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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!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Home again in time for graduation this evening

I am happy to be home and not need to keep trying to remember to schedule ahead. I hope you have enjoyed the Word for the Day. Here is another:


Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
Pema Chödrön

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Praying with happy memories


Today is my last day in St. Louis. I have so many memories of growing up here. I think it is good to use our happy memories to go back and thank for the people and places that made us so happy. I think the prayer of memories is easy and also pleasing to Jesus. I guess I should suggest this more often to directees. We all need to revisit good memories and ask the Lord to be with us as we relive moments that we may only now be thanking for or even realizing our blessed giftedness.
Word for the Day:

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Friendship


Today I am seeing very dear friends in St. Louis. One of them I have known since seventh grade. Friendship is such a gift. I also think that Jesus calls us friends because he wants that kind of relationship with each of us.

Word for the Day:

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
Desmond Tutu

Monday, May 20, 2019

Revisiting a beloved spot

Today I will be visiting my old school, the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles and the shrine where Philippine Duchesne has finally found rest. When I was at school, we went to pray to her in the little chapel in front of the main building. I have such fond memories of my high school years at St. Charles. We were a small school, all girls then, and I believe the entire high school and the seventh and eighth grades all fit into about 77 desks in our study hall. Now there are many buildings and a great coed grade school, but no high school. Whenever I visit, I am impressed by the good manners of the students. I will be praying for my classmates, too. 

This is a picture that gives me a desire to pray.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fifth Sunday of Easter



I am scheduling ahead as I will be in St. Louis and not on a computer. I am looking forward to seeing relatives and friends and the statue of St. Philippine Duchesne that was placed in the garden outside the Cathedral as part of the celebration of Philippine's coming to America two hundred years ago. I love Philippine and she lived the words from this Sunday's Gospel: "This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

The responsorial psalm makes for a good walking prayer:
"I will praise you name for ever, my king and my God."

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Word for the day



As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
Nelson Mandela

Friday, May 17, 2019

Travel

Jesus rejoices over the recovery of any stray lamb. He is watching over each of us and that gives us courage and confidence. I am flying today to St. Louis to be with my brother and sister-in-law and have a busy five days ahead. However, I have some great quotes from the daily word I save so often from Gratefulness and this will give me a chance to share some of these words of wisdom with you. I am sure no one will mind a short blog for the next days. And I count on prayer for my trip as I have reached the point in my life when travel to different time zones by plane is not so attractive and I need to have more energy. However, I know I will enjoy each moment when I am there and still be happy to be home again!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

"Resolution"

Here is the information for anyone who wants to order Sister Carol Bialock's book of poems.  Coral Castles. Publisher is Fernwood Press. Release date is June 28, 2019. ISBN 978-1-59498-060-2The book is available for pre-order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Coral-Castles-Carol-Bialock/dp/1594980608/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=coral+castles+bialock&qid=1556824915&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell
Now, for one last poem today. 

Resolution

I will not let the angel of joy
flood my soul in vain
I will not let darkness
be victorious.
When fear tightens its noose,
constricts the heart,
clogs the mind,
I will go to the man of light
who has always befriended me
and breathe deep
in the release
of his embrace.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Something good to think about today

Sometimes, Lord, I still think I need to do all the work and You keep showing me that You are the one, not me, and I need to let You be free to work in me. This poem of Carol Bialock will be in her soon to be published book, Coral Castles: Collected Poems by Carol Bialock, RSCJ and can be preordered - more exact information on this tomorrow. Today I am sharing her poem on
"All the years of breaking through the soil,
gasping for growth,
straining to height and aroma and juice,
heavy with effort,
sweating it.

And when the glory came
and I breathed free and opened full,
strange how only then did I know
it was all gift,
I hadn't
done anything.

It was sun and rain and earth and air,
I had only to rest in
light, water, soil,
only trust and surrender
only be still
to flower into beauty.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

"Widening the Door"

Since Sister Carol Bialock's Poems are to be published next month, I am whetting appetites by sharing a few, with her permission. This one is called "Widening the Door":


Does the heart have a narrow door"
Will it allow in just one more
Of every beast and flower and bird
And every song it has ever heard?

Just one more child, just one more flower,
One more relinquishing of power
To that sane and sacred foolishness
Of living by inclusiveness?

Does the heart have a supple, elastic latch
That makes it easy to dispatch
All pettiness and bigotry
And open it to what makes free?

Is the heart a huge and lovely land?
Does it know the meaning of "Expand
And make your borders bright
And luminous with love's own light"?

Yet who can heal all the wounds and hate
Make my heart open, free and great."

Monday, May 13, 2019

"I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly."

Today Jesus tells us that he calls his sheep by name and his sheep follow him because they recognize his voice.
How am I listening to hear his voice and how do I recognize it? I think we need a great deal of discernment in the spiritual life to know what voice comes from our Shepherd. Let us always go back to St. Ignatius' Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. He said that when we are trying to lead a good life, the good Spirit will only encourage us and give us peace. I am convinced that the Lord wants us all to enjoy life and by happy. When we try to live to give joy to others, Jesus fills us with His Joy!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday



I love the image of the Good Shepherd and know that Jesus cares for each of us, calls us by name, and seeks us out when we need His love and care. 
Jesus tells us in today's Gospel (John 10:27-30) "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. Mo one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one."

That is a most consoling Gospel. We belong to Jesus and He is the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep. If I a late today, it is because I am one of the six or more here who has been in isolation with coughs and colds. I mostly have been coughing, but it has taken all my energy and I have done nothing for three days. Today, I hope to at least work in my room and stay out of my too comfortable recliner. I need to get my strength back as I leave on Friday for St. Louis to see my brother. It will be a busy week ahead, too. One of my good friends here went to God this week; she was 100 years old, but Cassie was still full of life last week and always greeted each of us at our breakfast table by name. She was so gentle and courteous and I miss her. We have had three go to God since Easter.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

How do you love this world of ours?

I have been praying over Carol Bialock's poems and will share another with you today:
I Embrace the World this Morning

I embrace the world this morning,
Hold her in my arms a long moment
And decide never to let her go, 
Never to return to safety,
Never to say, "It's none of my business."
It is.

Maybe there should be a ritual
When we come of age,
When we're old enough to respond
"I do",
To the most crucial question:
"Do you love this world?"

Perhaps that will be the final question:
"Have you truly, deeply, faithfully
Loved this world?

Friday, May 10, 2019

At the End


Here is another poem of Carol Bialock that merits reflection:

At the End

"The same labor pains
That erupted you into life set in.
The moment to push hasn't come yet;
Only the pain and the trust
And the imploding of unknown worlds."

We were often told that it was good to meditate on death, but I was not fond of doing it. Now, some poems have made it easy.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

After All This Comfort


Many months ago I quoted, with permission, some of Carol Bialock's poems. Since she is a good RSCJ friend, I believe I still have her permission and I know I did not copy the ones she had about death and dying. Now I am ready to do so as we have just had two deaths here and another is perhaps close to death plus our Sisters in Albany have had two deaths - all this shows that God wants to take some of His friends home during this Easter season.
This is the poem: After All This Comfort:

So, after all this comfort,
you think you will die uncomforted?
Ludicrous!
Blasphemy!

You will die hugged to the breast,
nursed into light.
It will be the deepest comfort, and you
will celebrate wedding.
You will stand at the altar in that final
caressing and say "Amen!" to the great questioning.
You who said "Yes" will keep repeating
"Yes, indeed yes!"

And there will be a comfortable,
an infinitely comforting
Beginning Kiss.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

God made the world to give us joy


I firmly believe that God wants us all to be joyful and He has surrounded us with beauty. Creation is full of joy, but we are so uncaring about much of the life around us. Each part of creation is important. In "Growing in Joy" Robert Morneau gives 31 short meditations for a life in abundance. Since joy is my vocation within my vocation, I often go back to them. Today I am quoting from one entitled, "A Reward of Creation".

Saint Paul lists joy as one of the signs of the Holy Spirit in our life. To be alive spiritually implies the presence of joy. People who are deeply alive radiate joy. "To perform work well and for it to have a lasting effect, joy is a major ingredient....Joylessness diminishes the possibility of full health of soul, mind, and heart."

Christian joy is, according to Morneau, a gift from God that we call grace.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Walking with Jesus

Today I am sharing a quote from Cynthia Bourgeault:

"Jesus in his ascended state is not farther removed from human beings but more intimately connected with them. He is the integral ground, the ambient wholeness within which our contingent human lives are always rooted and from which we are always receiving the help we need to keep moving ahead on the difficult walk we have to walk here. When the eye of our own heart is open and aligned within this field of perception, we recognize whom we’re walking with.
As our grounds are so beautiful, I like to invite Jesus to go for a walk with me. I feel the closeness of Jesus and sometimes we have a conversation about the state of the world (or the state of my soul), but sometimes we just enjoy each other's company in silence. I have been talking to Jesus about a line from Bishop Morneau that is certainly trying to influence me. He says: "service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served." I am not sure I always set the tables after supper with joy, but most things I do for others really do give me joy so I am able to render them with joy for which I am grateful. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Skywalkers

This island off the coast of Ireland may be familiar to those who watch Star Wars. I just was thinking of what it would be like to be a skywalker. You could just roam around the world up among the clouds and have a real bird's eye view. You can tell the Holy Spirit has not yet started to inspire this blog today. Perhaps I should just take a vacation.
Instead I will tell you that I had a very busy week and I am happy that I was able to do all that I did, but I also have made the firm resolution to say "no" to all extras during this week. I am not sure but think I have less. Last week, besides seeing my Senior student, the third graders for reading, four groups of 6th graders who were to interview me but it was sort of a mutual conversation with each group and utterly delightful, I also went to visit one of our nuns who is recovering from a hip operation and waiting for a knee operation, went to a funeral, had a funeral here for Sister Bebe, spent two nights in vigil with another of our Sisters who did die this week (getting up from 2:00 to 4:00 AM was something I loved when allowed night adoration as a novice; now, two nights in a row is enough to make me feel tired for the rest of the week. Well, those are only a few things that I did last week besides the regular schedule. We all wore decorated hats to our Kentucky Derby party and bet on the horses. I thought I had a winner and then they disqualified the horse. 
Retirement at Oakwood can be a busy time. Fortunately, the first Sunday of the month arrived and that is a silent day! I love it!

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Third Sunday of Easter

This Sunday's entrance antiphon is worth using as a prayer:
"Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name; O render him glorious praise, alleluia.

The Collect is very positive and asks that "we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection"

The Gospel is that of my favorite apparition (John 21: 1-14). When Peter said he was going fishing, six others of the chosen disciples said they would go with him. They went out and toiled all night and caught nothing. By dawn they must have felt tired, cold, hungry,  and discouraged. Jesus knows this and has made a fire on the shore and brought bread, caught fish, and has breakfast cooking for his friends. That is such a thoughtful scene that I love to imagine Jesus making his preparations to surprise his friends. Finally, as they come closer to the shore, Jesus calls to them to ask if they have any fish. When they say they have not caught any, he tells them to let the net down on the right side of the boat. They cast the net and immediately it is so full they cannot pull it in. Then one says, "It is the Lord" and Peter jumps into the water to get to Jesus.
After they have breakfast with Jesus serving them, Jesus will ask Peter three times, "Do you love me?" I think Jesus is often asking us the same question and my answer is the same as Peter: "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."

Saturday, May 4, 2019

First Saturday


This is a different picture of Our Lady of the Rosary. I enjoy saying my rosary as I walk around our beautiful grounds, but must confess that my mind is often not on the mysteries or even the words that I am reciting. I just think I am saying "I love you" to Mary and that is all she asks of me.

Now, here is a quote from James Finlay taken from Richard Rohr's daily meditations:
In fidelity to silent prayer there is unveiled the possibility of infinite growth in union with God. We can be so transformed through this unveiling that we existentially realize within us that “for me to live is Christ” [Philippians 1:21]. We realize obscurely in our being, that our simple, concrete acts are open to a transformation through which they are “not only Godlike, but they become God’s own acts.” [1]
There is nowhere to go. There is nothing to do. God is upon and within us. In the midst of our humble duties, our poor, weak selves, our simple being who we are, we can say with Jacob with overwhelming gratitude: “Truly this is the house of God and the gate of heaven and I knew it not” [see Genesis 28:16-17]. [2]
I find this quote very consoling!

Friday, May 3, 2019

First Friday

I am so impressed by the humility of Jesus and love to see that this Pope is so like Jesus. Jesus was feared by those in power who were quick to criticize him for the good he was doing. I think the Pope is also facing many problems, but I am sure Jesus is giving him the light and strength to deal with them.

We also find people who are critical, perhaps we feel misjudged at times, but we need to draw courage from Jesus and not let others keep us from trying to do good. St. Paul was full of joy in the midst of all kinds of difficulties. The world needs joy! And lots of prayer!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The path of Joy

The daughter of one of Thomas Merton's friends, Grace Sisson, sent him a drawing called The Road To Joy. He answered her and said, among other things, "I hope you and I together still secretly travel our own road to joy, which is mysteriously revealed to us without our exactly realizing."

I think each of us has a path to joy; I would say it is a path of joy, once we have found it. Bishop Morneau said that joy comes from the presence of companions on the road with us, but full joy comes when God travels with us.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Joy is a net of love...


Our patio is so lovely. I think the flowers blooming all over add to our Easter joy. When I lived in St. Louis and Miami, I loved to go to the botanical gardens; here I am surrounded by beauty and do not need to go out to find it.

Here us a quote from Mother Teresa of Calcutta that I love:
"Joy is prayer--joy is strength--joy is love--joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. God loves a cheerful giver. She gives most who gives with joy. The best way to show our gratitude to God and the people is to accept everything with joy. A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love. Never let anything so fill you with sorrow as to make you forget the joy of Christ risen."

I finished reading "The Election of Pope Francis" by Gerard O'Connell and really loved it. I hope many of you will have the chance to read it. I am giving mine to our spiritual library but several are in line to read it here. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I feel the Winds of God Today


Today I am copying the words of an English tune by Jessie Adams (1906) that can also be found on YouTube. I find myself praying with these words as one of our Chapter calls was to set sail and I often see myself at sea with Jesus as the pilot.

"I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift
Though heavy oft with drenching spray, and torn with many a rift
If hope but light the water's crest and God my bark will use
I'll seek the seas at God's behest, and brave another cruise.

It is the wind of God that dries my vain regretful tears
Until with braver thoughts shall rise, the purer, brighter years
If cast on shores of selfish ease or pleasure I should be
God let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I'll put back to sea.

If ever I forget Thy love and how that love is shown
Lift high the blood red flag above, it bears Thy name alone
Great pilot of my onward way, Thou wilt not let me drift
I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift.


Monday, April 29, 2019

St. Catherine of Siena

Jesus is the bread of life. The risen Jesus continues to share His Body and Blood with us and wants only to be united to us. Why do we not realize this? St. Catherine of Siena was one who lived united to Christ and was given in 1374 the commission to help heal the world and the Church. I suspect that the Lord is still calling each of us, too, to help heal the world and the Church. 

One of my directees gave me some hand cream in an Easter basket for Easter. The name of this cream is "Hands of hope" and the tube says, "philosophy: hands of hope are the hands that help, heal, protect and comfort. Use your hands to give hope, and you will have hope to hold."

I am going to use this hand cream with great hope!


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Second Sundy of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday


The Collect for today begins with "God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed …."

The Gospel begins with the Risen Jesus having appeared to his disciples on Easter Sunday night, but Thomas was not with them. When the other disciples said to him, "We have seen the Lord," Thomas said, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe."
So, one week later when Thomas is with the disciples, Jesus came and stood in their midst. After his greeting of peace, Jesus said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe."  Then Thomas says, "My Lord and my God!" But Jesus will say "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." 
We are among the blessed who believe!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News!


This was published before I could schedule it for the 27th. 

Jesus is still trying to get us to understand that He wants us to give the Good News to everyone. Pope Francis is trying to convince us, also, that we are to go out to the margins and spread Christ's love to all. We are called to set sail, to be creative and find new ways to spread the Gospel. Jesus says in Mark's gospel: "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature."

If you think about it, our vocation as Religious of the Sacred Heart is one that has internationality as part of our heritage and we have been sending missionaries to various parts of the world since 1818. I had a conversation with my brother on Easter and he said he would take me to St. Charles when I am visiting in May; I only now realized that I had not taught him about St. Philippine Duchesne. He was too little to remember that I did take him out to see the nuns before I entered and he asked me to tell him where the convent was when I suggested he visit the shrine. Now, I shall plan the day carefully so we get to see the new statue outside the Cathedral, the Provincial Offices, the old convent and the Shrine all on one day with maybe a visit with some RSCJs. He is willing to drive me. I will be in St. Louis only for five days and have both friends and relatives to see as well as RSCJs so I am planning the days way ahead. I leave here on May 17 and return on the 23rd of May.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Have you caught anything?

Today we have a wonderful apparition of Jesus to some of his disciples. Peter decided to go fishing and the six disciples who were with him decided that they would also go with him. They got in the boat and went out to fish but all night they caught nothing. Then, "when it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus."

How often I do not realize it is Jesus who calls out to me. He calls to his disciples and asks if they have caught anything to eat. When they say a rather abrupt "no" (remember they are tired, hungry, and discouraged after a night of work having caught not a single fish!), then Jesus tells them to cast the net to the right side of the boat and they will find something. They do so and cannot pull the net in because of the number of fish. Then, "the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord.'" Peter then jumps into the sea but the others stay in the boat dragging the net with all the fish. Jesus is waiting for them with a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. He has prepared breakfast for them.

I love the thoughtfulness of Jesus. He knew they would be tired and hungry and maybe cold; he had everything prepared for them and even put more of the freshly caught fish on the fire for them. I just like imagining that I am there, too, having breakfast with Jesus.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

"Peace be with you"


The two disciples are trying to tell the others what happened on their way to Emmaus and how they had come to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. While they are still speaking, Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. So then Jesus said, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And Jesus showed them his hands and his feet. 

Then, the Gospel tells us that "he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, 'Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."

Now, we are the witnesses of these things. Let us radiate the peace and joy of Easter to all we meet. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

"Stay with us, for it is nearly evening..."

Today's Gospel from Luke 24: 13-35, tells us how Jesus meets with two of his disciples on the road as they were going to Emmaus, a village about seven miles from Jerusalem. Both of the disciples are really feeling sad as they conversed about what had happened. So, Jesus drew near and walked with them. They did not recognize him. He asks them what they are talking about and draws them out. Then he tells them that they are foolish and "slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke!" Then Jesus begins to explain why it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and enter into his glory. Beginning with Moses and the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures. Then, as they approached the village, "he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, "Stay with us; for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So Jesus stays and when seated at table with them, "he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight."

Jesus comes and walks with us. We need to learn how to recognize him in others, to welcome him, to listen to him and invite him to stay with us. He certainly gave those two disciples new life and energy as they set out at once to return to Jerusalem to tell the 
Eleven and those with them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Whom are you looking for?

Today's Gospel has Mary Magdalene weeping outside the empty tomb because she does not know what has happened to the body of Jesus. Then, Jesus asks her "Whom are you looking for?" She did not recognize the Risen Jesus until He calls her by name. Then Jesus will send Mary to announce the Good News: "Go to my brothers and tell them, "I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." So Mary went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. 

Jesus comes to us, too. He asks us "Whom are you looking for?" He calls us by name and how do we respond? I think Jesus is always present to us, but we are not present to Him. His question makes us think about whom we are seeking every time we go to pray, every time we are encountering someone. Am I seeking Jesus? The Risen Lord is present in me. I need only seek Him in my own heart first, but then He sends me to tell others about Him.
I, too, am called to announce the Good News; the Lord is truly risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Jesus comes when we do not expect Him

The Apostles were together that first Easter Sunday, except for Thomas. They were frightened and had locked the doors. They had great fear for they knew that the soldiers had crucified Jesus and they were afraid that they would come for his friends. They also had feelings of sorrow, remorse, and uneasiness because they had abandoned Jesus in the garden when the soldiers captured him. They also must have been confused because the women had said He had risen as Jesus had said He would; Peter and John had been to see the empty tomb. Later Peter would say that Jesus had come to Him but Peter was still so moved that he could not talk about it. While they are discussing all that had happened since Jesus had washed their feet and taken bread and said, "This is my body...", Jesus appears in their midst. Locked doors are no obstacle for the Risen Lord. His greeting is one of peace. He will go about for the next forty days bringing peace and consolation to many. This is what Jesus still does during the Easter season! Be ready to welcome the Risen Lord whenever He comes to console you; He desires that you have a share in His Joy!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Easter Monday!

Easter Monday is still a celebration and Catholic schools are usually closed so the Joy of Easter is celebrated in many ways. The Easter egg hunts are over, but many children are playing with Easter bunnies, or tiny chickens (I hoped these are stuffed toys as  animals are not play things and seldom last the Easter season). We will have games here at Oakwood in the afternoon. 

I think that Jesus really wants us to be happy and enjoy life; He goes about bringing consolation to many during this Easter season so let us be attentive to His Presence in whatever way He comes.  And perhaps He is asking us to bring some joy to others by our visits, or taking time to listen to someone, or bringing joy to one who is lonely or suffering. He took one of my special friends here at Oakwood home to be with Him early on Easter morning.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad!

Here is a prayer by Susan Helene Kramer from an Easter card that wishes us the joys of Easter:

Lord, You have arisen forever in my heart!
May the sunrise remind me to shine in Your light.
May the caress of a gentle breeze remind me of your compassion.
May the fragrance of a flower remind me to blossom in Your love.
May the singing of birds bring a song of joy to my lips.
And in the closing of each day may I remember to quietly pray.
Wherever I am, whatever I do, may my thoughts in joy return to You!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Saturday

Mary was there at the foot of the cross when Jesus was taken down and laid in her arms. One could spend the day imagining what this time was for her and how she must have remembered holding Him in her arms when he was a baby, then a toddler, and now, she holds the lifeless body of her son.
We spend Holy Saturday in silent contemplation.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday

Let us follow Jesus through the Stations of the Cross. I found it difficult to understand as a child why they called this day "Good" Friday. It is the day that Jesus showed us how much He loves us and loves us to the end. His Heart was opened for us.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Holy Thursday night



The agony in the garden is when Jesus shows how human He is; He is faced with the betrayal, abandonment, the suffering He knows will end with His death on the cross, yet He prays for the strength to go through with it to show His love until the end. He took His three closest friends with Him and asked them to watch and pray with Him, but they fell asleep. He is alone. This is why we have adoration on Holy Thursday night - we stay with Him in silent adoration.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday of Holy Week

Christ's Heart was pierced on the cross and blood and water flowed out of it. He is also Living Water and His Heart is always open for us. St. Madeleine Sophie often spoke of how we are to draw out His Love and then give this Love to others. I think that Holy Thursday shows us how much Jesus loves us. First, He washes the feet of his disciples; a task that even the servants were not asked to do. Then, during the meal, His Love creates a way to remain with us when He institutes the Holy Eucharist and tells those at the table to "Do this in remembrance of me." He knows that one of His chosen twelve is betraying Him; one of His special friends is going to deny Him. All will abandon Him when the soldiers come to arrest Him. Yet, Jesus loves to the end. His love pours itself out and He wants only to love us and let His love spread throughout the world.

Judas arranges to betray Jesus - how can I make up for the times I have betrayed the One who loves me unconditionally?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Tuesday of Holy Week

My focus so far this Holy Week has been on the great gift of the Eucharist. I am, of course, preparing for Holy Thursday, but my heart is so full of gratitude for the gift of God's presence with us in the Eucharist; we are able to receive Jesus who unites us to Himself, but also stays with us in the tabernacle. I think this Presence is so special and St. Madeleine Sophie thought so, too, and it is a grace to have the Blessed Sacrament in our communities. I think my love for the Eucharist has grown, but how often I am distracted after Holy Communion. What seems to help me is to say this little prayer that I have shared with you before but will do so again. We sing it often here.

"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.

It is a good prayer for any moment of the day or night!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Monday of Holy Week


This is a week marked by the gift of the Eucharist as well as the last days, the intense suffering and death on a cross where Jesus poured out his love for us. "No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (Jn 15:13) We are all friends of Jesus and his words on the eve of his death give true meaning to the cross. 

Today I am struck by the prayer after Communion ( one that I seldom read nor seem to take hear): "Visit your people, O Lord, we pray, and with ever watchful love look upon the hearts dedicated to you by means of these sacred mysteries, so that under your protection we may keep safe this remedy of eternal salvation, which by your mercy we have received. We ask this through Christ our Lord."

Having just received Jesus in the Eucharist, does the "visit your people" mean that I am asking Jesus to be with all of us and then we may profit by "this remedy of eternal salvation"? I need to ponder the prayer to really understand what I am asking.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday


There ar.
e three form for beginning the celebration of this Sunday which also marks the beginning of Holy Week: the first is when the palms are blessed in a place distinct from the Church and then the people carry palm branches in procession to the Church. The second is a solemn entrance with the faithful holding branches and then there is the blessing of branches and the proclamation of the Lord's entrance into Jerusalem takes place. The third form is for other Masses on this Sunday and just has a simple entrance.

The entrance antiphon: "Six days before the Passover, when the Lord came into the city of Jerusalem, the children ran to meet him; in their hands they carried palm branches and with a loud voice cried out: Hosanna in the highest! …"

Today is a day to remember how fickle we can be. Some of the same crowd that hailed the entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem may have been in the crowd that cried our "Crucify him!"  Let us ask Our Lady to be with us as we accompany Jesus during this Holy Week.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Joyful Prayer

Sometimes I feel I am at sea. It is a peaceful feeling as Jesus is in the boat with me. It means that I am still on a journey, but do not need to worry as Jesus is steering the boat. 

Father James Martin, SJ, in "Teach Us To Pray" has a reflection on the joyful prayer in Lent. He says that the aim of the liturgical season is a preparation for Easter. Some of that preparation is repentance, which does include considering our sinful patterns and attitudes. But the word the Gospels use is metanoia, a change of mind and heart. 
At the end, Father Martin asks us to remember two things: "Christ is already risen and will help you through the Spirit. And, second, the metanoia to which God calls you will lead you, and others, to a more joyful life. Happy Lent!"

This Lent has been joyful for me in so many ways, but I am also conscious of wanting to be with Jesus as He is still suffering in the plight of so many refugees, immigrants, children who are separated from their parents, those who are homeless, hungry, and alone.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Learning and Loving

This is the last paragraph of an interesting article in the Tablet on a topic that is getting to be of interest to many today.

"The issue of gender identity raises profound
questions about human nature. What was

thought obvious stands in need of investiga-
tion. However, perhaps the first step in stilling

this storm is not to think of gender identity
as something unspeakable. It is perhaps help-
ful to separate out practical issues, using

medical reasoning and legal reasoning and
pastoral reasoning as we would with other
issues. Perfect love casts out fear and when
irrational fear is cast aside what remain are

challenges common to other human situa-
tions. Perhaps then we will discover that being

trans is one more way to be human and one
more way to be Catholic."
Professor David Albert Jones of the
Anscombe Bioethics Centre is developing a
project at St Mary’s University, Twickenham
with Dr Claire Jenkins to engage with trans
people who are Catholic to help develop a
Catholic understanding of gender identity.
The views he expresses here are his own...




 It is amazing the number of people now who are wanting to change their gender for they have never been happy as male or maybe female, although I have read that fewer women seem to want to be men. I think this is a topic we need to know more about and definitely need to love each transgender person and accept them as I am sure God does. Actually, I have not worded this well; some feel that they are women in a man's body and vice versa. They just do not feel at home in their sex and this is important for their identity. I guess I am struggling to understand but I feel for those who are changing gender. 

Here is a quote that I like:
"When we work from a place of knowing who we are and how much we're loved, that we have a purpose and all will be well no matter the result, then we're doing work that heals". - @holleygerth

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Jesus took bread and said, "This is my body...

When we are present to this great gift, we realize that Jesus chose that which so common and ordinary that we often take bread for granted. Jesus wanted to use what was accessible and He was able to find a way to remain with us in a physical way even after his death. Every Eucharist brings Jesus to us and we have the grace also of keeping His Eucharistic presence in the Blessed Sacrament reserved in all Catholic churches, not just for Communion for the sick, but for us to be able to adore Christ present and talk to Him as one friend talks to another.
St. Madeleine Sophie was very devoted to adoration of the Eucharist. We had, from the first day we entered, a half hour of adoration in the afternoon; this was sacred time and could not be broken up - no one interrupted "adoration" time as one was, or so I was led to believe, obliged to start again - something impossible with our busy schedules as Aspirants. I often think that this prayer in the afternoon was what kept me peaceful and joyful with the rest of my day and night spent with the youngest children as we had even first graders boarding. Now, I relish the opportunity to spend a quiet hour daily in front of the Blessed Sacrament!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Staying with Our Lady

During these last days of Lent, I am trying to think of how Our Lady felt as the time drew near for all that Jesus has said about how he was to suffer and die on a cross. This is her Son and she has raised him, taught him his first prayers, washed his face and fed him. As any growing boy, Jesus would have scrapped his knees, lost his baby teeth, learned whatever games the children played; he grew up being a normal boy. Paul tells us that Jesus was like us in all things except sin. 
Mary now knows the end is near. She waits and prays and loves.
I guess that is what we should also be doing during these last days of Lent. Let us love one another with the love that Jesus loves us. Mary will help us do this each day.