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Monday, July 15, 2019

Feast of St. Bonaventure

Bonaventure was a Franciscan theologian who is also a Doctor of the Church. He lived in the thirteenth century and was known as the "Second Founder" of the Franciscans for his role as minister-general of the Franciscans. Pope Gregory X ordered him to accept the title of cardinal-bishop of Albano. It seems that when the Papal Legates arrived to present him with his red hat and insignia of office, he kept them waiting while he finished washing the dishes! He was canonized in 1482.

I want to tell you about a marvelous invention for those who are hard of hearing. It is a free Google app called Live Transcribe but only works on Android machines. I read about it and went to Best Buy and bought their cheapest phone for $59.99, downloaded the free app and have enjoyed it for eight days now and really find it is helpful. It is very good about picking up speech and transcribing it more accurately than most captioning devices. I can get the homilies in the Chapel, hear people who often are difficult for me to lip read, use it in our dining room, if not too much background noise and, since my phone's captions have not been working, I put this new app next to the speaker phone and read everything my brother wanted to tell me.
I did not activate the phone as I have my I-phone which I do not really use unless driving myself or when out by myself. This new phone will not cost me anything but works on wi-fi with the new, free app. I think I am getting another Sister here to try it as it is very helpful and the transcriptions will remain for three days unless you want to delete them before that. I think I can even read out loud a quote I want to keep and copy it later without having to keep the book or article. I am sure this is going to be very useful for me and want to spread the good news!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel is Luke 10:25-37 and it we have the wonderful story of the Good Samaritan. Actually, the one who asks Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"is a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus. Then Jesus tells us how a man fell victim to robbers; a priest and a Levite saw him but do not stop. It is when a Samaritan comes and sees him and is moved with compassion and approaches the victim, treated his wounds, lifted him up on his own animal and takes him to an inn to be cared for and gave the innkeeper money with the promise that he would pay more on his return if the man needed to stay longer to recover. After telling the story, Jesus asks: "Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers' victim?" There is, of course, only one answer - the one who treated him with mercy. Then Jesus tells us, "Go and do likewise."

I fear that I am often like the priest who avoids helping; even when I stop to aid someone, I am not as generous as the Samaritan. This is a story that we all need to reflect on often!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

You are the "Now" of God


I will be sharing more on Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation:
Christus Vivit: to Young People and to the Entire People of God as there are some good thoughts for us to reflect on next week. The third chapter's title is "You are the 'Now' of God and the Pope says:
"...we cannot just say that young people are the future of our world. They are its present; even now, they are helping to enrich it. Young people are no longer children. They are at a time of life when they begin to assume a number of responsibilities, sharing alongside adults in the growth of the family, society and the Church."

Then he asks what are today's young people really like? What is going on in their lives?

These are good questions for all of us to use for reflection.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Summer goes so quick;y


Summer is half over and I am still waiting to tackle a "to do" list that I made for these days, which I thought might be quieter since we do not have the school in session. We do hear children's voices as there is a summer program for different ages, I think, and the pool is being used. 
I have done some good reading and also have spent time just reading for fun. One older book that I had never read before and that needs to be read slowly in Cynthia Bourgeault's The Meaning of Mary Magdalene: Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity. This book is giving me much to think about as I go through the chapters slowly. The book has three parts and I am still on the second. The parts are: Mary Magdalene as Apostle; Mary Magdalene as Beloved; Mary Magdalene as Unitive Wisdom. 
There are about 30 pages of notes on the 17 Chapters, but I am finding some new ideas that lead to reflection. I no doubt will be sharing some when I have managed to digest this book.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Earthquakes are no fun

On the 4th of July Southern California was hit by a 6.4 quake. The pictures showed all sorts of damage and people trying to get away. It, of course, brought back memories of the earthquakes I lived through in Chile. Our convent in Vina del Mar was completely destroyed except for the very back kitchen wing and children's dining room. It was a 6.5 quake and the aftermath was the worst for me as there was no water, no electricity, and sixteen of us slept in the children's dining room for weeks after that quake. One adapts, but I am so glad this one was not worse. California is due, so they tell us, for another bigger one but we can only wait and pray that it will not take lives.
After I wrote this, (I try to schedule ahead) there was another 7.1 quake that has done much damage and I am sure that many people are living in fear in Southern California. The fact is that we are due for large quakes and no one can predict when they will happen. I think it is a call to put all in God's hands, but we also need to help those who have suffered now during these last two quakes in the South.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

For all parents and anyone in contact with young people

"Anyone called to be a parent, a pastor or guide to young people must have the farsightedness to appreciate the little flame that continues to burn, the fragile reed that is shaken but not broken...  The ability to discern pathways where others see only walls, to recognize potential where others see only peril. That is how God the Father sees things; he knows how to cherish and nurture the seeds of goodness sown in the hearts of the young. Each young person's heart should thus be considered 'holy ground', a bearer of seeds of divine life, before which we must 'take off our shoes' in order to draw near and enter more deeply into the Mystery."
Pope Francis in Christus Vivit.

I wonder if this passage will really be of help to parents with teen-agers. I suspect it could be, but in the moment of finding coke cans stashed under the couch, (my mother told me how that tried her patience with my younger brother) one might not be remembering those seeds of goodness in the hearts of the young. 
But the Pope also calls us to contemplate the plight of so many young people today "who suffer forms of marginalization and social exclusion for religious, ethnic or economic reasons." And he asks if we can weep before the tragedies of our young.  I hope you will read the entire Exhortation which was published last March 25. It can be found online.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

"For whom am I?"

What I want to share today is from the last chapter of Pope Francis' Exhortation, Christus Vivit which is on discernment. This is the passage that has stayed with me:


“So often in life, we waste time asking ourselves: ’Who am I?’ You can keep asking ‘Who am I?’ for the rest of your lives. But the real question is: ‘For whom am I?’ Of course, you are for God. But he has given you many qualities, inclinations, gifts and charisms that are not for you, but for you to share with those around you.”
It might be good to make a list of our qualities, inclinations, gifts and charisms to see how I am sharing them with those around me.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Remembering last February in Tahoe

If the summer heat is bothering you, this picture should help cool you; it was taken after we had been snowed in by a blizzard and it was so beautiful. We loved having the extra days and it was such a peaceful time. I needed to look at this picture again to feel that deep peace and the silent beauty of the snow. 

I forgot to mention that one important reading is from Heart Magazine; actually, the entire issue is well worth reading and can be found on our Province webpage, but the first article by Sister Suzanne Cooke is really exciting for me. I hope you will find it and read it and all of Heart !

Sunday, July 7, 2019

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel from Luke 10 has Jesus appointing 72 others whom he sends ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He tells them, "The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on you way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one alone the way...."
Jesus continues to give instructions, but even this first part of the Gospel for today gives us much to think about. I just realized how organized Jesus was for the Kingdom of God and how many places he intended to visit. The Kingdom of God was to be announced to all and that was what was important and still is important for us today. How are we being sent to announce the Kingdom. One of the priests who comes for Mass always tells us after the last blessing: 
"Go now and announce the Gospel by your love." I think that is every one did that, the world would be changed!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Overwhelmed by all I want to read and reflect on these days of July

These last two weeks I have felt overwhelmed with all the good things to read. First, there is the Barb's Dawson's Letter addressed to all the Sisters and the Family of the Sacred Heart; then the document, " Being Artisans of Hope in our Blessed and Broken World." Now we have a letter from the Provincial Team and so much to ponder as well as the invitation to read White Fragility; that comes with helps for facilitators and discussion questions for each of the 12 Chapters. I am also trying to finish the Pope's Exhortation, Christus Vivit, to be able to share some on my blog. In the meantime, I am still praying over my retreat and have the desire to share more of it. I just need to take time to reflect on each of the above readings plus the wonderful issue of The Occasional Papers from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on "Our Search for Meaning". And then there are the fascinating articles in the latest issue of Heart magazine that helps me to know how we are keeping the spirit of Sacred Heart education in so many ways and places. 
Really, we have a wealth of rich reading all coming at once. I need to slow down and find time to read all of this slowly. I am also reading the new volumes of Philippine's Writings; this is mostly a reread, but very fruitful for me and I hope all Philippine Duchesne's admirers will be able to read the two volume work that has just been published.
On my desk, there is another pile of magazines waiting to be read as I did not read during the retreat and see that even America is piling up. I did manage to finish the book that has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks in order to pass it on as some of us want to discuss it. 
Perhaps summer is a time to read and reflect and you can make your own list. Children are often given a list of books to read. I remember one mother who posted her children's names on the refrigerator and pasted a tiny book next to a child's name when the child had finished a book. I forget how many books were to be read but remember the prize was a trip to a shoe store and each could pick out a brand new pair of sneakers at the end of the summer. I thought that was a wise mother and certainly helped her children find time to read.
Now I need to find some time to read!

Friday, July 5, 2019

First Friday of July

When I think of First Friday, I remember our hours before the Blessed Sacrament. To be truthful, I also remember when I had the experience of 7th and 8th grade in a parochial school, the breakfasts after Mass in the Church basement. We would be served hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls and that seemed to make First Fridays special. I knew, because of my many years at the Academy of the Visitation, that the First Friday devotion began with Jesus asking this of Saint Margaret Mary. It was only when I went to the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles that I learned about the idea of reparation. Now, some Catholic churches have perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; I am sure this has been a source of strength for many and has led to many good works. 
I have found that one only needs to sit in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament and let Jesus love us and a gradual transformation takes place. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Independence Day


Our country needs so much prayer today when we still have so much racism and our prisons are full, there are many homeless, hungry people in our land which is so full of riches and resources. We must change so that freedom from want is achieved instead of so much wealth going to few while many suffer.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Called to "set sail" in new ways


I am still out there in a boat as one of the calls of our last General Chapter was that of "setting sail" to reach new frontiers. To go back to sharing from my retreat, I connect this with our vocation to be prophets. This does not mean that I am called to announce the future, but it does mean that I am called to announce the good news of salvation and denounce the things that keep us from loving one another as Jesus has asked us to do.
I guess the plight of the refugees and the thousand of children who have been detained at our own borders is what I am trying to change but mostly by prayer and supporting petitions and those who are out there trying to do something positive to get the children out of these horrible conditions. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

One of my favorite Gospel passages

Today the Gospel is Matthew 8:23-27 where Jesus gets into the boat and goes sound to sleep. A violent storm started to swamp the boat, but Jesus continues to sleep. The disciples wake him, saying: "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" Jesus said to them, "Why are you terrified, O ye of little faith" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

Now, I have been advocating among my large community here that we share some of the Gospel passages that have a story in our own life. This is one that I love as I often have had the image of being in a boat with Jesus but sometimes he seemed so relaxed that he went to sleep and left me feeling helpless, especially if the waves were rough and the wind strong. I felt this especially when I was sent to Chile straight from Rome without knowing a word of Spanish. Now, I still feel that I am in a boat with Jesus, but he is the pilot and knows our destination and I am relaxed and just happy to be a passenger without having to do anything, but just be there with the Lord.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Jesus is the Lamb of God as well as our Good Shepherd


John the Baptist pointed out Jesus to his disciples telling them to behold the Lamb of God. We use this title for Jesus in every Mass before Communion. And the pray says, "Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb."
I was thinking how inclusive Jesus was and wondering why the Church excludes so many who would love to come to the "supper of the Lamb." We do need to pray for change and the Pope has said that theology can and does change.

I meant to start with a few thoughts from the Letter to the Society of the Sacred Heart. Barb Dawson begins by addressing it to the "Sisters and Family of the Sacred Heart" so I am sure we would be happy for me to quote some of the letter in my blog as the letter is also including a gift and a challenge with the enclosed document , Being Artisans of Hope in our Blessed and Broken World." She then adds that she hopes that "wherever we are and however we expend our time and energy for mission and life that we take the calls of the document 'to heart'- to our own hearts and to God's Heart."
The document is long, but we will be looking, I think, at the four imperatives, if the Holy Spirit inspires me how to share these with you this week.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem in today's Gospel. Someone comes and says: "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus tells him: "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
Then to another Jesus said, "Follow me." But this one asked to go first to bury his father. Jesus tells him, "let the dead bury the their dead. But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
That is what we also are called to do: proclaim the kingdom of God!
How am I doing this? What might Jesus be saying to me today?
It is Sunday, the Lord's day; take some time to be with Him today!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul


I love the entrance antiphon for this feast as it is such a good summary of these two great saints.

"These are the ones who, living in the flesh, planted the Church with their blood; they drank the chalice of the Lord and became the friends of God." 

It is good to go back over the lives of each of these saints and see how the Lord worked in each. He also is working in each of us to bring us into the Communion of Saints and make us good "friends of God".

Friday, June 28, 2019

Feast of the Sacred Heart

The liturgy for the Feast of the Sacred Heart this year is my favorite with Jesus addressing the parable of the shepherd who would leave the 99 and go after the lost one until he finds it and then rejoice with his friends because he has found his lost sheep.

Jesus is our good shepherd and does not abandon us. We are so loved and called to go forth and love others. We are all one flock and no one is to be excluded. We had a wonderful letter from our Mother General in which she told us that knowing we are so loved by God no matter what is the essence of hope!

Happy Feast to all. We will have our Liturgy and renewal of vows at 4:00 followed by dinner with the RSCJs in the area and other guests. 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Reviewing the retreat

The first day of the retreat opened with a handout that has a picture of Christ with a multitude of people in the cavity of His Heart. Below is this quote from Teilhard de Chardin's Hymn of the Universe:
"I love you, Lord Jesus, because of the multitude who shelter within you and whom, if one clings closely to you, on can hear with all the other beings murmuring, praying, weeping,..."

Then come these questions: Who is in your heart? What do you bring to the retreat?

Then, we said the following response together: We entrust to you, O God.
The cares of our hearts
The needs of your Church
The wounds of the world
The hopes we carry, for ourselves and for others
The times we have been too self-protective
The many gifts we've been given
The deep desire for peace

Besides the readings from our Constitutions, we were given the following Scripture passages as suggestions for prayer:
Ephesians 1:7-10; Wisdom Chapter 9; 1 John 1:1-4; and any Taize antiphon you love.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

We are called to be prophets

One of the thoughts that struck me in the retreat was the reminder that we are all called to be prophets. I think this means for me to not only announce the good news, but to help motivate others to change things that are not so good. This means studying the issues, not being afraid to speak out and to work for a better world. For me, the top issue to be resolved immediately is the plight of the refugees. We are detaining them in horrible conditions; we are creating "concentration camps"! If we saw another country doing this, we would all be against it. Children are being detained in camps for months separated from relatives, having to follow a prison routine; I learned that in the detention camp in Florida the average stay for a child is 67 days. Think what that does to anyone, but especially to the young. We must rally round those who are trying to welcome refugees and allow them to experience the freedom that the United States has always held in such high esteem. We need also to remember that many of our ancestors came to this country as refugees. We have land and resources to still receive others and not lock them up on arrival.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Friends

Last night when I wrote my blog about the delightful supper with the girls from Villa Duchesne I forgot to put today's date so, of course, it was published last night. That is the reason I am writing again this morning. I have been thinking so much about the value of friendships and how grateful I am to having had so many really wonderful friends; I still have wonderful friends, but I also have many now in heaven. I think friendship is a gift, but it is also to be cultivated. Pope Francis speaks so often about the culture of encounter - going out to others, listening to them to know their stories, their hopes and dreams. 
I have been reading the Pope's Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit to Young People and to the Entire People of God. I think that the Holy Spirit is inspiring me to use some of this Exhortation in my blogs after this week. Now, I still want to share more of my retreat and prepare for the feasts of the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday and the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Saturday.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Wonderful Surprise Today

We had a lovely surprise this evening. Twenty-five girls from our school, Villa Duchesne, in St. Louis arrived to spend a few days here. They had supper with us and they were delightful! They will be sleeping on the third floor of the original building built in 1898 when we began a boarding school here. They arrived straight from the airport and could not get over the beauty of California; they came on 280, a highway that is gorgeous to drive and arrived just in time for our 5:00 supper which we ate with them in the patio. The weather has been perfect and we had at least eight tables set for six or eight so we were two RSCJs at each table. One of the girls at my table could not get over the fact that I grew up in a house not only on the same street in St. Louis, but only two houses down from hers. I taught at Villa Duchesne in 1953 which was no doubt before their parents had even been born! They are going to do some social work in San Francisco, and feed the hungry, pick up trash and also see something of our surroundings. They will have Mass with us on Wednesday morning and then something with us in the Fireside room. It is just good to see young people and these girls were so polite and wholesome! 
Not a very spiritual blog tonight, but I am so proud of these Sacred Heart Seniors that I had to write about them.

Thoughts from retreat



We came out of retreat on Sunday morning, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a great retreat and I have many thoughts to share. One of the first is a great gratitude for apostolic friendships. We were looking at the friendship between St. Madeleine Sophie and St. Philippine Duchesne but were also asked to look at the friendships we have had and even to write to thank some of our friends. Many of mine are in heaven now, but I realized that I still have many and, although I only wrote three notes, I could have written to many; friendship is a gift!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ


We come out of retreat today!

This is a beautiful feast and I am so grateful
for the attraction I have for the Eucharist.
That is a such a gift!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Today we are in retreat for this feast of the Trinity. I will, however, finish today with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for I think it is good that we ask for Wonder and Beauty.

Draw us into Yourself, Spirit of Wonder and Beauty,
so that we may worship You and glorify You.

In union with Jesus who has given us this Spirit,
we return to You, loving God, all that You have given us. Amen!

Do keep praying for the retreat!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

The gift of Reverence

Abide with us, Spirit of Reverence,
so that we may be transformed into Your image
and become holy.

I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart on this day, 69 years ago! And today, Oakwood begins our annual retreat until June 23. I count on your prayers.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The gift of Knowledge

Fill us with insight, Spirit of Knowledge,
so that we may put on the mind of Christ
and see God in all creation.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Gift of Fortitude

Inspire us, Spirit of Fortitude,
so that we ma always have courage 
and speak the truth in love.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The gift of Counsel

Move within our community, Spirit of Counsel,
so that everyone of our encounters may be filled with your Presence.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The gift of Understanding

Grow in us, Spirit of Understanding,
so that we may listen and know how to speak your word.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Asking for the gift of Wisdom

"Breathe on us, Spirit of Wisdom,
so that we may be Your divine life alive in the world."

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Pentecost

We say in our 1982 Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart: 4. "By our charism, we are consecrated to Glorifying the Heart of Jesus: we answer His call to discover and reveal His love
letting ourselves be transformed by His Spirit
so as to live united and conformed to Him,
and through our love and service
to radiate the very love of His Heart." 

It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us and so we ask the Spirit for this grace and for His coming into our hearts with all the gifts and fruits the Spirit gives. 

I count on your prayer as I will be in pre-retreat days and then retreat now until June 23. I will be back with my blog about June 24 but you will find a petition for the different gifts of the Spirit each day of this coming week.. Let us pray for one another.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Eve of Pentecost


It is the eve of a great Feast. What would we do without the Holy Spirit? Here is a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie who had such a strong devotion to the Holy Spirit:

"If I could only make you realize the happiness of a soul who gives herself to the Holy Spirit wholly and without reserve! She is no longer the one who acts, it is God himself. She moves only to follow his inspirations. Everything comes easy for her: the Holy Spirit has taken possession of her..."

Let us give ourselves to the Holy Spirit tomorrow, wholly and without reserve!
I also want to remind you that after tomorrow I will not be writing my blog until maybe June 24. We will be in retreat now from June 15 to June 23 and I will be away for five days beginning Monday. I have, however, put one of the prayers we say every day in preparation for the Feast of Pentecost; I will just put one petition for each day of this week when I am away.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Quoting Jean Vanier

This will be my last quote from The Impact of God and it is the last paragraph of the Foreword written by Jean Vanierin in 1995"

"For some people, John of the Cross...seems too austere and complicated, for others too pantheistic, not sufficiently Christ-centered. Iain Matthew reveals beautifully the true John, firmly centered in Jesus, in love with Jesus, the John who through all his life and teaching shows the path to inner liberation and union with God. This book will help many to be God-centred, Jesus centred, and in all things centred in love."

I guess English English uses "centred" while American English uses centered. The point is, I firmly believe the Holy Spirit has inspired the blogs this week leading up to Pentecost. I know it was a strong nudge from the Holy Spirit that sent me back to The Impact of God and only to the last Chapter this week.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Within but hidden


John of the Cross is a master of contemplative prayer and a great spiritual director. He has, according to Iain Matthews, "led us on a search for encounter with God. He has done so in the assurance of the resurrection - under the impact of a God who is pouring himself out. This God searches out the persons and makes them capable of the gift that will fill them. Something is happening, . . . we may not see it happening. John's quest is for encounter, not for a feeling of encounter..."

The most real thing about us is our need for God. God comes to us in our need.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Stop fiddling . . .

Here is another gem of wisdom from Iain Matthews in the last chapter of The Impact of God: "The person who used more or less to control her religious world with images, words, feelings, cannot but feel disconcerted when this activity of hers no longer seems to yield God. When God circumvents our radar, the instruments we once employed to connect with him are going to feel redundant, and his deeper presence will go unnoticed, until we adjust our expectations. The temptation is to keep fiddling with the control panel ('at least I'm doing something'). A better alternative, John suggests, is to surrender. Surrender, and be with the one who is content to be with us."

This is really good advice. You just need to surrender and let God love you! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The simplicity of prayer

One of my superiors, who later became a great spiritual director for me, often told me that prayer was simple; not easy but simple. Iain Matthews says that "if our need is for Christ, and Christ is present, gazing, giving himself, then prayer contains an impulse towards simplicity. Pray can be a 'being with'.'
I think we want to do something in prayer and God just asks us to be! As long as we are present with the desire to pray, God can do what He wants in us. And, what He wants is to love us. I am so convinced of this that I want everyone to just go to prayer, be open to this love God wants to pour into us, and relax and enjoy this gift of Divine Love! 

Here is a quote from John of the Cross: "Well then, soul of beauty! Since you now know that in your heart your Beloved, for whom you long, dwells hidden, you concern must be to be with him in hiding and there in your heart you will embrace him."

Monday, June 3, 2019

Let the Holy Spirit pray in us...

I believe that the Holy Spirit nudged me to pick up again The Impact of God  by Iain Matthew. Here is another quote to share with you today: "Once we are with the gospel Christ, the gaze of faith, the mutual presence in love, mantains a loving contact. It puts us in place before the radiating gaze of the living God. We are asked to be awake there. We can rest there, till we find we need to strengthen the gospel framework again. In that contact God is building up his life in us, communicating himself to us; the tough of two vitalities which cannot but leave the inmost person changed."

We can and should relax in prayer as it is God who is active and just wants to love us. We need to be open, surrendered, and let the Holy Spirit free to act in us. Indeed, the entire Trinity is present when we open ourselves in prayer to be aware of this Divine Presence in us.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Ascension celebrated on Sunday


I wonder how the Ascension really was. Luke tells us that, after telling his disciples to "stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high", Jesus led them out as far as Bethany, raised his hands, and blessed them. As he blessed them he parted from them and was taken to up to heaven. They did him homage and then returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they were continually in the temple praising God." (Luke 24:48-53}

In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke tells us: "I dealt with all Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for 'the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." 
Then Luke goes on to tell us how Jesus was lifted up and a cloud took him from their sight.
There is some message there about waiting; there is a value in that time of waiting for the Holy Spirit to empower them. Perhaps we are now waiting between Ascension and Pentecost and should intensify our prayer and praise in order to prepare for the Holy Spirit.

Feast of the Ascension

The Feast of the Ascension was celebrated forty days after Easter and was one of the universal feasts from the beginning of the liturgical year, along with Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Luke tells us: "

"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'"
 Jesus had told the Apostles that it was good for him to go as he would send the Holy Spirit and so, Ascension is forty days after Easter (now moved to Sunday in some places) and Pentecost is fifty days after Easter and always celebrated on Sunday. 


Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Impact of God



Perhaps it is years now since I discovered Iain Matthew's book, The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross. It was out of print at the time and one of our Religious lent me her copy to keep as long as I wanted. Before I returned it, I found that Amazon had it as it had been newly published; I bought three copies so I could return hers with a new one for Oakwood plus a gift and one for myself. This week I felt the urge to pick it up off of my bookshelf and I opened to Chapter 20. I will be quoting a bit from this great spiritual book as it is again speaking to me and I find it confirming my prayer at this stage of my life. Here is a quote:

"The Apostles's primary call is 'to be with him' (Mark 3:14). In John's gospel, this is the fruit of Jesus's resurrection: 'abide in my love' -  remain, stay with, be with(John 15,9)….
"If God is indeed giving himself, our task is to be in place to receive. The gaze of faith keeps us in place. We are not told to keep extracting his love; we are told to abide in it."

Jesus is sleeping in the boat

What I like about this picture is the fact that Jesus is so relaxed that he can just go to sleep in the boat in spite of the movement and noise and then the wind and the waves. Those of the Apostles who knew how dangerous the sudden storms at sea could be, were terrified. They woke Jesus and Jesus immediately calmed the sea so they felt safe, but he also rebuked them for their lack of faith. I think I have often meditated on this scene and it has given me the gift of peace. 
As we begin this month of June, let us prepare for the Feast of Pentecost on the 9th and the Feast of the Sacred Heart on the 28th.
We will also be in retreat from Sunday evening, June 16 to June 23; it is only six days so I will be having a few semi-retreat days with one of our Religious in a condo near the ocean lent to us by the Sisters of Mercy. We will be there June 9-14 and I will not be on my computer so think it might be good for me to take a vacation from this blog (and give my readers one, too!) from June 9-to after the retreat. I will be writing my blog up until Pentecost and then off until the week of the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Feast of the Visitation

Mary was the first missionary as she carried Jesus in her womb to visit Elizabeth and Jesus must have communicated with the infamt in the womb of Elizabeth as she said the unborn babe leapt for joy at the greeting of Mary. This Gospel scene gives us the wonderful prayer of praise, the Magnificat. I love the first lines where Mary says that her whole being magnifies the Lord and she rejoices in God...

I seem to have a message from God for my 88th birthday and I will try to put it into words. The Lord is telling me that from my birth He has surrounded me with love and has made me to be joyful; my mission now is to give joy to Jesus by giving joy to others and trying to love as Jesus loves. As Jesus is in me, so I am called to give His love to others and that makes for joy. I consider this a great birthday gift and I am grateful. I also urge all to go back over your life to see the love and joy given to you.

Remembering with gratitude

This is the statue of St. Philippine Duchesne found now at the corner of the Academy and commissioned by the city of St. Charles. I am spending my birthday with her this year and asking for the grace of union with the Heart of Jesus. Actually, we are all united to His Heart so I guess I am asking to be more conscious of this and to love others with His Love. It is a good grace to ask for on my 88th birthday. I never expected to live this long, but I am so grateful that I am still able to do for myself, walk without a cane or walker ( one of the few here able to do that). The good thing about old age is that one can pass on the wisdom acquired and have many good memories to share.

One year I made a summer program with one of our Religious from Australia. She asked us to think about the best year of our life, to go back and relive that year in memory. I remember at the time that I felt I had so many wonderful years that it was hard to pick one, but finally chose my sophomore year at Maryville college as so many good things happened to me that year and in June I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart.

can you go back in memory and find the best year of your life? It makes you grateful for we all have so many good years to choose from that it is hard to decide which was the best year.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Reviewing one's life is a grace



As I continue the review of my life, Philippine is very present. She went through so much, but because of her I was able to be a boarder at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles for my four years of high school. I remember each of our annual retreats given by Jesuits. We would go into retreat on Monday evening and keep perfect silence until Friday morning. That was quite a feat for teenagers, but I loved those days and always had the life of a Religious of the Sacred Heart to read. God works in strange ways but I knew I had to go try religious life. The example of the Religious who taught me was powerful.

I had my faith from my parents who taught me to pray, but I also had six wonderful years at the Academy of the Visitation and had devotion to the Heart of Jesus from the time I made my First Communion. 

I am finding time taken to review my life with Jesus is very fruitful and I urge you to do the same. You do not need to wait for a birthday to do this!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Gratitude as we age

After my pilgrimage to St. Charles during my visit to St. Louis, I have been thinking more about Philippine during her last ten years. She spent these in a little room at St. Charles; I think she still must  have been able to manage steps as the community room was on the second floor and the dining room in the basement. I know she taught catechism to some French children under the porch on the basement level. She also still did quite a bit of sewing. Besides mending the clothes of the children, she still was able to make vestments for the priests in different churches, but she was not able to thread her needle and the children loved to do that for her.

I guess I am preparing for my 88th birthday next Friday by going back to thank for all the people in my life who have been so kind and loving and important to me. I was going to think of just 88, but found that I had 88 important and cherished people in my life before I made final profession in 1960. I guess I will easily have another 88 special friends from the next 20 years in Chile and still more in the 39 years since I have returned to the United States. I have much to be grateful for and relationships are so important!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

We have so many brave people to remember

One of my aunts was married to one of my favorite people. When the Second World War began, Bob was really too old to be drafted, but he had gone to a military school and wanted to join up and was sent to Officers/ Training and then went on to become finally a Lieutenant Colonel and at one point was stationed on a small island in the South Pacific and my aunt joined him there, one of three women on the island whose husbands were officers and wives were allowed. They lived in a Quonset hut and there was nothing to do. They became great bridge players! A General visited and my aunt only had hot dogs to serve him, but he decided that every time a supply boat was going back and forth from Japan, the officers should take their wives! Now this was, of course, after peace had been restored. Bob ended up in Europe where he was in charge of all the army PXes so had to travel to check on them. His life was interesting, but the normal soldier does not have an easy life. We should be grateful that our armed forces find willing recruits and we do not need to draft young people. Still, I wish we could stop fighting in so many places in our world today. We need to pray for peace!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day

It is good to remember and honor all those who have fought to keep us free. I think we need long week ends, too, for some who work such long days. A three-day week end is a real holiday for many. Here, we have a picnic and hopefully will see all the RSCJs in the area including those in San Francisco and Alameda. 

I have been using Joyce Rupp's Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life again. I think I did not finish it before going back to other favorite books, but now I am finding passages that are very helpful. I will be sharing a few with you this week, unless the Holy Spirit dictates something different. Joyce says, "Some experts refer to compassion as 'the quivering of the heart.' I hesitate to use this definition because the heart does not always 'quiver' in response to suffering. We do not always feel like being compassionate. Sometimes it takes sheer will power to be there for someone with an illness or a difficulty that requires our time and attentive presence."

I think this is true, but I also believe that we have the grace to make the loving commitment. Or, at least we can pray for the grace to be compassionate no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Sixth Sunday of Easter




Because most dioceses celebrate the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus on next Sunday, the reading for today may be from the seventh Sunday after Easter. My calendar has Ascension Thursday in red so I know I will be thinking of Jesus going to His Father on that day even if we celebrate it on Sunday now. It used to be a holy day when Catholics were obliged to attend Mass. This was not easy for many so it was a good idea to transfer the feast to Sunday.

This Sunday then will no doubt have the reading of the 7th Sunday.
What I think is important to remember is that Jesus was always preparing his friends for his departure. He did promise to remain always with them, but it would now be a different sort of presence. He also promised to send the Holy Spirit to them. These days after Easter have made the presence of Jesus very real to both his disciples and to us. Now, we find Jesus in a special way in the Eucharist. 
When I was visiting my brother, one of the things I missed most was my hour of prayer in front of the Eucharist ever afterhoon in our Chapel. I also missed our daily Mass and Communion. Let us thank Jesus again for his presence in the Eucharist and for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie



Sophie seems so close to us and I know she loves to have some "little words" with us daily. I think she is so maternal that she is interested in whatever we tell her. I am asking her for the grace to love as Jesus loves each person I have contact with as she was such a loving person herself.
We are having a funeral in the morning and I am going to an Open House celebrating the graduation of my Senior. I am still getting back to California time and wonder how I seem to have new energy today. I am just grateful for the time in St. Louis with my brother and sister-in-law who are so great about welcoming me and driving me, etc. I loved my visit, but I am also glad about coming home!