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Monday, March 2, 2015

Rooted in the Heart of Christ

The Chapter of 2008 has Contemplation as a priority and begins by saying that we are women rooted in the heart of Christ. I keep thinking about that phrase, "rooted in the Heart of Christ" and what that means for me. It is where I am planted. My roots go deep into His Heart where I find all I need.
I drink of the life-giving water; I draw out His Love to give it to others. Because I am rooted in Love, I stand firm through storms and even earthquakes.

I leave this phrase for you to reflect on your own experience of being rooted in Christ.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Encounter with Jesus


The Transfiguration is one of my favorite Gospel readings. Peter, James, and John were used to the very human Jesus who had called them, eaten with them, walked the dusty paths with them, etc. Now Jesus invites them to climb the mountain with him. They follow Jesus up the mountain and witness his transfiguration. It is an encounter with Jesus who is divine as well as human.

We are all invited to a personal encounter with Jesus. The Pope began his "Evangelii Gaudium"
saying:
"I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not for him or her” (EG, nr. 3).

This means that the ultimate purpose of evangelization is not the transmission of a doctrine, but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. The possibility of such a face to face encounter depends on the fact that Jesus, risen, is alive and desires to walk next to every believer, as he really walked with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus; more than that, as he was in their very heart, when they returned to Jerusalem, after having received him in the broken bread."

During Lent we encounter Jesus and, when we take time to be aware of the Presence of Jesus, we realize that Jesus is with us and walks with us even when we feel discouraged.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Dialogue toward Communion


Dialogue is a dramatic experience . . . It invites us to move and discover the context from which we speak and express our ideas, choices and feelings.

St. Madeleine Sophie was a woman of relationships and dialogue. The Chapter 2008 document tells us that it is from Sophie that "we learn the value of nurturing, intimacy, patience and love as attitudes of the heart which draw us into communion. With a contemplative heart inhabited by the Spirit, we listen to the world as it shares its hopes and suffering. Here we find the Heart of 
Jesus incarnate in history, which calls us to new 
relationships with others and with all creation as one body."
Again, there is much to reflect on and to see how this is being lived in my own life!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dialogue

I have been praying over the priorities of the Chapter of 2008 as part of our preparation for the visit of the Central Team in April. The first priority is "Dialogue toward Communion: Walking with Humanity".  The paragraph that I keep returning to in prayer is: 
" In dialogue, we risk sharing our word and our very self which speaks in gestures, symbols and choices. We bring to the table all that we are, and our charism as a gift for the world. We are renewed in welcoming others. This process implies understanding ourselves in all honesty, referencing the other, conversion, self-emptying, opening ourselves to being changed and entering into silence." 

There is much to reflect on in this one paragraph!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is my day like?

Some wonder how I spend my days now that I am not in isolation. I usually have a plan, but today it was a mixed up day as I went to the doctor but I will try to describe my more ordinary days. I get up around six in order to shower and pray before breakfast at 7:30. I return to my room to pray, look at the Pope App, and sometimes commentaries on the Scripture for the Mass. About 8:45 I go to the Chapel for the 9:00 Mass. After Mass, I go straight to the exercise room for about an hour and fifteen minutes as I try to have thirty minutes on both machines and another 15 minutes for weights and exercises given me to do daily by the physical therapist. At 11:00 I cool down by reading the newspaper, return to room, check e-mail and read until 11:45 when we go for the main meal. Sometimes I am sitting at a table where the conversation continues to 1:00. Then I either rest or go for a walk or have a half hour twice a week with the physical therapist. At 2:30 I go to the exercise videos with some of the community. At 3:00 I cool down, go to gouter and then the 
Chapl for afternoon prayer which I love. On Monday and 
Wednesday's we have reunion with all the community and then supper at 5:15. Some then play games or watch TV but I go to my room and I usually go to bed by 8:30. Not an exciting day perhaps, but there are always things to do or sign up for but I have been concentrating on exercising. In one sense, my day is contemplative and, having spent so many weeks in isolation, I find myself talking to Jesus more during the day. It is a wonderful place to be, but I still feel that I need to go back to Miami.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Today is my sisters birthday!

My sister is persuasive but this year I resisted the invitation to fly to Scottsdale with my nephew to help her celebrate her birthday. She has her husband, her children, my brother and many others. As I am the oldest in our family, I remember waiting for the baby and hoping it would be a black baby. My Dad said "No" to that so I held out for a puppy and actually got both a baby sister and a puppy. 

I am still "recuperating" at Oakwood, but hope to rejoin my community soon. Lent is such a special season and I am spoiled by the great liturgies here, the holy hours, afternoon prayer in the lovely Chapel, etc., but I miss my community in Miami. In fact, one of the many graces of my time in isolation for months is my love for community -the chapter of 2008 said that we are called to follow Jesus in community. "Deeply rooted in our relationship with Jesus, we reaffirm that life in community is a fundamental expression of our spirituality." I miss the members of my community and our sharing over dinner each night. Anyway, I know that I need community and being away from mine has made me aware of how important community is to me.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pray for Vatican Retreat



In his Angelus address the Pope recalled how Jesus went into the solitude of the wilderness for 40 days where he successfully overcame temptations in “a hand-to-hand combat” with Satan. And through his victory over Satan, he said, “we have all triumphed but we need to protect this victory in our daily lives.”

He went on to explain how in the wilderness we can listen to God’s voice and that of the tempter. And we listen to God’s voice through his words and that why it’s important to read the Holy Scriptures because otherwise we’re unable to resist the lure of the evil one. The Pope said it was for this reason that he wanted to renew his advice to the faithful to read the Gospel every day and reflect on its meaning, even for just 10 minutes and carry around a copy in one’s pocket or bag every day. The Lenten wilderness, he continued, “helps us to say ‘no’ to worldliness, to “idols”, it helps us to make courageous choices in line with the Gospel and to strengthen our solidarity with our brothers and sisters.”

He concluded by reminding those present that he and other members of the Roman Curia would be beginning their spiritual retreat later on Sunday. Pray for us, he urged, so that in this “wilderness” of the spiritual exercises "we can hear Jesus’ voice and also correct the many defects that we all have and thereby overcome the temptations that attack us every day.”

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Repent, and believe in the Gospel.

Jesus went about asking us to repent, to change our ways and believe in the Gospel, the good news. The Spirit led Jesus into the desert. Mark tells us that the Spirit drove him into the desert, and he remained there for forty days, tempted by Satan.
It was only after John had been arrested that Jesus began proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is at hand and all needed to repent, to change their ways and believe in the gospel.   

Lent is a time to change our lifestyle for God's Kingdom is here. We are to go out and spread the good news by our own lives; by our compassion and love. The pope is urging us to go out to others. We are to show the same love and compassion to others as Jesus shows - it is the love of Jesus that we reveal and bring to others.

Funerals at Oakwood

Our Eldercare Community, Oakwood, is very special. I came here November 5th to recuperate from being at death 's door in September and have spent four months now, most of it in isolation. Two of the Religious here have died since I came and onewho lived in San Diego, will have her funeral here today. What is so special about funerals here?
I shall try to describe the last one I attended. Two long tables in the hall display the pictures and loved objects, photos, and other memorbilia that the Religious has kept through the years. The container with the ashes is placed in front of the altar with lovely, flowing material decorating it and flowers beautifully arranged around it. Then we have the funeral Mass, procession to the cemetery, and burial. The singing is devotional and uplifting. Friends are invited to come forward to cast a small shovel of dirt to fill the grave. Then we return to the "Gathering Room" to share memories of the deceased. At noon there is a lovely luncheon with all the guests invited. There is real joy in sending a Religious to God for all eternity!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lent is a time of renewal...

"Lent is a time of renewal for the whole Church, for each of our communities and every believer. Above all it is a “time of grace” (2 Cor 6:2). God does not ask of us anything that he himself has not first given us. “We love because he first has loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us. Usually, when we are healthy and comfortable, we forget about others (something God the Father never does): we are unconcerned with their problems, their sufferings and the injustices they endure… Our heart grows cold. As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront."

I hope you are aware that I have again put the first paragraph of the Pope's Lenten Message on this blog to remind myself that Lent is a time for renewal but . "Above all it is a time of grace." I am going to take seriously the Pope's desire, which is also that of Jesus, to not be indifferent to anyone. The plight of immigrants is especially troubling right now, but also each person I have contact with either in person or through the Internet. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Today we begin the season of Lent by receiving ashes to remind us that we are dust and "we shall return to dust" as the blessing prayer over the ashes reminds us. In receiving the ashes we are told "Repent, and believe in the Gospel." We begin Lent in humility remembering that we are dust, but as Cthrine de Hueck Doherty pointed out in her "Season of Mercy: Lent and Easter:"

 "You are dust that is going to be one with God. Isn't that enough to make you dance right into the middle of this ash business? We are not ordinary dust-- we are dust that is going to be eternal, a dust that is going to be glorified, a dust that is going to be with God. So let us prepare ourselves to receive that "dust" with joy-- a joy based on discipline -- and let us enter the corridor of Lent."


Here is a quote from Pope Francis yesterday in his text to prepare World Youth Day:
"First of all, we need to appreciate the biblical meaning of the word heart. In Hebrew thought, the heart is the centre of the emotions, thoughts and intentions of the human person. Since the Bible teaches us that God does not look to appearances, but to the heart (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), we can also say that it is from the heart that we see God. This is because the heart is really the human being in his or her totality as a unity of body and soul, in his or her ability to love and to be loved.

The Pope is speaking to them about happiness that is found in the pure of heart. More from this text later, but I think Lent is a special time to turn to Christ and be happy because we make more effort to live the Beatitudes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mardi Gras

Having posted the Pope's message for Lent, I am praying over it myself and making a couple of Lenten resolutions. I am also remembering that when we make the right resolutions, we are going to find ourselves breaking them as they are the ones we really need to change something in us.
In the meantime, enjoy Mardi Gras as it prepares us to welcome the season of Lent in which we concentrate on being with Jesus even through His Passion and death,  knowing that these six weeks are a special time for us to grow in union with the Heart of Jesus.