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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Feast of the Queenship of Mary


Do you ever watch flocks of birds flying? I love to watch sea gulls. Sometimes there are hundreds of them flying but they are quite good at navigating and do not bump into each other. I think they are an example of teamwork, also, as they even take turns leading and I have never seen them fight while flying. 

I do not know where all that came from but today is the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. The Collect for the Mass says: "O God, who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and our Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly Kingdom the glory promised to your children."
Let us pray to Mary and for our world.

I leave tomorrow with my brother and sister-in-law to drive to San Diego. I will be back on Monday, August 28, and posting my blog at least by the 30th.

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Great Read



Freedom Child by Chandra Lee Ingram, Ignatius Press, 2016 is a book that will help you to understand human slavery in our world today. Chandra was born on July 4, 1998 and was so shocked and appalled by what she saw in India and other nations such as Cambodia, Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia, Egypt, and Nepal. She returned to California and began writing about her experience while still in the sixth grade. She heard a guest speaker talk about modern slavery and she was filled with the desire to help end the practice. She started to write this book when she was in seventh grade and it grew into a novel. It is a moving story and she is an alum of our school here in Atherton. I started the book last night after hearing her presentation at Oakwood yesterday. I am about half way through the book but I know that it is one that others should read to make us aware of what goes on, not only in all other countries, but here in California. Sex slavery of children is widespread and we need to realize this and do something about it. I NOW have finished the book and given it to others. It has made me want to do something about the problem of human trafficking and slavery.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jesus praises faith




This Sunday's Gospel has the Canaanite woman begging Jesus to help her daughter who is tormented by a demon. Jesus does not pay attention so that his disciples need to ask him to send her away as she is crying out to them. Jesus says that he was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But the woman said, "Lord, help me." Still, Jesus does not seem ready to do this. He tells her: "It is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs." That should have silenced the poor woman, but she is humbly pleading for her daughter's sake and says: "Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters." The Jesus praises her for her faith and tells her: "Let it be done as you wish." And the Gospel tells us that her daughter was healed from that hour.

Now this Gospel is certainly a call to persevere in prayer. Sometimes we pray for someone, but do we have persistence?
Do we have the faith of that woman? Jesus will hear us when we persist in begging him with the faith and humility of that pagan woman. How humble she was!

We have a prayer board outside the Chapel; I read the requests, but do I really pray with faith for the healing asked for by so many of our friends? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Anticipation



Tomorrow my brother and sister-in-law will arrive from Gold Canyon, Arizona. They are driving and should arrive around 5:00 PM and I am really looking forward to seeing them. I think we will go to Half Moon Bay on Monday and some places around here on Tuesday and then we will drive to San Diego but take our time so we will spend one night in a motel. Then I will stay in our community from Thursday night until Monday, but we will be visiting with my sister and her husband who are in a condo on the beach in Coronado. I think the anticipation is half the fun of the vacation planned for next week.

This has made me think of how we often anticipate a special day or event and enjoy it more because we have anticipated it for days or even weeks. How much more are we filled with the joy of anticipating heaven? I have so many friends there now that I am anticipating a real homecoming.

I really was writing about this week of vacation to explain that I may not be posting while I am away. You can anticipate my next blog at least by August 30. Actually, I have been scheduling ahead all month so I am more peaceful when I sit down to write whatever the Holy Spirit puts into my mind. Sometimes I think the Spirit types something that I did not even have in mind! It is an interesting feeling to find oneself typing under inspiration and not conscious thinking. Try it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jessica Powers 1905-1988



Jessica Powers is one of my favorite poets. This Carmelite poet was able to put into words things I knew about God but did not know how to say. I have shared some of her poems in the past, but want to honor her today as she died on August 18, 1988 at the age of 83.

Here is a short poem that I have not quoted before:
If You Have Nothing

The gesture of a gift, is adequate.
If you have nothing: laurel leaf or bay,
no flower, no seed, no apple gathered late,
do not in desperation lay
the beauty of your tears upon the clay.

No gift is proper to a Deity;
no fruit is worthy for such power to bless.
If you have nothing, gather back your sigh,
and with your hands held high, your heart held high,
lift up your emptiness!

This is from the book I would urge you to buy: "Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers: edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert Morneau, sheed and Ward, 1989.

Let us lift up our emptiness to God today!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mary's Queenship




This picture was the one I wanted for the Assumption and now it reminds me of the Feast of the Queenship of Mary. This feast is now celebrated on August 22 (it was for several years on the my birthday, May 31).  I love knowing that Mary is so honored. I will be with my brother and sister-in-law next week, but I am trying to schedule ahead. If I miss a day, you will know that I am away as we plan to drive down to San Diego to see my sister and her husband on Coronado. I will be staying at one of our communities in San Diego from August 24 to 28. I think my brother is planning to drive back to Arizona on Saturday, but I am staying until Monday so I can see the community.
Now, I want to share the words to this Marian hymn with you to reflect on today: The title is Mary, Woman of Promise
Mary, woman of promise,
Vessel of your people's dreams,
Through your open, willing spirit
Waters of God's goodness streamed.

Mary, song of holy wisdom,
Sung before the world began,
Faithful to the Word within you
Carried out God's wondrous plan.

Mary, morning star of justice;
Mirror of the radiant light,
In the shadows of life's journey,
Be a beacon for our sight.

Mary, model of compassion;
Wounded by your offspring's pain,
When our hearts are torn by sorrow,
Teach us how to love again.

Mary, woman of the Gospel;
Humble home for treasured seed;
Help us to be true disciples
Bearing fruit in word and deed.

Test: Mary Frances Fleischaker, 1988 Music: STUTTGART, 87,87; Christian F. Witt.1660-1716.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Water and the Wave


The wave is water. We are the wave in the water.
There is a chapter in the book I am still praying over by Brian Pierce, OP, We Walk the Path Together, entitled "The Water and the Waves."  We are the waves, but we carry within us the water. In touching the wave, we touch the water, which is the true source of divine life bubbling up from within.
The wave is born from water; its truest self is water. "Its wave-ness is a temporary manifestation of the deeper reality called water. When the wave awakens and realizes that it is water, it experiences enlightenment."

This metaphor has been going around in my head for some time so now I pass it on for your reflection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


This feast of Our Lady gives me great joy. I have joy for her as she is now with her Son, Jesus; I have joy for Jesus because he now has his Mother with him in heaven; I have joy for the entire Communion of Saints. Mary is still so present to each one of us and she takes seriously her role as our Mother.

The Gospel (Luke 1:39-56) has Mary going to visit Elizabeth. When Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cries out to Mary:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb..." - something we say with each "Hail Mary" - Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." I love the fact that Mary, too, was filled with joy and now, she is rejoicing for all eternity and still goes about making others happy, comforting, and consoling. I am sure she is still telling Jesus what we lack and then saying to us, "Do whatsoever he tells you."

In some countries gifts are brought to Mary on this feast: the fruits of the harvest, the key to the house, and whatever they want to offer. We offer ourselves to her guidance and protection. She is truly our Mother and loves each of us with a strong maternal love. Let us show our love for her today.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Re-Commissioning


One of our Associates, Kristi Laughlin, gave an inspiring homily during the Spirituality Forum held at St. Louis University. The Gospel was Mt 10:7-15 where Jesus commissions his disciples to go forth and they are to "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and drive out demons." I was present for this homily but only when I was lent a copy to read did I feel how powerful it was. Kristi began by telling us it was time for "re-commissioning". We are called to take bold, courageous, transformative action -"all born of an unfailing trust in God."
The Gospel reading "also captures the moment we are living in the life of the Society. Isn't the process of the General Chapter, the Assembly and this Forum, a process of Re-commissioning? Of drawing closer to Jesus and to our founding mothers, and fellow Sacred Heart disciples, so that we can hear again instructions of how to be apostles in this time, in this place."
Then we have Jesus' instructions: First, the disciples are to Proclaim! "As you go forth, make the proclamation the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Then Jesus commands: "Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons!" We are to act boldly. Then we are to trust (no need to take provisions) and to receive hospitality. Those are the points of the homily and it certainly made this Gospel come alive as she developed each.
I hope these few thoughts taken from a great homily will be helpful for reflection today.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"It is II; do not be afraid;"


This Sunday's Gospel is one of my favorites. Jesus made his disciples get into a boat after he had fed the crowds, but he remained to dismiss the people and then went up the mountain to pray alone. Meanwhile, the disciples in the boat were being tossed by the waves for the wind was against them. During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus comes to them walking on the sea. They are terrified but Jesus says to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter immediately says, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." Peter is so impulsive! Jesus just tells him to come. So Peter gets out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But then he gets frightened and begins to sink and has to call out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" They got into the boat and the wind died down.

I am not given to locutions but when I was a young nun I actually heard Jesus say to me, "It is I; do not be afraid."
It was a tremendous grace for me and I am so grateful; it has made this a favorite Gospel.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A Help for Prayer


I am trying to choose pictures that may make you feel cool if you are where there are heat waves this summer. We are even finding a few hot days in California, but have such splendid weather all year that no one can complain.
I am sure I have mentioned a song that we sing often here; it is just a little verse but I find myself repeating it whenever I wake at night, after receiving Communion, before and during all sorts of things. One of our nuns at an earlier General Chapter taught it; she is now in Indonesia but was born in India, I think.
Her little song seems to be based on something I saw quoted by Thich Nhat Hanh in We Walk the Path Together by Brian J. Pierce, OP :
"Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment,
I know this is a wonderful moment."

Our little song is:
"Breathing in, breathing out,
I am calm, I am smiling,
You in me, I in You,
Present moment, wondrous moment,
Peace to the world, peace to the world."

The line added "You in me, I in You" often sends me into prayer so I am passing this on to you.

Friday, August 11, 2017

"O good Jesus, hear me!"


Today I am going to share a prayer that many must know; it was a 14th century post-Communion prayer that St. Ignatius is said to have used and I find it helpful to take time to reflect on each line. It is the Anima Christi and I seem inspired to copy it for you today.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me,
Body of Christ, save me,
Blood of Christ, inebriate me,
Water from the side of Christ, wash me,
Passion of Christ, strengthen me,
O good Jesus, hear me,
Within your wounds, hide me,
Do not let me be separated from you,
From the malicious enemy defend me,
In the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you, that with your saints
I may praise you for ever and ever. Amen.

I often go back to this prayer as I love asking to be hidden in His Heart and never separated from Him.
Some of us are going to the horse show which is just across the street from the back of the school. I went last year and enjoyed the afternoon very much. It is a fancy country club and one of our alums arranges a table for us and we sit there and sip cold drinks and watch the jumping.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Bit of Everything



Today I am just musing on the past week. I am still grieving the loss of one of ours who was known mostly to us as "Tippy" and I used to push her wheel chair around and take her back to her room always after Mass and often at other times during the day and we would talk. I miss her, but spent the last few days with her asking God to take her home. She had been on hospice and they kept her comfortable for her last days. She was such an interesting person. She was a novice with me, too.
Now for more cheerful news: we have had the joy of a visit from two of our novices. Yuriko Tazuka and Cho Min-ah are here and it is so good to have them. They look so young compared to us!
I find the days go by so quickly here that it always seems that I am starting a new week. Certainly this summer has flown by and so we must make the most of what is left of August!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

More about Associates




What does it mean to be "in association"?

The concept of Association is not new and has taken various forms since the twelfth century: third orders, secular societies and oblates, for example. But the current expression of religious-lay collaboration, commonly referred to as Association, is unique in the history of the Church. It is rooted in Vatican II, which defined the laity as the “people of God,” fellow journeyers, collaborating in prayer and mission with religious and clergy. At the same time, Vatican II directed religious communities to renew themselves in the light of the charism of their founders, and this opened the possibility for new kinds of mutual relationships between religious and the laity to flower.
Association is not a program, but a journey of conversion together with a specific religious order. Association is a spiritual renewal process that helps us develop a closer relationship with Christ and with one another.
The projection for the number of vowed religious in 2022 is below 7000. The Associate movement in North America has grown from just under 11,000 in 1992 to a projection of more than 75,000 by 2022 (from NACAR and a CARA study). So association is a worldwide phenomenon that is helping to keep alive the charism of each religious order as numbers of vowed religious decline.
Since the General Chapter of 2000 there has been an international call for groups of Associates. At present there are thirteen groups in the United States-Canada Province with about 140 members. While local groups have their own ways of living the call to make God’s love known in the world, they find common ground in the Associates Identity Statement. Key points include a commitment to personal prayer, spiritual formation, regular attendance at the group’s gatherings and “attentiveness to the needs of the world.”
St. Madeleine Sophie’s message reminds us to “Let love be your life.”  Together with the RSCJ, this is our energy, our focus, our call. If you would like to know more about the Associates of the Sacred Heart, check out our blog. If you would like an associate coordinator to contact you, please contact the associates coordinator in your area.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart





THE PICTURE IS OF THE ASSOCIATES COMMITTEE OF 2016



Sacred Heart Associates

Associates of the Sacred Heart are women and men who are attracted by and live the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart. There is a profound sense of mutuality between RSCJ and Associates because our common mission is to discover and make known the love of the heart of Jesus. We give witness to the love of God expressed in Jesus, in humanity, and in creation. This love calls us to collaborate in God’s transformation of our lives and the world around us. 

Sacred Heart Associates

Click on the link below to go directly to the Associates to read about their recent meeting, and the national organization that has developed. Associates of the Society of the Sacred Heart exist in so many places now and are living our charism.


http://rscjassociatesusa.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Place Called Home


A dear friend sent me all the verses of "A Place Called Home" so I am sharing them here. I want to write about our Associates, but have been waiting for the material that was to be sent me. I think I promised to feature the Associates this week so hopefully I will do so with facts and not just my own knowledge.


A Place Called Home

Members of AUSCP have the right to reproduce the hymn text free of charge UNTIL the piece is published by GIA, Inc., as long as the copyright notice at the bottom of the page is also reproduced.

The hymn tune is from Jean Sibelius’ tone poem, Finlandia.


A place called home with comfort for the weary:
A place called home of nourishment and rest:
A place called home that welcomes in the stranger,
Where one unknown becomes an honored guest,
Where love can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home where tenderness can flourish,
A place called home, a haven from all harm:
A place called home where children sleep in safety:
Where hurts are healed, a shelter from the storm,
Where peace can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home, a promise for tomorrow:
A place called home, a vision handed down:
A place called home for all God’s sons and daughters,
Where love prevails and peace is ever found,
Where hope can find a human habitation:
God grant us all this grace -- a place called home.

A place called home for ev’ry human being:
A place called home, where arms are opened wide;
A place called home, where all extend the welcome;
Where none are lost, alone, or cast aside
But members of a single human fam’ly.
God grant us grace to build a place called home.
c. 2015 by The Jan Michael Joncas Trust. All rights reserved.



Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration of the Lord



This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration. It is also, according to the Entrance Antiphon, a Trinitarian feast:
"In a resplendent cloud the Holy Spirit appeared. The Father's voice was heard: This is my Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him."

Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There, Jesus was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. Moses and Elijah appeared and conversed with Jesus. Peter wanted to stay there and offered to make three tents, but "while he was still speaking, behold a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.'" The disciples fell prostrate and were afraid, but Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and do not be afraid."
And looking up, they saw no one but Jesus.

I think God the Father is still saying to us: "Listen to my beloved Son." Am I taking the time to reflect on my life in order to listen to what Jesus is saying to me? What is the quality of my listening? Jesus speaks through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit but also through others; am I listening to him? Is Jesus speaking to me through an event? A death?
And I know He always says to me, "Do not be afraid!"

Saturday, August 5, 2017

What does St. Madeleine Sophie think ?


The Society of the Sacred Heart has spread all over the world. We are on every continent and in 43 countries. We are one body and we are not afraid to set sail; we are responding to the needs of our world with new frontiers opening to us. We have the courage to go forth and meet today's challenges. We owe much to St. Madeleine Sophie and to St. Philippine Duchesne.

Now, here at Oakwood, surrounded by love and care, what does God want of me? What do our two canonized saints have to say to me? To all of us?
Sophie tells me that prayer and the interior life are essential and I must take the means to deepen my love of God. She wants me to create silence so I can hear the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and follow them.
Philippine counts me as her daughter since she has been watching over me ever since I was a child at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I have always found her strong love giving me courage and I desire her gift of prayer. Now, you, too, should reflect on what Sophie and Philippine might be saying to you today!

I think we may be sure that they want to tell us something, if we ask and listen with all our hearts.

Friday, August 4, 2017

First Friday and our renewal


"Trusting in the fidelity of God and the love of my sisters, I, Helen Rosenthal (individual names) renew with all my heart the vows I have made to follow Jesus Christ until death by perpetual obedience, poverty, and chastity in the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and I commit myself anew to its mission of manifesting the love of Christ by the service of education, according to our Constitutions."

Then Father Sean said: "Religious are not alone in taking out lives and offering them to God. Each one of us is bound by vows and promises, both, to God and to one another. Let us pause in silence to ask God's grace to remain faithful to all these commitments. (Silent prayer)
Gracious God, send the gift of your Holy Spirit upon each one of us who has been consecrated by your love. May our lives reveal the face of Jesus, so that all who see us may find him present in your world. In the freedom of our hearts may we be vessels of your Spirit in the lives of others. May we look upon the world and see it ruled by your loving wisdom. May the gift we make of ourselves hasten the coming of your reign, and lead us one day into the fullness of your joy with all the saints of heaven. We ask this through Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
(This seems a good prayer for this First Friday.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Reflection on my jubilee of 65 years



Since I made my first vows in December of 1952, I was surprised when asked to take part in the renewal of Vows at the final Liturgy during the Spirituality Forum and also to be a Eucharistic Minister. Three of us were 65 years this year since our first Vows but there were others renewing 50 and 25 years so we were ten and came forward in two rows with the priest celebrant at the head with our Mother General on one side of him and our Provincial on the other - the prayers said both before and after our renewal are so beautiful that I want to share them with you. I suspect you will only see the prayer before the renewal today and I will copy the rest tomorrow.
Fr. Sean: "Our tender and faithful God gives us grace to keep our promises, as these jubilarians so beautifully attest. Let us now pray to God for each of them, for one another, and for the family of God's Heart all over the world. (Silent prayer)
Loving God, in your providence, you have called these women to follow your Son Jesus more closely as Religious of the Sacred Heart. They have served you with generosity and joy for many years and have made your love known to countless others. Give them now the grace to persevere to the end along the way of your love. We ask this through Christ, in the power of your Spirit, living and reigning with you forever and ever. Amen.
(Sorry, but you now need to wait for tomorrow's blog as I try to keep my blogs short.) You can always pray for all of us!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Ten Ways of Nourishing an Interior Life


Someone gave me a paper after I came home with ten ways of nourishing an interior life as exemplified in St. Madeleine Sophie's life and teachings. I am going to copy them for you and hope you reflect on ways of nourishing your interior life today.
1. Pondering the words and rites of the Liturgy
2. Loving and celebrating the cycle of feasts and seasons
3. Savoring the words of Scripture
4. Choosing some practices to enhance your inner world
5. Delighting in beauty, nature, animals
6. Attending to heart movements
7. Deliberately choosing solitude and silence
8. Talking about prayer with trusted others
9. Writing letters as a spiritual practice
10. Living deliberately through times of inner chaos

These seem still valid today but each one will have her own way of deepening her or his interior life. I love just to sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and let God love me!
I am pondering the one of "attending to heart movements."

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Never too late to begin!



One of our Sisters who is 98 or 99 years old now fell and broke her ankle. She is home from the hospital and has a new Kindle and wants me to show her how to use it. We are still struggling to get into her Amazon account to register it. I hope I can help her as she loves to read and this new Kindle is lightweight. I mostly read on my I-pad now but still love my old Kindle. It is so amazing that we can carry a library around with us. I use the Bible on my I-pad every day and I can highlight and save favorite passages, go quickly back and forth to consult passages that refer to other books in the Bible, etc.
I have been reading real books, too. The spiritual book that I have mentioned before and which I am still reading is  We Walk the Path Together: Learning from Thich Nhat Hanh and Meister Eckart. It is by Brian J. Pierce, OP, the priest who gave the retreat I made at the beginning of June. There is a great deal of helpful hints for living in the present and practicing mindfulness. I only read a bit at a time as there is much to think about on every page.
I do think reading Scripture daily is important and hope that my readers will find time for this. I must confess that I was told some years ago to read at least ten minutes from the New Testament and ten minutes from the Old Testament each day. I wish I had heeded that advice, but now I do have the time and still neglect this daily reading. It is never too late to begin.