Daily reflections for prayer, growth in the spiritual life, and good prayer sources. This blog also has links to other websites. One feature is a list of spiritual books.
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Saturday, July 31, 2010
Feast of St. Ignatius
Today is one of my favorite saints feast day. I owe much to Ignatius and especially we should all thank him for the Spiritual Exercises. I am praying to him today for my retreat which will be from August 12 to 19 this year after a week's visit with my family in San Diego. As many are using the computer and as I am leaving on Wednesday morning, I may not be writing everyday but will be back daily beginning August 21. I may be on tomorrow and just want to thank all my faithful readers for staying with me.
Posted by Helen at 1:45 PM No comments:
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Feast of St. Martha
Today is the feast of St. Martha and I am thinking of her as being a real help to all of us who are struggling with domestic chores. She was the one who served Jesus and gave him hospitality.
I have just received the "Bible in one page" and pass it on as it may be helpful:
My other sharing today is from Mother Margaret Williams, RSCJ. Among her books is The Society of the Sacred Heart: History of a Spirit 1800-1975. I am rereading this as the new history of the Society which has been in the process of being written is still not ready. I think it was begun about 15 years ago by a Sister of another Religious Order who just does not seem to find the time to get it finished! In the meantime, I am reading Mother Williams and enjoying it. Here is a quote I liked this morning from our fourth Mother General, Mother Augusta de Satorius:
"Let us begin by praying. Prayer gives strength and perseverance; it is the mystic bridge thrown over the depths that separate us from God...He is waiting for us, he draws us on, he is ready to give. So drop everything else and be filled with one thought: I am before God. Then be led by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we simply talk to Jesus, sometimes we stay peacefully at his feet, looking at him."
Posted by Helen at 8:41 AM No comments:
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
An Empty Boat
I had this picture filed under "empty boats" and it made me think of an empty boat at sea and this is the thought that I culled from a spiritual writer a long time ago: If an empty boat bumps into your boat, you think nothing of it and just push it away. However, if the boat has someone in it and hits your boat you get angry. I think the idea was that we should all be like empty boats, not full of ourselves, and we would get along with others in spite of the daily bumps.
I suspect that I am thinking of this as someone hit the right fender of my car this morning. I saw the person coming and came to a complete stop and she ran right into me. I jumped out to see what damage was caused, but it only scraped the paint and my car is eleven years old and the paint is peeling from the sun so it is no big deal. The woman, probably in her eighties, told me that she was so sorry but it was a day that she was in a hurry and she did not offer to do anything about the scraped paint. I was so surprised to have her bump me like that and so just got back into the car and drove home. I do not know her name but she was at water exercise- I guess I will pretend it was an empty boat that bumped me and just forget it.
Posted by Helen at 10:28 AM No comments:
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
"Seeing With Our Souls"
Although I have listed at different times in my list for good Spiritual Books on the right side of this blog four of Joan Chittister's books, I am going to add another whose title I love: Seeing with our Souls: Monastic Wisdom for Every Day
This is a book published by Sheed and Ward in 2002. It was suggested for the International Online Certificate Program when the students were doing Benedictine Spirituality and they loved it. I must confess that I let it sit on my shelf but now have been using some of the thoughts and think others would find them helpful. The thoughts are short and grouped under various headings such as "An Understanding Heart", "Humility", "Soul", "Imagination", "Purity of Heart", etc. Joan told me once that when she is writing she puts only one thought on an index card.
Here are a few gems I just opened to under "Gentlenss of Spirit":
"Gentleness of Spirit is what preserves calm in the midst of chaos."
"Assertiveness is a very good thing. It defines persons for themselves. But learning to assert ourselves gently, now there is a task for adults only."
"The key to gentleness of spirit is perspective. We must learn to keep small things small before, in their smallness, they consume us."
"Gentleness is not innate. It must be learned. It must be developed. It is a virtue to strive for, an attitude to be gained. It is a loving openness toward life."
Posted by Helen at 7:11 AM No comments:
Monday, July 26, 2010
Feast of St. Joachim and Anne
Today we celebrate the parents of Mary, and the grandparents of Jesus. One wonders how excited they were to have a grandson and what stories they told him. I am sure that Jesus was a loving grandson and gave them much joy after they accepted the fact that Mary was to have a baby before she was living with Joseph. Anyway, we really no almost nothing about these two saints. Devotion to St. Anne existed in the 6th century and Joachim from earliest days, but in the West only since the 16th century. Both names were in the Roman liturgical calendar by 1584. I guess they would be good patron saints for grandparents.
Today"s liturgy has the parable of the mustard seed. "It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches."
I have always loved this parable. I guess because of the transformation of the seed into a large bush that could welcome all the birds who came to it. We are like these small seeds and God helps us grow into that large bush and we spread our branches to welcome others. It makes you think how unjust we are with our deporting parents now who have children born here. Our immigration laws need to be reformed and we need to do it now before we commit more injustice.
Posted by Helen at 10:04 AM No comments:
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The Open Door
When we pray, the door is always open. We are invited to enter and just be at home with the Lord. Sometimes this seems too good to be true. We want to believe it; we say we do, but we often wait at the threshold, timid and even fearful. We only need to look up and see that the door is open for us and the one who loves us is inside. He hears our prayer and opens the door even before we knock. The door will lead us into His Heart. Have confidence and courage and go forward. I think I often hesitate, feel unworthy, and yet I know from experience that I need just to go through the door of prayer and I can enter His Heart.
Posted by Helen at 8:25 AM 3 comments:
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Ask and you will receive...
The Gospel for this Sunday is one that makes us reflect on what we ask for:
"Jesus said to the disciples, "So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
Do we really believe what Jesus tells us? Sometimes we pray so hard for something and we do not seem to have God's ear or their seems to be no response. Yet Jesus is telling us to ask, to search, to knock, and that we will receive what we ask for, we will find what we are searching for, and we will have the door opened. I think we need to know that God loves us so much that He is always wanting to help us but we sometimes do not know what we really are asking for and need to keep on looking and knocking until our deepest desires are fulfilled.
Receiving the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift. Let us remember to thank for this gift and trust God to answer our requests for lesser gifts.
Posted by Helen at 7:17 AM 2 comments:
Friday, July 23, 2010
Today we are having a tropical storm and the paper advised staying home, if possible. It is rainy and the winds are supposed to increase and some areas will be flooded. I love a rainy day when I can stay home. I have prepared dinner for my community and washed sheets and now feel able to sit and enjoy being home. It is quite dark out and so I am sure the spiritual direction appointment will be postponed and I will have the afternoon to read. I have been looking at the little I can find on Mother Lucille Mathevon who arrived in America in 1822, just four years after Philippine Duchesne. Lucille was born in 1813 and was a pupil at Sainte Marie and entered. I think Josephine Bigeu had taken charge of the noviceship but St. Madeleine Sophie had been directing the novices for some months and Lucille may have had her. I need to do a great deal of research as I want to write her life. She was the first superior at St. Charles when it reopened in 1828 and she also was Philippine Duchesne's superior when the foundation was made in Sugar Creek to be with the Indians. Philippine had to return in 1872 but Lucille stayed and went with the Indians when they had to move west again to St. Marys. She built a two-story convent known as the skyscraper of the praries. She died and is buried out there.
Posted by Helen at 6:52 AM No comments:
Thursday, July 22, 2010
"Events are the sacraments of the will of God"
Janet Stuart said that "events are the sacraments of the will of God." This has stayed with me. Events happen daily. That means, according to the traditional definition of a sacrament, that they are "outward signs instituted by Christ to give us grace". Every event then is really the will of God and it is to give grace. Grace is an increase of God's own life in us. God always wants to give Himself to us. I think this makes the events of daily life important, even the small, habitual ones. All are holy. We just need to allow God to love us, to give us grace. Now that is a reason for joy!
Posted by Helen at 6:58 AM No comments:
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I love to feel the ocean spray when the wind blows the water in the waves as it often does. Today at water exercise there was a breeze and the spray felt so good even if some were having to clutch their hats. I think we will probably have a storm before the day is over but the rain is what keeps Miami so green. All this has nothing to do with my reflection today on the need we have to be open to the Holy Spirit. We do not know what is pleasing to God in so many little things, but the Spirit nudges us in the right direction, if we are attentive. I am more and more convinced that the Spirit wants to give us whatever gifts and graces we need for the present moment if we just turn to listen to the presence of the Spirit in us.
Then we will feel the spray blown by the Spirit.
Posted by Helen at 8:04 AM No comments:
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Feeling love for all the world...
I have been going back to a book I liked and thought I would share some quotes I took from David Richo’s The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to Our Spiritual Life
1. “The capacity for love is God in us since God is love.”
2. “Once we are awakened to love as the lifelong purpose of our hearts, then feeling love for all the world becomes the meaning—and the greatest joy—of living.” p.22
3. “Heart spirituality, the essence of devotion, is about giving and receiving love. There is vulnerability inherent in all loving, which may be why so many of us find it hard to let love in. Yet being truly loved is what makes our stay here on earth worthwhile. Feeling loved equips us to maintain serenity as we face what life brings, whether it be good or evil, secure or dangerous, pleasing or disturbing.
4. “Historian of religion Huston Smith writes: ‘Belief is knowledge held with certainty but not with evidence.’ Faith does not mean that we always know with certainty but that we act as if we were certain. Love is that certainty, the Sacred Heart of the world.” p. 61
Posted by Helen at 1:34 AM No comments:
Monday, July 19, 2010
Summer brings gratitude for water
I am again going to water exercise each day. The hour in the water is different from swimming, but both are quite contemplative and have me reflecting on the gift of water. I feel such gratitude that I have always had access to water, running water, pools, lakes, and even drinking fountains. So many do not have water. When we have a hurricane here in Miami we do lose water for a time and when we get it back it may not be safe to drink for a time, but this is an exception. I remember a long stretch after an earthquake in Chile when there was no water. However, we uncovered a well at the back of our property and the men brought buckets up to the convent to be boiled so we could drink it. We cannot live long without water and yet how often I have taken it for granted and wasted it! Now I am thinking of all those in our world still today who do not have easy access to vital water.
Posted by Helen at 8:35 AM No comments:
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Mary has chosen the better part . . .
This Sunday's Gospel shows us both Mary and Martha, friends of Jesus. He likes to visit their home and Martha is busy seeing about serving Jesus a good meal. Her sister Mary is wanting just to be with Jesus and to listen to him. Jesus, when Martha wants him to tell Mary to leave him and help her, says that Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her. Some find this a difficult Gospel but it seems clear to me that Jesus wants Mary to listen to him and then she will freely and on her own initiative do whatever is necessary. Sometimes we are so busy doing that we forget that we are called to just be with Jesus and then we will know what is to be done.
Posted by Helen at 4:27 AM No comments:
Saturday, July 17, 2010
This was just sent to me and I think it is worth sharing here and hope we all try to pray together as suggested after reading this.
The Sacred Touchstone for today is contributed by Ellen Olivier of Open
Heart Community in Lafayette, Louisiana. This is a beautiful
reflection on how we can all help heal the Gulf Oil Crisis in the USA.
Dr. Masaru Emoto is well known for his work in helping us understand
the true healing gift of water. He is most well known for his book
Hidden Message of Water. Thank you Ellen for providing us an
opportunity to help in some way.
Dr. Masaru Emoto is a scientist from Japan who has done all the
research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among
other things, his research revealed that water physically responds to
emotions. His work has revealed that when water crystals are exposed
to violence they look very chaotic under a microscope. Exposed to
beauty and peace they look like beautiful crystals. And since our own
bodies are composed of mostly water - violence and hatred and beauty
have the same effect on us.
Many people have the predominantly angry emotion when we
consider what is happening in the Gulf. And while justified in that
emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life
forms if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr.
Emoto, himself, has proposed.
We are passing this request to people who may be willing to
participate in this prayer, to set an intention of love and healing
that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the
Gulf of Mexico. We are not powerless. We are powerful. Our united
energy, speaking this prayer daily...multiple times daily...can
literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening. We don't
have to know how...we just have to recognize that the power of love is
greater than any other power active in the Universe today.
"I send the energy of love and gratitude to the waters and all living
creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings. To the whales,
dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, planktons,corals, algae ... to ALL
living creatures ... I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I
Please join in often by repeating this Healing Prayer by Dr.
Emoto. Feel free to send it around the planet. Let's take charge and
do our own clean up!
Posted by Helen at 2:47 AM No comments:
Friday, July 16, 2010
Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Today is the patron feast of not only the Carmelites but also Chile's and so very special to me because of my twenty years in Chile and praying to her. Yesterday I was speaking with someone about the many appearances of Our Lady. She comes to our world because we have such need and her message is always to bring us closer to her Son. I think she appeared to Simon Stock in the thirteenth century to give him the brown scapular but she also was watching over all of those western hermits gathered on Mount Carmel.
Posted by Helen at 8:35 AM No comments:
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wonderful Spirituality Forum at Stone Ridge
It is good to be back and I will try to share a bit of what the four day Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum for a Globalized World has meant to me. It was held at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland and about 270 participated; the make up was about a third Associates, a third Administrators and Educators from our 21 Sacred Heart Network Schools, and a third RSCJs. I was glad to see many participating from other countries, too.
The picture above is to the entrance of Hamilton House, the original house that was there when we bought the Hamilton estate and moved to the 35 acres in 1947, I think. The building has been added on to and built all down the hill so Hamilton house was really the fifth floor where we had some breakout groups but the morning talks were always in Good Hall on the first floor; meals were on the fourth floor and the elevator broke down on the first morning! Outside of a hospital, I do not think I have ever been in such a large and, to me at least, complicated building with numerous staircases and corridors. However, the hospitality was great, the food wonderful, and the participants were outstanding, interesting, and full of love and joy. Washington D.C. was having a hear wave of 100 degree weather so we all felt it on arriving and the first day. Then we had rain and the weather changed; unfortunately we also had several hours without electricity which we coped with very well even without microphones.
I came away from these days so grateful for my own vocation and for all the opportunities I have had to deepen Sacred Heart spirituality. I also was in awe of the tremendous educators that were there and their dedication to the goals of the Sacred Heart schools. Then, I was also impressed with the committed Associates who are on fire with the love of Christ and so happy to be able to be connected to us. I also admired the many RSCJs of all ages who were participating and giving excellent talks on St. Philippine Duchesne, Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, the work of the United Nations, and the Society of the Sacred Heart throughout the world. we also had a wonderful morning with Paul Farmer and learned more about the needs and rights of Haitians and all human beings. You will no doubt hear more of that and some of the talks will be posted on the RSCJ website so visit it as I have posted it on the side of the blog. I am still trying to process the overall effect of the Forum on me. I know I came back very convinced that what I want to do in the future with regard to writing lives of RSCJs is valid and valuable for our spirituality. More on that later.
Posted by Helen at 3:39 AM No comments:
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Holiday Time - 4th of July and beyond
Happy 4th of July! I am planning to take a vacation from this blog for many reasons. One is that I will be out of town next week attending the spirituality forum in Washington D.C. and I will tell you all about it beginning again July 15th. It is also giving my readers a vacation and I look forward to sharing reflections again on July 15. In the meantime I am going to water exercise several mornings a week and always feel very contemplative while I am doing this and come home so relaxed that I wish everyone could have this opportunity. Paul Farmer is one of the speakers at the Forum so I know I did promise more about him but it will be better to wait until I have met him in person! The Spirituality Forum will have RSCJs and Associates, and many of the teachers from our network schools this year and seems to be very full and interesting speakers every morning and afternoon workshops. More about it when I return!
Posted by Helen at 10:15 AM No comments:
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Fourth of July long week end
We begin the 4th of July long week end tomorrow and I am not sure I will be using a computer for a few days. I think we are all worried about the bad weather in the gulf and the plight of so many birds, fish, and our beloved dolphins who are unable to avoid the oil. Of course, the oil spill is not only hurting the animals and the environment, but is depriving so many of economic resources and these are hard times. We must keep praying and pondering what this means for our world as more places ask for drilling rights in the ocean.
I would love to end on a very cheerful note. I think there are so many good blogs now that I am happy to have you searching some that I have posted on the side or using online prayer resources.
Much love and prayer,
Posted by Helen at 1:55 PM No comments:
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