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Friday, March 5, 2021

First Friday of March

 I always love the First Fridays.

Here is a quote that appeared in our Oakwood Daily News: "Gratefulness is an extraordinary potent answer to many of our deep and far-reaching questions, inviting us to heed its invitation to live gratefully in the fullness of the moment that is here for us now."

I am trying to practice living in the present moment as I am seriously trying to remember to discern and be docile to the Holy Spirit. And that means being grateful - grateful for each moment of life, and very grateful for the daily graces showered on us.

I love the fact that Sister Be Mardel is now 103 years old and still so alert and spreading holiness around her. 

I also ask prayers for all those for whom I have promised to pray for and all in need today.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

What have you learned lately?

Pictures often help me to pray. I am sure you know my love of water as I use so many ocean scenes, waterfalls, etc. One of the fun suggestions that we had recently was to make a very short video of something that we have done or learned to do since everyone has been sheltering in place. I am not making a video, but did think that one of the things I have enjoyed and it is new for me is doing the crossword puzzles that appear on the back of our Oakwood Daily News. They must be easy ones as I can do them, but I find I really do look forward to this when I return to my desk after our noon meal when the daily news is distributed.

I also enjoy coloring but must confess that I am usually waiting to color when I have nothing more pressing to do and that does not seem to happen very much. I wonder what you have found to do during this time. Some explore new recipes, learn to bake or knit or sew. I think it has been a fruitful time for many, unless they are living in cramped quarters, worried about money, and having to try to help their children with distance learning. I am sure that many need our prayer as this sheltering in place seems to be the normal for many more weeks, but some of us have also found it a fruitful time. Certainly here at Oakwood the solitude has been conducive to prayer.

Spring is coming

 Our patio is full of Joniquils and Tulips, a sure sign that Spring is coming to California or at least to Oakwood. We do not have many tulips blooming yet, but I do think all the joniquils are in bloom. The trees are just beginning to bud. I am trying to connect the season of Lent with Spring.

I am learning to praise God as I walk in the patio. I guess I have time now to be more contemplative and just stop and enjoy the new life that is springing up in our patio. I am ashamed that I do not know the names of so many of our plants and trees, but I am enjoying seeing new life emerging.

I wonder if our souls are also sprouting new life and if we are taking time to enjoy what is coming forth? Maybe I can name some of the seeds that are now blooming in my soul. I know I recognize trust, gratitude, hope, and love. I also see some weeds that need to be pulled. How is the garden of your soul?

What needs to be uprooted or pruned? What needs a bit more care? Lent is a time to take care of the interior garden of our soul.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Why Pray?

 There are many reasons why people pray. I pray because God has given me the desire to be in a deep relationship with Him. He wants to love me and needs me to be still and let Him. I also pray so that I can deepen my relationship with Jesus who is always with me. I know that God enjoys my taking time to thank Him for so many gifts and graces. 

Why do you pray? When do you pray? How do you pray? These are questions to ponder as Lent is a time to examine how we are responding to God. God gives us the desire to pray and then waits for us.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A Prayer for Today

 Someone sent me this prayer in a note last Saturday. I do not know where the prayer originated, but want to share it with you today.

Lord my God, when your love spilled over into creation you thought of me.

I am from love, of love, for love.

Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish, and enjoy your goodness in all of creation.

Direct all that is in me toward your praise.

Teach me reverence for every person, all things.

Energize me in your service.

Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love,

neither health nor sickness, wealth or poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life.

May I never seek nor choose to be other than you intend or wish. Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

 I am late posting today. I just had a zoom with my Spirituality Group and we are all reading James Martin's new book, Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone.  It is good to go back and think about the different ways we pray and this is a book that is easy to read but full of wisdom.

We had Mass yesterday so now I am missing it today more than ever. I was looking at the Collect and this is what we are asking in the Mass for today:

O God, who have taught us to chasten our bodies for the healing of our souls, enable us, we pray, to abstain from all sins, and strengthen our hearts to carry out your loving commands.

I guess I like the part where we ask God to strengthen our hearts so that we can always do what pleases Him. I just changed the wording to fit the way I would pray that today and am praying it. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Second Sunday of Lent

This Second Sunday of Lent has the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Just as Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go up the mountain to pray with Him, He is inviting each of us today. The most important thing about this Gospel seems to me to be the words of God the Father saying: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." If we really listen to Jesus, our lives, our world, would be different.

Collect: "O God, who have commanded us to listen to your beloved Son, be pleased, we pray, to nourish us inwardly by your word, that, with spiriutal sight made pure, we may rejoice to behold your glory.

The first reading is from Genesis 22 and is the story of God putting Abraham to the test by asking him to sacrifice his son. Fortunately, it was only a test, but I cannot imagine how Abraham felt!

The Responsorial Psalm is "I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living."

First Reading is from Paul's letter to the Romans: 8: 31b-34. "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over forus all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?...

Let us listen to God today. We are having a Mass and that is really good as it has been a month without Mass.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Our Guardian Angels

 Today I have been thinking about our angels and how they work to keep us holy and healthy as well as free from all danger. I wonder how they feel with the pandemic taking so many lives. I am sure they are working overtime - not that they ever stop working, but it must give them consolation to be the one with the dying person to lead him or her to eternal life. I guess this is just because I feel the need to thank my angel and all the angels who have been guarding us. I firmly believe that my angel is always with me.

Today was our first out of quarantine and we did enjoy talking to each other. I received two gifts this morning. One was from a cousin who now lives in North Carolina but the box was from Georgia and contained "bear claw" made with dark chocolate and white chocolate, handmade Southern Candies. I assure you that I was grateful to get this wonderful gift, but it lasted all of ten minutes after I opened it. I was delighted to have something to give the staff and so began to pass out the bear claws with real joy, but I saved one white and one dark to eat on Sunday. 

After that gift, I was surprised to find another from one of my Seniors who has just returned from Costa Rica and she brought me a darling little frog sitting on a log in a glass bubble that has lovely green sparkles when you shake it. I guess Costa Rica has no snow so invented this; also in the gift bag were two tiny bags of candy. One has dark chocolate almonds and so I have an unexpected treat. Then, one of my Sisters who lives alone in what I call the "compound" came over and brought me two advocados. She had also given me two last week so I took them to supper and they were a treat as they got passed around with the cheese pizza that was our Friday night supper this week. I enjoy mashing up an avocado and eating it on crackers or on toast. Dee is keeping me supplied! I am writing this on Friday night and need to get to sleep earlier tonight now that I have given up my detective stories until after Easter - this only means the ones on my Ipad as I still might read the ones I sometimes find in my mailbox left there by an avid reader who lives in the Gatehouse.

Friday, February 26, 2021

We are again out of Quarantine

 It means a great deal to be able to see others and talk at a distance and be able to go to the dining rooms.

We are all happy about this and will even have Mass this Sunday. I am late posting as I thought I had scheduled ahead. I am praying for everyone as there are still too many deaths. Our high school students are going to be returning to school on March first but I think only some each day so that all will get a chance to have some classes on campus and then some at home. It is confusing but they are very good at figuring out their schedules and I suspect all will be well.

I have decided that I need to give up my detective stories for the rest of Lent. They were a great escape during this quarantine, but I do not need them now and will concentrate on spiritual reading. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Continuation of the Praise Song for the Pandemic


This is, as I wrote yesterday, a work in progress by Christine Valters Paintner and I do not know who sent it to me, but this is the second part.

Blessed are the ministers and therapists of every kind, bringing words of comfort.

Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, who have no savings, who feel fear of the unknown grnawing.

Blessed are those in grief especially who mourn alone; and blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night.

Praise for the police and firefighters, paramedics, and all who work to keep us safe, praise for all the workers and caregivers of every kind.

Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends reaching across the distances, give thanks for laughter and kindness.

Praise be our four-footed companions, with no forethought or anxiety, responding only in love.

Praise for the seas and rivers, and forests and stones who teach us to endure.

Give thanks for your ancestors, for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, their resistence is in your bones, your blood.

Blessed is the water that flows over our hands and the soap that helps keep them clean, each time a baptism.

Praise every moment of stillness and silence, so new voices can be heard, praise the chance at slowness.

Praise be the birds who continue to sing the sky awake each day; praise for the primrose poking yellow petals from dark earth.

Blessed is the air clearing overhead so one day we can breathe deeply again.

Ane when this has passed, may we say that love spread more quickly that any virus ever could, may we say this was not just an ending but also a place to begin.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Praising all helpers in the Pandemic

 I have been wanting to praise all those who are helping us to get through this time and then someone sent me this "Praise Song for the Pandemic;A work in Progress by Christine Valters Paintner" and it just seems to be what we would want to say so I am copying it here so we can really not only praise these people, but continue to pray for them.

Praise for the nurses and doctors. every medical staff bent over flesh to offer care, for lives saved and lives lose, for showing up either way.

Praise for the farmes, tilling soil, planting seeds so food can grow, and act of hope if there ever was one.

Praise for the janitors and garbage collectors, the grocery store clerks, and the truck drivers barreling through long quiet nights.

Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, gas, and electricity.

Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices for the common good, offering words of assurance.

Celebrate the scientists, working away to understand the thing that plagues us, to find an antidote, and all medicine makers.

Praise be the journalists keeping us informed.

Praise be the teachers, finding new ways to educate children from afat, and blessings on parents holding it together for them.

Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, all those who worry for their health, and praise for those who stay at home to protect them.

Blessed are the domestic violence victims, on lock down with abusers, and the homeless and refugees.

Praise for the poets and artists, the singers and storytellers, all those who nourish with words and sound and color.

To be continued tomorrow as there is still more to praise and bless!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

"Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy'

 The Responsorial Psalm held my attention today. This is the verse from Psalm 34 that I prayed over: 

"Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and our faces may not blush with shame.

When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him."

Sometimes a line from Scripture will jump out at us and that is what happened when I read

"Look to him that you may be radiant with joy"

God wants us to be joyful even in the midst of a pandemic. How is this possible?

I leave each of us to work that out for yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I do think that finding God in pray makes me joyful.