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Friday, January 15, 2021

Going My Way

 This morning we are having the old movie, "Going My Way" at my request so I will be watching it with nine others from 9:30 to our dinner time at noon. (Actually, I am writing this blog on Thursday having just had a great zoom with RSCJs and others from all over as it was on the work of our International Education Committee. It was great to see the enthusiasm that our mission of education always generates.)

As I listened to all the excellent suggestions given, I kept thinking that what is most important in our mission of education is to give the students a sense of being loved unconditionally by God and I think we do that by loving each as she or he is and letting them know that they are loved.

I have had some great zooms this week and the time goes by so quickly. I wanted and need to write notes and hope to get to that this afternoon. We have not heard when we will get the vaccine yet, but I hope it is soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

"Oh, that today you would hear his voice....

 I was struck by both the First Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews and by Mark's Gospel when a leper comes to Jesus and kneeling down says, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Jesus was moved with compassion and immediately stretched out his hand, touched the leper and said, "I do will it. Be made clean." And the leprosy left him and he was made clean.

 We all need Jesus and need to ask for the gift of compassion. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us:

"Oh that today you would hear his voice. Harden not your hearts..." Then we are told to take care of our brothers and sister, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is sill 'today'. so that none of you grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end."

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Busy day and I thought ahead....

 This is late and this picture will say it all - I felt as if I had reached the top of a wave and now I am waiting for the boat to move - a special sort of feeling that is making me wonder what will be next. Some days are just full; we were tested again today, but no date yet for the vaccine. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A place of Prayer


Our Chapel at Oakwood is both a place of prayer and for prayer. We each have our own chair and mine is up front just to the left of the picture. Actually, the flowers on the left are usually just a couple of feet away from my chair. I usually pray in my room in the morning, but always have an hour of adoration in the Chapel in the afternoon. I usually spend most of the hour just being present to Jesus who is always present with me. I can click on my hearing aids and have complete silence. It is sinking into silence that is so life-giving for me; I am convinced that Jesus just wants me to sit there and let His Love penetrate my whole being.
On Saturday, I had a Guided Imagery Meditation with music on zoom with 16 wonderful, prayerful, women. Music was played after a relaxation exercise that left us somewhere beautiful with a rainbow.
I found myself in the rainbow and Jesus came and took me by the hand and invited me to climb the rainbow. I told Jesus that I could not do that as I do not have the energy anymore to climb anything. He just smiled and said that I did not need to climb; we would float up. Still holding me by the hand, we began to ascend. I was aware for the lovely colors of the rainbow and felt that there were many others present but I did not see them nor hear them. When we got to the end of the rainbow, we were able to look down upon the world. I could see the different countries clearly because of different colors. Then I found myself in the universe and the sky was lit by millions of stars and the moon. Jesus let me know that He cared for the entire universe, not just our world.

We are asked to write out what happened in the present tense and that is what is so powerful. I feel that the rainbow represents my life and that Jesus is with me every step of the way. There is no fear because he is holding my hand and I am floating with Him as we ascend. I cannot do this but Jesus makes all things possible.
I just thought you might like to read about my guided imagery as I am to work with it this week and then we have another sharing on Saturday.

Monday, January 11, 2021

 I know that we had the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus as a young man ready to begin his life of preaching, healing, and saving us, but I am still in the Christmas season and thinking how helpless and vulnerable Jesus is as an infant. He cannot talk; he cannot walk; as any baby, he cries, needs to be changed and fed. It is a great mystery and one that I love to contemplate for Jesus came to be like us in all things except sin. He comes out of love for us. 

Let us take time today to thank Jesus for coming to us then and now. He is present to each one of us and being human as well as divine, Jesus really understands us, loves us, and wants to be with us.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Baptism of the Lord

 Today's Feast celebrates the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. He has left home and gone to find John the Baptist who is preaching and baptizing in the Jordan river. It is an important moment in the life of Jesus. He had been living in a small town and fitting in so well that his friends and neighbors did not think he was different; he was the carpenter's son. But at the moment of his baptism, we read today in the Gospel of Mark 1:7-11 that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. "On coming out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, 'You are m beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

There is so much to reflect on today. It must have been painful for Jesus to leave his mother; tradition has always believed that Joseph had died so that made it harder for Jesus to leave home as he no doubt had been supporting her since he had learned carpentry from Joseph. Scholars think Jesus was at least thirty years old when he began his public life. He began with an act of humility, being baptized with the sinners who came to John from all over. I am not sure that Jesus had a clear idea of what His Father wanted Him to do, but it must have been a tremendous consolation to see the Spirit descending on Him and hear the Father saying: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Where is God in my life right now?

 Bill Barry's third Chapter in his book, What Do I Want In Prayer, has the title "How and Where Has God Been in My Life?" I think the title of this Chapter is all we need for reflection today and that it will lead us to be able to articulate for ourselves where God is in my life right now.

Friday, January 8, 2021

 Before I continue with thoughts from Bill Barry, SJ, I want to share something sent to me. It is by Roy Lessin and worth reflecting on as we are still at the beginning of a new year. 

"Just think, you're here not by chance, but by God's blessing.

His hand formed you and made you the person you are.

He compares you to no one else-- you are one of a kind.

You lack nothing that His grace can't give you.

He has allowed you to be here at this time in history

to fulfill His special purpose for this generation."

I am more and more convinced that His special purpose for each of us it to let God love us and then pass His love on to others.

I read that it might be good to just take a word to keep in mind rather than make a resolution for the New Year. An amazingly long list of words was then given as suggestions. My word was not there but I think it came from the Holy Spirit when thinking of what kind of year God wants from me - the word  "Docility" jumped into my mind so I am now hoping and trying to have a year of docility to the Holy Spirit. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Am I Angry with God?


We have been seeing a world in trouble; people everywhere are suffering. I suspect there is quite a bit of anger in many of us and this anger may be directed to God. After all, God could make things better. If we are angry with God, can we turn to Him and trust Him? Father Bill Barry suggests that we need to let God know how we feel and give Him a chance to respond. He suggests looking at Psalm 10 to see if it helps you to speak to God about the way you feel.
"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor- let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord....

They think in their heart, "God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it."
Rise up, O Lord, O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed."

Sometimes the best thing we can do in prayer is tell God how angry we are with the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer. And so many dying now and leaving children without parents, and parents without children during this pandemic. Why is all this happening? And so we cry out to God and this is prayer. We need to express what we feel. We also need to listen to God who speaks to us in so many ways, if we are attentive and really wanting to listen to Him.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

God Really Cares for Each of Us

 Although the picture today might make you reach for a sweater, there is a certain peacefulness and quiet in just contemplating the snow by moonlight, and by being aware of the beauty of the moon and snow. Sink into quiet and then begin to talk to God and listen to Him. 

One of my favorite passages is from Isaiah 43: 1-5

"But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.

I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.

Do not fear, for I am with you."

God is speaking these words to each of us still today. God wants to deepen our relationship and this is the time to allow Him to do so by sitting with Him as one friend does with another.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A New Year full of Challenges

 As we begin this New Year we are aware of many challenges facing us and our world today. It is a call to prayer, Since I love Bill Barry and I am sure he would be happy from heaven to have me quote from one of his books, I think it will be enriching for all of us. I will try to summarize in my own words much of what Bill says in one of his books that I took from our Spiritual Library this morning; I almost felt the Holy Spirit pushing the book into my hands. Since I am trying to live this year in "Docility to the Holy Spirit, I will be using What Do I Want In Prayer  to just go back and really get in touch with our desires. Bill's books are all about deepening our relationship with God and speaking to Him and listening to Him as one friend does with another. When you have a friendship with someone, you really want to spend time with him or her just getting to know one another. That is what we are called to do with God. Jesus, who is both God and man, is fully human as well as divine; but this means that Jesus longs for us to stay with Him, to tell Him our hopes and fears, our sorrows and joys. Let us begin today to find some time alone to just be with Jesus. Sometimes we will just sit in silence, but we also need to talk about our frustrations both with the pandemic and with our political problems that influence so many. Let Jesus know how you feel, what bothers you, what you want to thank for and what gives you joy.

This is the best advice I can give for this new year so full of challenges.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

 I read a life of Elizabeth Ann Seton many years ago and have loved her ever since. She was a young girl, wealthy family and friends, had her own spirited horse, and had a wonderful wedding and was much in love with her husband. They had several children before her husband took her to Italy. I believe it was a business trip for him but she wanted the sea voyage to improve his health. It did not improve, his lungs were badly damaged and worsened in the quarantine they had to suffer when the boat arrived. Her husband died and Elizabeth was struck by the faith and goodness of his friends in Italy who were Catholics. Later, when home. Elizabeth decided to take instructions and become a Catholic even if it meant estrangement from her family. She ended up accepting an invitation from the Bishop of Baltimore to come and begin a school for children. Later, with other women who helped her, she founded her congregation. This is all from memory of that book I read so many years ago. She is worth looking up as she is the earliest canonized American saint. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Feast of the Epiphany

 I love this feast, but it was always on January 6 so seems to come too quickly. I like to think of these wise men seeing a star and leaving to follow it. It may just be a story told to make us realize a truth, but it is a call to all of us to leave all that we think important and go to look for Jesus. We do not have to go far as we know He is with us, but we can take Him the gift of ourselves and find Him always waiting for us.

Let us look at the Mass for this Feast. (We have heat again, but I also now have a little heater for my room and just remembered to turn it on- what a blessing hot water is and how grateful I am to have it!). 

The Collect: "O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.

First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah: 60:1-6

"Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance..."

Responsorial Psalm: "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you."

Second Reading from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 3:2-6

The Gospel is from Matthew 2: 1-12 

It is a story that I have always loved and find that I can imagine following a star and finding Jesus.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

First Saturday of the New Year

 Much of the country is beginning the New Year with snow, ice, rain, and sleet. Here is California we have good weather but a gas leak has left us in Westwood and Rosewood without heat and no hot water. We are back to paper plates and plastic forks, etc. Fortunately, Oakwood does have heat.  Hopefully the pipe can be changed and we will again have hot water and heat!

I am thinking today of all the things, the ordinary, everyday things, that I so often take for granted. Let us be aware and grateful for all the gifts of each day.

Friday, January 1, 2021

 Today I was thinking of a poem by Jeanne Houlihan that I have used in the past in a Christmas letter, but I  think it is good to review this again for the New Year. She begins by saying what she really wants to give you is a star:

"Brilliance in a package, something you could keep in the pocket of your being.

Something you could take out in times of darkness, something that would never snuff out or tarnish, something you could hold in your hand, something for wonderment, something for pondering, something that would reminds you of what Christmas has always meant: God's Advent Light in the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God's for giving, and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages without stars.

But I can wish you life as radiant as the star that announced the Christ Child's coming, and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood beneath its light.

And I can pass on to you the love that has been given to me, ignited countless times by others who have knelt in Bethlehem's light.

Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star.

May our New Year be filled with stars from God.