This is just a reminder that I will be making my retreat from August 4 to 13th and really do ask for your prayers for me especially during those days. It is the most important time of the year for me as one does nothing for eight days except concentrate of Jesus and what He is saying to me. Silence during those days deepens so that one is really attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. It is such a grace to be able to take this time each year; some years I have been able to prolong it, but this year I will be visiting with my friends in our retirement home, although spending a few days in a community in Redwood City and then in our new community home in Berkeley. I will also have the opportunity of seeing my nephew and his wife the last week end I am in California.
I shall not be writing, but will keep all in my prayer. When you read this I shall be either in the air or arriving in San Francisco! Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Ignatius!
I cannot resist giving a few more quotes from Janet Stuart. She said: "Say 'O' in silence; add nothing...what is less than an 'O'? But what is greater than this cry of the heart? All the eloquence of the world is in this O; I don't know what more to say- for I have lost myself!"
"God knows you 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 to heaven and as little as possible to the troubles of earth."
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."
Mother Stuart said this about prayer: "'Give us yourself' is the best prayer we can pray and 'we give ourselves to you' - no better offering. For we do not know what to ask and what to offer. Leave it all to Him.
She also said: "Let the beauty of nature...steal over each power of our souls and every mood of our mind, that they, teachers sent from God, may make a sanctuary of silence within us..."
I leave early Wednesday for California and there the beauty of nature is all around me. Our retirement home in Atherton has such beautiful trees and flowers and I look forward to my retreat right on the shore of the Pacific which is not so pacific in Santa Cruz. There are many surfers there and one never tires of watching them try to become 'one with the wave'.
Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds and hides again and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, it is like a merchant searching for pearls. When he find a pearl of great price, he sells all that he has and buys it. The Kingdom of heaven is also like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. Now, you can reflect on these examples yourself as I am not about to give a homily. However, I do want to call your attention to the other two readings.
In the first reading from the first Book of Kings, Solomon has a dream and the Lord tells him to ask for something and He will give it to him. Solomon ask for an understanding heart and wisdom to govern... the Lord tells him, "I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you."
And in the second reading from Romans we read: "We know that all things work for good for those who love God..."
Plenty to reflect on and thank for today. I leave for California on Wednesday and so plan on taking a vacation from the blog until about August 22 - I shall be in retreat from August 4-13 and count on your prayer especially during those days.
More unusual flowers that really leave me in awe of the Creator of so many varieties. Yesterday was my nephew's birthday and today is my brother-in-law's birthday. They are very different but so good. I have much to thank for in both of them.
Now, today's reflection in my Mass booklet is by Marina Wiederkehr, an old friend and great author of creative, sometimes humorous, spirituality books and articles. She triggered my own reflection today when she wrote: "Each time we sit down at the altar of our own lives to evaluate our growth in Christ, whether this is through spiritual direction or part of our personal rule of life, we are on pilgrimage." She says that the Word of God is our guide and that we have within our beings a pilgrim path.
Where am I now on my pilgrim path? What Scripture path am I using today to continue my journey?
These monkey-faced flowers intrigue me. So does the whole concept of silence. The pastor of St. Augustine Church, where I go to noon Mass during the week, has just finished a thirty-day retreat and wrote an entire page on silence as a necessary element for human health and growth- physically, psychologically, and spiritually. He talks about what a tremendous gift it is to really experience both interior and exterior silence. He spoke of how it created a tremendous sense of peace, renewal, clarity of mind, and awareness of the presence of God. He spoke of the need for silence to be aware of God's love in the retreat and that silence is also essential for life. He ended his reflection with this quote from Blessed Theresa of Calcutta: "We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature- trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls."
Let us thank for the silence we are able to find in our lives; anyone who does Centering Prayer knows what a gift interior silence is for sinking deep into the Heart of Christ.
Have you ever thought of being overwhelmed, even smothered with words? I was reading a reflection by Kathy Coffey in my Mass booklet, "Give Us This Day" and she says: "The day has held an avalanche of words." She then asks, "Which ones can be carried forth and cherished, like embers against the cold?"
I was reflecting on the many words I encounter each day, not only orally but I am a reader and devour thousands of words each day. Then Kathy reminds us that "when we hear precisely the right words at the right time, our gratitude is immense. Someone understands, someone walks the same path; someone encourages us on. In such wisdom, we rediscover what we already know, what simple essentials it boils down to "to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God."
Now, I shall share I the grace I had when I was reflecting on this after Communion. Please note that I am not in the habit of hearing Jesus speak to me in words, but this time He told me quite clearly that I did not need words because His Heart was open for me just to enter and be with Him. I am trying to remember the exact words to share with you today: "Words are not necessary. My Heart is open for you to enter."
Mother Stuart, in a letter to Archbishop Goodier, said this about prayer: "To set our from some words such as 'Sea of peace, eternal Trinity...' and wade out and out into the bare thought of them, until I lose my footing and am overwhelmed..."
She had a way of describing an experience that we may also have experienced, but hardly know how to put it into words. I love the image of wading out until the depth overwhelms us.
Mary was seeking Jesus and Jesus let Himself be found! It was the first Easter Sunday and Mary ran to the tomb only to find that Jesus was not there. She was distressed and in tears and did not even look up when someone asked her why she was weeping. It was only when Jesus called her by name that she responded. She was then filled with joy but Jesus sends her off to tell his apostles that he has risen. He chose a woman to spread the good news!
Mary Magdalene is honored as the "Apostle to the Apostles." She saw and proclaimed Jesus - seeing Jesus and being sent by Jesus is what it means to be an apostle. Actually, we are all called to have an experience of Jesus and to go forth and proclaim His Love to others; that makes us Apostles, too. And we must also be filled with joy!
We are to be flexible and not want our prayer "to be this way or that way." We are to "tend to what is simple and quiet...the thought of all God is in himself and all that he has done for love of you...."
It is a grace to be able to stay with the thought of all God is in himself... much easier to recall all that he has done for love of us. Both are ways of entering into union with the Heart of Jesus who waits for us, longs for us, to enter into his most Sacred Heart. His Heart is open for us to enter and find all that we need.
Jesus taught in parables and we have three for this Sunday. Each tells us something about the kingdom of heaven. We have the man who sowed good seed, but in the night the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. That both were allowed to grow together was to not harm the wheat which would be separated at harvest time. Then we have the parable of the mustard seed which grows into a large bush big enough to shelter the birds of the air; finally we have the yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened,
Then, we have the second reading from Romans:
"The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will."
It is so consoling to know that the Spirit comes to our aid. Let us ask the Spirit to teach us how to pray. The Spirit will also help us to be yeast, to grow to receive all who come for shelter, and to separate the weeds from the wheat!
The title today is a quote from Mother Stuart. In talking about prayer, she also says: "He wants to take you sailing out into the glory of his thoughts and love, and through sheer freight you cling to the rope...
Sometimes, in giving spiritual direction and retreats I have found souls who are afraid to let go and go deeper. God is love and there is nothing to be afraid of so we must just let go and let God...
Hello, my name is Helen Rosenthal, RSCJ. Those initials stand for Religious of the Sacred Heart in Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish. Since my religious congregation began in France in 1800 and now is all over the world, we have kept the RSCJ. By now you know that I am not only known as Dr. Helen Rosenthal, but also as Sister Helen Rosenthal.
I am the oldest of four children. We were all born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. We lived in a big house with a playroom on the third floor. On Sundays we either went to my paternal grandmother's house where her six children would gather faithfully for supper or we would have my mother's father and our great aunt and uncle for a roast beef dinner at home. In summer, I would go to the lake with my Dad and I still love to swim.