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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Feast of the Visitation

The last day of May has always been a feast of Our Lady, or so I think as I was born on this day 76 years ago, a Sunday morning. It was the feast of Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Grace; then it was the feast of the Queenship of Mary; and now it is the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth and my favorite.
Mary goes with haste to see her cousin, Elizabeth. She believed the angel and knows that she will be able to help Elizabeth. She is the first missionary as she takes Jesus with her and Jesus communicates with the baby in the womb of Elizabeth who leaped for joy when Mary greeted Elizabeth. Then the words of both women have come down to us. "Blessed art thou among women and blesed is the fruit of thy womb" and Mary's wonderful Magnificat beginning "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord..."
Tonight I am giving a presentation on prayer and beginning with a short prayer service, then a PowerPoint presentation and two prayer exercises. One is a fantasy exercise and ends with Jesus giving a gift. I think that my gift from Jesus is a pair of glasses (I no longer wear glasses) that are invisible but allow me to see the gifts of others, my own faults, and the many daily gifts that I receive from Jesus and that both make me grateful and full me with joy. These invisible glasses will keep me seeing gifts, thanking and rejoicing as I start a new year of life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The image of water brings Baptism to mind; the Sacrament that gave us God's life in us. We are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit and every time we see water we can renew the spirit of our Baptismal vows by affirming that we are God's and belong to a God of love. Water cleanses, restores, renews and we cannot live without it.

I guess we have been praying for water in South Florida (and many other parts of the world). Our resevoir is a lake that is getting near the record low and so we are rationed in our use of water until we have a great deal of rain. We have had fires because of the drought. It makes us realize what a gift water is.

When I pray, I often use an image of water to help center me. Sometimes I like to contemplate the vast ocean as a symbol of God's love. It is immense and gives me a sense of the infinite. Other times I go down deep into a pool of still water and find God in the depths of that stillness. I love Miami because we are always aware of water in our canals, lakes, rivers and ocean. Of course, it makes driving an art of knowing how to get across the rivers and canals.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What place do I give to the Holy Spirit in my life?

Today I was thinking that we need to develop our relationship with the Holy Spirit. Jesus has sent us the Spirit to help us, to strenthen us, to enlighten us, and even to pray within us. I think time after Pentecost is given to us to cultivate the presence of the Holy Spirit who will renew the face of the earth.

I am including another prayer today that may help:

Breathe on us, Spirit of Wisdom, so that we may be your divine life alive in the world.
Grow in us, Spirit of Understanding,
so that we may listen and may know how to speak your word.
Move within our community, Spirit of Counsel,
so that every one of our encounters may be filled with your presence.
Inspire us, Spirit of Fortitude,
so that we may always have courage and speak the truth in love.
Fill us with insight, Spirit of Knowledge,
so that we may put on the mind of Christ and see God in all of creation.
Abide with us, Spirit of Reverence,
so that we may be transformed into your image and become holy.
Draw us into yourself, Spirit of Wonder and Beauty,
so that we may worship you and glorify you.
In union with Jesus, who has given us this Spirit, we return to you, loving God, all that you have given us. Amen.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pentecost Monday & Memorial Day

I am still with the Holy Spirit brooding over the waters. As is custom in our community, we each drew a gift and fruit of the Holy Spirit to pray for during the year; I like to think that it is the gift and fruit that the Holy Spirit wants us to have to help us during the year. I drew fortitude and peace and like both very much.

At our community prayer, we began with the following that I would like to share with you:
Come, Holy Spirit
Replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.
Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.
Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.
Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.
Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.
Replace the darness within us with a gentle light.
Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.
Replace the night within us with your light.
Replace the winter within us with your spring.
Straighten our crookedness.
Fill our emptiness.
Dull the edge of our pride.
Sharpen the edge of our humility.
Light the fires of our love.
Quench the flames of our lust.
Let us see outselves as you see us,
that we may see you as you have promised
and be fortunate according to your word.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


Today is the great feast of Pentecost. The Preface tells us: Today you sent the Holy Spirit on those marked out to be your children by sharing the life of your only Son, and so you brought the paschal mystery to its completion.
Today we celebrate the great beginnings of your Church when the Holy Spirit made known to all peoples the one true God, and created from the many languages of man one voice to profess one faith. The joy of the resurrection renews the whole world . . . .

We have much to pray for today and one of the most powerful lines in the Liturgy for me is from the second reading from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians 12:
Brothers and sisters: No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Come, Holy Spirit, come!

Today, the eve of Pentecost, I am reflecting on and praying with the Sequence for the Liturgy of Pentecost and feel that I can do nothing better than share it here with you and let you choose your own favorite lines to reflect on today. I do not always like the traslation of the Veni, Sancte Spiritus, but this is what we have.

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below.

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of thine,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess You, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend.

Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen. Alleluia.

I think the Sequence may be what I will pray over for Pentecost and several days more.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit comes to enpower us.

As we are preparing for Pentecost, it is good to remember that today, the Feast of St. Madeliene Sophie Barat, Foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, she still leaves us her strong message of living attentive to the Holy Spirit. Sophie was from the little town of Joigny in France. She always stayed in touch with who she was and where she came from and she lived and preached humility all her life. She had a vision and prayed and worked to see that it was carried out. She wanted to glorify the Heart of Jesus and urged her daughters to live in union with Jesus.
She was and is concerned with each of the members of the Society in whatever part of the world we find ourselves. I remember her coming to me in a dream my first year in Chile and, while I no longer remember her words, I do know that I woke up full of peace and joy and felt that she had come to give me direction in my dream. May she help us all to live attentive to the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mary's Greatness

In his first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" the Holy Father tells us that when Mary exclaims, "My soul magnifies the Lord", she is giving us a program for life. She does not set herself at the center, but has space for God, who is encountered both in prayer and in service of others. Mary's greatness is just this, she desires only to magnify the Lord. Her whole being rejoices in the Lord. She was a woman of faith, of hope, and a woman who loves. Her love for us is constant and true. During this month we honor her in a special way as she is the one who leads us to Jesus.

I have found this year that saying the rosary aloud as I drive the 25 miles to the University and then again the 25 miles home in evening traffic, is something that keeps me peaceful. I do it as a mark of love, but I find it has a real influence on my whole approach to the day in the morning and definitely keeps me relaxed on the way home. Anyone who knows Miami drivers will recognize that the gift of peacefulness amid the chaos is truly a great blessing. I wonder why it took me so long to discover that praying the rosary in the car would be so helpful. I do always try to start any drive by saying the Memorare, my favorite prayer to Our Lady. For those who may not know this wonderful prayer, I will add it here but from memory:

O most gracious Virgin Mary, never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To you I come; before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

God wants to forgive us

After reading the two excellent articles on the Sacrament of Reconciliation in last week's America, I set up an appointment to receive the Sacrament. I am one of those who still want to receive the grace of this Sacrament at least a few times each year. It is good to look back as we are finishing a period of the year; it is good to take stock of the ways our lives are going. I think that we are invited to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation not only during the seasons of Advent and Lent, but before some Feasts and special anniversaries. The Sacrament calls us to conversion and gives us the grace to make a difference in our lives for we so often fail to do the good we want to do and do the evil we do not want, as St. Paul tells us.
Sometimes we hesitate to ask for the Sacrament, but God is waiting to forgive us. Maybe we do not know what to say and need to ask Jesus to show us. When I do this, I see the times I have acted to please myself, the times I have not consulted God, the times I have failed to thank, the times I have failed to love. Then my heart tells me that I want to ask forgiveness in a more concrete way and receive it through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God waits for me; God wants to forgive; God loves to forgive us. What are we waiting for?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Thoughts on Prayer

If prayer is a personal response to God's presence, it starts with a deep awareness of that presence. Concentrate on God. His love for us is much more important than our love for Him. Prayer is not thinking about God; it is being with Him. We pray as we can, not as we can't; the best way for us to pray is the way we pray best. Sometimes I speak to God; sometimes I just listen. Words are not necessary so we may just sit in silence and look at each other. We may feel loved and feel a response to this love. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy in God's presence. At other times I feel only a deep peace. There are, of course, times when one feels nothing and holds on in faith. The point is to let God act in us and surrender ourselves to his love. How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun. (I think this is from Thomas Merton.)

Yesterday, someone sent me a card with this quote:
With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. Proverbs 3:5-6)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is an expression of our relationship with God. All the rules of a relationship apply. Sometimes we forget that prayer is really a response to God who loves us. We need to start by being aware that He is present to us. We need to listen to Jesus. Sometimes He allows us to feel His Presence, to experience His Love. At other times we know He is present but are left waiting in silence. One book on prayer that I read over fifty-five years ago is still a powerful classic. It is The Prayer of Faith by Leonard Boase, S.J., Loyola, 1950 but reprinted in 1985 with a forward by Thomas Green, S.J. When I picked it up today, I opened to the Morning Offering of the Apostleship of Prayer, something that I used to say every day and cannot imagine why I stopped as it is a prayer that makes our whole day supernatural - full of grace for all that we do is given to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
For those too young to know it, I am copying it here:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You the prayer, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your divine Heart in the Holy Mass. (That is the version from the book, but I seem to remember a longer one.)

Sunday, May 20, 2007

7th Sunday of Easter & Ascension of the Lord

Luke begins the Acts of the Apostles by explaining that his first book, his Gospel, dealt with all Jesus did and taught until "the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the Apostles whom he had chosen." He tells them that they will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles do not understand; they are still asking him if he is going to restore the kingdom to Israel now. Jesus again tells them that they will recieve power from the Holy Spirit and then "he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight."
They stood there, looking up at the sky and suddenly two men dressed in garments are there asking them why they are just standing there. The homily for today said that we are not to just look but go do something if we have active faith. I think the Apostles were bewildered and lost without Jesus. It was a time of waiting, remembering, and praying together for the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Church gives us this week before Pentecost to do the same! Come, Holy Spirit, and renew the face of the earth!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Practicing Peace

Today I want to mention a new book called "Practicing Peace: A devotional walk through the Quaker tradition" by Catherine Whitmire (Sorin, 2007). The book is divided into six sections, each a different way of Practicing Peace from with ourselves, our daily living, until Practicing Peace in the world. I want to give just one of the many quotations from the book's section on Practicing Peace in our everyday lives with love.
"I'd like to think God loves me because of my sterling character and pleasant demeanor, but whien I suggest this possiblility, my wife's uncontrollable laughter quickly deflates such delusions. It seems much more likely that God loves every person as much as God loves me. I believe God is love and that everything God does, God does because of love. When this love is poured on the wicked, the rebellious, and the resistant--adjectives that fit all of us on occasion--we call it grace."
If you like to read thought provoking quotes, get this book. Here is another from the same section: "The problem comes when we meed the unlovable, how is that to be loved? ...Whether or not a person was "unlovable" was beside the point, they were made to be loved, and only being loved makes a person lovable."

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring joy to others

The waterfall image always gives me joy. I think of a picnic spot where two of us sat on a rock to eat our sandwiches at the top of a waterfall and that was always a joyous day. Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that he return and our hearts will rejoice and "no one will take your joy away from you."

We are called to be filled with joy, his joy. A sad saint is a sorry saint and really the saints teach us how to be joyful even in the midst of suffering.

I have a framed quote from St.Madeleine Sophie Barat that I love. She says to me:"Be humble, be simple, and bring joy to others." I pray again today for the grace to live this quote and to be joyful as joy communicates itself!
This blog has a postscript today because someone gave me a charming, illustrated book of Max Ehrmann's "Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life." The last lines are: "Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." Good advice for all of us!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ascencion Thursday

Jesus went about giving joy and consolation to others for the forty days after Easter; today he ascended into heaven. We had an old French custom of gathering for prayer just before noon on Ascension Thursday and then, just at noon, singing "Beau Ciel" as we contemplated Jesus going home to his Father. Now most of the United States celebrates the Ascension on next Sunday, but it is still a feast to remember and to rejoice with Jesus.

Jesus has told his chosen ones that he goes to the Father but will send the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit will empower them to be his witnesses. Today, let us thank for the joy of the presence of the risen Jesus in our lives; let us thank him for the many ways he comes to us each day; above all, let us thank and pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit who enables us to bear witness to Jesus. We have received the Holy Spirit but can enlarge our hearts so that his action in us will be even more evident. The alleluias continue until Pentecost!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In him we live and move and have our being

In the first reading from Acts we find Paul preaching in Athens. He had discovered an altar inscribed "To an Unknown God" and he tells them "what therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you." He then tells the Athenians that it is this God who made the world and all that is in it ...who gives to everyone life and breath and everything..." And he adds that he is not far from any one of us, "for in him we live and move and have our being."

Let us be grateful for we have known the living God. He is not an "unknown" God for us as we have experienced his love and goodness to each of us in so many ways. We will never be able to fully understand and know God, yet in him we live and move and have our being.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spiritual Reading Nourishes the Soul

Today I want to reflect with you why I think putting some spiritual books on this blog will be helpful. We cannot live without nourishing our bodies and we need to provide nourishment for our souls, too. The best spiritual reading is, of course, the Bible, the Word of God. Some take time each day to read a bit from both the Old Testament(Hebrew Scripture) and the New Testament(Christian Scripture) and I am a firm believer in Lectio Divina - a slow, repetitive reading of a passage until you really have not only read it but meditated it, prayed over it, and then just be with it. This method of reading, meditating, praying, and contemplating was made popular by the Benedictines in the Middle Ages(it had been around long before Benedict) and is still very much in use by many who pray today.
There are great spiritual classics and I am sure I will be mentioning many as I do teach these, but I want to make known some of the contemporary authors who are writing today and whose books do nourish the soul. I plan to feature at least one author a week and hope to mention a few books each week and say something about the books chosen. Just be patient as I also want to continue reflecting on the many things the Holy Spirit brings to mind.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Feast of St. Matthias - "I chose you"

Today is the Feast of St. Matthias who is chosen(after prayer but by lot!)to be counted with the Apostles.
Jesus, in today's Gospel, says: "You are my friends ... It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain."
We have been chosen; we are to bear fruit and it is God's grace that will allow us, strengthen us, uphold us in our ministry wherever and whatever we are called to be and to do--we are to count on God, not ourselves.

How can I thank for the gift of friendship? How can I deepen my friendship with Jesus today?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

6th Sunday of Easter

The Entrance Antiphon for Sunday's liturgy tells us: Speak out with a voice of joy; let it be heard to the ends of the earth: The Lord has set his people free.
As the Gospel of John is one that I have been reflecting on, I will look only at the last verses: If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.
What does this mean to me? First, I am happy, and I want to speak out with that voice of joy because Jesus goes to the Father. This is reason for joy - the Son, having accomplished his mission, returns to his Father. The whole mystery of the Trinity lies before me is this Gospel that also tells me that the Holy Spirit will be sent by the Father in the name of Jesus. Jesus gives us peace; I let his peace invade my whole being and bow before the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in wonder, awe, and adoration. The mystery of the Trinity is beyond my words and I am reminded that "God can never be grasped by thought, only by love."
Happy Mother's Day to all our mothers wherever they may be! I am so grateful for the gift of my own mother and also for the gift of Mary, Mother of Jesus and all of us!

More on the Essence of Prayer

I want to continue to quote Ruth Burrows on prayer. She asks what is the core, the central message of Jesus? "Surely it is the unconditional love of God for us . . . and this means that divine Love desires to communicate its Holy Self to us."

Later, she says: "the essence of prayer is God. The God of Jesus, total Given-ness is always there to love us and, in that loving, transforming and 'saving' of us, brings us to that perfect fulfillment for which we were created."

On our side, "prayer is simply being there: open, exposed, inviting God to do all God wants. Prayer is not our activity, our getting in touch with God, our coming to grips with or making ourselves desirable to God. We can do none of these things, nor do we need to do so, for God is there ready to do everything for us, loving us unconditionally."
I may know this in theory, but what about the practice? Jesus said: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by me."
Let us surrender ourselves to Jesus in prayer and ask him to lead us to the Father.
I suggest you get the book and mull over it for yourself.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Essence of Prayer is God

Today I need to share a few thoughts from Ruth Burrows, OCD's latest book, Essence of Prayer that begins by asking what we mean by prayer and then says: "Almost always when we talk about prayer we are thinking of something we do and, from that standpoint, questions, problems, confusion, discouragement, illusions multiply."

Prayer is essentially what God does - not something we are doing to God or giving to God but what "God is doing for us. And what God is doing for us is giving us the divine Self in love."
I am loving this book because the author articulates so well what I believe about prayer - I know that God wants me to allow Him to love me and that is the essence of my prayer. Prayer is a relationship with God. For me, that means a personal and intimate relationship with God the Father, with Jesus, and with the Holy Spirit.

I will need to continue these reflections tomorrow and I do welcome comments. I hit publish but never see the comments I receive appear in the blog, but I am still learning and do appreciate the feedback I have received. Thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Joy In You

Jesus tells us that he loves us as the Father loves him; he asks us again in today's Gospel to remain in his love. Then he says: "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete."

As long as I remain in his love I have his joy and that is what makes my own joy complete!

I read that "peace is joy at rest, and joy is peace on its feet."

May we desire joy, live in joy, radiate joy, be the cause of joy, spread joy, and may Jesus be our real joy today!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Remain in me, as I remain in you.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

When Jesus asks us to abide in him as he abides in us, he means it. We cannot bear fruit unless we remain in him. What keeps me from this union with Jesus? I ask the Father to prune me so that I may bear more fruit. This Gospel is one that calls me a deep realization that without Jesus I can do nothing. He tells me that if I am in him, I may ask for whatever I want ... Lord, that I may bear much fruit.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

"Do not let your hearts be troubled..."

Today's Gospel begins with Jesus saying:"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
We have been given the gift of interior peace and must not let our hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid is a constant message to us. If God is with us, why be afraid? He loves us and is all powerful so we need to trust in His Love. Let us cultivate peace in our hearts and in our world.

The children of the Sacred Heart in all parts of the world pray to an image of Mater, she is named Mother, most Admirable, but the original Mater is painted on a wall at the Trinite dei Monti, an old monastery at the top of the Spanish steps in Rome. I had the grace of living there and being sacristan for Mater's chapel and today I want to share with you a prayer I was just given on the back of a picture of Mater. I should explain that Mater was painted as a young girl in the temple wearing a pink dress . She is seated with her eyes closed in recollection. The prayer is as follows:

In the midst of non-essentials that invite and often distract us, we run the risk of confusing our values.
Let us ask Mater to detach us, to free us from all that is not important, to lead us on, and to fix our gaze upon the INvisible, which her own heart encountered: the Invisible Presence, the Invisible Life, the Invisible Action, the Invisible Love.

May Mater keep us throughout our busy and overcrowded days in the radiance of things that are not seen and in steadfast consciousness of the Invisible.

May Mater give us the right understanding of the Essential and a hunger for it.
Two things only are necessary: the will of God and the work of God's love.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Seek the values that bring eternal joy

The opening prayer in today's liturgy started my reflection: "Father, help us to seek the values that will bring us eternal joy in this changing world. In our desire for what you promise make us one in mind and heart."
What are the values that bring eternal joy?Again, in the Gospel, Jesus tells us: "Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him." How do we show that we love Jesus? He tells us that whoever keeps his commandments is the one who loves him. But we know that God has loved us first and gives us the grace to keep the commandments so we are loved by Jesus and he reveals himself to us. How is Jesus revealing himself to me now?
Today's Gospel ends with the promise that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, "will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you."
Perhaps the gifts and fruits of the Spirit are the values that give eternal joy.

Pentecost is less than three weeks away so let us renew our joy in the joy of our risen Lord and let the alleluias of the Easter season echo throughout our day! And may we recognize Jesus revealing himself to us today!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A new heaven and a new earth

The second reading for the 5th Sunday of Easter(Revelation 21: 1-5)states:
Then I, John, saw a new heaven and a new earth... I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing, or pain, for the old order has passed away.

What is this new heaven and new earth? It must be because God makes all things new and he will dwell with us. It is consoling to read that he will wipe away every tear and that there will be no more death and pain. Our world is so full of both and yet we know that God will come and there will be no more mourning, only joy because he is with us.

The Communion Antiphon is one of my favorite passages from John 15:5
I am the vine and you are the branches, says the Lord; he who lives in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit, alleulia.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

As I have loved you...

Jesus tells us in John's Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Easter that we are to love one another. Then he says:
"As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples; if you have love for one another."

This loving others as Jesus has loved us is not easy. It means being willing to lay down my life for another. It means true, constant, generous love that is always there for the other; it means supporting, encouraging, trusting others. Only if we love one another can we be called Christians.

Lord, you have told us that without you we can do nothing. Be with me today so that I may love as you have loved me.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Called to Reveal God's Love

I am still reflecting on the Introduction to the Pope's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est. He quotes from Deuteronomy: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your sould and with all your might".(6:4-5) He says that these words expressed the heart of the faith of Israel.

Jesus united into a single precept this commandment of love for God and that of love for neighbor found in Leviticus: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (19:18)

Since God has first loved us, love is now no longer a mere "command"; it is "the response to the gift of love with which God draws near to us." The Pope says that he wants his first encyclical to "speak of the love which God lavishes on us and which we in turn must share with others." That is the message he wants to put across to us in this very first Letter at the beginning of his Pontificate.

As I reflect on this desire to reveal God's love and then share this love with others, I find my own charism as a Religious of the Sacred Heart. We are called to "discover and reveal God's love" and then, "through our love and service to radiate the very love of His Heart." We share this mission of making God's love known with the mission of the whole Church. The source and symbol of God's love is the Heart of Christ. How will I communicate the love of the Heart of Jesus today?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

We have come to believe in God's love

"We have come to believe in God's love."
In these words, Benedict XVI says we can express the fundamental decision of our lives. Being Christian is the result of our encounter with an event, a person, which gives our life a "new horizon and a "decisive direction.

St. John's Gospel describes this event:
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should. . .have eternal life."
(Jn 3:16)

The above is from the Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est and below is my own reflection.

I believe in God, of course I do. I believe in His love for me. I trust in Him because He loves me. I believe that God is love and that Jesus came to reveal God's love and bring us to eternal life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believe this but even as I write this the words from the Gospel are on my lips and in my heart: "Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief."

God is Love

After consulting with Mary about this blog for her month of May, I decided to reflect on Deus Caritas Est, the First Encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI. It is written for everyone and is on Christian Love. It begins:
"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him" (1 Jn 4:16)

These words express the heart of the Christian faith: both the Christian image of God and the resulting image of us abiding in God. The Pope says that St. John offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: "We have come to know and believe in the love God has for us."

Have I an unshakable conviction in God's love for us? Am I aware, really aware, of God's presence in me and in everyone? Do I truly abide in God? These are fundamental questions to reflect on today as we come to the half-way mark of the Easter season. Only 25 days left before Pentecost so let us serve God in joy. Alleluia! God is love! Alleluia, alleluia!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

St. Joseph the Worker

Although it is the first day of the month dedicated to Mary, at least in the United States, it begins with the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. Joseph only has two feasts, the other being March 19. It was only in 1955 that this Feast of St. Joseph the Worker was proclaimed by Pius XII because the first of May is Labor Day in many countries. Joseph is a model for all working people.

Joseph was a silent man, but a man of great faith. He was also a just man who God spoke to in his dreams and Joseph obeyed. I suspect that Mary is very happy to have her month begin with a Feast in honor of Joseph.