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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.