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Friday, May 22, 2015

The fruit of the Spirit



There are some modern lists of the twelve fruits of the Spirit; all agree that there can be more than 12 - here are the ones I can remember from Paul's list: joy, peace, love, kindness, generosity, meekness, magnanimity, modesty, patience, long-suffering, benignity, and chastity.

Here is a better listing: The twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit are charity (or love), joy, peace, patience, benignity (or kindness), goodness, longanimity (or long suffering), mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity

I had left out faith, continency, and put meekness instead of mildness and used both kindness and benignity (I thought this was not correct, but was trying to get at least 12 gifts).

Here is what Paul says in Galatians (note only nine mentioned here):

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Come, Holy Spirit




As the Feast of Pentecost draws near, we invoke the Holy Spirit to come and enlighten us. We pray to experience the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. Which of the seven gifts attributed to the Holy Spirit do I need most at this time in my life? First, let me call the seven to mind: Piety, Fortitude, Fear of the Lord, Understanding, Counsel, Wisdom and I am missing one. Maybe that is the very one I need. It is Knowledge and comes before Understanding! Actually, in the list of the gifts as I learned them, Fear of the Lord is first and Wisdom is the highest; some begin with the highest and then Fear of the Lord becomes the seventh gift.

The seventh and final gift of the Holy Spirit is the fear of the Lord, and perhaps no other gift of the Holy Spirit is so misunderstood. We think of fear and hope as opposites, but the fear of the Lord confirms the theological virtue of hope. This gift of the Holy Spirit gives us the desire not to offend God, as well as the certainty that God will supply us the grace that we need in order to keep from offending Him. Our desire not to offend God is more than simply a sense of duty; like piety, the fear of the Lord arises out of love. (copied from the Internet).

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Saints are everywhere


When I was at Oakwood, someone told me that she never fails to read Robert Ellsberg's "All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses For Our Time"; I received it in the mail today and see that it is really not a new book as it won the 1998 Christopher Award. One of the tributes on the back cover is from Joan Chittister; she says, "This book should be in every home, on every shelf, in every library. It raises the standards of life."
It looks as if I shall be reading it each day as it is inspiring to see the many different kinds of saints or witnesses to Christ that have given us an example of how to follow Jesus in our daily lives. I guess we all have some living saints around us that also give us inspiration in the great adventure we are living. Saints are really everywhere when we are looking for them. Some are fat, some are thin; some brilliant, others rather dull, but all are in love with God and living to please God!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Joy, a gift of the Holy Spirit



Christian joy is not simply enjoyment, it isn’t fleeting lightheartedness”. Instead, “Christian joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit: it is having one’s heart ever joyful because the Lord has triumphed, the Lord reigns, the Lord is at the right hand of the Father, the Lord has looked at me and sent me and given me his grace and has made me a child of the Father”. This is what “Christian joy” really is.

A Christian, therefore, “lives in joy”. But, Francis asked, “where is this joy in the saddest moments,

in times of anguish? Let’s think about Jesus on the Cross: did He have joy? Eh, no! But yes, He had peace!”. Indeed, the Pope explained, “Joy, in the moment of anguish, of trial, becomes peace”. On the other hand, “lightheartedness in a moment of anguish becomes darkness, becomes troublesome”.

This is why “a Christian without joy isn’t Christian”. A “Christian who loses peace in trying times, in times of illness, of so many difficulties, is missing something”.

This is from the Pope' homily on May 15 - it makes one ask the Holy Spirit to let us all live in joy and peace!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Praying


Here is something that I like from Mary Oliver on prayer:

“Praying”
… a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway
into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.
I think this says a great deal about my own prayer now. I am so filled with gratitude that I just let that overflow into silence and try to listen to God as God speaks to my heart. I am making a real effort to listen to and act on the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Jesus ascends into Heaven




We have a joyful Sunday liturgy. I suspect the Apostles were not so joyful as they stood there looking up and wishing that Jesus had not left them. They still did not understand. But, when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they realized that Jesus was still with them and they immediately went out to preach the good news and to baptize.

Now, we have received the Holy Spirit in Baptism and then, if that was not enough, we have the Sacrament of Confirmation which really makes us all called to go forth and spread the joy of the Gospel. I guess each of us has a special mission and we need to be aware of how the Holy Spirit is inspiring us to fulfill it!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Prayer of St. Thomas of Villanova


So much is going on in my life that I am just going to share a prayer of St. Thomas of Willanova:

I will love you, Lord, in every way and without setting limits to my love. You set no limits to what you have done for me; you have not measured out your gifts.
I will not measure out my love. I will love you, Lord, with all my strength, with all my powers, as much as I am able.
In you, Lord, have I hoped.

That is a good prayer. We could also listen to Jesus telling each one of us: I love you in every way without setting limits to my love. Jesus loves us with an infinite, unconditional love and let us thank for this love today. His Heart is open for us; he waits for us.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Newness, harmony, mission...



The Holy Spirit brings harmony into lives. Pope Francis speaks of the Spirit as being linked to three words: newness, harmony, and mission. Whenever God reveals Himself, He brings newness and wants our complete trust. Our God is a God of surprises and we need to let ourselves be surprised by God. The Holy Spirit also gives us the courage to strike our along new paths that God sets before us.
The Holy Spirit also brings about harmony and "having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for each Christian, every community, every movement. It is the Church that brings Christ to me, and me to Christ". (Pope Francis' homily, Pentecost, 2013).

The Holy Spirit also invites us, even impels us, to go forth to proclaim the Good News of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is given to us to go out and spread the joy of the Gospel. We are to give God's love to all and the Spirit helps us with His gifts and fruits.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Ascension Thursday



Now we mostly celebrate the Ascension on Sunday. I still like the old tradition we had of going to the chapel just before noon and than singing "Beau Ciel"! I suspect that Jesus just said good-bye and disappeared after promising his disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit. Mark ends his Gospel with Jesus telling them to "Go out into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved..."

Luke tells us in Acts that two men dressed in white garments came and asked the Apostles, "Men of Galilee, why are ou standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven."

I do not know what really happened at the moment of the Ascension but I know that Jesus is with His Father in Heaven and will come again. The Good News is that He is also here with us and has given us the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Taking time to pray



I am so grateful that we have a very strong formation in prayer and have kept sacred the hour of morning prayer; we also have been taught the importance of a daily examen, (made when we can now but it was 15 minutes in the middle of the day and another with night prayers so that we would be conscious of God's action in our day and our response). We had daily Mass and a wonderful half hour of quiet prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon. I still try for these times of prayer and I know that it is a grace for me to have always loved prayer and I get up knowing that the Lord is waiting for me to spend the first hour of the day with Him. It is good to be back to my usual routine; what is lacking is the rosary which I said each day for years and now seem to find turning to Mary in quiet prayer helps me more than using words.

I have been looking over some books to suggest to the Reflection Group for next year. One is Ronald Rolheiser's Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity.
I began the book before I became ill and here is a poem that I had marked and thought I would share:
The Difference (by Grace L. Naessens)

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish, I didn't have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me and grew heavier with each task;
Why doesn't God help me, I wondered; He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak,
I wondered why God didn't show me--He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence; I used all my keys at the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided, "My child, you didn't knock."

I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bless every person I have met . . .



This is a picture I took of the little chapel I had arranged just before becoming ill. It is so nice to come home and find Jesus waiting for me there in the Blessed Sacrament. The room is really light, but the picture makes it seem dark. You can see our patio with just the tip of the deep end of the pool.

This morning I want to share with you a prayer found in one of Sister Hoffman's prayer books. She was the holy Religious of the Sacred Heart who had the room across the hall from me at Oakwood and who went peacefully to God while I was still in isolation.

Mighty God, Father of all:
Compassionate God, Mother of all
Bless every person I have met,
Every face I have seen,
Every voice I have heard,
Especially those most dear
Bless every city, town, and street
That I have ever known,
Every sight I have seen,
Every sound I have heard,
Every object I have touched.
In some mysterious way
these have all fashioned my life,
all that I am and have received.
Great God, bless the world.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Busy end of Academic year



Before I came home, I had made appointments for every day of the first week plus I plunged into community life again with the joy of cooking, entertaining guests, back to gym, and just trying to do too much. I think many of us try to do too much and we need to slow down and enjoy each day. I am taking my car in for a needed check up today and that will keep me home and I look forward to just being. I forgot how easily we can get caught up in so many things, and the end of an academic year is always a challenge for many. I at least am free from the correction of final papers and exams and pray for those who are struggling to make deadlines - both the students and the teachers!

I have just received some new books in the mail and can hardly wait to read them, but I am also reading three or four books now so I need again to tell myself to slow down; I have all the time there is, 24 hours a day, so just take one thing at a time. The nice thing is that the books will wait for me.

Since I began making a conscious effort to listen to the Holy Spirit these past few days, I seem to be getting many inspirations that are leading me to greater gratitude for each moment of life.

I am taking time to both talk things over with the Holy Spirit and listen to the Spirit as I need guidance in my daily choses. I am also praying for all my readers that all of us may be very connected to the Spirit and docile in following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. I assure you that I sit here each day and just ask the Spirit to inspire words that will be of some help to at least some today.
Come, Holy Spirit, and enkindle the fire of Divine Love in our hearts today!