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Monday, January 16, 2017

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The workplace is as good a school for spirituality as a monastery. Our work, our homes, our neighborhoods, our public meeting places, our voting booths, our classrooms - all are conducive to the practice of spirituality. Our turf, our stuff, however cluttered and discombobulated, are holy ground. The ordinary hassles of daily living are rich soil in which to grow and bloom.

~ from Adventures in Simple Living by Rich Heffern

The above quote is taken from this month's issue of "Friends of Silence" Maybe it is enough to reflect upon today.

And I an reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr. and President Obama and what both have done for us.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Behold the Lamb of God

This Sunday's Gospel has John the Baptist pointing out Jesus to two of his disciples. John calls Jesus, "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, 'A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.' I did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel."
I am always struck by the humility of John the Baptist who lets his disciples follow Jesus. John saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon Jesus. Then John said that he has testified that Jesus is the Son of God.
I think that Jesus only began to realize his mission at the moment of his baptism. Yet, God had revealed to John the Baptist that this was the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There is much here to reflect upon today.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


My last guided imagery was the best yet. It began in Chile with the sheep that used to be around the little house where I gave one of my first workshops to the community. Margarita Hurtado had given all of the sheep biblical names and they did come when you called them by name. My guide suggested that I call one of them as I had just been contemplating these rather dumb sheep. I called out: "Ezchial" and that sheep came to me! However, most of this morning's imagery did not concern sheep (but there is a connection with the Good Shepherd made later), but was again an experience of the Blessed Trinity. This time, I felt that God was in me. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, were all united to me and I felt their presence and just wanted to remain there. My prayer has been influenced these days by this experience; we are united to God as He is in us, but this was a felt experience that has remained with me and it very powerful. I guess I felt overwhelmed by God's love pouring into me. This love is now to be given to others!

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Blessed Trinity

The next guided imagery I named "A Taste of Heaven". It began on the Island of Iona and perhaps I thought of that time of pilgrimage there because I was wearing my Scottish sweater given to me by one of my students when I visited Scotland; she arranged for another of my students to take me to Iona and that was such a great experience. One drives for miles and miles on a single lane road which means often stopping in the little pull over places to let cars coming the other direction pass as there is only room for one car on the road. Then one takes a ferry to the Isle of Mull and then you park your car and wait for another ferry to take you over to Iona where there is one taxi and I believe a few residents are the only ones who have cars. One walks everywhere. It was mostly raining and cold while we were there but the little house of prayer where we stayed was warm and inviting. One of our nuns ran it for the Diocese and she even baked bread for the guests. She cooked dinner and gave us breakfast but did not provide lunch.
None of this was in my imagery but I found myself standing on the hill above the monastery and looking to see if I could see Ireland. My guardian angel came and took me to heaven. There were many people there but I was looking for God. I found God - the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but it was a bright light that surrounded me and held me. I really felt as if I were in the Trinity and it was such a wonderful feeling that I named the image later "A Taste of Heaven." Enough for tonight.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Our Lady and the Infant Jesus

My first guided imagery session with my guide was at 8:30 on Wednesday morning. One is quite relaxed lying under a blanket on a bed before the music begins. My imagination had me out walking in a rural area; there were hills and a path that I was following but only some wild flowers, no people and no animals in sight. The path took me around one of the hills to a wooded area and there was an inviting large log there. I was alone but asked Our Lady to come join me. She came at once and handed me the Infant Jesus to hold. He was fast asleep and never woke up and was just so small and easy to hold. I think I thanked Our Lady for always coming to me when I needed her. She said, "That is what a mother does." She confirmed me in my desire to live in joy and give joy to Jesus and to others. The music changed then and it seemed as if a whole heavenly choir was in the sky praising God and adoring the Infant Jesus who never even opened his eyes. After that, Our Lady took back her baby and left with the heavenly beings, but St. Philippine Duchesne appeared and sat down next to me. She said that she had come because I had been thinking so much about her and writing about her and she wanted to tell me that she thought I should continue to write this blog with the help of the Holy Spirit. I had been wondering about keeping it going every day as I have been doing this for years, but she gave me courage to continue. And that is enough for today.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

My Guided Imagery Retreat

Tonight I will give you an idea of my week of this special kind of retreat. I found this week even more powerful than last year's retreat. Last year was the first time I had done a guided imagery retreat and I wanted to see what it was like. It stayed with me and I am happy to have been able to make another one this year with the same guide and almost the same group of women. The week began at 3:00 on Monday, January 2, and ended the next Monday after lunch. It was a time of silence and intense prayer. We each had 3 Guided Imagery sessions of about an hour and a half with our guide every other day, and we also saw our guide for a half hour each afternoon. In between, we worked with our images, recorded feelings and were asked to dialog with some of our images and see what the central message was for each of us and, of course, we took time to pray over all of this. We had community prayer each evening at 5:15; after supper from 7:30 to about 8:45 we were again together for prayerful sharing. As I now have one of those "Roger Pens" that put the sound directly into my hearing aids, I was able to hear the sharing this year. That was a real grace. Each person held the pen while she was sharing. Some also drew and painted pictures and passed these around as a way of sharing their images. The days passed so rapidly that I did not seem to have time for artwork, but I had lovely hours of prayer both in my room looking at the ocean and in the little Chapel in Villa Maria del Mar across the street.
Most days we had a very stormy ocean and it was cold enough for me to see frost on my windows in the mornings. It did rain much of the week, but that seemed to help me pray. The other help which I think is unique is having a "morning paper" to read when we went to breakfast with the theme for the day and excellent quotes. I am sure I will be sharing some of those in this blog. I also am willing to share some of my images with all of you.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Be Thou My Vision

One of my favorites from my high school days:

English version by Eleanor Hull, 1912

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Feast of the Epiphany

We celebrate the coming of the Magi to find the new-born king in Bethlehem. What faith they had to follow a star! They came, or so the story goes, bearing gifts. The star led them and they found the Child and then an angel told them to go back another way. I suspect that all who find Jesus are not able to return the same way. They had come from far away and they had to put their faith in the star!
Have I enough faith to follow a star?
Here is part of a poem that I thought I recognized but this one is signed by Jeanne Houlihan, MM:
What I'd really like to give you for Christmas is a star...

Brilliance in a package, something you could keep in the pocket of your being.
Something you could take out in times of darkness
something that would never snuff out or tarnish,
something you could hold in your hand,
something for wonderment,
something for pondering,
something that would remind you of what Christmas has always meant: God's Advent Light in the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God's for giving, and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages without stars.
But I can wish you life as radiant as the star that announced the Christ Child's coming, and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood beneath its light.
And I can pass on to you the love that has been given to me,
ignited countless times by others who have knelt in Bethlehem's light.
Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star.

I suspect that I did copy this before, but I am hurrying to try to leave my blogs scheduled for the entire week I am at the retreat. Please do not forget to pray!

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Use your imagination and put yourself into the picture above - be sure to wrap up warmly. Now, where are you going? Are you just out to follow a star? Perhaps you know your destination and are full of anticipation and joy. Let whatever happens, happen today as I am still in retreat and not about to write a blog today. However, I have written one for the Feast of the Epiphany tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2017

St.Andrre Bessette

St. Andre Bessette was canonized in 2010 but I have heard of his holiness for years. My Holy Cross cousin, Brother John McLaughlin (my grandfather was also named John McLaughlin), loved him and often spoke of him. He was orphaned at the age of twelve and had to support himself but his pastor sent him to the Holy Cross Order where he was accepted as a lay brother. After his acceptance, he became the doorman at Notre Dame college near Montreal and stayed there for forty years. He was credited with many healing miracles which he always attributed to St. Joseph; he became so well-known that he needed a team to help answer the 80,000 letters he received each year. He died at the age of 91 and a million people filed by his coffin. I remember that my grandmother and one of my aunts went to see him when I was a child.  Anyway, he died on January 6 so that is his feast day. Epiphany was changed to be celebrated on the Sunday after New Year's.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Silent snowy scene

I do not really miss snow, but there is something about awakening to find all the world quiet and not a sound to be heard. Of course, that silence will not last as the snowplows will be out early to clear roads and you may be out there also trying to clear the snow and ice from your car. I am glad I remember beautiful days with the new-fallen snow, but I am quite happy to be in California.

What has this to do with prayer? I was thinking of the hush that seems to exist when one wakes up and looks out on a real winter scene. When nature is silent, one is drawn into deeper interior silence just contemplating the beauty. The first time I was home for Christmas after at least twenty-three years (and 13 of those years I was far away in Chile), I was praying for a white Christmas. We came home from Midnight Mass and all was clear. I woke up to find that it had snowed some and all the trees were so beautiful. It did not last until night, but it seemed a special gift from God to me!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sit in silence..listen and love.

Sometimes in prayer we just sit in silence and listen to Jesus.

At this time of year, I like to ask Mary to let me hold the Infant Jesus. Jesus did not experience old age, but He came so helpless, so needy, just as any baby is; he was dependent on others for all his needs. I just go to prayer to let Jesus love me, but hopefully I am also consoling Him by my love.
My best prayer is in the Heart of Jesus; it is a grace to ask for...