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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Second Sunday of Advent

I love the Entrance Antiphon for today: "O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart."

Collect: "Almighty and merciful God, mah no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company."

First Reading from the Prophet Baruch 5;1-9

Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy."

Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians that begins telling us that he prays always with joy in his every prayer for all of them... and he prays that their love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,...

Gospel is Luke 3: 4-6 and is on John the Baptist and how he went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance.
 

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Feasr of the Immaculate Conception for December 8


 This is a feast to honor Mary. I have always loved this feast. As a child, we had a holiday and my aunt and godmother would take me downtown to have lunch at a hotel and then shop for gifts for other children that her boss needed to remember. I think my aunt also told my mother what I seemed to like most among all the toys, dolls, games, and books. It was when I was at the Academy of the Sacred Heart that I really began to enter into the celebration of this feast in honor or Mary. We had a special practice every year during a novena before the feast and then we had the famous Lily Procession. If we had been faithful during the novena, we were allowed to present a lily to Our Lady. It was a very solemn procession as we were all in our white uniforms and white veils and we said, as we presented our lily to the statue of Our Lady: "O Mary, conceived without sin, I give thee the lily of my heart; be thou its guardian forever."




Friday, December 3, 2021

Feast of St. Francis Xavier and First Friday


 



Francis Xavier was one of the original six companions of Ignatius who took vows in the Society of Jesus and became the first "Jesuits". In 1541 Francis left to become a great missionary for Asia. He worked tirelessly and by 1549 landed in Japan. He stayed there for two years, long enough to implant a small Christian community and then set sail for China. He was taken off the ship when he became ill and died on an island at the age of forty-six. He baptized whole villages and now is the patron saint of foreign missions.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Advent, a Time of Discernment


 Today I am going to again quote from Juliet Mousseau's book as I think what she says about discernment is so important.

"It must be noted, too, that discernment is about choosing between two good things. When we talk about obedience to God and to the needs of the world, it's clear that the needs are abundant and the path of Jesus is wide and diverse. Obedience may offer us many options, all of them good, and all of them consistent with our own gifts. Discernment then comes into the equation, through which we ask God for guidance in our prayer, that the path that is most right at this moment be shown to us. Obedience, then, calls us to commit our lives wholly to that choice, to live it to its fullest until it is clear that some other need is calling us in a different direction."

When I was in the Institute for Religious Formation, Father John Futrell, S.J., stressed the fact that a good discernment may change because we have new information. 

I am glad that Juliet is one of our delegates to the Special Chapter which is ending today after spending three weeks discerning how we, the Society of the Sacred Heart, will organize ourselves and share resources.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What is God calling you to do?


 Yesterday I published two blogs on the same date; that is what happens when I try to hurry. I am really trying to get ahead with blogs this week as I will be away next week at Villa Maria and will not be writing blogs. 

I am reading a book by one of our young Religious, Juliet Mousseau. The title is Prophetic Witnesses to Joy: A Theology of the Vowed Life. It has certainly made me realize how important discernment is in our daily life. Listening to the Holy Spirit who helps us discern and confirm the discernments has given me new light on the vow of obedience. 

Here is a quote that is for all of us: "How do we know what God calls us to? We know by listening to our hearts, by listening to the spirit work in us, by listening to those who know us, and by hearing the cries of the world around us."


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Silence and Stillness are a new language


 "Habitual stillness and silence require deeper and deeper levels of surrender on our part. To let go of all agendas and settle into a deep silence is perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do. It requires trust that silence and stillness are indeed God's first language and when we meet God on God's terms amazing things happen. What happens will not be by our design. We will not shape the experiences. This unfolding will not be according to our agenda. Silence and stillness are a new language that takes a long time to learn, and even longer to learn if we hope to become fluent." Amos Smith

Let us try this Advent to take some time each day just to be still and listen to the silence we are able to create in our own hearts and minds. Jesus was silent in the womb of Mary. 

Silence and Stillness


 Here is a quote from St. Madeleine Sophie in 1855:

"Prepare for His coming into your hearts, for that is why He came on earth: to be born, to develop in your souls, and when the beautiful day of Christmas arrives you will taste that peace the angels announced to persons of good will." Suzanne Cooke quoted this and added: "In her conference, Sophie has provided us with a simple and profound observation. Advent reminds us that the self-discipline of stopping, breathing and praying is a simple practice, but there is no better preparation for Christmas. More important, this practice is the ideal way to live fully and to be ready to leave this life for the next."

"Silence and stillness are infinitely simple disciplines. They are also infinitely difficult, especially in the context of our bombarded twenty-first-century minds." - More on silence and stillness from Amos Smith tomorrow - actually, I found this Advent prayer service in my file and thought the quotes worth copying into my blog.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Beginning Advent with great desire


 Let us begin this time of preparation for the coming of Jesus in a deeper way into our hearts by great desire and a longing that will make us aware of Him, who dwells in us but longs for us to increase our capacity to receive Him. I love the image of clearing out the clutter and housecleaning our hearts to receive Jesus again in a special way this Christmas.

Do prepare by deciding on some Advent practice that the Holy Spirit inspires. I have decided on three things and probably will fail to keep all of them. The most important is to take time for exercise; it is true that I am 90 years old and have less energy, but I know that I need to exercise and hopefully will do so during Advent. The second, is to read a page of Luke's Gospel everyday and really let it penetrate with the help of the Holy Spirit. The third is to cut back on the time I am spending on my I-pad. I play games, read many articles, get my news chiefly on my I-pad and read and answer many emails daily; I need to find a way to cut back as I am averaging three hours a day just on the I-pad. Hopefully, Advent will make a difference in my life and in yours. I also intend to write something in my new Journal each day. It is a large book with this quote from Psalm 37 written on the cover: "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

We had a lovely Advent Mass Sunday morning, but no Advent wreath in the Chapel today. I hope we will be having one; I know we will have one in Westwood for our evening prayer.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

First Sunday of Advent


 Today we light the first candle on our Advent wreath. I will also be praying with the Advent Liturgy.

For this First Sunday of Advent, the Collect is:

"Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his cominig, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom."

The First Reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah 33:14-16

"The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulful the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah...."

Responsorial Psalm: "To you, O Lord, I lift my soul."

Second Reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

"Brothers and Sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.,,,,

The Gospel is according to Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus speaks of the signs in the sun, moon, and the stars, and on earth.... It is not a consoling Gospel, bu one to prepare us for the final coming of the Son of Man, Jeus Christ.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Last Day of the Liturgical Year


 Today we prepare the Advent wreath and prepare our own loves to close another liturgical year and begin Advent tomorrow. Let us take time to discern what God may be asking of us this Advent.

Our Special Chapter which has been held on zoom for the delegates from all over the world, ends on December 2. We are all praying for the Holy Spirit to help us make the right decisions about how we should organize ourselves and share resources as we are diminishing and have fewer Religious who are under sixty. We do have vocations in Indonesia and Africa but many provinces have few younger Reigious and so we really need to think of how we are going to organize ourselves for the future. 

Let us pray for one another during Advent. I hope we find this season of Advent a time of desire, a longing for Jesus to come into our hearts and into our world in a deeper way because of our longing.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving is not just for one day


 The turkey dinner was wonderful, but now we continue to be thankful for all the graces of this liturgical year. Try to take some time for this and to prepare ourselves for the first Sunday of Advent. I usually try to at least address Christmas cards before Advent, but I am not sure I will get this done before Sunday. 

We used this prayer and said it together at the end of our Thanksgiving meal. It was sent to us by our Provincial and was composed by John O'Donohue.

Grace After Meals

We end this meal with grace for the joy and nourishment of food,

The slowed time away from the world to come into the presence of each other

And sense the subtle lives behind faces, the different colors of our voices,

The edges of humgers we keep provate, the circle of love that unites us

To change the structures that make others hunger and that after suce grace we might now go forth

And impart dignity where we partake.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving!


 We are having a Mass at 10:00 and all the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the entire area are invited for both the Mass and for Thanksgiving Dinner. I suspect we will be around 70 as we have not been able to invite the other communities to come because of COVID. Now we are still being careful, but it will be good to see all the RSCJs. The cooks here do a fabulous job every year to give us a delicious dinner with all the trimmings.

I am just thankful for my family, my vocation, the many friends I have made through the years, my missionary years, my different communities, for the challenges and opportunities that have been part of my life. I could make a long list of all I want to thank for today. Some of those I am so grateful for having in my life are now in heaven,

I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and let us remember those who are less fortunate, especially all the homeless, the refugees, and the sick and suffering.