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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Feast of the Visitation

My imagination runs away with me when I try to imagine the journey and then the meeting with Elizabeth. I also like to see Mary staying with Elizabeth to help her and both of them so caught up in the whole mystery that God involved them in so suddenly and so startling - their lives were changed forever. And then we can imagine the babies that were growing in the womb of each. I love Elizabeth saying that the child in her womb jumped for joy when Mary came. I guess we are free to imagine the scene anyway we want and then just be there with Mary. I also think I am to learn from her who was so thoughtful of others, who did not think of herself, who "went with haste" and who gave joy.

The Holy Father gave a homily on joy after his return from the Holy Land. I was struck by the Prefaces for after Easter and for the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost. They all speak of being  overcome with paschal joy - are you feeling overcome with this Paschal Joy?

Here is the exact ending for all of these Prefaces:
"Therefore, overcome with paschal joy,
every land, every people exults in your praise
and even the heavenly Powers, with the angelic hosts,
sing together the unending hymn of your glory,
as they acclaim, Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts...

I am rejoicing on a new year of life !!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mary is on her way to visit Eliszabeth

This picture has nothing to do with the Visitation if you think of Mary on the journey to Elizabeth. However, tomorrow is the Feast of the Visitation and I seem to be still waiting for the computer man to come and so this picture is all that I had on my phone and it is a welcome change from the heat here in Miami and also makes one think of the hardships involved sometimes in going to visit a relative. Mary went in haste. Was she able to go with a group? She could not travel the roads alone. She must have been full of joy for her cousin who had been barren all these years, but must also have been thinking about what the angel said to her. She believed but did not really understand. However, the Holy Spirit must have filled her with both joy and new energy and off she went.
There are always others waiting for a visitation from us. Today that can be by mail or phone or e-mail to say nothing of the chat rooms, Facebook and other ways to visit. Indeed, if you are reading this blog, I feel that it is a way to visit. May Jesus be with us and may we be filled with joy tomorrow as we spend the day with Mary and Elizabeth.
As it is my birthday, we will have the Mass of the Ascension here in my community at 5:00 and I look forward to that gift.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ascension Thursday

Still no one has arrived to fix our computer! I am again trying to write on my I-pad and so very grateful that I have one!

To continue with my morning reflection....I am trying to feel what Jesus must of felt on the day of His Ascension into heaven. He has been consoling and instructing his friends for some 40 Days and now is going to leave them as far as bodily appearance goes. He has given the gift of the Eucharist and has promised that He will send them the Holy Spirit, but I think He still has some mixed feelings about leaving them. He knows it is time and He gives them a farewell speech and let's them see Him ascending. What does His Heart feel as He leaves His Mother and His chosen friends?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Unexpected Gift

I am waiting for the man to come and fix our computer so I am having the unexpected gift of a day alone at home!! I shall make a big pot of soup and I have cleaned the kitchen and sorted out all our containers for left overs as we have so many tops that do not seem to match anything. Hurricane season begins next Sunday, along with the feast of the Ascension and we need to begin our preparations. We have had such good summers for so many years that we forget what can happen if a hurricane does come our way.
Today I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes from our formation booklet on Interior Life. It begins by reminding us that the "spirit of the Society is essentially founded on prayer and the interior life." (Constitutions 17)
Interior Life is "a source of fruitfulness, joy and vitality for us. It is the place where the human and the divine come together, the place of our encounter with the risen Christ, to which we bring our joys and sorrows and from which we draw strength to pronounce our "yes".
Our incarnational spirituality flows from our deep relationship with Jesus. We see the link between this experience of Jesus and our own way of living and growing in relationship with others. Our contemplative life is what helps us to discover God's love in the wounds of the world. We need to be transformed so that we may glimpse the face of Christ in the faces of the poor and in one another."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Joy, love, compassion

Joy, love and compassion are essential ingredients in spiritual growth.
this is a quote from Christina Feldman from last month's "Friend's of Silence". she says "Profound  joy is a celebration of our vision of connectedness, ...we must let our hearts dance and rejoice with love and compassion and yearn wholeheartedly for oneness and wholeness". I love the image of my heart dancing! 
I am writing on my I-pad as our computer stopped last Saturday morning -hope I can publish this today.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Week End and the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie makes these three days special. We are now in the week before the Ascension; here we now celebrate this Feast on Sunday but we have the last week in May to think of how those forty days after Easter were for the Apostles. Jesus was still showing Himself in His glorified body so that they could see He was truly risen and continued to show His love and concern for others. I am reminded of the Bishop in Coquimbo who went around visiting to give joy to all during this time after Easter. He would just drop in and stay for tea and show interest in whatever we were doing. He lived in another city but tried to visit all the religious communities and other groups during these forty days. Would that more pastors tried to do the same!

Now, I have been thinking more about our formation booklet and how it calls us to really live an incarnated spirituality. At the same time, I was reading something from the Jesuits that speaks of the need for silence in our souls. We need to have that interior quiet no matter how busy we are. I suspect that the biggest obstacle to our spiritual life today is the lack of interior silence. Our minds are so full of everything!

There is a new App for Centering Prayer that I started using. It is nice as you can select an opening prayer, then the chimes to begin and it times your 20 minutes for you, chimes again, and offers a closing scripture. It is free and can be on you I-phone as well as your I-pad.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie

Today we have the Sunday Mass but it is still the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie, the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She had a real vision for an international society that would educate young girls. Here is something about her:

St. Madeleine Sophie must be happy to see all that the Society of the Sacred Heart in all parts of the world is doing for justice and our desire to make the world a better place by spreading the Love of the Heart of Jesus.

I was struck by the Pope's homily on May 22 when he said that a Christian must be full of joy. Jesus spoke of peace, love and joy and these three must be part of our lives. St. Madeleine Sophie told us to give joy to others. In giving joy to others, we are giving Jesus joy!

Today's Gospel reminds us: "Let not your hearts be troubled...."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Use a "to be" list instead of a "to do" one

Here is something to reflect on today:

An excerpt from
from Seven Choices for Success and Significance
by Nido R. Qubein
The bottom line is this: What you choose is what you get. Five years from today, you will be exactly the same person you are today except for the choices you make beginning right now.

You make a lot of choices every day—what to wear, what to have for breakfast, which route to drive to work, etc. Those are transactional choices.

But you can also choose at any point to transform your life. Those transformational choices are wise decisions that can change the direction of your life—putting your lfie on a path to success… and more importantly… significance.

The people who I admire most don’t live their lives by a “to-do” list; they live their lives by a “to-be” list, for example: I want to be more generous, more patient, more learned, more reasoned.

While you can check things quickly off a “to-do” list, it may be several months before you cross something off your “to-be” list. And here’s the other side of the coin: You can’t have a “to-be” list, without having a “stop doing” list. To become something, you must undo something…acting on an item from your “stop doing” list.

Those who live by a “to-be” list have discovered wisdom…an education that serves them well for life.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Let the Holy Spirit prioritize your life

Here we are on Friday again and I wonder where the week went - the days seem to fly by and I do need to keep telling myself that a "to be" list is more important than my "to do" one. If it is essential, cannot be put off, it gets done. Some things that are put off seem to lose their importance and even get dropped off the list. I keep in mind what a very wise and holy nun told us when I was a novice: "Don't do today what you can put off until tomorrow" - if that sounds like heresy, I must give you the content in which she uttered these words of wisdom. We had asked her how she found time to be in front of Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel so often and she told us that she had learned that some things are essential and others not. She also was the one that told us that charity was to come before any rule.

I am trying to keep my priorities right and it is amazing all that can be done when you let the Holy Spirit prioritize your day!
There is a free App for Centering Prayer and worth having

Thursday, May 22, 2014


We continue to sing "Alleluia" and the lighted Paschal candle reminds us of the Presence of Jesus during these forty days after Easter. Jesus went around consoling His friends and still is doing the same. We need to have eyes to see and ears to hear all the ways He comes to us each day.

Sometimes it is an effort for me to get to daily Mass, but once there I know that this is the place for me to be. I know that I do not need to be there to find Jesus, but participating in the Mass and being able to receive Jesus in Communion is very special and a gift. I go to noon Mass during the week and three times it is straight from the gym to Mass. The parking lot is almost full by noon for the 12:05 Mass. I am amazed that usually over two hundred people come- some are on their lunch hour, others are between classes as the Church is across the street from the University of Miami. It is interesting to see the mix of people who come and I am happy to be part of this congregation: some in business suits, some in shorts, some with canes, a wheel chair, some with young children, etc.
I suspect the world is a better place because we are all there at this Liturgy together.
Yesterday I was at Mass with the Carrollton faculty and students who really fill the Parish Church. This was the last Mass of the school year for all and one of my students from St. Thomas University who has taught there for the past six years spoke to the school during the Mass - a vocation talk.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Life unfolding...

The name of our new formation booklet is "Life unfolding....Offering the Gift Received" and it is for the entire Society of the Sacred Heart. We are always in formation. What has struck me in praying over it is the number of times the words "transformation" or "transformed" appear. Here is a sample:
"For us RSCJ, formation is a way of being open to life, a constant invitation to learn, to grow, to let ourselves be transformed."....

"We have come to realize that transformation is not the same as change. The strategies of change come from our own initiative, while transformation is always the fruit of an Encounter. It happens when we venture with our whole being into a deep, sincere encounter with God and let ourselves be encountered by God, just as we are, with nothing in our lives remaining outside of this encounter."...

"We need to be transformed so that we may glimpse the face of Christ in the faces of the poor and in one another."

I am reflecting on the moments or times of transformation in my own life!

Looking back I see so many moments of transformation. Many come in prayer, especially in retreats; others are with people or during a certain experience such as my months at the Trinita in Rome. Then I know I was transformed, but it is hard to recognize in the present moment anything I would call "transformation" but we are all being transformed each day and need faith to see it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chilean Beach

Re-living memories must be a good part of old age!
Another memory of the beach near the retreat house we, the Society of the Sacred Heart, administered for Cardinal Silva and where I not only gave retreats but also worked one summer as the driver. This meant going to all the farms to buy produce to feed the many persons that came to the retreat house. The man who went with me had not yet obtained his license to be able to drive, but he was the one that backed the car over a two plank bridge one day. I was afraid to even try it as the planks were just wide enough for a wheel. I really prayed then and, as always, the Heart of Jesus hears us when we put our trust in Him. I had driven over the planks to get to the island with the food but there was no way I could back out and no room to turn around. Maybe not one of my best memories but one that is still so powerful that it takes me back in an instant to the whole terrifying time as I watched the car being backed out on those little planks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Thirsty for God

Some days one longs for God as the deer thirsts for water. I read the Pope's latest audience talk where he continues to explain the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Having treated the first three gifts, he spoke of fortitude. The first three gifts help us to know the will of God, but fortitude helps us to do it. We all need to patiently seek God and fortitude gives us the strength to do His will and to keep on even in the face of difficulties so we need to pray for this gift.

In the little book, "Jesus Calling"  it says: "Spending time alone with Me is essential for your well-being. It is not a luxury or an option; it is a necessity. Therefore, do not feel guilty about taking time to be with Me."

Sometimes, I need to hear that again as we get caught up in so many things to do and things that need to be done or that we think we should be doing. As the deer longs for water, my soul thirst for the Lord. Today I need a long drink!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jesus is the Way

Sunday's Gospel is worth reading and re-reading. It begins with Jesus telling us not to let our hearts be troubled. That is good news. I read the newspaper every morning and it is difficult not to have a troubled heart with all the bad news that comes from all over our world. So what is the solution?

Jesus also tells us He is the Way... He has come and lived and suffered and died and then rose from the dead. He has gone before us to show us how to follow Him in love and service and peace. If we read at least a bit of the Gospel each day, as the Pope suggests, we will know how Jesus would have us act; we will know the Way.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

If at first you don't succeed...

I wrote a blog for today but it just vanished so I am trying again!
 I think my blog was about following Jesus, "The Way, the Truth, and the Life." Every time I read in the Gospel that Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, I remember the book we had for our Christian Doctrine class when I was in High School. It had a blue cover and written in white was the phrase: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." I do not seem to remember much about the contents of the book, but the cover is a vivid memory. Years later, as a novice, we were asked to write an essay on "What is Truth?" All I could think of was "it's Jesus." I was too shy to write that and remember agonizing over that essay

Besides having several blogs disappear, I want to share with you my joy in this time after Easter. We have many feast coming up soon: the Ascension, Pentecost, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the Feast of the Sacred Heart and that of the Immaculate Heart which takes us to the 28th of June. On May 25th we will celebrate the Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie, the Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She is the one who said, "Be simple, be humble, and give joy to others."

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sheep and Community

When we live in community, we are never alone. We may all be engaged in different ministries, but there is a union that comes from living together and sharing the same charism. In our new formation booklet it mentions that the three basic elements: community, interior life, and a simple life with the poor, are a blessing and a challenge. I am reflecting on the blessings and challenges of each of these calls beginning with community. The people I feel closest to are those with whom I have lived in community even if this was years ago. One gets to know people in the daily duties that are part of community life. I am aware that much of what I reflect on about community is also true of family life. The beauty of community life is that we come together as mission and for mission and we grow together as we struggle to love one another and allow each to be herself. We are only like the sheep in the sense that we follow the same Good Shepherd, but each of us has her own personality and here the blessings and challenges come together. We respect each other, but we do have different backgrounds, different ways of doing things, different views on many things, but we are all striving for union with Jesus. I am just thinking this out for myself but know that people I lived with over sixty years ago are still counted among my best friends.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

So much to be grateful for...

Today may be my last day at St. Thomas University until next September. The students have left but summer school has begun and there is still noon Mass; then I have lunch with Patrick and Centering Prayer and faith-sharing on next Sunday's Gospel with three close friends - the three men in my life! We have been praying together and sharing each week for many years. I will be in Miami until July 30 when I go to California for my retreat and visit with our Religious out there.

When I look back on my life, there are so many graces to thank the Lord for that I get lost in my memories. Yesterday and today's pictures are scenes from Chile where I spent twenty wonderful years; I thank the Lord for the grace to have had this great experience and for all the graces received during those years. When I look back on that period of my life, I am amazed at how the Lord Himself was so present and directing the events and circumstances even before I was asked to go straight from Rome to Chile and without knowing any Spanish! What sometimes seems crazy seems to have been a special calling from the Lord.
Thank You, Lord, for all the graces of this past week, month, year, and all the graces You have been giving me since my birth!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Let not your hearts be troubled,,,

This is to help us prepare for next Sunday as the Gospel begins with one of my favorite sayings of Jesus: "Let not your hearts be troubled..."

Why do we let our hearts be troubled? Jesus is with us; He loves us and can take care of us so why be troubled? We are an Easter people and should be radiating joy and confidence because we know that we are loved by God!

A sad saint is a sorry saint - I am not sure who said this, but I have always thought it to be true. So smile and remember that Jesus is Risen and He is with us!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Docility to the Holy Spirit

This morning I read the Pope's homily and he speaks of how sometimes the Holy Spirit is very forceful but :
"At other times, the Holy spirit leads us gently and the virtue is in allowing ourselves to be carried by the Holy Spirit, in not resisting the Holy Spirit, in being docile to the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit works in the Church today, is acting in our lives today. Some of you may say: 'I have never seen him!'. But pay attention to what is happening, to what comes to your mind, to what comes in your heart. Good things? It is the Spirit that invites you to take that path. It takes docility! Docility to the Holy Spirit."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Thank the Lord for your problems

Thanking the Lord for my problems is not something I was ever taught to do, but I am beginning to see how helpful it is. I read in yesterday's meditation from "Jesus Calling": "Thank Me for your problems. As soon as your mind gets snagged on a difficulty, bring it to Me with thanksgiving. Then ask Me to show you My way to handle the situation. The very act of thanking Me releases your mind from its negative focus...."

Really, there is nothing that Jesus cannot handle and much better than I can do it. I read recently that becoming like a child means being weak, needy, and dependent. So, I am taking all the problems of the world to Jesus to handle and going back to the gratitude journal as the biggest help for living in joy!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Good Shepherd Sunday and Mother's Day!

Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd and does not abandon His sheep. He watches over us and defends us and even leaves His flock to seek the lost one. He continues to do all this for us. I guess my favorite Psalm has always been Psalm 23. Here is the Responsorial Psalm for Sunday's Liturgy:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
R/  Alleluia.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
R/  Alleluia.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
R/  Alleluia.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
R/  Alleluia.

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Do you run from difficulties?

"Do not resist or run from the difficulties in your life. These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for your benefit and growth. Embrace all the circumstances that I allow in your life, trusting Me to bring good out of them. View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Me."
The above is the first paragraph for May 10 from "Jesus Calling", the little daily meditation book that my brother-in-law gave me. I must confess that I had not picked it up for some days, but my sister called yesterday to ask prayers for Phil, her husband, who had fallen and broken his foot. He is not to put any weight on it for six weeks and is getting around the house on a little scooter!
Having said this, I shall add the rest of today's reflection from "Jesus Calling":
"When you feel stressed, let those feelings alert you to your need for Me. Thus, your needs become doorways to deep dependence on Me and increasing intimacy between us. Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Me produces abundant living in My kingdom. Thank Me for the difficulties in your life since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance."

The suggested Scripture readings are John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; Ephesians 5:20.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Joy in the midst of woe

This picture reminds us that Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel has John telling us that Jesus says He is the gate and we pass through Him. I think that all of us all called to go through Jesus to pasture and to live in harmony with all the others. I have felt carried by Jesus at times and so can identify with the black sheep in the picture. Jesus calls us by name and we follow Him in trust and joy! I wanted to write more but it is time to leave for the gym. I just will wait until later to share how I am finding joy in the midst of woe.

Thursday, May 8, 2014


Gratitude is very close to appreciation. When we appreciate something, we are grateful. I read that even the worst sort of a day can be appreciated for all the dreadful things that did not happen to us. I am finding it fun to look for different things to be grateful for each day. They are often little things like clean sheets; that thought immediately makes me grateful for a washer and dryer and for hot water. That triggers the gratitude I feel for clean water that one can drink; for water that allows us to have a swimming pool. The thought of the pool then triggers even more gratitude as I thought when I entered that I would never swim again and now I have a pool that waits for me each day and I do enjoy it and thank God for it. It also brings back memories of my family gathered around the pool in my parents' last home - one that they bought, I think, because of the pool. My Dad would sit out there in the evening after checking the chemicals used to keep the water pure and he would just contemplate the white swan (a rubber one but really it looked quite real) as it floated around the pool. As you can see, I could not get the cursor to begin at the left margin and do not know why!
Here is what I am trying to copy about gratitude:

Be thankful for what DIDN’T happen. No matter how bad things are, they could almost always be worse. Start finding gratitude for what could have happened but didn’t. You may not be thankful for everything in your life, but you can always be thankful for something.

Find more tips like this in Learning to Dance in the Rain by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.
2.  Don’t hold on to your anger or hurt. Though you may not realize it, you are always choosing between two ways of perceiving: Looking to the world for reasons to be upset, or looking in your heart for reasons to be happy. You can’t be upset and grateful at the same time, and life is too short to look for reasons to be upset. Try to remember that patience and tolerance bring you happiness, while anger and hatred bring you suffering.

Find more tips like this in Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky.
3.  Savor life’s little moments. Italian poet and novelist Cesare Pavese once said, “We do not remember days; we remember moments.” At today’s hectic pace, however, we often forget to live in the moment, to just be. And by just being, by just soaking up a beautiful moment, we can find some of life’s greatest pleasures.

Find more tips like this in The Road to Happiness by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.
4.  Express your gratitude by living it. Expressing gratitude brings even more things to be grateful for. No matter what’s going on around you, look for things to appreciate, and then express your appreciation. You don’t spread gratitude by preaching or scolding—you spread it by living it. Every moment. Every hour. Every day. John F. Kennedy said it best, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Find more tips like this in Learning to Dance in the Rain by Mac Anderson and BJ Gallagher.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Transformative Experiences

I have been reflecting on transformative experiences in my life. What come to mind are many experiences that I have had in prayer that truly were transformative moments. It is an experience that stays with one and truly made such an impression on me that I was changed. I have not finished my reflection but have a whole page of experiences beginning when I was in high school and felt the presence of God so strongly that I could never doubt His existence or reality in my life. It was during a summer storm and I was out on the back sleeping porch at my home in blue jeans and a leather jacket and God just came into my life in a very real way so that I knew He was there and loved me.

I did not have another experience comparable until I was a first year novice and making my meditation on the roof during the summer. I was thinking about Jesus as the Good Shepherd and was suddenly so sure of His love and mercy that I was overwhelmed by the experience and it also was one that has never left me and is just as strong today. My misery is the object of His Mercy and His Heart is always open for me.

I think the next experience that really stands out was perhaps the longest as I was five months at the Trinita dei Monti in Rome. Jesus taught me how He wanted me to pray. It was in the little balcony overlooking the altar and on the same kneeler that St. Madeleine Sophie had used. That was a special grace and has marked my life. It was there, also, that I developed a special relationship with each Person in the Blessed Trinity. I also had the grace to be with Mater as sacristan during those months so it was a cumulative grace and I should also include the fact that I made an eight-day retreat with a famous French Jesuit before returning to the Mother House for Probation. My 30-day retreat five months later only deepened the summer retreat, but by then I knew I was going to Chile straight from Rome as a missionary.

I guess this is enough for you to begin to think about your own experiences of transformation.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Waiting for Inspiration

Sometimes when I sit here and ask the Holy Spirit what to say I just do not hear anything so I need to look at a picture and wait for inspiration. Water and mountains are helpful. I remember a day in Coquimbo, the poorest region in Chile, when I walked down to the beach and had a delightful time just swimming and contemplating the gorgeous scene. We lived up in a poor section but could walk out to the other side of the Church and see the ocean. I could also walk some blocks the other way and up a hill and find myself in the dessert.
 The best spot was the beach and now I wonder why I did not make more time to have a quiet day there. I live in Miami and never get to the ocean! Crazy, but true. However, I have learned to take time to just sit and contemplate the beauty around me and it is a way to prepare for the coming of Jesus. He is always with me, but I am so distracted and busy about so many things that I need to stop and be still to welcome Him into the depths of my heart or, better still, to find myself in the depths of His Heart.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Opportunity for Transformation

I am still praying over the Easter apparitions and want to share this with you today:

 What did the realization of Easter mean to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus? Luke's answer to this question has resulted in one of the most poignant narratives in all of the Christian Scriptures. As we follow their transformation, we are grateful for Luke's profound insights and grasp of the mystery of God's gift to us in Jesus.

Making their way to Emmaus, Cleopas and his companion were downcast and disappointed. By their own admission, they had hoped Jesus would be Israel's long-awaited redeemer. They could not bring themselves to accept the word of the women who found Jesus' tomb empty. Nor did they place any credence in their vision of angels. Only when Jesus broke open for them the word of God, and only when he broke bread with them, did a light of recognition dawn. In that moment, they remembered, they believed, and they were transformed. Rather than continue their journey, they returned to Jerusalem, no longer hopeless but full of joy, professing their faith in their risen Lord.

This same opportunity for transformation is made available to each of us every time we gather, in Jesus' name, to be nourished by the bread of the Word and by the bread of Eucharist. We come as we are, some sad, some wounded, some broken, some full of vigor, some full of doubts, some with lists of needs and desires, some with empty but open hands. As the word is proclaimed, the Spirit enables us to hear with fresh ears so that we can take away an insight, or renew our resolve to be better. We keep this challenge with us as we go forth into the week ahead. As the bread of life is blessed, broken and shared, the real presence of Jesus makes our hearts burn within us, nourishing us and nudging us toward a more lively faith and more devoted service of those in need.

Although our transformation has begun, it is not complete. It will be necessary for each of us to return again and again to the table of the Lord. There we will find the food to feed all our hungers. There we will also find forgiveness and healing, as well as the motivation to continue the lifelong process of transformation until Jesus comes again.

[Patricia Sánchez holds a master's degree in literature and religion of the Bible from a joint degree program at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York.]

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Third Sunday of Easter

We pray together every Sunday night and I am sure Jesus is with us. He does like to be invited though and I sometimes forget this.
Here is a commentary from John Kavanaugh (to read more, go to the Concord Pastor's blog and click on the picture of the Bible):

It’s a lovely Easter story that the Gospel of Luke gives us. Here we have two people who seem to think everything is over. They have just experienced a great loss.

“We had hoped,” they say, “he was the one to set Israel free.”

Not only have they left the community, they don’t place much credence in the testimony of the women who heard angels declaring Jesus alive. Other witnesses saw the empty tomb, but not Jesus. Perhaps that is why they are walking away.

Observe what is going on here. We have two people who seem to be in a situation of unbelief, hitting the road, leaving their community, deep in confusion.

Two things happen. One, they are joined by Jesus on the road. He actually walks with them in their loss of hope and in their bewilderment. Two, he asks them to tell their story, and he stays to have dinner with them.

Even when he chides them for their weak faith and goes through the scriptural promises of the messiah, they are not in a state of full belief. They have yet to recognize him. Only with the breaking of the bread are their eyes opened; and at that moment of recognition, he vanishes from sight.

Imagine this incident as a metaphor of how God deals with someone who has gone away or lost the way, an image of how we could deal with each other in our unbelief.

With the breaking of the bread, the two wayfarers are brought into communion, even though they have not fully acknowledged the mystery that beckons them.

The story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus presents a strange state of affairs indeed.
Jesus was more with them on their journey, even in their doubt and unbelief, than when they actually saw and recognized him and finally believed.

And it was only in retrospect that they could see that their hearts were enkindled as they were walking and talking on the road—even though they did not know that it was he who was explaining the scriptures to them.

I find this paradox of faith, of distance and closeness, of belief and unbelief, repeated over and over again in people’s lives. Although I cannot see when or if it happens to me, it is startlingly clear when I witness it in others.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Stay with us, Lord...

I keep going back to this apparition of Jesus to the two disciples on Easter Sunday because I think it is one that models for us the way Jesus often comes to us, walks with us, and even accepts our invitation to dine, yet we do not really recognize Him. We need to ask Him to stay with us, to pray with us, and to walk with us in our daily lives.

This Sunday's Gospel is again the story of the two disciples of Emmaus. They might easily have been a husband and wife. The point is they were  conversing about all that had happened in Jerusalem and they had left discouraged and very downcast because they had their hopes in Jesus ended with the terrible death of Jesus on the cross. They even knew about the empty tomb and the announcement of the angel that Jesus was alive, but they could not believe this and so had come away sad. Jesus said to them, "Oh how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe ....!  Does Jesus sometimes need to say the same to me?

I hope I ask Him to stay with me and then recognize Him.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Now that summer is approaching, I start thinking about my retreat. It will not be until August 4 but, as I told my community last night, it is the most important week in the year for me. In the meantime, I am loving Walter Kasper's book on Mercy; it is full of references to Scripture and to the early Fathers and other mystics and theologians. I have it on my Kindle and wish I had the book in my hand so I could easily go back and forth and look at the notes, etc. I hate not having page numbers, but the books on Kindle are much less expensive.

Now I am thinking of the blessings that come with all the Feasts at this time of the year. Our Mother Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, has her feast on May 25; then we have the Feast of the Ascension, Pentecost, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, and the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and then, now the next day, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. That takes us up to June 28 so there is plenty to prepare for and pray about in the next few weeks. I think that entering into the mind of the Church through the celebrations of feasts is one way to deepen our own Liturgical life and our interior life as we try to prepare and celebrate with Jesus.


When I was in the sixth grade, we moved into a larger home with a beautiful backyard. We had a fishpond with thirteen goldfish and knew each one by name; we had three flowering peach trees, another tree surrounded by Lily of the Valley, and a walk that led to the alley that was bordered by lovely Irises such as you see in the picture. We also had a grape arbor so my mother and a friend pooled our sugar rations to make grape jelly. My brother, George, was born that Christmas of 1941 when we had just begun World War II; my brother, John, was born less than two years later and soon we were hiding Easter eggs among the flowers in our yard. This picture triggered so many memories as I had the back bedroom with my desk overlooking the backyard and spent a fair amount of my time contemplating what went on outside instead of getting my homework done.

Today is the Feast of St. Athanasius, Archbishop and Doctor of the Church who lived in the fourth century and is known for his struggle against the Arian heresy. He had many enemies and was five times banished from Alexandria. It was during his exile in the desert that he wrote the life of St. Antony.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Month of Mary

I grew up thinking that May was the month to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary. We did this by our May altars, putting fresh flowers in front of her statue (every classroom, I think, had a May altar when I was in grade school), and then taking part in the May crowning of a statue of Our Lady that took place at the end of the month. Since my birthday was the last day of May and always a Feast of Mary, the month has been special for me as far back as I can remember. The title for the Feast of Our Lady on May 31 changed several times. First it was the Feast of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace, then it was the Queenship of Mary, and now it is the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.

On this first day of May, we also have the Feast of St. Joseph, Worker. I am beginning to read Father Philippe's book on The Mystery of Joseph. It is a profound study and I am just starting it.

May is also the month when we celebrate St. Madeleine Sophie Barat, the Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart. I like it, too, when Pentecost falls within the month of May. In our part of the world, it is Spring with all the flowers in bloom and one wants to go around singing just for joy. In Chile, the month of Mary is November 8 to December 8 and the churches are packed every night during this month.

The book that I am reading and pondering is Sandra Schneiders' Jesus Risen in Our Midst.
Mostly, I am just enjoying finding the Lord in my daily life and I am grateful for all the times I do recognize Him in people, events, circumstances, and the little attentions that help me to share in His joy.
I hope you are finding Jesus appearing often during these days.