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Friday, May 26, 2017

The Sanctifier

Tonight we have graduation; our weekly visits with our seniors will be missed. I hope to keep in touch with Mike during his college years. Tuesday was a very moving goodbye with my third graders as we will be in retreat the next week and then they are out for the summer vacation. It is a real grace to have our retirement home on the school grounds so we can see and interact with the children. My six wrote long thank you notes and all remarked on my laughing with them and enjoying the stories. I really did enjoy them!

I am rereading The Sanctifier by Martinez which I first read years ago and still love it. Certainly, it is  one of the best books about the Holy Spirit. One of the community said it felt written by the Spirit.
The first chapter is about how the Holy Spirit leads us to holiness. The second is titled "Our Delightful Guest"; here is a quote from it:
The Holy Spirit's action "is not exterior nor intermittent, but intimate and constant. He enters into the depths of our souls, penetrates the innermost recesses, and takes up his permanent dwelling there to produce later on his magnificent work."

It is good for us to spend time with the Holy Spirit as we prepare for the Feast of Pentecost. I am happy to be in retreat the week before the Feast and then the week afterwards this year.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Talking to Sophie

A Dialogue with Sophie

Me: Happy Feast! It is so good to celebrate your feast with my large community here at Oakwood. You took one of my good friends to Heaven last week and I miss her, but I am glad she is with you and God now and cannot suffer.

Sophie: I have been watching you during your months here at Oakwood. You have been here almost a year and done much, but you came with a strong desire to deepen your interior life. How is that going?

Me: Well, I have more time for prayer and love having daily Mass here in our Chapel, but I still have not made much progress in interior silence. God still spoils me though and I am so looking forward to our retreat which begins in four days.

Sophie: Yes, God loves you very much, but I count on you to be a true Religious of the Sacred Heart, both contemplative and active. You are now at a time in life when you may stress the contemplative side of your vocation. We are always going to be both active and contemplative, but your life here is a gift that allows you to spend more time with the Lord.

Me: I am really discerning how to create interior silence. I need your help.

Sophie: You have it; just be still and take time to be with the Lord; He only wants you to let Him love you. Continue to deepen your relationship with each Person in the Blessed Trinity.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

St. Madeleine Sophie founded the Society of the Sacred Heart and became the first Mother General. She governed the Society from its beginnings until her death in 1865. Actually, although she made her vows in 1800 and we count that as a foundation date, she was only elected Superior General after having founded two more houses after the first school in Amiens, France. She was often ill but she was above all a soul of prayer and governed with wisdom as the Society grew and spread. She allowed St. Philippine Duchesne to bring the Society of the Sacred Heart to America in 1818. These two saints held fast to the Constitutions of the Society and kept union among all the houses of the Society. We owe them so much. I love to prepare this feast by having a real conversation with Sophie.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Joy is contagious

When we are happy, others are happy. Joy spreads and when our hearts are burning with love we experience joy. This joy becomes a net that enfolds others with its happy contagion.

We need to strive to always accept all with joy and give all with joy. Love is the wellspring of joy and we need a strong love to live in joy. Gratitude helps us to foster joy.

What are my daily joys? Make a list now and then go back and thank for each of these daily joys!

Monday, May 22, 2017

God knows us by name...

Sometimes I get something that Paul Parker sends to all the faculty at Carrollton and I want to use it in my blog. This is a quote from the Pope at a General Audience last week and I love it:

Pope Francis at the Wednesday Audience in Saint Peter's Square today ~

‘Every one of us is a story of God’s love. 
God calls every one of us by our name: 
God knows us by name; 
God looks at us; 
God waits for us; 
God forgives us; 
God has patience with us.’

I keep hearing God call me by name and I hope you do, too.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Jesus has been going around and consoling us since Easter. The collect of the Mass for this Sunday is worth reflecting on:
"Grant, Almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do."

How have we celebrated these days of joy?
Have I always recognized Jesus as He comes to me now?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Breathing in, breathing out...

We have a song we sing often here before our afternoon gatherings; lately, I find myself singing it to myself at odd moments and before prayer and even after Communion during Mass. Here are the words:
Breathing in, breathing out,
I am calm, I am smiling;
You in me, I in You
Precious moment, wondrous moment,
Peace to the world, peace to the world.

It may also help you quiet down. I am finding interior silence difficult these days and look forward to out retreat which begins the night of May 29.  It seems to be a pattern in my life that the time before retreat is difficult for prayer. So many thoughts, images, stream through my mind, but, as one spiritual director once told me, just "show up" - God sees the effort and the desire.

I opened an envelope I was handed yesterday to find it was a birthday card with a note written by Marg Miller who had died the day before so it was like a message from heaven. I have it on my desk now. My birthday is the last day of the month and I am not planning on celebrating it this year as I will be in retreat!

Friday, May 19, 2017

July will see me in St. Louis

We will be having an important provincial assembly in July followed by a Spirituality Forum that we began years ago and have held every two or three years, I think. I have been to about four and loved each one. They have grown to include Associates, faculty and staff from our schools, and alums; I believe this year we are meeting at St. Louis University because they are expecting about two hundred or more. Coming right after the Assembly is good for the travel part, but listening really is tiring for me so I hope I have the energy needed to follow the talks at the Spirituality Forum. I know I will enjoy seeing friends and the small group discussions are always fruitful. This Forum seems to be geared to our coming bicentennial as we begin celebrating St. Philippine Duchesne's arrival in 1818; she brought the Society of the Sacred Heart to North America and from here to Cuba, and South America.
This is a different blog tonight, but hopefully inspired by the Spirit.
It also means that I will be away from July 7-16 and not writing my blog during that time.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A word can help us pray...

Last week I spoke of words that sometimes help us to enter into deep prayer and I think at different times, different words help. I am still with the word "surrender" which is, of course, an old favorite of mine since my years in Chile when the verb was
'entregarme' or hand myself over to the Lord. Now I just seem to use the word to be totally open to whatever the Lord wants.

Often the word is gratitude and helps me to enter into a deep and quiet state of just being grateful.
Sometimes, the word 'transparent' comes to mind and I desire to be before God completely open and known as only God can know me.
I hope this sharing triggers some words that help you to pray.

And there is always my favorite quote from St. Madeleine Sophie:
"Be simple, be humble, bring joy to others."

I am trying to schedule ahead and yesterday posted a second blog that was intended for the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie next week. It will appear again but once published on our website I cannot do any editing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Heart silence

In the silence of the Heart God speaks - this thought is from a longer quote from Mother Teresa:
"Jesus taught us how to pray and he also told us to learn from Him to be meek and humble of heart. Neither of these can we do unless we know what silence is. Both humility and prayer grow from an ear, mind, and tongue that have lived in silence with God, for in the silence of the heart God speaks."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The silence of Mary

May is a time when we give special honor to Our Lady, at least in our hemisphere. In Chile, the mes de Maria was from November 7 to December 8 and the Churches were packed for all the Marian devotions every evening. On December 9, only a few would show up for the evening Mass that had been standing room only the days previous. I am contemplating the silence and passivity of Mary as depicted in this painting of Mater. Mater is in every Sacred Heart school the world over and beloved by all the family of the Sacred Heart. When I look at the picture now, I still see the open book, the distaff, but Mary is not using it. She is not reading, but she seems to be absorbed in prayer. The passivity of Mary here calls out to me now that I am retired and still doing many things. One thing is necessary and I need to learn how to just be still.
Mary was silent - interiorly silent so she could listen to God. Let us try to imitate her interior silence this week so we, too, may listen to God.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Meaningfl Words

Looking back over my rather recent history of prayer, I find that some words stand out. When I reviewed April, there were three words: humility, surrender, and a phrase: "let yourself be filled with love" - the rest of that phrase was "in order to give His love to others."
Now, the word surrender means to entrust myself to Jesus in complete openness, holding nothing back. It is attracting me and influencing how I enter prayer. Another word that keeps coming this week is "transparent" - I want to be transparent. Gratitude is usually present, too.
I guess I am wondering if a word or phrase helps each of my readers to deepen their own interior life. Certainly our call to silence has helped me this year and I intend to share more on silence these days before the retreat.