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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Second Station of Joy


I wrote my own stations of Joy many years ago. Perhaps it is time to do so again. But let us look at the joy Jesus gives the two disciples who have left Jerusalem very discouraged but still thinking and talking about the events of the past days. Jesus draws near, but they do not recognize Him. He asks then what they are talking about as they walk. They tell Jesus and seem amazed that He did not know. But Jesus wants them to tell Him. He asks: "What things?"
Now, as often as I have meditated on this Gospel, the other morning it hit me that Jesus still is asking us to tell Him what we have seen and heard. Of course, He knows it all, but He wants me to tell Him about my day, my feelings, and He is with me to help me, to explain, to give me courage. But I must also be like the two disciples who invited Jesus to come in with them and share their simple Sunday night supper. I need to invite Jesus to stay with me.
I am going to let you ponder this station alone. It is one of my favorite apparitions as it is so ordinary and yet extraordinary; the two recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread and then they are filled with energy and return to Jerusalem! Their hearts were burning within them!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mary Magdalene

Mary was weeping outside the tomb alone. Then, someone she thinks is the gardener, asks her: "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?"  Even when she turns, she does not recognize the risen Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Mary" and that is all she needed to hear. She now rushes towards Jesus, but Jesus has to tell her: "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father." And then Jesus sends her, a woman, to go to the others and bring them joy. And Mary went and told the disciples, "I have seen the Lord."

Of course, Mark will tell us later in his Gospel that they did not believe her, but Peter and John will run to the tomb to see for themselves. And Jesus continues to give joy - I am sure that He first went to His Mother and spent some quiet time with her as soon as He was risen from the dead. I also know that he would appear to Peter before He went looking for his two disciples who had left Jerusalem so sad. But, Evely has only the encounter with Mary Magdalene as his first station of joy.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Stations of Joy

Evely, in his book on Joy reminds us that we have often followed the Way of the Cross. But then he asks us if we have ever followed the Way of Joy? He suggests that the Church invites us after Easter to "stations of joy" which should be as "much frequented and meditated upon as are the stations of the way of the cross."
This week, I hope to take us all on the Way of Joy. We will look at the account of the apparitions of the risen Christ and see how Jesus tried to awaken others to his joy.
Let us spend this time after Easter rejoicing with the Lord.
We give God joy because we are joyful, understanding what the Lord has done for us; Jesus suffered and died, but now He is risen and we sing "Alleluia, Alleluia!"
Evely says "The place we give to joy is the place we give to God." In the Gospel, Christ reproached his apostles for two things: fear and sadness. "Why are you afraid, O ye of little faith? It is I; have no fear." And then "Women, why are you weeping, whom do you seek?" Jesus goes out to walk with the two disciples on their way to Emmaus to change their sadness into joy.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Someone gave me Louis Evely's book on Joy. It is an old book first published in 1968 when I was in Chile, but he has seven stations of Joy beginning with Mary Magdalene, then the Disciples of Emmaus, then Peter, Thomas, Paul, Mary, and the Ascension.
The title of the book is just Joy.

Anyone who has been reading my blog over the years knows that I am addicted to joy - to all that gives joy to Jesus, to others, and to me. Serving the Lord in joy, with joy, through joy, is my vocation within a vocation. Hence, when I find a few quotes I like on joy, I want to share them.

"When you have become penetrated with the joy of God, all of your sorrows will turn into joy, all of your trials will be graces; you will recognize your faults, you will be sorry for them, and they will be forgiven so that they may become happy faults. They will remind you only of the goodness, the tenderness, the joy with which God forgives them."
"When you become penetrated with the joy of God, God will become God again, he will become a Father again, and we will again become his children."

I do not really understand the last sentence I copied, but I do want to be penetrated with the joy of God. Our present Pope is always reminding us that we are to be joyful. Let us spread joy to all today!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Divine Mercy Sunday

The devotion to Divine Mercy and Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus are closely linked. Jesus has one Heart and it is full of both love and mercy. We need both. Here is something to reflect on today:

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday after Easter

This week full of joy has passed so quickly. I am late posting this blog but just want to say that I have been embracing silence. I also keep hearing Jesus say to me, "Helen, do you love me?" And I am answering, "Lord, you know that I love you and I love to be loved by you." We are having quite an exchange and I think it is because I have really been creating silence in and around myself during these days. It helps that I can turn my hearing aids off!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Let us not fear to create silence...

Although I am gathering the quotes on silence from the Power of Silence, Cardinal Sarah has selected them from many sources. Here is one from Benedict XVI who wrote: "we live in a society in which it seems that every space, every moment must be 'filled' with projects, activities and noise; there is often no time even to listen or to converse. Dear brothers and sisters, let us not fear to create silence, within and outside ourselves, if we wish to be able not only to become aware of God's voice but also to make out the voice of the person beside us, the voices of others."

Silence is a condition for being present to God, to others, and to oneself.
How can I create silence today?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

God speaks in silence

In his book I Want To See God, Father Marie-Eugene de L'Enfant says:
God speaks in silence, and silence alone seems able to express Him. For the spiritual person who has known the touch of God, silence and God seem to be identified. And so, to find God again, where would he go, if not to the most silent depths  of his soul, into those regions that are so hidden that nothing can any longer disturb them:
When he has reached there, he preserves with jealous care the silence that gives him God. He defends it against any agitation, even that of his own powers."

I think we have had the experience of finding God when we have reached this deep, interior silence. It is a grace to thank for and to strive for, but it is always God's gift that allows us to create silence.
My Holy Week was one of long stretches of silence and it was such a blessing. I guess I hid out in my room most of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, emerging only for the Holy Week prayer times and for meals and finding that the silence deepened in me each day as I just sat and just looked at the framed quote on my shelf that is "Be still and know that I am God." It was a very good Holy Week and led me to the joy of the Lord on Easter Sunday.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The greatest things are accomplished in silence

"The grace of Easter is a profound silence, an immense peace, and a pure taste in the soul. It is a taste of heaven...The Pachal vision does not consist in a rapture of the spirit; it is the silent discovery of God."
This is a quote from Cardinal Sarah from The Power of Silence, p.106.

As I am very much into our call to create, to embrace silence, I am going to be using some quotes about the value of silence in our lives during these holy days after Easter.

The Power of Silence begins with a quote from Romano Guardini's The Lord: " The greatest things are accomplished in silence--not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but in the deep clarity of inner vision; in the almost imperceptible start of decision, in the quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice. Spiritual conception happens when the heart is quickened by love, and the free will stirs to action. The silent forces are the strong forces. Let us turn now to the stillest event of all, stillest because it came from the remoteness beyond the noise of any possible intrusion--from God."

I hope each of my readers find some silence in each day to be able to listen to the silent voice of God who speaks to us in the depths of our silent hearts.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tuesday!

What a joyous week this is! We are to go give the joy of the Risen Lord to all! There are many ways to do this right here at Oakwood. Indeed, there are always to give joy all around us wherever we are!
Pope Francis is very strong on giving the Gospel of Joy to all we meet. I have had his Walking with Jesus on my I-pad, but now have it in book form and it is so satisfying to be able to read spiritual books by holding them and I just cannot like reading spiritual books on my Kindle or I-pad. This may seem strange as I have loved to use the Bible on my I-pad, and can highlight passages, bookmark them and easily find what I want. Actually, I now prefer reading the Bible on my I-pad.

Another book that I have just received and urge you to read is by Robert Cardinal Sarah. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise is a beautiful book and one that we all need to read as God speaks to us in silence. He has some wonderful quotes chosen from many historical and holy people through centuries. I have only begun this book, but I love it. (This Cardinal was named the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis in 2014. I love all he says about silence in the first part of the book, but in just scanning the third chapter on "Silence, the Mystery, and the Sacred", I find that his opinions often seem more conservative than mine, but then he is responsible for the way the Liturgy is celebrated, etc.) I still think it is a book worth reading especially as we have a call to create silence.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday

I love this prayer copied from The Concord Pastor's blog:
A daily prayer

Jesus is risen and now with us in a special way; He loves us with an infinite, unconditional love so let us rejoice and be glad!
A daily prayer

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Alleulia, Alleluia! The Lord is Risen, Alleluia!

Happy Easter to all!
Let us rejoice and be glad! The Lord is truly risen, alleluia!

Let us enter into the joy of the Lord!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday

This will be my last Post until Easter as I really want to embrace silence during Holy Week as much as possible so I am cutting back as much as I can. However, I find the reflection I mentioned yesterday from Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, so helpful that I want to copy it here; it is from the April Give Us This Day, pp120-121 :

"When we think of the passion of Jesus, we spontaneously think of it as the intense suffering he endured during his scourging and crucifixion. But that, true as it is, misses the real meaning. The English word passion takes it root in the Latin word passio, meaning passivity, and that is its real connotation here. The passion narratives describe what Jesus gave to us through his passivity, just as the earlier pars of the Gospels describe what Jesus gave to us through his activity.
   Notice that the English word patient also comes from the Latin word passio. After Jesus is arrested he is, in effect, entering hospice, palliative care. And from there, from the place of his dying, he is able to give us something that he could not give through all of his previous activities. This is a mystery,
a gift inside passivity, which many of us have experienced as intangible grace flowing from the beds of our loved ones as they lay dying. Passivity and dying can potentially contain a great gift to others.
   Sadly this is a wisdom we are in danger of losing. Today, within a culture that tends to identify value only with utility, action, and work, it is no secret that more and more people are beginning to speak of euthanasia as death with dignity. What is the value, they ask, of people continuing to live on in hospice when there is no chance of recovery or improvement and they have already slipped away from us consciously? The answer lies in the mystery of passivity, as seen most clearly in Jesus' passion. In his passivity and dying he was able to give us something deeper than what he gave through his strength and activity. This is death with dignity."

Please let us pray for one another that we may spend this Holy Week close to Jesus. I will be back blogging on Easter Sunday.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Eve of Palm Sunday

Tomorrow we begin Holy Week. It is such a prayerful time and we all want to be able to stay with Jesus as He approaches His passion, death, and resurrection. I think I will be taking a vacation from this blog during Holy Week so I will have more time for prayer. I did want to share this reflection from "Give Us This Day" by Ronald Rolheiser; it is found after the Liturgy for Palm Sunday. He talks about the word "Passion" and says that what Jesus gave us through His passivity is a gift just as was his activity during his life. He says that after Jesus was arrested, he was entering into hospice- I had not thought of his gift of passivity before reading this reflection. Both passivity and dying can be a great gift for others and certainly was a gift Jesus gave us.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Mother of Holy Hope

Today is First Friday and I am going to quote from the Society of the Sacred Heart's Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that we used last on the First Saturday of April but has stayed with me during these days of meditation on the Passion. In this prayer, we call Mary the Mother of Holy Hope and ask her to set her Divine Son as a seal upon our hearts and upon our arms, that we may live and act by Him and for Him alone. Before this, we have asked for a love strong as death, which will separate us from all that is not God; a love so generous in its conformity to the good pleasure of God, that is may transform us and give us new life; a love so ardent that it may enkindle the souls of those confided to our care; a love so insatiable that all work and suffering may be as fuel to feed its flame until our last breath.
Let us go with Mary into the whole mystery of the Passion and Death of Her Divine Son. She is the Mother of Holy Hope and the mother of each of us.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stop "to listen"

As you know by now, I love to share quotes that come from the monthly issue of "Friends of Silence." This quote is from the March issue and is from a 13th century writer, Ibn Hasdai.

"Man was given two ears and one tongue so the he may listen more than speak." Then Albert Lewis says: "It is a privilege just to listen. And there is a fine distinction between "listen to" and "to listen". When we "listen to" we are actively engaging our senses of sound for a particular audible cue. But, when we choose "to listen," we are opening ourselves up to the sounds of silence and solitude, to ways and words unanticipated, unscripted and often--unfamiliar. We do not choose these words; they choose us."

This is good not only to reflect on but to put into practice!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The art of listening requires silence

I have been thinking a great deal about silence and the art of listening. There is so much to listen to - in our relationships, in our hearts, within our world...I am very deaf and need to concentrate to hear; I read lips but hearing is different from really listening. Now that I am concentrating on the call to create silence, I find I am also learning to listen to God and others at a deeper level.
May these last days of Lent be a time of quiet for all of us so that we may listen to the God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit who speaks to us in the depths of our hearts and also speaks to us through the events and people in our lives. Let us open our hearts to listen to Jesus as the Father again tells us: "This is my Beloved Son: listen to Him."

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

To listen means to be aware...

This quote is from Listening: Ways of Hearing in a Silent World by Hannah Merker.

"...perhaps we will see that listening is not a course you must register for, a new gimmick that will magically transform your social and professional life. It happens when you take time to look around you, to be still in the evenings, startled by the mornings. To listen means to be aware, to watch, to wait patiently for the next communication clue. And, as anyone with a speech or hearing disability can tell you, listening is not always auditory communication. ...When earth's auditory energy is received as a whisper, or perhaps not at all, other senses become sharpened, grasping communicative clues we have forgotten, in the rush of life....Listening becomes visual, tactile, intuitive. just a mind aware...."

Monday, April 3, 2017

April is a month of beauty

I love this quote from Julian of Norwich:

No one listens, they tell me, and so I listen...'and I tell them what they have just told me,
and I sit in silence listening to them,
letting them grieve.

I think that is what I do often with some of our elder nuns here at Oakwood. Only I would need to change the last line to
"letting them remember." They are happy people and love to remember the joys they have had in a very long life. It is good to listen to them and to learn from them. They have been listening to God for so many years that, when I listen carefully, I hear the voice of God.
After my prayer group last week, we each drew a question that Jesus asked in the Gospel. I drew "Do you love me?" I have been thinking about that all week for my answer is, of course,
Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you! I think Jesus just wants to hear me keep telling him that I do love him!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

5th Sunday of Lent

This is a long Gospel again this Sunday. Mary and Martha send word to Jesus that their brother is seriously ill. Jesus waits two days before going to His friends. He must have prayed about what He was to do. Jesus could do anything, but He actually worked few miracles and I think He always consulted with the Father before acting. Here he wanted to be with Mary and Martha but it seemed good for the glory of His Father to wait.
I suspect that Martha and Mary could not understand why Jesus did not come at once. They were upset, maybe angry, but above all, in deep grief as their brother died and was buried before Jesus came.
Yet, we now have a Gospel that helps us to believe in the resurrection. Jesus can raise the dead and He does.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Listening Heart

As I am really trying to be attentive to the Chapter Call to create silence, I am going to share a few thoughts from the March issue of "Friends of Silence."
This is from Listening Below the Noise by Anne D. LeClaire:

"The discipline of silence was leading me not only to a keener attention to language but to an improved capacity for hearing. On silent Mondays, I began to listen differently --to myself, to others, and to the world around me. It was a listening I would call both active and without an agenda ... I began to observe that when there was no expectation for me to respond, acknowledge, analyze... I listened differently. My ego relaxed... In silence I was hearing others more keenly and witnessing my own thoughts, too, and seeing how they served to separate or to connect me. I was learning not to turn away from the parts of myself that were difficult."

This is a good reflection to make, even if it is April Fool's Day.
Listening below the noise is a great habit to try to form and I think the discipline of silence is necessary to be able to really listen. My mind goes a thousand places sometimes when I am just trying to listen to a short homily.

Friday, March 31, 2017

The gift of the inner wellspring

On this last day of March, I want to share with you another quote from John O'Donohue's Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom:

"You can never love another person unless you are equally involved in the beautiful but difficult spiritual work of learning to love yourself. There is within each of us, at the soul level, an
enriching fountain of love. In other words, you do not have to go outside yourself to know what love is. This is not selfishness, and it is not narcissism: they are negative obsessions with the need to be loved. Rather this is a wellspring of love within the heart.

If you find that your heart has hardened, one of the gifts that you should give yourself is the gift of the inner wellspring. You should invite this inner fountain to free itself. You can work on yourself in order to unsilt this, so that gradually the nourishing waters begin in a lovely osmosis to infuse and pervade the hardened clay of your heart. Then the miracle of love happens within you. Where before there was hard, bleak, unyielding, dead ground, now there is growth, color, enrichment, and life flowing from the lovely wellspring of love. This is one of the most creative approaches to transfiguring what is negative within us. "

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spend time in silence before the mystery of your body...

One of my RSCJ friends from Canada is spending the day with me. I have signed out a car and we shall have fun together. She spent a year with our community in Miami and then moved to New Orleans, but will be back in Canada next year so I am just looking forward to being with her.
The older one gets, it seems that one values friends more than ever.
I also have been thinking of my body as a very close, intimate friend that needs to be listened to everyday!

John O'Donohue in Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, says:

"The body is your only home in the universe. It is your house of belonging here in the world. It is a very sacred temple. To spend time in silence before the mystery of your body brings you toward wisdom and holiness. It is unfortunate that often only when we are ill do we realize how tender, fragile, and precious is the house of belonging called the body....
Your body is, in essence, a crowd of different members who work in harmony to make your belonging to the world possible. We should avoid the false dualism that separates the soul from the body. The soul is not simple within the body, hidden somewhere within its recesses. The truth is rather the converse. Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful sunlight."

You can see I am still with thoughts from Father Fish and the retreat on listening to our bodies. My body seems to be saying a great deal to me.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Feeling God

I am sure we all "feel" God in different ways and on different days. I do not always feel God in the same way, but I love this poem by Rainer Maria Rilke:

Why am I reaching again for the brushes?
When I paint your portrait, God,
nothing happens.

But I can choose to feel you.

At my senses' horizon
you appear hesitantly,
like scattered islands.

Yet standing here, peering out,
I'm all the time seen by you.

The choruses of angels use up all of heaven.
There's no room for you
in all that glory. You're living
in your very last house.

All creation holds its breath, listening within me,
because, to hear you, I keep silent.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We are called to embrace silence

"Silence is a privileged entry into the realm of God and into eternal life. There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven. For silence is a language that is infinitely deeper, more far-reaching, more understanding, more compassionate, and more eternal than any other language...
There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence." - Meister Eckhart

That is a powerful quote to reflect on today. And remember that silence is God's first language! I learned that from Father Thomas Keating!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday of the 4th Week of Lent

It is time to renew our Lenten resolutions. If they were good ones, we probably have broken them, but God sees our efforts and is pleased as long as we do not give up! So, I begin again with great apostolic courage. The name given to our large group of new professed religious in 1960 was "Apostolic Courage" and sometimes I call upon that name to give me new energy and determination. Many of my sisters from that group are now with God and perhaps they are encouraging those of us who remain to keep up our courage and remember our devise:
Death operates in us to give life to others. I think the official translation is "Death is at work in us for life in others." I am part of the Mystical Body of Christ and we are all joined together so that what one does has an effect on the entire body.

Here is a quote from a former Mother General who I loved dearly: "We must be able to crate an inner silence so that the unfolding drama of the world becomes a reality that touches us; so that the love of God within us may inspire a creative and joyous response."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The cure of the man born blind is a long Gospel, but John wants us to know how Jesus healed this man who had been born blind and how that infuriated the Jews. They refused to believe that one who had been blind from birth now could see. They actually throw him out. Then Jesus goes to find him and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man; and the man says, "I do believe" and he worshipped Jesus.

So often we are blind; we do not see but Jesus comes and wants to open our eyes. He is the Light of the World and comes to each of us to show us the way to the Father.

Where do I need to pray for the ability to see? It is easy to be blind to those in need around us.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Feast of the Annunciation

What a mind-blowing experience for Mary to have the Angel Gabriel come to announce that she was to be the Mother of God! And how this experience must still resonate with Mary each time she hears us saying: "Hail, full of grace. The Lord is with thee."

This Feast honors Mary who was open to the Angel's message and was able to surrender herself totally to God's plan. "Be it done to me according to your word." She did not understand, but she was able to accept and believe and became to the first missionary as she soon carried the Infant beginning to live in her to Elizabeth whose child leapt in the womb and we have the words attributed to this elderly, expectant mother, said in greeting Mary: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."

It is a feast to celebrate with Mary and to beg the grace to be so open to God that we are able to say "yes" to all He asks of us."

Friday, March 24, 2017

To try to flee rom You is madness

Spring comes early in California. It is only March and the flowers are blooming and the flowering trees at Oakwood have been spectacular. I may try to post some pictures of beauty at Oakwood, but here is a picture to reflect on as we think of the gift of such beauty.
I am going to share today an excerpt from Jacopone da Todi's  The Lauds:
O Love, divine Love, why do You lay siege to me?
In a frenzy of love for me, You find no rest.

From five sides You move against me,
Hearing, sight, taste, touch, and scent.
To come out is to be caught, I cannot hide from You.

If I come out through sight I see Love
Painted in every form and color,
Inviting me to come to You, to dwell in You.

If I leave through the door of hearing,
What I hear points only to You, Lord;
I cannot escape Love through this gate.

If I come out through taste, every flavor proclaims:
"Love, divine Love, hungering Love!
You have caught me on your hook, for you want to reign in me."

If I leave through the door of scent
I sense You in all creation; You have caught me
And wounded me through that fragrance.

If I come out through the sense of touch
I find Your lineaments in every creature;
To try to flee from You is madness.

Love, I flee from You, afraid to give You my heart;
I see that You make me one with You,
I cease to be me and can no longer find myself.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring Beauty

I took this picture of the tulips that are springing up in the patio outside my room. We have flowers everywhere and it is still March! The beauty around me makes me full of joy: Easter is coming. It has been a joyful Lent, but I think Jesus loves us to be joyful

God abides in silence

We are in the Busy Person's Retreat for the Faculty and Staff here at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton. The following is from our opening prayer last Monday:

The wise tell us that God abides in silence-
that God speaks in the silent serenity of the heart.
Let us not speak of silence;
rather, let silence speak to us of God.
let us enter , through the door of serenity,
the silence of our heart.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

To Learn from Animal Being

John O'Donohoe has this poem from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

To Learn from an Animal Being

Nearer to the earth's heart,
Deeper within the silence:
Animals know this world
In a way we never will.

We who are ever
Distances and distracted
By the parade of bright
Windows thought opens:
Their seamless presence
Is not fractured thus.

Stranded between time
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are:
Whereas they are always
Looking our from
The here and now.

May we learn to return
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being,
Learn to lean low,
Leave our locked minds,
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.

May we enter
Into lightness of spirit,
And slip frequently into
The feel of the wild.

Let the clear silence
Of our animal being
Cleanse our hearts
Of corrosive words.

May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And light and the rain.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Saint Animal

Father Michael Fish, OSB CAM, gave us some poems to reflect on and I am copying one here to share. The picture just is one that Gaby took last Thursday when I was comforting the goat. The poem is by Chase Twichell and is found in Poems of Awakening: An International Anthology of Spiritual Poetry, edited by Betsy Small.

Saint Animal

Suddenly it was clear to me--
I was something I hadn't been before.
It was as if the animal part of my being
had reached some kind of maturity that gave it
authority, and had begun to use it.

I thought about death for two years.
My animal flailed and tore at its cage
til I let it go. I watched it
drift out into the easy eddies of twilight
and then veer off, not knowing me.

I'm not a bird but I'm inhabited by a spirit
that's uplifting me. It's my animal, my saint
and soldier, my flame of yearning,
come back to tell me
what it was like to be without me.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I have been reading Cynthia Bourgeault's The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice.  It is a book to read slowly and take time for reflection on what I have read. Since I am still in the second part, I can only say that I find the book helpful.  My Lenten reading is really on John's Gospel. I can only read a few minutes of The Good Wine, by Bruno Barnhart each day as he gives me too much to think about.

Feast of St. Joseph

I think of Joseph as a young man, certainly not more than 15 years older than Mary when they were betrothed, and probably less so he could have been in his twenties. He has been chosen by God and he is a man of faith. God speaks to him in his dreams and he obeys! He must have taught Jesus many things. He taught by his example. We have not a single word of Joseph. Perhaps he is calling us today to value silence, to create and embrace silence.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus was tired from the journey and thirsty, too. He sits by the well waiting until the Samaritan woman comes to draw water. He asks her for a drink and draws out her story until she is converted and rushes back to tell the others: "Come see a man who told me everything I have done. Could he possibly be the Christ?"
Many came to see Jesus and invited him to stay with them. He stayed there for two days and many more began to believe in him because of his word. They told the woman: "We know longer believe because of your word, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the savior of the world."

Jesus waits for all of us to come to draw living water from Him; he wants to convert us, too, this Lent. Let us draw near and listen to Him. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A few thoughts

My niece-in-law, Gabriela, came to visit me on Thursday and took this picture. I was talking to this mama goat who was upset because her little ones were still inside the fence with all the rest of the goats and she had been taken out so she would not interfere, I think, with the older students who were cleaning the area.
It was a joy to see Gabriela and she will make the long drive to come see me after Easter.
I am still thinking about the retreat I made last Monday and the theme was all about our bodies as temples for God dwells in us. That is hard for us to realize, but we must learn to listen to what our bodies tell us. God speaks to us through our bodies. He also speaks to us through our imaginations. I am going to share some of the quotes but just have not had much time or energy this week. We did have a great St. Patrick's Day party given by the San Francisco alums. And, of course, we had corn beef and cabbage at our main meal with Irish soda bread that was the best I have ever had. It was brown bread.

From Pam's Musings:

Such an interesting take...
passive voice for the son!
Not "he has returned",
but "he has been found!"
If you lose something precious 
in swirling sands,
 and sift hopefully to recover it,
and you find did not find you.
That's the way it is when
I wander, trip, and fall, get buried
in swirling sands of life...
can't see or breathe, want to escape.
Without warning,
God gently pulls me up and
I breathe again!  I have been found,
forgiven!  Celebrate!!!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Tracing Roots

I have wonderful memories of Ireland. My sister took me over one year and we arrived on my birthday. We began with a tour that showed us so much of the beauty and history of the country. Then we stayed with our Religious for another week. We were able to connect with some of our wonderful relatives in the Lightholder family and they still owned the farms on Lightholder Lane outside of Dublin. We search for my maternal grandfather's family history and found many McLaughlins; my paternal grandmother was a Murphy so we did not even try to trace her family. It was such a joy though to know so may Lightholders and see family traits. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Have you missed me?

I am back in time to think of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. It has been a very full week and the retreat last Monday was all about listening to our bodies. God is present in our bodies and we need to listen to what our body is telling us. Mine, seemed to say to me,
"You just need to take care of your body and go to bed early." It has been a very full week but I have a quote from Mother Teresa to share with you tonight:

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depths of our hearts.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another retreat day

Today I will be making a retreat with the parents of the school. One of the mothers in my group registered me for this and it is from 8:00 to 2:30; they end with the Mass so I will be there most of the day but back in time for some quiet prayer and our 4:00 reunion.

Last Friday I learned a great five minute exercise that involves a great deal of stretching as well as fun. You stand and stretch to outline each letter of the alphabet, make it as big as you can and bend your knees. Try it and see how effective it is!

The theme of the retreat is "Our Bodies, God's Temple" and it is given by Father Michael Fish, OSB.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Second Sunday of Lent

Jesus led Peter, James, and John up a high mountain by themselves.
"And he was transfigured before them." What an experience for these three. Here was Jesus with Moses and Elijah. Jesus' face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. The three chosen friends are in awe. They hear a voice saying, "This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
They are afraid but Jesus says to them, "Rise, and do not be afraid."
And looking up they saw no one but Jesus.

I love this Gospel and think it was a tremendous moment for Jesus as well as for his chosen three to witness.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Change clocks tonight

One of the questions given us to reflect on in the day of retreat was "Where is there deep JOY in your life now? -or why is it absent?
I think I have deep JOY at Oakwood because I am trying to live my vocation within my call to follow Jesus and that is to give Him joy by choosing what is pleasing to Him! My main purpose here is to be more contemplative, compassionate, and just enjoy all that the Lord has planned for me. I suspect we are all called to enjoy the life we are given, even when there are moments that are more difficult.

Another quote I love is "In the middle of all my troubles, you roll me over with rollicking delight." PS 94:19

And then there is the quote from Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evening, how you spend your weekends, what you read, whom you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with JOY and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.

Don't forget to change your clocks tonight. We lose an hour of sleep so put your watch ahead and go to bed an hour earlier!

Friday, March 10, 2017

God is in your midst

"The Lord your God is in your midst...God will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love. God will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals." Zephaniah 3: 17-18

I am praying over these verses since the retreat day last Saturday.  Now the idea of God rejoicing over me fills me with joy. I have been thinking only of giving joy to Jesus and now I love the idea that God is rejoicing over me.

And, while I know that Jesus said he is with us always, this from Rumi also is to be taken for prayer and reflection:

"Lo, I am with you always."
You promised that, and when I realized it was true, my soul flared up. Any unhappiness comes from forgetting,
Remember, and be back close with the Friend. -Rumi