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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
What I really wanted to share with you today is a new absence and therefore another two week vacation from my blog. I leave tomorrow early for St. Louis for a week in a cottage lent to me (one that the Society of the Sacred Heart uses behind our school for meetings and retreats) and which I will be sharing with some of my college classmates who were in the group of us who went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans as Freshmen way back in 1949! We are having our 60th reunion as the alumni week end at Maryville begins on Friday. Several of us are arriving on Wednesday and having a reunion with some in St. Louis on Thursday just to be together and share. A couple of us will be in the cottage until Wednesday and then I will go to one of our communities and have another week in St. Louis to work in the archives.
In the meantime, please do check the Concord Pastor's blog and click on the Bible to read the different commentaries to prepare for next Sunday's liturgy. I just read them and hope you do not miss John Kavanaugh's.
I count on your prayer for these two weeks and will be back blogging after October 10. It just does not work for me to write a blog when I am away from home. However, I will be keeping my gratitude journal and hope you will be keeping one, too. One suggestion is to just sit quietly and say over and over, "Thank you, Jesus" and let this be said from your heart. Try it!
Monday, September 24, 2012
Well, this is not getting to the poem I am going to share today; I just received it from a good friend and so I want to share it with you today - it is a haunting poem full of images to reflect on - we do have an inner ocean...
“The Silence Now” by May Sarton
These days the silence is immense.
It is there deep down, not to be escaped.
The twittering flight of goldfinches,
The three crows cawing in the distance
Only brush the surface of this silence
Full of mourning, the long drawn-out
Tug and sigh of waters never still –
The ocean out there, and the inner ocean.
Only animals comfort because they live
In the present and cannot drag us down
Into those caverns of memory full of loss.
They pay no attention to the thunder
Of distant waves. My dog’s eager eyes
Watch me as I sit by the window, thinking.
At the bottom of the silence what lies in wait?
Is it love? Is it death? Too early or too late?
What is it I can have that I still want?
My swift response is to what cannot stay.
The dying daffodils, peonies on the way.
Iris just opening, lilac turning brown
In the immense silence where I live alone.
It is the transient that touches me, old,
Those light-shot clouds as the sky clears,
A passing glory can still move to tears,
Moments of pure joy like some fairy gold
Too evanescent to be kept or told.
And the cat’s soft footfall on the stair
Keeps me alive, makes Nowhere into Here.
At the bottom of the silence it is she
Who speaks of an eternal Now to me.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
The picture invites reflection on the way Jesus is leading each of us.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Friday, September 21, 2012
Yesterday a friend gave me a copy of "Spiritual Life", an old one from the Summer of 2011, and suggested I read the article by Romeo J. Bonsaint, "Reflections on Aging Spirituality" which I did and found excellent. It closes with a prayer that I thought I would copy here for you. The title is "Letting Go" and applies, I think, to all of us.
Dear God, help me grow old with dignity and wisdom.
As the twilight years cast their shadow upon me,
help my mind remain clear-at peace with the world and with itself.
Let me learn to let go of my bonds with this world- of my need for honor and statue;
of my attraction to physical indulgences;
of my envy of others, of my regrets over all that might have been. - Rabbi Nachman
I will leave you with that for today. I need to "let go" of so much that has accumulated in my closet! I intend to tackle this today!!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Today I heard that one of the nuns I knew and loved since I had her as what is now called "Dean of Students" but was then "Surveillante General", died very early this morning. I am happy that she has gone to God, but my heart is missing this friend and is still missing the other seven Religious of the Sacred Heart who have died within the past month. I suspect that each tells God that there is another ready for heaven and please call her soon. They now leave us physically but are closer than ever to us spiritually. Still, it takes time for a human heart to grieve.
The empty boats are signs of our loss, but there is another aspect to an empty boat. I remember reading in one of Thomas Merton's books where he tells the story told by an Eastern guru of the value of an empty boat. The way I remember it is that if you are out on the water and someone comes and bumps into you, you are going to be angry that the person did not control the boat or pay attention and so hit you; if it is an empty boat, you simply push it aside and continue on your way without any anger. I think the moral of the story is that we should be empty of our ego - I guess I do not remember the tale well, but the idea of being an empty boat has stayed with me!
I was in a group today and talked about keeping the gratitude journal and found that someone else had tried writing each day three things for which she was grateful; she also said that it was suggested that one write each day one thing that was most meaningful in the day. I might try that, too, as it would certainly help to see how God is working in our lives.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
“Comfort consists in the exercise of hope. The theological virtue of hope is purified by the Gift of Knowledge and perfects it. Hope as a theological virtue does not depend on the past. In other words, hope is not based on what we have done in the past, whether good or bad. No matter who we are, even if we are the greatest sinner on earth, we can always hope, because hope is not based on past actions. It is based on the infinite goodness and mercy of God here and now - a mercy that never changes."
I love the fact that hope is not based on what we have done in the past, whether good or bad! In fact, I think hope is what really gives us confidence and joy because God uses hope to move us closer to Him.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Here is a quote from Patricia Garcia de Queveda, a former Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart:
"To believe is to love. To love the world as God has loved it. To believe in God means to open ourselves, to surrender ourselves to Mystery. It means know that we are drawn into the free gift of this Mystery. In the work of creation, God decided to make an "other" different from God's own self, so that together they might begin a love story. This God of love is capable of compassion, of self-gift, and even of loving the apparently unworthy. God's faithful love respects our freedom so much that it will not impose itself. It only offers itself. God's love is revealed to us in the very existence of the world, in material reality, in historical events and, in a special way, in Jesus of Nazareth. This is the faith which gives meaning to life."
That gives us all something to reflect on today.
Monday, September 17, 2012
They are almost finished so the end is in sight.
I wonder if God keeps waiting for us to finish and has the desire to push us? I suspect not as our God is a patient God and we are a work in progress all of our lives.
I want to tell you about two new books that I ordered today. One is "Sophie's Fire: the Story of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat" by Constance Solari and is really an historical novel about Sophie's life that will be enjoyable to read, I think. The other is another book by Illia Delio, "Ten Evenings With God" and I know that I loved her other books and look forward to reading this one.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Here is a link for daily prayer that you may want to mark for yourselves: http://www.pray-as-you-go.org/
Saturday, September 15, 2012
I am off to water exercise. More tomorrow on Jesus asking us, "Who do you say that I am?" from the Sunday Gospel.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I have often suggested to others the advantages of keeping a prayer journal and my own journal that I use most days has my daily entry after prayer; a part for some of my favorite quotes, and a part for my preparation for spiritual direction which is really a review of the month trying to be accountable and seeing both the good and the bad. I also have some favorite pictures pasted into the front and back and a few prayers that I have copied so I always have something to use in prayer if I seem uninspired by the Spirit. It helps to look back over the month to see how the Holy Spirit has been leading me, nudging me, and even shoving me into the Heart of Christ.
We had a good reflection group last night and now we will be 15 this year, but one or the other usually cannot be present; fourteen fit in our living room. We eat, pray, and talk about our experience of the book we are reading. It was really a busy day for me beginning with the Mass of the Holy Spirit at St. Thomas University, followed by my weekly lunch with a great friend, then spiritual direction, my faculty faith-sharing group, and a quick trip to the store to get home in time to prepare a friendship salad for the reflection group.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
One was a question about getting a picture of Mater. I think you can print one from Google (I think I did that) or you can get really good ones of different sizes from the Associated Alumni Office of the Sacred Heart. I am sure there must be a link to that on our Province website which is listed on the right of this blog.
I am really grateful for the comments and sorry I did not find them to publish and answer immediately. It helps to know what my readers like and I do love hearing from you. After this, I will try to remember to look under comments.
To continue with something on the theme "Contemplate anew the heart of God", our Mother General gave a conference to the group (we still call these months in Rome "Probation" and the young nuns are "Probanists"), and explained how the Society's call to contemplation is a gift which is in us by vocation. She said that it springs from "a compelling love written in our hearts by the Spirit." She quotes both from our Constitutions and from the Chapter Documents of 2008. We are, she says, "invited into a deeper intimacy with God and God's love, and are called to choose in freedom to be transformed into that Love, into being God's heart on earth."
That is a call for all of us, I think. God created each of us unique and we have something to give that no one else can give God as we are one of a kind and therefore very precious in his sight. I think I am still just full of gratitude and joy for my retreat when I just sat with Jesus who chooses to sit with each of us whenever we go to pray. Let God love you today and then tell Him that you are trying to love Him in others!!
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The truth is that we are all called to "Contemplate anew the heart of God." We do this is various ways; I try to enter into the Heart of Jesus each morning and want to see reality with the Heart of Jesus. Jesus came to teach us how much God loves us and how we are to love others. When I contemplate the Heart of God, I realize that God is present in every particle of the universe and is in me! I do not need to make the effort to find Him as He is present, more present to me than I am to myself! I need to be conscious of this, let God love me, and go out and love others as I have been loved! This is easier to say than do but we keep striving to realize the Presence of God within us that allows us to go forth and love others.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
One thing that I have been wanting to share with you is from a meditation last month in Magnificat; it is by John Janaro and here are some of the thoughts I want to pass on to you:
"Jesus knows who I am and who he wills me to be. He knows the secret of why I was created...He knows...how to draw me to himself...And so my joys and sufferings are his infinitely wise, uniquely crafted, and tender love through which he shapes my life and leads me to my destiny....
We must remember every day that God is with us and that he draws us toward our true identity,.. .
Those little prayers throughout the day are worth so much: "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I trust in you. Come, Holy Spirit."...
Monday, September 10, 2012
The other book is by Marcus Borg, The Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written.Harper, 2012. Borg presents the New Testament books in the order in which they were written and provides a commentary of each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. He helps us to see the setting in which the books were composed as well as the development of Jewish faith transformed into Christianity.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
"At times, however, our listening is not keen enough or humble enough to effect the needed transformation. In those times, we stand with the deaf man and beg Jesus to lay his hand on us. We allow him to open our ears to hear the Word as it speaks to every aspect of our lives. We listen as the truth of who we are is told; we listen to our sins, our selfishness, our greed, our apathy, our laziness. But we also listen as we are told that we are loved and cherished by a God who desires communion with us. We listen as we are told that our beloved Brother and Lord has died to secure our freedom and salvation.
[Patricia Sánchez holds a master’s degree in literature and religion of the Bible from a joint degree program at Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in New York.]
Did I mention that when I was at the Villa Maria del Mar retreat-house in Santa Cruz I watched three dolphins playing in the Pacific each day? I often see them there but only in passing; these were there for the three days I was contemplating the ocean - a nice gift of the Lord as they are fun to watch and these swam very close to the shore!
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Wednesday I brought one of my class from the gym home for lunch and we sat and talked for a long time and I told her the story of Mater and then she admired the statue of her that we have in the corner of our dining room.
Telling her the story of the original painting that is in Rome and assuring her that Sacred Heart schools and convents all over the world still have a statue or picture of Mater in a place where she can watch over the comings and goings of all or maybe in a special chapel dedicated to her, made me realize how fortunate I am to have been brought up under the watchful, prayerful gaze of Mater. She does love us, cares for each of us, and leads us to the Heart of her divine Son. Let us celebrate her birthday by the gift of our love and the promise to do "whatsoever He tells us."
Friday, September 7, 2012
The Garments of God
God sits on a chair of darkness in my soul.
He is God alone, supreme in His majesty.
I sit at His feet, a child in the dark beside Him;
my joy is aware of His glance and my sorrow is tempted
to nest on the thought that His face is turned from me.
He is clothed in the robes of mercy; voluminous garments-
not velvet or silk and affable to the touch,
but fabric strong for a frantic hand to clutch,
and I hold to it fast with the fingers of my will.
Here is my cry of faith, my deep avowal
to the Divinity that I am dust.
Here is the loud profession of my trust.
I need not go abroad
to the hills of speech or the hinterlands of music
for a crier to walk in my soul where all is still.
I have this potent prayer through good or ill;
here in the dark I clutch the garments of God.
I hope you like this as much as I do!
Thursday, September 6, 2012
The picture speaks to me of beauty, majesty, God. When I was head of the school in Renaca in Chile, I tried about once a month to bundle up and then went to the shore and climbed through some of the rocks until I found my special place to sit on a flat rock hidden from the shore but with a gorgeous view of the ocean. I stayed until the tide started in as then the spray covered the rock where I used to go to meditate. Somehow, no matter how many problems seemed to be facing me, just to sit and find the immensity of God's love in that ocean flowing into me made all right with the world and gave me great peace. Later, one of the community and I used to go every Wednesday afternoon and sit in the school van and watch the tide come in and then share our week together. It was very life-giving. I think everyone should be in a faith-sharing group, even if only with one other person. I look forward to my group today at the University.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Now, for something more spiritual as I do pray and reflect early each morning. Today was again on gratitude and joy but it was also a reflection on the life of Ines. I realize that I lived with her for almost twenty-four years and she was constantly teaching me the value of a contemplative outlook on life. She lived my favorite quote of St. Madeleine Sophie: "Be humble, be simple, give joy to others." Tonight we are going to try to put together a short biography of her. I know she was the youngest of thirteen children and her mother died when she was only three or four years old. She used to tell me how her father would carry her on his shoulders as they walked to Mass several miles from their home. I also know that two of her sisters entered other religious congregations (I met both of those sisters in June in Bogota and they are so much alike; one could be a fraternal twin but told me she was seven years older than Ines who was just 71) but Ines decided on the Society of the Sacred Heart and never looked back even when she was sent to the United States as a novice without really knowing English.
Her friendliness made her reach out to everyone and she just welcomed everyone into her heart. She loved working with the little ones. She usually was with the three year-olds but also had the four year-olds and it was a joy for me to visit her classroom. She would sit on the floor with the children around her and question them about what she had just taught until she was sure that all had learned whatever the lesson was about.
Ines had a quiet joy and her presence in our community was a gift. She liked to be creative and her flower arrangements were lovely and her way of presenting a platter of food made us all strive to be more creative and artistic in our own cooking efforts.
I guess that is all I can say now as other things await me. It is a joy to know that we have made her room into our Chapel and I feel so close to her when praying there each afternoon.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Sunday, September 2, 2012
This has been our community planning week end and so we went out to dinner last night and sat outside in a lovely spot. The fans kept it cool enough and it was just good to relax together. Tomorrow we will have the RSCJs in our area here for dinner.
What have I been reflecting on today? I suppose I must say that it is just the entire past year with all the joy and gratitude I have that is God's gift to me. I heard from someone at water exercise on Saturday morning about how hard she found last year because she had just retired from teaching and did not know what to do with herself. I love my retirement and never seem to have time to do all that I want. I also no longer have the energy to do all that I want so thank God that I can slow down, have more time for reading, for prayer, for exercise, and, above all, for relationships. I do want to be able to keep up with my friends and many are living in different parts of the world.
I also just keep thinking about how good God is to me. I hope you will be doing the same today!!
Saturday, September 1, 2012
What an amazing grace, Lord,
that I sit here with you who dwell in the heavens;
that you should choose to sit here with me, as friends do;
that I should speak to you who shape the hearts of all...
I will have more to say tomorrow...and some books to mention, too.