As we try to follow the path, we do not always know where Christ is leading us. We need to trust His Heart and follow Him. Our life is a journey and we are sometimes tempted to stop on the way. Some stop because they are too tired to go on, but they need to learn how to draw strength from the Lord. Others drag their feet and keep looking back. Are they afraid of what lies ahead? All of us must keep on until the end. We know that Christ is with us, even when His presence is hidden. We want to feel joy and hate to leave our comfort to continue this journey, but we go on in faith and God waits for us and we know this and so have the courage to keep on no matter what. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes hard but we know we are made for God and our journey into God is the only thing that counts so we go on with courage and confidence.
Bridges fascinate me. In California I was driven several times over the bridge that connects Oakland to San Francisco; going one way, you are on top of the bridge, but go the other way and you are under the cars on top. I prefer the rustic bridges one finds in woods. Prayer is a bridge for us to go to God. Again, I go over saying "I love You" to God but He has been going under me all the time saying "I love you" and this mutual exchange makes my prayer joyful.
The world is such a mess that I need to keep confiding it to God.
Some time ago I listed this book, "Prayer, Our Deepest Longing" by Ronald Rolheiser under recent spiritual books on the right side of my blog. I found myself reading it again on Sunday and was struck by his definition of all private and devotional prayer as "prayer that tries, in myriad ways, to open us up in such a way that we can hear God say to us, 'I love you.'"
He goes on to say that prayer is about love. It is meant to establish friendship. And, he says, good friendship implies boldness. To reach the trust we need to be bold with God, we must first let Him touch our heart.
I think God wants us to listen to Him in the depths of our hearts, but also to talk to Him as one friend talks to another. I just learned of the death yesterday of a dear friend who had been in the novitiate with me. I have been talking to God about her and about the community she has left behind as it is always hard to lose a loved one, even when you know they are with God now and happy for all eternity.
We can always find Jesus waiting for us. Pope Francis says that we need to have the courage to return to Jesus. We can enter the wounds of Jesus. "It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart."
The Pope says: "This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus' mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love."
I am home again. But these scenes are still in my head and it is wonderful to recall the graces of my retreat. I also had some good reflection on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When I shared it with one of my RSCJ friends, she suggested I also share it on my blog so look for it soon.
Good job. I am learning to write my blog on my I-pad, but cannot schedule it from there or even make it listed under August Reflections 2014 which is important for the archives; I guess I will wait until I can get to a computer.
Richard Rolheiser says that "experiencing the unconditional love of God is what prayer, in the end, is all about." I guess I often go to prayer just to be loved by God. Of course, He is always loving me, but I have the very real and deep experience of His Love when I enter into the Heart of Christ in prayer. Try it and see what a grace it is to remain in His Love.
This picture was taken during the retreat I kept listening to the surf and Jesus kept saying to me: I love you; remain in My Love!
The third day of my ten-day retreat was the Feast of the Transfiguration. I really seemed to hear God, the Father, saying to me: "This is my Beloved Son; listen to Him." I really tried to listen to Jesus and just be with Him. It was a grace-filled time and I also prayer for our world which is in such a sorry state and needs our prayer.
The above picture was taken on my phone down at the beach where I went most afternoons just to sit and watch the surfers, or the sailboats. The sailboats come our on Wednesday nights - more than 70 of them and parade in front of the retreat house as they circle Monterey Bay. I had a reserved table in the corner of the dining room that looked directly out at the ocean.
Jesus was transfigured when he had taken Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray.
It was a very special moment for Jesus as well as His disciples. All heard His Father say to Him:
"This is my Beloved Son. Listen to Him."
During my retreat I thought of many ways of listening to Jesus who speaks to us in events and circumstances as well as through people. He also speaks very softly within us, if we are listening for His voice. He does not need words but reaches us through our senses as well as speaking to us in silence. Thomas Keating says that silence is God's first language.
I am trying to listen to Jesus as He speaks to me today.
Well, I had the picture here but it has vanished; it is on my I-pad and I will learn how to transfer it , but for now I will just say the Sisters of the Holy Names gave me the same room I had asked for on the third floor east in the main building. The last time I made a thirty-day retreat I was in this room so it is special to me. I also love the little meditation chapel on the Second Floor in the Southwest corner. Much of my retreat was spent in just contemplating the ocean, listening to the surf, and really doing not much else. I did a great deal of reflecting on my life with our new formation booklet and will be sharing some of that as formation is for life.
Here is a picture taken from my window during the retreat. I just copied and pasted it but I know there is a better way to do this.
It seems ages since I have written a blog, but now I am home to share with you the many graces of the entire trip. Just being on the ocean is so helpful for contemplation. I love to hear the surf and watch the surfers, too. The ocean always speaks to me of the immensity of God's love for us. Then there are the sailboats that parade on Wednesday evenings all around Monteray Bay -all the boats docked in Santa Cruz are out sailing. And sometimes the dolphins are out there joyfully playing tag with each other!
I feel so spoiled by God and by all the RSCJs I met and stayed with and I have felt the prayer of everyone. Later I shall share some of the graces of my retreat.
Today we are having a "Sending Blessing" and dinner for our new candidate who will be living in St. Louis next year. Please pray for her. I remember only too well how hard the last days were before I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart but that was over 64 years ago and I have been so happy! I was just with a couple of young ones at our new house in Berkeley and enjoyed their continuous laughter! One is from Peru and on her way to Probation in Rome; the other is going to Korea to be with our Religious there and teach English!
Sorry that I published the room I pray in now that I am visiting in Redwood City. I am trying to publish from my I -pad. One of our Sisters, Rosalie Chen, died at Oakwood early today. I was with her yesterday as we knew she was dying.
I have talked with at least 30 of our Sisters in the past two days. Some I saw for good visits but others only to talk to at meals.
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."
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.