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Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

Quest for the Living God emphatically reminds us that God is engaged in our world and that Catholic theology, despite sometimes regressive pressures, remains active in our lives and in our church. Elizabeth Johnson, as theologian and signpost of the wider Catholic theological community, is, then, our NCR person of the year for 2011.

I just read this good news and want to pass it on in my blog. Elizabeth Johnson deserves to be the National Catholic Reporter's person of the year.
She is one of the greatest theologians alive today and has done so much to bring a deeper understanding of God to many. I am happy for her as I have suffered much for her when her book was questioned by the Bishops without any discussion with her. They were finding that theologians were adopting it as a text as it was thought to be an excellent book and one that would help college students to get insights.

Well, I did not set out to write about Elizabeth but to share my own reflections this morning on the past year. Without doubt, being given the "Woman of Conscience" award at the national conference of the Alumni of the Sacred Heart made an impact on my life. Then, furthering relationships was an important part of my year. My retreat was a special grace and one of the fruits of it has been my effort to not only get to daily Mass but to pray for the world while there.
I suppose the one insight that stands out for me during the past year is a confirmation of my vocation within a vocation: I am called to pipe a song of joy to Jesus! This was a constant desire over the past sixty years but has become something that I now realize is a motivation and special call. There are many ways to do this but the inner joy comes from the Spirit and is deepened in prayer. God so wants to love us and that is such a reason for joy. I am sharing my soul today with you as I come to the end of a year full of many graces.
May the New Year bring us all new joy.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Eve of New Year's Eve

I am reading and marking up "The Emergent Christ" and I am very much aware that our world needs healing but it is the responsibility of each of us. We are helping Christ in the evolution of our world. I have some good quotes but want to try to digest this book before posting. It is not an easy read but is making theology change its focus.
I am also looking back over my journals for the past year and finding that I have some excellent quotes that I do not want to forget.
I hope we all have some time to think back over the past year and thank for the many graces we have received. More tomorrow as I am rushing now!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! That is the Responsorial Psalm for today's liturgy and sums up the spirit of this Christmas season. The entrance antiphon is John 3:16: "God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son, so that all who believe in him may not perish, but may have eternal life."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Feast of the Holy Innocents

I just lost the reflection I did for today so I will just say it was on the Holy Innocents and the fact that, according to Matthew's Gospel, Joseph had to take Mary and the baby Jesus and flee into Egypt. I think of all the refugees today who need to leave their homes and flee to other countries...

I thought I might add a recipe that I was asked to make again for our Christmas brunch and then type up for others; it is easy to make and can be used for dinner as well as brunch and you can use ham instead of sausage. Here it is:
Brunch Delight
This is the recipe for Brunch Delight:

2 lbs link sausage
8 slices of white bread
¾ lb of cheddar cheese grated
4 eggs
1 can of mushroom soup
2 &1/4 cups of milk

Fry, drain and cut up sausages
Trim crusts and cut bread into cubes
Grease a 4 qt casserole and place bread in below, add sausages and cheese
Beat eggs, add milk and soup and pour into casserole
Refrigerate overnight and backe 1!/2 hours at 325 – serves 8 easily

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Come to save us!

This is from the Holy Father's Christmas address:
"Jesus Christ is the proof that God has heard our cry. And not only this! God’s love for us is so strong that he cannot remain aloof; he comes out of himself to enter into our midst and to share fully in our human condition (cf. Ex 3:7-12). The answer to our cry which God gave in Jesus infinitely transcends our expectations, achieving a solidarity which cannot be human alone, but divine. Only the God who is love, and the love which is God, could choose to save us in this way, which is certainly the lengthiest way, yet the way which respects the truth about him and about us: the way of reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation.

Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, on this Christmas 2011, let us then turn to the Child of Bethlehem, to the Son of the Virgin Mary, and say: "Come to save us!" Let us repeat these words in spiritual union with the many people who experience particularly difficult situations; let us speak out for those who have no voice.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Feast of St. Stephen

Usually I have a picture of the saint of the day, but like this one for today as I am taking some thoughts from a meditation of the day in Magnificat by Mother Elvira Petrozzi, foundress of Comunita Cenacolo. She writes:

" We continue to be amazed and to believe even more in this "crazy" God who chose to become a small, poor and fragile child. That child who two thousand years ago came to the world and exploded into history "bursts" into our lives today to re-write our history; mine, yours, and that of all of our wounded humanity. This Jesus shatters our reality and makes his way with only the weapon of love, the only weapon that can cause the rocks of the hardest heart to crumble."
She goes on to talk about how much "hardness" lives in the horizon of this many broken hearts call out to God asking for help; "Come, Lord Jesus!" ...Come because we need you.

The Church celebrated St. Stephen today as the first to give his life for Christ; it reminds us that Jesus came to bring life to the world but did so by giving his life for the life of the world.

I hope you all had a great Christmas day full of many graces and will enjoy these final days of 2011.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

St. Madeleine Sophie said in a Conference of 1855: Prepare for His coming into your hearts, for that is why He came on earth: to be born, to develop in your souls, and when the beautiful day of Christmas arrives you will taste that peace the Angels announced to persons of good will.

Mother Stuart believed that "Joy is the song of the spirit under the pressure of happiness and to give God the fullest and best service possible, we much train our spirit to sing that song continually."

Both of these quotes were taken from our veilee to prepare for Christmas and I hope you find them helpful.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve, at last!

I guess the expectation has built up so much that we are almost surprised to find that it is Christmas Eve! Now, we will be opening our stockings this evening and then we will, of course, have Mass; last night we had a beautiful prayer time together at the other community and a delicious dinner. We now do this on the 23rd so everyone in the area can be present.

This is from the Christmas card Magificat sent me today and I think it is worth passing on to all of you:

Litany of Christmas Thanks

Response: Baby Jesus, we thank you.

For the Blessed Virgin Mary your Mother who said "Yes" to the angel. R/

For John the Baptist who leapt in the womb of Elizabeth his mother when you visited him in Mary. R/

For Joseph your foster father who trusted the angel instead of heeding his own doubts. R/

For the donkey that carried your expectant Mother to Bethlehem. R/

For the neighbor who led your holy family to the stable. R/

For the manger in which you were placed as if in the first tabernacle. R/

For the animals who were there in the first moments that you were adored. R/

For the angels and their song that led shepherds to your stable. R/

For the shepherds who worshiped you and then proclaimed the Good News like priests. R/

For Simeon who all his life had been waiting for you in the temple, longing to hold you. R/

For Anna the prophetess who proclaimed you to all those looking for deliverance and peace. R/

For the star that led the Magi to your manger and your Mother. R/

Loving Father,

all of these Christmas gifts

symbolize how much you love us

with the supreme Gift of your Son, Jesus Christ,

born for us this Christmas day.

We give these gifts to one another to express

how grateful we are for your unfathomable generosity

and to show how eager we are to share that goodness with one another.

Bless these tokens of love and caring.

Never let us get attached to material things,

but rather let the joy flowing from these presents

strengthen our bonds of love, deepen our relationships,

and move us to be more thankful, selfless, and giving all the days of our life.

Thank you for the birth of Jesus,

our brother and our Savior.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son,

and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,

is now and will be forever.


Friday, December 23, 2011

O Emmanuel, God with us!

Finally, the waiting that has been full of loving preparation is almost over. We sing this antiphon with joy:
O Emmanuel, God with us, our king and lawgiver, the one whom the nations await and their savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

What a wonderful thing it is to know that God is with us! He is always with us, waiting for us to turn to Him. He is so much more than king and lawgiver, but now He comes to us as a helpless infant in need of our love and wanting to love us.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O king of all the nations

Today's antiphon asks the Lord of all to come and save the entire human race.

O King of the nations and their desire, the cornerstone that makes both one: come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.

God is coming and He is always working to save the world; Jesus is the cornerstone and we are going to receive Him into our hearts and world again in a very special way so soon. Are we ready? What might he be asking in the way of last minute preparation for His coming? We need to make sure our hearts are ready and the best way is to slow down and take some time just to sit in His presence and listen to His desires.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

O Radiant Dawn

Today's antiphon is

"O Radiant Dawn, splendor of light eternal and sun of justice: come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death."

This antiphon is short but so full of meaning. We do dwell in darkness and the shadow of death but we also know that the Sun of Justice, the Radiant Dawn, has come to enlighten us.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Key of David

I like this Antiphon but I am not so sure I like the image of Jesus as a key! However, here is the antiphon:
O Key of David and scepter of the house of Israel, you open so that no one else can close again, you close so that no person can open: come, and lead the captive from prison, free those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.

I hope you have time to reflect on this antiphon which has many ways of speaking to what is happening in our world and in our own souls. I do like the image of God opening what no one can close again and closing at the same time so that no person can open; I suspect that is the deepest part of us that belongs to God alone.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today's O Antiphon: O Root of Jesse

Let us keep increasing our longing for the coming of Jesus. Here is today's antiphon:
O Root of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the people; before you kings shall fall silent and to you the nations shall make their prayer; come to deliver us, and do not delay.

I should have mentioned that the antiphon is adapted for use before the Gospel each day. Here is today's shorter form:
O Root of Jesse's stem, sign of God's love for all his people: come to save us without delay!

I suspect I find it easier to just pray with the shorter form but there is something to think about in comparing the two different versions. I like to think that Jesus is a sgn, a signal for the people, but really a sign of God's love for all his people. We acknowledge the greatness and majesty of God when we recall that kings shall fall silent. Then the nations shall make their prayer asking the Lord to come and save us without delay!Alleluia!

I hope everyone had a good week end. We are still able to swim in our pool and that is a blessing. I went to the pool in the park near us for water exercise on Saturday; I no longer go there during the week as we have a pool and I am going to a gym for exercise class three times a week that is more strenuous than the water exercise but I do love the time in the water and enjoy the others who come; we will have a Christmas party on Thursday.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Antiphon: O Lord and Leader

The second O Antiphon is
O Lord and Leader of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come and redeem us with outstretched arm.

If you are singing or at least listening to the popular Advent hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, you may have noticed that it is based on the O Antiphons. It was written in the 12th century in Latin. The little Blue Book for Advent tells us that it was an Anglican priest, John Mason Neale, who translated it into English.

My own meditation on this antiphon this morning was full of gratitude for the Lord has come and redeemed us. I also tried to think of the qualities that we admire in a good Leader and find Jesus gives us the example of the best Leader.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The First O Antiphon

Today we begin the O Antiphons; they are sung at evening prayer but also used as Gospel acclamations. Each one highlights an Old Testament messianic title and refers to a prophecy from Isaiah. They are full of longing as we wait for the birth of Jesus. Today's is

O Wisdom, you came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly; come, and teach us the way of prudence."

Wisdom comes and teaches us and desires us to be open to the coming of God as a helpless infant.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The O Antiphons Begin Tomorrow

The O Antiphons, mostly from Isaiah, are usually found as the antiphon before the Gospel from December 17 to Christmas. I said "usually" as I looked at the Sunday readings and the antiphon is about Our Lady as the Gospel is that of the Annunciation. I will be saying something about each antiphon as I like to pray over them before Christmas; they date back to the early centuries and so I like to think that many have prayed these same prayers as preparation for Christ's coming.

These are busy days so I will keep my entries short. Thank you for the comments for my anniversary of vows and I am sorry that I missed celebrating John of the Cross in my blog this year. I so love his "The Flame of Divine Love".

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anniversary of my First Vows

Today is a special day in my life; I made my first vows 59 years ago today! I still remember what a joy-filled day that was! In the afternoon I was sent to speak to the girls I had been coaching as a second-year novice. I had coached the entire high school plus seventh and eighth grade in hockey, basketball, and softball, and oversaw the tennis tournament and Field Day with games for all. I had only an hour with my "team" each week day and an hour and a half on week ends; most were boarders and I was supposed to coach and keep an eye on all the others; what I remember on my vow day was asking the Lord to allow some to also become Religious of the Sacred Heart and a couple of the students did enter with us later. My parents did not come as I was going to be sent back to St. Louis a few days after the ceremony; I had to wait for a student from St. Louis so we could travel on the train together. I was 21 but felt immediately at home in the classroon as I began teaching. I always loved to teach because I loved the children and it was a joy to see them learn and develop.
My blog seems to be full of memories these days. I did pray over a line from Mother Stuart who spoke of a "well of joy in the deepest part of her soul" - I have down deep in my soul a "well of joy" and it overflows when I am loving others.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Some helps for the Christmas spirit

I have not been to the stores so I do not think the decorations there would be helping my Christmas spirit. However, I am really looking at each Christmas card we receive to try to internalize the message given by both picture and verse or good wishes on each card; I am also enjoying listening to Christmas music. Last night I went to the Carrollton Junior High and High School Christmas service held at the Church; some of the girls play the flute, others the violins, and still others use the bells, but the best of all was the choir. The girls were excellent and so well behaved. They were standing for an hour with great poise and intent on following the director and singing with all their hearts. The red shawls over black dresses made a pretty picture but the faces were beautiful as they sang and listened to the scripture readings.
It was a joyful night.
I am off to the gym and then Mass but Advent is such a lovely time; do prepare for the coming of the Lord by being joyful and giving joy!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feast of St. Lucy

I read today that we should be like a Christmas light and give joy to the Lord. I was thinking about the Feast of St.Lucy whose name means light; she is one to pray to for those who have trouble with their sight. I guess she is also a good one to pray to for interior light, to see what the Lord wants of each of us today. It is interesting that the few people I know named "Lucy" have all been a source of light for me. Now I am trying to write the life of Reverend Mother Lucille Mathevon, another "Lucy" and a great pioneer religious.
I took out a note I once received from one "Lucy" who had been my superior years ago and then became my spiritual director years later. She wrote me:
"The Lord is using Him. His ways are not our ways!" I keep that note written in 1995 in my copy of the Constitutions of the Society and I always find it helpful just to see Lucy's handwriting and remember her gift of listening and then helping me to laugh at myself. Humor is a gift!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is both the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the birthday of St. Madeleine Sophie; I took the habit on this day sixty-one years ago. We were dressed as brides and walked solemnly down the middle aisle of the Kenwood Chapel while our parents shed tears in the benches. Then we left, had our hair cut off very quickly and were dressed in the black habits and returned to the altar for Mass as novices in white veils. I was happy to have my parents there for the ceremony, but remember that I still had a dreadful cold and cough and was trying not to show it. It was not easy for my parents but they went to Macy's in New York City after the day's visit with me and sent me a box of toys to play with on Christmas: pick-up sticks, jacks, playing cards and games like "Ole Maid" and a yo-yo, a ball with a paddle and I know not what but we really enjoyed them that Christmas day. It is funny how the 61 years can disappear when one returns to these old but dear memories.
I go straight to the church for Mass after my gym class and was glad I got there early today as there was not a single parking place left by Mass time and the cars were double-parked when I came out. The church for our 12:05 daily Mass is always crowded but on Feasts of Our Lady it is even more so.
It is good to see such devotion to Our Lady.
I said I would tell you about our week end in Tampa. It was great fun and we had wonderful seats for the musical of "The Christmas Story" and met afterwards with the actor, who played the father of the little boys in the musical. Marge's brother-in-law wrote the "Book" for this musical which had been a movie. I never saw it but it is about a little boy who wants a b-b-gun for Christmas. We returned in time to go to the lovely outdoor Mass and carols sung by the Middle School at Carrollton; it was dark at the end of the Liturgy so each child had an electric candle that she held while singing. It was all beautiful and several hundred chairs on the lawn were filled with proud parents and grandparents and siblings galore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete Sunday

We have reached the third Sunday of Advent and it is a time to rejoice. The Lord is coming and coming soon! Our longing increases each day as Christmas approaches and we are filled with joy.

As I said yesterday, I am in Tampa with my community this week end and will tell you more about it tomorrow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Journey

I was thinking yesterday how uncomfortable the journey for Mary was as it would have been for any woman who was so close to giving birth. I think it must have been an anxious journey, too, for Joseph. Actually, it is hard to imagine that they would have left home where no doubt they had been preparing for the birth of their son, and set out without being able to take much with them. They had to trust God to provide in some way. It is an amazing story. Jesus is born in a stable or maybe it is only a cave in the hillside as so many of our cribs depict it; no doors so all may come and see the newborn infant who arrives helpless and vulnerable as all new babies. It is a mystery to contemplate in wonder, first of all, and then it fills us with love and gratitude.

My community is going on a journey this week end to Tampa, Florida. We leave at 7:00 on Saturday morning and drive to Tampa to see a Christmas musical there at 2:00; we will spend the night and return early Sunday.
I will tell you more on Monday about our trip.

Friday, December 9, 2011

There is a candle in your heart...

I have just ordered a second hand copy of Rumi's poems that I did not have and I look forward to sharing some with you. Today I am using one that was given on the Advent retreat and is found in "Hush...":Passionate Poems of Rumi"

There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your sould,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?
You feel the separation
From the Beloved.

Invite Him to full you up,
embrace the fire.
Remind those who tell you
otherwise that
comes to you of its own accord,
and the yearning for it
cannot be learned in any school.

Let us realize that each of us does have a candle in our heart and it is ready to be kindled by our longing this Advent to embrace our Beloved!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

This is a feast that makes us realize what we owe to Mary who was conceived without sin and who has always said "Yes" to whatever God wanted of her. It must have been a tremendous leap of faith to believe the angel and accept to be the mother of Jesus! It brought a certain confusion with it, I think, as Mary kept silence about this tremendous event announced by the angel and did not even tell Joseph. It must have been a relief for her to know that the Holy Spirit revealed to Elizabeth that Mary was carrying a child destined to be the promised savior; I love the fact that Jesus in the womb of Mary met John in the womb of Elizabeth and gave a leap of joy.
Anyway, today's feast really is in memory of the conception of Mary that was without "original sin" or the tendency to follow Adam and Eve and not listen to God. I love to think that Mary was the one creature from conception who was pure and full of love for God.
As a child of the Sacred Heart, I have fond memories of our Advent practice of silence and purity of heart so that we could walk in the "Lily Procession" and offer Mary the "lily of my heart" so she could be its guardian forever. She has been so much in my life: mother, friend, comforter, guide, protector, companion, model, etc.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Prayer for Advent

I am adapting this short prayer that the Society of the Sacred Heart used at the end of our national teleconference on Sunday; I have used it for the lighting of our Advent wreath before supper:

As we journey through the days of Advent, let us continue to be open, courageous, listening to one another and to the needs of the world, communicating our truth with simplicity, accepting hardship and pressing onward, that we may see Jesus. We invite God to show us our need for transformation as individuals and to give us the grace that we may be transformed and choose together the way to move forward today. Amen.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Advent is a gift for all of us

Advent is a gift for all of us. It teaches us about the importance of slowing down, of preparing during four weeks for the coming of the Lord. Here is a prayer by Katherine James that may help our preparation:

"In the midst of my busyness, O Lord,
Remind me to slow down and savor each moment
As a gift from you.

As I move frantically from thought to thought, project to project, remind me that you are a God of abundance, not scarcity, and there is time enough for all that you have called me to do.

In the midst of worry, anxiety, fear, and discouragement,
Remind me, Loving God, that you have called me to serve the needs of others; needs that you have uniquely gifted me to fill.

Help me to remember that I am not alone, that I need to be connected with others who are struggling, for you are the source of all life and strength and peace." Amen.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Faithful Friends

I always think that those four friends who carried the paralytic to Jesus and did not let any obstacle such as a whole crowd of people blocking access stop them. They were determined, resourceful, and creative and managed to get the man up on top of the house where they removed part of the roof and then were able to lower their friend so that Jesus not only saw him but immediately forgave the man's sins! It is an extraordinary story when you think about it. Then, to show that he had the power to forgive sins, Jesus cures the man and has him get up and walk - he no longer needs his friends to carry him, but how grateful he must feel to Jesus and to his friends for carrying him.
Now, I know we all have friends and family who carry us; we need to look around and think of those who have helped and are helping us to have access to Jesus and thank them. We also need to look at those near or far who need us to carry them to Jesus. That is plenty to reflect on today!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2nd Sunday of Advent

This is a comforting Sunday with still three weeks to go to prepare our hearts for Christmas. I hope we can concentrate on our hearts and not just on material things; getting ready for Christmas should take as much inner as outer preparation and we all know how overwhelmed we can get with the exterior shopping, cards, decorating, to say nothing about the hassle we experience trying to get in and out of malls! Now, what about our inner preparation? I think this reflection from Thomas Kelly that we were given in the Advent retreat yesterday may help us all. It is called "Silent Waiting":
We need times of silent waiting...when the busy intellect is not leaping from problem to problem, and from puzzle to puzzle.

If we learn the secret of carrying a living silence
At the very center of our being
We can listen on the run.

The listening silence can become intertwined
With all our inward prayers
A few moments of relaxed silence, allone
Every day
Are desperately important.

I hope you find those moments of relaxed silence!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Wherever you are giving and receiving love is where God is calling you.

Today I will be making the Advent retreat at St. Thomas University and I am looking forward to it. I will share something with you after the retreat.

Louis Savary says: "Wherever you are giving and receiving life and love is where God is calling you."

I have been thinking about this and wonder if we need to discern some of our choices. I do feel more and more called to help "renew the face of the earth"; it seems strange that now I am retired I feel that I have more zeal and desire to work for God's reign in new ways. I also feel that what I contribute to the building up of the Body of Christ is something that is unique since I am unique (each of us is unique) and Jesus counts on me to do what I have been created for in this world. I guess I am beginning to realize that not only is one in mission for life, but one's daily life and choices are contributing to the evolution of the world or the Cosmic Christ. I am influenced by Savary's "The New Exercises in the Spirit of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin" and all this reflection came about because the liturgy had the image of the clay and the potter the other day and I keep thinking that I am clay, but precious in God's sight and God is the potter and is shaping me so I am really the work of his hands.

Friday, December 2, 2011

"The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord"

I opened today's reading for the Liturgy and my eyes fell upon the first reading from Isaiah 29 and these words just jumped out at me:
"The lowly will ever find joy in the Lord"!! The exclamation points are mine, but I thought to myself that I had sort of been knocked over the head with a fundamental truth and one that certainly fit my retreat last August. It is the lowly, the humble, who always find joy in the Lord!

Let us strive to be lowly and then we will be joyful and be a part of the great Christ project to bring all things to fulfillment in God.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What does Advent mean for me this year?

Here is my reflection on what Advent means to me this year:

What does Advent mean for me this year?

I want it to mean a time of preparation, a time of love, longing, and inner work. My soul needs a good housecleaning! Just as I can accumulate extras in closets and drawers, so, too, I pick up unnecessary baggage that crowds into my interior and clogs my heart. It is time to wait in silence with the Lord who will help “declutter” my soul if I can be still and allow Jesus to fill me with His love, peace, and joy.

Part of my inner work means taking time to work out a balance each day of prayer, work, exercise, and relaxation. I sometimes get caught up in work or a list of things to do and forget that when I relax and slow down I am aware that Jesus is with me and whether things get done (they usually do and better, of course, when Jesus is with me) or do not get done, Advent is here and now. Jesus is coming and that fills me with hope and desire. I also feel so grateful that I am able to take time to prepare for His coming again this year. I am missing the three days I have spent at the Cenacle for the past several years, but will make up for it by finding three separate days of retreat before Christmas, or I hope to do this. December 3 will be the Advent retreat at the University that I began over twenty-four years ago; I will be going to a party that night so the retreat day will be over by evening, but it will be a start. I am hoping I can make December 15th special, too, as I made my first vows on that day in 1952 and have vivid, joyful, memories that require a day to return thanks for that day and the years that have followed. Then, December 22 seems to be another day to save for quiet prayer.

Now, I hope you, too, are reflecting this week on what Advent means for you this year?

Now, as I do send many Christmas cards, I need to get these written and out of the way. It is a work of love, but does take time and I am sorry that I did not get it all done before Advent! However, I guess my Christmas cards help me to understand what Advent means for me. Each card brings my prayer and love to someone who is part of my life.