayed at the convent. We rode on a bus all night to get there. My Aunt Jo and Uncle Bob were there to meet me. Bob was a Colonel in the army and had invitations to one of the balls. My aunt and I were there, but in the gallery just watching the dancers below. The next day we all rode in a parade in a truck and had great fun. We made it back to Maryville just in time for our first class on Ash Wednesday having had a drawing room on the train but I was the only one with any money and a "Poor Boy" that my aunt had insisted we stop to buy on the way to the train. The money she gave me and the sandwich vanished quickly as all were hungry. We had to borrow money from the nuns at Maryville to pay the taxi driver who had let us all pile into his cab. Some joys you never forget!

Now, in today's Gospel, Jesus teaches the crowds from the boat; he told Peter to launch out into the deep and to let down his nets. Now, these professional fishermen had caught nothing all night but they agree to do what Jesus said and their nets are so full they are in danger of breaking. Jesus then tells them not to be afraid but to follow Him and they will be fishers of men. And they left all and followed Jesus. There is much to reflect on in this Gospel.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Accept Joy

If we are looking for joy, each day brings us opportunities to experience joy. We may not have the joy of the child with the ice-cream cone, but we only need to be attentive to the gift of joy that is in us and all around us.

I was glad when they said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord! Psalm 122:1

"With joy without and within, all is well. I can conceive no higher way. Joy the most heavenly atmosphere found on earth-- we ought to cultivate it as a duty always." Janet Erskine Stuart

Friday, February 5, 2016

Encourage Joy

I think it is so important to encourage joy, to share our joy in  knowing that we are loved by God.
How do I encourage joy? I love to laugh with others, even to laugh with Jesus. But I think my laughter is contagious and is one way to encourage joy. Jesus laughs at me and makes me laugh. It is good to laugh and laughter does encourage joy.

Think happy thoughts. When I was a child and upset about something, one of the nuns said to me, "What difference will this make in five years?" I do not remember what I was upset about but I realized it would not bother me even next week and it was such a trifle that I certainly should not lose joy over it. I think that has helped me to encourage joy in many who have come to me with problems about schedules, teachers, assignments, slights, some misunderstandings among classmates, hurt feelings, etc. I know that joy is  too precious a gift to let anything take it from us

God wants us to be joyful and to share our joy and happiness with others.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feel Joy

"Remember the feeling as a child when you woke up and morning smiled? It's time you felt like that again." Taj Mahal

I sometimes feel such joy driving alone on the highway that I break into song or pray in tongues. I would only do these two things when alone, but joy overflows and I need to let it out in some way. At other times I feel joy by feeling overwhelmed with gratitude; I feel joy, also, when someone does an unexpected kindness for me or for others. I feel joy when I watch a parent loving a small child. I feel joy when I am near the ocean as God is so present to me when I look at the ocean. (And I live in Miami and seldom go to the ocean!) I feel joy when I am sitting quietly in prayer, especially when I am in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The Sacrament of Reconciliation also gives me joy that often lasts with a quiet peacefulness for several days.

How do you feel joy?

O satisfy us with Your mercy and loving-kindness in the morning [now, before we are older], that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Believe in Joy

I believe in both sadness and joy. I think, however, even when we have reason to mourn the loss of someone dear to us, that we can still have joy. I rejoice in the fact that they are with God and they cannot suffer. I think it is harder for those left behind, but even then we do feel joy for our new saints in heaven.

We have only to watch children at play. They are brimming with joy. Yes, I believe in joy because I have experienced it in so many ways for so many years - joy that is united to the joy of the Risen Christ and cannot be taken from us.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Inhabit Joy

How do I inhabit joy? I think we only need to look a little children. They find such joy in simple things. My brother, George, who was born on Christmas when I was ten years old and who died several years ago, was a happy baby and knew how to "inhabit" joy. He  had a great imagination; he had an imaginary friend that kept him from losing joy. He also had the joy of thinking he was a car; he would go outside, turn a key, put on his windshield wipers and take off down the sidewalk after shifting into gear. He was completely happy being a car. I suspect this was because he was born in 1941 and the war made owning a car during the gas rationing something that was not thought of by patriotic citizens. There were no cars parked on our street and we could play "Kick-the-can" there every night right in the street. I have driven through the old neighborhood in St. Louis and now the cars are parked bumper to bumper all the way down our street. I guess cars are often the way boys inhabit joy!

Mother Stuart says that the #quality of our joy depends on the spring from which it is drawn. Where do we seek our joy? How does it come and go? Watch its flight as of birds. Does it soar or flutter? Is it steadfast or changeable? Does it go by days, by moods, by self-love, by the adventure of circumstances?

Prepare for Joy

How do you prepare for joy?

Today is the Feast of the Purification of Our Lady and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Certainly Simeon and Anna had been preparing for the joy of this encounter with Jesus.

I find that I sometimes take joy for granted; I guess I have not thought of "preparing" for joy. Joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit. We all have it. Some show it, cultivate it, more than others. I know that when I made the hockey varsity as a freshman in college, one of the seniors,whom I admired greatly, gave me the nickname "Smiley'; when everyone on the team started calling me that, I am sure I was really smiling at everything. It was a joyous time, but I hope I have been able to keep the habit and others return smiles and so I guess this is one way for preparing for joy. I also think it helps to banish the thoughts that cause one to fret, worry without knowing what will happen, or the thoughts that one might have of being neglected, or not listened to - just pack up your troubles and smile, smile, and you will give joy to others.
Remember my favorite quotation from St. Madeleine Sophie is "Be humble, be simple, and give joy to others."

Gratitude is one way I prepare for joy - a grateful person is a joyful one!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Joy must be a daily choice

Here is a quote on the cover of the book, Joy, written and compiled by M.H. Clark and designed by Jessica Phoenix. This book was published by Compendium in 2011.

"Joy is your birthright."
When was the last time your heart was lifted by a wave of pure happiness? When you felt so delighted by an unexpected little miracle that you couldn't stop yourself from smiling? When you found time in a busy day to give joy to someone else?

It's been said that the days are long but the years are short. We fill our days with obligations and appointments, and reserve joy for special occasions, holidays, weekends, and stolen moments.

If we want joy to be the story of our years, joy must be the story of our days. Joy must be a daily choice, a habit, a promise we make to ourselves. Joy must be the way we travel.

So give yourself the gift of joy, and pass it on to others. If you make room for joy in your heart and in your day, you'll find that joy is a magnet for more joy. Invite just a little into your life, and see how quickly that little grows.

This is on the cover and is from Sarah Ban Breathnach.  After this, I will use my own reflections on each different call given in this book. There is a quotation given for each call, but no reflection so it lends itself to personal journaling on each call.