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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Put love where there is no love and you will find love!

I think I read the above- "Put love where there is no love and you will find love"- in John of the Cross, but it was something my mother often said to me and it is so true. We are all called to love and in loving, we find love! Try it and see! Of course Jesus wants us to love as the Father loves Him and He loves so that needs the grace of the Holy Spirit.

I am off to the airport to pick up my nephew and his wife who have been flying all night to get here from Arizona!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My Kindle

I have a Kindle, thanks to the generosity of my brother-in-law. It is such a wonderful gift and I love it. I have two Bibles and a New Testament on it as well as many other books, games, calendar, spiritual classics, etc. and so far almost everything has been free or 99 cents; I think I did pay $1.99 for two books. It is really marvelous to be able to carry your library with you. I have not yet downloaded files from my computer, but that is possible. I am going to try music next as I think you can both play classical music and read at the same time. Anyway, it is going to change my life as I now want to download so many great books that are free on the Internet.

This has nothing to do with my prayer except that I love having the Bible with me and can make the print big enough so that I can see the number of the verses easily. This morning I was going back to the way God has called me so often in my life and feel that it is often through a passage from Scripture; I guess now I will be going back and looking up my favorite passages where I have felt the Lord is speaking to me in a deeply personal way.

When directing retreats I used to tell people to make a list of Scripture passages that meant something to them (sometimes the first seven you think of) and then reflect on what God has been saying to you through His Word.) It is a good exercise for anyone to do at anytime!

Friday, May 27, 2011

When did you first hear God calling you?

This was a question in the book I am using (Savary's "The New Spiritual Exercises in the Spirit of Pierre Teihard de Chardin") and so I began to think back to my earliest memories of God. I learned to say night prayers and ask God to bless my parents and relatives but God only became real for me, I think, when I was six years old and preparing for my First Communion. Then I learned the stories of Jesus and could relate to one who came as a baby to show me God's love. I was at the Visitation and I know we spoke then of the love of the Heart of Jesus. There was an oratory with a statue of the Sacred Heart and I remember going there all by myself whenever I could (my Dad would bring me early in the morning to school on his way to work and pick me up late so I had a long day and sometimes was able to be on my own a bit before reporting to the study hall where all the borders did their homework. Anyway, I think the first call came when I was still small and, in my case, seems to have been a gradual learning through experience to trust the Lord and believe in His Love for me. Since I had loving parents this was easy to do.
It is a good question and helps me to see how the Lord has been acting in my life. I am going to continue to reflect on the different calls of the Lord during my eighty years of life.
In the meantime, I am busy preparing for the arrival of my nephew and his wife on Sunday morning; I hope to be writing my blog each day, but I am not going to feel that I need to do it next week every single day so be prepared to find either a late posting or a skipped day. In the meantime, think of your own calls from God!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Conversational Prayer

This morning I remembered during prayer that I had a conversation with St. Madeleine Sophie yesterday and did not write it down. I had recalled last night a wonderful experience of sitting next to the glass case, or chasse, and speaking to her at Jette in Belgium. Her body is still intact and she looks so loving and peaceful. I was all alone in the chapel and so pulled up a little chair and sat there looking at her and then we began talking. I do not do this often and seldom have a real conversation with saints, although I do this with Jesus all the time and Mary. Anyway, I shared this with other Religious of the Sacred Heart last night as we sat over dinner after Mass at a lovely round table. One of my community asked what we had talked about and I had to say that the experience was powerful but I did not remember the conversation. That would have been in 1983 and I no longer have my journal but I had another conversation this morning and it just flowed. I was thanking her and she was telling me how she has watched over me ever since I began boarding school when I was 13 and how she influenced me through so many other RSCJs. That triggered more gratitude on my part and then I told her how I still remembered a dream during my first year in Chile when she came and gave me spiritual direction. I woke up not remembering her words but feeling so peaceful and that peace stayed with me.
I guess I am more convinced because of my prayer these two days where I have engaged in a heart to heart talk with Sophie that she is very near and watching over me. She keeps saying: "Be humble, be simple, bring joy to others."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

The Gospel for today is the Vine and the Branches and so fitting for Sophie who wanted us to be united to Jesus and was convinced that without Him we could do nothing. She wanted us to abide in His Love and to love others as He has loved us.
I spent some time in a dialog with her during my morning prayer. She is always watching over us and wants to help us live authentic lives. I guess she keeps telling me: "Be humble, be simple, bring joy to others."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bridging the waters

I do not know what I mean by that title, but it just came and so you may ponder for yourself today what "bridging the waters" means for you. I am at a funny place. I have not that much to do, yet I am feeling too busy and I do not like the feeling. I guess I have been procrastinating too long about some things that need to be done and now feel rather helpless. I asked the Lord to be with me today and get things done, but maybe He is liking this helpless feeling as it is humbling.
I want to prepare for St. Madeleine Sophie's feast on Wednesday. We will have Mass and dinner with the RSCJs in the area and that will be nice. One of ours arrives from Haiti that afternoon and I will pick her up at the airport.
Here is a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie:
"Our Lord wants you to devote yourself to doing good. His hands turn everything into an instrument capable of performing miracles. What hinders his action is that we persist in going our own way or that we want him to do the whole work. He wants our cooperation but without our own activity. If you understand this, you will come to live it effortlessly; prayer, a word drawn from the Heart of Jesus, will have such strength and influence over others that you will become convinced that you are just an instrument which united to the source of grace, acts following the promptings of the Spirit."

Lord, work with me today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Live like a river that flows...

I love this: (It is from John O'Donohue)
"I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding."

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Do you see your life as a river flowing out to sea and carrying love? I am intrigued with the image of the flowing river but also like the idea that it is "carried by the surprise of its own unfolding". A dear friend sent me this quote and I think it will keep me reflecting today on my own life as a flowing stream, if not a mighty river.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Refreshingly cool picture

I was going to look for water skiing but found the snow scene first. This Sunday I am going to a farewell Liturgy for a good friend who has been named Bishop of Saint Augustine, Florida. Just a few months ago, I lost another friend who became the new Bishop of Orlando; both will do a great job and are wonderful, caring pastors. It leaves Miami without its two auxiliary bishops.

I thought I would share something that Teresa of Avila wrote about the prayer of quiet. She said, "What the soul must do during these seasons of quietness amounts to no more than proceeding gently and noiselessly in prayer. What I mean by noise is running about with the intellect, looking for many words and meanings so as to give thanks for this gift, and piling up one's sins and faults in order to see that the gift is unmerited. Everything is in motion and rush. The intellect is thinking hard and the memory is hurrying about in the past...
Therefore, in such times of quietude, let the soul remain in its repose. Put aside learning. The time will come when learning will be useful for the Lord. Believe me, in the presence of Infinite Wisdom, a little study of humility and one act of humility is worth all the knowledge of the world. For here there is no demand for reasoning, but simply for knowing what we are and that we are humbly in God's presence."

This is quoted from the book, Sacred Space 2011 on p. 180.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Let not your heart be troubled...

The Gospel of this Sunday is from John 14:1-7 and begins with one of my very favorite sayings of Jesus to his disciples, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." We are called to trust the Lord. He tells us that He goes to prepare a place for us as there are many dwelling places in His Father's house; He will come again "to take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also."
And then Jesus tells us that we know the way. When Thomas questions this, Jesus says "I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

There is much to ponder in tomorrow's Gospel.

Friday, May 20, 2011

What Gifts Has God Given You?

We all have been given many gifts. Are you aware of your own gifts? It might be good to make a list of your personal gifts and thank God for each of them.
Now, here are the harder questions: How am I using my gifts? Am I using them? If not, why not?

I have been reflecting on these questions today and it is a little like St. Ignatius asking us to go before Christ and ask ourselves:
What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?

The secret is listening to Christ as I stand before Him pondering these questions? He is the one who knows the answers and He loves each of us unconditionally!

There is much to pray for in our world today - I worry about the floods that have caused so much damage.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finding God in beauty is easy, but remember God is everywhere!

May the deep blessings of earth be with us.

May the fathomless soundings of seas surge in our soul.

May boundless stretches of the universe echo in our depths

to open us to wonder

to strengthen us for love

to humble us with gratitude

that we may find ourselves in one another

that we may lose ourselves in gladness

that we give ourselves to peace.

— John Philip Newell, Praying with the Earth: A Prayer Book for Peace

I was sent this poem today and wanted to share it with you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We are all walking along a path...

It is amazing to think that we are all on a journey, one step at a time. I love to look at pictures of different paths and wonder where they are leading. I imagine myself walking down a path in the woods and Jesus coming to walk with me.
What do I want to talk with Him about today? It may be only the fact that I enjoyed my Silver Sneakers class or that I loved receiving the newsletter full of pictures from our retirement community at Oakwood. I find that I also can walk in silence and be comfortable with Jesus; I do not really know where the path goes; it usually seems to lead to a new path but the idea is to enjoy the path.

Sometimes I meet friends along the way and we may even walk together for a bit, but usually the path is so personal that it is only at forks or crossings that I exchange experiences with others. We know that we are all on a journey and some day we will all be together. Let us enjoy the walk and sing with joy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

It helps to take the long view..

A Prayer of Mission

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own. This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

The above was written by Bishop Ken Untener, often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero. It has something to say to each of us and that is why I am posting it today.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"I have come that they may have life, and have it abundnatly."

Jesus calls us each by name. He is the Good Shepherd who goes before us and we follow. He is also the Gate. I love the image of the Shepherd who cares for us, who is always watching over us, and who has come that we may have life, and have it abundantly!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

God comes in unexpected ways...

I thought I had scheduled my blogs for Thursday and Friday but they did not appear as scheduled. Today is Saturday and I have just posted Thursday's blog and we will forget about Friday the 13th - actually, it was a very good day for me. I went to two ceremonies at St. Thomas University. The first is just for the students, faculty, and friends of the School of Theology and Ministry; the Theta Alpha Kappa honor society induction is part of the ceremony as well as honoring the graduates from all levels: undergrad majors in Religious Studies, M. A. in Pastoral Ministries and our special M.A. for Ministry to the Deaf; the Master of Divinity degree students and our Ph.D. students in Practical Theology. After that there was a reception and then I had an hour to go back to our beautiful Chapel for quiet prayer before the graduation Mass that was held outside at 7:00 with a lovely cool breeze arriving just in time for that ceremony as faculty and graduates are in black gowns.
What I thought I would share with you today was the grace of that hour of prayer yesterday evening. I guess I began by praying for the graduates and thinking back over the students that I have helped graduate over the years; that led to a slow remembering of all the graces I have received at the University over the past twenty-five years and how present God was to me during this time. He was quite present in this prayer time and I felt He was the one recalling all the gifts of these years and I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. This has stayed with me today and I felt called to share it with all of you.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

We all live and move and have our being in the divine milieu.

The fifth Principle of Teilhard de Chardin is simple: "We all live and move and have our being in the divine milieu."

God is present to everything; God keeps everything in being. For Teilhard, God does this by creating a divine milieu in which everything that exists lives and moves and has its being.

I believe this. Do you? The problem is that I am often unaware of this mystery that allows us to retain our individuality, yet we are all part of the organically integrated whole created and nourished by the divine milieu. God is everywhere. Let us take time to be with Him today!

Finding God in all things leads us to greater gratitude and that gives us joy. Try listing all the things you are grateful for today and make sure you become conscious of God's Presence in every thing!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thoughts on "Spirit" according to Chardin

To continue with some thoughts from The New Spiritual Exercises. The fourth Telhardian Principle is "Evolution is based primarity on spirit, not on matter."
Now, we need to try to explain what Teilhard meant by the word "spirit".
Here are some of the things he said that may help:
Spirit is the origin and term of evolution.

Spirit is the power of unity scattered throughout the fragmenst of the universe. Spirit, working in matter through the Law of Attraction-Connection-Complexity-Consciousness, is the unifying force in creation, bringing all the elements to ever-higher levels of unity or oneness.

Spirit is the force driving everything toward synthesis and sublimation, that is toward higher levels of existence. Spirit explasins why everything in the physical world is evolving.

Spirit is continually leading the universe toward some more spiritual state. Savary says that for Teilhard, Jesus is inviting us to join with him in performing his greatest miracle of all, that of transforming the world once again, this time with the evolutionary power of love.

And finally, Spirit is personal, not some abstract or impersonal force such as gravity or electromagnetism. For Teilhard, the Holy Spirit is a divine person and, as such, wants to inspire us, individually and collectively, to create a world reborn in God-consciousness.

I have really copied this half page, page 21, from the book as I want you to be able to reflect yourself on how Savary is explaining what Chardin thought when he speaks of spirit.

I struggle to grasp his thought sometimes, but I think it is worth trying to understand. Words have so much meaning and so many meanings that one needs to enter into the mind of Teilhard to appreciate him and understand his vocabulary that adds new depth of meaning to some words.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More on the New Spiritual Exercises

I am sitting at a computer in the University Library and want to write something about the New Spiritual Exercises as I find the seventeen basic Teihardian Principles fascinating and want to share some with you this week. The first Principle is: "The discoveries of modern science must form an important foundation to any contemporary spirituality if it is to be true, relevant, and inspiring."

The second Principle is "Evolution is happening continually on every level of being--and has a direction."

The third Principle is :"The Law of Attraction-Connection-Complexity-Consciousness is the law that is giving evolution its direction."

Here we stop to look at the way Savary defines "Consciousness" in The New Spiritual Exercises. He says that there are two essential components: awareness and appropriate response. To be truly conscious, you need to respond appropriately to what you are experiencing. It requires a response to the stimulus--at least some thought or reflection. Also, in response you may choose to act or choose not to act.
The point is that we will be changed if we are truly conscious. I guess that is enough to reflect on today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

I seem to keep thinking about Jesus walking with us...

The Gospel account of the two disciples who left Jerusalem on the first Easter Sunday is so full of details and so consoling that I am drawn back to it often in prayer at this time of the year. Jesus does come to us, especially when we seem to be sad and discouraged. The problem is that we do not recognize Him when he joins us. He asks us what we are talking about, what are our concerns. When we tell Him, then He can show us how this is part of our life and as we listen we will find our hearts burning within us. Jesus loves us and this is shown in thousands of ways in our daily life. Let us turn then to Him and tell Him our concerns and then listen to Him and, above all, invite Him to stay with us.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

I spent a good deal of time in my journal yesterday recalling the unconditional love of my mother and how she was always at home for us. I think it must have been boring sometimes for her; actually she did tell us stories sometimes of the first year after she married my father. He would come home so tired that after dinner he would often fall asleep in the living room while my mother was doing the dishes. She said she would then put on one of his coats and hat and go out the back and around to ring the front doorbell. Dad would wake up and go to the door to welcome the visitor only to find that it was my mother who said that he got the message and would then pay more attention to her.
I find it easy to believe that Jesus and Mary love me unconditionally because my mother's love was unconditional, constant, and always surrounding us. She live for my Dad and her four children and seemed to love us all equally. I think my Dad loved my mother more than he loved us, or at least she came first, but I never felt that with my mother. I am sure we all go back often in prayer to thank for the gift of our mothers.
My Saturday post was scheduled but something happened and I just found that it was not published until I did it today. Anyway, today you have two posts and I will not post early this week, at least on some mornings, as I am going to try to go back to water exercise.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More on "The New Spiritual Exercises"

In the Introduction to "The New Spiritual Exercises" we are told that "it is a revisoning of the original Exercises as Teilhard might envision and re-create them if he were alive today. The Exercises focus upon the graces and blessings God gives us "for consciously creating a positive difference in our world." We are all involved in a cosmic project that God envisioned almost fourteen billion years ago at the first moment of creation. This great creation project is still going forward and we are invited to "become a co-creator with god of the divine vision formulated by Jesus, 'That all may be one as you, Father, are in me and I am in you." (John 17:21)

For Teilhard de Chardin, to love god requires loving the world. "Our challeng in spirituality is to realize how totally integrated we humans are with all creation and how best to work toward creation's divinely desired evolutionary fulfillment."

Remember this passage attributed to St. Teresa of Avila?

Christ has no body now but yours,
no hands, no feet on Earth but yours.
Yours are the only eyes
with which his compassion
can still look out on a troubled world.
Yours are the only hands
with which he can bring his blessing to his people.
Christ has no body now on Earth but yours.

Savary quotes this in the Introduction. More about the book later.

Friday, May 6, 2011

New Spiritual Exercises!!

I am using Louis M. Savary's latest book for prayer and so far I am loving it and want to tell you a bit about the beginning. The title is "The New Spiritual Exercises In the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin." Paulist Press, 2010. The author, a former Jesuit who loves the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, has decided that if Ignatius of Loyola kept adapting the Exercises during his lifetime, he would certainly want to include all the discoveries of science since then. I am finding that I need to mark passages as I read them which is a sign of a good book for me. I am sure I will have more to say on this book as the days go by.
This morning I spent some time with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as this story is so full of meaning for me. I often want to walk away discouraged because of some of the news (yesterday I made a firm resolution to pray for bishops every day and that includes the Pope). Jesus knows how I feel and comes to join me and asks me to tell him what is bothering me. He is a great listener and, even when I do not hear his explanations, I find that my heart begins to burn within me. I want him to stay with me and tell him so. Then he comes into my heart and, when I recognize him with reverence and humility, he puts me into his heart.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The following is an excerpt from an article by Brian Cahill in the NCR explaining why he stays in the Church with so many bishops not being good examples for those following Jesus. He says:

"I stay because I need the Eucharist. I need to hear the word of God. I need to pray with the worshiping people of God. I stay because of the great works of charity, social service, health care and education that have always come from my church. I stay because of the great priests, brothers, nuns, bishops and other fellow Catholics that I have been blessed to know who are models of faithful witness and compassionate ministry.

I stay because of our new San Francisco auxiliary, Bishop Robert McElroy -- a nurturing pastor who has written eloquently of the unintended consequences of the denial of Communion: the perception of coerciveness, the identification of abortion as a sectarian Catholic effort, and the diminishment of the full range and impact of the church’s social teaching.

I stay because of retired Archbishop John R. Quinn, who continues his advocacy for the reform of the papacy and with humility and wisdom urges his fellow bishops to consider how their voices can be most credible. I stay because of Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, a priest of deep compassion who has led the U.S. bishops in their advocacy for the needs of immigrants. I stay because of San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, whose first response to an issue is always pastoral."

I guess we need to focus on the positive but I am upset by the removal of the bishop in Australia by the Pope.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I have many thoughts in my head today and it is afternoon and time to wind up work and go to the pool. I still have things to do and cannot believe that I have not yet written my daily blog. Going back to morning prayer, I was really concerned with being aware and responding to God's presence in my life. I think that is the grace I am praying for and that God wants to give me. I get so caught up with what I am doing that I forget to realize that God is with me and is waiting for me to turn to Him to help me with whatever needs to be done. Instead, I let myself begin to feel hurried and less peaceful - a sure sign that I am depending on me instead of on God. Anyway, it has been a day where I seem not to have accomplished much and so I acknowledge again that I need help. I must stop procrastinating, too. I suspect it has much to do with having workmen in the house everyday and one of my community also is here. There is much noise and I am used to quiet so I realize how spoiled I am when I have had a quiet house to work in and concentrate without the TV.
Well, I am feeling the human condition today (that is a phrase that I learned over sixty years ago when in college and it meant then that we are weak and not capable of much good - the good news is that then we turn to God and can do all things in Him who strengthens us!
Let us begin...sorry to be so late today in writing this blog.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Longing for God

I am convinced that we all long for God, but that many do not know what this longing is and seek other things that never satisfy. They feel empty and so turn to drink or food or other things to try to satisfy that inner craving that they have not yet realized is really an intense desire for God. We are made for God and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him as St. Augustine told us. Even those of us who have found God long to be united with Him more and more. God is infinite and our capacity is finite, but God increases our capacity to receive Him, I think, by increasing our desire. This is something I often reflect upon and think that Jesus spends the time after Easter still going around and consoling his friends. Let us profit from these forty days to increase our longing to receive him! "As a deer longs for water, so my soul longs for you..."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Jesus waits for us

I love to think of Jesus waiting on the shore while the Apostles were out fishing and catching nothing until Jesus tells them to cast their nets again. The truth is that Jesus is always with us. We are the ones that are not conscious of his presence in us and with us always. I am asking the grace today to be more conscious of this loving presence in my life. I know that Jesus is with me, but act without being conscious of this.It is a grace to beg for and perhaps I have not asked with enough faith.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Faith - We believe without seeing!

Jesus says that we are blessed. The Sunday after Easter always has the Gospel where Jesus returns to appear in the midst of the Apostles on Sunday evening. This time Thomas is there. Jesus gives his ordinary greeting: "Peace be with you." And then he turns to Thomas. Thomas sees Jesus and that is enough for his great confession of faith: "My Lord and my God!" How many of us say that at the Consecration of the Mass? Yet do we realize that Jesus has blessed us because we believe without seeing. I have more thoughts but it is too hot to even think them as we are now eight days without any air-conditioning and it is affecting us all, I think.
We are getting it fixed so maybe by Tuesday night, hopefully, we may be back to normal. Still, this is better than after a hurricane when we do not even have power to turn on a fan. I am not complaining but just realizing that days of heat do affect us all. Thank God for the many ways we do have to cool off!