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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Summer Serenity




These days are so quiet and peaceful that I have decided that summer serenity has set in and I love it. I am really not being productive, but maybe more contemplative. It is just such a joy to have time to be.
One of my directees yesterday was telling me about her retreat. She said that she now would not ask "What would Jesus do?" without also asking "How would Jesus do it?"
How would Jesus enjoy this quiet? I suspect He would use it both for prayer and for reaching out to others. Relationships are so important and I think when we are older we need to be sure we stay in touch with relatives and friends. One good thing about having lived in Miami so long is having friends here, although some of my favorite people have moved away. Still, one needs to make the effort to keep in touch even if a friend lives down the street.
I shall make a list of friends to call or write and maybe this summer serenity will also deepen friendships. I am just grateful for these quiet days! I hope others are enjoying some summer serenity, too!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Open heart



Although I hope to get back to work by August 1 on the book I keep saying I want to write about the life of one of our pioneer Religious, I am enjoying these days with time to read and swim and cook and clean. It is a mystery to me how much I have accumulated in my nearly thirty years in Miami. I just have too much - too many papers, books, clothes, trinkets that I have been given, etc. I am quite neat and orderly. but just have too much! I can help some one else clear out, but find I take forever to do my own things. I am writing about this as I suspect there are others out there with the same problem.

I am enjoying cooking and inventing new recipes. I like having company and so have invited friends as this is also a distraction for the one community member who is home undergoing the many weeks of chemotherapy.

I have so much to be grateful for and rejoice each day in all the good things that God has given me, is giving me, and His Love is everlasting! Let us rejoice with an open heart and mind.

This is a double post today as I also finished up the skills and that was posted.

Seek Growth, not perfection

 
 
 
              7.  Perfection is a long-term goal, and certainly we need to keep our eyes on that horizon. But today, can I try to grow and be at peace with the growth. I may not have been perfect today, but did I learn and grow towards it? 
 
8. Learn to communicate effectively. It is important for me  to gain an increasingly enriched vocabulary - name and understand the things that I am experiencing- and to share those experiences with others in communion.
 
 
 9. Make your life an act of love. Being "for others" takes me out of myself. my pettiness, my self-concern, and inflames my heart with joy.
 
10. Make prayer a constant companion during your day. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel -  the God with us. He is with us throughout the day - let us be aware, in awe, and grateful. He is the "Bread come down from heaven." For us as a people of faith, constant prayer points to a Eucharistic spirituality. No matter the ups and downs of the transitions in my life, Jesus in the Eucharist is the constant, for He is "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
 
These are the skills listed by Monsignor Carruthers that help our lives unfold.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

More skills for our life unfolding...

 
 
These skills make sense to me but we need to cultivate them!


4.  Fulfill your needs for relaxation, exercise, and nourishment. I must seek balance in my life. If these basic needs are not being met, other areas will be off.                                   

5. Learn to enjoy life. This is a conscious decision. It is a choice. Some people choose to sit and stew. Others choose to make the best of the moment and enjoy.

6. Stretch out of your comfort zone. Each day, can I stretch my heart a bit, allowing for growth?


Again. I think that is enough to reflect on today and I am convinced that God wants us to enjoy life and a great deal depends on our attitude so let us make the best of the moment and enjoy.


These were a continuation of the skills given yesterday from "The Desk of Monsignor Carruthers

Monday, July 27, 2015

As our lives unfold...


Here are a few skills that help us as our lives continue to unfold. I have taken them from the page the pastor writes in the Parish Bulletin called "From the Desk of Monsignor Carruthers" and it is an old entry reprinted last week:
He begins by saying that our lives continue to unfold and we must enter into moments of transition and then gives skills to help us:

1. Honestly accept where you are on your journey today. To move forward I have to be honest about where I am today. I am not where I am going, and I am not where I was yesterday. I cannot pretend to be where I am not. To move forward in life I must first be honest with where I am.

2. Accept responsibility for your life. There are things that are beyond my control, but I have the power over how I respond to those things. I cannot blame anyone else for that -- that is on me and I must take responsibility for it.

3. Learn to be a good-finder. I must make a conscious effort to see the good that is before me, receive it, and be grateful for it. To focus on complaints only fills me with bitterness and blinds me to the good. Go through the day counting the blessings of the moment.

I will continue with the skills he suggests, but feel these are more than enough for today to reflect on. I guess the first is the most difficult for me. Where am I in this unfolding life?


Third Day of Retreat on Community




It was nice to have two of my community making the retreat with me. Most of the day on community was spent, at least by me, in praying over what one of our latest documents, "Life Unfolding...". says about community. It is a formation booklet, but we are all in formation all our lives. Community is the place where we are called by God to live as sisters...our life together is a gift and a process that invites us to constant transformation...it is the central place of our formation.
We are also called to help one another take care of the quality of our relationship with Jesus. It
Community is where I am called to serve with joy. I want others to accept me as I am and I am called to accept each as she is. There is a real value in living in community and I am grateful that I have always been in community. I experience the joy of living and celebrating together with my sisters - I think I need to look for more ways to show my gratitude and appreciation and continue to share my vulnerability with my sisters.
Then, we all form part of other communities and I think the same joy comes from celebrating with others - family, groups, colleagues. and the Provincial community which is quite large!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Commentary

God is not the kind of being that can be seen with the eyes, and small account is taken of the miracles by which he rules the entire universe and governs all creation because they recur so regularly. Scarcely anyone bothers to consider God’s marvelous, his amazing artistry in every tiny seed.

And so certain works are excluded from the ordinary course of nature, works which God in his mercy has reserved for himself, so as to perform them at appropriate times. People who hold cheap what they see every day are dumbfounded at the sight of extraordinary works even though they are no more wonderful than the others.

Text Box:   There was power in the hands of Christ.Governing the entire universe is a greater miracle than feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread, yet no one marvels at it. People marvel at the feeding of the five thousand not because this miracle is greater, but because it is out of the ordinary.

Who is even now providing nourishment for the whole world if not the God who creates a field of wheat from a few seeds? Christ did what God does.

Just as God multiplies a few seeds into a whole field of wheat, so Christ multiplied the five loaves in his hands. For there was power in the hands of Christ.

Those five loaves were like seeds, not because they were cast on the earth but because they were multiplied by the one who made the earth.

This miracle was presented to our senses in order to stimulate our minds; it was put before our eyes in order to engage our understanding, and so make us marvel at the God we do not see because of his works which we do see.

For then, when we have been raised to the level of faith and purified by faith, we shall long to behold, though not with our eyes, the invisible God whom we recognize through what is visible.

This miracle was performed for the multitude to see; it was recorded for us to hear.

Faith does for us what sight did for them. We behold with the mind what our eyes cannot see; and we are preferred to them because of us it was said: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” St. Augustine

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Interior Life - thoughts from the retreat



This is the entrance to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I was drawn to think again about some of the really great educators that I had in high school as a weekly boarder there. I also realized how holy they must of been as I certainly thought that they were all united to Jesus and thinking of Him when not actually in the classroom. I still feel the disappointment I felt when I entered; union with Jesus is not automatic. He is always with us, but I still am so forgetful of His Presence. Fortunately, retreat is a time to renew my desire to live united to Jesus and I know that the desire comes from Him. We just need to let Him love us!

Keeping a Journal is one way I see how the Lord works in my life; a monthly summary and being accountable to a spiritual director is another way to see how the Lord has been leading me - maybe often having to push me, but always with such love and tenderness. My favorite image is being carried as the Good Shepherd carried the strayed lamb home.

Today is my nephew's birthday and he is doing so much for the poor and is such a wonderful leader for St. Vincent de Paul out there in California.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sharing some of my retreat



God is always surprising me. When on the plane going to retreat we ran into a storm but I was hearing the most beautiful symphony music that somehow was being picked up by my hearing aids that I felt so relaxed and at peace. It seemed to me that God was giving me this gift (still a mystery as to where that music was coming from) to lead me into retreat. It gave me real joy and I kept thinking about this on the first day of retreat. Swimming in the large indoor pool each day also gave me joy during the retreat and seemed to bring back the surprise of the music.
Here are a few of my notes from the first day of retreat:
Prayer helps me to deepen my relationship with God. Because prayer is the expression of a personal relationship with God, it is unique for each of us. St. Madeleine Sophie gave us great freedom. She said, "What difference does it make how you pray, provided your heart is seeking the one whom you love."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sharing my retreat


Pallotine Retreat House in Florissant, Missouri.


  

Chapel at the retreat center in Florissant.
I usually sat it the first chair in the first row on the right.
It was a very prayerful Chapel and I loved just sitting there with Jesus.
The tabernacle is on the left and not shown in this picture.
The first day of the retreat was all on prayer and the interior life and I just wanted to be quiet and be with Jesus. I did take a few notes and here is one of my thoughts: "I have come to know that the interior life is more exciting than exterior life and is a source of joy for us."

The Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at St. Charles


I had just finished writing a blog about sharing on the first day of retreat and it disappeared when I hit publish. So I will use these pictures instead to tell you about the how much it meant to me to be able to pray again at the tomb of Philippine. We filled the Shrine for the Mass on the first day of the assembly and it was a beautiful liturgy - our newly named vocation director is from Canada and she planned all the Liturgies and prayer services for our Assembly/Chapter. Her attention to detail was really extraordinary and all went well. More than well - each time for prayer was so beautiful and the songs and readings so well-chosen that this contributed to the prayerful atmosphere of the whole Assembly/Chapter. I also loved the drums!
Tomorrow I shall continue to share from the Hearts on Fire II Retreat. It seems that the same four RSCJs gave the first Hearts on Fire retreat several years ago for 35 and this time we were 85!
Here is one thought from my first day of retreat which was all on Prayer and the Interior Life. I have discovered that the interior life is more interesting than the exterior life. I actually wrote more "exciting" in my notes and it is the source of our joy. I really believe this, but I am far from living the interior life of union with the Heart of Jesus that I rather naively thought would be automatic once I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Prayer request and pictures



This is a picture of the old convent at Florissant where Philippine lived. During the Assembly we had Mass at her shrine in St. Charles. It is always a grace for me to return there as I was a weekly boarder during high school and received my vocation there. Of course, the shrine had not been built and we visited Philippine's tomb each evening in the tiny chapel in front of the convent.

 
Do pray for one of my community who has just started 16 weeks of chemotherapy; there will just be the two of us home for the next three weeks so I hope I can be a good caregiver as this is a hard time for her. She is just recovered from her back operation in March and still needs to have a hip operation after she has the cancer surgery and radiation so that will probably be January for her hip and it is painful!