Search This Blog


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

How do I wish to spend Advent?

It is the first day of December and that means only 24 days to prepare for the coming of the Lord. I think I am going to just keep the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year. They are what I need to do anyway. I want to schedule physical therapy so that it is easy for me to get to the noon Mass.

I guess we are all praying for the results of the Ecological Conference in Paris. It is something so important and all must see what the common good is now and how we can take care of our planet. I feel that we are not taking care of so many who do not have access to clean water. I believe Pope Francis has been spelling out for all the world what must be done, but we have so many who are motivated by self-interest and neglect the common good.

As you can see, I am not inspired tonight but hope that all of us are full of desire to spend this Advent as the Lord wants.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

First Sunday of Advent

The word "Advent" comes from "Adventus", coming, and is about the coming of Christ. The Advent wreath began in homes and then was adopted by Churches. One candle is lit each Sunday and the third week has a rose colored candle, reminiscent of the third Sunday of Lent where we celebrate joy - here the joy is that Christ is soon to come. The purple candles have a double significance: it is the color associated with Kings and also with penance. People used to fast during Advent but that changed through the centuries. In the sixth century, a more formal season of Advent began to take shape. By sanctioning the practice of fasting and by encouraging churches to devote several Sunday sermons to the subject of Christ’s birth, Pope Gregory I (in office from 590-604 AD) has been credited with establishing the first clear form of an Advent season. However, Gregory granted “a certain latitude to the several churches as to the manner of [Advent’s] observance.” Thus, for the next several centuries, the traditions of individual churches varied widely.
In regard to the length of Advent, by the 10th century, most churches recognized the season to include the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. If Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday, it was considered the fourth Sunday. Or rather, the first Sunday since “these Sundays were then counted inversely, that is, the nearest to Christmas was called the first Sunday, and so on with the rest.”

Happy, holy Advent!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Preparing for Advent

One of the things I love and had almost forgotten about are the low stone fences throughout the Northeast countryside. I am still going over the gorgeous scenes I saw both from driving in Westchester County and from the airplane as we seem to have flown low over many towns and cities and the view was spectacular from the window of the plane. I do not fly often at night and so had forgotten how magical our cities look from the air at night. Just before we reached the Westchester airport on Sunday night, there was a deep red lighting up all the wooded area as the sun was setting. I am grateful for such beauty and plan to find a reason to visit in the Northeast again next year.

Now, I am sure we are wanting to spend the four weeks of Advent in some way that pleases the Lord and, of course, that may be very different for each one of us. My November leaflet from "Friends of Silence" has just come and begins by reminding me that Advent is a time of waiting and a time of preparing. "It is a season for contemplating who we are, how we fit into the world, and what we hope for its future."

Whatever we decide to do to prepare for Christmas, I do hope we find some time for silence. The Holy Spirit will show us how to please Jesus during this season of Advent that is so important for our own interior life. Jesus is always with us, but I am so often insensitive to his presence that I need Advent to awake from my slumber!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Day After Thanksgiving

This picture conveys a sense of relaxing at home in the intimacy that comes from just sitting with Jesus. I guess it is a picture that says different things to each of us. I think it is one that creates the right mood for me to go from the feast of Thanksgiving to the First Sunday of Advent. That is a strange statement perhaps so let me try to explain what I think I mean. This entire Thanksgiving week is full of memories and gratitude and joy because I love being home and able just to be concerned about making the home a cheerful and prayerful place. Now, Advent is all about preparing a home in my heart for Jesus. He is coming again and welcomes our efforts to prepare  - we need to declutter our hearts as well as our homes. I am going to have a " give away " with some of my spirituality groups. I have many small objects that have been given to me over the years and I think they would be good stocking stuffers for some of those who have families with children. Last week I managed to give away all my stuffed animals and I had quite a collection as they accumulated over the past thirty years in Miami. I have also started a lending library for spiritual books with three of the groups as I have quite a collection. I find myself more attached to the books I have than anything else.                 
As you can see, I am preparing ahead of Sunday and trying to let the Spirit show me how I am to live this Advent and give joy to Jesus. I usually write Christmas cards before Advent, but not this year so I will try to have them done by December 8th.
Asking the Holy Spirit to come show me what I need to do is a priority as I prepare for Advent. I hope you are doing the same.
I had the thought this morning that I have lived in about 20 different houses of the Society of the Sacred Heart for at least a few months. I guess that is not many since I entered 65 years ago.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

What are you most thankful for today? Health, home, friends, family, food, football, fun, ???
I am always grateful for my vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart and grateful for the continual graces I receive from the Heart of Jesus. I am grateful for this wonderful world of ours with all the different kinds of weather, flowers, trees, etc. When I was in Chile. at that time, we did not see much green grass. It was not usual for the places where we lived to have grass or even any kind of lawn. Now I have been living for almost thirty years in Miami where all is green all year! And I take it for granted so often. The same for all that was listed above. The football crept in because my brother was born on Thanksgiving and he watches multiple football games at the same time! It is good to just stop and spend time in thanking for all we have received.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Are you interested?

Beyond our local community and expanded community, there is the option of forming a "Community of Choice". These communities are composed of RSCJs either within a region or across regions who choose to connect on a regular basis to reflect together for the sake of life and ministry. The ways suggested are by phone or video conferencing. These ways do not appeal to me and I think it would be much simpler for me to form a small community of choice that would meet by e-mail and always reply to all - I guess we could also set up a "list-serv" but e-mail groups are so easy to do and manage. I am going to be looking for about five RSCJs who want to share deeply on the interior life we are leading. I am  convinced that if we learn how to reflect and share what is going on in our interior lives, we build a caring, supportive community. I would not start this group until February and would hope each would want to share weekly for the first three months and then we would just check in with each other monthly. If you are interested in this type of community of choice, please let me know.
 Actually, I have six communities that I think are also communities of choice and five of these meet here monthly with me and one that meets weekly at the University - all are life-giving for me, but I would love to have a group of Religious of the Sacred Heart who are interested in reflecting and sharing on our interior life. It is a way to get in touch and deepen our Sacred Heart spirituality which expresses itself in so many ways today. It is our interior life and influences our exterior lives and ministries. Once we begin to reflect on all that happens interiorly, we see that our interior life is even more interesting than our exterior.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Of this and that

It was wonderful to have real autumn weather in New York State and the drive to the Mariandale Retreat House was lovely. I only realized on Saturday morning that I had a lovely view of the Hudson River from the window of my room. There was not much free time to enjoy walking outside, but it just felt good to be out in the crisp air. It was getting colder on Sunday! Now I am back in the sunshine of Miami and perhaps I will even manage to get in the pool this afternoon. Since we arrived after 1:00 AM because the plane had been delayed, I woke up at 6:00 and promptly went back to sleep until eight.
I wrote a long blog about the week end and then lost it because I was interrupted and had not saved it. Now I will just say that we worked very hard, had video connection with the other two regions who were also working on organization and excellent presentations were made by our Provincial and the Team. I do think that the Health and Wellness presentation could have addressed the issue of persons with disabilities as I think that is a topic that is needed both for those who are living with someone with a disability (sight, hearing, mobility) and for the persons to understand how they are accepting, coping, and what helps and hinders them so that they are assets to a community and not an obstacle.

I did not write that last sentence in the blog I lost so I will stop now; I will leave it as I hope it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow I will go back to speaking about the three kinds of community: local, expanded, and of choice. That is what I lost!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Late Plane so early morning arrival

We arrived home from a very wonderful, busy week end with over sixty RSCJs present. We spent some time in prayer, but we had to work on how we would organize ourselves as an Eastern region. Our plane was late so we really only arrived home after one o,clock this morning. There was no traffic so that was something to be grateful for as our streets are so clogged with cars all day long.
It was so good to see so many friends but I realized again that I have not lived with most of those present and so it was a joy to share our lives. We were six or seven at each table for all the discussions and I was delighted to discover so many gifts in the six at my table and in the entire group.

Think to thank for....

Monday before Thanksgiving is always busy. We arrived home safely last night and have many good memories from out week end. I will be sharing my own impressions with you tomorrow. Today let us spend in thanksgiving for the many, many graces we are given each day. We are quite aware is something hurts but what about getting up and saying, "Thank You, Lord, that I can get up, I can stand, I can walk, I can use my arms, my hands, my feet, etc. We begin to take so much for granted until something does not work. I expect the light will turn on when I push the switch; do I thank for the great gift of electricity that allows me to read after the sun goes down? For that matter, do I remember to thank for the sun, the moon, the stars? And what a gift to have eyes to see, and ears to hear, and the ability to speak and communicate and form relationships, etc. There is so much to thank for at every minute of our day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Christ, the King

Today is the Feast of Christ the King. We celebrate this Feast now on the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year. Christ came to reveal God to us and to preach about the Kingdom of God. We now talk more about furthering the reign of God. Our meek and humble Jesus is also honored under the title of "Christ, the King". 

Jesus did not claim this title for Himself. His Kingdom is not in this world. He did show a passion for the reign of God. I wonder how many of us really have that passion? Maybe we need to recall the famous meditation of St. Ignatius when we are asked to pledge ourselves to follow Christ in humble service. They will be a legion of humility, armed only with truth.

It is this king who in Ignatius's Exercises, before the great meditations on Advent and Christmas, asks of us not quivering fright, but union of hearts. He wants us to enter into his life, as he desires to enter ours. He has come to be with us so that we might be with him. Rather than obsequiousness, this king demands love, the "earnest desire and choice" to be together with him, no matter what.

The quote is from Father John Kavanaugh, S.J.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Living Water

I am tempted to leave you with just this picture to reflect upon today. Use your imagination and create a meditation or a fantasy exercise for yourself.

We all are called to be aware of the life of God dwelling in us. It is a wonderful truth and yet one that is hard to grasp. It seems too good to be true - God dwells in me!

I need to cultivate an awareness of this amazing grace. And, not only does God dwell in me, but I am in God!

Today we celebrate the 215 years since the birth of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple is one that we love. I am glad I will be celebrating it with many RSCJs in our Eastern region.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Inspired by the Holy Spirit?

The fruits of the Holy Spirit keep coming to mind and I think that I am really looking to see how open I am to each of these and what I can do to help these fruits flourish in my heart and the hearts of others.
The first fruit is that of love. We grow in love when we grow in knowledge. I go back to John of the Cross and think that if we "love where there is no love, we will find love." God is love and we are called to live in love.
The next fruit is joy and this is one that is very important for me as I have been called to live in joy and give joy to Jesus. When I am grateful, I am also joyful.
Then there is the fruit of peace. Jesus was one who wished peace to all. I find that when I have love and joy in my life, I also have peace.
You can go on through the entire list of the fruits of the Holy Spirit given by Paul in Galatians, 5: Patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control and some translations have a few more good virtues listed as fruits of the Holy Spirit. The point is that we should all be striving to use these fruits to bring about the reign of God in ourselves and in others.
I do not know where this blog came from as it is not what I had intended to write!