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Thursday, May 26, 2016

The mission of the Spirit .



Our Mother Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie, said, " The mission of the Holy Spirit is to let us know Jesus; the Holy Spirit, once free, accomplishes miracles, and we would be wrong not to give the Spirit room."

How do I make room for the Holy Spirit? The Spirit wants to guide me, strengthen me, help me, but I need to call the Spirit to come.
Come, Holy Spirit, come. With your seven-fold gifts, come!
give me wisdom and energy to do all you want me to do today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie



St. Madeleine Sophie was so faithful to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and wanted us to be, too. She said, "Open your soul to the Spirit, call the Spirit who wants to be desired, call the Spirit so that she will fill you with her gifts."

St. Madeleine Sophie has always watched over her daughters and all the children of the Sacred Heart. I really believe that she makes her presence felt when it is needed. It is good to go to her and talk about whatever is going on in our lives and then listen to her counsels. She is a wise woman who is always guided now by the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Eve of the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie



St. Madeleine Sophie said, "Try always to let yourself be led by the Spirit of God; with this divine leader you will have all spiritual gifts for yourself and for others."

The Holy Spirit wants to lead us, to inspire us, to bring us closer to Jesus and to the Father. We need only to pray to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit is praying in us!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Be Joyful!



We must put our whole heart into our work but leave the outcome to God. He alone knows whether is better for me to succeed or to fail. If I have done my best, then my heart is filled with joy and I leave the result to Him. This is easier to say than to do, at least for me. Reverend Mother de Lescure says, "Let us recall that when we are working in souls, it is not only us but the souls also who are concerned. How do we know whether such and such a success would not do more harm than good?"

"And thus we see that neither our sins, nor the slowness of our progress, nor our neighbor, nor our work may be allowed to cause any sadness in our souls. Like St. Paul we say, 'To them that love God all things work together unto good.' Let us always possess this cult of Christian joy and never insult our God by appearing less happy than those the world has caught in its net."

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Holy Trinity Sunday



After Pentecost, it is fitting that we celebrate the Holy Trinity.
I find it helpful to study this icon and then let the Spirit speak to me.

The subject of The Trinity received various interpretations at different time periods, but by the 19th-20th century the consensus among scholars was the following: the three angels who visited Abraham represented the Christian Trinity, "one God in three persons" – the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.[9] Art critics believe that Andrei Rublev's icon was created in accordance with this concept. In his effort to uncover the doctrine of the Trinity, Rublev abandoned most of the traditional plot elements which were typically included in the paintings of the Abraham and Sarah's Hospitality story. He did not paint Abraham, Sarah, the scene of calf's slaughter, nor did he give any details on the meal. The angels were depicted as talking, not eating. "The gestures of angels, smooth and restrained, demonstrate the sublime nature of their conversation".[10] The silent communion of the three angels is the centre of the composition.
In Rublev's icon, the form that most clearly represents the idea of the consubstantiality of the Trinity's three hypostases is a circle. It is the foundation of the composition. At the same time, the angels are not inserted into the circle, but create it instead, thus our eyes can't stop at any of the three figures and rather dwell inside this limited space. The impactful center of the composition is the cup with the calf's head. It hints at the crucifixion sacrifice and serves as the reminder of the Eucharist (the left and the right angels' figures make a silhouette that resembles a cup). Around the cup, which is placed on the table, the silent dialogue of gestures takes place.[11]
The left angel symbolizes God the Father. He blesses the cup, yet his hand is painted in a distance, as if he passes the cup to the central angel. Viktor Lazarev suggests that the central angel represents Jesus Christ, who in turn blesses the cup as well and accepts it with a bow as if saying "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will". (Mt 26:39)[12] The nature of each of the three hypostases is revealed through their symbolic attributes, i.e. the house, the tree, and the mountain.[6] The starting point of the divine administration is the creative Will of God, therefore Rublev places the Abraham's house above the corresponding angel's head. The Oak of Mamre can be interpreted as the tree of life,[6] and it serves as a reminder of the Jesus's death on the cross and his subsequent resurrection, which opened the way to eternal life. The Oak is located in the centre, above the angel who symbolizes Jesus. Finally, the mountain is a symbol of the spiritual ascent, which mankind accomplishes with the help of the Holy Spirit.[10] The unity of the Trinity's three hypostases expresses unity and love between all things: "That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21)
The wings of two angels, the Father and the Son, interlap. The blue colour of the Son's robe symbolizes divinity, the brown colour represents earth, his humanity, and the gold speaks of kingship of God.[13] The wings of the Holy Spirit do not touch the Son's wings, they are imperceptibly divided by the Son's spear. The blue colour of the Holy Spirit's robe symbolizes divinity, the green colour represents new life.[14] The poses and the inclinations of the Holy Spirit and the Son's heads demonstrate their submission to the Father, yet their placement on the thrones at the same level symbolizes equality.[15]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

How can our work affect our joy?



Our ministries could affect our joy. Reverend Mother de Lescure points out the this could be because we are giving ourselves too completely to them or we are striving too greatly for success.
She says, "When we give ourselves too entirely to our work and our prayer suffers or we undertake enterprises on our own initiative outside the limits of obedience, we can be certain that our works will accomplish nothing. How can we do good while at the same time holding back from God what is His due?"

I think that we need to be very discerning about our ministries today. It is so easy to get caught up in work, to take on more than we should - we need to discern what God is asking and we also need to learn to say "No, I cannot manage to do that with all the commitments that I have." I am a firm believer in discerning with others and there is joy in knowing that I am doing what God wants and not just what I want to do - I think I used to worry about being a success as a teacher, head of the school, superior, etc. but I think I soon learned that I was just to be effective, not efficient - a retreat director instilled that into me back in 1974 and it is a way to keep one's joy and has helped me immensely.



Friday, May 20, 2016

Other obstacles to Joy




Are there other obstacles to living in joy? Yes and no. There is really only one obstacle and it is ourselves. Mother de Lescure says that "if we were truly, deeply penetrated with love for those souls for whom Our Lord died, they could never be an obstacle to our joy. And if our neighbor is a cause of sadness to us, it is an evident proof that we are still self-centered, cowardly, and hypocritical. It is inevitable, says Pere Hugeny, for us not to cause suffering to each other, but what an opportunity that is which we would otherwise not have to perform an act of charity. The little hurts are like the little stones which cause the brook of charity in our hearts to sing; a brook that flows through the sand does not sing...

This image of the singing brook has stayed with me during all these years; I was given this Conference in 1953 as I left St. Louis to go to New Orleans.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Discouragement



Sometimes we are discouraged because of our lack of progress. I think the devil tempts me in this way, so let us look at what Reverend Mother de Lescure has to say on what we need to protect our joy from and not let ourselves be discouraged.

"The slowness of our progress - we may have been in religious life four, five, twenty-five years and we have hardly made any progress. The reply to that objection is that Divine Grace is so precious that the least degree that God gives us is infinitely above all that we could obtain by ourselves. Also, that grace is a free gift and by it we were "Divinized" as St. John says. We are sons of God.... We need to remember that we are limited...we do not know the secret, hidden work of God in us....It is another one of God's graces to hide our progress in order to keep our souls in humility....Let us then leave our progress to God...we must have the desire for interior progress, but as soon as this desire becomes a worry or sadness it ceases to be a profit for our souls.

I have now 66 years in Religious Life and know that when I begin to be discouraged because I feel I am not living united to Jesus, it is the weak point where the devil tries to take away my joy. I am, thanks to the Holy Spirit, aware of this and say to myself, "Courage, confidence and go on serving the Lord with joy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How to protect our joy



The third point in the Conference on Joy is on how we can protect our joy. The first point takes up one of the principal causes of our sadness: our sins. Let us listen to St. Paul, "To those who love God all things work together unto good."
"All - thus even our sins which can become a means of great love and sanctification in so far as they are properly used - a fault committed may be a source of grace and purification. But to achieve that result we must make use of our sins with the exact opposite tactics of the devil. He, before we commit a sin makes it appear as a nothing, but once committed he tries to convince us that it can never be remedied. He does that to make us fall into despair. We, on the contrary, must try to realize how horrible sin is before we fall, but it we have the misfortune to sin we must not let ourselves lose our courage in vain and useless tears. What is done is done and nothing can change that except our ardent desire to do better in the future. Thus how greatly we can profit of our faults to humble us and fill us with a great confidence in God....Our sins make us experience our weakness...they throw us more completely into the arms of God...Sin has no right to deprive us of joy. "

It is true that there is deep peace and joy in our hearts when we say we are sorry. I find that I feel that peace and joy often for several days after I have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Protecting our joy



The attitude of a child weaned from its mother's breast is, according to Reverend Mother de Lescure, another way of protecting our joy. "The infant who is not yet weaned seeks always his mother's milk, but the infant weaned from her breast no longer desires anything. It is satisfied with whatever his mother does, content to be there where she leads him; the only thing necessary is for him to be near her.
The little Saint Therese makes this attitude clear by comparing it to a ball. Like her, let us be content in whatever circumstances Divine Providence places us. If Our Lord asks us to undergo greater sufferings let us be convinced that it is to deepen our hearts and expand them more in charity - in other words, He is enlarging the tumbler that the great St. Teresa used as an example to explain the happiness of heaven. But let us not forget that there are tumblers that hold a litre and others that never exceed a thimble-full. To enlarge our hearts nothing is better than sacrifice. The best attitude to take is doing everything in and for God....We must fight determinedly then against all that could be a source of trouble or sadness to us."

I think we have much to reflect on about how we protect our joy. More tomorrow. I guess I am more aware of the need to protect joy because of all the bad news I read in the newspaper, the stress here with all of us moving, and the sadness I feel in saying good-bye.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Pentecost Monday




With the Holy Spirit, let us continue to reflect on one of the gifts of the Spirit that is so essential for each of us: Joy.
The second part of the conference on Joy of Reverend Mother de Lescure takes up the attitude of a soul protecting our joy.

"It is expressed by the word of the psalmist - in the attitude of an infant in the arms of his mother.

1. The attitude of a child in the arms of his mother: he is always happy, secure as long as he is near her; in her arms his tears quickly dry and he smiles joyfully.
We also are in the arms of our God who is much more than a mother to us - nothing can hurt us as long as we are in His arms.

Some countries have a holiday today just because it is Pentecost Monday!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pentecost



The Sequence for the Feast of Pentecost is worth praying over today.

Holy Spirit, Lord of Light,
From the clear celestial height.
Thy pure beaming radiance give.
Come, thou Father of the poor,
Come, with treasures which endure;
Come, thou Light of all that live!
Thou, of all consolers best,
Thou, the soul's delightful guest,
Dost refreshing peace bestow.
Thou in toil art comfort sweet;
Pleasant coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
Light immortal, Light divine,
Visit thou these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill.
If thou take thy grace away,
Nothing pure in man will stay;
All his good is turned to ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour thy dew,
Wash the stains of guilt away.
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
Thou, on us who evermore
Thee confess and thee adore,
With thy sevenfold gifts descend.
Give us comfort when we die;
Give us life with thee on high;
Give us joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.