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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Spirit comes to our aid

Today's reading from Romans tells us that the Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. This is always consoling for who among us is really content with the way we pray? The fact is that we are not the ones who are able to pray, but the Spirit prays in us. And the reading continues to tell us that the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will.

Margaret Silf, in Inner Compass says that "prayer is the very essence of our being. When we are at prayer, we are most truly who we are...When we pray, we move inward to our God center."

Sometimes I end my morning hour of prayer and wonder if it indeed was prayer! I just know that I need to spend time with God every morning; it is consoling to think that the Spirit prays in me. And, as Romans also tells us: "We know that all things work for good for those who love God."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Inner Compass

In her book, Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality, Margaret Silf has us imagine three concentric circles. The outermost ring is the "Where" circle and represents all that I cannot change in my life - my family, genetic make-up, geography, culture, education, up-bringing, etc.

The second circle is the "How" circle. Here I exercise choice. Every choice goes toward making me how I am. Choices turn into habits, and habits become character.
My choices go beyond me and influence all I contact. Silf says that "my choices for the truth make the world more truthful. My betrayals of my own integrity undermine the integrity of all."

Into the third circle, the circle of "Who", only a few really move as this is dangerous ground. This is where I see who I really am --"I will move closer to God who dwells in my heart, and the encounter will challenge me in ways I cannot predict."

Am I willing to take the risk and make this inner journey?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reflections from "Easter Mysteries"

A friend lent me "The Easter Mysteries" by Beatrice Bruteau. It is now out of print. I have jotted a few things to reflect on today and will share them with you. She says:
"there is no feast of God the Father. Isn't that strange? So perhaps we may regard Holy Saturday, the day of Sacred Nothingness, as commemoration of God the Father..."

She also says that "absolute, transcendental bliss is not dependent on anything but existence itself and consciousness itself. It is the fundamental and unconditional affectivity that rejoices in God's unconditional being and love. It is always here; we ourselves are it. When we hold still enough, are silent enough, keep Sabbath enough, we become aware of it."

How should we spend the Sabbath? Bruteau says that we should spend a significant portion of it doing nothing. "Do it outdoors, if possible. Be in the natural scene... Listen to the quiet. Let the mind fall silent. God's Sabbath is being kept in you." After a while, you will notice three things: 1)a sense of deep satisfaction, contentment; 2) an upsurge of confidence, a bright, warm feeling of sureness and competence. It is an awareness of the power of God as our own life; 3) a feeling of God's potency radiating from us. "It is letting God happen through me."

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Humble prayer pierces the clouds

The first reading for the Sunday liturgy today tells us that "the Lord hears the cry of the oppressed." It also tells us that "the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest until it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay."

The response for the Psalm is "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."

The Gospel (Luke 18:9-14) is one of my favorite parables about prayer. Jesus addressed it to those "who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else." Jesus tells us that two people went to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee gave thanks that he was not like the rest of humanity and he boasts in his prayer about the good he does. The tax collector just kept repeating, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner."
Jesus tells us that "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted." It is the tax collector's humble prayer that pierces the clouds.

One of my Jesuit cousins once told me that his prayer was just to repeat, "O GOd, be merciful to me a sinner." I had just made my First Vows and it took years for me to realize what a wonderful prayer that is!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sacrament of Reconciliation

One of our Sisters lent me a new book. The title is With the Silent Glimmer of God's Spirit: A Postmodern Look at the Sacraments. It is by a Belgian priest, Lambert J. Leijssen, who is a professor of theology at the Catholic University of Leuven.
Each sacrament is considered as having its own grace. A brief history is given and then the current reality is faced with its pastoral implication for our postmodern world. The grace of each sacrament is a gift of the Holy Spirit that lights up our ordinary, daily life "with the silent glimmer of God's Spirit."

There is much to learn from the author's historical approach. For example, when speaking of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he speaks of three periods and each has its own crisis. He asks, "In our postmodern age have we not arrived at the acknowledgment of a crisis in the practice of private confession, so that a renewal is urgently needed that can be designed with the basic pattern of Scripture and tradition as reference point?" He also say that we must not forget that the true meaning of the sacrament is that "God grants forgiveness to the sinner who exhibits contrition and a change of heart."
The fruit of reconciliation is "a new life in peace with God and one another."

The book is worth a read as one only understands the sacraments through the study of the history of each and I do think we are still in transition in finding meaning for our postmodern age so that the Sacraments are a silent glimmer of God's Spirit in our lives.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More on Gratitude

I fell in love with Scotland when I visited there about twenty-three years ago. I was on the way to Rome after having given a paper at the International Patristic conference that was held in Oxford that year, but I had a British Rail Pass that allowed me to take a train to Aberdeen and visit two dear friends there. Then I did stop to see more friends before returning to London where, because of a transportation strike in Belgium, I had extra days for which I am still grateful. These Scottish mountains in the picture make me grateful for my Scotch-Irish ancestors; the children in Scotland are beautiful and I remember the spirit of joy that all seem to have had; I also remember drinking about 17 cups of tea my first day in Scotland! They bring you tea early in the morning on the train; then I had more at the station waiting to be picked up as the train arrived early; then at the convent, tea for breakfast and tea at every place we visited as they took me to meet their pastor, different friends, etc. We had high tea in a village on the way to meet still another priest. He, of course, said, "Will you have a cup of tea?" I would have refused but by then knew that it is the custom to drink tea when visiting and the host would be offended if one did not. I have often thought of how Jesus is always offering us spiritual "tea" and it is not polite to refuse. This is a strange reflection but I really want to express my gratitude to Scotland, to the many gifts I have received from having friends there, and thank God for the daily gifts he offers me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


One thing we learn as we grow older is how much we have to be grateful for each day. I will share this from the website on gratefulness:
"The gifts or blessings of life are always there but if we are not aware of them, they don't do much for us. That is where gratefulness comes in. Gratefulness makes us aware of the gift and makes us happy. As long as we take things for granted they don't make us happy. Gratefulness is the key to happiness."

Find the website on the left side and then light a candle for all the gifts God has given you today!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Something More on Mater

Under the pressure of over-activity which at times consumes us, disturbs us, or scatters our energies in doing what is visible and accidental let us come to our Mater.

She is the Mother of the Invisible and the Mother of the Essential.
Let us ask her 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 eyes look upon.

May she give us the right understanding of the Essential and a hunger for it.
One thing alone is necessary: the will of God and the work of God's love.
May Mater give us this singleness of vision so that we, too, may see the Invisible and the Essential in all.

There is a problem so that it is not possible to attach an image today, but look back to last Saturday's Feast of Mater and contemplate her image. The above was given us on Saturday without a source, but it is adapted from a Circular Letter to the whole Society of the Sacred Heart written by Reverend Mother de Lescure.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today's Gospel tells us to "Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks."
In my life, I think the key phrase is "ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks." I am afraid that I am like the Bride in the Song of Songs who is not quick to respond but offers excuses and when she gets up to open the door the Bridegroom is gone. Jesus wants us to be ready for him when he knocks. He knocks often during our days, if we are attentive. Then he says, "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."
Is my lamp lit? Faith keeps it bright. Am I vigilant? Above all, am I ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks?
Today I will pray to open the door and find the Lord in each person, event, and circumstance!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday Blog

I wrote my blog this morning and forgot to post it and it is at home and I am at the University. That is the way this Monday has gone! I know that I wrote about Jesus saying take care to guard "against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of possessions."
And I have so many possessions! Am I like the rich man in the parable that Jesus told who made more space to store his treasure and thought he would then enjoy time to rest, eat, drink, and be merry, but God said to him, "You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong? Thus will if be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Perseverance in Prayer

I seem to have misplaced my missalette and so am writing without the Scripture in front of me this morning. I know that the Gospel has the widow who persists in imploring the corrupt judge for justice. Jesus tells the story to show that if we persevere in prayer we will be heard. It is a test of our faith to keep counting on God even when it seems that our prayers are not being answered. I think God loves us to trust him as a child trusts - and, although children can be annoying when they keep after us for something, is it not true that we often manage to give them what they want? It is not just to keep them from pestering us; we see how much something means to them and how strong their desire is for something that we know is good and so we also want this for them. I am making a distinction between what will be for our good as God always answers prayer, but sometimes it is what is for our good and not exactly what we were asking for.
Yesterday, we had a beautiful celebration for the Feast of Mater with a group of international alumnae from all over - France, Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rica, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as different schools and colleges of the Sacred Heart in the United States. We had a lovely Mass in the new library at our school here in Miami (about 150 alums) and the junior high choir sang so well. It was a lovely day and I wanted to share it with some of my readers who I know are alums.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Feast of Mater

This is a feast day for the Society of the Sacred Heart and for every old pupil of the Sacred Heart. All over the world alumni of the Sacred Heart gather for Mass and some social time in honor of Mater, the statue of Our Lady that was painted as a fresco in a niche in the corridor at the Trinite dei Monti in Rome by Pauline Pedreau. The original Mater has worked miracles and alumnae from all over the world journey to Rome to climb the Spanish Steps to the convent to visit with Mater. She is depicted as the young Mary in the temple at prayer and in a pink dress. She has an open book and work-basket at her side. Students have loved this version of Mary and a statue or a picture of Mater is venerated in every school of the Sacred Heart throughout the world.

I was startled to find many images of Mater Admirabilis (Mother most Admirable) when I did a Google search. I immediately recognized the statue that still is at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. We used to put the basketball in her lap before games and our hockey sticks at her feet and many a student has hidden a note asking help in school either in her lap or in the numerous folds of her pink gown. She is a true mother and watches over all her children, even when they have grown old. May she always be loved and honored by her many children!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feast of the North American Martyrs

Martyrdom, losing one's life for Christ, has been a source of grace for the Church since the very beginning of its existence. Today we celebrate six Jesuit priests and two of their lay companions who were martyred between 1642-1649 by the Juron and Mohawk tribes in territory now known as the United States and Canada.Jean de Brebeuf and Issac Jogues are the most famous. The account of the gruesome martyrdom of Brebeuf and Gabriel Lalemont is found in the "Jesuit Relations." We pray to all of the North American martyrs to continue to "protect this land blessed by the shedding of their blood and renew in these days our Catholic faith which they helped to establish in the new land." (From a Jesuit novena quoted in this month's "Living for Christ".)
Let us remember to thank for the many who have given their lives for Christ; may their example give us the fortitude to hold on to the faith today. I am grateful for all the saints and martyrs who have witnessed to Christ and are with us today in the Communion of Saints. No matter what the difficulty of the day, we have a crowd of people in heaven to call upon for help. Best of all, Christ is with us and can do all things!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feast of St. Luke

St. Luke wrote one of the fours Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. He was a physician and went with Paul on some of his travels. Modern scholars may question the tradition but both writings are by a well-educated Gentile who had literary skill. Luke's Gospel highlights Jesus at prayer, women, and meals as well as the great mercy and compassion of Jesus, especially for the poor. His Acts of the Apostles reads almost like a novel with Peter and Paul being the main characters as Luke gives us fascinating details about how the Church developed. If you have not read through Acts lately, try it and look for characteristics of the early church that may still be relevant today!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius was bishop of Antioch for 38 years. He was arrested during the persecution of Trajen and sent to Rome to be martyred. He wrote seven letters on the way to Rome and they are a wonderful source of information about the life of the early Church. Ignatius desired to die for Christ; he wanted to be "the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread." (His own metaphor used in the Communion Antiphon)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Feast of St. Margaret Mary

Saint Margaret Mary Alocoque (1647-1690) was born in Burgundy, France. She entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial and had four visions. Our Lord showed her his Heart burning with love for us. She was instrumental in developing devotion to the Heart of Christ and I think she would like me to copy today the Litany of the Sacred Heart. The response is always "I unite myself" but I will not keep copying the response. Many holy people have used this Litany through the years and grown in union with the Heart of Jesus.
Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
To your adoration, I unite myself.
To your burning love,
To your ardent zeal,
To your reparation,
To your thanksgiving,
To your firm confidence,
To your fervent prayers,
To your silence,
To your humility,
To your obedience,
To your gentleness and peace,
To your surpassing kindness,
To your universal charity,
To your deep recollection,
To your intense desire for the conversion of sinners,
To your close union with the heavenly Father,
To your intentions, desires, and will, I unite myself.
Love of the Heart of Jesus, Inflame my heart.
Charity of the Heart of Jesus, Abound in my heart.
Strength of the Heart of Jesus, Uphold my heart.
Mercy of the Heart of Jesus, Forgive my heart.
Kingdom of the Heart of Jesus, Be established in my heart.
Wisdom of the Heart of Jesus, Teach my heart.
Will of the Heart of Jesus, Dispose of my heart.

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 15- Ecology theme day for over 5,000 Blogs

Today is a worldwide effort to take action to save our planet. Ecological concern is universal and we need to think of what we can do in our own environment to care for our planet.

It is also the Feast of St.Teresa of Avila who lived in the 16th century and had to travel in a cart often as she went from town to town making foundations in Spain for the Reformed Carmelites. She is also a doctor of the Church. I would write more about her, but I am cooperating with about 5,000 blogs today to bring us to an awareness of our great responsibility for our planet. Our whole universe is interdependent, interacting, and this means that we need to care for everything in it. I thought it would be a good day to reflect again on St. Francis of Assisi"s "Cantico of the Creatures":

So, praised be You, My Lord, with all your creatures,
Especially Sir Brother Sun, who makes the day and enlightens us through You.
He is lovely and radiant and grand;
And he heralds You, his most High Lord.

Praised by You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars.
You have hung them in heaven, shining and precious and fair.

And praise be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind.
In air and cloud, calm and every weather
Through him You sustain Your creatures.

Praise be You, my Lord, through Sister Water.
So very useful, humble, precious, and chaste.

Yes, and praise to You, my Lord, through Brother Fire.
Through whom You illumine our night,
And he is handsome and merry, robust, strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth.
She who nourishes us and teaches us,
Bringing forth all kinds of fruits and colored flowers and herbs.

Praise to You , my Lord, for...

If we learn to praise for all the creatures, we will have environmental concern for every creature! (You can continue to write your own stanzas as I left the Cantico unfinished for this reason.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Jesus, in today's Gospel, met ten lepers who called out to him: "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
Jesus tells them to go show themselves to the priests. Their faith led them to obey and "as they were going they were cleansed."
How did they feel? Nine continued on but one was so overcome by the realization that he had been healed that he returned "glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him."
He was a Samaritan, a "foreigner", who was so grateful that he went back to thank Jesus.
Jesus asks three questions that are still valid for us today. "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Am I among the nine who do not return to glorify God by my gratitude? Do I take all the gifts of God for granted each day? Or do I return to fall at the feet of Jesus and give thanks for the many gifts I receive each day?
Lord, help me to form the habit of thanking You for your continuous gifting, healing, and, above all, let me be grateful that I am so loved! Then Jesus will say again:
"Your faith has saved you."

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some Good Suggestions

Here are a few good suggestions that will help introduce more peace and quietness into our busy lives. They are taken from an out-of-print book called Easter Mysteries by Beatrice Bruteau.
Turn off the TV and, I would add, all other noisy electronics such as radio, cell phones, other equipment that keeps our lives filled with noise. Then listen to the silence.
Slow down. Do fewer things; do them without rushing and savor them more.
Sit in silence. Notice the non-doing. Enjoy it.
Relax the body. Take a deep breath. Let go!
Do not use angry words. Praise and thank others. You will be forced to look for the good in everything. (I think cultivating an attitude of gratitude is a great way to find not only peace but joy!)
Now, for a direct quote:"When something upsets you, take refuge in Jesus immediately. Do not avoid him because you feel ashamed. He will not make you feel worse, but better. So don't postpone going to prayer."

Have a good Saturday. Relax and enjoy life!

Friday, October 12, 2007

I love the following that one of my online course posted. It is from St. John of the Cross as we are studying him this week.
I will go and tell the world,

spreading the word

of your beauty and sweetness

and of your sovereignty.

I will go seek my bride

and take upon myself

her weariness and labors

in which she suffers so;

and that she may have life

I will die for her

and lifting her out of that deep,

I will restore her to you.

I am late posting today and am going to use something that was posted in my online course - we have been studying John of the Cross in this Unit. This is one of his poems that I did not know and I think it is worth sharing.

I will go and tell the world,

spreading the word

of your beauty and sweetness

and of your sovereignty.

I will go seek my bride

and take upon myself

her weariness and labors

in which she suffers so;

and that she may have life

I will die for her

and lifting her out of that deep,

I will restore her to you.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ask and you shall receive...

In today's Gospel Jesus says: "Ask and you shall receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
Then, to make this a sure thing, Jesus adds: "For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened."

Lord, I believe You! However, sometimes it seems as if we need to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. You seem to like persistence!

What do I really want? What is it that I ask, seek, and knock for today?

The Prayer after Communion may answer my question: "Almighty God, in this eucharist you give us the joy of sharing your life. Keep us in your presence. Let us never be separated from you. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

"Gladden the soul ..."

The image of the ocean always gladdens my soul because the ocean is a symbol for me of the immense love of God. Today's Psalm says: "Gladden the soul of you servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul."
How do I lift up my soul so the Lord will gladden it? By prayer.
The Gospel tells us that Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples." Jesus then taught them to pray:
"Father, hallowed by your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test." Luke gives us this version - short and powerful and a means to gladden our souls!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Mary and Martha

Jesus goes to a village and is welcomed by Martha. Mary, Martha's sister, sat at the Lord's feet listening to him. Martha becomes upset as she is "burdened with much serving." She asks Jesus, "Do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me."
Jesus only replies, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."

How often I am like Martha when called to be Mary? Lord, let me not judge others; let me be peaceful in the midst of serving You. Help me to realize how to choose the better part; let me stay in a listening mode today and realize there is need of only one thing: to be with You!"

Into Silence

I want to share with you today a film I saw on Saturday called Into Silence. Saturday was the feast of St. Bruno (1030-1101) who founded the Carthusian Order and the Grand Chartruese Abbey that is its motherhouse. It was a fitting day to view this film that shows the life of the Carthusian monks through the changing seasons amid the Chartruese mountains. The monks live in their cells like hermits and food is left for them in a small opening in the wall of each cell. The nearly three-hour movie is silent and really leads us "into silence" as we contemplate the lives of the monks as they pray and work in deep silence.

In the first reading in today's Liturgy, Jonah tries to run away from the Lord. The Lord has called him to do something specific for him and Jonah flees in a ship. Then the Lord causes a violent storm so the ship is unmanageable. Jonah finally tells the crew, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea that it may quiet down for you."
They throw him into the sea and "the sea's raging is abated". But the Lord sent a big fish to swallow Jonah; and Jonah remained in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah prayed and the Lord commanded the fish to "spew Jonah upon the shore."
This is a dramatic account but certainly tells us that we need to heed the Lord's call to do something and not try to run away!

The Gospel is the story of the good Samaritan and shows us who is our neighbor and what it means to love our neighbor!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lord, increase our faith!

When the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith, He replies: "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea' and it would obey you."

If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

"Beloved: I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God..."
This gift is our vocation to follow Christ. He gives us the strength we need and we have the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.(2 Timothy)

Lord, increase our faith; let me hear your voice; stir into flame the gift you have given me to follow You!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Jesus loves childlike trust, wonder, joy

Today the reading from Baruch tells us:
"Fear not, my children; call out to God!
He who brought this upon you will remember you.
As your hearts have been disposed to stray from God,
turn now ten times the more to seek him;
For he who has brought disaster upon you will,
in saving you, bring you back enduring joy.

The Gospel has Jesus rejoicing in the Holy Spirit and saying:
I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father.

Let us rejoice in the Holy Spirit and give thanks; Jesus reveals the Father's love to us!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Still Recovering

It is now more than two years after Katrina and the recovery is slow. Besides the great tragedy of the loss of human life in Louisiana (at least 1,200 killed and 110,000 homes destroyed), the destruction was such that New Orleans had 145,000 cars ruined, at least 40,000 homes had to be completely demolished adding to the tons of debris to be hauled somewhere! The debris along the coast produced 22 million tons of debris (New York had only 2 million after the total destruction at ground zero). Some four million tons of the debris ended up in the waterways. Much is still around; hazardous waste waits to be cleared and stored.
These facts come from an article by Ray Waddle, "After Katrina: Searching the Ruins for Resurrection." It was published in the Yale Divinity School's Reflections, Spring 2007. Many college students have gone to help rebuild. New Orleans had 485,000 people; now there are only about 200,000. The Society of the Sacred Heart has had a school for girls, known as the Rosary, in New Orleans for more than a century; it opened again only three months after Katrina. Many schools have been too badly damaged so students are not finding it easy to go to school.
I am proud to say that four Religious of the Sacred Heart have also established a new community in New Orleans to have a place for the volunteers that come to help restore the homes in the neighborhoods that are still full of destruction.
Let us pray for all the places that have suffered from natural disasters in these past years!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Feast of all the Franciscans

I am grateful to all the Franciscans who have kept the spirit of their saintly founder and who are especially dedicated to joy. I have yet to meet a sad follower of Francis of Assisi!

This is the other quote from Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ - she was one of those great religious that have left us precious writings:
The quality of our joy depends on the spring from which it is drawn. Where do we seek our joy? How does it come and go? Watch its flight as of birds...Does it soar or flutter? Does it go by days and moods, by self-love, by the adventure of circumstances?...To be a joy-bearer and a joy-giver says everything; it means that one is faithfully living for God and that nothing else counts, and if one gives joy to others we are doing God's work. With joy without and within, all is well. I can conceive no higher way. Joy is the most heavenly atmosphere found on earth--we ought to cultivate it as a duty always.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Joyous Saint

The picture shows you that I am well aware of tomorrow's feast but may be late in posting. I return to Miami today after a wonderful week with friends in St. Louis.
Yesterday, I visited the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at the Academy of the Sacred Heart where I went to school. Someone gave me some quotes from Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ and I want to share two of them with you. But only one today as I need to pack! The other will be for tomorrow!

Yes, so be a saint; why not? What else is worth living for, caring about; and every little thing in the day may help you on towards it, if you will look at it on the right side as coming to you from our dearest God, who is so IN with us in our daily troubles and duties, for whom nothing is too great or too small, who is so understanding and loving to all our moods and aches and longings...If you have Him in the details of your life with you, all is well and you can manage anything. So love God and trust God all you can and let nothing take you away from the keep of that strong castle, God the refuge of His people.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feast of the Angels

Today is the feast of the Angels and that includes our guardian angels who watch over us. I have great devotion to my guardian angel and know that some are very aware of the presence of their angel from an early age. I suspect that parents must be fond of praying to the angels of their children to keep them from harm.

Since this is the week we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi, I thought I would give a few thoughts taken from the Yale Divinity School's Spring issue of Reflections. The theme of the issue is God's Green Earth: Creation, Faith, Crisis.

The first article, Daring to Dream: Relgion and the Future of Earth is by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim. I know Sister Mary Evelyn because she had been at St. Thomas University recently and because she also came to the national assembly of the Society of the Sacred Heart in July, 2007. She and John Grim, founders of the Forum of Religion and Ecology, are both now at Yale.

Their article begins by telling us that our period is considered to be the sixth major extinction in Earth's 4.7 billion-year history! What is shocking is that this time it is we humans causing the mass extinction. "No such mass extinction occurred since the dinosaurs were eliminated 65 million years ago by an asteroid." We are destroying ecosystems and are not really aware of the consequences.
Are we able to dream? We must have a vision; we need to have values that lead us to transformative action. What am I doing? What will I do?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Feast of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

Often known as the "Little Flower", Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, was a carmelite known for her "little way" of doing all for love: fidelity to little things, trust, and complete surrender. She died in 1897, was canonized in 1925, and made a Doctor of the Church in 1997.

I want to go back this morning to look at Albert Nolan's first spiritual classic: Jesus Before Christianity. I am using a second edition written ten years after the first appeared in 1976. In the first chapter Nelson tells us, "Today we find ourselves faced with new threats, threats which, they say, will destroy us more certainly and inevitably than a nuclear war: population explosion, the diminishing of our natural resources and food supplies, the pollution of our environment and the escalation of violence. Any one of these problems by itself would be threatening enough to our future; taken together they spell disaster."

We need to wake up to the fact that we have been living dangerously by our desregard for the planet. We are the ones doing the damage. Let us ask the Little Flower to help us change and care for our planet.