Friday, October 30, 2020
What are you doing this year for Halloween? I know the school is having an evening drive through to pick up candy. I asked about going out to wave to the students and was told that it is not to be done this time because of our quarantine. I shall go to the Chapel and watch from the windows there. In the meantime, two of the Sacred Heart Society prepared 57 little brown bags full of goodies for each of us and then we received another bag of candy this morning from our own wonderful directors and so we will have candy at least to Advent even if we try to share with our helpers.
I decided to clean and clear out my room today so this is late. I thought I had scheduled ahead until Sunday, but I seem not to have written my blog for yesterday. However, I have been busy and now trying to make up for the fact that I read an entire book yesterday.
I am on my way to the Chapel and will pray for all my readers and thank you for being so patient when I seem not to have much to say. Our Oakwood Daily Press asked prayers for Anita, Judy, and Larry. I put this in the daily news so all would see it and pray for Anita is my sister-in-law and is having shortness of breath, Judy is her sister who is recovering from a cancer operation, and Larry is a neighbor who asked them for prayers.
The Oakwood Daily Press had a cartoon today showing a man applying for a job. The boss behind the desk says, "There is a gap in your resume...What were you doing in 2020? The applicant for the job replied, "I was washing my hands..." So true!
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
St. Jude is the Apostle that so many turn to when desperate as he is the "patron of hopeless causes." We do not know much about this "Saint of the Impossible" - he is mentioned in the listing of the Apostles and he is quoted once in John's Gospel when he asks Jesus at the Last Supper why he does not manifest himself to the whole world. We also have the Letter of Jude in the New Testament. It is only twenty-five verses and warns against false teachers. We do not know much about St. Simon - he is listed as one of the twelve Apostles, but never quoted in the New Testament. Both these saints are celebrated together. Probably because of a legend that they were martyred on the same day.
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
I was struck by the reflection yesterday in my Give Us This Day. It was on the Gospel where Jesus cures the woman who has been bent over, completely incapable of standing erect. The reflection has the title "Stretch Into It" and I hope Sister Miriam Pollard does not mind my sharing her reflection here.
Stretch Into It
The woman was completely bent.
Not just a little bit,
but totally unable to stand upright.
Each of us is to some extent that bent woman.
Each of us can spend our lives looking at mud puddles,
mourning the tragedies and sins of human life, wanting what we have not been given,
resenting what we have been given, afraid of what we will be given.
Creating a whole world of negativity.
God know that is enough to be negative about,
but faith means that we can see through the darkness into the core of light within.
And faith says, 'Believe in it. See it. Bathe in it. Spend prayer time knowing it is there.
Find it. Stretch yourself into it.'
These things, these transient, small and insignificant things,
Compare to the weight of glory they are several doors.
Doors to the joys, the serene and heart-stopping happiness that will steal in and saturate body and soul and spirit world without end. Amen
Monday, October 26, 2020
What is so special about this week? Well, there is Halloween on Saturday, but what is important is that Sunday will be the Feast of All Saints. I have learned to love this feast because I have so many friends who are saints, most in heaven but a few on earth still. I am convinced that all the saints in heaven are rooting for us and want us to join them in praising God. I see them and feel grateful that we are still connected.
I just heard of a dear friend in Chile who has gone to God. She was utterly selfless and was such a joy to both live with and to study with as we went every night to the Catholic University in Valparaiso to get a degree in Counseling and Guidance. As the road along the ocean was closed for most of that year, I would drive our Volkswagen van up and down the hills and coming home at 9:30 we would say and sing our night prayers together. That helped me as it was no fun to be stopped by a light at the top of a very steep hill with a car right behind me as the van did not have automatic shift.
The Collect for today's Mass asks God to increase our faith, hope and charity, and make us love what God commands so we may merit what God promises.
Sunday, October 25, 2020
This may be ordinary time for the Church's Liturgy, but it is not ordinary time for us during this pandemic. It is amazing how quickly things have changed all over the world with the need to isolate, work from home, study from home, and learn new ways to communicate. I am not going to write much about the Mass today, but I was struck by the Entrance Antiphon:
"Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face."
That seems like the best advice and something we should reflect on today. Actually, the Responsorial Psalm is "I love you, Lord, my strength." That seems to be a good prayer for now.
I received a Halloween card that says" It's Halloween and speaking of weird things...I love you."
I have been praying with it saying, " Speaking of weird things, Lord, I know that you love me and everyone with unconditional love!"
Saturday, October 24, 2020
The Oakwood "Lockdown Daily News" always has a word of inspiration, some news and a really corny joke plus the daily crossword puzzle and the answers to the one of the day before. So far, I have not needed the answers so the crosswords must be easy as I have never been good at solving them. Now, the title of this blog comes from this inspirational word: "Be like a sunflower that turns always towards the sun. Turn your heart always towards God."
I am trying to keep my heart united to God during these days of solitude. I think the fact that I have not seen most of my sisters for three weeks has made me aware of how much the community means to me. I sort of go through the rooms mentally and think about the other 49 and hope they are staying cheerful. I know that we are all praying for all those who are fighting this virus, working to keep the food coming, and those who risk their lives fighting the fires that have been so dreadful this year in the West. We need to pray for much rain out here this winter; California needs rain but we do not get much.
Friday, October 23, 2020
Being in isolation for almost 28 days now has been an interesting experience. I miss being able to go to the refrigerator and the washing machine and, especially, miss being able to go to the Chapel. In one sense, I miss the interaction with others here, but I am surprised at how quickly I have found joy in the silence and solitude. I have found the days passed very quickly and I have been busy, just doing things here in my room. Our daily "news" arrives with the noon dinner tray and always had a crossword puzzle on the back. Then, I have kept the Psalm Coloring Book on my desk and really enjoy taking a few minutes to color; I find it very centering, contemplative, and consoling for the very act of just pushing the pencil seems to give me deep peace.
I am sorry to be writing so much about my experience of our quarantine, but several have asked how I was managing. I am rather surprised that the solitary meals have been helpful for me. I have reached out to others through cards, emails, zoom, and notes when I could get someone to deliver notes to my sisters here. My sister calls and I am not fond of the phone. I turned the TV on twice and soon turned it off. I am allowed to go walk around our beautiful patio when no one else is out there. I usually manage to go out after the noon meal and maybe just before supper. I do feel that I lack energy and so I am content just to sit in my room. I enjoy the interaction I do have with my groups on zoom and I have found it really helpful to have my students on zoom at the beginning of each week and then each is to be in contact during the week by email. I really think we should be striving to have our Seniors want to be Junior Associates!
This idea of Junior Associates just came to me when I woke up one morning and has stayed with me. I was thinking that Seniors who have loved their Sacred Heart education on looking for more special ways to be part of the Sacred Heart family. Yes, they are now young alums, but we know how hard it has been to continue to gather our students when they leave for colleges all over the United States. But what if the student has made a commitment to be a Junior Associate and promises to take part in a monthly zoom? I am thinking this as I write it, but hope that some of my readers who are associates can see the possibilities and run with the idea. It could be developed in many ways. Here at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, the Juniors ask to be admitted to the Sacred Heart Society and these need to be good students who apply; if accepted, they commit to a weekly visit with a Religious of the Sacred Heart to establish a relationship. We try to stay in touch after graduation, but I think becoming a Junior Associate would give a structure for them to continue to grow in the Sacred Heart family.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
The Third Chapter of the Pope's Encyclical is entitled: "Envisioning and Engendering an Open World".
Here are some of the phases that seem to stick with me in a first reading: "I communicate effectively with myself insofar as I communicate with others." (Gabriel Marcel)
#88 "In the depths of every heart, love creates bonds and expands existence, for it draws people out of themselves and towards others."
Love must grow beyond family and nation to include strangers and all people--into a friendship where the worth of every person is acknowledged. We need to recognize the inherent dignity of every person and we need to make sure that each person has what is necessary to live with dignity.
I guess we have much to be done right here in our own country. We have people who are homeless, cold, hungry, and we have refugees held in cages and treated inhumanly.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
This wonderful letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship needs to be read, prayed over, and then make us realize that we are all brothers and sisters and need to foster love in our world with everyone. MY SPIRITUALITY group is meeting on Monday and these busy mothers are all reading a chapter each week with me and pondering the message of the Holy Father. I invite all to do the same and you can find it on Google without any problem. It will help our country to unite if all of us could read and try to live what Pope Francis suggests in this new Encyclical.
I spent last week with Chapter Two that has the parable of the Good Samaritan as the center of what the Pope wants us to realize: we are all neighbors and we need to care for one another no matter where the other is living, no matter what color the skin, or what seems to separate us. The Pope asks us which of these persons in the parable do we identify with and I am afraid that I am one of those who often crosses to the other side and hurries past someone in need. The Pope says the we need to acknowledge that we are constantly tempted to ignore others, especially the weak. "Let us admit that, for all the progress we have made, we are still "illiterate" when it comes to accompanying, caring for and supporting the most frail and vulnerable members of our developed societies. We have become accustomed to looking the other way, passing by, ignoring situations until they affect us directly."
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Today the Sacred Heart family all over the world is celebrating the feast of Mater. The retirement houses are also joining, at the invitation of Egypt, to celebrate by sharing prayers. This is Oakwood's prayer:
Mater, guardian of the interior life, be with all who suffer in this time of global pandemic, racism, political division, violence, economic uncertainty, and lack of care for our common home. Help us to see what your eyes see: the invisible life, the invisible action, the invisible love. Help us to be women of hope for each other and for our wounded world.
Mater Most Admirable, pray for us.
The Oakwood Community, Atherton, California, U.S.A.
Happy Feast to all the Sacred Heart Family!
Happy Feast to all the Sacred Heart Family!
Monday, October 19, 2020
I read this article by Father Ron Rolheiser in the October 8 issue of the Catholic San Francisco; the title of the article is "God is happy" and in it he has this wonderful quote from Julian of Norwich who describes God this way: "God sits in heaven, smiling, completely relaxed, his face looking like a marvelous symphony." Now, this idea of God sitting up in heaven and smiling on us is one I love, and to think that God is completely relaxed. We get so preoccupied with the woes of our world, that few of us are really feeling relaxed at this moment. I just wanted to share this quote to see if it helps you as much as it is helping me.
Ron does say that it has taken him 70 years "to realize, accept, take consolation in, and finally bathe in the fact that God is happy." I am sure all in heaven are happy and relaxed and want us to be also.
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Today's Mass begins with our asking God to let us always conform our will to yours and serve God's majesty in sincerity of heart.
In the First Reading, Isaiah 45:1, 4-6, we have this line which I love: "I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me."
The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 96: "Give the Lord glory and honor."
Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands. tell his glory among the nations; among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
For great is the Lord and highly to be praised; awesome is he, beyond all gods,....
Then, the Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Thessalonians: 1:1-5
Paul always begins by giving thanks - a good way for us to begin our prayers. I am more and more convinced that gratitude is the way we please the Lord and, when we are grateful, we are joyful.
The Gospel is from Matthew 22: 15-21 and is about the answer Jesus gives to the Pharisees who tried to entrap Jesus. He says to them, "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God."
I am sure all of the Sacred Heart family are preparing for the Feast of Mater on Tuesday. It is a Feast that all the Sacred Heart schools all over the world will be celebrating even if by zoom.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
I am not going to talk about Ignatius of Antioch today, although he is one of my favorites and I really enjoyed teaching him; today I was struck by the Responsorial Psalm in the Mass and I am going to copy it here for us to reflect on today.
Responsorial Psalm: "You have given your Son rule over the works of your hands."
O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name over all the earth!
You have exalted your majesty above the heavens. Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings
you have fashioned praise because of your foes.
When I behold the heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you set in place--
What is man that you should be mindful of him,
or the son of man that you should care for him?
You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet."
Friday, October 16, 2020
The days are disappearing quickly, but I feel that we have all slowed down during this time of isolation. I am now used to paper plates, cardboard trays, plastic forks, etc. The food comes on a cart but the CNA leaves it outside while she puts on all the safety gear that is required to enter Westwood; fortunately we are having warm weather and so the food arrives warm. We are just so fortunate that no one else seems to have tested positive, but we have not heard about this week's tests.
My Seniors have told me about younger people who have had virus and lost their sense of both smell and taste.
I have this prayer of St. Philippine Duchesne propped up on my desk so I pray it often, but really have never memorized it. Maybe today I will do that!
"I am where God wills me to be, and so I have found rest and security.
Go's wisdom governs me, God's power defends me, God's joy sustains me,
And all will go well with me."
I say the last line a bit differently: And all is and will go well with me!
Thursday, October 15, 2020
This is always a special feast for me, especially since I had the grace to teach a course on Teresa and John of the Cross in Spain one summer and could visit Avila and other places. Teresa is a Doctor of the Church, a mystic who also managed to reform her Order of Carmelites, found seventeen convents, and wrote four books. Her Interior Castle is a classic.
Here is a quote from her: "In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel."
One of the first Powerpoint presentations I ever created was on Teresa and the Interior Castle.
I was thinking that this Thanksgiving it would be nice to send love notes to all family members thanking them for all the good they do in so many ways. I shall begin making lists soon for when I am grateful, I am also joyful.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
I am scheduling this ahead, but it is really Sunday morning and I have just learned of the death of one of our Sisters who went peacefully to God last night at 8:45. I read about it on email this morning and I am feeling the loss as Leontine was one that I was given to visit each week last Lent and so I got to know her. She had not been ill and, since we are quarantined and must stay in our rooms, I was not aware that she was growing weaker. Even before the strict quarantine we are now in, she went to the first shift for meals and I was on the second so I did not see her. She was one who had lived and worked with the poor in New York for years and was still helping many by phone. I think she will be working for prison reform from heaven.
Sunday was also Barbara Carey's 100th birthday. Again, the quarantine made it impossible to see her and even my birthday card written early the day before had no one able to take it over to her. I need to think of all the good things that are happening and be grateful. (I did find a way to get the card to her).
We are having cooler weather today and I am allowed out for a short walk around the patio wearing a mask when no one else is out. I continue to enjoy coloring and find it so contemplative that I would like others to have the same experience. It seems to quiet my soul and fill me with contentment - I am still surprised to find how much I enjoy my Psalm Coloring Book and how grateful I am to have this new way of centering and finding a deep peace.
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
I am coloring my Psalms Coloring Book with colored pencils. Each page takes ages to do, but I am finding it so contemplative. One slows down, is really quiet and I just think it was a wonderful gift and I am finding it helpful, restful, prayerful, and very enriching. It is also fun and the perfect pastime for one in quarantine.
My students both brought over large bouquets of flowers for me last week. While I did have fun sharing a delightful "care" package full of goodies from Trader's Joe's, I did not think about sharing my flowers and so have two large bouquets plus an orchid that came with the Care Package that also contained an Amazon gift card which I immediately spent on books - you can see that I am spoiled. It made the week pass, but the truth is that I feel I have been in quarantine for a month instead of only 15 days. However, the time passes quickly as I love to read and am enjoying having more time.
Many of you are not in strict quarantine, but I hope you are enjoying slowing down, having more time to read, to be with family. Two students have told me that the one thing they have enjoyed is having all the family home - both have older siblings who have been away from home so they said it was great having more time as a family. I thought that was high praise because these are teenagers ready to leave home themselves.
How has the pandemic impacted you? Someone told me that she had to turn off the TV as she was watching too much political news. I get the news on my I-pad and do not need the TV except I may watch a bit of football. I miss autumn and we are going to have more hot weather.
Monday, October 12, 2020
Since the United States and Canada are one Province, we celebrate this day with our Sisters in Canada. Since I am in quarantine and now able to even go to the Chapel, I shall just pray for them here in my room.
Someone came and put disinfectant on all the door knobs, but also did the keyboard of my computer and it is so sticky that I shall not write much today. I will be having my morning zoom with my Spirituality Group of wonderful mothers. We are reading the newest Encyclical
, Pope Francis' Fratelli Tutti: On fraternity and Social Friendship. We will just do one chapter each week. There are 8 chapters and about 92 pages but really worth reading.
The first chapter gives a picture of the darkness the Pope sees in our world today. I was struck by his pointing out that there is a culture of indifference. Human rights are not respected and the Pope says that although we are now connected globally, we do not act as neighbors.
The second chapter is much more positive, but the whole is a challenge to each of us to love one another.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
In today's Collect we ask "May your grace, O Lord we pray, at all times go before us and follow after and make us always determined to carry our good works.
The First Reading is from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 25:6-10 and is a very consoling one. In it, the Prophet tells us that the Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face...and then at the end "This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that He has saved us."
We need to rejoice and be glad, but the news does not seem to help. However, one of the community is having a birthday celebration of 100 years today! She is a dear and has a great sense of humor. I am sorry I am not going to be able to celebrate with her in person, but I hear that they are going to decorate her window and room. Tomorrow we complete two weeks of this strict quarantine, but have two more weeks still, I think. They said it had to be 28 days but we were tested last week and will be tested again next week so maybe if all of us are negative and all the present staff, maybe it could be a few days less. I guess it depends on how long it takes for us to get the test results. We were tested on Tuesday and still have not heard, but I have not yet received the "Lockdown Daily News" which is a great invention and for the weekend will have a crossword puzzle.
To return to the Mass, the Responsorial Psalm is, "I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life." The verses are from Psalm 23, one of my very favorite psalms.
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; besides restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul....."
The Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20 and has this consoling verse: "My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Gospel is from Matthew 22: 1-14 where Jesus again tells us a parable of a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, but when he sent his servants to summon the invited guests, they refused to come. You can read it for yourself, but how often to we refuse to respond to the invitations of the Lord?
Saturday, October 10, 2020
This is another thought that comes from Attitudes of gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life. M.J. Ryan speaks of how precious our hearts are and then suggests we do the following:
" With your eyes closed, very gently put your hands over your heart and allow your breath to tenderly flow in and out of it. When you feel ready, ask to be given a symbol for your heart. Hold that symbol that you see or sense as carefully as you would a priceless Faberge egg. Beholding the wonder of your symbol, allow gratitude to flow through you, permeating the very cells of your being. Make a commitment with yourself to cherish and appreciate your heart-self."
Let us continue to pray for all those suffering from the forest fires and for our valiant firefighters.
Friday, October 9, 2020
This morning I return to Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by M.J. Ryan. I am always thinking about gratitude and how much I have to be grateful for and today I opened the book to a reflection entitled "Enough is Enough".
Her father, who was a family doctor, often said, "The secret to life is to know when enough is enough."
I think if we are really grateful, we know we have enough. The problem is to rejoice in what we have and not want more. Our society tries to tempt us to buy what we really do not need. Let us try to give rather than to collect more than is necessary. I was happy to fill a whole box for those who have lost homes here in California, but I still have more than I need. Now, to continue with M.J. Ryan's last part of the reflection: "An attitude of gratefulness gets us off the treadmill and out of the rat race. As we cultivate a true and deep appreciation for what we do have, we realize that our sense of lack is, for the most part, an illusion. no matter our material circumstances, the richness of our soul is ultimately what brings us happiness,,...."
Having said that, I think of how grateful I am for the wonderful "care" basket that one of my friends broght me last Friday. She dropped it off with an orchid, a lovely card, an Amazon gift card and all sorts of goodies from Trader's Joes - enough for me to share with all who live in Westwood with me. I am eating the dark chocolate almonds all by myself and the chocolate biscotti; I have also ordered a new book on Amazon by Cynthia Bourgeoult - more about that when I receive the book, but you can see that I am overflowing in gratitude!
Thursday, October 8, 2020
I want to copy the first paragraph of the daily reflection in Give Us This Day; it is by Lynn Elizabeth Meadow, OSB and worth reading:
"God's grace comes to us like a gift of warm bread on a cool night. But the true gift is not the bread. The gift is the One who bears the bread, loving us with the tenderness of a mother. this gift of a loving gaze nourishes us and expands our hearts so that we, too, become bread. We become the gift God uses to offer love to others. We receive bread, and become bread. We receive the gaze, and extend it to others."
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Our Lady has many titles and this is one that must appeal to many. When my mother really wanted something big, she would make the rosary novena - 27 days asking and 27 days thanking and she always received what she really desired. My mother had great faith.
Reading Bill Barry, S.J. again has made me ponder why we pray, when we pray, and how we pray.
If I am repeating myself here, it is because I am convinced that God just wants us to let Him love us. That is not hard to do as He is always loving us, but I think it is the real reason I go to pray now. Of course, I need to quiet my soul and surrender myself to God so that I can really let Him love me. Sometimes I feel His love, at other times I am just there knowing that He wants to love me even when I do not feel anything. Just sit in silence and see what happens..
Of course there are other kinds of prayer. Sometimes we need to beg God to help us, others, our world... sometimes we need to thank Him for all His gifts to us. Mary is always there to help us.
Just go to God as you are and let Him love you!
Tuesday, October 6, 2020
St. Bruno founded La Grande Chartreuse, for a new religious order know as the Carthusians. They followed the Rule of St. Benedict but adopted a hermit life that was very contemplative. Even today, they live alone in their cells supporting themselves by solitary work unless necessary to help one another in the fields.
To go back to some simple thoughts from Bill Barry, SJ which always lead me into prayer, he speaks of how God desires a relationship with us and asks us to apply what we know of human relationships to our relationship with God. He quotes one of my favorite passages from Saint-Exupery's "Little Prince". It is where the fox instructs the Little Prince how to go about establishing a friendship with him. He tells him that he must be very patient...
and that it would be better for him to come back at the same hour for "If you come at just any time, I shall never know at what hour my heart is to be ready to greet you...one must observe the proper rites."
I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me in my relationship with Jesus.
Monday, October 5, 2020
Since I am just living in my room, I need to remember which day of the week it is. Fortunately, I do keep a Journal and do write the day and date at the top of each page. I have been trying to establish an order of day. You would think that would be easy, but so far it has not been. I really miss going to the Chapel for afternoon prayer. However, I am having a good hour in the early afternoon now for prayer and can turn my hearing aids off so I hear nothing. A friend sent me a wonderful present: about 36 sharpened colored pencils and a Psalms Coloring Book by Jade Summer which she says is all the rage at the retirement center in Florida. I guess I am going to find it a contemplative exercise and I am sure that I will remember the phrase from the Psalm after coloring the entire page. This is going to last longer than the quarantine, but what a thoughtful gift. The first page has "Trust in his Holy name" so I am repeating this as I pray for all. Six of our nuns in India are in the hospital with this terrible virus. We are all going to be tested here.
Now, as we begin a new week, let me quote from an old favorite of mine that always helps me to pray: God's Passionate Desire...and Our Response by Bill Barry, SJ. who tells us in the Foreword that he is fascinated by the deep desire planted in each of us for union with God and, in connection with that, union with one another.
He quotes a prayer of St. Anselm that I often have used so will copy it here for you:
"Teach us to seek you, and reveal yourself to us as we seek; for unless you instruct us we cannot seek you, and unless you reveal yourself we cannot find you. Let us seek you in desiring you; let us desire you in seeking you. Let us find you in loving you; let us love you in finding you.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
This is the post that was posted by mistake and would not let me change the date so I am copying and pasting here for the Sunday Liturgy:
As usual, I will begin with the Collect as we so often miss this prayer at the beginning of Mass:
"Almighty ever-living God, who in the abundance of your kindness surpass the merits and the desires of those who entreat you, pour out your mercy upon us to pardon what conscience dreads and to give what prayer does not ask."
That seems a bit complicated, but we are praying for God to pour out His mercy on us and we know that He does!
The first reading is from Isaiah and is the story of the vineyard that had such great care yet it only yielded wild grapes. The Lord is not pleased and that vineyard is the house of Israel
The second reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians 4:6-9 and is consoling. Paul tells us:
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you."
Let us really try to keep on doing what we have learned and received from Jesus.
The Gospel is Matthew: 21:33-43 and is on the parable of the vineyard. This time it is the tenants who are really evil and Jesus ends by quoting the Hebrew Scriptures: "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone..."
If the Religious who read this blog have not yet discovered Maria Cimperman, RSCJ's newly published book Religious Life For Our World: Creating Communities of Hope, I hope you will buy it and read it as it is excellent for us today!
Saturday, October 3, 2020
Ronald Rolheiser began his article in the San Francisco Catholic by quoting Michael Buckley and pointing our the challenge that these words contain.
"The excusable doesn't need to be excused and the inexcusable cannot be excused."
Father Rolheiser went on to say that we are always trying to excuse the excusable - the things we do not need to make excuses for and forever trying to excuse the inexcusable. He says that neither is necessary or helpful.
He also says that apologies are necessary because that is taking ownership of "the fault or weakness so as to lift it completely off the soul of the one who was betrayed, but excuses are not helpful."
This has given me something to ponder today and so I pass it on to you.
Here is the first verse of a prayer that was composed by Therese of Lisieux:
My Holy Guardian Angel, cover me with your wing.
With your fire light the road that I am taking.
Come direct my steps...help me. I call upon you just for today."
It is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi so here is his prayer:
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Today is First Friday and also the Feast of our Guardian Angels.
I think the first verses of Psalm 138 is very appropriate for prayer today:
"I thank you, Lord, with all my heart;
you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I praise you.
I bow down toward your holy temple.
I give thanks to your name
for you have exalted over all
your name and your promise.
On the day I called, you answered me;
you increased the strength of my soul."
I continue to find the Psalms helpful for prayer; they used to be but I somehow stopped using them and it is so good to find that they can help me to express what I want to say. Today I am staying with just the line, "In the presence of the angels I praise you."
I made an order of day for myself but have not really followed it very well. I think I need to really use this time where I am confined to my room to pray and catch up on reading. I did pack a box with clothes and a pair of new shoes for the victims of the fires. I do not know where it will end up, but it was good to get it out of my room and I have dusted all the bookcases so I feel organized and very neat. Someone came and brought me a pitcher of water for which I am most grateful. It seems that some of the sisters here are having a difficult time remembering that they are to stay in their rooms.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Therese, also know as the "Little Flower", lived a short life, 1873-1897 but she entered the Carmelites early, died of tuberculosis at the age of 24 and is now a Doctor of the Church. Her "Little Way" was to do all with love in the presence of God. She said that she would spend her heaven in doing good upon earth and she has done this for so many.
Our Life Enrichment Director is so creative. Yesterday, Day 1 0f 28, we received the "Lockdown Daily News. This is a great idea as many of us are not on email and I love this that she said: "This is a learning experience for all of us. There are certainly things that we've not thought of yet, but will address issues as they arise. We will all try to be patient with this temporary situation and pray for each other and those far more affected by this pandemic that we are. Thank you!
Today staff has come to ask us what we want for our noon dinner and for supper. I am really happy about that as our menu is excellent but I do not want everything on the menu as dinner as too much. We are so fortunate and the food here is delicious even on paper plates and small paper cups!