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Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Miracle

I am just back from four wonderful but very emotional days in Bogotá, Colombia. We found Ines in a critical but stable condition after serious surgery on June 22. There was a tumor that the doctor did not try to remove as it was swollen and inflamed and the biopsy said there was malignancy and so we thought and our visits were very moving. After the last visit on Thursday evening (as she is in the critical care part of the hospital where all are in private rooms we could only visit one at a time and only from 11:00 to 12:00 and then 5:00 to 6:00.) the doctor arrived and told the provincial that the tumor had disappeared; even the doctor thought it was a miracle. There is no cancer, no tumor, and Ines seems to be doing as well as can be expected after serious surgery. We are all so relieved. Then Marge and I left for the airport at 4:45 A.M. on Friday as Colombia insists on passengers arriving three hours before an international flight. We came home so grateful for the opportunity not only to be with Ines but we were overwhelmed by the welcome and love of all the Colombian Province.

Monday, June 25, 2012

One of my community who has been working again in her own country but was scheduled to return for a visit today is critically ill. We heard this morning that she is conscious and is better but still critical. I will go with our area director to Bogotá, Colombia, early Tuesday morning to be with her. Therefore, I will not be writing my blog this week but ask prayers for Ines, and for her numerous family and for a safe trip there and back for us. It is wonderful for us to be able to be there to assure her of how much love we bring from every one who ever knew her as she has a warm, outgoing personality and made friends with everyone.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Nativity of John the Baptist

The Feast of John the Baptist takes precedence over the Sunday Liturgy. He was a very special person and his birth was a tremendous event when you think about it. He really did come to prepare the way of the Lord. His birth must also have been not only a consolation for his parents who had been childless and given up hope of every having a child as Elizabeth was too old to conceive, but his birth also was a confirmation for Mary that all the angel had said to her was true and was being realized. When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, she was carrying Jesus and He communicated with John as Elizabeth said that the babe in her womb "leaped for joy".
John grew up to be fearless in the cause of truth and justice. He also was humble and willing to point out Jesus to his disciples. He said, "Behold, the Lamb of God" and Jesus found his first disciples following Him.
I suspect that Jesus looked forward to meeting John as the Jordan and wanted to be baptized with all the others by John. This is the moment that Jesus is confirmed in His mission by the Father and the Spirit and hears the Father say that He is his beloved Son in whom He is well pleased, and that we should all listen to Him.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Now I move on to #27 in our reflections on the spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart as depicted in our Constitutions:


Knowing our weakness
and our involvement in the sin of the world,
we participate often in the sacrament of reconciliation.
We joyfully welcome God's mercy
which renews our hearts
and moves us to restore communion.
We prepare ourselves for this sacrament
by the daily examen. (Canon 664)

First, it is important to know our weak spots; St. Ignatius says the devil studies each to attack where he finds a weak spot. I think that being aware of my weakness keeps me humble and relying on the Lord; we are also caught up in the sin of the world and so we seek God's mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I think "often" means several times a year, not weekly as used to be required for religious by canon law. Actually, I find it good to be accountable, to take time to look with Jesus at the way my life is being lived and then ask pardon for what has not been pleasing to Jesus. I do find joy and peace and my heart is renewed with the grace of the Sacrament. I am not sure how faithful I am to the daily examen, but I do take time to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and bring both the good and the bad as I find this more helpful and I am grateful for the face to face encounter now. I

Friday, June 22, 2012

Creating a climate for God...

To move along, here is #26 from the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart:


The community takes to heart the need
to create a climate
which favours experience of God,
sharing among ourselves and with others.
Each day our life together is strengthened
by community prayer.
We share the Word of God,
say the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church
unless we have been dispensed
from this by competent authority,
and adopt forms of prayer which help us
to grow in faith, hope and love.
The Feast of the Sacred Heart is for us
a time to renew and deepen our common spirituality.
On that day, in a spirit of thanksgiving,
we renew our vows in union with the whole Society.

We all need to create a climate which favors the experience of God. I suspect silence is a great factor in creating this climate; Father Thomas Keating says that silence is God's first language. We need a certain atmosphere that is peaceful and free from tension. I find that many today live with the TV or radio or their cell phones on all the time and do not know what a value silence can be for their interior life. Sharing among ourselves and others is certainly a help to deepen our experience of God, but this does not happen easily without a structured time for sharing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Each one discerns about her prayer life...

I am just continuing to reflect on #25 in the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart because there is so much that can be applied to anyone's spirituality... Here is the thought to reflect on today:

Each religious finds her own rhythm of prayer
and will decide how best she is to be faithful
to what Christ asks of her and of the Society.
She will discern the method and style of her prayer-life
with a person of her own choice,

I am convinced that each of us prays according to our own unique personality. We discern what God is asking of us as far as the amount and kind of prayer; I have always done this with my spiritual director. Usually, a director will just affirm one's method and style of prayer. I sometimes might give some suggestions to my directees, but usually I tell them that the best way to pray is the way they pray best. Prayer is the expression of a relationship that is unique because each of us is unique so it is better just to encourage and let the Spirit lead...
Thomas Merton said, "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun."  I think that is an excellent description of prayer. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Each has a unique call

Continuation of our reflections on the Spirituality of the Society of the Sacred Heart with #25 from the Constitutions:

Within this common vocation,
each one receives her own unique call.
We respond to it personally
in and through our diverse cultures.
The demands of mission and our spiritual background
necessarily influence rhythms and forms of prayer.
Desiring to keep God at the centre of our lives
we are drawn to give one hour each day to prayer,
without this time being considered in any sense a limit.
Each religious finds her own rhythm of prayer
and will decide how best she is to be faithful
to what Christ asks of her and of the Society.
She will discern the method and style of her prayer-life
with a person of her own choice,
with the agreement of the provincial or someone
delegated by her.
The Society offers its members the means necessary
for their life of prayer, according to their needs:

among others    
-          spiritual direction
-          reflection with a religious of the Congregation
-          help from the community
-          the assurance of the necessary time and
space for prayer.

We are invited to say the rosary
and to adopt the forms of Marian devotion
proper to the country in which we live.

My reflection on this will be tomorrow's blog, but one of the things I am most grateful for is that we always will have the means necessary for a life of prayer...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Here we go again with reflections on the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart - we are on #24:


The Society's call to contemplation,
a compelling love written in our hearts by the Spirit,
makes us seek and cherish
prolonged times of prayer.
Our relationship with Christ is nourished
by the study of Scripture, by reading,
reflection and daily examen,
all of which are necessary for the deepening
of our inner life;
this relationship is further strengthened
by periodic renewal and an annual retreat.

We are called to contemplation; it is a "compelling love written in our hearts by the Spirit" - what a beautiful way to express this aspect of our vocation; we are to be contemplatives because the Holy Spirit has intervened with His gift of "a compelling love" that makes us "seek and cherish prolonged times of prayer".

When I think of prolonged times of prayer, I am so grateful for the hour each morning that is sacred time for and with Jesus; each day begins thus and then there is time for quiet adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in the late afternoon. But I also think of my annual eight-day retreat and the great grace of having made five thirty-day retreats as well as the grace of having directed thirty-day retreats. All of these times of prayer strengthen my relationship with God. We also have other prayer throughout the day: the Eucharist, spiritual reading, daily examen, reflection and study of Scripture - all ways of nourishing our relationship with Christ.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dreams are often important

I woke up this morning aware of a wonderful dream and probably should have jumped out of bed and grabbed paper and pen to record it. Instead, I stayed savoring the happiness I was feeling and when I went to record the dream in my journal, I mostly remembered only my feelings. I seldom remember a dream, but when I wake up and do remember one, it is usually significant for me.
My dream this morning had both Mary, the Mother of Jesus and my mother, too, and St. Philippine Duchesne coming to be with me; I think we were at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles where I went to school and where I will be renewing the vows I made sixty years ago during a Mass at our Provincial Assembly next month. I think the fact that several of us are going to be renewing vows made 60 and 50 years ago is what may have triggered this dream. I just remember Mary and Philippine with me and felt their love and support and I was filled with joy to see them. They had come to be with me. I cannot remember the conversation but I just felt so good and that feeling has continued all day. I thought it worth sharing with my readers.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

We sow the seeds and God gives life

Seed scattered on the land grows and bears fruit; a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, becomes the largest of plants and is able to welcome all the birds of the air. Our part is to sow the seeds; God gives the growth!
It is also Father's Day so I am praying for all the fathers and grandfathers!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Correction about Sunday - it is Father's Day though so Happy Fahter's Day!

I cannot edit my blog, but tomorrow is the Sower who went out to seed; John the Baptist is the next Sunday and I knew that but cannot get into the published blog with this new format to know how to edit it. It is very frustrating for me. I used to be able to call up the entire list of posts and do not know why I cannot do it today.

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I am getting ready to go to evening Mass but this is the first opportunity to be on the computer to write my blog. We had such a lovely day yesterday. The Mass with all the faculty and staff of our school was simple but moving as all the Religious of the Sacred Heart renewed our vows together in front of the altar and then all the faculty renewed their promise as educators to keep and promote the goals of the Network Schools. After the Mass, we had the faculty awards and one of my community received one for being fifty years working in our schools!
Then we all went to a festive luncheon and then home to swim (at least I found myself in the pool as it was 100 degrees yesterday afternoon. After my second swim, a storm blew up and it was really fierce. In some parts near us there were hail stones the size of golf balls! We were all invited to meet for dinner at an Italian place in the Grove, but they lost power so they were closed and we went to a place called California Pizza; it was a good choice and we could get three tables put together and it was just so nice to have the evening together.
Now, I am going back to reflections on our spirituality but will wait until Monday as today's feast makes me just want to stay with Mary and tomorrow is Sunday but the day to celebrate the birthday of John the Baptist. The picture is one that evokes a desire for God and Mary had that and so do we!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Feast of the Sacred Heart

I think any picture with water is good for this Feast but I prefer the still, calm water that leads me to the Heart of Jesus. We will be renewing our vows out of devotion today at a Liturgy with the faculty and staff of our school here in Miami. The children began their summer vacation and this is the last day for the faculty so they will also be receiving awards and celebrating all of us together with lunch after the Mass.

To continue with our reflections on the Society of the Sacred Heart's Constitutions:


Prayer, the contemplative outlook on the world,
union with Christ in daily living
make us grow in the interior life,
so that in all circumstances we seek
to glorify the Heart of Jesus.

This  is a summary statement and perhaps needs no comment. However, I do think that the union with Christ in daily living is not automatic, but something for us to work at each day. I entered 62 years ago today and still remember that I thought just entering the Society of the Sacred Heart would make me a contemplative at least in the aspect of union with Christ. I knew so little, but Jesus called and I answered and am so grateful for my vocation!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eve of the Feast of the Sacred Heart

I realized this morning that no one had signed up to cook tonight so I made a huge pot of chicken vegetable soup and it is simmering away on the stove now as I sit here contemplating this flower blooming beside a lake. I am also remembering all the eves of this Feast as we used to fast the day before the Feast.
Last night's wake and funeral service for Ellen's Dad was very moving. I get teary when I just go to funeral homes; it brings back memories of losing my own parents and I feel for the children.

To continue with a bit of reflection on the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart as we were doing, we are on the section on community and so much applies to all of us. I was reflecting on #22 and will copy it again here:


This contemplative attitude permeates our whole being,
helping us to live ever more united to Christ
in our relationships, our tasks and our ministry;
it becomes a powerful force
of conversion and transformation for mission.
In welcoming God's word
Mary gave Christ to the world.
In receiving the life of Jesus
we give ourselves with Him so that all may have life.

 Mary listened and responded to God's word as it came to her; how do I listen to God's word? Do I recognize it when it comes to me through a messenger sent by God? God speaks to us in so many different ways: persons, events, circumstances, and all of creation. "If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." That is a prayer for all of us.
The last lines about giving ourselves with Jesus so that others may have life comes after the statement that we receive the life of Jesus. With Him we can do all things!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This picture is calming...

I seem to be ready to take another little vacation from this blog; I actually have prepared several days of reflections but they remain in my Journal. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to think more about my blog. Several other things are going on in my life right now and I just need to attend to them. I will be going with my community this afternoon to the wake and funeral service of the father of one of my community.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday before the Feast of the Sacred Heart

I only have time today to post this picture and hope it will trigger a reflection on the living water that flows from the Heart of Christ to give us His love. We all thirst so let us come to Him this week and give Him all our cares and confide all our intentions to His Heart.
One of my community arrived from Rome Saturday night in time to be with her father who died early this morning

Saturday, June 9, 2012

We learn to contemplate reality...

Contemplative scene
We are still on #21 of the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart - last reflection on this part:

The Spirit dwelling within us
gradually transforms us, enabling us
through His power to remove whatever
hinders His action.
The Spirit unites and conforms us to Jesus
and makes us sensitive to His presence
within ourselves, in others and in all that happens.
Thus we learn to contemplate reality
and to experience it with His Heart,
to commit ourselves to the service of the Kingdom
and to grow in love:
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).

We learn to contemplate reality only when we are sensitive to the presence of the Spirit..and to experience it with His Heart -  I think that means to be compassionate, patient, forgiving, humble, etc. as Jesus was and is! He wants me to be His arms to reach out to others, His hands to help those in need, His feet to go where He cannot go physically, and, above all, I am to give His Love to others and love as He loves!! It is impossible without His grace but we are called to this and so He is with us. We are part of the evolution of the world, our mission in the expanding universe is one of furthering the Body of Christ. Everything we do is important. I have a role in helping and keeping the world evolving in the way God wants.
Ilia Delio says that the emergence of Christ depends on our capacity to love, to become whole-makers.

The love of God is poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Let us ask the Spirit to "Have this mind...which was in Christ Jesus."!!

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Spirit unites us to Jesus

We are still looking at # 21 on Prayer from the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart - I will again copy it here and then comment:


The Spirit dwelling within us
gradually transforms us, enabling us
through His power to remove whatever
hinders His action.
The Spirit unites and conforms us to Jesus
and makes us sensitive to His presence
within ourselves, in others and in all that happens.
Thus we learn to contemplate reality
and to experience it with His Heart,
to commit ourselves to the service of the Kingdom
and to grow in love:
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).

We are called to live united and conformed to the Heart of Christ. It is the Spirit who makes this possible. How grateful, attentive, and appreciative must I then be for the gift of the Spirit and His presence in my life! Have I a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit who lives in me?
It is the Spirit who makes us sensitive to the  presence of Jesus; I actually can learn to be conscious of the Presence of Jesus in me, in others and in all that happens but this is a gift of the spirit.
My sister always tells me that  there are no coincidences with God! We need to believe in the action of the Holy Spirit  and look for His presence in all.  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Holy Spirit dwells within us

We are now on #21 in the section on Prayer and I will be using this over the next three days and there is much to reflect upon:


The Spirit dwelling within us
gradually transforms us, enabling us
through His power to remove whatever
hinders His action.
The Spirit unites and conforms us to Jesus
and makes us sensitive to His presence
within ourselves, in others and in all that happens.
Thus we learn to contemplate reality
and to experience it with His Heart,
to commit ourselves to the service of the Kingdom
and to grow in love:
"Have this mind among yourselves
which was in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 2:5).

What a gift to have the Spirit dwelling within us!!
How aware am I of His Presence?
How docile to His inspirations?
The Spirit is trying to transform me, to change me so that I can be more like Christ; with His help, I can remove whatever hinders His action. It is His presence that enables us...let us thank again for the gift of the Spirit!