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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time


Today's Liturgy begins with an entrance antiphon that has caught my attention: "The Lord is the strength of his people, a saving refuge for the one he has anointed. Save your people, Lord and bless your heritage and govern them for ever."

I like to think that the Lord is our strength. Jesus tells us in the Gospel (Mt 10:26-33) that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father's knowledge. Even the hairs of our head are counted. "So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Let us trust the Heart of Jesus and pray for peace in ourselves, in our communities, in our world. I keep praying the little song:
"Breathing in, breathing out,
I am calm, I am smiling;
You in me and I in You.
Present moment, wondrous moment,
Peace to the world, peace to the world."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary


When I save pictures for this blog, I cannot find them so I need help in learning how to get all the pictures in the right files. I thought I was really getting organized, but today I cannot find the pictures I have been saving recently so we will just go with dear, old Smiley who always makes me smile!
 Here we have been saying a prayer at the end of the Litany that has been said for the novena before the Feast of the Sacred Heart. I did not know this prayer so will copy it here for you.

"O Mary, Mother of Grace, pray for us to the Heart of Jesus. Most Holy Trinity, we thank you for the favors you showered on St. Madeleine Sophie. We ask you, through her intercession, to bless the world with your peace and to bless the Society with vocations according to the Heart of Jesus.
Grant the graces we ask, in Jesus' name. Amen.

I think Our Lady is so humble that she did not want me to show even the symbol of the two Hearts of Jesus and Mary which I found once and now seem to have lost it. Still, it is her Feast and her heart is united to the Heart of Jesus.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Feast of the Sacred Heart




We so often think of the pierced Heart of Christ in the world today amid all the suffering. I do pray for our world with all the poor, the marginalized, the violence, the lack of justice, etc. but today's Feast makes me realize that Jesus Christ has risen; He has overcome death and His Heart is beating still with His love for everyone of us. He has told us not to be afraid. This is our day to celebrate with the Heart of Christ the very existence of the Society of the Sacred Heart. I am thrilled that we have invited Associates and Children of Mary to join us. We renew our vows out of devotion today; the Associates will be renewing their commitment and the Children of Mary renew their consecration. This is the first time we are doing this together on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. We are also beginning the 200 year celebration of St. Philippine and her four companions who brought the Society of the Sacred Heart to America in 1818.
Let us pray that we may learn from Jesus to be meek and humble of heart and give His love to all we have contact with in our daily lives.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eve of the Feast of the Sacred Heart


Tomorrow we will have Mass in the afternoon but will be connected to all the communities in the United States and Canada. We will also have our Associates and some "Children of Mary" who are able to be with us. We will renew our vows after the homily in the Mass that we will be following on the screen live from Villa Duchesne's chapel in St. Louis. After that, we will continue the Mass here with a priest who is a good friend of mine. After that we will have refreshments in the dining room and patio. As we have been having hot weather, we hope the patio near our dining room will be comfortable as we have a huge white oak there that keeps it shady.
Barb Dawson, our Mother General in Rome, will speak to us during the ceremony tomorrow but the entire Society of the Sacred Heart has received the letter she wrote for this feast. It is very beautiful and calls me to pray over it. One paragraph that I keep going back to is about the Gospel for the feast which has Jesus telling us to take His yoke upon us and learn from me that I am gentle and humble of Heart. Barb says that Jesus reminds us that we have many yokes that we carry and some are not of God. These we need to let go. We need to ask ourselves what we need to let go of in order to yoke ourselves to Jesus Christ and with each other. Barb also reminds us that it is in the depths of silence that we will hear the heartbeat of God.
That should give us all something to reflect on for this Feast of the Heart of Christ.
One of our sisters went to God this morning. I kept vigil with her yesterday and prayed that God would take her home. This is the fourth RSCJ in our Province to die since May 16 when Marg Miller went to God.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Of this and that


The weekend with my sister and brother-in-law was really a great time as my nephew and his wife were also with us both days. On Saturday, we went to an engagement party and it was lovely and almost cold as it was near the bay. It was a Greek party with Greek food, a band, a beautiful ceremony of the blessings of the ring by both a Greek Orthodox and a Roman Catholic priest.
On Sunday, we went to Rockaway beach and I have pictures but they are on my I-pad so this one taken last January will have to do. There is a famous café right on the water and we had a late lunch there. Many people were there as we are having a hot spell; these come usually only a very few times a year, but this week end was really hot for our part of California.
Now, I have taken a resolution to say grace before and after meals as my sister and brother-in-law always say grace before meals and I suspect most of our communities do. Because we get served at different times here, I think we do not have the sign of this visible prayer to ask God's blessing and give thanks for the food we eat. I am going to ask others to help me to remember and maybe we will soon have the custom back here.
My other resolution is to pray for those I see during the day.
I will try to be more spiritual tomorrow in this blog. I guess my best advice is live in the present moment and be grateful.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Stand still




Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes behind you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or bush does is lost to you,
You are truly lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
                                             David Wagoner

Monday, June 19, 2017

Living in the present moment




We used to have adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament exposed on all Sundays and Feast Days, but then we also had Benediction which ended the Exposition. Now, here at Oakwood, we have permission to expose the Blessed Sacrament for a Holy Hour on certain days and every Sunday. We gather to pray in front of the monstrance which holds the consecrated host. It is just a way of helping us to focus on the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Whenever we go to the Chapel, we are in the Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as we keep consecrated hosts in the tabernacle. That is why every Catholic Church will have a sanctuary lamp burning to remind us that Jesus is really present here in the Eucharist.

Now I did promise to share from my retreat so let me start with a quote I like from Thich Mhat Hanh: "Life is available only in the present moment. If you are distracted, if your mind is not there with your body, then you miss your appointment with life.."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ


This Sunday is the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. It has its own sequence, Lauda Sion which is quite long but I will just quote a bit of it as this is a Feast that I love. Jesus gave us his own Body and Blood so that we really received Jesus Christ when we celebrate the Eucharistic Communion during the Mass. Here are a few of the verses:
Laud, O Zion, your salvation,
Laud with hymns of exultation,
Christ your king and shepherd true.

Bring him all the praise you know,
He is more than you bestow,
Never can you reach his due.

Full and clear ring out your chanting,
Joy nor sweetest grace be wanting,
From your heart let praises burst.

What he did at supper seated,
Christ ordained to be repeated,
His memorial ne'er to cease.

Your bread, good shepherd, tend us,
Jesu, of your love befriend us,
You refresh us, you defend us,
Your eternal goodness send us
In the land of life to see.

Much to pray over and reflect on this Feast. Jesus said, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Litany for the Feast of the Sacred Heart




Here at Oakwood, we say the Litany of the Sacred Heart as a novena prayer the nine days before the Feast. I have shared this Litany before in my blog as I was using one phrase a day for prayer; it makes a great walking prayer. The first part of the Litany has the same response: "I unite myself" so I am uniting myself to Jesus by saying: "to your adoration, I unite myself; to your burning love, I unite myself; etc.

I did know this litany by heart, but now hope to learn it again just by praying over the different invocations during these days before the Feast.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Just one week to the Feast of the Sacred Heart



This year the Gospel for the Liturgy for the Feast of the Sacred Heart is from Matthew 11:25-30. I love the fact that Jesus tells us: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart for this Feast 67 years ago. I knew that Jesus was asking me to follow Him, but I never dreamed He would give me so many gifts and graces. My retreats have always been a time of grace and this one was a quiet one, but hopefully will help to transform me into living more as Jesus lived. The first week was with Oakwood and I felt that I was being called to deepen my interior life. Then, the second week was about seeing the face of our neighbor. I have fifty close neighbors here so I need to really see them and love them as Jesus loves them.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Back Again!




I came out of retreat on Monday and it was such a special time. I will be sharing some of it with you this week. It was so good to have had two retreats back to back and I hope it will make a real difference in my life. The first six days were more deepening my new desire to have interior silence that is so helpful for prayer. We had two twenty minute sessions each day that gave us suggestions we could follow both with Scripture passages and then going back to our own sources. I found this very helpful and then went to the retreat at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz. My nephew and his wife drove me down and we took a different road. It was really beautiful but very full of curves. We stopped for lunch at an Italian restaurant and ate outside under the redwoods. That was a special treat. Then I had six more days of silence with a Dominican priest saying Mass at 9:30 in the mornings with a "homily/conference" and then another talk at 4:30. He emphasized our need to live in the present and to see the need of others. The title of the retreat was "Silence, Word, the Face of our Neighbor." I loved the emphasis on being able to see the need of those around us. He told us one story about a child that had ended up in a camp full of people but no one to care for him. When asked, the child told them: "They know I exist but no one sees me."
I guess I am trying to see the needs of others now that I am home again and have fifty neighbors who are here at Oakwood and many others who come to us.

Monday, May 29, 2017

We go into retreat tonight




This will be my last post before June 15. I beg prayer for our retreat at Oakwood and then the contemplative one that I will be making at Villa Maria del Mar from June 5-12. It is really a wonderful time of the year to be in retreat before and after the Feast of the Holy Spirit.
It is also Memorial Day so we are having a Bar-B-Q.  I will be having my one year anniversary during retreat as I arrived last year on June 4. It has been a very full year for me and I am happy to be here and learning how I can be helpful in our large community and still find time to reach out to others.
I will pray for all my readers while in retreat and count on your prayer for me.