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Sunday, September 23, 2018

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today I am using the reflection on this Sunday's Gospel by Father Joseph Donders (1929-2013) found in "Give Us This Day":

"The world does not respect people because they are people. It respects people because they are influential, because they are important...
Jesus said: "Nobody among you should be called master, or teacher, or father." When they asked him who was the most important, he called a small, smelly, unwashed street boy over and said to them:'This one.'
This Jesus, our universal king, showed us that our whole attitude should change, that our world should change in a revolutionary way, that we should respect all people for the simple fact that they happen to be God's people...that we should respect all people because Jesus knows their names...
He is not interested in their cars, in the quality of their clothes, in their degrees, in their prizes and awards, ... He knows their names. He knows them, and He wishes them all well, and all they need.
And that is how we should behave..."

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Today I am sharing this bit of practical advice from
Abbot Issac on Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:6:
"We pray in our room whenever we withdraw our hearts completely from the tumult and the noise of our thoughts and our worries and when secretly and intimately we offer our prayers to the Lord. We pray with the door shut when without opening our mouths and in perfect silence we offer our petitions to the One who pays no attention to words but looks hard at our hearts."

Sometimes we just need to bolt the door; some can turn off hearing aids which is a great help; others might try ear plugs!

Friday, September 21, 2018

The importance of Prayer

Pray as you can, not as you can't! The important thing is to pray! Just show up and let God act. He really wants to love us and we are crazy if we think we are too busy to pray. Ruth Burrows has this to say and I find it consoling: "...a life that is truly Christian is all prayer. For God's 'chosen', life is an unceasing desire expressed in their practical choosing of the divine will in all that happens. It is being there for God's coming in all the details of life, loving, purifying, transforming. Solitary prayer, liturgical prayer ad the prayer of grace-filled activity are one and the same great work of God and our cooperation with it. All three are necessary; they are interdependent and nourish one another."

I hope my readers are taking time to reflect on their own relationship with God. Our prayer is really just furthering our relationship with all three Persons in the Trinity and God takes the initiative. Let us abandon ourselves into God's hands and let Him mold us as He wills.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Prayer is simple

As you know, I have often said that prayer is simple. Thomas Merton asks: "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun."
I love that image and both Wendy Beckett and Ruth Burrows talk about the simplicity of prayer. Ruth says:"For Christians, those who claim Jesus as their Way, Truth and Life, the one who reveals the Godhead to us, through whom we are in God and God in us, prayer should be the simplest and most uncomplicated of activities."
Then she goes on to tell us that the essence of prayer is God.
He is always there to love us, and, in that loving, transforming and 'saving' of us, brings us to that perfect fulfillment for which we are created.
"On our side prayer is simply being there: open, exposed, inviting God to do all God wants. Prayer is not our activity...God is there ready to do everything for us, loving us unconditionally."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Commit ourselves to the sea of God's love

This picture is of a tranquil lake; the sea of God can be terrifying, but we need to immerse ourselves in it and let God carry us. It takes trust. Ruth Burrows talks about faith as a "sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life. It is to live our each hour in a practical, concrete affirmation that God is Father and he is 'in heaven'. It is a decision to shift the center of our lives from ourselves to Him, to forego self-interest and his interests, his will our sole concern."

Let us open ourselves to God and plunge into the sea of His Love without thought of the wind and waves, secure in His Love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Our search for the Beloved

Another passage that I have found helpful from Ruth Burrows is this one that speaks of our search for Jesus: "When we search for him in the Scriptures we have already found him. He is with us, at a level we do not perceive and cannot perceive, touching our inmost depth and working within us, infusing light, inflaming the will."...Our seeking in Scripture must be like that if the bride in the Song of Songs: all heart, never a merely intellectual effort...Our search for the Beloved in the revealed Word means that our times of silent prayer have content... Jesus draws us to himself not for himself but so as to take us to the Father."

That was more than one passage as I just keep adding some of what I had underlined the first time I read this book. I figure that if it helped me, it may help at least some of my readers.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Intimacy with God

In her Essence of Prayer, Ruth Burrows, OCD, assures us that intimacy with God is not only possible, but it is what God desires of each of us. She writes: "How do we attain to intimacy with God? Or, rather, how do we enter into the intimacy offered? We must be certain that no wooing is necessary. ...
Here is someone who is love itself, the very fount of our existence, enfolding us, inviting us to receive him, drawing us to his heart. All these human expressions are totally inadequate.... It is not easy to speak properly of a deep human relationship: how much more so when on of the partners is God."

And yet, I believe we are called to try to put into words our relationship with God. Words will never be adequate, but we can try to express what happens to us when we go to pray. Having spent years as a spiritual director, I know that some people struggle to put into words their relationship with God; others find ways to speak of the intimacy they experience in prayer. The times I have had a spiritual director who seems to really understand me, has made it possible to express at least something of my experience of God. I think we need to keep trying as it makes it more real for ourselves.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus asks us again in this Sunday's Gospel (Mark 8:27-33) "Who do you say that I am?"
This is the question that Jesus poses to each of us often for the answer may vary but it always indicative of what is influencing our inner life at this point in time. I think we need to reflect again today on how I am answering this fundamental question that Jesus is asking me? 
After Peter's confession of faith, Jesus began to teach his disciples that "the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan. You are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do." 
Then he will tell the crowd, and this means you and me, too, "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."

Much to think about in this Gospel. And the second reading from the Letter of James is also one to think about today. it is from James 2:14-18.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the day we remember the sorrows of Mary. I cannot imagine how she felt. First, having Jesus leave her after maybe 30 years, then following and hearing even her neighbors turn against him when he returned to his home town; then there was the constant fear that he would be imprisoned. Finally, there was his arrest, the meeting as Jesus carried his cross to the site where he was crucified; then Mary stayed as close to the cross as she was allowed and witnessed her only Son's suffering and death. She was still there when they took his body down from the cross and laid him in her arms. Her own heart was pierced even before the Heart of Jesus was pierced!

We can only contemplate the suffering of this Mother in silence. I feel that the sins of our world are still causing such suffering to so many mothers today, but Mary is there with each of us to console us and strengthen us. Let us spend the day with her in prayer for our world and our Church.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Let God control our prayer

"What does it mean in practice to say that we must be there for God and let God control our prayer, let God act? Does it mean we remain inert, completely passive? No, decidedly not! The essential thing we have to do is believe in the enfolding, nurturing, transforming Love of God which is the Reality: the Reality that is absolutely, totally there whether we avert to It or not. Prayer, for our side, is a deliberate decision to avert to It, to respond to It in the fullest way we can. To do this we must set time aside to devote exclusively to the 'Yes' of faith." 

That excerpt is found on p.5 in The Essence of Prayer by Ruth Burrows who then adds this quote from Julian of Norwich:

"God of Thy goodness, give me Thyself: for Thou art enough to me, and I may nothing ask that is less that may be full worship to Thee; and if I ask anything that is less, ever me wanteth-but only in Thee I have all."

Ruth says that if we are convinced that this is the heart of prayer, this basic decision to remain open to the inflowing of divine love, then we shall understand that we can choose any method we like to help us maintain this basic desire and intention.
And I add, just be there, show up and let God love you! He just wants you and does not need your thoughts or words, just be present to God who is always present to you.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Get out of the boat and walk on water...

Today I want to begin sharing with you some of the wisdom of prayer from a book I often go back to when I feel the need of some inspiration for my own prayer. It is The Essence of Prayer
by Ruth Burrows and was first published in 2006 - one of the few books on prayer that I brought with me to Oakwood.

She says: "Let us assume that we do want God, or, at least, we want to want God, wobbly and weak though we know ourselves to be. 'If it is you, bid me come to you upon the waters.' (Mt 14:28) It is the Lord and he says: 'Come!' So we can confidently enter into the Mystery that is God, relying solely on Jesus and not at all on ourselves."

I will share more tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Autumn means many things

We are back to school and well into September, but in California it still seems like summer. However, we have football games and some trees to take on an autumn look, but I miss the gorgeous shades of autumn, the falling leaves, the brisk weather. Still, I love the beauty of California even while missing some of the changes of seasons.
In our inner lives, do we have regular changes of seasons? It is something to ponder. I think we have all experienced changes, but I think the inner life is too unpredictable to have regular seasons. 
I did find something to share with you on prayer of the heart.

Practice: Prayer of the Heart

"Abba Poemen said, “Teach your mouth to say what is in your heart.” [1] Many of the desert fathers and mothers, as well as the collected texts of the Philokaliain the Eastern Orthodox tradition, have described prayer as bringing your thinking down into your heart. It always seemed like soft piety to me until someone taught me how to do it, and I learned the immense benefits of the prayer of the heart. As a Catholic, I was often puzzled by the continued return to heart imagery, such as Jesus pointing to his “Sacred Heart” and Mary pointing to her “Immaculate Heart.” I often wonder what people actually do with these images. Are they mere sentiment? Are they objects of worship or objects of transformation? You must return their gaze and invitation for a long time to get the transformative message and healing. Such images keep recurring only because they are speaking something important from the unconsciousmaybe even something necessary for the soul’s emergence.
Love lives and thrives in the heart space. It has kept me from wanting to hurt people who have hurt me. It keeps me every day from obsessive, repetitive, or compulsive head games. It can make the difference between being happy and being miserable and negative. Could this be what we are really doing when we say we are praying for someone? Yes, we are holding them in our heart space. Do this in an almost physical sense, and you will see how calmly and quickly it works.
Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space. Dualistic commentaries are lodged in your head; but in your heart, you can surround this negative thought with silence. There it is surrounded with blood, which will often feel warm like coals. In this place, it is almost impossible to comment, judge, create story lines, or remain antagonistic. You are in a place that does not create or feed on contraries but is the natural organ of life, embodiment, and love. Now the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart have been transferred to you. They are pointing for you to join them there. The “sacred heart” is then your heart too."
This was copied from Richard Rohr

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September 11th

All of us remember where we were on September 11 when so many lost their lives and our lives changed. So many heroic actions took place and the entire country grieved the loss of so many innocent people and we will not forget them or the people of New York who hurried to assist that day. 

I may have shared this before, but it is "On the Experience of Prayer" by Denise Levertov:
"As swimmers dare to lie face to the sky and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain free fall, and float into the Creator Spirit's deep embrace, knowing no effort earns that all- surrounding grace."

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Call to Holiness

Today, I have the first session with my Spirituality Group of Mothers of Sacred Heart children; I began the group as a follow-up to the Busy Persons' Retreat; last year we did different kinds of prayer each month and then sharing; the year before it was mostly Centering Prayer and then Lectio Divina on the next Sunday's Gospel and sharing. This year, I am going to begin with the first Chapter of Gaudete et Exsultatae; it is a call to holiness for all of us.

I still have a few quotes to share. This is one I copied in my journal so I can, and do, go back to in order to remind myself that I need an open mind and discerning heart:
"These days life in God is one of journey for me. There is neither clear path nor exact destination, for daily choices and steps determine the way.The gifts of the Spirit provide light and grace of God is sustenance. I pray for an open mind, a discerning spirit, and a loving heart, for the days ahead. Who knows what lies before us and what is yet to come!"
Ellen Deuwer, "Praying in These Emerging Times: A Reflection Journal" - LCWR Publication

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel for this Sunday (Mark 7:31-37) had Jesus curing a deaf man who also had a speech impediment. Jesus "took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man's ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, 'Ephphatha!' - that is, 'Be opened!' - And immediately the man's ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly."

The first reading for this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (35: 4-7a) and begins by the Lord telling us "Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing...."

Our world is in such turmoil that we need to hear these words of the Lord.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Our Lady's Birthday

Today we celebrate the birthday of Mary. It is one of the feasts, actually the fifth one, that I am trying to celebrate in a special way by connecting it to my inner journey. It is like a port where I dock for the day to take stock and prepare for the next week of this inner journey. I need to do this as I get too caught up in the exterior life even while realizing that my inner life is not only more important, but more interesting!

The entrance antiphon for this Feast is: "Let us celebrate with joy the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for from her arose the sun of justice, Christ our God."
Mary was always special. I think she was very human and lived simply while cultivating both her inner life and practicing the virtues of humility, simplicity, and love of all God's creation.
Let us pray to Mary today and thank her for all she does for each of us; I know she is watching over each with a mother's love. I also invite you to thank God for this great gift of the Mother of Jesus and of all of us!

Friday, September 7, 2018

Saint Philippine Duchesne's Arrival in St. Charles

On September 7, 1818, two hundred years ago, St. Philippine Duchesne finally arrived to begin the first school of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the new world. She opened the first free school west of the Mississippi and then the boarding school. I was so fortunate to have been able to spend my four years of high school there as a boarder. It is a holy place and many come on pilgrimage so I was privileged to be there and will always be grateful that my parents allowed me to go. At that time, the city of St. Charles seemed far away as there was only the old Rock Road, no highway connection yet, and the one narrow bridge. Now St. Charles is easy to get to from St. Louis, Philippine had a long journey in a coach and then had to transfer to a ferry boat to land at St. Charles in 1818.
The Bishop had rented a house for them; it was not ready and really not suitable as it had only one large room and six small rooms; there were more doors than windows. Somehow, our  Saint Philippine and her four companions made it work. They suffered so much the first year that the Bishop said they could not remain. He moved them to Florissant, but in 1828 the Academy of the Sacred Heart was reopened in St. Charles in the same unsuitable house. 
We tried to watch the reenactment of Philippine's arrival this morning, but it was not clear, probably due to the storm which had moved it from the river bank into the big gym at the Duchesne High School. They expected over 2,200 students plus the other guests who wanted to celebrate this memorial day!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Prayer is not an idle occupation

Again, I cannot reach my photo albums to put a picture in my blog. I am sure I will be able to figure this out with time, but for now I cannot do it. I do have a few short quotes on prayer to share with you today.

"Prayer is not an idle occupation. It's a very powerful instrument of our work and love." Julian of Norwich.

"Better a little prayer with devotion than much prayer without devotion. The Talmud.

"The most powerful prayer, one well nigh omnipotent, and the worthiest work of all is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter the mind, the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible." Meister Eckhart.

Joy Lasts

For some reason, I cannot put a picture into my blog the way I usually do. I am sure I will figure this out or just cut and paste, but I get frustrated when something I have been doing every day for years suddenly will not work!
I just received a book by Sister Wendy Beckett that I had not known about before I saw it listed under her name. The title is Joy lasts: On the Spiritual in Art. As I have recently read again her book on Prayer, I am looking forward to this one.

As I have mentioned before, some of us have a Senior student and see them for an hour each week. My student from last year just gave me great joy by sending me a long e-mail telling me how much he is learning after only a week of classes. Then, this morning, the student I have this year shared two of his college application essays which is a tremendous help in getting to know him.

I do have a quote for you again today:
"Prayer is sitting in the silence until it silences us, choosing gratitude until we are grateful, praising God until we ourselves are a constant act of praise." Richard Rohr

And here is another quote I love from Mother Teresa:
"Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at God's disposition, and listening for Love's voice in the depths of our heart."

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Be content to be yourself!

I have just bought a new book, The Relentless Mercy of God,
by Joseph V. Corpora, C.S.C., who was one of the priests commissioned by the Pope in the Holy Year as a Missionary of Mercy. Actually, at the end of the Holy Year, Pope Francis asked the Missionaries of Mercy to continue to give God's mercy through their work as confessors, retreat directors and through the culture of encounter.
Helped are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant.
Alice Walker

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Pictures from my patio

I suppose that this is our patio and not "my" patio, but I do feel that it is a gift. The rose was taken from my window and I love being able to look out and see the birds bathing in the fountain. The squirrels come to drink, too. I am so blessed and we have had such wonderful weather all summer. There were a few days that were hot, but I live in Westwood and we do not have any air-conditioning and really do not need it. I have put away my little fan as it only used it for the few hot evenings. I also gave away my little heater last winter to my neighbor as I never felt the need to use it. We do have heat in Westwood and the early mornings can be cold, so I am grateful, but I usually have my window open all year long, just not so wide.

Now, I am not sure how I began to speak about the climate, but I guess it is part of my gratitude. I am finding so many things to thank for as I go through the day. I hope you are also feeling grateful as grateful people are joyful people.

Here is my quote for the day:

One must view the world through the eye in one’s heart rather than just trust the eyes in one’s head.
Mary Crow Dog

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day?

Now that so many stores stay open, this may be a day of labor, but mostly it is a holiday to give one a rest from work and at the same time, it is a celebration of work. We can be so thankful that there is the opportunity for good, honest work. I feel for all those who cannot find jobs or find something that is only part-time and not at all the kind of job they want or even have been trained to do. Let us pray for all those who are out there still seeking jobs. Many are college graduates with debts to pay off because of loans to get an education and then they cannot get a job.
I guess I am grateful that I always had meaningful work to do.
May everyone enjoy this holiday this year. I think we are having a Bingo Party and then a picnic in the patio. I do not remember what we did last year here, but look forward to the holiday this year.
Here is a word for the day that I love:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo Buscaglia

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Again, I want to share the Collect as we so often are not able to be attentive when it is read at the beginning of the Liturgy or maybe it is just that it is hard to take in unless you have it before you.
"God of might, giver of every good gift,
pour into our hearts the love of your name, 
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good and,
by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, you Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."

The second reading from the Letter of Saint James tells us to "humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves."

Saturday, September 1, 2018

I am at sea...

The first day of September brings thoughts of Autumn: raking leaves, harvesting crops, returning to school, and feeling new energy from the brisk air. Some parts of the country may still be in summer, but I love to look at the pictures on paths into woods that are aglow with color.

I am still trying to map my interior journey. We have talked much about our Saint Philippine setting forth on the Rebecca, a ship that took weeks to cross the ocean to bring her to our country. We are celebrating the bicentennial of the Society in America as Philippine and her four companions arrived 200 years ago and began the first school of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. My grandmother and her sisters all attended this dear convent and I was a boarder there for high school from 1944-1948. I loved it and was home for three nights and had four nights at school. I wanted to focus on the fact that the Chapter 2016 spoke of us setting sail, having "Rebecca moments" and this has made me think again about my inner journey as being in a boat headed for my final destination. Jesus is the captain and the crew is exceptional so I am just enjoying the ride. Others are in the boat with me. I think that we do find some harbors and sail in and dock our boat for a time, but we soon continue our journey, trusting our Captain.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The function of prayer...

Today I have a great quote from Sister Joan Chittister taken from Essential Monastic Wisdom by Hugh Feiss:

"The function of prayer is not to establish a routine; it is to establish a relationship with God who is in relationship with us always...The function of prayer is to bring us into touch with ourselves, as well. To the ancients, "tears of compunction" were the sign of a soul that knew its limits, faced its sins, accepted its needs, and lived in hope."

Since God is always in relationship with us, we need only turn to Him and just be ourselves. Sometimes we want to talk to Him, but often we just sit in silence with God and let Him love us.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The way of the heart

Last August I went with my brother and sister-in-law by car to San Diego. On the way we visited Hearst Castle, the picture today. The location is beautiful, but California is a gorgeous state. What strikes me is the amount of land that could be used to settle some of the refugees who are begging to enter our country.  I just feel for those who have had to leave their own country and then find that other countries do not want them. We would not be here if our ancestors were refused entrance to our huge country. 

I do have some more quotes to share so here we go:

"Real prayer penetrates to the marrow of our soul and leaves nothing untouched. The prayer of the heart is prayer that does not allow us to limit our relationship with God to interesting words or pious emotion...the prayer of the heart is the prayer of truth." Henri Nouwen in The Way of the Heart

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

I am still with St. Augustine as our hundred-year-old gave me this prayer at breakfast yesterday. I was always struck by this passage and so decided to copy it here:

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet, if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

Imagine how I once struggled as a college student to translate that passage in "The Confessions of Saint Augustine"!
I love the line: "You were with me, but I was not with you." That says what so often happens to me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Feast of St. Augustine

Here is the Collect for the Mass for this feast:
"Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord,
the spirit with which you endowed your Bishop St. Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love."

We certainly need to pray for a renewal in our Church today. I have always admired Augustine and talked myself into a Latin class when in college just because I wanted to study the "Confessions of St. Augustine". Then, I began teaching at St. Thomas University in Miami when it was still an Augustinian University. I love the way Augustine was converted and I do believe that our hearts are restless until we find rest in God.

Oakwood has received or is receiving five new members so we have a full house. I think we may be 51 now. Maybe more, if we count the Gatehouse community. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Last Week of August

The summer is really over and I survived without any swimming. Ever since we were no longer cloistered, I tried every summer to have the opportunity to swim; in Miami, I was spoiled because we could swim most of the year and I had access to a pool. Actually, the last 16 years in Miami, we had our own pool and I really enjoyed it. Surprisingly, I did not really miss swimming this summer. Perhaps our wonderful California climate has much to do with this or I just had resigned myself to give it up. Anyway, here is the end of a very happy and busy summer and I am sure I did many more important things and I am grateful. I had time near the Pacific and found God there even when it was cloudy and gray. 
Although school has begun, I feel the last week in August should still be vacation and so have a few more quotes to share with you this week.
"I draw prayer around me like a dark, protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again." Etty Hillsum

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

I always like to share the Collect as we often miss the words of the opening prayer. Sometimes, I just pray with the Collect.

"O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

In the Gospel (John 6) Jesus asks the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

Peter does not ask where they should go, but to whom? Jesus has become the only one that matters and he has the words of eternal life.
Jesus calls each one of us to follow Him. He leads us to His Father. I am still thinking also of Mary as being so present to all of those in heaven and all on earth for she is our Mother and Queen. Let us turn to her today for the grace never to go away from Jesus.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Feast of St. Louis and my Dad's Birthday

Being born and raised in St. Louis, I did know that this was the day we celebrated the saint, but it stands out for me as my Dad's birthday. We always had a party with all the family and it was a great celebration. It was also the last event of the summer and we knew that after the 25th meant getting ready for school. I think that all our schools began after Labor Day when I was growing up; now some begin by the third week in August.

My Dad was really a wonderful person. He was kind and loving and helped so many in different ways. I remember him in his old age as still taking care of the swimming pool each evening and then just sitting and contemplating a rubber swan that would swim around the pool.  

Here is another quote from St. Madeleine Sophie:

"Let us always await God's good pleasure in a spirit of peace. He watches over us with a father's care; we must believe that all He ordains is for the best."

Just a week before my Dad died, I had a dream in which my mother came and took Dad with her saying to me that it was time and she had come for him. Dad died on Easter Monday, but we had all been with him on Easter and my sister and I had him anointed on Holy Thursday. He was quite himself until the end, sitting up in bed and enjoying his meals. Since then, I have felt the presence of my parents near me. This is a grace that I am so grateful for and hope others also have it.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Saint Bartholomew

The Apostle Bartholomew is not very well known, at least to me. Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles of Jesus in the three synoptic gospels: Matthew,[10:1–4] Mark,[3:13–19] and Luke,[6:12–16] and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension[Acts 1:4,12,13]; on each occasion, however, he is named in the company of Philip. He is not mentioned by the name Bartholomew in the Gospel of John, however, it is thought that Nathaniel, who is mentioned with Phillip, is another name for Bartholomew. 

My quote for today is from St. Madeleine Sophie:
"All things require time and patience, and above all, confidence in Our Lord."

Jesus asks us to trust Him, confide in Him, and all will be well.

And here is another to give us peace: "To will only what God wills is the way to enjoy peace."

Have a good day! 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back to Ordinary Life

My brother and his wife left today. They have been very concerned about their dog who has not been well. You can see the dog with John in this picture I took the last time I was in Gold Canyon, Arizona, where they live. We did a great deal in the time they were here, and I am grateful that they could come and be with me for four days. 

Wanting inspiration this morning for prayer, I picked up my "Sister Wendy on Prayer" - a book that I brought with me as I love Sister Wendy Beckett. There is this quote on the back cover: 
"Prayer is for all of us. God wants to love us and to give himself. He wants to draw us to himself, strengthen us, and infuse his peace. The humblest, most modest, almost imperceptible running of our fingers on the door and it flies open." 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Feast of the Queenship of Mary

This Feast of the Queenship of Mary used to be on May 31 and today was the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I like celebrating Our Lady as Queen of heaven the week following the Assumption. This is really my third "station" for the month of August. I may not have shared an inspiration I had while in retreat for a couple of days at Villa Maria del Mar. It was on the Feast of St. Ignatius and I was wondering how to get more in touch with my inner life. I had been trying to understand that quote of Merton that I know I did share with you, but will repeat here: "The geographical pilgrimage is a symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meaning and signs of the outer pilgrimage." 
My idea is to make concrete my inner life by reflecting on four feasts each month until Christmas. I consider these feasts as stations on the way where I pause to reflect with the reading for the feast to see where the Lord is leading me. First, I was just on the mountain with Jesus (Transfiguration); then, I went to heaven with Mary (Assumption) and now I am at the feet of my Queen and Mother (Queenship of Mary). Linked to the daily examen, I think this is really helping me to get in touch with my interior life and that is why I am sharing this with you today.

My inner journey seems to be in a flying boat sometimes and I am just the passenger. At other times, I am allowed, even called upon, to steer the boat. Docking the boat at four "stations" along the way each month to stop and reflect on my journey seems a good inspiration for me to try. I will keep you posted.
Do remember that the Pope asks each of us to make an Examen each day in dialogue with Jesus.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Communion of Saints

Since I have been spending time with Our Lady this week around the mystery of her Asumption into heaven, I am seeing her presiding over all the saints, listening to them, sending angels to console us, and just being a mother to all. I cannot really picture heaven, but it is a bright, peaceful place and full of love and joy. I have so many friends there that I feel at home and just wandering around with Mary until she takes me to Jesus. Then I am just there for with Jesus are the Father and the Holy Spirit. I do not see them but imagine light and do feel their presence. I suppose this is all imaginative prayer, but it makes God, Mary, the angels and the saints very real for me.

Here is a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie: "Every delay with God is a kind of refusal." 

That makes me think that I need to pay more heed to the nudges of the Holy Spirit. I sometimes wait for a shove from above.

Monday, August 20, 2018

It is still summer here

This picture is bound to make you feel cool. As my brother and sister-in law are visiting me, we are off today for the ocean. I am taking them to lunch at the Distillary restaurant which is still haunted by the ghost of the Blue Lady who was killed on the beach below. Then, we will drive to Rockaway Beach before coming home.
I do have two quotes to share:
"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced." James Baldwin

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel begins with Jesus telling the crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

The Jews cannot understand again so Jesus tells them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." 

And then Jesus makes this wonderful promise that we will have eternal life and be raised on the last day if we eat his flesh and drink his blood and "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him....whoever eats this bread will live forever."  
Much to reflect on in this Gospel. And the responsorial psalm is "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" and then Ps 34, 2-7.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A good way to pray...

This is a quote from Macrina Wiederkehr's A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary:
"Today my prayer consisted in simply going to my heart and remembering all the folks I've stored there. It is not cold storage. It is a quite warm and tender place." 

I love Macrina's books and the above quote.

Now, this is from St. Catherine of Siena.
"The sun hears the fields talking about effort
and the sun smiles,
and whispers to me, 'Why don't the fields just rest, for I am willing to do everything to help them to grow?'
Rest, my dears, in prayer."

Friday, August 17, 2018

Living Dangerously

This picture always fascinates me. Is it dangerous to even climb up to this little house on top of the rock? And what must one feel who lives there in the midst of a storm? Having said this, I would love to be living there for at least a week! 

Here are my quotes for today"
"A sheltered life can be a daring life as well for all serious daring starts from within." Eudora Welty

"May you embrace this day, not just as any old day, but as this day , your day, held in trust by you, in a singular place called now." Carrie Newcomer

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Quotes to Reflect On

"Beauty seen makes the one who sees it more beautiful."
Brother David Steindl-Rast said this and I think we are talking about interior beauty; we have a 100 year-old Religious here who really sees beauty and has a beautiful interior life.

As August is still a time for vacation, I am going to continue to share with you some wonderful quotes that I have collected lately. You can choose which you want to reflect on, but I will share two or three each day.

"In our busy lives it is so easy to forget the Divine, to be immersed in our own problems and our own selves. The mystic knows that what really matters is the inner connection of the heart in which our heart opens and cries. It is something so simple and yet so easily overlooked. Prayer is a way to be with God." Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in Prayer of the Heart in Christian and Sufi Mysticism.

"Do not think that the words of prayer as you say them arise to God. It is not the words themselves that ascend; it is the burning desire of your heart that rises like smoke toward heaven." A Hasidic saying found in Martin Buber's Ten Rungs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

This Feast is special for those who have great devotion to Mary. We believe that she is now with her Beloved Son from the moment of her death as she was taken up to heaven body and soul to be with Jesus for all eternity. She has never stopped being the Mother of all of us and watches over us. 

I love having two mothers in heaven. Both love me and I think both are very active in caring for me. Both tell me to love others. Our Lady comes to me when I need her. She consoles and strengthens me and always tells me to do whatever Jesus tells me. She also brings me my other mother's love and wants me to draw strength from the fact that I have both mothers always interceding for me and inspiring me to be better.
I am trying to imagine what a homecoming it was for Mary to reach heaven and be able to embrace her Son. I also imagine what it was like for my Mom to be united with my Dad when he died. And then there are all those Angels who now have Mary.
I guess we need to wait until we go to heaven to understand what it is like, but I am more in touch with the Communion of Saints now and sometimes let my imagination run wild.

The Memorare is my favorite prayer to Our Lady.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Cool off with this picture

Just the contemplation of this picture makes me feel not only cool but calm. It is a contemplative moment and I rejoice in the beauty.

One habit that I am cultivating is saying grace before and after meals. Sometimes, one at my table says at the end: 
Rub - a- dub, dub; thanks for the grub; yeah, God!

The grace my sister loves is one that an Irish RSCJ taught us when we were visiting in Dublin. I am asked here to say it, too:
"Lord, we ask you to bless the cook, the food, and the dishes, as you blessed the loaves and fishes. And, as the sugar in the tea, let us be stirred by Thee."

Now all that is to introduce a quote I found and love from Rabbi Herschel Schachter:
"By saying grace, we release the divine sparks in our food."

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. The next station on my inner journey so I will need to leave the mountain where I have been with Jesus since the Feast of the Transfiguration and be with Mary as she joins her Son in heaven to be our heavenly mother and Queen of Angels, etc.

Monday, August 13, 2018

What is a lovely day for you?

"In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go." Alice Walker

"For me, a lovely day is any day I wake up."

I just thought I would share these quotes so you can reflect on them today. I forgot who said the second, but both are helpful!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Taste and see the Goodness of the Lord - Paul will tell us in the second reading: "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God..."
We are to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 4

The Gospel (Jn 6:41-51) has the Jews murmuring about Jesus because He said:"I am the bread that came down from heaven." Then Jesus tells them that He is "the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

That should be enough to reflect on today, but I also like to share a part in today's Gospel that always strikes me: "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Amen, Amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life."

Let us go to Jesus with all our joys and sorrows, our desires, our preoccupations, etc. He waits for us!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Life is fragile and short...

As we are still in vacation time, I am just going to be sharing some of the quotes I have been saving from "Word for the Day"!

"Life is fragile and short and worth all the loving presence we can bring to it." Rebecca Kushins

"The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy." 
Abraham Maslow

And one final quote for your reflection today:
"Gratitude is exultation awaiting between the cracks of normalcy." Frederic Potter

Friday, August 10, 2018

Experience of Prayer

Everyone's experience of prayer is different and often we can not find the words to express what happens to us when we take time to enter into a deeper prayer. I was happy to come upon this quote from Denise Levertov that I had copied in my journal:

"As swimmers dare to lie face to the sky and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air and air sustains them, so would I learn to attain free fall, and float into the Creator Spirit's deep embraces, knowing no effort earns that all-surrounding grace."

Relax and let God love you today!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

W are all on a voyage...

Today I have a quote for you that I copied from the "Praying in These Emerging Times: A Reflection Journal" that is an LCWR publication. This is from Ellen Dauwer, SC and I like it:

"These days life in God is one of journey for me. There is neither clear path nor exact destination, for daily choices and steps determine the way. The gifts of the Spirit provide light and the grace of God is sustenance. I pray for an open mind, a discerning spirit, and a loving heart for the days ahead. Who knows what lies before us and what is yet to come."

My light from the June retreat is that I am in my last boat, I do not know exactly when I will arrive at my destination, but Jesus is the Captain of this boat and I am at peace. It is good to know that this is my final voyage and, although there may still be many ports-of-call, I will arrive safely at the end of this voyage.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Let us set sail


In this bicentennial year celebrating St. Philippine Duchesne's arrival in America, we are all to have the courage to set sail into our future. The Society of the Sacred Heart all over the world is using this metaphor to go out and let the Lord lead us into the future. We are discerning even about our way of organizing ourselves and I know that Philippine is watching over us so that we choose life, set sail, and count on the Lord to take us to a safe harbor. 
I was up on the mountain with Jesus in prayer for the Feast of the Transfiguration. Yesterday's Gospel had Jesus sending me with his Apostles into a storm. He was praying but came to us and calmed the waters. It has been my experience so often in life that when I feel overwhelmed, Jesus comes and then all is calm and peaceful.
These are busy days with many extras. Yesterday we had the new faculty and some of the old here for Mass and a reception afterwards. I always try to talk up the Busy Persons' Retreat. Some of them said that they had been teaching in our school in San Francisco and knew about it. I think it is one of the helps we offer here for parents in the Fall and the Faculty and Staff in the Spring that can really make a difference in one's prayer.