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Monday, March 31, 2008

Feast of the Annunciation

It is difficult to find an image that resembles my own picture of the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary to ask her to be the Mother of Jesus.This one will have to do.
The feast was changed this year because of Easter week, but it is such a special feast as this is the moment that, as my "Living with Christ" says, "binds God to humanity forever." God becomes man! Mary is the chosen one; her generous and trusting response is an example for us. May we be able always to say, "Be it done to me according to your word."
To reflect upon today is a quote from St. Bede:
"A soul that has believed has both conceived and bears the Word of God and declares God's works. Let the spirit of Mary be in each of you, so that your soul rejoices in God." That is what we want to do today: rejoice in God!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Blessed are those who have not seen and who believe

This Sunday's Gospel takes in both the Easter Sunday evening appearance of Jesus to his apostles when he enters through the locked doors and tells them, "Peace be with you" and the next Sunday's appearance. On Easter Sunday, he shows them his hands and his side and they "rejoiced when they saw the Lord."
Then Jesus, without a word of reproof to them for having abandoned him, says again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
This gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation was given on the very day that Jesus rose from the dead, but Thomas was not with the fearful disciples locked in the room. When the others told him that they had seen Jesus, he said that unless he saw the mark of the nails in his hands and put his finger into the nailmarks and put his hand into his side, he would not believe. So, a week later, Thomas now with the disciples, Jesus again comes, although the doors were still locked! Again, Jesus greets them with, "Peace be with you." Then he speaks to Thomas and says, "Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe." And Thomas makes his magnificent profession of faith: "My Lord and my God!"
Thomas believes and because of Thomas we also know that Jesus said, "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."
What a grace for us! We all have moments of doubt in our lives, but we do not see and still believe and that makes us blessed! The Gospel ends with John telling us that Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written, "But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name."
Divine Mercy Sunday is a time to go before the Lord with thanksgiving; we have been forgiven, we are given the peace of Christ, we have faith to say "My Lord and my God!" Let us put our trust in the Heart of Jesus and go forth to proclaim his love!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sunday is the Feast of the Divine Mercy

The second Sunday after Easter is now the Feast of the Divine Mercy. I thought that we should know about this Feast that has so much in common with the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
During the course of Jesus' revelations to Saint Faustina on the Divine Mercy He asked on numerous occasions that a feast day be dedicated to the Divine Mercy and that this feast be celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. The liturgical texts of that day, the 2nd Sunday of Easter, concern the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, the Tribunal of the Divine Mercy, and are thus already suited to the request of Our Lord. This Feast, which had already been granted to the nation of Poland and been celebrated within Vatican City, was granted to the Universal Church by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on 30 April 2000. In a decree dated 23 May 2000, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments stated that "throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine benevolence, the difficulties and trials that mankind will experience in the years to come."
Concerning the Feast of Mercy Jesus said:
Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. (Diary 300)
You can find this and more on the Internet. I am struck by the fact that Jesus asked for this feast. He wants us to realize his Divine Mercy. Our world needs it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Jesus at Dawn on the Shore of the Sea of Tiberias

Simon Peter has decided to go fishing and so James and John, Nathanael, Thomas and two other disciples went out in the boat with him and fished all night and caught nothing! The seven must have been tired and discouraged when dawn came, but Jesus was standing on the shore. They did not yet realize who was there, but when he told them to cast their net to the right side of the boat, they obeyed and were not able to pull the net in as there were so many fish. Since John is telling the story later he says, "The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." Peter then jumps into the sea. The others come in the boat dragging the overflowing net with the fish. When they arrive they see a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus tells them to bring some of the fish they have just caught (there were 153 large fish!) and then Jesus invites them to have breakfast. He took the bread and gave it to them and in like manner the fish. Imagine having Jesus waiting on the shore to serve us breakfast!
I think that Jesus still waits for us at dawn. He fills our nets with what we need to do his work during the day. He invites us first to breakfast with him and he waits for us to tell him all that has happened since the previous dawn. Our morning prayer is a great gift and we have the intimacy of being with Jesus and having all his attention. He cares for us and waits for us each dawn. Let us not keep him waiting!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Surprise Visits

Jesus continues to visit us and loves to surprise us with unexpected visits. Sometimes he is waiting on the shore; sometimes he comes to us through the visit of a friend, a phone call, even an e-mail. He now uses others to touch us with his love in ordinary moments of the day. If we are attentive, we find Jesus driving with us in the car, going into the office and sitting with us as we tackle our overflowing desk, or walking with us to meetings and wanting us to acknowledge his presence and consult him. We feel his presence in the peace and joy that surround us even in the midst of some very long and tedious tasks. He is our consolation and never leaves us alone. He came to the disciples as they walked away from Jerusalem, bewildered and downcast. He appeared again to all in the Upper Room saying "Peace be with you." He still comes and tells us the same. Jesus wants us to share his joy. What is keeping me from rejoicing with Jesus today?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Joy

Joy is the song of the spirit under the pressure of happiness, according to Mother Stuart. I like that definition and have always thought that Jesus must have been so full of joy that others flocked after him just because of his joy. I have a picture that someone gave me of a "laughing Jesus" and I think that in these days after his resurrection he must have done a lot of laughing.
Little children find joy in everything; the discovery of something new, the sight of a butterfly, a puddle of water, all can cause immediate joy and reaction. Jesus wants us to be childlike and I think that having a sense of joy and wonder as we go through life is one of his gifts to us. Let us discover this joy and wonder in all we contemplate today.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Forty Days after Easter

Jesus is risen, alleluia! Jesus spends the forty days after Easter going around and consoling his friends; he appears to them, gives them the gift of his presence until he is finally leaving them and ascending into heaven.
I was reflecting this morning that the Church year has made a special season of forty days of Lent to prepare for the Easter and then gives us these forty days with Jesus. I may not have had the kind of Lent that I envisioned on Ash Wednesday, but now I begin again with the risen Jesus to rejoice with Him, to stay with Him, to learn from the different apparitions what Jesus is still trying to teach me. Each day he comes and says some of the same things to us. He calls us by name so that we will recognize him; he walks with us and reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread. Let us thank for the opportunity to spend these forty days with Jesus. May we learn from Him how to console others.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

He is risen! Let us rejoice and be glad! Alleluia, Alleluia!

This is the reason for our faith. Jesus has conquered sin and death and is risen and glorified. He is with us until the end of time, but in a new way. He still is both human and divine and still asks us to follow Him, to love others as He loves us, to let Him love us. He wants us to be with him, to be happy; he spends time going around and consoling those he loves. He continues to do this. Have we not felt his presence?
Therefore, let us rejoice and be glad. Alleluia, Alleluia!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday

These special days of Holy Week are a time of silence and prayer. We follow Jesus in the last days of his earthly life and then wait with Mary for the Resurrection.

If you have missed my blog, it is because I was laid low with the flu and stayed away from the computer so I would not give it to my community. It has been a different sort of Holy Week and one with silence and solitude.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spy Wednesday

Jesus was executed. He did not simply die, the authorities killed him. But first he was betrayed by one of his own.
Today is called "Spy Wednesday" because Judas, on this day, according to Matthew's Gospel, "went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?' They gave him thirty pieces of silver." Matthew tells us that "from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over."
This is not a spur-of-the-moment betrayal; Judas plotted to have Jesus arrested, to hand him over. Jesus knew it and gave Judas the opportunity to repent at the beginning of the Passover meal. But Judas hardened his heart.
How often have I betrayed Jesus?

This verse from Psalm 69 in today's Liturgy always moves me:
"Insult has broken my heart, and I am weak,
I looked for sympathy, but there was none;
for consolers, not one could I find."

May we be with Jesus to console him by our love and ask forgiveness for the times we have betrayed him, for the times we have left him alone, for the times we have failed to console him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday in Holy Week

Sometimes we know a storm is coming; we sit and wait for it and know that it is coming, getting stronger, and there is nothing we can do to control it. I think that may have been how Jesus felt as his passion and death approached. He prayed in agony in the garden; then he accepted all with a remarkable peace, a genuine surrender to his Father's will, and a complete forgiveness of the very ones who were nailing him to the cross. In John's Gospel after the death of Jesus on the cross, "one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out."
Earlier in John's Gospel Jesus had stood up and exclaimed: "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says, 'Rivers of living water will flow from within him.'"
Now that Jesus has been lifted up on the cross and given over his life, the hour of his glorification has come. The blood is a sign of his dying and the water is a sign of his Spirit which he promised to give.
"Let anyone who thirsts come to me."
May we stay with Jesus on his way of the cross. He alone can slake our thirst!

Yesterday I received Bill Barry's latest book which I will add to the list of books on the right as I know it is one that will help others. I have enjoyed reading and been helped by all his books. This one is A Friendship Like No Other: Experiencing God's Amazing Embrace published by Loyola, 2008. It is divided into three sections: Experiencing God's Desire for Friendship, Understanding Ourselves and God, and Experiencing God. Father Barry gives exercises and meditations to help us; we profit from this Jesuit's years of experience as both a spiritual director and an excellent director of the Ignatian Exercises.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day! The Irish need to celebrate even if it is the first day of Holy Week! Here is an old Irish blessing:

"May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Passion (Palm) Sunday

Today is the last Sunday of Lent. It is called now Passion Sunday but will always be known as Palm Sunday. It begins our Holy Week experience of Jesus' life-giving passion, death and resurrection. We cannot separate this great Paschal Mystery!

Palm Sunday shows us the people who surrounded Jesus as he enters Jerusalem. They are crying out, "Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest." They are waving palm branches and acclaiming Jesus as he rides into Jerusalem. Five days later, a crowd will yell, "Crucify him. Let him be crucified."
In every Liturgy we also proclaim his coming after the Preface when we sing or say:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. We re-enact the death of Jesus and receive his body which has been given up for us and his blood which has been shed for us.
Holy Week invites us to meditate on the mystery of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. How am I planning on spending this week? The rest of the world goes on as usual; if I want this to be a "holy week" what will I do? How will I be able to stay with Jesus?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Feast of St. Joseph and St. Patrick

Some places had permission to celebrate St. Patrick's Feast today; others are combining it with St. Joseph's Feast tomorrow. We are celebrating their feasts early as their feasts fall in Holy Week this year.The Feast of the Annunciation which is usually celebrated on March 25 gets transferred to the Monday after the second Sunday of Easter so it will be March 31.
I thought a verse from St. Patrick's "Breastplate" would be appropriate for today's reflection. St. Joseph is the silent man so I cannot quote him! However, he is a most efficacious advocate for all of us so don't forget to ask him to intercede with Mary and Jesus when you need something.
The translation I am using for St. Patrick's breastplate is found in The Celtic Way of Prayer by Esther de Waal. This is a prayer of protection for a journey but I am only taking a few verses today.
This day I call to me
God's strength to direct me,
God's power to sustain me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's vision to light me,
God's ear to my hearing,
God's word to my speaking,
God's hand to uphold me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's legions to save me:
from snares of the demons,
from evil enticements,
from failings of nature,
from one man or many
that seek to destroy me,
anear or afar.

Be Christ this day my strong protector:
against poison and burning
against drowning and wounding,
through reward wide and plenty ...
Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in heart of all who know me,
Christ on tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Jesus, the Center of My Life

How often do I say that I desire Jesus to be the center of my life? For Jesus, God, his Father, was the center of his life. I think the agony in the garden is why Jesus drew strength from his Father in conversation - we only have the Words of Jesus but what a lesson for us in how to pray.
Last night we had our monthly reflection group. As we are reading and reflecting on Albert Nolan's Jesus Today: A Spirituality of Radical Freedom our lively conversation after prayer centered on Jesus and our need for some quiet in our busy lives to listen to him. We spoke more from the heart than from the book. Since I had a few favorite passages that I did not share, I will put them here as they will help me to reflect today.
Nolan says that "it was by loving people that Jesus brought healing to them. He loved everyone..." Jesus had many close friendships but his friendships were never exclusive. For Jesus, "each individual person was unique and important. That is why he could speak of leaving the ninety-nine others to search for the one who was lost(Luke 15:3-6)
Nolan says that "the healing effect of Jesus' preaching and teaching can hardly be exaggerated. In turning the world right side up he must have brought untold relief to those who felt overburdened and disadvantages by the system of the time. With parables and sayings Jesus was trying to open the eyes of his contemporaries to see the world differently, to see it as it really is--right side up--and above all, to see God as our loving and forgiving Father, our abba.
Jesus is still trying to make us see the world as it really is and to see God as our loving and forgiving Father, our abba

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Janet Erskine Stuart

The other day, I quoted from Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ. She told us that we can never trust God enough. Today, I have more quotations taken from the Academy of the Sacred Heart's Annual Report featuring quotations from the writings of Mother Stuart. Since they speak to me, I want to share them with you.

Remember that the source of happiness is within ourselves. Nothing outside can give it, even if you make your circumstances ideal. Nothing can take it away."

The most blessed thing is to be an active element of joy. Joy brings God himself near.

And finally, one of my favorite quotes that appeared on the Academy of the Sacred Heart's Christmas card: 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.

I hope this helps us to live with joy today; it is Lent, but Jesus came to bring us life and we communicate life when we communicate joy. It just seems appropriate for today to stress that joy does bring God near. A sad saint is a sorry saint!

When I speak of the Academy of the Sacred Heart I am speaking of the school founded by St.Philippine Duchesne, the first foundation in America made in 1818. This year I will be celebrating my 60th anniversary of graduation from high school from this dear and holy place. The children have been studying Mother Stuart's life and writings this year.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stabat Mater dolorosa

Sometimes I forget that Jesus was crucified between two thieves and that a crowd would assemble to watch those dying. Only John's Gospel speaks of the women at the foot of the cross of Jesus. "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala." (Jn 19:25)
In the next verse we see that the "beloved disciple" is with them. The rest of the Apostles had fled and left Jesus alone and they are too afraid to be there. The women have courage. I had forgotten that John speaks of Mary's sister. I had five aunts (my Dad was the oldest and spoiled by his five sisters). They were an important part of my life. I wonder how much influence the aunt of Jesus had on him when he was a child? I am glad she was there with Mary at the foot of the Cross.

I learned something new from the Little Black Book today. I knew that some feasts had a sequence,like Pentecost, Easter, the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ and the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. What I did not realize was that the verses sung with the Alleluia before the Gospel were extended into a lengthy poem for these feasts and this is called a sequence. The sequence for Our Lady of Sorrows, which dates back to the 13th century, is called the "Stabat Mater" and draws upon John's description of Mary at the foot of the cross. Those of us who remember making the Stations of the Cross during Lent would remember how we sang verses of the "Stabat Mater" as the priest moved from one station to the next. I still find myself singing the poetic translation of the first stanza:
"At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last."

Let us stay with Mary as she stays with her Son and follows him to his death on the cross.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Have I become so used to looking at Jesus on the Cross that I am rather numb to the meaning of it all?
Have I gotten "used to" the cross? The Little Black Book on John's Gospel suggests that these last days of Lent are a good time to get "unused to" it.
Actually, I had a deep experience yesterday afternoon with my faculty faith-sharing group. We meet for an hour every Monday afternoon in my office and usually read and pray over the Gospel for the next Sunday's Liturgy. One is a priest and we jokingly say we are helping him prepare the homily for Sunday. Yesterday I thought we would not want to read the entire Passion according to Matthew (the Palm Sunday Gospel) as it is quite long. I saw that others wished to read it anyway and so I suggested reading it dramatically by different voices speaking: narrator, Jesus, others, and the crowd. Two of us had the same Holy Week booklet from Living With Christ; we shared and with our heads close together read the entire story of the Passion! I felt that the words were leaping from the page into my heart. I think the others felt it was a special time and we all said afterward how much it meant to read it together.

Today's Gospel has Jesus saying that He is never alone because He always does what pleases His Father. I want to choose always what pleases Jesus. I trust that Jesus gives the grace for this as it has been a desire for many years - another time when the words of Scripture jumped off the page and into my heart.
May we look on the Crucifix with new eyes today and see the pierced Heart of Christ open for all of us.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Trust God; God is merciful

Mother Janet Erskine Stuart,RSCJ, said: "God has never found fault with anyone for trusting too much and expecting too much of God."

The above quote was in the Virtual Community of Prayer service for the Fifth Sunday of Lent. My community used it for our own Sunday evening prayer and I am still mulling over this quotation. Jesus trusted his Father. He knew the Father would hear him and he gives thanks to his Father before telling Lazarus to come out of the tomb. He had utter trust in the power given to him by his Father.

Today's Responsorial Psalm is Psalm 23 with the response: "Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side." The whole Psalm is a call to trust for the Lord is my shepherd.

The Gospel (John 8:1-11) has the Pharisees trying to trap Jesus. They bring a woman caught in adultery and tell Jesus that the law says to stone her. Jesus does not reply to them, but bends down and writes on the ground with his finger. He finally says: "Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." He continues to write in the dust and they went away one by one. What did Jesus write? Did each man read his own sin and slink away? Jesus is left alone with the woman and tells her that he does not condemn her but says, "Go and from now on do not sin any more."

Lord, help me today, not to judge others; help me to trust you in everything!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fifth Sunday of Lent

God has power to raise the dead; he has the power to bring life from impossible situations. It is good for us to remember this and today's Gospel shows us the power Jesus has over death and all impossible situations.
When Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed where he was for two more days. He waited and Lazarus died. Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, but Jesus waited two whole days before he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." The disciples try to discourage him, but Jesus tells them "Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him." They do not understand so Jesus tells them clearly, "Lazarus has died . . . . Let us go to him."
When Jesus arrives, Lazarus has been in the tomb for four days.
Jesus speaks to Martha and tells her, "I am the resurrection and the life: whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Martha does believe and makes a magnificent profession of faith saying that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus shows his love for his friend. The Gospel tells us, "Jesus wept."
Then he ordered the stone removed from the entrance of the tomb. Jesus thanks his Father for hearing him and then cries out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
Jesus calls us out of our tombs, too. He came that we may have life. His love sets us free! No matter how impossible the situation is, the same miracle that Jesus worked for Lazarus, the same life-giving help is waiting for me as I, too, am the "one Jesus loves."
Let us reflect today on the love of Jesus; the power of Jesus; the gift of life!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Lent Advances

Someone told me that she had been trying to get a picture of this face of Christ. Tomorrow is the Fifth Sunday of Lent and it seems to me to be going very quickly. These six weeks are to be a time of transformation with more prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I feel that I have done so little. Lord, help me to run the race to the end and finish well.

I received a new book and will add it to my list as I am sure many of my readers will enjoy it. It is A Restless Soul:Meditations from the Road and is a selection of the writings of Henri Nouwen, edited by Michael Ford. These delightful excerpts from Nouwen's travel writings reveal both his soul and his spirituality as well as his varied interests. There seems to be much to apply to our own lives as we read of his travels through Russia, Europe, North America, Central and South America.

Today's Psalm 7 has a line to reflect on as it calls on God as the searcher of our hearts and souls. What is there in my heart and soul that I would not like God to find? What might I be trying to hide? Lord, open my heart and soul and show me what is not pleasing to you; help me to get rid of all of that and immerse my heart in the love of your Heart!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Saints Perpetua and Felicity

Perpetua, a young noble woman, along with her husband, infant son, and her slave, Felicity who was pregnant, were all arrested and condemned to death for their faith. They were only catechumens but were baptized in prison. Felicity gave birth prematurely three days before the execution. Both mothers were parted from their babies, flogged, exposed to wild beasts and then beheaded. The diary of Perpetua and accounts of some of the eye-witnesses give us a vivid picture of their sufferings.

I am just back after having spent part of Spring Break with a friend whose children rent a condo for her on the ocean. It was beautiful and I enjoyed being with her and just being away from the computer for a few days. Now to catch up! I was struck by the opening prayer for today's Liturgy:
"Father, our source of life,
you know our weakness.
May we reach out with joy
to grasp your hand
and walk more readily
in your ways.
We ask this through our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever." Amen.

The first reading from the book of Wisdom is amazingly prophetic about Christ and what He would suffer.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fourth Sunday of Lent

Samuel anoints David, the youngest of Jesse's eight sons. David had been out with the sheep. The Lord chose him and said that he did not look at appearances but at the heart.
The Responsorial Psalm is "The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want."
The Gospel is the long story of the man born blind being cured by Jesus who anointed his eyes with clay and sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam. He went and washed and came back able to see.
Then begins the struggle as no one wants to believe him and the Pharisees even say Jesus is not from God as he healed on the Sabbath. Others question how a sinful man could do such signs. Finally, they call the man who had been blind and tell him that Jesus is a sinner. He answers them,"One thing I know is that I was blind and now I see." There is much more, but that is the main point - and they throw him out and then Jesus found him and asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?" And the Gospel ends with the man who now can see making a profession of faith, "I do believe, Lord."
Jesus is the Good Shepherd; Jesus is also the Light of the World and when we follow Him we walk in the light.
I leave for a short vacation and will not be near the computer until next Friday. The University is having Spring Break, but not my online Program in Spirituality Studies, but it will be nice to take a Break for part of the week.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Jesus, Uncovering His Life, Teachings, and Relevance

I just began reading a book by Marcus J. Borg, Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary. I am adding it to the list of spiritual books that are really worth reading. This book, written by the author of The Heart of Christianity; Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time; Reading the Bible Again for the First Time and The God We Never Knew may be, according to the author himself, "the last comprehensive book about Jesus that I write." He tells us that this book has a history. Twenty years ago he wrote Jesus: A New Vision and this latest book was supposed to be a revision, but it is now a new book. His own understanding of Jesus and his pedagogy--his way of teaching about Jesus--have developed over the past twenty years.
Marcus Borg tells us that his book has two cultural contexts, the first century and the twenty-first century. It moves back and forth between the first century and our time. And he asks: How does what we can discern about Jesus then matter for now?
I have only read the first two chapters and will take it with me for Spring Break.
I hope to post a reflection tomorrow on the Fourth Sunday of Lent, but then I will be away from the computer for four days. Time for some good reading and reflection! I realized that since I have been writing this Blog, I have written less in my personal journal so yesterday I began a new prayer journal and hope it will help me to be in touch with God's action in my life on a deeper level and that it will help my readers, too, as I rely on the Holy Spirit to inspire these reflections.