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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sailing with Jesus

I have had this image of sailing with Jesus. There is no one else in the boat, just Jesus and me. I know I am headed to my final destination, but I am very calm and peaceful as Jesus is doing all the work. The sea is calm, the wind gentle, and I feel full for joy. I am content just to be there with Jesus. We are not even talking but just are happy to be out in this boat together. I am sharing this today as it has been so powerful and brought me such deep peace.

I am still thinking of all I have to be grateful for each day as I prepare for Thanksgiving. I am also spending time with our Saint Philippine Duchesne as we will end our bicentennial celebrations on November 18. Here is the quote I drew at our prayer service at the end of the Busy Persons' Retreat:
"Do not look back to the past nor forward to the future. Claim only the present, for it holds God's will."

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

lLet us be concerned and pray...

Today is the feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini. I was looking at the Mass and the opening prayer, the Collect, seems so apt for us to pray with today that I am copying it here:

"God, our Father, who called St. Frances Xavier Cabrini from Italy to serve the immigrants of America, by her example, teach us to have concern for the stranger, the sick, and all those in need, and by her prayer help us to see Christ in all the men and women we meet. 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.

I wish all of our congressmen and women would pray this, too.
Let us pray for our country and for all those who are suffering , especially the immigrants, and those who have lost all their possessions in the wildfires here in California, those who have suffered from the hurricanes, etc. It is also important to pray for the meeting of the Bishops this week. They need to listen to the Holy Spirit and make many changes in their own lives to have credibility with so many today.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Where do I abide?

This struck me when reading Richard Rohr's meditation a couple of days ago and so I am sharing it here.

Self-hatred is also the hatred of God, because God and ourselves are united. —Thomas Keating [1]
There is only one thing you must definitely answer for yourself: “Who am I?” Or, restated, “Where do I abide?” If you can get that right, the rest largely takes care of itself. Paul answers the questions directly: “You are hidden with Christ in God, and Christ is your life” (Colossians 3:3-4). Every time you start hating yourself, ask, “Who am I?” The answer will come: “I am hidden with Christ in God” in every part of my life. I am bearing both the mystery of suffering humanity and the mystery of God’s glory, which is precisely the mystery of Christ. (Allow yourself to be shocked by the universality of Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 3:21-23, 15:22-28 or Colossians 1:15-20.)
God looks at us and always sees Christ, and God thus finds us always and entirely lovable. God fixes God’s gaze intently where we refuse to look, on our shared, divine nature as God’s children (1 John 3:2). And one day our gaze will match God’s gaze. We will find God entirely lovable and ourselves fully lovable 

This is something to thank for today. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Both the first reading from the Book of Kings and the Gospel (Mark 12:38-44), have widows. Jesus points out the poor widow who came to the temple and put in two small coins in the treasury. Jesus calls his disciples and said to them, "Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. tor they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood." 

The other widow in the Book of Kings was also generous as Elijah asked her for a drink and then for a bit of bread. She tells him that she has nothing baked. There is only a little flour in her jar and a little oil in her jug and she was collecting some sticks to be able to prepare something for herself and her son and when they have eaten it, she says they will die as there is no food to be had. Elijah said to her, "Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the Lord, the God of Israel, says, 'The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'" And so it came to pass; she and her son and Elijah were able to eat for a year.

I think I like this story as I saw something like it happen in Chile over and over again. We had a soup kitchen in our yard where we fed about thirty or more preschoolers each day. I was superior of the community in Coquimbo and would go over to see the children. Whenever the school was closed, the older brothers and sisters would come with the preschoolers hoping to be given something. Somehow, a miracle happened each time and we were able to provide some soup for all - the women who prepared the soup (the priest sometimes brought us the head of a cow as the base for the soup), had great faith and would tell me that they had prepared the same amount as usual but it just multiplied to serve all the children who arrived with their little brothers and sisters. Often, the bread also seemed to multiply so that all received a piece. It certainly increased my faith to see what was happening.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Attitudes of Gratitude

Have you begun to think of what you are most grateful for today? I have a little book that I sometimes pick up as I love the title: Attitudes of gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. The author is M.J. Ryan, the editor of A Grateful Heart. 

M.J. Ryan says in her introduction: "Happiness, the sheer joy of being alive, is within our reach. All we need is an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude creates happiness beacause it makes us feel full, complete; gratitude is the realization that we have everything we need, at least in this moment ….It's a magic key-all you need to do is use it, and the world is suddenly transformed into a beautiful wonderland, in which you are invited to play...."

We finished the Busy Persons' Retreat Friday afternoon and I am grateful for the beautiful women who made it and who also inspired me to reflect more on my own life. I have so much to thank for and I am going around hearing God saying to me:
"I love you, Helen" and I reply "I love You, too." God speaks as I breathe in and I answer as I breathe out. It really can be a powerful prayer as you walk, drive, wash dishes, etc.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Nearing the end of our Bicentennial Celebrations

Using the daily calendar that has a quote from Philippine for each day of the year, has helped me to stay with her in a new way. She cares for our holiness and will give us her gift of prayer and fortitude, if we persevere in asking her. She only wanted and I suspect still wants to spread the love of the Heart of Jesus to every part of our world. I know she must be trying to help all immigrants now and must find what we are doing to keep refugees from entering our country inhuman. 

I really wanted to begin thinking of a special practice for Thanksgiving. Would it not be helpful to gather each evening, maybe over dinner, and each would share what she or he is most grateful for that day. It would make us all reflect on so much that happens each day to be grateful for and how often we forget to thank! I suggest we all try to do this. We only have a dozen days to prepare for Thanksgiving! 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

What silence armors us against

Again I am sharing thoughts from Wendy Beckett's "Meditations on Silence. She says that what "silence principally armors us against is Babel; the endless foolish chatter, words used to confound thought, words misused to ward off friendship or attachments, words as occupation. The biblical Babel was a metaphor for the loss of human ability to communicate as a consequence of the rise of different languages; but the foreignness of other tongues is a smoke screen. To express what on means, and to hear what another means, this is a rare thing....We have an absolute need for quiet, for the heart's wordless resting on God."

Living with fifty other women is a joy, but it also makes me appreciate silence!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Desiring Silence

Desiring Silence is one of Sister Wendy Beckett's "Meditations on Silence" which I really love. I suspect that when I was using her little book last June, I may have shared some of this one, but it is worth repeating. She begins by saying, " Profound silence is not something we fall into casually. This may indeed happen, and a blessed happening it is, but normally we choose to set aside a time and a place to enter into spiritual quietness. (Those who never do this, or who shrink from it, run a very grave risk of remaining only half fulfilled as humans.) Craigie Aitchison's view of Holy Island pares this choice down to its fundamental simplicities. Brown earth, blue sea and red sky; Holy Island a stony gray lit by glory. There is a small ship to take us across, if we choose to ride in it. There are no fudging elements here; all is clear cut. This is not silence itself but rather the desire for silence. Silence, being greater than the human psyche, cannot be compressed within our intellectual categories; it will always elude us. But the desire to be silent, the understanding of the absolute need for it; this is expressed in Aitchinson's wonderful diagram of life within sight of the holy."

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Deepening our love relationship

I read the other day that it is good to deepen our love relationship with Jesus by forming the habit of thinking every time I breathe in that God is saying, "I love you"; every time I breathe out, I am saying to God, "I love You, too." I think I added the "too" and also I hear God saying my name as well as I love you. I have been trying this and find it very helpful. It centers one, makes me feel peaceful and so I hope to continue this practice as I walk around or make my bed, etc. 
We had our usual first Sunday of the month as a silent day. This was so welcome after our busy last two weeks of October. Since I am seeing four for the Busy Persons' Retreat this week, I suspect I will only get around to answering letters, etc. next week. Retirement out here keeps one very busy!
Let us pray much for the elections - that those who are elected will work for the common good; let us also pray much for the Church and for the Bishops' meetings next week.

Monday, November 5, 2018

God's joy sustains me...

Tomorrow I am giving a 45 minute talk on St. Philippine Duchesne for the Children of Mary in San Francisco. I love Philippine and want others to know her, too. We leave here at 12:30 and there is Mass before my talk with a favorite Jesuit who comes to us on three Sundays a month.

My head is rather full of Philippine tonight so I am just going to repeat one of her favorite prayers: 

"I am where God wills me to be, and so I have found rest and security. God's wisdom governs me, God's power defends me,
God's mercy encompasses me, God's joy sustains me, and all will go well with me."

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Collect asks that "we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised."

God has promised us eternal life but, as the readings remind us we need to remember that the "Lord is our God, the Lord alone! Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength."

This is repeated in the Gospel (Mark 12: 28-34) alone with the second commandment to love your neighbor as yourself." 

I think that we keep trying to keep these two commandments, but it is not always easy. Let us ask for the grace to do so.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

We are in the Presence of God!

Today I want to share something from Richard Rohr's daily meditation from October 29:

We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God’s love is maintaining us in existence with every breath we take. As we take another, it means that God is choosing us now and now and now and now. We have nothing to attain or even learn. We do, however, need to unlearn some things.
To become aware of God’s loving presence in our lives, we must accept that human culture is in a mass hypnotic trance. We’re sleepwalkers. All great religious teachers have recognized that we human beings do not naturally see; we have to be taught how to see. Jesus says further, “If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light” (Luke 11:34). Religion is meant to teach us how to see and be present to reality. That’s why the Buddha and Jesus say with one voice, “Be awake.” Jesus talks about “staying watchful” (Matthew 25:13; Luke 12:37; Mark 13: 33-37), and “Buddha” means “I am awake” in Sanskrit.
Maybe my prayer must just be: "Lord, I want to see!"

Friday, November 2, 2018

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Feast of All Saints

Let us honor all the saints today. I am sure that all my friends, family members, and my sisters here who have died are now numbered among the saints. The Communion of Saints means that they are still loving us and interceding for us.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Eve of All Saints

Since we had our Halloween Party last Saturday so the staff could bring their children, I am thinking of the Communion of Saints today. All the saints are up there or somewhere, and looking with love on us. I really have devotion to thinking of this part of the Church Triumphant now that I have had some experience of the Presence of All the Saints in my life. One time, I actually felt that they were all above me at Mass in our Chapel here at Oakwood. A few years ago, when I was so ill at Oakwood, I had all of them in my room with my parents right by the bed. So, this Halloween is being spent with all my friends in heaven.
Tomorrow, after the Mass, I was going on an outing that includes a boat ride and then lunch across the San Francisco Bay, I think. Anyway, the Life Enrichment Director knows that whenever we do something near the ocean, I want to go and she signed me up for this. However, instead of the ocean, I will be having a SPECT Myocardial Perfusion Imaging. I have never had this but think it is to visualize coronary blood distribution to the heart and is done with an IV in two doses. I guess I will have all the Saints watching over me during this procedure. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fascination with Waterfalls

Waterfalls fascinate me. I was not near any growing up in St. Louis, but I do remember loving a spot in Forest Park where the water overflowed from a small basin, to a larger one and then cascaded over flat stones to form a small pool at the bottom. I loved sitting at the top in summer and eating a picnic lunch there. I do not think I did this more than once or twice, but it is a memory that has stayed with me and I loved the sound of the water flowing over the rocks.

Real waterfalls are usually noisy from the force of the water, but I have seen some gentle, quiet ones. Why do they fascinate me? Is it because I associate it with the Living Water flowing from the Heart of Christ?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Playing Philippine before 400 people

Yesterday I was the adult Philippine Duchesne in a play given at the beginning of the school's family Mass. I had the closing scene which was to portray Philippine among her beloved Indians and as "the woman who prays always." I rewrote the script, learned it by heart, and included the prayer, "Jesus, I live in Thee; I labor for Thee; I desire only Thee. Thou in me, I in Thee; Thou with me, I with Thee. Thee all mine, I all Thine."
I then had to remain motionless in prayer while the Indians planted leaves all over me. After a short time, they return saying it has been hours and I have not moved and so they give me the name of the "woman who prays always". This was the call to worship and the Mass began immediately as I returned to my place. I think I felt so close to Philippine and realized more how she felt when she was finally with her beloved Indians but unable to learn their language.

Just before this, I had the ten of us who live in Westwood win a prize at the Halloween Party. I had us dress in black pants and white tops and had made signs for the ten Oakwoodian commandments. We marched in and lined up with our signs showing only a number. We had thunder in the background and then I announce that God had given ten commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai for all of us, but Oakwood has another ten commandments. Then, one by one, we revealed the Oakwoodian Commandments with thunder in between each. I intend to post them today on the dining room door.

Let us pray to get our the vote for November 6 and pray that all vote for the common good.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel today is from Mark 10:46-52

Jesus is leaving Jericho with a crowd around him when Bartimaeus, a blind man, who was sitting on the side of the road heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth. He began to cry out: "Jesus, son of David, have pity on me." Many rebuked him and told him to be silent, but he kept on calling out. Jesus stopped and said to call him. So they called him saying: "Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."
Jesus asks the blind man, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man replied, "Master, I want to see."
Jesus told him that his faith had saved him and immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the way.

Now, let us stop and reflect on this Gospel. First, the blind man does something. He cries out to Jesus to have pity on him and it keeps crying out even when others want to silence him.

Then Jesus hears and calls him. He asks him: "What do you want me to do for you?" I suspect Jesus asks each of us the same question quite often.
The blind man only wants to see and Jesus says that his faith has saved him. 
What is your deepest desire right now? Talk to Jesus about it.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Picture Reflection

Today, I am letting this picture call you to reflection on some aspect of your spiritual life. The Holy Spirit will inspire you, if you take the time to gaze on it, to look at it with concentration. What attracts you? Why? What does this picture say to you?
Let your imagination be free to wander in search of some message that the picture may hold for you.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Come into the secret place...

"Enter into My peace this day, shut out all the noise and confusion of the world and
come into the secret place where there is perfect 
inner stillness and peace which
nothing can disturb or destroy. Come to terms 
with yourself, with life, cease fighting
against it."  

The above quote is copied from another blog, "Eileen's Weekly Guidance", and I am using it because I think that we all need to have that secret place where there is inner stillness and peace. What keeps us from finding this place? I am sure that we have it in the depths of our being. I also feel that the Lord wants us to make frequent use of this secret place where there is this perfect inner stillness and peace which nothing can disturb or destroy.
Let us examine our lives and ask ourselves if we are living in the peace of Christ? It is so easy to be upset by all the bad news, the injustice, the fighting, the way we are treating immigrants, etc. We need, of course, to be informed, but we must not lose that inner peace. If we are still, we will be able to discern how we are to respond. I find myself saying over and over what I am sure I have shared with you, but will copy it here again as it is so helpful for me:
'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.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Reflection on Love

Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude inspired me to quote him today as we all need to be rooted and grounded in Love. This is an excerpt from the Reflection for this day in "Give Us This Day", a daily prayer book containing not only prayers and the Mass for the day, but morning and evening Office, some reflections and short biographies. You can subscribe to this monthly publication at Liturgical Press. 
www.giveusthis or call 888 259-8470

Here is a bit of today's reflection:
"If we know how great is the love of Jesus for us we will never be afraid to go to Him in all our poverty, all our weakness, all our spiritual wretchedness and infirmity. Indeed, when we understand the true nature of His love for us, we will prefer to come to Him poor and helpless. We will never be ashamed of our distress. Distress is to our advantage when we have nothing to seek by mercy..."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

My Beloved is for me...

Yesterday all of us received the Sacrament of Healing; that is always such a grace. We have a special ceremony during the Mass. 

Ever since the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila last week, I have been reading her poems in Spanish. I have found some that help me to pray and so share a bit with you today, but in the English translation:

"On Those Words: Dilectus Meus Mihi

Myself surrendered and given,
The exchange is this:
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

When the Gentle hunter
Wounded and subdued me,
In love's arms,
My soul fallen;
New life receiving,
Thus did I exchange
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

The arrow he drew
Full of love,
My soul was oned
With her Creator.
Other love I want not,
Surrendered now to my God,
That my Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

Translation by Adrian J. Cooney, O.C.D.

I love the "In love's arms, my soul fallen;
New life receiving, thus did I exchange
My beloved is for me and I am for my Beloved."
… and

"Surrendered now to my God,
That my Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved."

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Honor the humanity of the other

Here is a quote I copied from a Gospel reflection several days ago but seems to be staying with me:
"We must break bread with the tax collector, whatever his politics. We must stand between the adulteress and the mob, whatever her sins.

Words are not enough. We must honor the humanity of the Other—with empathy and with action—regardless of how different their life is from our own."

Now, perhaps it is because the theme for the entire Province Regional Assemblies this coming week end iwas on racism that the above quote is important to me. I think it says a great deal about how we are to treat one another. I am suffering from the way we treat immigrants and refugees today; we also still show prejudice in so many ways when speaking about the Blacks, the Indians, and the Jews. Jesus was a Jew so how can we continue to act as we do with others except that we tend to think we are superior and that is so wrong. I hope this week end will help me to really see the value of each person and not have any prejudice. I am praying for this for all of us. Jesus certainly went to the outcasts, the poor, the disabled...

Monday, October 22, 2018

St. John Paul II

We have good memories of this Pope who was canonized soon after his death. John Paul II was one who started a revival with the Catholic youth and I am sure he is still watching over our Church and praying for all who have suffered under the different aspects of clericalism, and especially for all those who have been abused by Catholic priests and Bishops and for all those who had a part in covering up the sins of the ordained ministers.

I loved John Paul II but feel that Francis is the Pope we need now and I count on St. John Paul II to help Pope Francis now as he tries to reform many things needed today in our Church.

Now, for a word about our wonderful western regional meeting last week end - I will write more later, but just want to say that it was a great grace for me to be the facilitator for a table of 6 with five different nationalities: African, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and American; to hear each one speak of racism was so helpful and I finished this week end full of gratitude.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I wrote a reflection on this Sunday's Gospel (Mark 10:35-45) and now it has vanished. The picture is of James and John who had come to Jesus and said: "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you. "
Jesus replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?" 

How often Jesus asks each of us the same question! 

They ask to sit on his right and left when he is glorified. Then Jesus tells them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" They answer that they can.

When the other Apostles heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Then Jesus speaks to them and tells them that "whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Feast of Mater

Happy Feast!
I love Mother de Lescure's prayer to Mater and so will copy it here as a way to celebrate her feast this year.

Mother most admirable, guardian of our interior life,
we ask you to loosen our grasp on visible things and help us to see the invisible which your eyes behold: the invisible life, the invisible action, the invisible love, all those realities of faith that are for us eternal values. When we get lost in the devouring activity of the visible and often not so important things, 
keep us in the light of the unseen and make us strong as though we beheld the invisible. Above and beyond accessory trifles that concern us and carry us away, that burden our minds and hearts and distort our scale of values, give us, we ask you, a hunger and thirst for the essential: the wish of the Lord and the work of His love to which He has called each of us. Amen.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Regional Meetings begin tonight

Our country is so beautiful! But we must do something about our climate change. I have been looking at the destruction that the latest hurricane cause in Florida and then all the way over and up so that many people are suffering and even more are without electricity. And nature seems to be taking its toll on many spots in our world - it is trying to tell us to take care of our planet.

Tonight our entire Province begins regional meetings. Here, we are most of the region but will be having RSCJ arrive from San Diego, Seattle, Mexico, as well as those closer to us: Redwood City, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, and San Carlos.
The topic for the entire Province is racism. We are trying to make amends now for the fact that before the Civil War our houses in Missouri and Louisiana depended on slaves. That is one thing; even more important is the fact that many of us may still have notions of our white race being superior to the Indians, the Blacks, the Asians, and the Spanish. May this week end help us all to love one another and get rid of prejudice of any kind.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Living water, shiny pebbles

There is something about a waterfall that calls me to prayer.
It makes me think of the living water that flows from the Heart of Christ.
I may have shared this little poem with you before but I copy it here because it was recently sent to me and I am looking for the shiny pebbles in my own day and hope you will be inspired to do the same.

Shiny Pebbles
The road of life is not a highway smoothly paved,
But more a path of soil and stone and rough rude rocks
along the way, and pebbles - countless pebbles.

We walk along that road each day, hard and easy miles,
wanting to keep tears away, searching for smiles.
And they are there for us to find and plain enough to see;
pebbles - shiny pebbles they are amidst the soil and 
stone and rocks - abundant and free.

Shiny pebbles along the way, good and better and best.
Pluck them up and keep them near,
recount aloud one each day.
Hold fast its meaning, its being dear.

Jerry Breger 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch. He was both a Bishop and Martyr in the early Church. He wrote seven letters which are important still. He went willingly to his death in Rome, but his journey in chains took him through Asia Minor and he was able to strengthen the faith of early Christians as he went. He said: "We have not only to be called Christians, but to be Christians."

His seven epistles form part of the Apostolic Writings of the early Church. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Feast of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

As I went to the Academy of the Visitation in St. Louis until I was in seventh grade, I grew up with the story of St. Margaret Mary and her visions of the Sacred Heart. I had devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus before I made my First Communion at the age of six. We knew how much the Heart of Jesus loved each of us. We also knew that so many were indifferent to His Love. Later, in the novitiate of the Society of the Sacred Heart, I discovered that I was to help console Jesus by my love and that His Heart was always open for me to descend into the depths as "the solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality." 
Margaret Mary influenced Madeleine Sophie's devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Society of the Sacred Heart has always kept the devotion to the First Friday of each month and we renew our vows on the Feast of the Sacred Heart each year.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Feast of St. Teresa of Avila

St. Teresa of Avila is known for her writings, especially her "Interior Castle". She was born in 1515, entered the Carmelite convent in Avila, but had a powerful conversion experience when thirty-nine and determined to devote herself more to prayer- and to establish a new reformed Carmelite community. Soon she had trouble with the Spanish Inquisition but she was allowed to continue with her foundations for the Discalced Carmelites.
 To travel in Spain and see her many foundations was a great experience for me when I was over there teaching a course on Teresa and John of the Cross. Teresa died in 1582, was canonized forty years later and named a Doctor of the Church in 1970, the first woman to be given this title.
Here is one or part of one of her poems - it is better in Spanish but I will give you the English translation:
In the Hands of God
I am Yours and born for you,
What do you want of me?

Majestic Sovereign,
Unending Wisdom,
Kindness pleasing to my soul;
God sublime, one Being Good,
Behold this one so vile, 
Singing of her love to you:
What do you want of me?

Yours, you made me,
Yours, you saved me,
Yours, you endured me,
Yours, you called me,
Yours, you awaited me,
Yours, I did not stray.
What do you want of me?

There are ten stanzas and I have only copied the first two, but that question is one that is haunting me ever since I was brought back to life in the hospital five years ago - What, Lord, do you want of me?

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First, let us look at the Collect to know what we are praying for today: "May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry our good works."

The first reading is from the Book of Wisdom and we would be wise to pay attention and value the gift of wisdom. Here are the first lines: "I prayed, and prudence was given me; I pleaded, and the spirit of wisdom came to me..."
The last line is "yet all good things together came to me in her company, and countless riches at her hands.  (Wisdom 7:7-11)

I love the responsorial psalm's refrain: "Fill us with your love, O Lord, and we will sing for joy." That will make a good "walking prayer" for the week!

The reading from Hebrews tells us that "Indeed the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart...."

The Gospel has Jesus looking on the young man who asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life? Jesus looks on him with love, but this young man, even though he had kept all the commandments, was not able to respond to Jesus who told him: "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." The Gospel tells us that he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

It makes me look around my little room and wonder what Jesus thinks of all I have. I am getting more instead of less and my closet is full. I need to take time to go through all and give away what is really not needed. 

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Do not be depressed...

Today I read something written by one who was in the midst of a terrible depression. I have not had this suffering, but I can sympathize with all who do. When one is depressed, it seems impossible to think that this will end. But God's grace is there for all. 

Here is a quote from St. Peter Damian:
"Do not be depressed. Do not let you weakness make you impatient. Instead, let the serenity of your spirit shine through your face. Let the joy of your mind burst forth. Let words of thanks break from your lips."

That is easy to say, but the problem with depression is that one feels unable to do anything. I lived with a Religious once who was suffering from depression; I saw her a few years later when she was suffering terribly from cancer in her back. She told me that this suffering was nothing compared to the depression she had gone through when I knew her before. That made a big impression on me and led me to realize more what anyone in depression is going through. 

What worries me is the number of young people who now suffer from depression. They are faced with huge debts, cannot find a decent job even with their expensive college education, either cannot afford to get married, or they are struggling to support a wife and maybe even a to give them hope that all will be well. Let us pray today for all who suffer from depression.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is a painting of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who, in today's Gospel (Mark 10:35-45) come to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 
That request seems outrageous, but Jesus only replied: "What do you wish me to do for you?"
I wonder how often Jesus asks us that same question.

Then, they ask that one of them may sit at his right and the other on his left when Jesus is glorified. They are not thinking of the other disciples, but want to be so honored. Jesus answers them with a question: "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with baptism with which I am baptized?

They answer in the affirmative: "We can."

When the other ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John. Then Jesus teaches them that "whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all."


We have thousands of opportunities every day to be grateful: for having good weather, to have slept well last night, to be able to get up, to be healthy, to have enough to eat...There's opportunity upon opportunity to be grateful; that's what life is.
Br. David Steindl-Rast

We have so much to be grateful for each day. When we are grateful, we are happy. Pope Francis speaks often of joy. God wants us to be joyful. What must we do to cultivate joy? I think of the line from a song I remember: "Every cloud has a silver lining." 
I love this quote I copied from Pope Francis last January:
"God walks along the deep paths of our lives and responds to our longing for love and happiness by calling us to joy." 
A few days later: "Joy, prayer, gratitude are three ways that help us live authentically." 
And a day later: "A joyful soul is like healthy soil in which life can thrive and produce good fruit."

It is always good to renew our own joy just to be alive! I firmly believe that when we are joyous we can help others. There are so many depressed people in the world today! Some are clinically depressed, but many just need to concentrate on all the things in our daily life to be grateful for and that will help. We need to be positive when so much of the news is negative.
Thanks for just being alive today!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cultivate a grateful heart

When I look at this picture, I wish I could be driving in New England, but here I am in the beautiful state of California where we seem not to have much difference in our weather most of the year; a few cold days with a bit of rain in winter, and a few hot days to make us remember what summer is like. Do I miss snow? Not really, but autumn is a season I do miss.!!

What spiritual thoughts have I share today? Only that God loves each of us so much that we should be overflowing with love, joy and gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for and I am sure you do, too. Take the time to thank for all the gifts of each day and you will find that a grateful heart is a joyful one!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

In the footsteps of St. Philippine Duchesne

The retreat was good with these wonderful women. I always find God so present at Villa Maria del Mar and could spend the day just looking at the ocean. I think of Philippine and her companions on the ship. the Rebecca, for so many days. They were going into the unknown really and were trying to learn some English so they could make themselves understood in their new country.
I cannot help but think how different it was for me to go to Chile without knowing a word of Spanish. First of all, I flew; it was my first experience flying and I went to Paris from Rome to wait in the airport for one of our French nuns who was returning to Chile. We made one stop in South America before flying across the Andes mountains to Chile. During this stop, we met two of our young Religious who were on there way to Rome. When we arrived in Santiago, the Superior Vicar and the Mistress of Novices were waiting to bring us from the airport to Maestranza, the house founded by Mother du Rousier who was buried in a small shrine in the vast garden. The house was over a hundred years old and had 13 patios! It had held a Normal School, the boarding school, and a free school besides numerous works. Arriving at night, I saw little until the next day. My alcove opened onto a gallery that over-looked the patio where the nuns had recreation all summer near the huge Cedar tree planted by Mother du Rosier. Not knowing Spanish made the first days difficult; indeed, the first year was very difficult because as soon as I arrived in Vina del Mar, I was given the middle school with a huge study hall.  The next year I had the high school and had picked up some Spanish from the children. Sorry, but I got carried away by my memories.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Listen to the Holy Spirit

Sometimes we forget that  we have made many mistakes in the past; even our Catholic Church has had to change many things that were done in the past. Richard Rohr noted some of these and I thought it worth reminding all of us about them:

" The words “mystery,” “mystical,” and “mutter” all come from the Indo-European root word muein, which means to “hush or close the lips.” We must start with humble, patient, wordless unknowing, sincere curiosity, or what many call “beginner’s mind.” Only then are we truly teachable. Otherwise, we only hear whatever confirms our present understanding.
Without such humility, religion has cried “wolf” too many times in history and later been proven wrong. Observe earlier authoritative Church statements on democracy, war, torture, slavery, women, treatment of Jews, revolutions, liturgical forms, the “Doctrine of Discovery” of the New World, the Latin language, and the earth-centered universe—to name just a few big ones. If we had balanced our “knowing” with some honest not-knowing, we would never have made such egregious mistakes. We could always prove whatever we wanted by twisting one line of Scripture. The biblical text was not allowed to change us as much as many Christians have used it to exclude and judge other people."

This should give us food for thought and also help us realize that this age is calling for discernment about several past teachings. Let us pray that Pope Francis will continue to have the courage to change what he sees is not according to what Jesus would want today.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Columbus Day

School as usual here this year. I think that is because the high school has some advanced placement exams scheduled and the entire school seems to keep the same calendar. I am not sure what we will be doing to make it a special day, but we are to have a great celebration on the 10th when another of ours has her 100th birthday celebration. She is very alert and I eat breakfast with her at 7:30 every morning. She will have many friends coming for this celebration so we may not be doing much on to celebrate Columbus Day. We will have a birthday dinner postponed because yesterday was a silent day; we also have reunion together in the afternoon.

I am preparing the retreat for my spirituality group tomorrow at Villa Maria del Mar. I think, since we will be praying next to the ocean, I may have something of Philippine's journey to America 200 years ago, but I suspect I will have the Gospel scene of Jesus sleeping in the boat even amid the storm which terrified the disciples. It is good to remember that Jesus can stop the storm whenever He wants to do so.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Again, I want to share the Sunday Collect so we really know what we are asking God for in the liturgy: "Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not dare to ask. 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.

The first reading is from the Book of Genesis and is the story of the creation of Eve. "The Lord God said: 'It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.' "

After telling how Adam names all the animals and birds of the air, but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man, the "Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: 'This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called 'woman', for out of 'her man' this one has been taken.' That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one flesh."
I hope it was the Holy Spirit who inspired me to keep copying the first reading. I guess I am just thinking of how to talk to my senior about the respect that he must always have for women. The young people today seem to have lost some of the respect and reverence for each other that is necessary and right. I am, however, impressed with the respect my student shows and his sense of responsibility.

I went to the football game on Friday and Sacred Heart Prep is still undefeated this season. It was an exciting game and you could see how improved the team is now and how fast they are. The other team looked huge compared to our team, but when one of ours escaped with the football, no one on the other team could catch him. It was 29 to 0 at the half and we finished 38 to 14; this was the same school that beat us so badly last year so this victory must give us more confidence as we approach the selection for the finals.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

First Saturday

The pictures are to help us feel that we are really able to experience the turning of the leaves, the brisk Fall weather, and the beauty that God has given us in all parts of our country.
I am praying much for our country and feeling a bit drained by all the news and political fighting. I want to shout out: "Just think of the common good" and stop trying to use the power we have given to our elected congressmen to try to control in light of the party's interests and not of the entire people of our country.
I really try to stay away from politics in this blog, but these last two weeks have tried my patience. We are the ones who elect our officials so we need to pray a great deal for them and maybe do a better job of discerning the right candidates before we vote. And please do take responsibility for voting!
Here is a word for the day:
Every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess.
Alain de Botton

Friday, October 5, 2018

First Friday of October

Today, the Children of Mary come for Mass and a talk; I agreed to open this year with an introduction to Gaudete et Exsultate covering the first Chapter and motivating them, I hope to continue as they will be given the printed copies to read for future months.
If you are a reader of my blog, you have been taken all through the Pope's wonderful exhortation on holiness written for every Christain. You can always go back to it in the archives of this blog. I did skip some of the references the Holy Father used, but I underlined always what I though most important. I am really surprised that we have not heard more about this great document - not a homily here has even mentioned it (unless I missed it), and it has not been much talked about in these past six months since it appeared. I urge all to read it and it can even be found online. 
I am giving a short overview of the Exhortation and then will be Pope Francis and explain the call to holiness in his own words. I guess I should wear white on Friday!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Run with your friends to visit Christ...

This is from Chiara Lubich's Essential Writings and worth reflecting on as she was the founder of the Focolare movement.
"If you want to win over a city to the love of Christ,
if you want to transform a town into the kingdom of God,
first make your plans. Gather round you friends who share your feelings. Unite yourself with them in the name of Christ and ask them to put God before anything else. Then make a pact with them: promise one another constant and perpetual love, so the Conqueror of the world may be always among you and be your leader; that when your ego has been destroyed in love, your every step may be sustained, your every tear be dried, by the Mother of Fair Love...

Then look for the poorest, the destitute, the forsaken, the orphans, the prisoners. Without pause in your action run with your friends to visit Christ in them, to comfort them, to reveal to them that the love of God is close to them and watches over them...."

This reflection is taken from "Give us this Day, for Oct. 4 - I did not copy the last lines.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

"I will follow you wherever you go."

 In today's Gospel, someone says to Jesus: "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus answers him: "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."

This passage makes me stop and reflect. I am not thinking of the historical Jesus who went around doing good and really seems to have had "nowhere to rest his head." What is it like today for Jesus who is wanting to rest in each of us? How do I open my heart to Him today? His Heart is always open for us!

This passage from St. Paul copied from the evening prayer is worth some reflection. Paul is writing to the Thessalonians and telling them to "...cheer the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit...."

What a happy world we would have if each of us tried to live what Paul asks of those early converts!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Feast of the Holy Guardan Angels

We pray in the Collect for this Memorial: "O God, who in your unfathomable providence are pleased to send your holy Angels to guard us, hear our supplication as we cry to you, that we may always be defended by their protection and rejoice eternally in their company..."

I have had the grace at special times to feel the presence of my guardian angel. I know that some of our Religious have seen their angels when they were very young. My mother's birthday was October 2nd and I used to send my angel to her during the twenty years I was in Chile as I wanted my angel to console her and give her a happy birthday. 
Let us spend some moments today in gratitude for this gift of a guardian angel.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux

We begin a new month today full of hope for our country. We have so many really good people so I hope our congress will come together for the good of all our people. I am sure we are all praying for this. Prayer full of faith can move mountains! It is good to begin the month with St. Therese of Lisieux and remember she said: "Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them."

I have saved a couple of quotes for your reflection today:

May I see my own limits with compassion, just as I view the limits of others.
Roshi Joan Halifax


I draw prayer round 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 Hillesum