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Friday, April 29, 2016

Love me?



My sister arrives tonight. I think this may mean less time for the computer, We will be visiting friends in Naples on Sunday and I suspect my sister will want to go out quite a bit, but I am going to get her to help me with my pictures - I do not want to take many things to Oakwood so perhaps she will want some of the pictures and I can throw others away.

What I want to share with you is something the Pope said to the Latin American commission about the danger of clericalism. Here is  a synopsis from the NCR:

by Joshua J. McElwee
Breaking News: Pope Francis has again sharply denounced the culture of clericalism among priests in the Catholic church, calling it "one of the greatest deformations" that must be confronted by the global faith community and saying it helps "diminish and undervalue" the contributions that laypeople make.

The pontiff has also strongly reaffirmed the right of laypeople to make decisions in their lives, saying that priests must trust that the Holy Spirit is working in them and that the Spirit "is not only the 'property' of the ecclesial hierarchy."
In a letter to Cardinal Marc Ouellet in his role as the head of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, released by the Vatican Tuesday, Francis says he wants to speak to the members of the commission about how to better serve what he terms "the Holy Faithful People of God."
"Evoking the Holy Faithful People of God is to evoke that horizon which we are invited to look at and reflect upon," states the pope. "It is the Holy Faithful People of God that as pastors we are continually invited to look to, to protect, to accompany, to sustain and to serve."
"A father cannot imagine himself without his children," he continues. "He can be a great worker, professional, spouse, friend but what makes him a father has a face: they are his children.
"The same happens to us," states Francis. "We are pastors. A pastor cannot imagine himself without his flock, which he is called to serve. The pastor is a pastor of a people, and he serves the people from amongst them."
The pontiff then reflects on the role of baptism.
"Looking to the People of God is to remember that we all made our entrance into the Church as laypeople," states Francis. "The first sacrament ... is baptism."
"The first and fundamental consecration sinks its roots in our baptism," continues the pope. "No one is baptized a priest or a bishop. They baptized us as laypeople and it is the indelible sign that no one can ever wipe away."
"It is good for us to remember that the Church is not an elite of priests, of consecrated people, of bishops -- but that everyone forms the Holy Faithful People of God," states Francis.
The pontiff then says that he cannot reflect on the role of laypeople in the church "ignoring one of the greatest deformations that Latin America must confront, and to which I ask you to give special attention: clericalism."
"This attitude not only cancels out the personality of Christians, but tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people," states Francis.
"Clericalism brings about a homogenization of the layperson, treating as 'mandatory' limits to his or her diverse initiatives and efforts, and I would dare to say, the audacity necessary to bring the Good News of the Gospel to all places of social and overall political activity," he continues.
"Clericalism, far from giving impulse to diverse contributions and proposals, turns off, little by little, the prophetic fire from which the entire Church is called to give testimony in the heart of its peoples," says Francis. "Clericalism forgets that the visibility and the sacramentality of the Church belongs to all the people of God and not only an elect or illuminated few."
The pontiff then quotes from Pope Paul VI's apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, which praised the role laypeople have in pastoral work.
"Pope Paul VI uses an expression that I hold to be fundamental: the faith of our people -- their orientations, their work, their desires, their yearnings, when they are listened to and directed, end up manifesting a genuine presence of the Spirit," states Francis.
"We trust in our people, in their memory and in their 'sense of smell,' we trust that the Holy Spirit works in and with them, and that this Spirit is not only the 'property' of the ecclesial hierarchy," he continues.
"What does it mean for us pastors the fact that laypeople are working in public life?" asks Francis. "It means finding the way to encourage them, to accompany them and to stimulate all the attempts and efforts they are already doing to keep alive hope and faith in a world full of contradictions, especially for the poorest."
"It is not the pastor who must say to the layperson that which they must do and say; he or she knows more and better than us," says the pope. "It is not for the pastor to decide what the faithful must say in their diverse settings."
Francis also says that priests often "fall into the temptation to think that the committed layperson is he or she who works for the Church and or in things of the parish or the diocese, and we have reflected little on how to accompany a baptized person in their public and daily life."
"Without realizing it, we have created a lay elite believing that only those who work in things of priests are committed laypersons; and we have forgotten, neglected the believer that many times has their hope burned away in the daily fight to live the faith," states the pontiff.
"These are situations that clericalism cannot see, because it is more worried with dominating spaces than creating processes," he continues. "We must then recognize the layperson for their reality, for their identity."
"It is illogical, and even impossible, to think that we as pastors should have the monopoly on solutions for the many challenges that modern life presents to us," states Francis. "On the contrary, we must remain at the side of our people, accompanying them in their work and stimulating that capable imagination of responding to current problems."
"Our role, our joy, the joy of the pastor, is truly in the helping and the stimulating, "he continues. "Laypeople are a part of the Holy Faithful People of God and therefore are protagonists of the Church and the world; we are called to serve them, not them to serve us."
The pontifical commission for Latin America is a part of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops, which Ouellet also leads.
[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

 
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Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Book just translated and worth reading



There is a new book out on the History of the Society of the Sacred Heart that I have now on my I-pad and am loving it. Here is what our Provincial webpage has to announce it:

The Society of the Sacred Heart in the World of Its Times

Monique Luirard, RSCJ
by Monique Luirard, RSCJ(1943-2013), Professor emerita at the Institute of Political Studies of Lille, France, historian, specialist in the history of World War II and religious history Translated by Frances Gimber, RSCJ Preface by Clare Pratt, RSCJ
 
It tells the story of all the changes in the Society from the death of our foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie, up to 2000. If you love the Society or just love to read history, this is a book you will enjoy. In the meantime, we are excited about the book signing we will be having at Carrollton with six of us who wrote about our own prayer in the book, "Seeking the One Whom We Love: How RSCJ Pray." The six of us have some connection with Carrollton and that is why we were invited.
 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gratitude



The picture is of a Chilean sunrise and makes me think of all the graces I received in my 20 years living and working among the wonderful people there. I find that often my morning meditation or prayer time is filled with memories that I now want to thank God for and that maybe I did not appreciate enough at the time. I was thinking today of how I nearly died in September of 2014 and how long it took for me to recover any strength; when I look back at those months, I see what a grace it was to have that time mostly alone with God.

Now, as I prepare to bring closure to the last thirty years of my life here in Miami, I again am filled with gratitude for so many graces; I have made good friends, have had some wonderful years at the University with interesting and loveable students, have enjoyed this huge city with so many nationalities, and have found God in all.
Let us thank God today for all the graces we have received and may not have taken the time even to say a simple "thank you"!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Be still...



I am sorry that I did not post anything yesterday but I have my niece here and we went out, but have packed all my clothes. Now I need to tackle my desk and some little drawers where I have stashed all sorts of miscellaneous things. The file cabinet in my home office was taken yesterday by a Sister who needed one.
Closing a large house is a big project and seems to be taking up more of my life than I would like, but progress is being made and I am sure I am learning much about myself in the process!

"Be still and know that I am God" is what keeps coming to me and I do stop and try to be still and just listen to the Lord in silence.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Love one another as I have loved you...



This Sunday's Gospel has Jesus giving us a new commandment. We are to love one another as He has loved us. Later in John's Gospel we hear Jesus saying, "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. We know that He loved us, and still loves us, but as the Father loves Him, He loves us. That is mind-blowing! And it is by our love that others know we are followers of Jesus!

I have been so loved; now I must love others with that tremendous love. Let us pray for one another so that we realize that this new commandment is what we are to concentrate on today. Pope Francis says that if we keep the corporal works of mercy, we are loving as Jesus asks us to love everyone.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The ocean speaks to me of God!



One of my favorite images of God is the ocean. It is always the same, yet different. It is tremendous, beautiful, constant, deep, and can be playful, peaceful, and potent. It fills me with wonder.
I am probably repeating myself as I am sure I have talked about my love for the ocean in many past blogs. Today I am going to go look at the ocean, I hope, as my niece wants to see the Atlantic.

I have been going over what Jesus said in yesterday's Gospel:
"Let not your hearts be troubled." Since God loves us and God is all powerful, there is no reason to worry. Instead we need to think that Jesus told us He is the way, the truth, and the light.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I belong to God...




Mother Stuart says: "We are all God's property, and our life must be one wild bird's song of praise, one wild flower's face looking up to God."

I belong to God; He can do what He wants with me. Yet, He has given me the gift of freedom.

When the Realtor wants to show the house, we must get out. As we need to be out at 4:00 tonight, we are going to go out to dinner.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Busy week ahead



Tonight, I have the last meeting with the faculty spirituality group from Carrollton. They are bringing food for the supper before our meeting. They will continue to meet as they find it life-giving to pray and share together. I will miss them.

My niece is also arriving this evening so one of my community is going to pick her up in Fort Lauderdale. She is coming to help me clear out and pack; my sister will come at the end of April so I may not always be writing my blog during this time. Tomorrow, after the Mass at the University, my faith-sharing group is being anointed! You know, one can receive the Sacrament of Healing often now and I find it a real grace and so we are going to receive it together.

Now for at least one spiritual thought for the day: " Come to Me," says the Lord, "and I will give you rest." I think Jesus wants us to turn to Him for all we need and He loves to help us when we ask Him. He also wants us to learn that He is meek and humble of Heart! I have noticed that my journal has several entries that include or end with "Lord, help me!"

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Holy Spirit



Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and to strengthen us. We prepare for the great feast of Pentecost which comes fifty days after Easter - We celebrate it on a Sunday, but we should be celebrating the Holy Spirit every day as we are so dependent on the Spirit with His many gifts.

Let us prepare for Pentecost by praying throughout the day,
"Come, Holy Spirit, and enkindle our hearts."

Monday, April 18, 2016

New week to love and serve the Lord



Monday opens a new week to love and serve the Lord. I was thinking that we have so many opportunities to spread joy and be grateful for friends and family, health and humor, the fact that we are not homeless and hungry - so many want the basics and have not enough to eat, lack clean water, have no one who cares for them. I pray for these, but I also thank God for His many gifts.

In getting rid of the Journals that I have written over the years, I realize that there is such a continuity on our lives of graces that are received every day. We often are not aware at the time, but we can always go back and thank for them. I need to go back to keeping a gratitude journal. I used to do this and it was a great help to keep me concentrated on the good things of each day.

I found myself the other day suggesting to a group of mothers who have been meeting with me that they ask each of the family to name what they are most grateful for each day. Then I thought I should be doing this with my own community!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Good Shepherd Sunday




Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He cares for each of us. He calls us by name and we listen to Him and follow Him. He loves each of us more than any earthly pastor so we let ourselves be loved and we follow Him wherever He leads. When we are tired, He carries us; when we stray, He seeks us with tender love and mercy. I really believe that the image of the Good Shepherd has made me feel carried by Jesus at many moments in my life. I also have heard his call to feed his sheep. Perhaps that is why I continue to write this blog.

The Sunday Gospel is quite short, but it is an important one.

Thursday night was the last meeting of our Reflection Group. I started this group over twenty- three years ago. It has changed over the years as far as the people, but the format has been the same and it has been life-giving for all. We meet for a light supper, then prayer and sharing of our experience after we have all read and reflected during the month on one chapter of our chosen book. The sharing has been very rich and I know I have made many deep friendships over the years with the people who have been part of the group. I pray that this group will continue to meet. I also just want to throw out the suggestion to all my readers to start a group that meets once a month for prayer together and then sharing. Many have told me that the silent prayer has helped them as they seldom have just sat in silence with others in prayer.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Help comes from many



I am trying to get rid of everything that I do not need to take to Oakwood with me. Several of my friends have offered to help us close this house. One helper who has given up some of her Saturday mornings to come and just do whatever I ask of her, is a little girl who is in the sixth grade. I had given books away to some of the members of one of my spirituality groups and one took home a book of poems. Her oldest child, the sixth grader, loved it and wondered if she could come and look at my books. She came, helped me sort through several hundred and was happy to find a few that were suitable for her as I had some childhood classics. I found her so quiet, organized, and willing, that she really was a great help and she seems to enjoy helping me so she has returned and will be here again today. I feel that she is a gift from God. Her younger sister is also willing and wanting to come, I think, but I will wait on that offer.
My niece arrives next week and I am counting on her to get my room emptied in less than a week. In the meantime, I am slowly going through papers - I stop to read instead of just throwing away.
If I am writing all of this in a blog, it is because I need the help of prayer to really clear out all that I have collected. I do not need to keep records of past years so just pitch and be glad. Having few things - just what is essential- makes for joy.