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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Third Sunday of Lent

Jesus tells us a parable about a fig tree. This fig tree had been planted in an orchard but when the owner came to look for fruit on the tree, he found none. This was the third year that the tree had not born fruit so he told the gardener to cut it down. However, the gardener replied, "Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it. It may bear fruit in the future. If you do not cut it down."

Now, we can draw many lessons from this parable. What is Jesus trying to tell us? First, that he is willing to wait and give us still another chance to bear fruit. Or is he the gardener who wants to cultivate the ground and fertilize it? Jesus has told us that we are to bear fruit and our fruit will remain. Let us pray not to be like the barren fig tree.

The first year that I was superior of the community in Coquimbo, Chile, we were very poor and living in the poorest region so we barely had enough to eat as we were five living on the salary of one workman which is what the parish paid us for taking care of the church, making the hosts for all the churches, and even cleaning the church. Well, we had a fig tree in the back of our house and it had never given fruit. The year I arrived it was laden with fruit and the community had enough to fruit to eat for the first time. They all thought it was a miracle. I think the goodness of the Lord made that fig tree bear abundant fruit.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Slow me down, Lord

I took this off of our bulletin board as it seems worth sharing, especially as I have been hearing from others ever since I had pneumonia that I had to slow down.

Slow Me Down, Lord

Amidst the confusion of my day,
give me the calmness of the everlasting hills. Teach me the art of taking minute vacations, of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read from a good book. Remind me to look upward at the towering oak, and know that it grew tall and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, Lord.

Now, I hope I am taking time to contemplate the flowers as I have begun walking each day. I also had the inspiration in prayer to use my I-pad only in the evening as I am spending too much time on it playing games. I love playing Words with Friends, Scrabble, and even doing the jigsaw puzzles, but I am going to cut back and use my Bible instead of my Bible app until the end of Lent - at least I am going to try to do this; I think I am attached to the I-pad!

Friday, March 22, 2019

God is never in a hurry

This is a picture of Iceland. Sometimes a picture captures me. I begin to use my imagination and get carried away. Actually, I am now trying to concentrate on the Lenten readings. I am using as I mentioned before, Judy Cannato's Quantum Grace: Lenten Reflections on Creation and Connectedness. Here is what she says for the Third Sunday of Lent in the first paragraph:

"God is never in a hurry. Even when the need is urgent, the Holy One doesn't rush, but manifests as a divine Patience that allows us freedom to learn hard lessons and discover the truth through the mistakes we have made."

I guess that made me stop and think of the many times I have wanted to hurry God. He will not be hurried and teaches me to have patience. Really, patience is one virtue that is hard for me to practice. I am mostly impatient with myself. God works slowly and keeps showing me His desire for me to slow down, too. I do not need to do today what can easily be put off for tomorrow. That sounds like heresy to me, but a wonderful Religious once told us that she found time for prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament just by reminding herself that she could postpone many things until the next day. I sometime think I am a procrastinator, yet God is telling me to slow down and enjoy the present moment.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

In the boat

I continue to see myself in a boat with Jesus. Sometimes, it is a small boat just for the two of us. Sometimes, it is one of those large ships that is carrying the entire Province; at other times, I see a fleet of ships with a flag ship setting the direction and moving the fleet forward. All of these images came with the personal reflection asked for by our "dream catchers", but they have stayed with me.

I am at the age where I just want to be in the boat with Jesus. I am finding this Lent too full of things to be done and I need to slow down and, hopefully, clear out as one has the distressing habit of collecting things that are not essential. My room is too small for non-essentials. I guess I will tackle the bottom shelf in my bookcase today. It seems to be the place where I am putting things I do not know what to do with and I suspect much could be given away without my even missing it.

Sometimes I find putting order exteriorly helps me to clear out the clutter that may be accumulating in my interior life. If I would keep remembering that I am on a journey, I would leave behind what is not necessary to take. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

What would allow our life to be agile and dynamic for mission?

Today, we are finally going to be treating the questions asked by our creative "dream catchers" in preparation for a special Chapter to be held in 2021 on how to organize ourselves and how to share our resources.

What would allow for life to be agile and dynamic for mission?

I think the Pope has been telling us to go out and be with those who are needy in any way: here we have some who are needy, some who are dependent on others, some who have memory loss, others who cannot walk, etc. I think we need to start with the reality around us as each of us is called to further the mission by prayer and our love and concern for others. Sometimes it is by writing notes or e-mailing others; sometimes it may mean still giving spiritual direction and being a welcoming person.

How can our Province be more agile and dynamic?
I think we need to continue to strengthen our ties to our associates, even to having some mixed communities of religious and lay people, continue to have our houses open to others and, as a Province decide how we can contribute more to receiving and helping immigrants and refugees.

With regard to the Philippine Region, I think we are going to need to unite Provinces and have more exchange of persons, but this needs to be gradual and we all need to learn how to converse in Spanish. Perhaps I should say that all who are not yet 75 should be studying Spanish. We are so sure that other countries will know English that we sit back and do not take language study seriously. Fortunately our young religious are learning and having some months living in another country. I really think this is important for our future.

I do not think I am capable of saying how I think the International Society can be more agile and dynamic for mission, but feel that the International Communications team has a big part to play in helping us see how we can collaborate more. And I love the idea of international volunteers. I guess, after twenty years in Chile, internationality is something I cherish as part of our Society's charism and mission.

These thoughts are off the top of my head and I look forward to hearing from others here on Wednesday, but I really want all of our associates, colleagues, friends and readers if this blog to pray now for this special chapter that will see many organizational changes to lead us into the future.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Feast of St. Joseph

St. Joseph is a quiet man, but most have been a great model for Jesus to learn about an earthly father. Joseph must have taught Jesus all he knew about carpentry; he would have taken him to the synagogue, taught him the psalms, and certainly would have been the one to explain so many of the Jewish customs to Jesus. Males were separated not only in the synagogue, but even walking.  I think Jesus turned often to Joseph when he did not understand or wanted to learn about something. Remember that Jesus was just like us except for sin; he had to learn to speak, to walk, to talk, and then to learn all that a Jewish boy needed to learn as he grew up. I suspect Joseph took great pride in forming Jesus to be a skilled carpenter. I wonder if God spoke at other times to Joseph in a dream. We know how obedient he was when God told him not to fear to take Mary as his wife and then when he was asked to flee to Egypt with Mary and their infant son. He was a man of great faith and trusted God. These are qualities that Jesus showed he valued in all his followers later.

Monday, March 18, 2019

We are celebrating again today

It seems that the Archbishop of San Francisco postponed the celebration of St. Patrick's Day until today in order to give preference to the Second Sunday of Lent. We did have a lovely Mass and Irish food, but our happy hour will be tonight.
I thought I would just give you St. Patrick's Breastplate as a prayer for today.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St. Patarick's Day

It is the Second Sunday of Lent, but also St. Patrick's Day so we are celebrating with a special Happy Hour in the evening and our Provincial will be officially installing Sister Sally Rude as our new Community Director. I have lived with Sally when we were both in the West Pine community and I know how good she is for community life, hospitality, and openness to all. Since then, she has had terrific international experiences and brings all this to us now.
The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke's account of the Transfiguration of the Lord. I love the fact that Jesus invited his special friends, Peter, James and John, to go up the mountain with him to pray. And off they went not knowing that God would use this moment to transfigure Jesus in their presence and that they would hear the words, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." Let us listen to Jesus today.

The reflection by Sister Miriam Pollard in Give Us This Day, begins by saying that "the Transfiguration story is the story of our own journey into the nature we were created to explore and inhabit. Into what the Eastern Church calls our deification. Bus wait, this is not to be a quiet, uneventful march into the sunset.
We who are to be melded into the divine and human life of the Eternal Son will pass through that cleft in the rock through which his glory shines--just as He did, by sharing in the contradiction, pain, and abandonment that he is about to claim as his own...."

Paul's transfiguration resulted in joy, inner peace, gratitude and praise amidst his trials and tribulations. He always was able to bounce back and keep his freedom in the Spirit. I suspect St. Patrick also had these same attitudes and modes of acting. Let us pray that we may all be transfigured with Jesus.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Seasons of Interior Life

This is one of the pictures that I took of Lake Tahoe when I was there at the beginning of February. I was invited to go again for four days over this week end, but no one to drive us so here I am remembering what a peaceful time it was and thanking God for the beauty I experienced during those days when I was still recovering from pneumonia. We had six days away instead of four because of the blizzard that made the roads impossible. I think they are still having more snow this week end but it is sunny here and the tulips are appearing so we will soon have Spring weather.
Our interior life has its seasons, too. I guess Lent makes me feel that I am in a season of change. I am trying to discern the interior paths that the Lord is leading me on at this point in my life. I think, as my readers must know by now, that our interior life is more exciting than our exterior life, but we need to be able to reflect on it a good deal before we can begin to find the words to describe how the Lord is working in us now. We do better when we describe some interior grace that is now in the past, but God is working in each of us now in the present! What does your interior terrain look like at this point in your life?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Climbing a Mountain

Sometimes we think that we are being asked to climb an interior mountain that seems beyond our strength. It is impossible without God's help, but He is with us and asks only that we take one step at a time. I think this is good advice not only for our interior life, but our exterior life. As we grow older, many things seem beyond our strength. God walks with us and tells us to slow down, breathe deeply, walk one step at a time. I repeat here the little prayer we sing so often at the end of our reunions here at Oakwood; it is one that helps me so much and I often say it after Communion, during the day, and especially when I am awake at night.

"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, March 14, 2019

Listen to God

I would suggest that we continue to reflect on yesterday's blog post on our journey to Easter. I keep hearing a call to live the Beatitudes and I think the Chapter on the Beatitudes in the Pope's Exhortation on Holiness, published last March, is so important for all of us. I cannot understand why we have not been hearing more about this important document written for all Christians. I do hope my going through it in this blog last year has helped many. I think we are all called to holiness and the Pope has spelled out the practical means for each of us to attain the holiness that the Lord expects for each of us.

I am also struck by something Cardinal Martini wrote about the need for us to do lectio divina every single day.  And then I read somewhere that it is good to take a Gospel and just use it for this slow, meditative reading as we listen to God. He speaks to us in many ways, but Scripture is one way to let God speak to us, so do try this during Lent. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lenten Journey to Easter

In this month's "Give Us This Day" there is a reflection on our "Lenten Journey to Easter" by Jane Deren, PhD and I want to share it with you today. It calls us to prayer.

Lenten Journey to Easter

We walk this Lenten Journey 
with immigrants and refugees,
lost, unsure of their journey's end, 
still longing for a home.

We walk with those in poverty,
unable to live lives of dignity,
besieged by hunger and fear,
trying to hold on day by day.

We walk with those mourning
what is happening to God's creation,
calling us all to better care and stewardship
of the earth, its creatures, and all growing things.

We walk with women who are trafficked,
who are abused, who are harassed,
who still live in the silences,
and who want to flee the darkness.

We walk with peacemakers,
walking a very rocky road toward peace
when so much conflict rages
and so many fan the flames of violence.

We walk with all those carrying burdens,
yet we walk in faith and hope.
Despite the suffering of the Cross,
we walk toward an Easter dawning.

We move toward the seemingly impossible
Resurrection, a time of justice and peace.
We walk, called forward through the darkness
by the Risen Christ;
In his name we pray. Amen

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Trust the future

Entire families out here in California go off to ski either near Lake Tahoe or into Utah. The children learn to ski at an early age and love to conquer the different slopes until they are able to ski on the steepest and most difficult.
I have never skied. However, it is a sport that intrigues me. I love to watch it on TV (I guess that should be past tense as I seldom watch anything on TV!). There is something so freeing as the best skiers are able to soar into the air and still land on their skies to continue their journey down the ski slope. I would like to have that freedom in my inner life. I think the Holy Spirit sometimes urges me to set out down a new path and helps me to jump obstacles when I trust that the Spirit will also see that I land safely. 
We are in a moment of trust both to see what is going to happen to Religious Life in general and how we can organize ourselves to face the challenges that await us. We are growing older and fewer people are entering religious congregations. We are being led by the Spirit to create new ways of keeping our charisms alive in the Church. The Church is being asked to change its ways and reach out to all. Let us pray for the future and trust the Holy Spirit.

Monday, March 11, 2019

A special Monday

This morning at 8:00 I have a group of mothers of children in the school who have made the Busy Person's Retreat with me and who are interested in growing in their relationship with Jesus. We usually have some silent prayer and then read the next Sunday's Gospel and share.
At 9:00 we have a final Mass to say goodbye to Clare Pratt who has been our Community Director here at Oakwood for the last nine years. We are sad to lose her but happy for her at the same time. She has been a perfect example of what our vocation calls each of us to be and I have been so enriched just by knowing her and making some directed retreats with her plus these past two plus years here at Oakwood where I have seen her gift of self to all of us each day. 
Our call as a community now is to continue to have the same spirit of love, hospitality, and prayer for the whole world as Clare has taught us by her living our charism day be day.
We had a beautiful Mass yesterday with our regular Sunday community plus special invited guests. There was a lovely reception afterwards with speeches and then dinner with many RSCJ guests, etc. Our Provincial came for this, too. Now we welcome our new Community Director, Sally Rude, who I have lived with and know she will work to continue the spirit of this community and bring joy to each.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

First Sunday in Lent

This Sunday's Gospel is on the temptations of Jesus in the desert. He must have told his friends about being tempted. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before beginning his public ministry. Let us realize that the 40 days of Lent are also a preparation for us to deepen our faith, pray and seek to follow the Lord more closely. Each of us is on this journey so let us pray not to enter into temptation but to use this Lent to stay with Jesus and learn from Him that He is meek and humble of heart.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Judy Cannato says that we often tend to hold back and wait for others to get things started. During Lent God says, "Don't wait for others. Start right here, right now, in your midst. "You choose life, You fast in a way that heals breaches. You remove oppression from your midst." This is what Jesus did and what we are supposed to do.
So, what am I going to do today? I should at least write what I think Jesus is asking me to do this Lent so I can refer to it. A good resolution will be broken early, if it is the right resolution.

Friday, March 8, 2019

One thing we can all do this Lent is to act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with our God. The Lord wants us to change our hearts so that we are open to receive Him however He comes. The poor, the outcast, the neighbor who drives us crazy, -- it doesn't matter who comes to us as we are to love all with the same love that Jesus loves. Let us ask for the grace to enter into the Heart of Jesus today and draw forth His love for the world! He loves each of us unconditionally and asks us to love one another. Then we will act justly and be able to walk humbly with our God!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Ash Wednesday should have reminded us that we are dust and into dust we shall return. But, Judy says we are really star dust and have been around for a very long time. Scientists tell us that "all matter that now exists was formed almost fourteen billion years ago and has been recycling ever since. We are part of a vast universe of energy particles that continues to renew and recreate. Literally, we are the dust of stars."

Lent is a time to remember what is essential in our lives. We do not live by bread alone and the devil is still active and lying in wait to tempt us as we begin this Lent with good intentions. Ignatius of Loyola told us that the devil studies each of us to find our weak spots and then he attacks. Let us be awake and vigilant and take time to dialogue each day with the Lord to discern what He wants of us.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday

This is a special day for we begin the season of Lent that leads us into Holy Week and the whole Pascal Mystery.
Some, if not, most Catholics, take Lenten resolutions that either consist in not doing something during Lent, or a positive one that promises to do something during Lent. The idea really is to spend this special season getting closer to Jesus and being with Him during Holy Week and then entering into His Joy on Easter Sunday when the Risen Christ begins to appear to others to console and strengthen them and us.
I am asking the Lord to show me what He wants me to do for Him during Lent. I know I am to slow down and I am thinking of the inner attitudes of Paul: his joy and inner peace; gratitude; and praise. These brought about a transformation in Paul and the Lord seems to be nudging me to concentrate on gratitude and praise this Lent. I see being grateful not just to the Lord, but to all and the same for praise. I need to learn how to both praise God and praise others. 
I found a book that I think will be helpful for some spiritual reading during Lent. It is one by Judy Cannato and the title is  Quantum Grace: Lenten Reflections on Creations and Connections. It takes the Sunday readings and has some questions for reflection and journaling so I think it will be helpful. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Shrove Tuesday

Today really is Shrove Tuesday! We have had so much going on here at Oakwood that it seems time really is flying. I guess when we begin to feel that there is not enough time, we need to sit down and think: "I have all the time there is. No one has more than I do. There are only 24 hours each day and I have the gift of those 24 hours every single day!
Last Saturday we celebrated a 101 birthday and then I left to see a friend in hospice. Today we have a party for Shrove Tuesday but yesterday we prepared a special reunion for Sister Clare Pratt who leaves us next Tuesday after nine years here as Community Director. She will be so missed, but we want to be cheerful so we had "The Follies" - the opening number is a dance by our two African sisters, then those who could walk danced in all wearing blue and with caps or hats. Then came all those who had walkers, at least those who had the kind where you can place them, put on the brakes, turn around and sit down. They did their dance with hands and feet while sitting but were dressed in red. Then we had the wheel chairs pushed by designated ones. Those is the wheel chairs wore white and had colorful neckpieces and had to wave them in time with the music. Then, the last act was three who have electric carts who drove in and out. These "bikers" were in black. It was really quite a performance! Lots of fun! Now, have a happy, holy Lent!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Shrove Monday

I know it is only Monday, but why keep the pancakes for Shrove Tuesday? Both days are celebrated before Lent begins. What is important amidst the celebrations is to prepare for the holy season of Lent. We need to pray for our world and do some sort of penance during these six weeks, but I feel that the Lord will show each of us what He wants of us if we just take the time to pray about it.

I am writing ahead as I am going to visit one of my friends who is on hospice. Her daughter will pick me up on Saturday and bring me back on Sunday and I am so glad I will be able to go to see her.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday's Gospel has Jesus saying to his disciples: 
"Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?"

Jesus tells us that we do not even notice the wooden beam in our own eye, yet we want to remove the splinter form another's eye. And Jesus goes on to say that every tree is know by its own fruit. "A good person our of the store of goodness in his heart produces good..."

That gives us plenty to reflect on today. Also, this coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and we need to think about how we will spend the season of Lent this year.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Paul's Second Mode of Action

Freedom in the spirit characterizes Paul's second mode of action. He knows that he has reached a place in which he no longer acts through pressure or conformity to external standards. He acts out of his inner abundance, according to Martini. He is "truly able, consequently, to take on fervent attitudes that would otherwise be reckless for him to ty to imitate."
Paul is free from every currant of popular opinion. He has an inner strength that even holds out in opposition to Peter. Martini will tell us that "this freedom is not arbitrary or presumptuous but rather comes from a sense of absolute and total belong to Christ as a slave, as a servant."
Freedom is the source of the humblest service. It is worth reading Galatians 5:1-13) as you reflect on this mode of action.
We have much to learn from Paul.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Paul's modes of action

Paul had the ability to always bounce back no matter what the circumstances. He was chased out of one place after another, but he just kept going and preaching and getting up and so Martini will tell us that "this ability to bounce back is more than human; anyone, after so many failed attempts, would be humanly unnerved. We do not possess this tirelessness; even he did not possess it. It is a manifestation of what we will call 'charity' or 'love': "Love endures all things" (1 Cor 1:3-7).
It is the love of God: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5).

Tomorrow we will look at his other mode of action after his transfiguration.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Paul's Third Inner Attitude

Praise is Paul's third inner attitude. 
Paul continued those marvelous praises that are part of the Jewish tradition of blessings. He knows how to expand them to encompass everything that concerns the life of the community in Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places' (Ephesians 1:3)
Martini tells us that we know from Paul's letters that his prayer consists first of all of praise."
Now, the grace we need to ask God for is that these three attitudes of Paul become habitual in us. So let us reflect today how we are manifesting joy and inner peace, gratitude, and praise in our daily lives. Lent is coming and we may see that we need to take one of these attitudes to practice during Lent if we have not yet been transformed as Paul was.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Paul's Second Attitude after his Transfiguration

Gratitude is the second attitude that Cardinal Martini speaks of with regard to Paul's transfiguration. This inner attitude is his capacity for gratitude. He exhorted his people to thank the Father with joy (see Col 1:11-12). It is typical of Paul to combine joy with gratitude, thanksgiving.
Paul's Letters begin with thanksgiving. "Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all." (1Thessolonians 1:1-2).
Paul had the capacity always to see the good first. Beginning every letter with thanks means that he knows how to value primarily the positive in whatever community he is writing to, even if there are some weighty, negative things that will need to be said. He had the ability to see the good that is present and to express it with simplicity.
Tomorrow we will take up Paul's third inner attitude.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Paul's Transfiguration

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ, writes of three attitudes that show Paul's transfiguration. He also speaks of two modes of action which I will talk about tomorrow. I think this has made a big impact on me because I am reflecting on how I manifest the same in my own life.
The first attitude is joy and inner peace. Paul had an overflowing joy. This joy comes from God; he could not possess it on his own. (See 2 Cor 4:8-10) "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair... so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."
This is true joy that deals with every kind of burden.
I think I will stop here today and continue with Paul's second attitude tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2019


The book I have been reading is The Gospel According to St. Paul: Meditations on His Life and Letters, by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ and translated by Marsha Daigle-Williamson, PhD. It was translated in 2008, but I had not read it and I love Cardinal Martini's writings.
What struck me most was Chapter 3 on the Transfiguration of Paul. 
We are to reflect on Paul's transfiguration that his inner purification led to in order to meditate on our own transfiguration. Martini's first point is the transfiguration of Christ. Jesus was transformed. Paul will write to the Corinthians that "with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed (transfigured) into his likeness...for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Cor 3:18)
The same word that Luke uses for the change in the garments of Christ is used to describe the light Paul saw at his conversion.
I will continue tomorrow with my notes on the attitudes of Paul that help us to see his transfiguration.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

  Every Sunday the Church has a special request found in the Collect for the Mass. This Sunday, "grant, we pray, Almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you."

Despite the way it is worded, it is a great petition and makes me think of how I am carrying out in both word and action what pleases Jesus. Maybe the secret is that we are to be always pondering spiritual things!

I have been pondering some great thoughts on transfiguration and will start sharing them tomorrow. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Visual Imagination

This picture just appeared so I am using it for a little reflection with my imagination. There are several images in this picture that could serve for reflection. First, there is the cottage with lights in the windows, a welcoming sign. Then there is the bridge that one needs to reach the other side, and finally there is the stream of living water. Those are the images that draw my attention, but you may contemplate the path, of the rocks, or the distant trees...the point is that a picture can trigger all sorts of thoughts and lead us into prayer. Take some time with this one.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Home and Happy

I am home again and loving this month that has had two vacations while recovering from pneumonia. I am thinking of George Washington today but Our Lady seemed to be on my mind as I read that Jesus renewed the covenant when He said "Behold your son; behold your mother."

I am seeing George Washington and his wife from a different angle as I am finally reading "Jefferson's Daughters" and really getting a different picture of young America.

I am still unpacking so this is short tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this Sunday we are asking that our hearts may by so fashioned by God's grace as to become dwelling places pleasing to God.

The Responsorial Psalm tells us that "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

The Gospel has the Beatitudes according to Luke's Gospel:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. … and then come the woes: Woe to the rich, etc.

The reflection by Walter Burghardt in "Giving Us This Day", turns the woes around. He says that "fortunate, happy are you who are rich, rich in money or power, in talent or time, because you can do so much for the poor, can lift the yoke of the oppressed. Bus blessed only if you have the mind of the poor, the mind of Christ. Only if you recognize that you may not do what you will with what you have...."

I have not room nor time to copy all, but it is something to reflect on today about turning the woes around!                                                                                             

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Ski Week

Until I came to California, I had never heard of ski week. Other schools may have Spring Break, but our school here has the entire week off and many do go skiing! Entire families ski and this year there is plenty of snow. My student went skiing during the Christmas break with his family so now is going to visit the University that has accepted him. He will go with his Dad and spend some time with relatives, too.

I was invited to go away with the same Religious that I gave the retreat to last June at the condo lent us my the Sisters of Mercy; we enjoyed being there so much that we plan to leave today and stay until next Thursday. I will try to schedule my blog ahead. 

Everyone has been telling me to slow down so I am trying to do this. Nothing really spiritual about this blog, but I am preparing for tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Open my eyes, Lord...

Another picture taken from inside at Lake Tahoe by me.

Here is another prayer given to me; it is by Alan Paton.

"O Lord,
open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
open my ears that I may hear their cries;
open my heart so that they need not be without succor.

Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to those places.

And so open my eyes and my ears
that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all. I keep thinking of that day fifty-nine years ago when I arrived in Chile from Rome.  It was a long flight and we arrived late. There was not much to remember about the flight except that we were very hot in our habits with sweaters underneath as Rome was so cold and we arrived in summer in Chile. I was touched to see that the two who had come to meet us at the airport that night were the Superior Vicar and the Mistress of Novices. We returned to Maestranza, the first convent we built in Chile with some 13 different patios as it had housed a boarding school, a normal school, a poor school, a large community, and numerous works.

I have been writing Valentines for our different groups of staff plus some individuals and it is such a good way to thank them for all they do for us. We are short of help and some have even taken double shifts to be able to care for us. I am in Westwood so we do not see or need help except for cleaning and one or two may need something else, but many in Oakwood need help to go to bed and then get dressed in the morning. Actually, I think Valentine's Day is a great day for expressing gratitude for God's love, our love for one another, and love for all of creation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

His joy sustains me...

I love this quote from St. Philippine Duchesne so will share it again today.

"His Wisdom governs me
His power defends me
His grace sanctifies me
His joy sustains me and 
all will go well with me."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My liffe is but a weaving between my God and me...

Another picture taken from my window at Lake Tahoe. I loved the snow, but was happy not to be out in it!

One of my friends here has given me some things to share in my blog. Here is one to reflect on today:

"My life is but a weaving between my God and me.
I may not choose the colors. He knows what they should be, 
for He can view the pattern upon the upper side,
while I can see it only one this, the under side.

Sometimes He weaves me sorrow which seems so strange to me,
But I will trust His judgment and work on faithfully.
He knows just what is best, so I shall weave in earnest and leave with Him the rest.

At last when life is ended, with Him I shall abide.
Then I may view the pattern upon the upper side.
Then I shall know the reason why pain and joy entwined
was woven in the fabric of life that God designed."

         (Source unknown)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

After giving the thirty-day retreat to priests, a Brother and a Benedictine Sister in Spain at Manresa, where the cave is that Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises, I went with the group on a bus through the mountains to Lourdes. It was the eve of Pentecost's Mass that most impressed me. We had people from all over the world there and the candlelight  procession before the Mass was something that stays with me. I did not like the commercial part that is just outside the grotto, but Lourdes is impressive and the number of cures shows us how Mary intercedes to help those who come as pilgrims. I am glad I had this experience before returning to teach a semester in the Normal School in Peru. That was another great experience as I had the graduating class for conversation and composition and they had no set syllabus nor even a textbook. I would put a maxim of St. Madeleine Sophie in English on the blackboard each morning and they all copied it and said that they would be doing the same wherever they were sent to teach by the government. Then they would write about whatever they thought I should know about Peru, its history, culture, and the educational methods. I learned so much from my students and I hope their English improved after we had lively conversation about different topics. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is another picture taken at Tahoe before the blizzard.

Now to look at this Sunday's Liturgy - you know by now that I like to look at the opening prayer, the Collect, as we so often are distracted and do not hear what we are asking God. Here it is for this Sunday:

"Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection."

The Gospel has Jesus teaching the crowds from the boat. "After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.' Simon said in reply, 'Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.' When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come help them."
They are astonished at the catch of fish, but Jesus tells them: 
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And Luke tells us: " when they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."

Jesus is still calling us to follow Him more closely, to help Him shepherd souls. What must I give up today?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Lake Tahoe

This is the first picture I took on February fourth when we arrived at the Dominican vacation house. All my pictures were from inside the house as I only went out the first morning to help bring in wood for the fire. Fortunately, we had enough wood to last us through the blizzard that came. I think we all loved having the extra days just to be and it was a real gift to have six days there instead of four. Sometimes God just makes us slow down. I am feeling so lazy, but they keep telling me that it takes time to recover from pneumonia and I should just do nothing. Hard to do here, but I am trying. Hence, no spiritual reflection today. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Apostolic Courage

This picture of our Dominican host, was taken just before we left Tahoe Wednesday morning. It was a great six day vacation and I loved the gorgeous scene and will be sharing my pictures each day for at least a few days. 
Today is the anniversary of my final Profession in Rome in 1960. Two of my profession sisters are here at Oakwood. We had three days of ceremonies as we were 46 but the Americans were on the first day. Then, I flew straight from Rome to Chile, arriving on Valentine's Day without knowing a word of Spanish! The name given to us was Apostolic Courage and I guess I needed that immediately!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

i was snowed in...

Having scheduled my blog ahead before I left for Lake Tahoe, I said I was home again on Monday. I really thought I would be but we had six days instead of four in this really beautiful spot. I took pictures but need to transfer them from my I-pad. We actually had a blizzard and over three feet of snow that also stuck to the trees and made it a spectacular scene. I had taken books to read, but mostly I just sat and contemplated the beauty of the scene before me. It was different each day, but really amazing. We finally were able to get out this morning and I arrived home at five this evening. I enjoyed the week immensely and had two great companions. We took turns cooking; I made a pot roast dinner that was delicious and I was relieved as it has been almost three years since I have cooked! There was plenty for Sunday dinner, too. 
I am just grateful for those days of quiet and will be sharing the pictures I took from the window in front of me. More tomorrow, God willing. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Home again!

It is always good to be home again but the days at Lake Tahoe were very special. I will write more about the freedom of these days tomorrow. Today I will finish sharing from the Guided Imagery Retreat. This was my third session with my Guide and the last. This one was different and I guess it is partly the music that brings the images. I began this one in Ireland on my birthday and I am taking a hot bath in the hotel after a night on the plane. My sister is asleep. I want to go to a late lunch and she finally agrees to get up and go with me.
Then we seem to be at a huge Waterford Crystal store and my sister is explaining the qualities and I am struck by the idea of transparency.
Then I am skipping joyfully up a path and when I reach the top of the hill, I can see the ocean below the cliff. Then a shepherd comes; it is Jesus and he shows me a rock where we can both sit. He seems happy with me and wants me to know that I am just to be myself. Then He invites me to walk with Him.  Jesus takes me to the other side of the hill and shows me His Flock way below. They are people, not sheep, and He seems to want me to help shepherd them. Before I feel hesitant about this enormous task, angels appear and each is a Guardian Angel and they fly to the person they guard and my Guardian Angel is with me and I am so happy to see her. 
Now I am condensing this last part but the message is that God is loving me all the time and Jesus tells me: "I have work for you; you are to be a shepherd.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I am in Tahoe this Sunday and trying to schedule ahead, I shall be brief. One thing that strikes me here is the number of times one of the priests speaks of how the Gospel is for us; we are the ones now that it is meant for and how do we live what Jesus is saying and showing us? We need to read the Gospel seeing ourselves and getting the good news for us now.

Here is something from a commentary on this Sunday's readings by Dennis Hamm:

"our Scriptures invite us to take the role of prophet with utmost seriousness—regarding Jesus, the apostles, and ourselves. Jeremiah was for the early Church the archetypal prophet, so much so that language from his call story (this Sunday's First Reading) is used to describe our archetypal apostle, St. Paul; he uses Jeremiah's call to describe his own vocation (Gal 1:15), and Luke does the same in Acts 26:17. The Gospel reading shows Jesus placing his mission in the prophetic tradition of Elijah and Elisha. Further, our theology of baptism describes our own Christian mission as a participation in Jesus' role of prophet, along with the awesome roles of priest and king.
What can give perspective to any application of the role of prophet to ourselves or others is Paul's reflection on the place of love as the “way” of exercising all the gifts. When we feel called to confront our little part of the world in the name of God—that is, according to an informed conscience—it must be motivated by love. Otherwise our action is empty and our perceived role self-appointed

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Feast of the Purification

I am tempted to let the pictures be the reflection for the day. I love this feast because I can imagine what it must have been like for Mary to hear the prophecy about her Son and then to hear that her own soul a sword would pierce...

Since I did promise to share more on my Guided Imagery Retreat, here is what I wrote after the second GIM with my guide:
I am a bird flying high in the sky. There is a storm below but I am being drawn to the sun. But then I see another light- this light draws me in and I feel that the Light is God, all three Persons in the Trinity are in the Light and I am there as myself now - not a bird- and I am feeling God loving me. The love of all Three Persons is pouring into me and filling me with love and joy! This love overflows into the world. It is such a good feeling and penetrates every part of my body. I feel this love and only want to be totally open to receive God's love and let it flow through me to the whole world.
Then I am conscious of the Three Persons and drawn deeper into the Light while feeling infused with this love of all Three. I am possessed by God who only wants me to allow Him to love me....
There is more, but that seems to be all I can share today.

Friday, February 1, 2019

When you pray...

When you pray, be like the bird,
endlessly singing before the Creator
its song rising like incense.
Pray like the turtle dove
and you will never lose heart.

I feel that these five stanzas from St. Seraphim have helped me in prayer this week and I hope they have helped you, too.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

When you pray....

When you pray, remember the breath
that made us men living beings,
from God it comes; to God it returns.
Blend the Word and prayer with the flow of life
and nothing will come between you and the Giver of Life.

If St. Seraphim were alive, he would not mind me changing the second line to "made us human living beings" but I like the idea of remembering God's breath and feel great gratitude for the life we have.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When you pray...

When you pray, be like the ocean
with stillness in its depths
the waves ebbing and flowing.
Have calm in your heart, and evil thoughts
will flee of their own accord.

I am leaving for Lake Tahoe early tomorrow morning and will return on Monday. I am scheduling my blog ahead so you will still have a daily reflection. I will be with another RSCJ who will spend the night in order to drive me to pick up our dear Dominican Spiritual Director and then go to the Dominican house at Tahoe. I am planning on cooking a pot roast dinner on Saturday night, if I still remember how to do that! I have really been looking forward to this and perhaps we will have snow while we are there.  After so many years in Miami, I would love to see snow, but do not want to drive in it.