Search This Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

Associated Alunni of the Sacred Heart

This picture is of Sugar Creek, Kansas, where the Potawatomi Indian mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart was from 1841-1848 when we had to go further west.

Sunday we had a wonderful 49th Anniversary Celebration at our school, Carrollton, in Miami. The celebration started on Friday night with a great party and silent auction; Saturday was for the alums and Sunday was for everyone! We began by Mass outside on a gorgeous day. After Mass, the Carnival opened with many booths, rides, and even a little, comfortable hospitality booth run by the alums. Now, I have added the link on the right of my blog to the Associated Alumni of the Sacred Heart and suggest that you look at this website and use the link to the AASH conference that will be held here in Miami so you can see what a wonderful experience it will be for any alum who is able to come. Early registration is less expensive and it ends on February 16th! If there is a possibility that you can come to the AASH this year in Miami, please go to the website and register now. I know you will love it and the alums here are working hard to make this the best AASH Gathering imaginable!
I am rather excited about it myself since my sister and her husband are coming from Arizona and a dear friend from Los Angeles and about 45 Religious of the Sacred Heart are planning to come this year thanks to the great generosity of the Miami alumnae. Come and join us and maybe sign up for my seminar on "The Adventures of Mother Lucile Mathevon, An Early Companion of St. Philippine Duchesne."
Lucile was a great pioneer woman who came to America in 1821 with the same desire to go to the Indians that Mother Duchesne had. Lucile lived with her holy superior at Florissant and was in charge of the Indian Seminary for Girls when it opened there. Unfortunately, the Indians moved further west and took their children with them. Philippine left Lucile in charge at Florissant while she made the foundation in St. Louis in 1827; the next year, Lucile was named superior at St. Charles and reopened the school there; she built the convent that is still standing with additions on all sides. Then, in 1841, she went to the Potawatomi Indians as superior of the mission; Philippine's dream was fulfilled when she was allowed to be part of the little group that settled at Sugar Creek, in what is now Kansas. The adventures of Lucile are many and varied and it is inspiring to me to see how she followed in Philippine's footsteps.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Profession Day in Rome

Our young nuns who will be making their final profession in Rome on Sunday received the name of their group in a conference given by our Mother General. The name is
"To live and love in joy"
and here is an excerpt from the conference given by our Mother General. You can see and read more on our international website; the link to that is on the right in my blog.

"You are called to live and love with joy! What is this joy? It is the certainty that God IS the center of your life. It is the sureness that you are not alone, for Jesus' call is to love with him; that whatever may come in the future, nothing can separate you from God's love. This joy is the confidence of knowing that God goes ahead of you, that Jesus awaits you in the Galilee's of your province, among the peoples to whom you will be sent, where with him you will say to others, "Come and see; you too will see greater things!"/

I love the name and feel that I am also called to renew the name of my own group:
"Apostolic Courage" but with an emphasis this year "to live and love in joy"!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Different Kinds of Silence

The retreat house in West Palm Beach is on Lake Worth; I had a great view of the sunrise from my room. We were all keeping silence from Tuesday night and I think that the longer one is in an atmosphere of silence, the deeper one sinks into stillness.
I had just finished a book called "The Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland. The author had set out to study silence by living in different places. She speaks about the silence of the desert and contrasts it with the silence of the mountains. I find silence near water, even when I am listening to the roar of the ocean! However, it is the image of water that speaks to me of God. The ocean is a perfect image of how God is always the same yet always different - just look at the waves when they come in to break on the shore and how the water changes color, yet it is always the same ocean; just as the ocean is not the same, I feel that God is dynamic and experience something of the infinity of change in an infinite God.
As I walked along the water one morning, I saw one of the men who was with me on the retreat, wrestling with his fishing rod to bring in a large sea trout. It was a gorgeous fish and put up quite a fight and continued to struggle even after our fisherman had landed him on the grass and was trying to remove the hook in order to throw the fish back into the water. I thought how free that fish must feel when it hit the water and found it could swim again. I think one of the graces of even a short retreat is "being caught by God and then set free" - free of my own resistance, free of whatever hook I have swallowed, and then the joy of being thrown back into the grace of God!

Friday, January 28, 2011

After my mini retreat...

It is always a great joy to have time alone with the Lord. I feel so grateful for this week. It was a good mixture of silence, input, Centering Prayer, and some discussion. Besides the group of faculty and staff from our school in Miami, we had a representative from our school in New Orleans, one from Houston, and one from Omaha. I came back renewed in my own vocation thanks to the great presentations given on Sacred Heart spirituality and contemplation. We saw how St. Madeleine Sophie wanted us to be faithful to the Holy Spirit. I wrote something in my notebook that I will share when I have time. Now I am going to go pray! I will say that I feel very grateful for the opportunity and met many wonderful people.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Draw near to God and he will draw near to you."

You may have recognized the quote, "Draw near to God and he will draw near to you" as coming from James 4:8. It comes at the beginning of McComan's Chapter 12: "The Journey that Isn't a Journey" in The Big Book of Mysticism. He describes, as do many authors, the contemplative life as a journey. One of the most common metaphors for growth in mysticism and spirituality is the idea of a journey. We all are on this journey, but each of us is unique so we have different paths and often get sidetracked and maybe need a guide to keep us going forward and help us find our way. Sometimes we forget that as we struggle to climb a mountain spiritually, it is happening right here and now. In this sense, mysticism is a journey; and it's not a journey. McColman says that:
"Ultimately, the particular contours of your relationship with God are between you and the Holy Spirit...all the contemplative life asks of us is that we be willing to move forward in faith, one step at a time.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Way of Approaching the Ten Commandments

I continue to find fruit in "The Big Book of Christian Mysticism" and today want to give a version of the 10 Commandments that is quoted from Brian Haggerty's Out of the House of Slavery: On the Meaning of the Ten Commandments that sees them as a spiritual "Declaration of Independence." Without the explanation (too long for me to copy here) you may have trouble seeing these ten as a way of life for all of us, but I think you will agree that they give new insight:

1. You shall not worship transitory gods but shall serve only the living God.
2. You shall not enshrine any notion, ideology, or interest as God and allow yourself to be dominated by it.
3. You shall not lay exclusive claim to God's blessing or call upon God to bless your selfish purposes.

4. Show reverence for the land; regard those who labor with respect.
5. Treat the elderly with respect and deference.
6. You shall not threaten the lives of others by your aggressive or irresponsible behavior.
7. You shall not threaten another person's marriage or family life.
8. You shall not deprive other people of their freedom.
9. You shall not cause another person to be treated unjustly.
10.You shall not grasp after what belongs to someone else or seek for yourself what belongs to all people.

There is much to reflect on here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heart of Jesus, fill my heart with your joy!

This was scheduled for the 25th! Sorry, but it is on early and you need to scroll down to find Saturday's blog!"
Today I am sharing some thoughts taken directly from The Big Book of Christian Mysticism by Carl McColman. I am still reading this book but now stopping to mark it up. Here are some thoughts from my reading today:
"God comes to dwell in us because we abide in Christ....The dance illuminates our hearts, and to enter into it means to embrace a profound darkness marked by unknowing and paradox.
Keep in mind as you reflect on the promise of joy at the heart of the Trinitarian dance, that one of the dancers has wounds on his hands. Christ is the victorious God-man, but he is also the crucified victim. He died to remove our sins--understood mystically, this means he died to empty us of everything within us that resists the love of God, anything and everything that we cannot remove by our own efforts. The crucifixion marks the climax of Christ's own kenosis and through this the dynamic of the circle changed forever. In Christ's emptiness, you will find the grace to receive love, but also the call to embrace your own suffering as you give the love away.....Because God comes to you as the self emptied Christ, you need not be afraid of him and you may follow his own life giving example. As part of the body of Christ, you will carry your own cross. But the path leads not just to death, but also to the resurrection. And the dancers will accompany you every step of the way."

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sacred Heart of Jesus, to your joy I unite myself

Those who know the Litany of the Sacred Heart used in the Society of the Sacred Heart will also know that I am inventing my own invocation since I am praying about joy, the joy of the Risen Jesus, these days. It seems to me that God wants us to enjoy life and help others to find joy. Remember I find this quote from our foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie, to be one of my favorites: "Be simple, be humble, and bring joy to others." Others give me joy every day and I see how God sends us joys even when there are difficult moments or when we would feel so down after reading the news - our papers are so full of bad things that happen in our world that I think we need to form the habit of looking for good things each day and be grateful for them. Gratitude leads me to joy!
To add to my joy, I am off to a contemplative retreat today until Thursday with some of the faculty and staff of our school. We are going to West Palm Beach to a retreat house and will be hearing more about Sacred Heart Spirituality and Contemplation and will be doing some Centering Prayer together during our three days there. I have scheduled my blogs ahead so I will not be missing a day. Look for news of the retreat when I return!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, a day of rest and football

I love Sundays; I go to Mass on Saturday evening so that I can have a quiet, contemplative morning with extra time for prayer, then a leisurely breakfast with the Sunday papers and a long, peaceful afternoon, often with a book but football seems to have exerted an influence over the way I spend some of my Sabbath hours; I usually can do other things while watching, but I think I am glad that we only have two weeks left of the football season. I have not watched all the professional games on Sunday as I really prefer college football which I usually only watch on Saturdays, but I miss the things I do when not tempted to sit and watch TV! Actually, I watch very little television, but do follow sports and always read the sports section of the newspaper; I think it was one area that I felt I could keep up with my college students and I have continued with the same interest.

I thought about the Gospel for this Sunday and how Jesus waited to preach until John was in prison. It sounds as if Jesus had returned to Nazareth after his baptism and forty days in the desert, and waited until the Spirit told him to go begin his public life. He seems to have called His first apostles then to leave all and follow him. He was to be the "Light" in the darkness!
I am trying to schedule a few blogs for next week as I leave on Monday for a short retreat with faculty members from Sacred Heart schools. I am thirsty for retreat and so grateful to be invited to this one on Sacred Heart spirituality and contemplation. It will be a time for Centering Prayer, some talks, and, I hope, time for silence. I will write about it on my return at the end of the week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Big Book of Christian Mysticism

I continue to read and pray over Carl McColman's The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality and I will share some more thoughts from it today. Here is a quote from Meister Eckhart that is one that opens Chapter 11 on "The Path of Holiness":
Do not think to found holiness upon doing; holiness must be founded upon being. Works do not make us holy. It is we who must make works holy. For no matter how holy works may be, they do not make us holy because we do them, but in so far as we within ourselves are as we should be, we make holy all that we do, whether it be eating, or sleeping, or working, or what it may. Meister Eckhard

The fact is that we are all called to holiness. John Ruusbroec (this mystic has many spellings of his name but I am using McColman's book) said: "You are as holy as you want to be." That is a quote worth reflecting on today and everyday!
Later McColman will say: "When you stop judging others and start loving them instead, you create space in your heart for the Holy Spirit to enter and lead you into holiness. Likewise, take care to stop judging yourself, thereby creating space in your heart for a healthy self-love--not a narcissistic pleasure-seeking love, but a mature love that is inspired by and seeks to imitate the love God has for you." And so our prayer should be to ask God to teach us how to love the way God does. This might be the first step to living a holy life and it is, at least for most of us, according to McColman, "a lifelong assignment." But remember that it is only possible with the grace of God! And that, too, is a reason for joy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jumping for Joy

You have heard the expression "Jumping with joy" or is it "Jumping for joy"? Both seem to express an interior movement when one is seized by joy. It can happen in an instant. I am sure we all have had experiences of this sudden joy that lightens up our life.
I opened to a hymn for today's morning prayer in my Magnificat this morning; I like it so much that I added two verses and will share all four with you; you can sing it to the tune of "Be thou my vision".

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever child-like, no cares can destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled
at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labors, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
at the noon of the day.

(these are my verses)
Lord of all happiness, Lord of all bliss
Whose care ever present, no one can dismiss,
Be there at our resting, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord
at the end of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all love,
Whose Heart ever on fire, pours love from above,
Be there at our praying, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord
at all times of the day.

I suspect it would be easy to keep adding verses! May you all have a joy-filled day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joy, what a gift!

Children show us joy, but the joy of older people is more lasting and deeper. I was reading the latest Review for Religious yesterday and have some thoughts and quotes to share with you on joy. Joy, of course, at least for me, is the song of the Spirit under the pressure of happiness and it breaks out into a constant inner melody that communicates itself to others. When we communicate joy, we make others happy. Joy makes people relax and smile; one sees joy for it cannot be concealed; joy is meant to be given away. I was thinking that the Litany of the Sacred Heart could use at least one invocation on joy: "Joy of the Heart of Jesus, fill my heart and overflow to others" might be a good one. Also, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, to your eternal joy, I unite myself." Anyway, this reflection on joy was triggered by an article by James Menkhaus. "The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: A Path to Virtue" and he quotes from Servais Pinkaers book: Morality: The Catholic View when speaking of the fourth week of the Exercises. Joy unites the virtues which are "Like arteries that carry strength and disperse joy through the entire organism of the moral life." He goes on to say that Joy is the culmination of the virtues; Ignatian joy is the culmination of the Spiritual Exercises. Joy is lasting; Joy is communicable; Joy grows by being shared; Joy repays sacrifices freely embraced; Joy belongs to the purity and generosity of love... I guess I am ready to write an ode to joy! I always find joy in prayer as I go to allow God to love me and what greater joy is there than being loved by God!! I do try to descend to the depths of the Heart of Christ, going down deep into the secret cavern and into the cleft in the rock and there I feel so surrounded and immersed in Love that joy is what bubbles up and overflows and stays with me. At the same time, I want to be with Jesus for the solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

St. Madeleine Sohie

Although I write my blog for everyone, I guess I mean anyone who is interested in spirituality, I love making the Society of the Sacred Heart known and especially love to hear from the Alums and Associates who read the blog daily. I guess it is what keeps me writing. Now,the Society of the Sacred Heart counts it foundation from 1800 but the Constitutions were only written in 1815 as they had to live their vocation before they could write rules. One of the words that we are looking at more and more in our spirituality is the verb "puiser" in French meaning to draw out. We are to draw out from the Heart of Christ all that we need. The Heart of Jesus is a wellspring. Sophie saw the Heart of Jesus as a source from which to draw everything: joy, love, grace, the spirit of humility, gentleness, modesty, simplicity, motherly love for the children, invincible strength and courage. She wrote in one of her letters: "We should place our loneliness at the service of the work entrusted to us. When we feel engulfed by these feelings, we must find a deep cavern where the soul can take refuge as often as possible. For us, this cleft in the rock is the Heart of Jesus." The bold part is mine to emphasize the images I love of the deep cavern and the cleft in the rock. It is the way I enter prayer. Maybe I will have more on that tomorrow!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King

I hope that we will always remember why we celebrate this national holiday. King stood for what he believed was right; he stood for freedom and was willing even to give his life in pursuit of freedom for all. My heart is concerned now for the immigrants in our country; they come to find freedom and how are we treating them? Let us reflect today on the gift of freedom in our lives and how we can assure this gift for others around us. Jesus welcomed all and certainly showed compassion on the less fortunate, the outcasts, the poor.
Let us keep Haiti in our prayer today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

St. Philippine Duchesne

Now, I can almost hear my readers asking, why are you writing about Saint Philippine Duchesne on this Sunday? I have been rereading her life especially looking at the way her life, her vocation as a missionary, her intense zeal for the conversion of the Indians, her love of the Jesuits, her great kindness, charity, and generosity are reflected in the Life of Mother Lucile Mathevon. I am becoming so identified with Lucile that I am going to attempt a "first person" presentation of her adventures as an early companion of Philippine; Lucille was another great pioneer woman and needs to be known today as she could teach us much about living in trust and joy and union with the Heart of Jesus. I feel that I am back in the days before the Civil War when St. Charles was a frontier town and Kansas was Indian territory.
I am sure I will be wanting to share more of her adventures with you later.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow has a special silence

Even looking at a snow scene makes one "feel" the silence. The truth is that when is out in the snow, although it quiets and seems to bring a deep silence, it also helps magnify some sounds. You hear your own footsteps as they crunch through the snow. It is cold in Miami today and that brings to mind long forgotten snow days. I must say that I do not miss the snow. I like to look at it, but now I never need to sweep it off my car or try to drive through it. I have been too many years without it, but I still feel the magic of waking up and finding the world around me covered in white.
So much for my reflection today.
Actually, I am both reading and reflecting on the situation in Haiti and wondering if I have prayed enough for those poor people still suffering from both the effects of the earthquake and cholera. Let us pray today that help will speed up and reach so many that have dire needs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Without Words

I am reading a book on Silence and find that I am without words today.
Let us sink into silence; it first makes one aware of noise around us.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Some videos are a call to prayer

Here is something to watch and listen to that is really great as we are still at the beginning of a New Year! It is a real meditation:

I hope you watched this video. I do not usually put videos on my blog, but I am thinking that I should be listing on the right side some of my favorite videos as they do call one to pray and fill our minds with gorgeous images. People are always sending me these wonderful videos; I am talking about very short videos that are a pleasure to watch and listen to and then keep in mind during the day.

Last night we watched the coverage of the memorial service in Tuscon, Arizona. In Miami in some neighborhoods people get shot in what they call "drive-by" shootings; bullets are fired and sometimes hit innocent children. I guess I do not understand how easy it is to have a gun. My students told me that there are many places where they can walk in and buy a gun, pay cash and leave without a background check.
Today I have my faculty faith-sharing group at the University and then home to make soup for the Reflection Group that meets tonight. I started this group at least 15 years ago but I am the only one left now of the original group; some have been with us for close to eleven years now but we have also welcomed new members. We begin with supper, then prayer, and then discussion on one of the chapters of the selected book. The discussion part is often a sharing of our personal experience and the way we relate to God.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Walking and Contemplation

When I went out today I found about twenty-eight birds with very long orange bills, white underneath and brown and white or black and white on top with very thin legs; I suspect they must be part of the Egret family (I really do not know birds or trees and always think I am going to study both) - anyway, these 28 birds were busy rooting around in the yard of a home right on the canal; one finally found a worm and rushed off to consume it in the middle of the road, refusing to share his meal with others who had tried to make him share. My presence did not seem to bother any of them so I just stood and watched them searching for food in the green grass. I suspect I shall go out with bread tomorrow. After the birds, two blocks up I passed the canal again and stopped to contemplate the ducks. There were some black ducks that seemed to be normal size, but there were two huge ducks with white necks and one had red on his head, but big web feet- I thought they might be geese as I have never seen a duck that big. Again, my presence did not seem to bother them and they preened in the sun and were quite tame. I stayed contemplating them until they flew away and went back to swim in the canal with their heads bobbing up and down. I think it may have been one family. The point of my blog today is that I am finding my walk an opportunity to contemplate what I never take time to look at normally. Maybe I will feed the ducks tomorrow, too!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Daily Joys

There are so many daily joys in my life that I do not think I can list them all, but here are a few of my favorite things: waking up without an alarm clock; knowing that I can take a full hour and more just to be with the Lord first thing each morning; the joy of a hot shower, clean clothes,a hot cup of tea, time to read the newspaper at breakfast; and those are a few of the joys experienced before eight o'clock in the morning!!
As we have been having cooler weather, I am trying to find joy in walking. I am not sure this is a real joy for me yet as I have lost the habit of going for a walk, but each day I am increasing the time and trying to relax and enjoy the walk. We have a good neighborhood for walking, although there are no sidewalks so one walks in the street. Since this is South Florida, the grass is green and the trees beautiful. I think of all those who cannot get out to walk: the disabled, the sick, those who work long hours enclosed in factories or offices; those who at this time of the year have snow and ice and extreme cold to keep them from enjoying a walk... I am so grateful that I can walk and intend to take the time each day, at least until it is warm enough to swim! I am proud of all those who walk daily! Walking can also be a great way to pray!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Calm, contemplative day

This picture speaks to me and makes me long for a calm, contemplative day; I think it is possible to have one if I keep repeating my day's invocation from the Litany of the Sacred Heart. I am now going through the Litany a third time and so today I am on "Sacred Heart of Jesus, to your burning love I unite myself." I hope I have time to just let this sink in while I sit and walk in the sun today. It is too cold to swim and I miss that contemplative exercise. I guess I lose the calm, contemplative spirit when I begin to be anxious about what I need to do. I am the kind that always has a "to do" list and it is always more than I can do so I let this bother me. One of my community said I should just pick one thing a day and then I will feel good about accomplishing that one thing instead of looking at a list where I can only manage to cross off one thing. I pass this advice on to all my readers, but must confess that I still have rather long "to do" lists - I am learning though to take time to enjoy the day and not rush through it. What I can do, I do, and the rest can wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Baptism of Jesus

This Sunday we celebrate an important event in the life of Jesus; I think that Jesus lived an ordinary life and only had the kind of moments of inspiration that many of us have received from the Holy Spirit until the moment of his baptism. Then the Father spoke to him and acknowledged him as his beloved Son in whom the Father was well pleased. Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert for forty days; this retreat would help to clarify his mission and also to help strengthen him for the temptations that he would face. I feel very close to Jesus as I contemplate his leaving home, going to join the sinners waiting to be baptized by John, and then his meeting with John, his humility, and the resulting manifestation of the Trinity which revealed to Jesus his own identity. I like thinking of Jesus not knowing everything; he went to prayer much as we do--to allow the Father to love him, to respond to that love, and to discern what the Father wanted and how to give the Father's love to others. Well, these are just some of my thoughts on the mystery of this feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jesus comes to save us...He is always with us...

Today I want to remind you that I often do not comment on the Liturgy as we have such excellent sites that do this daily; there are also some special blogs that I have listed on the right side where you will find treasures; the Concord Pastor's First Friday blog and his Monday morning offering each week are really worth reading; I am so happy that I discovered that I can click on the Bible pictured in his blog and find various commentaries on the next Sunday's Liturgy. I just want you to remember to use these sources, if you have time. Kim King, RSCJ has just posted a new poem in her blog, "Consider the Lilies".

Friday, January 7, 2011

Further thoughts on those three wisemen!

Although Epiphany was celebrated last Sunday, we were fortunate to have a King's cake last night and one of my community found the tiny plastic king in her piece and so now will prepare the Mardi Gras party for us. We had all the Religious in the Miami area with us last night for dinner and a meeting with one of our Provincial Team. As we are a small area, we can all fit around our dining room table but it was a scramble to make sure we had enough forks for the salad, the main course, and dessert! Anyway, my thoughts are going back to the three Kings or wisemen who had such faith! It was an incredible journey of faith but they ended up being with Jesus and able to give the Infant their gifts. Then they heeded the dream in which they were told to return by a different way! I think I shall be praying for that kind of faith today and the faith to recognize Jesus in each one I meet.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Need to be Concerned

This is worth reading and reflecting on and was sent to me today:

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall
to see the farmer and his wife open a package.
"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered.
He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.
Retreating to the farmyard,
the mouse proclaimed this warning :
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"
The chicken clucked and scratched,
raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse,
I can tell this is a grave concern to you,
but it is of no consequence to me.
I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him,
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said,
"I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse,
but there is nothing I can do about it
but pray..
Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said,
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you,
but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house,
head down and dejected,
to face the farmer's mousetrap
. . . Alone.. .. .

That very night
a sound was heard throughout the house
-- the sound Of a mousetrap catching its prey.
The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught.
In the darkness, she did not see it.
It was a venomous snake
whose tail was caught in the trap.
The snake bit the farmer's wife.
The farmer rushed her to the hospital.
When she returned home she still had a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever
with fresh chicken soup.
So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard
for the soup's main ingredient:
But his wife's sickness continued.
Friends and neighbors
came to sit with her
around the clock.
To feed them,
the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas,
the farmer's wife did not get well...
She died.

So many people came for her funeral
that the farmer had the cow slaughtered
to provide enough meat for all of them
for the funeral luncheon.
And the mouse looked upon it all
from his crack in the wall
with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear
someone is facing a problem
and you think it doesn't concern you,
remember ---
When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.
We are all involved in this journey called life.
We must keep an eye out for one another
and make an extra effort
to encourage one another.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Hidden Life

Tradition has it that Jesus was a grown man before He left home to go to be baptized by John the Baptist. I love to think of all those years; Jesus grew up, learned to walk, talk, read, and pray. He made friends with other children; He learned how to help Mary and probably was a big help in drawing water from the well, but He also learned from Joseph. There was so much that He had to learn from experience and being with people. God did not think all those years could have been used to do something else; the hidden life has a tremendous value for all of us. It is the little things of every day done with love that make a difference in our lives. We need to reflect on this and try to learn to do all with Jesus and for Jesus and with joy. I love to think of Jesus playing and laughing with friends.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The day after Epiphany

I am used to having until January 6 to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. Since Christmas was on a Saturday this year and the Church calendar now celebrates Epiphany on the second Sunday after Christmas, it has come and gone and everyone has gone back to school and to work. I need to get to work myself but find myself still thinking of the faith of the three wise men who were willing to set off into the unknown to seek the newborn King whose star they had seen. I think there are many lessons to be learned from them and so will continue to use this Gospel story for my own prayer.

One book that I want to add to my list on the right is Eugene Boylan's Difficulties in Mental Prayer: A New Edition of a Classic Guide to Meditation It is published as a Christian Classic in 2010 by Notre Dame Press and I have been rereading it and finding so much wisdom in it that I need to tell you about this new edition. I first read this book years ago (it came out in 1943 and his This Tremendous Lover came out in 1946 but it was later that I read both and loved them.) When I was in Chile (probably in 1960 or shortly after) I was sent a copy of the Triduum (3-day retreat) that Eugene Boylan gave to our nuns at Duchesne in Omaha in 1960. I still have that beat up transcript as it was so helpful to me for prayer and for seeing how God wants us to enjoy life. He said that "prayer should be the most spontaneous parctice of all." He believed that each soul is different and so one experiences growth in prayer in many ways and at different levels and it is always God leading us. Here is a quote: "To seek God truly, to do His will cheerfully, to love Him wholeheartedly--that is the only way to true prayer and to true peace."
I am finding much on "Noblesse Oblige" on the Internet and will share a bit with you as this school motto has been haunting me and I seem to remember that because we were so privileged to be "Children of the Sacred Heart" we were called to serve others. We have a responsibility because of our heritage to make the world a better place. Here is something from Wikipedia:

"Noblesse oblige is a French phrase literally meaning "nobility obliges".
The Dictionnaire de l’Académie française defines it thus:
1. Whoever claims to be noble must conduct himself nobly.
2. (Figuratively) One must act in a fashion that conforms to one's position, and with the reputation that one has earned.
The Oxford English Dictionary says that the term "suggests noble ancestry constrains to honourable behavior; privilege entails to responsibility". Being a noble meant that one had responsibilities to lead, manage and so on. One was not to simply spend one's time in idle pursuits.
Noblesse oblige" is generally used to imply that with wealth, power and prestige come responsibilities.
In American English especially, the term has also been applied more broadly to those who are capable of simple acts to help another, usually one who is less fortunate.
In ethical discussion, it is sometimes used to summarize a moral economy wherein privilege must be balanced by duty towards those who lack such privilege or who cannot perform such duty. Finally, it has been used recently primarily to refer to public responsibilities of the rich, famous and powerful, notably to provide good examples of behaviour or to exceed minimal standards of decency."

I think our title to "nobility" was based on the fact that we were baptized, children of God, but also had the privilege of being children of the Sacred Heart with an excellent education not only to help us through life, but so we could help others and the goal was not wealth but Heaven!

Anyway, I am having fun researching this phrase and letting it call to me now as well as trying to remember what efforts it inspired when still in school!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Feast of the Epiphany

I wrote a meditation on the Three Wise Men for today and seem to have lost it. I remember thinking that we would have thought those men foolish to set out on a journey without knowing where they were going. The saw the star and followed it and persevered when the star disappeared. They had faith. They were also generous as they came bearing gifts. They were obedient, too, when told by the angel to return by a different route. What is the star Jesus wants me to follow this year to bring me to Him? And what gift will I offer to Him?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God

Today we begin the New Year on a First Saturday with the Feast of Our Lady that seems to me to be the most important of all. Theologians realized that Jesus was both God and man; therefore, Mary was the Mother of God. She is given many titles and honored in many ways, but being the Mother of God is what makes Mary so powerful an intercessor for us, her children, too. Jesus gave us His own Mother to intercede for us and that is why the Hail Mary is such a wonderful prayer - first we praise Mary for the Lord is with her; then we ask her to pray for us both now and at the hour of our death. Mary watches over us; she tells the Lord when we are in need as she did at the marriage feast when she noticed the lack of wine. She also tells us what she told the waiters then, "Do whatsoever He tells you."

May you all have a very Happy New Year and live it in union with Jesus! Then we will be living this New Year close to Mary in peace and joy.