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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Jesus walked


I seldom walked anywhere in Miami; it was too hot. Now, I am walking for twenty minutes three times a day and finding it is a time for prayer and reflection and wonder at the beauty around me.
The redwoods alone invite awe and gratitude. My walks have also helped me to reflect on how Jesus made His way around with his disciples. He walked the dusty paths from one village to another.
Was he reflecting on the nature around him? He used some of what he saw in his parables when teaching in the villages. He avoided the large cities for the most part. He preached the Kingdom of God was at hand; he reached out to those who were poor, isolated, sick and infirm. He was open to go wherever he was needed or invited. He still is.
I guess I feel Jesus is inviting me to walk with him, to talk to him and to listen to the concerns of His Heart. I am grateful that I can walk and more than grateful and full of joy to know that Jesus wants to walk with me. He wants to walk with each of us. Get going! (I miss the swimming pool we had at our house in Miami, but I am grateful that I can watch the water polo practice in the huge pool here. I used to be able to swim there years ago, but now I think the insurance has made this impossible. Even the students who are not on teams or trying out for the swimming team are not able to go swim.)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Thank for all that is good, and dear and beautiful


I think that I shall be a fan of the Sacred Heart Prep football team here in Atherton. I have been watching them prepare for their first home game this coming Saturday. As the football field is next to Westwood, we can hear the shouts and even see the scoreboard, but I shall go early and bring a book so I have a good seat on the bleachers to cheer our team. I am enjoying seeing the mixed campus here. The boys sometimes stop and introduce themselves with a poise that is unusual for teenagers. The seniors all arrived on the first day of school with white pants and the Sacred Heart red tee shirts and they led the Freshmen with a planned activity. Classes began after lunch but each was only fifteen minutes. I was told that this allowed each student to find the right classroom for the course he or she is registered for this semester.
I am not very spiritual tonight but do want to share a few more thoughts. This is from "The Diary of Anne Frank" and is quoted in Bishop Morneau's Growing in Joy: "When I lie in bed and end my prayers with the words, 'I thank you, God, for all that is good and dear and beautiful, I am filled with joy.''

Anne was in hiding to escape Nazi persecution - the circumstances were not good in that attic and there was the constant fear of being discovered. Yet, this Jewish teenager could be filled with joy by thanking God for all the good, and dear, and beautiful.
Try it yourself. I did and it was an experience of joy. We have so much to be grateful for each day. Let us not miss the opportunity to thank God and to thank others who do so much for us.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Gratitude



In the mail today, I received a book from a dear friend with a note to tell me that the first section of this book is on gratitude, "a topic about which often you talk." That is true because I believe that a grateful person is a joyful person. The two go together. I am looking forward to reading this book: "Living Into Community: Cultivating Practices That Sustain Us" by Christine D. Pohl. 

The book is speaking about any community and gives these four practices that sustain community: Gratitude, Truthfulness, Making and Keeping Promises, and Hospitality. I suspect that there is much to reflect on in this book and I will happily share, if so inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Chapter 2 begins with a quote from George Herbert's "Gratefulness":
Thou who hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more--a grateful heart....
Not thankful when it pleases me,
As if your blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be praise.

Let us ask then for a grateful heart whose very pulse is praise!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Happiness



Today I read that happiness is an outward expression of our inward joy that is found in Jesus. Of course, anything that pertains to joy interests me.  I read about a book called "The Happiness Dare" by J
Jennifer Dukes Lee and this was quoted in the daily "In Courage":

Happiness is a feeling, but it’s also a decision. It’s a choice we get to make every day.
Where do we make that choice? I guess it is in everything from the moment we awaken until we sleep again at night. The entire day is choosing happiness by choosing what pleases Jesus.
Julian of Norwich said, "And what can make us rejoice more in God that to see in him that in us, of all his greatest works, he has joy?" And Bishop Morneau says that "joyful persons live with the conviction that they are not only acceptable in God's sight, but are truly one of God's delights. Joy leads us to self-acceptance and the acceptance of others. More broadly, joy leads us to say yes to our existence." From "Growing in Joy", p. 11.

When we are not happy, let us ask ourselves why we are not. It really helps to discover the cause. Last week, I was feeling funny inside, as though something was not quite right. After prayer and reflection, I decided I was just grieving my friends. After thirty years in Miami, it is natural that I miss many good and dear friends, but once I realized what was causing me to feel "funny inside" I began to both count my blessings and take time to contact a few of my friends. Being is California instead of Miami just means that I am grateful for e-mail and for writing notes to friends to stay in touch. Now I am smiling and send a big smile to all.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Love is demanding




"Love is demanding; but there is no greater joy than love." That is a quote from Cardinal Schonborn's conversation about "The Joy of Love" from the August 15-22 issue of America. The interview was conducted by Antonio Spadaro, S.J. and the title is "The Demands of Love." Love is demanding, but God is Love and His Presence kindles joy. Sometimes we forget that God is present when we are struggling to love as "the Father loves" Jesus and as God loves us.
"Love one another as I have loved you" is what Jesus keeps telling us. In our world today, we need to keep on loving - loving those close to us, loving those who come to us, migrants, refuges, those in countries far from us but who are suffering and need love. We all need love and we are all called to love. We go to the Heart of Jesus to find this love and then we pour it out with joy to all. As John of the Cross told us: "Put love where there is no love and you will find love."
Let us spend the day pouring out the love that overflows from the Heart of Jesus.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Of Many Things



Today is the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady. I looked at the pictures on Google and decided Our Lady would rather have a nature picture. I can imagine Mary in Heaven surrounded by angels and saints, but my imagination is not at all capable of seeing her as she has been depicted by others. I think she would want to be the Queen only to help us, but not with all the regal appearances. But who knows what it is like to be Queen of Heaven?

The title "Of Many Things" is, of course, taken from the front  inside page of  America. Matt Malone, S.J. is both President and Editor in Chief and has written an interesting introduction to the August 15-22 issue of America which features an article on people with disabilities. He begins by confessing his own disability: a loss of hearing seven years ago in his left ear. He said he is still learning how to deal with this - where to sit or stand to increase his chances of hearing something. He said that he has learned that many are sympathetic to those who are visually impaired, they can be quite impatient with those who are hearing impaired.
Since I am hearing impaired, I loved his honesty. He says it has made him more in touch with the world's pain. It gave me much to think about and to thank God again for my own deafness which has been a blessing in may ways, although I guess I get as frustrated at Matt at times when I cannot hear.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday Rest



Today my blog is late as I did not schedule it for today and I had a very busy morning and no time to return to my room. Now I am happy it is Sunday and we have prayer together in front of the Blessed Sacrament (Exposition) at 4:00 so time to catch up with notes I wanted to write yesterday.

My refection today is on the above picture which always draws me into prayer. The water gushing from the rock is the love being poured out from the Heart of Jesus and being carried by us to so many in all parts of the world.
As I walk around the grounds here, I see the last preparations for the opening of school tomorrow. It seems that we have almost 1200 students arriving to start classes. The football players have been here all week; today there are groups of freshmen being led around the campus by older students. Perhaps these are the Ambassadors.
Next Sunday we are expecting all the students from the Sacred Heart Club and we will each adopt one or two to have visits with each week during the academic year.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

God seems far away



My reflection today is triggered by Karl Rahner who talks about how our hearts can be so inert, tired, worn out with everyday things. God may seem far away; we can feel incapable of loving as Jesus asks us to love - "Love one another as I have loved you"! Well, we cannot love as Jesus asks unless we seek this love from Him. We must pray for this love and God will answer our prayer by pouring out this love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God must "love himself in us and through us in His Holy Spirit, for our love to be worthy of Him."
The truth is that we need to pray for love of God. We cannot will to love others as the Gospel asks, but we can pray for the grace and this is one prayer that pleases God and He is sure to grant us, if we really want it.

We have a funeral here this morning of a very beloved Religious.
It is easy to meditate on death here, but there is always joy when another of the community goes to God. We have a beautiful sharing of memories after the funeral Mass with all friends and relatives present.

Friday, August 19, 2016

An Ordinary Day


Having been asked to describe an ordinary day at Oakwood, I asked myself if I ever have an "ordinary" day? Do any of us? However, I will try to describe what I do each day and mention some of the options. Since I have a room in Westwood which is across the patio from the main part of the house, the eight or nine of us who are living here gather for breakfast around a large, long dining room table. Our designated housekeeper among the many helpers that staff Oakwood, brings over most of the breakfast from the main dining room at 7:15 but cooks eggs to order for us. After breakfast I return to my room to pray until the 9:00 Mass. Then I take one of  my sisters who is in a wheelchair back to her room and make sure she understands the day's schedule. Then I may join a small group who is having a cup of coffee (I go for a glass of water). Then I usually go out to walk around the property for about 20 minutes. Then I go to my room and do some spiritual reading, play Words with Friends, answer e-mails, and read the newspaper which is in the Westwood living room as well as in the Fireside Room and the Rosewood library. At 11:45 we begin to gather for lunch which is our main meal. Again, after lunch I go out and walk. Then, by 1:15 I am in the Chapel for an hour of prayer before the video"Armchair Exercise" that several of us go to at 2:30. We have several different tapes and it is helpful for stretching muscles that I might not be using and it gets our heart rate up. It is only twenty minutes. Then I am free to visit some of the Religious who are in wheelchairs or I may join some in the dining room for "gouter" as we have kept the French name for a snack. Mostly, I am reading and we have reunion from 4:00 to 5:00 Monday and Wednesdays, a movie on Saturday afternoons, Exposition on Sunday, etc. We will soon be seeing more of the students both the seniors who we adopt for a weekly visit, or helping third graders by listening to them read aloud, or, I want to start going to the soup kitchen in September and then I will be in a few other groups. This gives some idea of my days here, but none are ordinary.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The value of silence

I never thought that I would be writing about the value of silence. At boarding school, we kept silence in the dormitory, in the study hall, and always in our single file march to wherever we were to go. It was a surprise to me, however, as a novice to be in trouble for a lack of silence. I was just too friendly and would speak without remembering that we were to keep silence at all times except for the half hour od recreation after the noon meal and the presided recreations at night. Conges were a relief since we were allowed to speak on these holidays.
As a young Religious, there was also the rule of silence, but being with the little ones all day and night made the idea of silence seem good when I had the opportunity for it, but it was while I was at the Trinita in Rome that I was finally aware of the great gift of silence for our interior life. Since then, I have loved silence. As Thomas Keating says, "Silence is God's first language!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


It is wonderful to have so many ways to keep in touch with friends. E-mail is fastest but I love writing notes, especially to those not on the Internet. I also text with a few friends and chat with others while playing Words with Friends. I think I am getting addicted to playing that game!
Reaching out to others by writing notes is a ministry for me and so is this blog. I sit down at the computer and pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to inspire what I should write here each day. I just trust that the Spirit knows what is best and has been helping me to pen this blog for years. This week I will have written 3,000 blogs and that is just since Google started counting them for me!
God keeps saying, "Be still, be still and know that I am God

Monday, August 15, 2016

Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady



Today is a beautiful feast. When I was at the Trinita in Rome, the community kept an old French custom of putting gifts in front of Our Lady and including the key of the house. It was a way of consecrating the home to Mary. I have no key now, but think I may put my Journal in front of Mary to ask her to bless my year. I guess putting a calendar and laptop might also be a good idea.

I am settled and now trying to renew my efforts to keep the goals I set for myself to work on last year. The most important one is the first: to give priority to the interior life." I will always need to work at this, but Oakwood is certainly a place that helps me for prayer.
We have so much to pray for and God does not need words to know what is in our hearts.