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Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday Solitude

I wrote this on Sunday but am posting on Monday which is also the feast of the Presentation of Mary and the day we celebrate the founding of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800.

My community have all been away since Friday afternoon, but two of them return Sunday afternoon. It is the first time in months and probably years that I have been alone in the house. I planned to do so much this week end and seem not to be doing much of anything. When I opened the door yesterday morning to go out and get the morning paper, I forgot to turn off the alarm. That scared me as I was afraid the police would come before I could call the alarm company. Fortunately, that was not the case but I made sure I turned off the alarm before bringing in the paper this morning. It made me realize that I am never the first one to get the paper as I do not leave my room usually without at least an hour of prayer and preferably it is closer to an hour and twenty or even thirty minutes. I am most contemplative in the morning; some get coffee before prayer, but I do not drink coffee and wait for a cup of tea until after prayer. My morning prayer sets the tone for the entire day and I look forward to that time with Jesus, even when I seem to spend a great deal of it in thinking rather than just sitting in silence in His Presence. I also do some spiritual reading before facing my day. That is nourishing and feeds further conversation with Jesus who is my Beloved and best friend as well as my God and Savior and Spouse. Well, when no one is here, I find myself wanting to take more time to just be. I have cards to write and will write them today so they will arrive before Thanksgiving.

For reflection today I guess I am still with Jesus as my Shepherd. When I was still a young novice, I had an incredible experience of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and understood what mercy meant and how merciful Jesus is - It was such an intense experience of God's love and mercy that I have never forgotten it. It was summer and so we were having the morning hour of prayer on the roof sitting on camp stools! I told the Novice Mistress about this experience when I wrote my journal to her and she told me that it was a moment of infused contemplation and I should thank God for it. I knew, at that time, nothing about infused contemplation, but know that this experience made me so sure of God's love and mercy that nothing could make me doubt it. Well, I did not set out to share that deep experience, but it seems to me that this Sunday's readings have made me relive that moment.

One thought about today's Gospel is that even the sheep need to ask Jesus "when did we see you hungry or thirsty, naked or ill, or in prison?" Even the good sheep fail to recognize Jesus as he comes to us in each person who is needy. I feel that it is His Mother, Mary, who often says to me as she did to her Son: "They have no wine..." or whatever is lacking. May I learn to recognize Jesus in each.

Now, let me send those cards as I know my family and friends do expect to hear from me at Thanksgiving. My mother started sending cards for all the holidays of the year and I have tried to do the same. This year, I have received an early Thanksgiving card from my brother and sister-in-law and it made me feel good so I hope my cards do the same. I mention this today in case some of you need to remember family or friends before our national holiday of giving thanks. Let us make the next few days ones or real thanksgiving to prepare for the feast on Thursday and, also, giving thanks is a great way to begin to prepare for Advent as next Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent, a special season of just four weeks.

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