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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Feast of the Queenship of Mary


Do you ever watch flocks of birds flying? I love to watch sea gulls. Sometimes there are hundreds of them flying but they are quite good at navigating and do not bump into each other. I think they are an example of teamwork, also, as they even take turns leading and I have never seen them fight while flying. 

I do not know where all that came from but today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. The Collect for the Mass says: "O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children."
Let us pray to Mary and for our world.

I leave tomorrow with my brother and sister-in-law to drive to San Diego. I will be back on Monday, August 28, and posting my blog at least by the 30th.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Great Read



Freedom Child by Chandra Lee Ingram, Ignatius Press, 2016 is a book that will help you to understand human slavery in our world today. Chandra was born on July 4, 1998 and was so shocked and appalled by what she saw in India and other nations such as Cambodia, Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia, Egypt, and Nepal. She returned to California and began writing about her experience while still in the sixth grade. She heard a guest speaker talk about modern slavery and she was filled with the desire to help end the practice. She started to write this book when she was in seventh grade and it grew into a novel. It is a moving story and she is an alum of our school here in Atherton. I started the book last night after hearing her presentation at Oakwood yesterday. I am about half way through the book but I know that it is one that others should read to make us aware of what goes on, not only in all other countries, but here in California. Sex slavery of children is widespread and we need to realize this and do something about it. I NOW have finished the book and given it to others. It has made me want to do something about the problem of human trafficking and slavery.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jesus praises faith




This Sunday's Gospel has the Canaanite woman begging Jesus to help her daughter who is tormented by a demon. Jesus does not pay attention so that his disciples need to ask him to send her away as she is crying out to them. Jesus says that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But the woman said, "Lord, help me." Still, Jesus does not seem ready to do this. He tells her: "It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs." That should have silenced the poor woman, but she is humbly pleading for her daughter's sake and says: "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." The Jesus praises her for her faith and tells her: "Let it be done as you wish." And the Gospel tells us that her daughter was healed from that hour.

Now this Gospel is certainly a call to persevere in prayer. Sometimes we pray for someone, but do we have persistence?
Do we have the faith of that woman? Jesus will hear us when we persist in begging him with the faith and humility of that pagan woman. How humble she was!

We have a prayer board outside the Chapel; I read the requests, but do I really pray with faith for the healing asked for by so many of our friends? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Anticipation



Tomorrow my brother and sister-in-law will arrive from Gold Canyon, Arizona. They are driving and should arrive around 5:00 PM and I am really looking forward to seeing them. I think we will go to Half Moon Bay on Monday and some places around here on Tuesday and then we will drive to San Diego but take our time so we will spend one night in a motel. Then I will stay in our community from Thursday night until Monday, but we will be visiting with my sister and her husband who are in a condo on the beach in Coronado. I think the anticipation is half the fun of the vacation planned for next week.

This has made me think of how we often anticipate a special day or event and enjoy it more because we have anticipated it for days or even weeks. How much more are we filled with the joy of anticipating heaven? I have so many friends there now that I am anticipating a real homecoming.

I really was writing about this week of vacation to explain that I may not be posting while I am away. You can anticipate my next blog at least by August 30. Actually, I have been scheduling ahead all month so I am more peaceful when I sit down to write whatever the Holy Spirit puts into my mind. Sometimes I think the Spirit types something that I did not even have in mind! It is an interesting feeling to find oneself typing under inspiration and not conscious thinking. Try it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jessica Powers 1905-1988



Jessica Powers is one of my favorite poets. This Carmelite poet was able to put into words things I knew about God but did not know how to say. I have shared some of her poems in the past, but want to honor her today as she died on August 18, 1988 at the age of 83.

Here is a short poem that I have not quoted before:
If You Have Nothing

The gesture of a gift, is adequate.
If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay,
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.

No gift is proper to a Deity;
no fruit is worthy for such power to bless.
If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!

This is from the book I would urge you to buy: "Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers: edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert Morneau, sheed and Ward, 1989.

Let us lift up our emptiness to God today!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mary's Queenship




This picture was the one I wanted for the Assumption and now it reminds me of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. This feast is now celebrated on August 22 (it was for several years on the my birthday, May 31).  I love knowing that Mary is so honored. I will be with my brother and sister-in-law next week, but I am trying to schedule ahead. If I miss a day, you will know that I am away as we plan to drive down to San Diego to see my sister and her husband on Coronado. I will be staying at one of our communities in San Diego from August 24 to 28. I think my brother is planning to drive back to Arizona on Saturday, but I am staying until Monday so I can see the community.
Now, I want to share the words to this Marian hymn with you to reflect on today: The title is Mary, Woman of Promise
Mary, woman of promise,
Vessel of your people's dreams,
Through your open, willing spirit
Waters of God's goodness streamed.

Mary, song of holy wisdom,
Sung before the world began,
Faithful to the Word within you
Carried out God's wondrous plan.

Mary, morning star of justice;
Mirror of the radiant light,
In the shadows of life's journey,
Be a beacon for our sight.

Mary, model of compassion;
Wounded by your offspring's pain,
When our hearts are torn by sorrow,
Teach us how to love again.

Mary, woman of the Gospel;
Humble home for treasured seed;
Help us to be true disciples
Bearing fruit in word and deed.

Test: Mary Frances Fleischaker, 1988 Music: STUTTGART, 87,87; Christian F. Witt.1660-1716.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Water and the Wave


The wave is water. We are the wave in the water.
There is a chapter in the book I am still praying over by Brian Pierce, OP, We Walk the Path Together, entitled "The Water and the Waves."  We are the waves, but we carry within us the water. In touching the wave, we touch the water, which is the true source of divine life bubbling up from within.
The wave is born from water; its truest self is water. "Its wave-ness is a temporary manifestation of the deeper reality called water. When the wave awakens and realizes that it is water, it experiences enlightenment."

This metaphor has been going around in my head for some time so now I pass it on for your reflection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


This feast of Our Lady gives me great joy. I have joy for her as she is now with her Son, Jesus; I have joy for Jesus because he now has his Mother with him in heaven; I have joy for the entire Communion of Saints. Mary is still so present to each one of us and she takes seriously her role as our Mother.

The Gospel (Luke 1:39-56) has Mary going to visit Elizabeth. When Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cries out to Mary:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb..." - something we say with each "Hail Mary" - Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." I love the fact that Mary, too, was filled with joy and now, she is rejoicing for all eternity and still goes about making others happy, comforting, and consoling. I am sure she is still telling Jesus what we lack and then saying to us, "Do whatsoever he tells you."

In some countries gifts are brought to Mary on this feast: the fruits of the harvest, the key to the house, and whatever they want to offer. We offer ourselves to her guidance and protection. She is truly our Mother and loves each of us with a strong maternal love. Let us show our love for her today.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Re-Commissioning


One of our Associates, Kristi Laughlin, gave an inspiring homily during the Spirituality Forum held at St. Louis University. The Gospel was Mt 10:7-15 where Jesus commissions his disciples to go forth and they are to "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons." I was present for this homily but only when I was lent a copy to read did I feel how powerful it was. Kristi began by telling us it was time for "re-commissioning". We are called to take bold, courageous, transformative action -"all born of an unfailing trust in God."
The Gospel reading "also captures the moment we are living in the life of the Society. Isn't the process of the General Chapter, the Assembly and this Forum, a process of Re-commissioning? Of drawing closer to Jesus and to our founding mothers, and fellow Sacred Heart disciples, so that we can hear again instructions of how to be apostles in this time, in this place."
Then we have Jesus' instructions: First, the disciples are to Proclaim! "As you go forth, make the proclamation the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Then Jesus commands: "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons!" We are to act boldly. Then we are to trust (no need to take provisions) and to receive hospitality. Those are the points of the homily and it certainly made this Gospel come alive as she developed each.
I hope these few thoughts taken from a great homily will be helpful for reflection today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"It is II; do not be afraid;"


This Sunday's Gospel is one of my favorites. Jesus made his disciples get into a boat after he had fed the crowds, but he remained to dismiss the people and then went up the mountain to pray alone. Meanwhile, the disciples in the boat were being tossed by the waves for the wind was against them. During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus comes to them walking on the sea. They are terrified but Jesus says to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter immediately says, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Peter is so impulsive! Jesus just tells him to come. So Peter gets out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But then he gets frightened and begins to sink and has to call out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" They got into the boat and the wind died down.

I am not given to locutions but when I was a young nun I actually heard Jesus say to me, "It is I; do not be afraid."
It was a tremendous grace for me and I am so grateful; it has made this a favorite Gospel.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Help for Prayer


I am trying to choose pictures that may make you feel cool if you are where there are heat waves this summer. We are even finding a few hot days in California, but have such splendid weather all year that no one can complain.
I am sure I have mentioned a song that we sing often here; it is just a little verse but I find myself repeating it whenever I wake at night, after receiving Communion, before and during all sorts of things. One of our nuns at an earlier General Chapter taught it; she is now in Indonesia but was born in India, I think.
Her little song seems to be based on something I saw quoted by Thich Nhat Hanh in We Walk the Path Together by Brian J. Pierce, OP :
"Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment."

Our little song is:
"Breathing in, breathing out,
I am calm, I am smiling,
You in me, I in You,
Present moment, wondrous moment,
Peace to the world, peace to the world."

The line added "You in me, I in You" often sends me into prayer so I am passing this on to you.

Friday, August 11, 2017

"O good Jesus, hear me!"


Today I am going to share a prayer that many must know; it was a 14th century post-Communion prayer that St. Ignatius is said to have used and I find it helpful to take time to reflect on each line. It is the Anima Christi and I seem inspired to copy it for you today.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me,
O good Jesus, hear me,
Within your wounds, hide me,
Do not let me be separated from you,
From the malicious enemy defend me,
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you, that with your saints
I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.

I often go back to this prayer as I love asking to be hidden in His Heart and never separated from Him.
Some of us are going to the horse show which is just across the street from the back of the school. I went last year and enjoyed the afternoon very much. It is a fancy country club and one of our alums arranges a table for us and we sit there and sip cold drinks and watch the jumping.