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Friday, April 3, 2020

First Friday

Winter is really over in California as our tulips are blooming. This is a peaceful picture and I thought it would be good to just take some time to contemplate and feel the silence of this scene.

Here is a thought that also comes from my re-reading Radical Optimism by Beatrice Bruteau: "Entering into the heart of Jesus means also entering into our own heart, the center of our being, the core of our existence."
The Heart of Jesus was pierced with a lance so that this wound is always open for us. Yes, this is a mystical way of entering into the depth of His Heart so full of love for us. On this First Friday of April, just one week before Good Friday, let us ask Jesus to let us descend into the depths of His Heart.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Meditation is a way of meeting God

The book I have been taking to my hour of adoration in the afternoon is Radical Optimism by Beatrice Bruteau. It is not a new book but is one that I have never tired of going over, especially for some of her thoughts. 
Here are a few tidbits from the end of her third chapter on Meditation:
" Meditation is a highly individual affair...Meditation is a way of meeting God. It is not a matter of thinking about someone who is absent. It is engaging someone who is present, indeed supremely present. It is the realization of this presence that is the main point of meditation....Experiencing the presence and reality of God is what it is all about. Anything that can bring you into that is a good meditation."

So, meditation can just be a deep awareness of God present to us; we do not need to do anything once we are aware but let God be God. God will take the initiative if we just sit there and let God love us! As you know, my favorite quote from Thomas Merton is:
"How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun."

Try it during this time of "sheltering in place".

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fools' Day

Although April Fools’ Day, also called All Fools’ Day, has been celebrated for several centuries by different cultures, its exact origins remain a mystery.
Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563.
People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.
What the entire world is going through now is not a joke. We need to keep praying and stay cheerful even as we read of the increase of deaths and sickness in all parts of the world.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Jesus calls Lazarus to come out

To continue our reflection on last Sunday's Gospel, we have Mary coming to Jesus and falling at his feet. She said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping, he wept also. 
Jesus comes to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone across it. Jesus asks them to take away the stone. Martha tells him that there will be a stench as Lazarus has been dead for four days. Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone and Jesus raised his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me." And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out.

Have I heard Jesus crying out to me to come forth from my own tomb? I mean that we all have the power to entomb ourselves and need Jesus to call us forth and free us.

Monday, March 30, 2020

"I am the resurrection and the life...

In yesterday's Gospel (John 11:1-45), Jesus learns that Lazarus is ill, but Jesus waits two days before saying to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." 
When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Martha went to meet Jesus, but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him, "I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die. Do you believe this?
She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, "The teacher is here and is asking for you." 
As soon as Mary heard this, she rose quickly and went to him.

I will continue with this Gospel tomorrow as it has so much for us to reflect on - I marvel at the faith of Martha and how Jesus leads her to profess her faith in him.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent

The first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel, 37:12-14 and worth reflecting on before the Gospel which has Jesus calling Lazarus forth from the tomb. Ezekiel says:
"Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord."
The Gospel of John (11: 1-45) has much for us to reflect upon so I just want to point out that Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead. But more on this tomorrow as I think Ezekiel gives us much to reflect upon today.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Two Quotes on Silence

Today I want to share two quotes on silence taken from the closing prayer composed by Sophies Well, A Center for Sacred Heart Spirituality, for one of the Busy Persons' Retreats. The first quote is from Concha Camacho, rscj, a former Mother General:

"We must be able to create an inner silence so that the unfolding drama of the world becomes a reality that touches us; so that the love of God within us may inspire a creative and joyous response."

The second is from Meister Eckhart:

"Silence is a privileged entry into the realm of God and into eternal life. There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven. For silence is a language that is infinitely deeper, more far-reaching, more understanding, more compassionate, and more eternal than any other language....There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence."

Friday, March 27, 2020

May our angels watch over us now

We are approaching the end of Lent and will need to prepare for Holy Week on our own as the Churches remain closed. I have been thinking more about my Guardian Angel and asking my angel and all the angels to take care of us and halt the spread of this virus that is causing suffering and death all over the world.
Please join me in prayer.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Prayer for Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between
Preserving their health or paying the rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools are closed
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we settle in for a quarantine at home as we
Remember those who have no home.
As Fear grips our nation, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us seek ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors and community.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Feast of the Annunciation

Mary may have been praying when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. How did she feel? Perhaps she was frightened as the angel's first words are: " Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you." Luke tells us that Mary was greatly troubled and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." And then comes the rather startling announcement that she will conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. And if that was not enough to announce, the angel continued to tell her that her son "will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
Imagine how Mary felt - bewildered, astonished, confused and maybe scared? She asks how this can be since she has no relations with a man. Then the angel assures her that the "Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you...."  I cannot imagine what Mary made of that, but she is willing to accept. She says, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

I never get tired of this Gospel where Mary accepts to be the mother of Jesus and now the Mother of all of us!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

We have set sail....

Are you finding it hard to "shelter in place"? Here is something to help you:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, 
and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, 
some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think 
differently. And the people healed. And in the absence of people living in 
ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
and they had been healed.”      Kitty O’Meara
We are called to create silence and this forced staying at home helps us to find time for quiet and prayer, if we are creative. I imagine it is difficult with young children, but not impossible. They need some quiet time, too.

Monday, March 23, 2020

"Seeing isn't believing; believing is seeing."

In today's Gospel, Jesus returns to Galilee and to Cana where he had made the water wine. A royal official asked Jesus to come and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." The man believed and was on his way back home when he heard that his son would live. He and his whole household came to believe.

Perhaps we need to believe that Jesus can halt the spread of this virus that is causing suffering and death in our world today. Let us pray with faith.