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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Saints Simon and Jude

 St. Jude is the Apostle that so many turn to when desperate as he is the "patron of hopeless causes." We do not know much about this "Saint of the Impossible" - he is mentioned in the listing of the Apostles and he is quoted once in John's Gospel when he asks Jesus at the Last Supper why he does not manifest himself to the whole world. We also have the Letter of Jude in the New Testament. It is only twenty-five verses and warns against false teachers. We do not know much about St. Simon - he is listed as one of the twelve Apostles, but never quoted in the New Testament. Both these saints are celebrated together. Probably because of a legend that they were martyred on the same day.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Stretch Into It

I was struck by the reflection yesterday in my Give Us This Day. It was on the Gospel where Jesus cures the woman who has been bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. The reflection has the title "Stretch Into It" and I hope Sister Miriam Pollard does not mind my sharing her reflection here.

Stretch Into It

The woman was completely bent.


Not just a little bit,

but totally unable to stand upright.

Each of us is to some extent that bent woman.

Each of us can spend our lives looking at mud puddles,

mourning the tragedies and sins of human life, wanting what we have not been given,

resenting what we have been given, afraid of what we will be given.

Creating a whole world of negativity.

God know that is enough to be negative about,

but faith means that we can see through the darkness into the core of light within.

And faith says, 'Believe in it. See it. Bathe in it. Spend prayer time knowing it is there.

Find it. Stretch yourself into it.'

These things, these transient, small and insignificant things,

Compare to the weight of glory they are several doors.

Doors to the joys, the serene and heart-stopping happiness that will steal in and saturate body and soul and spirit world without end. Amen

Monday, October 26, 2020

Monday of a special week

 What is so special about this week? Well, there is Halloween on Saturday, but what is important is that Sunday will be the Feast of All Saints. I have learned to love this feast because I have so many friends who are saints, most in heaven but a few on earth still. I am convinced that all the saints in heaven are rooting for us and want us to join them in praising God. I see them and feel grateful that we are still connected.

I just heard of a dear friend in Chile who has gone to God. She was utterly selfless and was such a joy to both live with and to study with as we went every night to the Catholic University in Valparaiso to get a degree in Counseling and Guidance. As the road along the ocean was closed for most of that year, I would drive our Volkswagen van up and down the hills and coming home at 9:30 we would say and sing our night prayers together. That helped me as it was no fun to be stopped by a light at the top of a very steep hill with a car right behind me as the van did not have automatic shift. 

The Collect for today's Mass asks God to increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what God commands so we may merit what God promises.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 This may be ordinary time for the Church's Liturgy, but it is not ordinary time for us during this pandemic. It is amazing how quickly things have changed all over the world with the need to isolate, work from home, study from home, and learn new ways to communicate. I am not going to write much about the Mass today, but I was struck by the Entrance Antiphon:

"Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face." 

That seems like the best advice and something we should reflect on today. Actually, the Responsorial Psalm is "I love you, Lord, my strength." That seems to be a good prayer for now. 

I received a Halloween card that says" It's Halloween and speaking of weird things...I love you."

I have been praying with it saying, " Speaking of weird things, Lord, I know that you love me and everyone with unconditional love!"

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Turn your heart always towards God

The Oakwood "Lockdown Daily News" always has a word of inspiration, some news and a really corny joke plus the daily crossword puzzle and the answers to the one of the day before. So far, I have not needed the answers so the crosswords must be easy as I have never been good at solving them. Now, the title of this blog comes from this inspirational word: "Be like a sunflower that turns always towards the sun. Turn your heart always towards God."

I am trying to keep my heart united to God during these days of solitude. I think the fact that I have not seen most of my sisters for three weeks has made me aware of how much the community means to me. I sort of go through the rooms mentally and think about the other 49 and hope they are staying cheerful. I know that we are all praying for all those who are fighting this virus, working to keep the food coming, and those who risk their lives fighting the fires that have been so dreadful this year in the West. We need to pray for much rain out here this winter; California needs rain but we do not get much.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Today we get the results of our third tests

 Being in isolation for almost 28 days now has been an interesting experience. I miss being able to go to the refrigerator and the washing machine and, especially, miss being able to go to the Chapel. In one sense, I miss the interaction with others here, but I am surprised at how quickly I have found joy in the silence and solitude. I have found the days passed very quickly and I have been busy, just doing things here in my room. Our daily "news" arrives with the noon dinner tray and always had a crossword puzzle on the back. Then, I have kept the Psalm Coloring Book on my desk and really enjoy taking a few minutes to color; I find it very centering, contemplative, and consoling for the very act of just pushing the pencil seems to give me deep peace.

I am sorry to be writing so much about my experience of our quarantine, but several have asked how I was managing. I am rather surprised that the solitary meals have been helpful for me. I have reached out to others through cards, emails, zoom, and notes when I could get someone to deliver notes to my sisters here. My sister calls and I am not fond of the phone. I turned the TV on twice and soon turned it off. I am allowed to go walk around our beautiful patio when no one else is out there. I usually manage to go out after the noon meal and maybe just before supper. I do feel that I lack energy and so I am content just to sit in my room. I enjoy the interaction I do have with my groups on zoom and I have found it really helpful to have my students on zoom at the beginning of each week and then each is to be in contact during the week by email. I really think we should be striving to have our Seniors want to be Junior Associates!

This idea of Junior Associates just came to me when I woke up one morning and has stayed with me. I was thinking that Seniors who have loved their Sacred Heart education on looking for more special ways to be part of the Sacred Heart family. Yes, they are now young alums, but we know how hard it has been to continue to gather our students when they leave for colleges all over the United States. But what if the student has made a commitment to be a Junior Associate and promises to take part in a monthly zoom? I am thinking this as I write it, but hope that some of my readers who are associates can see the possibilities and run with the idea. It could be developed in many ways. Here at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, the Juniors ask to be admitted to the Sacred Heart Society and these need to be good students who apply; if accepted, they commit to a weekly visit with a Religious of the Sacred Heart to establish a relationship. We try to stay in touch after graduation, but I think becoming a Junior Associate would give a structure for them to continue to grow in the Sacred Heart family.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Envisioning and Engendering an Open World

 The Third Chapter of the Pope's Encyclical is entitled: "Envisioning and Engendering an Open World".

Here are some of the phases that seem to stick with me in a first reading: "I communicate effectively with myself insofar as I communicate with others." (Gabriel Marcel)

#88 "In the depths of every heart, love creates bonds and expands existence, for it draws people out of themselves and towards others."

Love must grow beyond family and nation to include strangers and all people--into a friendship where the worth of every person is acknowledged. We need to recognize the inherent dignity of every person and we need to make sure that each person has what is necessary to live with dignity. 

I guess we have much to be done right here in our own country. We have people who are homeless, cold, hungry, and we have refugees held in cages and treated inhumanly.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fratelli Tutti

 This wonderful letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship needs to be read, prayed over, and then make us realize that we are all brothers and sisters and need to foster love in our world with everyone. MY SPIRITUALITY group is meeting on Monday and these busy mothers are all reading a chapter each week with me and pondering the message of the Holy Father. I invite all to do the same and you can find it on Google without any problem. It will help our country to unite if all of us could read and try to live what Pope Francis suggests in this new Encyclical. 

I spent last week with Chapter Two that has the parable of the Good Samaritan as the center of what the Pope wants us to realize: we are all neighbors and we need to care for one another no matter where the other is living, no matter what color the skin, or what seems to separate us. The Pope asks us which of these persons in the parable do we identify with and I am afraid that I am one of those who often crosses to the other side and hurries past someone in need. The Pope says the we need to acknowledge that we are constantly tempted to ignore others, especially the weak. "Let us admit that, for all the progress we have made, we are still "illiterate" when it comes to accompanying, caring for and supporting the most frail and vulnerable members of our developed societies. We have become accustomed to looking the other way, passing by, ignoring situations until they affect us directly."

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Feast of Mater

 Today the Sacred Heart family all over the world is celebrating the feast of Mater. The retirement houses are also joining, at the invitation of Egypt, to celebrate by sharing prayers. This is Oakwood's prayer:

Mater, guardian of the interior life, be with all who suffer in this time of global pandemic, racism, political division, violence, economic uncertainty, and lack of care for our common home.  Help us to see what your eyes see:  the invisible life, the invisible action, the invisible love.  Help us to be women of hope for each other and for our wounded world.

Mater Most Admirable, pray for us.

The Oakwood Community, Atherton, California, U.S.A.

 Happy Feast to all the Sacred Heart Family!

Monday, October 19, 2020

God is Happy!

 I read this article by Father Ron Rolheiser in the October 8 issue of the Catholic San Francisco; the title of the article is "God is happy" and in it he has this wonderful quote from Julian of Norwich who describes God this way: "God sits in heaven, smiling, completely relaxed, his face looking like a marvelous symphony." Now, this idea of God sitting up in heaven and smiling on us is one I love, and to think that God is completely relaxed. We get so preoccupied with the woes of our world, that few of us are really feeling relaxed at this moment. I just wanted to share this quote to see if it helps you as much as it is helping me.

Ron does say that it has taken him 70 years "to realize, accept, take consolation in, and finally bathe in the fact that God is happy." I am sure all in heaven are happy and relaxed and want us to be also.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Today's Mass begins with our asking God to let us always conform our will to yours and serve God's majesty in sincerity of heart.

In the First Reading, Isaiah 45:1, 4-6, we have this line which I love: "I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me."

The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 96: "Give the Lord glory and honor."

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.

For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods,....

Then, the Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians: 1:1-5

Paul always begins by giving thanks - a good way for us to begin our prayers. I am more and more convinced that gratitude is the way we please the Lord and, when we are grateful, we are joyful.

The Gospel is from Matthew 22: 15-21 and is about the answer Jesus gives to the Pharisees who tried to entrap Jesus. He says to them, "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."

I am sure all of the Sacred Heart family are preparing for the Feast of Mater on Tuesday. It is a Feast that all the Sacred Heart schools all over the world will be celebrating even if by zoom. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

St. Ignatius of Antioch

 I am not going to talk about Ignatius of Antioch today, although he is one of my favorites and I really enjoyed teaching him; today I was struck by the Responsorial Psalm in the Mass and I am going to copy it here for us to reflect on today.

Responsorial Psalm: "You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands."

O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!

You have exalted your majesty above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings

you have fashioned praise because of your foes.

When I behold the heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars which you set in place--

What is man that you should be mindful of him, 

or the son of man that you should care for him?

You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet."