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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Away from Blog until September 1

Just a reminder that I am away and will not be writing reflections until September 1. Please remember to pray for my retreat, August 15-24.

I begin with a meeting at the University of San Diego and we were asked to think of the "gold we hold in a fungus cup" - the image is from Mother Stuart and the fungus cup is me and the gold is God's giftedness to me. We were asked to write a letter and really name the gold we have been for others, the gold we are, and the gold we want to be. I have not yet done this but love the idea of going back again to see how God has been gifting me so that I can do some good in the world; the hardest part is looking to see what I am doing in the present for others.

St. Ignatius of Loyola's feast is July 31!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vacation and Retreat

I leave tomorrow for California and a Higher Education meeting at the University of San Diego. I will stay there for a week, then visit my sister and some friends in California and arrive at Oakwood, our retirement home, to make an individually directed retreat from August 15-24. I think my retreat is always the most important eight days in the entire year and I ask you all to pray for me.
Since I will be busy and on the move until I return on August 30, I will be taking a vacation from the blog. Look for me on September 1 as I will pick it up as soon as I return and will have much to share with you as I do keep a Journal!
I hope you all enjoy a good vacation as so many do go away in August before schools begin. It is nice to think that I do not need to be at the University in August, but will still be there on Thursdays beginning September 8. Our reflection group also begins that same night!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Today is my nephew's birthday. He is very special and he is even more special as he is my only nephew. He does not read this blog so I can say that he is one of the most selfless persons I know. He changed his college plans to be able to move in and take care of his paternal grandmother until she died. Then he continued in college but out west. After my mother died, we were very concerned about my Dad being alone. My nephew moved in with Dad for two years while still going to college and doing graduate work. He made it possible for my father to stay home and he also kept him young; my Dad learned to eat different things and told me that sometimes they had dinner quite late. I celebrate this life of my nephew who has since helped thousand of people through his present position. He has brought joy to many.
Tomorrow I am also celebrating my brother-in-law's birthday! I guess it is good to remember that we all need to thank God for our birth and all the birthdays we have had. It is always a joyous occasion to celebrate birth!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I do not know why I chose this picture but thinking about windows might be a good think to do today. We all see things through windows and therefore there are limitations to our view. Some of these are windows are created by our background, culture, and even our experience. We see things from a certain distance when we look through windows. No matter what we contemplate from our windows, it is only part of the whole.
Sunday's Gospel presents us with images of a hidden treasure, a pearl of great price, and fish of every kind. The parables all show that we are happy to risk all when we find a treasure, or a pearl of great price. The truth is that we have found that treasure and the pearl and our net is overflowing - now what are we to do? We need the wisdom that Solomon asks for - an understanding heart...the ability to discern and to remember that we do see through windows!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Walking a wide path through life

Mother Stuart talked about the highways and byways; others talk about narrow or broad paths; others about crossroads and signposts. We are all on a journey and I am looking forward to leaving on my trip as I think it will be an exciting one this summer. It begins with the Higher Education meeting in San Diego which will be good because it is always good to see other RSCJs and discuss issues of interest to all connected with Higher Education and this meeting will include two from Peru and one from Canada and an exchange on Mother Stuart.
After the meeting I am staying in the community house at the University for a few days to see friends in the San Diego area before I visit my sister and brother-in-law for a few days on Coronado. Then I fly to Sacramento to visit another friend in Davis on August 9. One of my friends from high school and college is going to come pick me up and I will spend two nights with her in before going to Oakwood, our retirement home, where I will be in retreat from August 15-24 and I beg your prayer for that time. I am talking about my time away today to give you notice that I will not be writing my blog after July 27, but will be back posting by September 1.
Let us all explore different spiritual paths this summer; may we recognize that Jesus is always walking with us no matter what kind of path.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Joy and the Risen Jesus

I am looking for all the places where our Constitutions speak of joy. Mary Magdalene, whose feast is celebrated today, was weeping when Jesus appeared to her and turned her tears into joy. Joy is the song of the Spirit under the pressure of happiness - I think I am quoting Mother Stuart. In researching the life of Mother Lucile Mathevon, a great pioneer woman and early companion of St. Philippine Duchesne, I am finding that she rejoiced in the midst of great hardship. She was able to bring joy to her community who were educating Indian girls and doing it very well. Lucile had a strong and beautiful voice and used it to praise God and to bring joy to others.
Today was also the feast day of St. Madeleine Sophie and you know that she said:
"Be simple, be humble, and bring joy to others." I wish you all much joy.
Jesus told us: "Let not your heart be troubled..." He wants His joy to be our joy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


A dear friend just sent me this knowing I would love it.

By Ivan M. Granger
(1969 - )

The parched know --

real thirst
draws rainwater
from an empty sky.

That is enough to reflect on and I thought I had scheduled this for tomorrow as I have a reflection on the Constitutions below but I guess I did not check the date. You might need to count it for July 21 as I am not able to be at the computer today.

In the end is the beginning...

I am praying over the Constitutions this week in the context of the entire world. That is partly because I am caught up in Teilhard de Chardin's thought as expressed in Savary's "The New Exercises" as well as the fact that I am called to have a heart big enough to embrace the entire world and even the entire universe!
I am beginning my sharing of thoughts from our Constitutions with an excerpt from the Conclusion. #180 of the 1982 Constitutions tells us:
"Trusting in the action of the Spirit whose law is written in our hearts, each one of us pledges herself to cherish these Constitutions, to deepen her knowledge of them, to observe them, and to make them live through a fidelity which is constantly renewed."

Now I am aware that most of my readers are not members of the Society of the Sacred Heart, but I think that we all need to trust in the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives and that the law of the Spirit is written in our hearts so we need to be in touch by intensifying our spiritual life...I guess that is what this blog is all about and I ask us all to pray for one another so we allow ourselves to be very open to the inspirations of the Spirit.
After writing this I heard that the sister of one of my community, Marge, died early yesterday morning after only one day in Hospice care, and so I have been praying for her. I am sure you will pray for Joanne, too, and her family.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I belong to an International Society

The internationality of the Society of the Sacred Heart is an important part of my life. We are to have a heart open to the whole world and all the joys and sorrows of the world touch us. I love knowing RSCJs all over the world and still often begin my morning prayer by holding the glass globe I have on my prayer shelf and touching each continent etched on it and just holding each up to the Lord to take care of its daily needs. I guess I am praying for peace and justice for all, but without words usually. It is just a background,too, for the way I read the newspaper at breakfast.

What I want to share with you today is taken from the Presentation written by Helen McLaughlin, our Mother General at the time; it was printed at the beginning of our Constitutions after we received the Decree of Approbation on January 1, 1987, Solemnity of the Mother of God. Here is just a bit of what she wrote:
"The Approbation confirms our end: to glorify the Heart of Jesus by our whole life. I want each one in the Society to experience both confirmation and sending forth. Confirmation of our spirituality: union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus, in complete openness to the Spirit; confirmation of our mission: to discover and make known the love of the Heart of Christ; confirmation our our service in His Church: education.
It is also a sending forth which we shall live with renewed hope. As an international congregation we are becoming more and more aware of the call to be a sign of communion among peoples; and we commit ourselves to finding effective ways of responding to the challenges of the world and the needs of our times"...

Helen McLaughlin also says that St. Madeleine Sophie was a woman of her times, "captivated by the love of Christ and open to the calls of the world in which she lived; may she give to each one of us her spirit, her courage and her humility."

As 2012 will be the 25th year of the Approbation, our present Mother General has called us to pray over the Constitutions so I am going to be sharing some of my own favorite passages and insights with you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Action, but under the impulse of the Holy Spirit

Here is something to think about if you are a procrastinator - I often procrastinate and think it is the Holy Spirit who is the one who pushes me to action.

An excerpt from
by Gary Ryan Blair
The odds that you'll succeed without taking action are about the same as winning the lottery without buying a ticket!

For those times when you feel trapped, stressed, or in a prison of your own making, take purposeful action. It's your Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card.

In real estate, it's location, location, location. In goal-setting, it's action, action, action.

You can't just stick out your thumb and hitchhike your way to success, you've got to roll up your sleeves and do the work that needs to be done.

Be seduced by the attractiveness of your goal. Inaction leads to impotence. Taking purposeful action immunizes you from "Goal Parkinson's," a long, slow goodbye to your dreams, talents and destiny.

A quality life is accomplished when thoughtful attention, goal setting, and purposeful action click into position. Whether your dream is to be or not to be is largely dependent upon your actions.

The cure for the ills of procrastination is a heavy prescription of action, until the day arrives when your dreams and their achievement are one in the same. When that day arrives, dream bigger dreams and take more action.

A good plan will almost always get you in the door, but it is action that seals the deal. So you want a guarantee? Well here it is: Without purposeful action, the only guarantee is failure and mediocrity!

Don't tiptoe toward your goal, walk confidently before it waltzes off into the arms of neglect. Dreams become reality through one simple mode of transportation: purposeful action.
But remember that Jesus told us that without Him we can do nothing!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sowing good seed

The Gospel for this Sunday begins with the parable of the man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. When the Master was alerted, he said to let the wheat and weeds grow together until harvest. Then the weeds will be burned but the wheat gathered into his barn.
Now, I think we are all trying to sow good seeds and we can see that our crop is growing and bearing fruit; we are also aware of the weeds that spring up, but perhaps this parable calls us to concentrate on the good seed we are sowing and let it grow until God harvests it. We can do nothing without the Holy Spirit and the second reading tells us that "The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings..." - I think that we cannot see the growth of the good seeds just as we cannot see a blade of grass growing; we need to trust the Spirit so the crop will grow and bear fruit; God will take care of the weeds. Sometimes it is the weeds that keep us humble!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

I prefer this picture of Mater but will look up one of Our Lady of Carmel, too. I learned to love this feast of Our Lady during my twenty years in Chile as it is the patronal feast of Chile. I owe so much to Our Lady who is always there for us with her ability to see what we need and to intercede for us. She tells Jesus, "They have no wine" or whatever it is that we need...then she always tells me to do whatever Jesus tells me.

Pope Benedict XVI said:"In silence we journey inward...leaving behind the roles which conceal our real selves. In silence we bide and abide and become aware of the abiding reality." Mary certainly kept silent and pondered in her heart.
Here is one more quote from Johann Tauler, a 14th century mystic who had devotion to the Sacred Heart:
What more could he still do for us, that he has not done? He has opened his very heart to us, as the most secret chamber wherein to lead our soul, his chosen spouse. For it is his joy to be with us in silent stillness, and in peaceful silence to rest there with us...He gives us his heart entirely, that it may be our home. He desires our hearts in return that they may be his dwelling place."

Sometimes we are conscious of being in the Heart of Jesus; at other times the focus is on the Heart of Jesus dwelling in us. I found the Tauler quote (and the one from Benedict XVI) on p. 77 in David Richo's The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to Our Spiritual Life, a book I keep on my prayer shelf.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Prayer Before Silent Prayer

This is taken from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim by Edward Hays and I just thought it might be helpful to others as I copied it into my Journal.

Divine and Hidden Friend,
I often feel that I fail at prayer,
but I rejoice that your Spirit
prays ceaselessly in the cellar of my heart.

Grant me the grace to sit still,
that I may hear the Spirit's silent song,
ever flowing like a river deep within,
singing my love for you.

Quiet my restless heart,
calm my roving, runaway mind,
as now, in communion with all the earth
and her many-colored children,
I enter into the song of love,
the prayer of stillness.

I like the idea of the Spirit praying ceaselessly in the cellar of my heart; I also will be thinking that the song of love is the prayer of stillness.
My Journal has a place in the back for favorite quotes and helps for prayer and that is where I copied this.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bridge over water

Monet saw the beauty of the water lilies floating on the water and has given us all such joy in contemplating his paintings. I was praying today and remembered that one way to reflect on the way God is leading us is to make a list of what comes to mind as the 15 or more most significant events in your life. I did that again this afternoon and it is always an exercise in gratitude and a bit of awe at the way God has arranged my life; it also makes me feel that I can trust God with the rest of it without reservations. Try it for yourself and see what happens when you do this in prayer. I do not always note the same significant events and that is another source of reflection for me. The point is that the Holy Spirit brings to mind what God has been doing for us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My flowing stream

Mechtild of Magdeburg has this to say about how the soul speaks to God:

Lord, you are my lover,
My longing,
My flowing stream,
My sun,
And I am your reflection.

Here is another bit from Mechtild of Magdeburg, both translated by Oliver Davies and published in Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, edited by Jane Hirshfield:

And God said to the soul:
I desired you before the world began.
I desire you now
As you desire me.
And where the desires of two come together
There love is perfected.

I guess we should all take time to reflect on how God is telling us now that we are desired and were desired as individuals before the world began.

One line I love from Mechtild is
I cannot dance, O Lord,
Unless you lead me.
If you wish me to leap joyfully,
Let me see You dance and sing-

Then I will leap into Love-...

and the last line is "There I will stay with You, whirling."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The ocean on a cloudy day...

Here is another bit of verse written in retreat on the beach in 2008 during that month of prayer:
The ocean is a dull and dreary gray.
The sun has hid in clouds all day,
But the beach is lovely just the same,
People walking, surfing, playing a game.
The breeze is gentle and the tide is high'
Here is close to heaven where I lie.

I remember the day now that I have found this at the back of my retreat notebook. It was not windy and there were boys playing with a frisbee and a dog who had great ability to intercept their throws and leap to catch the frisbee so it was a real "keep-away" game with the dog winning.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My soul is like...

Here is something I found that I wrote during a month of prayer in 2008:

My soul is like a flowing river.
It moves along with grace and peace
Until it reaches the ocean deep.
There it plunges into the depths
Becoming one with the majestic sea.

My soul is like a bubbling brook.
It sings and dances in each nook.
It seeks and longs to be free
To flow finally into stillness
There to rest and just be!

My soul is like a peaceful pond
That holds the entrance to His Heart.
I need to find the cleft in the rock
Hidden far below the dock,
For there He waits for me to enter.

Free from all that holds me back
Plunging deep into His Love;
Living water wells within
Nothing now do I lack
To spread His love from above.

My soul is like a rippling sea.
Gentle waves sing to me:
Let go of all you left ashore
Float in my love for ever more
Until I call you home to me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Come to the water all you who are thirsty...

The Sunday readings are commented on by several each week and you can find these excellent reflections by clicking on the Bible in the blog of the Concord Pastor. Here is an excerpt from Larry Gillick, S.J.:

We pray to receive grace as the crops drink in the nourishing rains. We bathe in God’s love as do flowers soak in the warmth of the sun. We pray to live generously the fruitful life of giving life, sustaining life, and caring for life in all its forms, from earliest beginnings to latest endings.


We have for our First Reading a poetic section from the final chapter of The Book of Consolation also known as Second Isaiah. This chapter opens with the famous verses about the invitation to “come to the water all you who are thirsty.” The fifteen chapters of this book or section deal with God’s bringing Israel back to life within a new covenant. The infertility of their past infidelities are forgiven and something “new” will be brought forth.

The prophet pictures the faithful God as the one who sends a relationship as the clouds send the rain. This faithful rain will give life to God’s people as do the rains give life to the crops. Fruitfulness of the fields was always a sign of God’s blessing. The prophet uses a familiar agricultural image to remind the people that God is the giver of all things and God’s work is the holiness of the people.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Rise and Fall of the Tides

Here is a poem that I think you will like. It is by St. Aidan of Lindisfarne.

Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore,
Make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you.

Then with the turning of the tide
prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyone,
the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

It is raining again today so I could not go to water exercise but will write and answers notes this morning. It promises to be a quiet Saturday at home. I love to think that I am floating in the waters of the love of God which are all around us and carry us at each minute.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Water is one thing we cannot do without!

After two days of rain, we had another sunny, hot day and it made me think of the water that we have not yet bought for our hurricane reserve. We need to get busy and store some large water bottles; I try to buy some each week when I buy groceries, but sometimes I forget and I am the one buying groceries. Anyway, besides reminding myself by writing this, I am thinking how necessary it is for us to have the Holy Spirit and the Living Water from the side of Christ.
My reflection today is late as I could not get to the computer until now so it is also brief!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thirsty for God

St. Catherine of Siena said that God is living water and we must plunge into Him.

"Let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the waters of life as gift."(Rev. 22:17)
We get thirsty easily and this is good as it can remind us that we are really not only thirsty for water but thirsty for God. My soul thirsts for you, O my God. Come and quench my thirst by plunging me into the depth of Your living water where I am surrounded by Your love.
"I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water."(Isaiah 41: 18)
We are having another day of rain which south Florida badly needs. My friend left this morning but we had Mass and breakfast out together first. Now I am content to stay in the house and listen to the rain that is falling steadily.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Calm water stills the soul

Sometimes I need to just look at the above picture of calm water to feel a peace and stillness that leads me into prayer. Today I am going to a memorial Mass for a wonderful professor with whom I enjoyed many a laugh as he was always able to see the good and funny side of things even when we were working with a committee one year that never seemed to get things decided without endless discussion and research. Anyway, I had a real connection with him and went to his retirement luncheon just a few months ago and felt that he would have a long life still so his death was not expected by me. I suspect though that he is making people laugh and smile now in heaven.
Here is a quote from Herman Melville:
"Say you are in the country, in some land of lakes. Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it...Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded forever."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

May the stream of your life flow unimpeded...

Here is a Celtic Prayer or part of one:
Deep peace of the running wave to you,
of water flowing, rising and falling,
sometimes advancing, sometimes receding...
May the stream of your life flow unimpeded
Deep peace of the running wave to you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July

This is a holiday that is always welcome in summer. People get together and have picnics and parades, and then there are marvelous displays of fireworks. I love to watch the fireworks in South Miami from my house. Both of my community will be away, but a dear friend is coming to spend a few days and one of ours is staying here and going back to Haiti later so we will celebrate together.
Happy Fourth to all of you and remember that this holiday celebrates our freedom and the gift of a way of life that has kept us united with the exception of the civil war.
We need to pray for all those in government today.
It is also the feast of St. Elizabeth of Portugal, Isabella, and would be a good one to pray to for peace!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Living Water

I am still on this theme with the book "Water,wind, earth and fire" to help me. Here is a great quote from Gertrude the Great:
"Love, open on me--for I am very tiny--the viscera of your love and kindness. Open on me the cataracts of Your gracious fatherly nurturing. Break over me fountains of unlimited mercy. Absorb me in the depths of Your love. Drown me in the flood of Your living love, like a drop loses itself in the ocean's fullness. Let me die in the tsunami of Your immense compassion, as a little spark of fire fizzles in the stream's surging current. Let the raindrops of Your kind love make me cling to You."

I am writing this ahead of time and it is a stormy evening with heavy rain which Florida needs badly. South Florida usually has a rainy season that brings showers every day in June and this June was very dry. I welcome this rain but I am glad that I am indoors and do not need to go out tonight.
The problem with trying to schedule ahead is that I cannot give my morning prayer reflections ahead. It is now Sunday and the Gospel is the same as the Feast of the Sacred Heart (Mt 25): "Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest." I think of the many burdens that some have to carry and want to bring them all to Jesus who tells us, "Learn of me for I am meek and humble of heart."

I want to be immersed in the flood of God's love and I desire to cling to God all of my life.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

God is a river...

God is a river, not just a stone
God is a wild, raging rapids
And a slow, meandering flow
God is a deep and narrow passage
And a peaceful, sandy shoal
God is the river,swimmer
So let go.
Peter Mayer
(quoted in Water, wind, earth and fire by Christine Valters Paintner)

Today is also the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It used to be August 22 and we celebrated it with great solemnity and now it gets overshadowed with the Feast of the Sacred Heart coming the day before and I suspect Mary is happy with this arrangement. I owe so much to Mary and love having today to spend in gratitude for her presence in my life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Feast of the Sacred Heart

Jesus is always trying to come to us. He invites us in today's liturgy for the Feast of the Sacred Heart to "Come to Me" but often we find Him at the door of our heart knocking to be let in while He is also desiring us to enter into the depths of His Heart. I love the image of the open Heart. God's love is reaching out to everyone. He wants to love as He is love! Any desire I have for Him comes first from Him. He is a patient lover and continues to call me when I am distracted by so many things.
May we learn to live united to Jesus and give His Love to all. We renew our vows tonight at an evening Mass so have the whole day to be with Jesus.