Monday, May 31, 2010
For the Feast of the Visitation there are two Prefaces of the Blessed Virgin Mary given in the "Magnificat". The first talks about our giving thanks always and everywhere "as we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, she became the virgin mother of your only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who is for ever the light of the world."
The second Preface says:
"Father, all powerful and ever living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks,
and to praise you for your gifts
as we contemplate your saints in glory.
In celebrating the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
it is our special joy to echo her song of thanksgiving.
What wonders you have worked throughout the world.
All generations have shared the greatness of your love.
When you looked on Mary your lowly servant,
you raised her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, the savior of mankind..."
This is really a wonderful and joyful feast. Mary goes to Elizabeth and Jesus communicates with the babe in the womb of Elizabeth. The morning prayer in my "Magnificat" has this reading from Tobit which seems to call me to prayer:
"Thank God! Give him the praise and the glory. Before all the living, acknowledge the many good things he has done for you, by blessing and extolling his name in song. Before all men, honor and proclaim God's deeds, and do not be slack in praising him. A king's secret it is prudent to keep, but the works of God are to be declared and made known. Praise them with due honor."
I think just being grateful is a way of praising God.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The Preface for this Sunday of the Holy Trinity says:
Father, all-powerful and ever living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks.
We joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of your Godhead.
You have revealed your glory as the glory also of your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet one Lord, one God,
ever to be adored in your everlasting glory.
Benedict XVI has this to say about the Blessed Trinity (taken from "Magnificat"):
" The 'name' of the Blessed Trinity is, in a certain sense, imprinted upon all things bacause all that exists, down to the last particle is in relation; in this way we catch a glimpse of God as relationship and ultimately, Creator Love. All things derive from love, aspire to love, and move impelled by love, though naturally with varying degrees of awareness and freedom..."
Benedict also says that the strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: "Love alone makes us happy because we live in a relationship, and we live to love and to be loved."
I love the joyfully proclaim our faith in this mystery.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I am going to quote from the Introduction to the book I spoke about yesterday as I think what Christine Valters Paintner says is helpful for all of us.
"When we recognize ourselves as a part of the earth community, as the scriptures and mystics have encouraged us to do for centuries, then we begin to see the profound mystery at work in the depths of our own souls as the same sacred mystery at work in the natural world. Being present to the gifts of creation helps to give us insight into paths for our own spiritual growth and into the ways in which God is present to us."
She designed the book to be "an accompaniment and guide for ongoing prayer..."
She goes on to say that by rooting our prayer in connection with the elements of water, wind, earth, and fire, we can experience ourselves as part of the natural world, connected to all of God's creatures. She also tells us that we will discover a God "who dwells at the heart of all living things, who sustains and transforms creation moment by moment, and who is an indispensable presence in the world."
Praying with the elements will lead us to greater gratitude for all God's gifts.
Friday, May 28, 2010
As always, I am happy to pass on any good spiritual books for summer reading. These are recently published and I have only dipped into each but they are worth adding to the list I keep on the right side of this blog.
One is by Joan Chittister and Rowan Williams and was highly recommended to me so I bought it. I like the theme and have always liked reading Joan Chittister, but her style is different in this book, I think, and makes it harder to know who is writing what so I guess that is good teamwork. I love the title: Uncommon Gratitude: Alleluia For All That Is and it is published by Liturgical Press, 2010.
The book is divided into three sections: Discovering What We Are; Becoming Who We Are; Growing Into the Unknown. Each has short chapters that show us how we can sing a grateful "alleluia" for what is real and challenging in our world today.
The second book is one I intend to use for prayer this summer. It is Water, wind, earth & fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner and is from Sorin Books, 2010. Paintner is a Benedictine Oblate who writes with knowledge of the mystics and contemporary spiritual poetry as well as ways to draw us into reflection and prayer. I think it is a book that will lead to contemplation.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I seem to have fire enkindled as a symbol of the Trinity burning with love for one another and for us. Here is the opening prayer for Sunday:
Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.
Through them we come to know the mystery of your life.
Help us to worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever.
It is good to remember that it is through Jesus, the Incarnate Word, and the Spirit that we "come to know the mystery", of God's life. We also need to pray for help for our worship and our faith in this "One God in three Persons".
We need to cultivate a relationship with each of the three Persons in the Trinity and this Sunday is a good day for dialogue with all three.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I was thinking today that this coming Sunday is Trinity Sunday and then we have the Feast of the Visitation on Monday, May 31, and that closes Our Lady's month. It is also Memorial Day this year. I was born on May 31 when it was the Feast of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace; then it became the Feast of the Queenship of Mary, and now it is the Feast of the Visitation. It is nice to have one's birthday on a Feast of Mary, and I do love the story of the Visitation. The picture today is of the Feast of the Annunciation when Mary accepts the startling news of the Angel Gabriel and is now to be the Mother of God. What a mystery and how grateful I am that God became human to be like us in all things except sin. Mary is truly our mother, too, and it means so much to have her to intercede for us and to be our model. She always has the same message for me and in the same words she used in John's Gospel at the marriage feast of Cana: "Do whatsoever He tells you." She is with me though and gives me the grace to do whatever pleases her Son.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
The Miami area will have a Mass in the Carrollton Chapel at six o'clock this evening and then have dinner together for the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie. I am glad we are doing this at Carrollton as they have a prayerful, small Chapel that opens out on the terrace with a gorgeous view of the bay. I am always drawn to the water.
I am trying to describe my own friendship with St. Madeleine Sophie. I think of her as a mother and leader; she is also a model and friend, but one that is always trying to encourage me to be more loving, more generous, more completely given. She seems to me to really care about each of her daughters and watches over us from heaven, but there is always that urge to see us more saintly. I felt very close to her the months I spent at the Trinita in Rome; I also found her presence in Joigny where she was born. Her room is a tiny shrine now.
Her charism and spirituality is my charism and spirituality centered on the Heart of Jesus, wanting to be led by the Holy Spirit, and wanting to discover and reveal the love of His Heart more and more each day. I think Sophie is happy that we are finding Associates all over the world to carry our charism to others today.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sophie was the first Mother General of the Society of the Sacred Heart and governed the Society from its beginnings in 1800 to her death in 1865. although she was only elected as Mother General in 1803. She had been given an extraordinary education for any girl at that time and she insisted on high standards for the boarding schools she would establish in many countries before her death. She always tried to establish a school for the poor at the same time she opened the boarding school. Because of her vision of education, Sacred Heart schools all over the world today are known for the solid foundation given and especially for the education in the Catholic faith while respecting all traditions. Sophie believed that a well-educated woman of virtue would have a lasting influence on not only her husband and her children but on the world around her.
Today is Pentecost Monday and is still a holiday, I think, in some European countries. We drew the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit and shared them in our community prayer last night. I drew the gift of Wisdom this year and "kindness" as the fruit. I am happy with both and will ask the Holy Spirit to keep these in mind as we go through the year.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The alternate prayer for this Pentecost Sunday is worth copying here for reflection:
Father of Light, from whom every good gift comes,
send your Spirit into our lives with the power of a might wind,
and by the flame of your wisdom open the horizons of our minds.
Loosen our tongues to sing your praise in words beyond the power of speech,
for without your Spirit man could never raise his voice in words of peace
or announce the truth that Jesus is Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God for ever and ever. Amen.
The good thing for us is to know that we do have the Holy Spirit with his power and wisdom, gifts and fruits. I love knowing that it is the Spirit in us that allows us to praise God, announce the Good News that Jesus is Lord, and also speak words of peace.
I think that we need to cultivate our appreciation of the many gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. I need also to thank for the gifts I have received and to praise God for the great gift of the Spirit.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Pentecost is historically and symbolically related to the Jewish harvest festival of Shavuot, which commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai fifty days after the Exodus. Among Christians, Pentecost commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the New Testament Acts of the Apostles 2:31  during these Jewish "fiftieth day" celebrations in Jerusalem. For this reason, Pentecost is sometimes described as the "Birthday of the Church".
I often wonder how Mary and the Apostles really spent the ten days between the Ascension of Jesus into heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit. We heard that they were in the temple continuously praising God; I suspect this was a real Christian retreat, perhaps the first, as they spent these days in prayer. They all must have thought about the many memories they had of Jesus; they relived the important moments in their own lives; they pondered what the promise of the Holy Spirit would mean for them; above all, they were filled with longing, and great gratitude for all that they had heard, seen, lived. Jesus was present in their hearts and so they kept praising God.
I will be making my retreat this year alone with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. After having had the three wonderful days in retreat on the ocean this month, I will have only six days for retreat in August. I think my retreat may be something like I imagined the first retreat was for Mary and the Apostles: a looking back over memories, a reliving of my own experiences of God; and pondering the gift of the Holy Spirit with great desire to praise God with joy. It is not too soon to begin to pray for these days of retreat and Pentecost is a time of special grace.
In the meantime, I am having a busy day finding room for the papers I cannot allow myself to throw away without looking at them. Some may have been in my files for years, but now is the time to look, throw out, or file. I am not good about the filing! It is much nicer to think about the summer and my retreat at the end of it this year.
Friday, May 21, 2010
My images did not appear; I just wanted something different and something that would make us feel cool as today was hot! I saw everyone at the University who was there to be seen and gave away my last possession. I still have the trunk of my car loaded with notebooks and files and no place to put anything in my room so I must begin to get rid of more things. I like living in one room, but now it must also be my office.
I have been reflecting on the name of our group that made our profession together in Rome in 1960. The name given us is "Apostolic Courage"! I think it has been helpful to me in all my years in education and formation work; I am now seeing that it is a different call to have apostolic courage in my new role of retired professor and writer. I really have no desire to begin to write this summer but have been asked to do sketches of St. Madeleine Sophie and Philippine Duchesne and will do these soon. I suspect I just need to take a few days to get back to living at home without going to the University. I have twenty-four years of memories to put away as I begin a new stage of my life.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
This is a mustard tree grown from the smallest of seeds. It is able to spread its branches and welcome all the birds of the air. Who would have thought that the tiny seed would have such a destiny?
Today is my last official day at St. Thomas University. I am going to take the one who is now heading the International Online Certificate Program in Spirituality Studies around to introduce her to many in administration and some faculty and, at the same time I will be saying good-bye after twenty-four years of teaching at the same University. I have seen the growth. We now are the School of Theology and Ministry and have graduated our first doctoral students in practical theology. We have expanded and continue to expand with a new Doctor of Ministry Program to begin soon.
At the same time, I feel that I was that tiny mustard seed that began the Spirituality Center back in 1986 with a post-master's program in Spirituality and a training program for Spiritual Directors. I also spent a great deal of time that first year in trying to interview about a hundred older adults about their spirituality. That was a real learning experience for me and I am grateful for that opportunity. I look back and see that the growth was real, but hidden at the time. Now I feel that I am rooted firmly in my own spirituality and able to open to all the world. To be a Religious of the Sacred Heart is to have a heart as big as the world and open to all. I leave St. Thomas knowing that I will return to be there for noon liturgy at least once a week, use the library, continue with my faith-sharing group and keep up with friends on the faculty and staff. I leave with gratitude and joy; it is time and I am ready!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In this novena of preparation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart I am thinking of how often silence of action was stressed in our novitiate and in the contemplative months before our final profession. We were taught that we should learn how to move without noise, to open and close doors without a sound, to take the time to hang up dust pans so no one could hear us, etc. It was to become a habit and to last all our lives. I still cringe when a door slams. I have learned to love silence and was thinking of how hard it was for me to not talk when I entered and how much I love having times of solitude and silence now. I think that the silence of action was to be able to listen to God and not disturb the Holy Spirit. I wonder when we stopped thinking about the value of this practice and stopped forming others to guard a strict silence of action? It seems to me that it is still valid today and much more necessary.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sometimes I feel that writing a daily blog is an experience of discerning so many possible subjects for the reflection that I end up not know what to choose. Usually that is when something just seems to write itself. Today, looking for a picture, came the desire just to reflect that each day we walk the path of love; sometimes it is an easy path and the lovely weather makes it a delight; sometimes we need to plod on through rain, snow, and even hail. Most days are rather ordinary, but walking the path of love is an extraordinary experience. We do not walk it alone. Sometimes we find that the joy in our heart comes from a deep well inside of us. What halts us on the path of love? I guess that may be different for each one. Sometimes it is just a feeling of fatigue. I need to take the path one day at a time; sometimes it may be just an hour at a time. It seems to help when I put my hand in the hand of Jesus and we walk it together. Then the path becomes easy and one enjoys the walk no matter what the climate is. Let us keep going full of joy. This is the week we are preparing for the Holy Spirit to come and strengthen us as well as enlighten us!
Come, Holy Spirit, and enlighten us!
Monday, May 17, 2010
This picture seems appropriate as we prepare for Pentecost. One of my images of the Holy Spirit is peaceful water; I guess I usually think of it as a quiet pool, still and deep and clear. Anyway, here is the prayer for today's liturgy: "Lord, send the power of your Holy Spirit upon us that we may remain faithful and do your will in our daily lives." It is a prayer for every day so that we may be faithful and do God's will.
I prayed this morning over the hymn given for Morning Prayer for today in my "Magnificat" - I will copy it here as you may also find it conducive for prayer.
Come down, O love divine,
Seek thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, thy holy flame bestowing.
O let it freely burn,
Till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
I think I just was caught by the first verse and stayed with it for prayer.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Benedict XVI is quoted in my May Magnificat for the Feast of the Ascension as saying:
"The meaning of Christ's Ascension expresses our belief that in Christ the humanity that we all share has entered into the inner life of God in a new and hitherto unheard of way. It means that man has found an everlasting place in God." He adds that it would be a mistake to interpret the Ascension as the temporary absence of Christ from the world. Rather, "we go to heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him. Jesus himself is what we call "'heaven'."
I think we are called to feel joy on this Feast because Jesus was so joyful; He was going home to his Father. Let us rejoice and return with great joy to prayer as we wait for the Spirit to come on Pentecost to enlighten us and strengthen us!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
I clicked on the name of the above picture, "Joy of Discovery" in my file this morning and will let it lead my reflection. I have spent quite a bit of time in the Chapel at St. Thomas University during these past two days. Thursday night we had induction into our honor society and brief presentations from our first two doctoral graduates in practical theology. Last night we had a dinner for our MA graduates in Pastoral Ministry and then the Baccalaureate Mass with standing room only in our Chapel. As faculty were in gowns and hoods for both ceremonies, I was up front on the side and had time to contemplate the stained-glass windows in front of me and the palm trees outside the upper Chapel windows.
My thoughts turned again to all the graces of the past twenty-four years as a member of this University community. I especially remembered my five years as Chair of Religious Studies, History, and Philosophy and all the joys of those years when I actually felt I could make a difference but only with the help of the Holy Spirit. Then I thought of all the students I have taught here at the University; many of our students graduate because we are a caring community and really dedicated to helping students achieve their degrees.
The present students look so young but still have so much joy to discover in learning about life. Many need to find jobs. It is not easy for them this year but there was such a feeling of joy among the students that I do not fear for them. I pray that they will experience the same joy of discovery that I have throughout my years of teaching. Every day is full of wonder if we have eyes to see and take the time to reflect.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I was praying over the Gospel for the Ascension yesterday and was struck by the fact that the Apostles stood there with joy rather than sadness. They did not understand but were filled with joy because Jesus had blessed them and told them that the Holy Spirit would come. Jesus tells them that they are to remain in the city and the Gospel tells us that they were praising God in the temple. Joy leads to praise!
Luke's Gospel is worth reflecting on:
I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.'
Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
What just struck me in the above translation is the fact that they "worshipped" Jesus. In Acts, Luke tells us that they stood there looking up even as Jesus was taken up into the clouds. What an experience that must have been for them! But they returned with great joy. They rejoiced because Jesus was going to his Father.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This week is Ascension Thursday. Most dioceses in the United States will wait until Sunday to celebrate this feast which is a Holy Day of Obligation so it helps many to have it on Sunday. I still like the idea of Ascension Thursday and will be in the Chapel before noon as tradition had it that Jesus ascended into Heaven around noon. We have Mass at 12:15 at the University everyday so I usually try to go to the Chapel early anyway to prepare the reading and have some time for silent prayer before the Liturgy. Before all the changes in Religious Life, all the community and the school would assemble in the Chapel to sing "Beau Ciel" on Ascension Thursday at noon. I think there is a certain feeling of nostalgia when imagining Jesus leaving us to go to His Father; the forty days of his consoling presence seems to be a loss but it really isn't as now Jesus comes to us in a different way.
I read this morning that we pray to give God joy; we also pray to be transformed. We need transformation in order to be united to Christ. Each day brings its own ways of transformation, if we are alert to profit from the opportunities presented to us.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
St. Madeleine Sophie's Feast is May 25 and it is nice to have it so soon after Pentecost this year as Sophie wanted to live her life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. When I was out at our retirement house in California, I bought some of the cards they have for sale done by our nuns; most all are watercolors of flowers. I asked if there could be some with quotations and was told to send the quotes and I think my great friend of many years is going to make some. Here are some of the quotes (I was asked to keep them short!):
My favorite, of course, "Be simple, be humble, and bring joy to others."
True happiness lies in pleasing God.
Love God, live only to please God, and you will be filled with joy.
Zeal creates time and energy where there would be none.
Put your trust in God and all your love. God will uphold you and will supply for what you lack.
Our one passion should be the love of Christ and the desire to make him loved.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I took a little book with me to California that I have found helpful so I am adding it to my list of books. It is by Thomas H. Green, S.J. whose books on prayer I loved. This one was published in 2010 after his death and is drawn from his lectures. The title is Experiencing God: The Three Stages of Prayer.
I will share a couple of thoughts with you today. Green says that we should try taking the first fifteen minutes of prayer just to be with the Lord; let God do whatever God wants during this time. If nothing happens, then we can begin to reflect or pick up Scripture. The idea is to give God the chance to take over and so we are just quietly waiting on God. I like this and think it works for me to quiet down and just be present. Then whatever happens comes from God. Try it and see if it is helpful.
Another thought that struck me is to ask God when preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to tell me what He wants me to confess. I have done this. I think God then helps us to see ourselves as He sees us. If we listen to God, we may find that He knows us so much better than we know ourselves. Learning to listen is an important part of growth in prayer.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Here is the link to an article that was written for the Florida Catholic about me. I thought you might enjoy reading it here.
The truth is that one of my brother's used to say "Join the convent and see the world!" I suspect he was a bit envious. The Society of the Sacred Heart is an international Society. Most of us make our final vows in Rome after about five months of a more contemplative experience. I was at the famous convent at the top of the Spanish steps, the Trinita, before going back to the Mother House for those five months so I actually had a year in Rome. From Rome, I went directly to Chile and arrived on Valentine's Day, 1960; I was there for the next 20 years. However, in 1973-74 I studied in the Institute for Religious Formation at St. Louis University and we made the thirty-day retreat in Manresa, Spain, where St. Ignatius wrote his famous Spiritual Exercises. After the retreat, I visited France to see the birthplace of St. Madeleine Sophie, our foundress, in Joigny and also visited Paris and then had time in Barcelona before returning. I was always in our convents. I returned to give the thirty-day retreat to two Religious priests, a Religious brother, and a Sister - all from different countries- for the Institute for Religious Formation in 1977 and I also taught the highest class in the Normal School in Peru before returning to Chile to be superior in the poorest region in the north.
Before leaving Peru I had the opportunity to travel and even go to the famous Inca shrine at Machu Pichu (hope my spelling is correct).
Later, I went to Oxford to give a paper at the International Patristic Conference and had a month to travel to visit friends in Scotland and England and do some research for my dissertation in France and Belgium before spending three months in Rome at the Villa Lante where our general archives are located. I was invited to visit Malta for a week during that time and fell in love with that country and its lovely people. Later, I visited a very good friend in Palma de Mallorca and was able to get there three times before she died; we had worked together in Chile and were spiritual soulmates! I taught one summer in Spain and had a chance to visit the north of Spain as we have a retirement house near Burgos and from there I went to Loyola and also San Sebastian. I forgot to say that I had been at Lourdes after giving the retreat in Spain and also had gone back to Rome that time to see friends. I taught Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross that one summer and could take the students to Avila, Toledo, and Segovia as we stayed in El Escorial. I also went to Spain on Spring break with my brother and sister-in-law and we rented a car and toured some of the most beautiful spots. That was fun. I went back a few years ago to give a paper at an International meeting on Sacred Heart Spirituality at Joigny in France and had time afterwards to visit friends in England. One drove me many places that I could never have seen by myself. A couple of years ago I had a great trip over to Scotland and England using my frequent flyer miles to see some old friend and make new ones. Three of my International students were from Scotland and it was wonderful to be with them. One drove me on a pilgrimage to Iona- a gorgeous ride that I will never forget. The island of Iona is fascinating and it was a real pilgrimage and I am most grateful for that whole trip and for seeing friends in England, too. I guess I should mention a trip to Halifax and Prince Edward Island one summer; I would love to tour Canada and maybe this will happen before I die. The important thing is the wonderful relationships I have with people all over the world: Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, and, of course, Chile; I have been back twice for visits using my frequent flyer miles. Well, all this just came off the top of my head but justifies the title given to the article!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
What wonderful gifts Jesus gives us in today's Gospel! First he tells us that if we love him we will keep his word and the Father will love us and Jesus and the Father will come to us and make their dwelling with us. Then, the Father will send the Holy Spirit who "will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you." Now, what could be greater than to have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? But Jesus adds his gift of peace for us. Then he gives a command: "Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
I thought of this a few times on my trip and it was very helpful. Our plane on the way out to California went not only forward but up and down for a long time as there were many tornadoes and storms so it was quite bumpy; then there were some moments when I needed to remember those words of Jesus to keep my heart at peace. We need to stay calm and let the small things drop without disturbing our peace.
God wants us to be joyful and peaceful and full of his love!
I should also say "Happy Mother's Day" to all the mothers out there! One never forgets the love a mother gives each of her children.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
It is good to be home again! However, it was a great 12 days for me. I arrived at the San Francisco airport on April 24th and one of my RSCJ friends met me at the airport. We went to Mass that afternoon and then had a lovely dinner about ten o'clock my time so I finally went to bed deciding to do nothing on Sunday and be prepared to leave on Monday for my retreat at Villa Maria del Mar. I went with two other RSCJs and we had lunch on the water in Santa Cruz before going to the retreat house; my room was on the third floor looking directly over the Pacific Ocean! We were almost the only ones making a retreat that week; I spent a great deal of time in the little meditation chapel that is the corner room overlooking the ocean; we had a real storm at sea the second day there and the waves covered the beach. I went back to the first stanza of John of the Cross' "Living Flame of Love" and found that was all I needed; I really spent most of my time just contemplating the ocean as a symbol of God's immense and deep love.
After Santa Cruz I returned to our community in Redwood City. It is a very hospitable community that prays together every evening and often lights a fire in their fireplace that delighted me and recalled the "Living Flame of Love". I spent the days at Oakwood, our lovely retirement home that now has included Westwood, Rosewood, and a small compound that holds two community houses and three or four single apartments. I visited the cemetery where so many of my friends are as well as two RSCJ cousins. Then, after an inspiring Mass and excellent homily by Archbishop Quinn on Sunday and a Reception in honor of the new administrative team (more about these two wonderful people at some later date), we began the gathering of six of us who had made our final profession fifty years ago. We shared and prayed together and had a Mass on Tuesday for all our probation sisters, living and dead, and then we prepared a special gouter for the Oakwood Community which now numbers fifty-two, I think. Anyway, it was a good time and I am happy we did this and have written a short summary to send to some of those who could not come.
"Let not your heart be troubled" is a real command of Jesus so let us rejoice as we approach his Ascension into Heaven and Pentecost. It is a time of joy!