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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ash Wednesday was a week ago

This is leap year and a day to rejoice even if we are in Lent!
I am working on my laptop and do not. see the picture I tried to download. I feel that Lent is flying by and I have not really kept most of my good and fervent resolutions. I guess my having broken them means they are good ones as far as being needed. It is humbling to know that I fail what I propose but I begin again each day and think that is what is important.

To continue reflecting on the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart which is, of course, my spirituality, I am going back to the WHOLE idea of our option for the poor and what that means for us today. Many, even in the United States, are working with people who live below the poverty level - we work in Harlem, in an Indian mission in California, in many institutions that care for battered women, immigrants, prisoners, etc. I think the fact that we are realizing that justice, peace, and the integrity of creation are rooted in our charism means that we will increase our efforts of working for JPIC (our shorthand for justice, peace, integrity of creation. I think we will be looking at new ways to take a stance on justice issues when we have our Provincial Assembly in July.

This week is Spring break at St. Thomas University. Our law students are all helping people file tax returns and one of my community has been learning to do the same. I remember one April 15 when I was still studying at St. Louis University and was waiting for the light to change to cross the street. A rather famous Jesuit came up to me and said, "Helen, I thank God I do not have to pay taxes!" The light changed and that was the extent of our conversation but the joy on his face when he said that to me has stayed with me and makes me grateful every year that I do not need to go through all the bills paid during the year, income received, etc. I guess one learns to be organized about filing all that is needed, but I am just grateful and pray for those who are now busy trying to prepare their taxes.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mountains are uplifting

I seem to be using pictures of mountains; perhaps that is because south Florida is so flat. We do not even have a small hill! I do love the mountains and hills of California and Arizona!

To continue reflecting on our spirituality:

Through the Eucharist we enter into
the mystery of the open side of Jesus.
In our daily life, the Eucharist celebrates
His death and resurrection,
the reality which lies at the heart of the sufferings
and hopes of the human family.
Through the Eucharist we are drawn into the gift of Jesus
to His Father for the life of the world,
and in His Body we are gathered into one.

Here we see the centrality of the Eucharist in our daily life. Every day we celebrate the Paschal Mystery - the death and resurrection of Jesus and we are "drawn into the gift of Jesus to His Father for the life of the world, and in His Body we are gathered into one."

May we be filled with the same compassion Jesus has for all the suffering in our world today. May we bring forgiveness and peace to our world and spread the Good News that Jesus loves us! We are filled with gratitude and joy when we participate in the Eucharist for, as the Constitutions say, "through the Eucharist we enter into the mystery of the open side of Jesus."

We belong in the Heart of Jesus. John's Gospel has Jesus telling us that He is the Vine and we are the branches and without Him we can do nothing! He also said "remain in my love."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Transformed by the Spirit...

To continue reflecting on the Charism of the Society of the Sacred Heart as manifested in our Constitutions, let us look at the next paragraph under End and Mission:

By our charism, we are consecrated
we answer His call
to discover and reveal His love
letting ourselves be transformed by His Spirit
so as to live united and conformed to Him,
and through our love and service
to radiate the very love of His Heart.

I think most of us agree that we glorify the Heart of Jesus by discovering and revealing His love; I guess it also means allowing ourselves to be loved by Him - at least that is one of my convictions. We are united to Jesus and I think we have a special call to descend into His Heart and remain in His love.
It is consoling for me to think that the Spirit does transform us when we let Him!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making God's love known to all

If you are reading my blog, I consider you connected to the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart of making known God's love to all with whom we come in contact. That, for me, is the Good News, the Gospel we are called to preach. God loves each of us unconditionally! Our mission is to make known the love of His Heart.

This mission is carried on through the Church,
the People of God,
until the Kingdom in all its fullness has come.
The Society of the Sacred Heart shares in this mission
by making known the revelation of God's love,
whose source and symbol is for us the Heart of Christ.

I guess I have always been drawn to God's love as manifested in the Heart of Christ. As a child at the Visitation I was struck by Jesus' words to St. Margaret Mary: "Behold this Heart which has so loved...and this Heart is still loving us and seeking to be loved in return because then we can be changed; the compassion that Jesus shows so often in the Gospels must be ours for everyone. We all have a vocation to spread the Good News that God loves us; God is love!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is wrong with our world?

I just read an article by Patricia Sanchez that can be found at

She begins by asking us to list what is wrong with our world and gives a long list which we can all make for ourselves. Then comes the question that is the most important: Who is responsible? The truth is that we can only change ourselves but in doing so we change the world. This is a consoling thought for me today.

I am thinking of going back to our Constitutions for inspiration for at least some of my reflections during Lent. We have been asked to pray over them and to see the connection with justice, peace, and the integrity of creation which is part of our charism.

God's mercy and faithfulness
shine forth in a world
wounded by sin.
He has sent His beloved Son
who became one of us, and gave up His life,
to set us free, to make us a new creation
and to gather together all things in Himself
for the glory of His Father.

Let us remember today that God's mercy and faithfulness do shine forth in our world; God has sent His beloved Son who became one of us, like us in all things except sin, so that we can relate to Jesus and realize that He is present to us today to help us to become the person He wants each of us to be. He made each of us unique and gave His life to show us how much He loves us. We want to return His love by helping Him in the gathering of all things for the glory of His Father.

We can all profit from thinking positive thoughts today and praying for our world!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Calendar Dates

Do you ever forget what you are supposed to be doing and need to look at your calendar? I suspect we all do, but I was one who usually remembered what I was supposed to be doing and when without needing to look at a calendar.. those days are gone and now I am not sure I even trust my calendar. I have a meeting scheduled up in north Hollywood (almost an hour's drive from my house) and do not want to miss it but find that I have no message reminding me about the meeting and so I need to find out if what I marked down on my calendar in January is still valid; I guess this is a result of going away for two weeks, too. The point is that I am still catching up with myself.
It is my sister's birthday today. It is interesting that I remember celebrating my own birthday parties and cannot remember parties for Betty and I am sure she had a party every year when we were growing up.
We had a Mass in the community last night which is always a grace. As you can see, my thoughts are on checking about my meeting instead of this blog so I will leave you with this thought: Jesus is with us and always accessible and that is such a gift for us to realize!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent and our image of God

The retreat I made at Morning Star Retreat House in Miami was a great way to begin Lent. The priest, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate, who is also a pastor, was excellent. He began by talking about a phrase to keep before us for Lent: "The Paschal Mystery" (he said that we like phrases like "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and he was proposing that we really think about the centrality of the Paschal Mystery during Lent. He also spoke of our image of God and took the parable of the Prodigal son from the point of view of the father and mother, too. They must have been going out every single day to look to see if their son was on his way home...that is what God is doing with us when we wander off.
Another thought was to think that God might be disappointed in us, but not offended. He said we so often have false ideas of what God thinks!
We had a rather unique was of receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation; there were about sixty of us so we were asked to write what we wanted to change and come up; the priest read the paper, gave individual absolution, and then we each burned out paper when he handed it back to us. I liked this very much.
It was a lovely day with perfect weather so we could walk around the grounds in silence between the talks. I was the only Religious making the retreat and was asked to give ashes during the Mass and realized that some of the women had been students in the spiritual direction program I began twenty-five years ago.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Today we begin an important season; it lasts only six weeks but is a time when we all want to spend with Jesus as He teaches us so much in the weeks that lead up to His death and resurrection. I hope that we are all able to enter into the spirit of Lent and let the Holy Spirit lead us into the desert during this time. The time of Lent is meant to bring us closer to Jesus and to strengthen us so we do not fall into temptation.

I am making a retreat today and will tell you about it tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calm Vero Beach

I was just e-mailing a friend in Vero Beach and so you are seeing a picture from there. I finally feel that the head cold I came home with from Arizona has departed as suddenly as it came. It certainly took all my energy so I am still trying to catch up with friends and many e-mails. I am cooking tonight so need to get out a cookbook to make something new and different with what we happen to have at home.
Tomorrow I will be making a day of retreat at the retreat house in Miami, Morning Star and I look forward to that and getting a good start on Lent. I am still praying about what the Lord wants me to do and not do during the next six weeks to grow closer to Him. I see it as a time for renewal so we are able to be more intimate and enter into His sufferings, death, and resurrection.
I suggest we all take a bit of time to be quiet and listen to God today as He may want to tell us how He sees us spending the next six weeks; silence is God's first language; everything else is translation. That gem is from Father Keating!
Have a good day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Here is a link to the site that may help us to pray during Lent for our world!

President's Day

I think it being the Monday before Lent has made a difference but I did have a lovely e-mail about the Washington monument with the words "Laus Deo" on top and no other building in Washington D.C. can be as high. It also included a prayer for our country said by George Washington so I will give the reference, if you want to look at it.

I was also sent another reference for Lent. It is a site on the poorest countries put out by the Marianists. Here is the reference: and I need to check it our myself. - when I clicked on the American flag at the bottom, I got the English version instead of the Spanish.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Mardi Gras Party

My community is giving a party this afternoon with a King's cake that two of the community are struggling to bake as I write this. I am not sure what I am to do but think I am to prepare a prayer and then we will have supper together and find out who gets the baby hidden in the cake; that person will then prepare a party for everyone else. We are just inviting RSCJs and it is good to gather for fun before Lent. I suppose the party will be either on St. Patrick's Day or will be after Easter. I am going to take time in prayer today to seriously map out a plan with Jesus for this Lent. I know that He is asking me for more discipline in my life about finding the time and energy to write, but I need to pray about how this will be in my daily life that seems to be so full without me accomplishing much. I am counting on the Holy Spirit to help me.
I think this year I need some very concrete resolutions but I do want them to be what Jesus wants for me this Lent and not just what I want.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Long Week End

This is another picture of an Arizona sunset. As we begin this long week end our newspaper writes about the influx of visitors to Miami at the "Height of the season" and I must say our weather is gorgeous. I am picking up one of our nuns at the airport this afternoon but will have, I hope, a leisurely day until then as I have a head cold that is one that was going around in Arizona and I have it. Hopefully the long week end will be helpful.

I am back to praying with just "Sacred Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart." I just stay with that line and let it keep coming back during the day and find this very fruitful. Try it and see!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Back from the West

This is a picture of an Arizona sunset. I had a fabulous time both in California and in Arizona and it was good to take two weeks off without working on the computer. I did have Power-Points for the retreat in California and so I carried my computer out and back but seldom used it. I think I am spending too much time on the computer so it was good for me to take a little vacation from it. I am still addicted to Scrabble but play it on my Kindle! I may give up Scrabble for Lent since I am really finding it an addiction!

The retreat went well in California according to the feedback received by the others at Oakwood and passed on to me. Some really enjoyed learning about different kinds of prayer and I hope some will also be looking for a spiritual companion to share their prayer life and give support. The group at my sister's parish in Scottsdale was also delightful and I spoke there for a couple of hours after Mass to them; they are men and women who give up Wednesday morning to be nourished spiritually.
I was with many wonderful people during those two weeks and feel that I was enriched by them; it is good to be home though and yesterday I was at the University for Mass and my faculty faith-sharing. Today I am back on my blog and reflecting back with gratitude on all the graces of the past two weeks. It was such a joy to see my niece (first time in three years) and to hear about her four children who are growing up in a small town in Oregon.
The youngest is now in first grade and the oldest is a junior in high school! There are three boys and one girl, Teresa, who I do follow on Face book!
Now we are only a few days before Lent so we all are wanting to reflect on what those six weeks will mean for us this year. I love this Sunday's Gospel when Jesus rewards the faith of the four friends who brought the paralytic to Jesus; first, Jesus forgives his sins and then Jesus tells him to take up his bed and go home.