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Friday, January 19, 2018

Invitation to Intimacy

The reflection given for this day has no source given. I sent a copy to my sister because when making an eight-day directed retreat with me at Villa Maria del Mar one year, she told her director that she had an experience that I seem to remember was something like this invitation to intimacy.

Love came,
and became like blood in my body.
It rushed through my veins and
encircled my heart.
Everywhere I looked,
I saw one thing.
Love's name written 
on my limbs,
on my left palm, 
on my forehead,
on the back of my neck,
on my right toe...
Oh, my friend,
all that you see of me
is just a shell,
and the rest belongs to love.

"Do not fear, I have called you by name and you are mine."
                                                              Isaiah 43:1

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Divine Touch

The next theme of the day in my Guided Imagery Retreat was around the "Divine Touch" and we had several good quotes on the morning paper which I am now sharing with you. 

"Your Love, Jesus, is an ocean with no shore to bound it.
And if I plunge into it, I carry with me all the possessions I have. You know, Lord, what these possessions are: the souls you have seen fit to link with mine." Therese of Lisieux

"Although I have often abandoned You, O Lord,
You have never abandoned me.
Your hand of Love is always outstretched toward me even when I stubbornly look the other way. 
And your gentle voice constantly calls me even when I obstinately refuse to listen." Theresa of Avila

God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.

God in my sleeping, 
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
                                  Traditional Celtic
We shared at evening prayer when and  how we had been touched by God. I feel the Good Shepherd has often carried me in His arms. When have you been touched by God?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Walking the Path

I took this picture over a year ago and it is not from the retreat house but from a day drive with my brother and sister-in-law.

Walking the Path is a theme that leads me to try to trace the interior path I am walking. The reflection for this fifth day of retreat was from the Iona Community in Scotland. Since I had the grace of a pilgrimage there a few years ago, I recall the paths around the island and the feeling of holiness - it is a sacred place!

"You keep us waiting.
You the God of all time, want us to wait for the right time in which to discover who we are, where we must go, who will be with us, and what we must do. So thank you...for waiting time.

You keep us looking.
You, the God of all space,
want us to look in the right and wrong places for signs of hope, for people who are hopeless, for visions of a better world that will appear among the disappointments of the world we know. So thank you . . . for the looking time.

You keep us loving.
You, the God whose name is love, want us to be like you -
to love the loveless and the unlovely and the unlovable;
to love without jealousy or design or threat;
and most difficult of all, to love ourselves.
So thank you . . . for the loving time.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Heart Knows the Way

The theme on the fourth day of the Guided Imagery Retreat was The Heart Knows the Way and I am happy to share the quotes given in the morning paper found at breakfast.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Mt 5:8

"The tiny flame that lights up the human heart is like a blazing torch that comes down from heaven to light up the paths of mankind. For in one soul are contained the hopes and feelings of all mankind." Kahil Gibran

When you wholeheartedly adopt a "with all your heart" attitude and go all out with the positive principle, you can do incredible things. Norman Vincent Peale

Discouraged not by difficulties without, or the anguish of ages within, the heart listens to a secret voice that whispers: Be not dismayed; in the future lies the Promised Land.  Helen Keller

It is the heart that makes one rich. One is rich according to what one is, not according to what one has. H. Ward Beecher

In the rush of daily living it's easy to forget all the remarkable people who have been a part of your life. But if you just imagine they are near, you will realize that anyone who ever touched your heart is always with you, patiently waiting to emanate warm.  Barbara Sher

You may have other quotes that you like more than these, but the idea of the heart knowing the way leads to some fruitful reflection. Do we stop to listen to our hearts?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We need to celebrate today but also to pray much for our country as we are not treating everyone as equal and worthy of respect. There are petitions to sign almost every day and I sign them, but until our lawmakers set out to seek the common good and not let the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, our country is not great. To make America great we need to give everyone the means to vote; we need to find justice for all; we need to improve the public schools so that all children have the opportunity to be educated; we need to see that all workers have a living wage; all need access to health care, etc. 

I did not mean to start off like this, but some things stir me up; one is the racial bias that so many Americans still have; another is fact that guns are so easy to have that every year more children are killed because of this. I guess I could go on and on about the need for prayer for our country. Let us all beg God to make America free for all to enjoy; let us erase poverty and stop spending so much to make weapons, deport people, and cater to the rich.

Have a happy holiday! We have had so many down with colds that we have a quarantine so no one can go in or out except the staff. This is our third day and I think we have two more ahead of us. Fortunately no one has the flu, but about ten are still in isolation.  

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel tells us that "John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God." The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, "What are you looking for?" They said to him, "Rabbi" -  which translated means Teacher - "where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and you will see." So they went with him that day."
Although the Gospel continues and tells us how Andrew, who was one of the two disciples, then found his own brother, Simon, and brought him to Jesus, I am always fascinated by the first part where they follow Jesus and then stay with him the rest of the day. They seem to be the first who follow Jesus and how Jesus loves them. They are the first to be called, but Jesus continues to call us and to ask us the same question, "What are you looking for?" 
Let us renew our commitment to follow Jesus today and to stay with Him.
We also might ask Jesus what He is looking for from us!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Thirsting for Deeper Waters

The theme for the second full day of the retreat was Thirsting for Deeper Waters and that was the title of the reflective poem by Edward Potts. I need to say that the theme of the day only influenced the "morning paper" found at breakfast and the prayer before dinner - I really never thought of it during the day as one is concentrated on whatever happens in your Guided Imagery. 
I am only thinking about the themes now, after the retreat. I love the title: Thirsting for Deeper Waters and the poem is about the woman Jesus met at the well. I shall copy it here for you as it is worth reflecting on today.

I am the woman He met at the well,
my life was in shambles, I was living in hell.
He asked for a drink and I filled a cup,
he talked and I listened as He tilted it up.

He told of my life and what it had been,
he knew all about my living in sin,
he spoke so gently, my heart almost burst, 
"Drink of my water and you'll never more thirst."

He said His Father on heaven's throne above,
looked down on this world with a heart full of love.
No price was too great, no life too small,
so in loving kindness, God was giving His all.

"You've heard of the Messiah, well I am the ONe,
I am called Jesus, God's Son.
It's to people like you my Father sent me so
drink from my cup, I'll set you free."

I rushed from the well and ran into town,
called for the people to gather around.
"The man at the well says the Messiah has come.
He told me my life, everything I had done."

I went to the well a woman in sin,
when I left that well I had Jesus within.
The curse on my lips had been changed into praise,
I'll never more thirst the rest of my days.

"They shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them."  
                        Isaiah 49:10

Friday, January 12, 2018

Creating Space

Our morning "newspaper" with the theme for the day began with our first breakfast which was the second day and so it was on Creating Space. There was a poem by Judy Sorum Brown called Fire:
What makes a fire burn
is the space between the logs,
A breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed too tightly
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention 
to the space in between
as much as the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs
then we see how
it is the fuel and absence of the fuel
together, that makes fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire grows
simply because the space
is there with openings
in which the flame, 
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.

Creating space for gratitude: What if you work up today only with the things that you were grateful for yesterday?

"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to God who is unseen. Then God, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Theme of Each Day

Each morning at breakfast there were sheets giving a poem or some quotes on the day's theme. Actually, we were given the themes on the back of the schedule the first day and then the theme was developed in the evening prayer with music or songs chosen to fit the theme. The entire retreat had the title of 
Walking the Faith of Wisdom:
Day 1 - Wisdom's Way
Day 2 - Creating Space
Day 3- Thirsting for Deeper Water
Day 4 - The Heart knows the Way
Day 5 - Walking the Path
Day 6 - The Divine Touch
Day 7 - Invitation to Intimacy
Day 8 - Wisdom's Way

I did not take notes when the guides took turns talking about the theme of the day each evening, but I do have the morning papers that I read during breakfast and sometimes again during the day and I will share some of them with you as I am too filled with this retreat to write about anything else. I may even be able to share my guided imagery after I have taken a few days to digest all that happened. I will certainly be sharing some of it!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Back from a wonderful Guided Imagery Retreat

My room at the Dominican vacation house in Santa Cruz looks right out on the ocean. the above picture is taken from a little nook overlooking the Pacific right outside my room. The week flew by and I loved the silence, the stormy weather, the time with my guide every afternoon and the three longer sessions on every other morning for the Guided Imagery. My guide plays the music while I lie on the bed and speak out loud whatever comes and she writes it all down. For me, it is especially a gift that my guide is also my spiritual director and I see her every month here at Oakwood where she has been coming to see some of the Religious of the Sacred Heart here for over twenty-one years. She spends the third week of each month here so there is time to see over twenty of us. She is wise, loving, and really an excellent spiritual director so I love being able to make the GIM retreat with her. This is my third year and I must say it gets better each year.
What is most striking for me is the realization that God only wants to love me. In each of my morning GIMs I was immersed in God's love. I also had times when Our Lady came and let me hold the Infant Jesus; twice I found myself in the Oakwood Chapel with Our Lady sitting next to me! The deepest part of my experience was feeling the love of God, the entire Trinity, possessing me, filling every part of my being; now I am home and called to give His Love to others.
Every evening we had prayer on the theme of the day. At night we shared whatever we wanted of our experience during the day. The group seemed to be sure at the end that I had convinced them that we go to prayer to let God love us. I hope you believe this, too!

My window is at the far right; the three windows you see in the middle are the dining room and then the rest is the living room. It is a vacation house so my room has no heat, but I can open my door and feel some. One of the group built a lovely fire in the fireplace every evening for our night sharing. I am really grateful for all the prayer that made this week so special!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Advanced in Years, Attached to Love

Today I leave for the Guided Imagery Retreat but I want to leave a poem with you that is from Hadewijch, a 13th century mystic. It was given as a reflection for last Sunday in Give Us This Day.

Love is always new!
Those who live in Love,
are renewed each day
and through their frequent acts of goodness
are born all over again.

How can anyone stay old in Love's presence?
how can anyone be timid there?

Mature souls always have new wisdom.
They never hesitate to give themselves away to Love
in every new moment.
I call these old people the Rejuvenated.

They become attached to Love.
They look on Love with passion always,
and live.

I will be back blogging by January 10. Happy New Year!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

The Infant Jesus at Oakwood is holding out his arms to us and makes one want just to hold Him and love Him and feel His love. As we start this New Year, I look forward to leaving for a week to make another Guided Imagery Retreat. This will be my third and I only hope it is as fruitful and as lasting as the other two. I will be away from Tuesday to Tuesday, Jan. 2-9 so will not be writing my blog before January 10. I do count on your prayer for this retreat.
 We are praying here each day for a different world leader; we began with North Korea, then South Korea, Japan, China, etc. We have the map of the country, the name and picture of the leader posted each day.
If you are making resolutions for the New Year, please write them down and revisit them regularly; do not be discouraged if you break them. That just shows you that you have make the resolution you need if you have trouble keeping it.
Let us promise the Lord a year of cultivating hope and joy. Many things are wrong in our world, but God is all-knowing, all-loving, and can do all things so let us trust Him and stay cheerful!