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Friday, January 27, 2012

Time for a holiday

I will be away the first two weeks of February giving a retreat in California and then seeing family as well as giving talks in Arizona; right now we are celebrating the 50 years of the founding of our school, Carrollton, in Miami. Seventeen RSCJs have come for these days of celebration and I have decided that I need to take time off until February 16th from my daily blog. I will be back and reflecting on my life as we prepare to go into the Lenten season. I hope you will not mind my taking time out as writing reflections when I travel is not easy for me and I look forward to time off as I really have been faithful about posting everyday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My life is a rollar-coaster somedays...

I used to say that my theme song was the "Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, O Lord, have mercy on me." Now I admire those who are always the same, but it seems impossible for me to always be the same, although I can try to always seem calm and peaceful. Pretending to be calm and peaceful leads to humor and joy in my life and then I find I really am calm and peaceful. I think it means taking the time to reflect with the Lord and then trusting Him.
Anyway, today I am going to reflect on #29 in Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart:

The Eucharist is the culmination of this ecclesial prayer.
As far as we can, we participate in it actively every day.
By receiving the Body of Christ,
we unite ourselves to His prayer of thanksgiving
and to His offering of Himself to the Father
for the life of the world.
Gradually, the Eucharist makes us become more truly
Body of Christ, broken to give birth to a new humanity.

I am trying to participate actively in the Eucharist every day; I find the new translation has made me aware of how often I respond without thinking. I love the thought that by receiving the Body of Christ we unite ourselves to His prayer of thanksgiving and to His offering of Himself to the Father. I think the union we experience with Christ in the Eucharist is so much greater than I can even imagine. I do believe that the Eucharist makes us become more truly the Body of to live His offering.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our prayer is that of the People of God

This verse from the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart #28 keeps resonating with me: Whether we pray alone or with others, our prayer is that of the People of God."
Our hearts are to be as wide as the world, as wide as the universe and the universe is still expanding! I take all to prayer and know that God loves and cares for every creature and somehow we are going to help God in bringing all to unity.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart #5
Through the Eucharist we enter into
the mystery of the open side of Jesus.
In our daily life, the Eucharist celebrates
His death and resurrection,
the reality which lies at the heart of the sufferings
and hopes of the human family.
Through the Eucharist we are drawn into the gift of Jesus
to His Father,

Today I was pondering what I mean when I say that "through the Eucharist we enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus."

I know that from the time I entered and read a circular letter written by Reverend Mother de Lescure on the name of the Society of the Sacred Heart, I felt called to enter the Heart of Jesus and descend into the depths of His Heart. She talked about the "solitude of His Heart" and I wanted to be there with Him, I still do, but now I am also aware that we are drawn into "the gift of Jesus to His Father" - the whole work of the evolution of the world and the building up of the Body of Christ.
Since my retreat last August my daily Mass has been a way to pray for the world as well as enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Today I am not doing the Constitutions as I am only writing a short note. I think that Sunday is such a gift that I spent yesterday in thanksgiving. I was thanking for all the wonderful Sundays in my life; for all the family dinners, summer days at the lake with my Dad, singing in the choir at Mass in the Parish in seventh and eighth grade, playing Monopoly with my cousins; then, when I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart, we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament every Sunday and that made it a special day besides having a "Sunday" habit and, I think, Sunday shoes!! That seems a long time ago, but now Sunday means more time for prayer, reading the Sunday paper and swimming as even in January we can swim in our pool!!! have so much to be grateful for and this is my attitude today for all. I hope this carries over into the entire week.

Please read the blog on "All this and heaven,too" listed on the right if you scroll down; the Constitutions are compared to an old friend!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

To continue with the passage from the Constitutions that we are reflecting on

Contemplating Jesus, we learn
from His attitudes and responses
how, in all our relationships,
to witness to the liberating power of His love.
In faith and simplicity we meet the other
as a unique person,
having respect and affection for each,
and a humility which enables us to be receptive.
Always, we are filled with hope in our encounters,
sure of God's power at work in us all.

How, in all my relationships, am I a witness to the liberating power of His love?
Let me reflect on my way of being with each one whom I have met in the last 24 hours and be very concrete in this examen of how I am a witness to His Love? Certainly not by frowning or fussing in the doctor's office which I recall doing yesterday; on the other hand, I gave joy to others in several small ways that I can recall and feel that Jesus is pleased about the way I am trying to keep up relationships and give joy. But what about my humility?
Am I really receptive to the gift of each one I meet? Do I meet them with faith and simplicity, with respect and affection for each? Lots to think about in this passage and pray to be filled with hope in all our encounters!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jesus was humble, amazingly so!

Contemplating Jesus, we learn
from His attitudes and responses
how, in all our relationships,
to witness to the liberating power of His love.
In faith and simplicity we meet the other
as a unique person,
having respect and affection for each,
and a humility which enables us to be receptive.
Always, we are filled with hope in our encounters,
sure of God's power at work in us all.

When I contemplate Jesus in the Gospels I am so impressed with His humility. He told us to learn that He is meek and humble of heart - and it showed from His birth to His death!
Now, I will no doubt need to use this passage for reflection for several days. First of all, we have the fact taken for granted that we are contemplating Jesus. And that we are learning from His attitudes and responses! What are we learning? How am I contemplating Jesus daily?
Is His Heart an "open book" for me? How are His attitudes, values and choices affecting my life?
More on this passage tomorrow.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our Service of Education

Our service of education is carried out
in a genuine relationship of mutual interaction,
where each person both receives and gives
so that all may grow together.

Of its nature, our service of education
means creating community
among ourselves and with others.
It asks of us generous commitment,
serious on-going formation
and a broad critical vision of the world,
enlightened by faith.

We both give and receive in all our relationships and we learn to create community. We all are called to create community with others. We are also asked for a "generous commitment, serious on-going formation, and a broad critical vision of the world, enlightened by faith."

I think that spiritual reading is a must for me and for you, too. I am sure that some have the capacity to reflect deeply on events and find God in all but it is not something that just happens. We need to form ourselves by serious reflection. I guess I do this more than I realize, at least I hope I do!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Passion to Proclaim the Gospel

Wherever we are sent,
whatever our work may be,
our lives will be inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus
and the desire of making Him known, expressed in:

-a concern for the growth of the whole person

-a thirst for working towards justice and peace in the
world in response to the cry of the poor

a passion to proclaim the Gospel.

What does it mean for me to have a passion to proclaim the Gospel now that I am not actually doing so in theology classes? I guess it is just letting people know that God loves them unconditionally; this is the Good News and He is always loving us with an infinite love. We respond in joy and gratitude and carry this Good News to others in whatever way we can. I sent a comic strip to a friend today as it made me laugh out loud. It was Garfield who said to his cat, "You are not perfect, you know." The cat thinks about this and says to himself, "I have to agree." But then he says, "It is my only fault." I thought of how often I act a bit like this.
Anyway, I do want to give everyone the Good News that they are loved by God. And God is here and now! He is present in you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A life inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus

Wherever we are sent,
whatever our work may be,
our lives will be inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus
and the desire of making Him known, expressed in:

-a concern for the growth of the whole person

-a thirst for working towards justice and peace in the
world in response to the cry of the poor

-a passion to proclaim the Gospel.

I think it very consoling to know that whatever we are doing, wherever we are, our lives are "inspired by the love of the Heart of Jesus."
I find myself praying, "Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart."

I have found that using this invocation from the Litany of the Sacred Heart has been very helpful for me and I suggest that others try it.

I think I have a passion to proclaim the Gospel. I think it is part of the grace of my vocation!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My life is unique and therefore very important, even essential

Since we are studying and praying over our Constitutions this year, I am going to continue to put different paragraphs here this month to reflect on some aspect of our lives.

11.- (Fom our service in the Church)
Saint Madeleine Sophie chose to express this conviction
through the service of education, especially of the young.
Faithful to her inspiration, and, like her, open to new situations,
we make her desire our own:

- that people become ever more aware of truth, of love
and of freedom
- that they discover the significance of their lives, and devote themselves to others
- that they take part creatively in the common effort to
transform the world
- that they be enabled to encounter the love of Jesus
- that they let their lives be shaped by an active faith.

I am discovering every day how significant each one's life is and how important it is to realize this. Everything I do that is positive is helping the evolution of the world or the building up of the Body of Christ.

I guess I want everyone to encounter the love of Jesus and so I need to love them with the same love drawn from the Heart of Jesus. Jesus told us to "love one another as I have loved you."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Day

I had a picture but it seems to resist showing up in the blog so I am also resisting writing much today. I am enjoying a day at home with extra time for prayer. I know it is a holiday for many and I think God is happy to see us remembering one who stood up and preached with courage to bring justice to so many. We all need to have the courage to speak up against the injustices that are still enacted in all of our cities. Miami is a beautiful place but all sorts of vices exist and a great deal of injustice. Let us pray for our country today.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Come and See

John the Baptist pointed Jesus out to his disciples saying, "Behold the Lamb of God."
Two of those disciples decided to follow Jesus but they were not sure what they wanted. Jesus asks them, "What are you looking for?" and they can only ask him, "Where do you live?" Jesus immediately invites them to "Come and see." And they went and stayed with Him that day.
I think there is much for us to reflect on in this first part of the Gospel.
John the Baptist is quite willing to direct his disciples to Jesus and let them go.
Jesus invites each of us to Come and see.L
What did they talk about when they arrived? Did Jesus ask them more questions? I suspect He drew out of them their deepest desires and that there hearts were burning within them when they left him that day. Andrew went to tell his brother that they had found the Messiah.
I receive Jesus in the Eucharist and He also wants me to express my desires to Him but He is comfortable when we sit in silence, too.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Speak, Lord, I am listening!

The image of the cornucopia represents something of what I am feeling this week end. My mind and heart seem so full of God's goodness that all is spilling out and bearing fruit, I hope and trust. As I have said before, I am so grateful for my life and need to tell the world that God is good and wants us to live in His Love and joy.
At yesterday's meeting of my Shalem group (begun back in 1989 as supervision group for spiritual directors) we spoke about how our thinking has been changed. It was good to share this with others as I really believe that I am at a new place and it is hard to find the vocabulary to describe it. One used the image of being in God as a wave in the ocean and that is one aspect that has changed. I live and move and have my being in God. I have always believed that God is present everywhere but with the discoveries of science and finding how the world is evolving, I am caught up in a God who not only cares for me and the world, but a God who is calling each of us to help us build the Body of Christ.
The Sunday Liturgy this week has Samuel being called and needing help from an older, wiser Eli to recognize that it was God calling him. Eli then told him to answer: "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening!" And we are reminded in the psalm "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Then the Gospel has Jesus inviting the two disciples to "Come and see." He continues to invite each of us to follow him!

Friday, January 13, 2012


The picture from my file is labeled "Canadian Water" and I guess it says something to me today as we begin to communicate more with Canada.
We are growing closer to the Society of the Sacred Heart in Canada and I should be learning more about that beautiful country. I do know some Religious of the Sacred Heart as we used to have one novitiate. I have visited at Halifax where most of the elderly religious were living in a very nice house next to the school with their own Chapel.
I have not time for much reflection today but have been thinking about the coming Sunday Gospel when John the Baptist says: "Behold the lamb of God" and two of his disciples then follow Jesus. Jesus turns and asks them: "What are you looking for?" And they, maybe not having an idea and wanting to just keep their options open, ask Jesus where he is staying. Jesus says, "Come and see." And they go with him and stay with him that day.
I think Jesus is still asking us, "What are you looking for?"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Contemplative Attitude

I am continuing to comment on the section on Prayer in the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart as they are so pertinent to an understanding of our spirituality.

#22 This contemplative attitude permeates our whole being,
helping us to live ever more united to Christ
in our relationships, our tasks and our ministry;
it becomes a powerful force
of conversion and transformation for mission.
In welcoming God's word
Mary gave Christ to the world.
In receiving the life of Jesus
we give ourselves with Him so that all may have life.

We were talking about finding the presence of God and having the "mind" of Christ Jesus so what do I mean by this "contemplative attitude" that permeates our whole being? I think it means taking time to reflect and learn how to find God in all things. We are called to listen to God as He speaks to us through events, persons, circumstances in our daily lives.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Spirit dwells within us...

From the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart #21

The Spirit dwelling within us
gradually transforms us, enabling us
through His power to remove whatever
hinders His action.
The Spirit unites and conforms us to Jesus
and makes us sensitive to His presence
within ourselves, in others and in all that happens.
Thus we learn to contemplate reality
and to experience it with His Heart,
to commit ourselves to the service of the Kingdom
and to grow in love:
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).

We cannot transform ourselves; it is the Spirit who dwells in us that does the work of transformation; we need to be humble and docile to all the promptings of the Spirit.

I am to find God in all - people, events, circumstances. But I am so easily distracted and insensible to the presence of God within me that I need the Spirit to make me aware. We are all called to live in union with Jesus and, the good news is that He is with us even when we are not aware of his presence. He is with us! He wants us to find Him "within ourselves, in others and in all that happens."
Then I grow in love and, as Paul says,
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

We learn to remain in silence...

20. Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart:
In prayer we come to Him
with everything that touches our life,
with the sufferings and hopes of humanity.
We learn to remain in silence
and poverty of heart before Him.
In the free gift of ourselves
we learn to adore and to abide in His love.

Nothing is too small to take to Him; nothing is too big!

To remain in silence and poverty of heart before Him is not always easy to do. Our minds are so filled with daily concerns and cares that remaining in silence seems impossible without the gift of grace, that divine life in us that makes all possible.
"Be still and know that I am God."

We go to Him with all that touches our life: our concerns, our worries, our joys and our sufferings. We surrender all to Him and sit in silence. Take time to be quiet, breathe deeply, and descend into His Heart. He waits for us to "adore and abide in His love."

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Gift of the heart

I am still reflecting on prayer in the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart but will begin today with a quote from a letter from Mother Stuart:

"You are quite on the right track, it is the gift of your heart that God wants above all in prayer, that you may both give to Him and receive Him. Keep it always uplifted with great expectations...God loves us to expect from Him, because He loves to give Himself to us. If we only believed this, as we profess it, how close our union would become and how blessed our work would be."

To continue with the Constitutions on Prayer:#19

In the Gospel
through His words, His attitudes,
His relationships with people,
His way of relating to all created things,
we discover His Heart
wholly given to the Father and to all people.

The Gospels show us the preferences of Jesus for the poor, the lowly, the ones in need of healing and they show us the feelings of His Heart so full of compassion and love! We not only discover His Heart, but He gives it to us!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Feast of the Epiphany

The Three Kings followed the star and it led them to Jesus. Perhaps they were not really kings, but certainly they were wise-men! They left all and set out for the unknown. I was given my obedience for Vina del Mar on Christmas Eve; at that time we went on the missions for life. I did not even know where I was being sent and the Superior General told me it was to a school in Chile. Now, I knew nothing about Chile and did not know Spanish, but I set out to find Jesus wherever I was sent. Of course, Jesus was with me and helped me at every instant not only on the journey but when I arrived. I guess following the star has been part of my life, but I do admire the courage of these three and their faith. They found Jesus and adored Him! What more do we want? Then they were sent home by a different way!

I suspect we all have a special star to follow. I have found that my star is joy and I think each year has brought me so much joy. Once we follow our star we cannot return by the same way; we have found Jesus and now our lives are different. Let us stay attentive to our star that leads us to Jesus. We also thank on this feast for the manifestation of the star that leads to Jesus and we adore Him and offer Him the gift of ourselves.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Eve of Epiphany

Today is Saturday and I am thinking of the expectation of the three wise men as they follow the star to find Jesus.
I find that there is something that happens when I sit in silence and let go of all my thoughts. I am immersed in God's love and feel so much peace and joy. I wonder why I do not try to pray this way more instead of having my head going around and around full of thoughts that really are not important.

I was reading the webpage of the England-Wales Province (the link is on the right side of my blog under Society of the Sacred Heart and it works now and is worth looking at. They have some of the Religious in the Province describing their prayer and I think this is a joy to be able to read about their experience and that they are able to articulate it.

My own morning hour of prayer seems to be a "hodge-podge" of some reading, some reflection, some silent time when I often feel that I am in the Heart of Christ; I also find myself sometimes praying for the world. One of my friends prays with her Christmas cards so that each sender has a special day of remembrance in prayer. I do pray for all who sent cards, but usually do it all at once. I am not so organized to be able to remember to take a card a day. However, I look forward to my morning prayer and usually manage to prolong it; going to noon Mass makes that the center of my day and then I look forward to having more time for prayer in the late afternoon. It is the joy of this year to have more time for prayer, but when I entered we had even more and I am just gradually trying to take back the contemplative moments that we had built into our days. Epiphany is a feast to take time to adore God who has come as a human infant to be like us in all except sin.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Feast of the Epiphany is on Sunday now!

The Kings are on their way and no longer arrive on January 6 but on Sunday!

How does Jesus "make known to us the feelings and the preferences of His Heart?"
I think He asks us to be still and silent so that we can really listen to Him in prayer. We only need to "show up" and we find His Heart open for us, if we open ourselves to His love.
More tomorrow or later as I need to go out this morning.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jesus calls us

"Jesus calls us to a personal encounter with Him. He wants to make known to us the feelings and preferences of His Heart." (#18 Constitutions on Prayer)

Do I really believe this? I do because I have had the experience of it through many years. Jesus calls us to a personal encounter with Him. He is always present waiting for me to be present to Him. He waits for me with longing; the desire I have to be with Him comes from Him and I know that the intensity of the desire increases the capacity I have to receive His love. He gives the desire; He wants to love us. Let Him! This is prayer!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Courage is good for the New Year!

So much seems to be wrong with our world that we need to remember that it is God's world and He is present and wants us to help with the evolution of His creation until we are all one in the Cosmic Christ. It takes courage to face the New Year but let us advance with both hope and joy!

Now, to continue with the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart as found in the Constitutions: What can I share from the section on prayer that will be helpful today for reflection? First of all, "the Society is essentially based upon prayer and the interior life since we cannot glorify the adorable Heart of Jesus worthily except inasmuch as we apply ourselves to study His interior dispositions in order to unite and conform ourselves to them."

Again we have the importance of union with Jesus and the need to know His interior dispositions. I guess all of our lives should be based on prayer and the interior life. Sometimes we forget that we are dependent on God and try to do things on our own. I think of St. Paul when he said that when he was weak he was strong with the strength of Christ and I think we have all experienced this. More tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Union with Jesus

Today we are having the first "cold" day in Miami and last night was supposed to be around 40 degrees which is really cold for us. It is to warm up by Thursday but the Salvation Army sent out buses to collect the homeless last night and warm food was prepared.
To continue with my idea to comment on the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart to deepen our spirituality, here is a bit more of #8 of what we continue to call the "new" Constitutions to distinguish them from those of 1815. (I am only going to take a selection of some of the passages that speak to me and especially I will use the section on prayer starting tomorrow, I think - remember that the Holy Spirit is my inspiration so I am never sure what I will be writing!)

For us, life, community, apostolic service,
all spring from our union and conformity
with the Heart of Jesus.
This grace of vocation
is a way of conversion and of apostolic fruitfulness.
The pierced Heart of Jesus
opens our being to the depths of God
and to the anguish of humankind.

Union with Jesus is what is essential and it is the grace of our vocation. We are both plunged into the Heart of God and the heart of the world. It is in opening ourselves both to God and to others that we can live the grace of our vocation. My journal this morning said this better than what I am now writing so I guess I will need to look at it.
I just added the link on the right side to the web page of the English Province of the Sacred Heart; they have some great quotes from the Constitutions and pictures! Check it out and also be sure and read about Mother Stuart.

Monday, January 2, 2012

This is a special year! Today is the Feast of Sts. Basil and Gregory

I love these two 4th century bishops who were friends who studied together and then both loved the monastic life before being named bishops. Basil was a great bishop but Gregory soon retired to a more monastic life as he was more contemplative and a poet without Basil's gift for administration.

I think this is a special year because we are asked to study and pray over our Constitutions. I received a gift of a calendar with quotes from the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart from England from one of my dear friends in the English Province. It made me think that I could use the Constitutions this month to share some of our spirituality in my blog. It helps to have a theme for the month but my reflections seem just to come from the Holy Spirit when I sit down at the computer. However, this theme seems to be the inspiration to start the year with and I think it will profit all of us.

Helen McLaughlin, our Superior General at the time of the adoption of our new Constitutions, wrote: "Let us welcome these Constitutions in a spirit of deep faith and let us allow the Holy Spirit to call us forth through these texts, so that the written work becomes truly life-giving ...we need to pray over them, deepen them, absorb them and above all love them."

I think my favorite passage (impossible to name just one but I keep going back to this one) is "For us, life, community, apostolic service, all spring from our union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus."

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

This is just to say Happy New Year! I think the best way to spend it is in gratitude for all the graces of the past year! I would love to do what was suggested in today's paper by one who actually did it: Write a thank you note to someone every day"!!