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Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pentecost


Today is a great feast and brings to an end what we call the Easter Season.
"Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth."

How we need the Spirit today to renew the face of our earth!!
Let us take time to sit in silence and invite the Spirit into our hearts in a special way today. Just sit in silence and listen to whatever the Spirit will tell you. We also pray for the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Today is my birthday and I am 89 years old. I do not feel that old and have so much to be grateful for during all the years of my life!
Sometimes I forget to hit "done" after I schedule a blog ahead; I apologize but once published, I cannot change anything on the RSCJ website.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Stress Therapy

"Stress is a natural part of everyone's life. It's the physical and emotional agitation you feel when faced with threats and opportunities. Life is filled with events--big and small, happy and sad--that bring about stress."

That is a direct quote from the Foreword of Stress Therapy written by Tom McGrath and Illustrated by R.W. Alle. It is one of the Elf-help booklets printed by Abbey Press. I had a whole collection of them at one time, but gave all away except the one on Stress Therapy which has some good helps for me to share, probably in my own words. Some stress is good and keeps us going forward. I felt that kind of stress when writing my dissertation and I think we all have some stress when we know we have a deadline or must finish something and the stress gives us the courage and will power to meet the deadline. However, we need to watch that our lives are not in constant stress. I think the week end was first invented to help us all relax and rest. Now, even Sunday has become a busy day with the stores open. Maybe this "sheltering in place" is stressful for you, but could be a time of relaxation for many.

Friday, May 29, 2020

May Crownings

Our schools have always given importance to the month of Mary and, before the end of May, there is a May Crowning of the statue of Our Lady that is usually found in a grotto somewhere on the school grounds. This year, with the sheltering in place, some of our schools have been very creative and have made videos with children offering their flowers to Mary even from home. You can find some of these in Heartbeat which is online on the Province website:  https://www.rscj.org/
There are many good things to be found on our website. I am always amazed that many of the RSCJs do not check our website or the International one. Some have asked how to find my blog and I tell them that they can find it daily on the website or sign up for it by email. 
I just want to close with this quote that I received in a note:
"In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Preparing for Pentecost

This is the prayer we say each morning  in the Chapel sitting 6 feet apart; and then we have the Liturgy of the Word.

Breathe on us, Spirit of Wisdom, so that we may be Your divine life alive in the world.
Grow in us, Spirit of Understanding, so that we may listen and know how to speak your word.
Move within our community, Spirit of Counsel, so that everyone of our encounters may be filled with Your Presence.
Inspire us, Spirit of Fortitude, so that we may always have courage and speak the truth in love.
Fill us with insight, Spirit of Knowledge, so that we may put on the mind of Christ and see God in all creation.
Abide with us, Spirit of Reverence, so that we may be transformed into Your image and become holly.
Draw us into Yourself, Spirit of Wonder and Beauty, so that we may worship You and glorify You.
In union with Jesus who has given us this Spirit, we return to You. Loving God, all that You have given us. Amen!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Eight Pillars of Joy


This picture was taken at Lake Tahoe and my Senior student of two years ago is in the canoe. I think pictures of water give me joy so now to tell you about the Eight Pillars of Joy in The Book of Joy:

1. Perspective: There are many different angles.
2. Humility: I tried to look humble and modest
3. Humor: Laughter, Joking is much better
4. Acceptance: The only place where change can begin
5. Forgiveness: Freeing ourselves from the past
6. Gratitude: I am fortunate to be alive
7. Compassion: Something we want to become
8. Generosity: We are filled with joy

These are taken up one by one in the third section of the book and I have not reached it yet.
I am also busy preparing for the Feast of Pentecost which is May 31 this year and that happens also to be my 89th birthday so I need to pray much to the Holy Spirit to prepare me for a new year of life.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"The Book of Joy"

I have been reading The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams. It begins with the invitation to Joy. We are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. At this time of sheltering in place, it is good to reflect on the fact that "lasting happiness cannot be found in pursuit of any goal or achievement. It does not reside in fortune or fame. It resides only in the human mind and heart, and it is here that we hope you will find it."
It is a very positive book and a great one to read during this time.
It has three main sections: The Nature of True Joy, The Obstacles to Joy and The Eight Pillars of Joy. Tomorrow I will share more from this lovely book. I have long been an admirer of both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day and Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

Today we celebrate twice: it is the Feast of our Mother Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie and it is also a national holiday, Memorial Day. We are having a prayer service for the entire Province in honor of Sophie. She still watches over her little Society and each of us. I have had several real encounters with her. One was when I was visiting in Belgium and in the Chapel at Jette where her body is still intact under the altar, but so life looking. Now she has been moved to Paris, but I had this wonderful time with her sitting on a little chair very close to her. We had a real dialogue. I was on my way to Rome to do my dissertation research on "Union and Conformity with the Heart of Jesus: A Key Phrase in the Spirituality of St. Madeleine Sophie." I wrote that dialogue with her down, but think it was in one of the many Journals I destroyed before moving out here. 
Reading all of Sophie's letters (at least I read over 1,000 as I read all her letters to members of the Society and also read all of her Conferences that were printed), made her seem very close to me. I had also had a terrific experience my first year in Chile when she appeared to me in a dream and gave me spiritual direction. I still remember her presence and the peace she gave me, but, alas, do not remember her words to me.
All of us love her and feel her presence in our lives so it is good to have a special day to honor her.
Memorial Day takes second place this year!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Seventh Sunday of Easter and Celebration of the Ascension of the Lord

Here is the Collect for the Feast of the Ascension:

"O God, whose Son, at his Ascension to the heavens, was pleased to promise the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, grant, we pray, that just as they received manifold gifts of heavenly teaching, so on us, too, you may bestow spiritual gifts...."

The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles: 1:12-14

"After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles returned to Jerusalem  from the mount of Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a 
 sabbath day's journey away.
When they returned tot he city they went to the upper room where they were staying,,," 
Then the names of the eleven Apostles are given - I wonder if they were drawn to stay in that room because there Jesus had washed their feet and given them the gift of Himself in the Eucharist and then appeared to them on the first Easter Sunday night and gave them His peace and the power to forgive sins. I hope the owner of the house was happy to have all these men staying in his upper room!
The reading continues by telling us "All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers."

Let us also prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit next Sunday by prayer.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Preparing for feasts




It is Memorial Day week end. Since we are still not allowed to have visitors, it will be a quiet one. I have grown to love the silence.
Monday is both Memorial Day and the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie. I am asking Sophie to help me to prepare for the feast of Pentecost which is the last Sunday of May this year and my 89th birthday. We all need to pray for the grace to be more attentive to the Holy Spirit each day and all day. We say a prayer each morning to prepare for Pentecost and there is a novena online. I am asking for the Holy Spirit to help all of us to discern even the little things in our lives.

My favorite quote from St. Madeleine Sophie is:

"Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others."

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to make us humble, simple, and allow us to give joy to others.


Friday, May 22, 2020

Thought from the retreat in daily life



My retreat group ended the complete Exercises of St. Ignatius with a very good sharing. We shall continue to meet to pray together and share, but I guess I will share a few things that have come clear to me as I look back over the 34 weeks of retreat. First, a retreat in daily life is always a grace. It helped me to turn often to Jesus during the day. One thing that stands out is how grateful I am for all the little things in my life as well as the big.
During the retreat I was aware of how wonderful my parents were; I was also aware of my own desire to stay with Jesus and how I have found Him in the Blessed Sacrament in so many chapels and churches during my whole life. I am also aware that I need to cultivate compassion. These are all graces to thank for this week.
I am sure that each of my reader has a list and I again suggest keeping a gratitude journal. (My own Journal is a mixture of whatever the day brought to mind, but I write directly addressing Jesus).

Thursday, May 21, 2020

An incentive to pray more

Today I have a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta that may call us to pray more:
"Jesus often retires alone
and spent the night in silence and prayer.
The fruit of silence is prayer.
The fruit of prayer is faith. 
The fruit of faith is love.
The fruit of love is service.
The fruit of service is peace.
Let us provide each other 
an atmosphere of peace and quiet
which will facilitate prayer, work, study, and rest."

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Are we conscious that we live in the Presence of God?

Mother Stuart says this about the interior life of Mary:

"Thinking of Our Lady's interior life, it is difficult to put it to ourselves in an other form that that she lived in the presence of God. That was the atmosphere that surrounded everything she did, every word she uttered and her every thought."

I am convinced that the interior life of each of us here at Oakwood is much more interesting than our exterior life. We just need to learn how to share what is so real and so energizing. 

I have been praying and reflecting a great deal on the questions we have to discern about for our Provincial Chapter.  In one sense it is difficult because we are being asked to envision what the Society will be doing, where we will be, etc. in fifteen years from now. I will not be around to see what I am trying to plan for now. Do join me in prayer for our provincial Chapter which begins July 9.