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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

Joy




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. Listening...perhaps...is 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.