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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Jesus has been raised from the dead, Alleluia, Alleluia. I am sure he went first to greet his mother.
Our faith is based on the fact that Jesus is still active and with us to help us to be all that God wants. It is wonderful to read the stories of the early Church as they tried to express what the presence of Jesus after his death meant to them. The women find the stone rolled back and the tomb empty; they are sent by an angel to tell the disciples; Peter and John rush to the tomb and find it empty as the women had said. Then we have the two disciples who are so discouraged that they have left Jerusalem and are talking when Jesus joins them on the road and asks them why they are so downcast. I love the fact that Jesus takes the initiative to draw them out and then explains the scriptures to them so that they understand and their hearts are burning within them. They invite Jesus to share their simple Sunday supper and so he goes in with them and they recognize him in the breaking of the bread. Then Jesus appears to all the disciples gathered in the upper room. He wants to bring them his peace and give them the power to forgive others. Jesus will come to each of us today so let us receive Him in joy!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Holy Saturday

This is a day of quiet prayer waiting for the Easter vigil tonight. It is a day to spend with Mary who also waited, full of hope. I was preparing the prayer for my community for today by looking at the Office of the day suggested in two different daily Mass books. One is what I would consider rather traditional and uses prayers and readings we associate with the death of Christ and the expectations of the early Christians that He will be raised from the dead. The other Office needs more reflection to really understand why these selections from Scripture fit Holy Saturday. I chose these and copy them here for you to also reflect on today:

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

God is for us a refuge and strength,
An ever present help in time of distress;
So we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
Though the mountains quake to the heart of the sea;
Even though its waters rage and foam,
Even though the mountains be shaken by its tumult.

Come and behold the works of the Lord,
The awesome deeds he has done on the earth;
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
The bow he breaks, the spear he snaps, the shields he burns with fire;
Be still and know that I am God,
Exalted over nations, exalted over earth! (Psalm 46:2-4,9-12

The Lord of hosts is with us:
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Glory be to the Father,….
First Reading: (Habakkuk 3:17-18)
For though the fig tree does not blossom and no fruit appears on the vine,
Though the yield of the olive fails and the terraces produce no nourishment,
Though the flocks disappear from the fold and there is no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God,
God, my Lord, is my strength, he makes my feet swift as those of deer,
And enables me to tread upon the heights.
Silent Reflection
Second Reading: (Romans 8: 18-21)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious kingdom of the children of God.
Silent Reflection
God, in stillness and emptiness we remember you as we pray:  Blessed be God
Open our hearts to ponder the mystery of your self-giving love. 
Remain with those who suffer in mind, body, and spirit.
Be with this little Society consecrated to the Heart of Jesus.
May we keep watch during this Easter vigil awaiting the resurrection of Christ and celebrating the One who by dying destroyed our death and by rising restored our life. Amen

Good Friday

This is a hard day as we are aware of Jesus' agony. There is nothing to do but wait and try to be with Jesus. He has been nailed to the cross from nine in the morning to noon so his death is approaching.  Pagola writes that these are the hardest moments as "his body is being deformed by its own weight, the anguish of his progressive asphyxiation is growing. Little by little he is losing blood and strength. His eyes can barely see. Nothing reaches him from outside himself except for an occasional taunt, and the cries of despair and anger from the men who are dying beside him. Soon the convulsions will begin, then the final gasp for air. It is finished with a last cry from the cross. Jesus has given his life for us, to show us how much he loves us.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday

I was going to copy a bit from the book on Jesus by Pagola, but just received this poem that was in the Tablet; it seems so powerful for Holy Week with our new Pope Francis that I am copying it here:

Spanish missionary bishop writes an instructive poem for Pope Francis
Pedro Casaldáliga, a Catalan bishop who has spent his life in Brazil, wrote a poem for the new pope before Francis was elected. Casaldáliga is the retired bishop of São Félix do Araguaia in the Amazon. He is the author of A Spirituality of Liberation. Translation by Francis McDonagh.
Leave the Curia, Peter.
Demolish the Sanhedrin and the fortified walls,
Order all the impeccable parchments to be altered
By the words of life, fear.
Let us go to the garden where they plant bananas,
Cloaked and in darkness, whatever the risk,
where the Master sweats the sweat of the poor.
His tunic or cloak is this humble flesh disfigured,
all those children's cries that go unanswered,
and embroidered with the memory of the anonymous dead.
A legion of mercenaries besiege the frontier where the dawn begins,
and Caesar blesses them in his arrogance.
In his tidy sink Pilate washes, legalistic and cowardly.
The people are just a ‘scrap',
a scrap of hope.
Don't leave Him alone among the guards and princes
It's time to sweat with His agony,
It's time to drink the chalice of the poor
And raise the Cross, stripped of certainties,
and break the bonds - law and seal - of the Roman tomb
and bring on the dawn,
Tell them, tell us all,
that they are still there, strong, unshakable,
the cave of Bethlehem,
the Beatitudes,
and the judgment of love in food.
Stop worrying!
Just as you love Him,
Love us,
Equal to equal, brother.
Give us, with your smiles, your fresh tears,
The fish of joy,
The bread of the word,
The roses of the glowing embers...
...the clarity of the free horizon,
The sea of Galilee, open

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spy Wednesday

Today the Church remembers how Judas planned to betray Jesus. I am trying to enter into the silence of Holy Week. It is such a grace-filled time. My community gather each night for special prayer before going to the night services - tonight it is just prayer so I will go to the noon Mass.

In Daytona I was with someone who is devoted to Jesus, but who does not believe in His Presence in the Eucharist. I have been reflecting on this and feel she is missing so much by not believing. As she is one I once prepared for her First Communion, I feel that I need to pray for her to realize what she is missing now. I know that she is full of faith and close to Jesus so I will ask Him to take care of her. She left the Catholic Church to find a smaller community where she found love and acceptance and she is one of the most religious persons I know.

I just read that the first biography of the new Pope is out and available now for my Kindle. I shall look into this. In the meantime, I am rather glad that the Pope has decided to stay in the Vatican hotel and likes having meals in the common dining room and saying Mass there each morning in the main Chapel for the guests and staff. He seems very serious about staying in touch with others and living a simple life.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Week end visiting an old friend

This is Palm Sunday week end but I will be away and unable to write before Tuesday. I just read that the Pope will be celebrating a Holy Thursday liturgy in a prison in Rome this year as well as the Chrism Mass in the morning at St. Peter's.
The friend I visit ever March is the mother of the eleven wonderful children; I had the joy of teaching her first four girls back in the 1950's so our friendship goes back about sixty years. Her two oldest were about six and eight when I arrived at Clifton and they came early so they were the only ones in the dormitory the first night. There were four more little ones at home and the family was moving so we received the children.
Have a good Holy Week and I will be on again on Tuesday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What the Pope said at the beginning of Lent

This is taken from Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ's talk to the priests, the consecrated, and the laity of his Archdiocese at the beginning of Lent - read it all on the blog "Whispers in the Loggia" found on the side.

Rend your hearts, not your garments, superficial and egoistic prayer which does not reach the depth of our life to allow it to be touched by God.

Rend your hearts to say with the Psalmist: “we have sinned.” “Sin is the wound of the soul: Oh poor wounded one, recognize your Physician! Show him the wounds of your guilt. And given that our secret thoughts are not hidden from Him, make him hear the groan of your heart. Move Him to compassion with your tears, with your insistence. Importune Him! May He hear your sighs, make your pain reach Him so that, in the end, He can say to you: The Lord has forgiven your sin” (Saint Gregory the Great). This is the reality of our human condition. This is the truth that can bring us closer to genuine reconciliation with God and with men. It is not about discrediting self-esteem but about penetrating the depth of our hearts and of assuming the mystery of suffering and pain which has bound us for centuries, thousands of years, always.

Rend your hearts, so that through that crack we can really look at ourselves.

Rend your hearts, open your hearts, because only in a broken and open heart can the merciful love of God enter, who loves and heals us.

Rend your hearts says the prophet, and Paul asks us almost on his knees to “be reconciled with God.” To change one’s way of living is the sign and fruit of this broken and reconciled heart by a love that surpasses us.

This is the invitation, given the many wounds that harm us and that can lead us to the temptation of hardening us: Rend your hearts to experience in silent and serene prayer the gentleness of God’s tenderness.

Rend your hearts to be able to love with the love with which we are loved, to console with the consolation that consoles us and to share what we have received.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Before Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph

This is a picture showing Pope Francis looking happy as he moves around the crowds in St. Peter's square. I just hope he can keep his joy as he is facing some serious work to reform the whole structure of the Papacy and the Roman Curia. The more I read about the simplicity of Jesus, the more I realize that we have a great deal of work to do to return to His message of God's love and care for all. I thought the Pope's homily yesterday was excellent. You can read it on one of the blogs I have listed on the right side as I try to keep up with Vatican news.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ignatius and Our New Pope

Before I forget, I have just been looking at photos on our vocation page in Facebook and I think you might like to see so many happy faces so go to and enjoy.

I suspect that Ignatius is content with Pope Francis in spite of the fact that he never wanted any of his followers to accept Church honors. Still, he has watched over those who did and the ones I know of like Cardinal Bellarmine and Cardinal Montini seem to have been very holy men. I was glad to hear that our new Holy Father had called the Father General and had had him over for a visit. I think that the Jesuit formation is a great plus for the Pope and will serve him. It was interesting to see that the newspapers gave a list of many famous people today who have been educated by the Jesuits. Jesuit education is one thing, but the years of formation before one is really a Jesuit marks one for life.

I am now reading the Chapter on the death of Jesus in Jose Pagola's book on Jesus. It is powerful and I will just try to stay with this in prayer. My Lent has not been as prayerful as I hoped it would be so I need to make more effort in the days left to us.  I hope all of you are persevering in your Lenten resolutions. If a good resolution, you have failed often but the thing is to not give up but start anew each day.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Day After

We had a great party and I was up early but running out of steam before 9:30 - not good as this is a very busy week for me. I continue to love the book on Jesus by Jose Pagola and I guess I am trying to get my friends to read it as it is helping me so much. I definitely will go back and read it again and take notes as it is a book worth a second read. It is also a book to pray over so I have been doing that and feel that Jesus is so present in my own life. I am also interested in seeing how Jesus was so human yet entirely caught up in his mission to reveal the Father's love.
I continue to try to read all I can about our new Pope.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This day coming in Lent is always a fun day in spite of the seriousness of the season. I wish you all a good day and a restful Sunday full of joy for the hope our new Pope brings to the whole world.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sunday's Gospel

I have always loved the story of the woman who was brought to Jesus. The men were trying to trick Jesus; they reminded him that the penalty for adultery was stoning. Would Jesus uphold the law or not? (Of course, no one seems to wonder where the man was who also was involved in the adultery). Jesus justs says that whoever is without sin should throw the first stone. He does not look at them but bends down and makes marks in the sand. The men leave one by one until Jesus is alone with the woman. He asks her, "Has no one condemned you?" and she replies that no one has and so Jesus tells her that he does not condemn her either but tells her to go and sin no more. It is a simple story but I often feel that it really is something we can all experience in our own lives. Jesus wants to forgive us no matter what.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Our New Pope and Simplicity

This was taken of Pope Francis on the way back to the hotel. I read several ways the new Pope is trying to show that he wants more simplicity. For his Mass with the Cardinals yesterday he asked that they keep to their black cassocks instead of changing into the formal red robes; he kept the black shoes his friends had given him to go to the Conclave. He wanted the church kept open when he went to pray to Our Lady as any pigrim (this request was refused by the security), he also refused the car and emerged from the last bus on the way back to the hotel after appearing on the balcony to speak to the 100,000 gathered in the square and streets around St. Peter's; he was concerned about them being kept waiting in the rain. He also kept a simple cross rather than any of the jeweled ones put out for him to select from and refused to wear the gorgeous cape that was ready for him. I hope this simplicity will be copied by the other Cardinal and bishops. I think we are going to learn much from the example of the new Holy Father. He also refused to sit on the white chair on the throne put out for him in the Sistine Chapel to greet the Cardinals. He wanted to be on a level with them. I am hoping to hear something about his four brothers and sisters but have not yet read any information about them. Our newspaper had a doctor saying that since Pope Francis lost a lung as a teenager, he was able to adapt very well. This is just a great deal of miscellaneous information today, but I am excited about the changes that I hope will gradually begin in the Vatican and in the entire Church.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We have a Pope!

My brother called me when the white smoke appeared; it was only 2:05 in Miami and I have spent the time watching TV - he knew I would not have it turned on so I am glad he called me. I was so happy for I know that the Holy Spirit was active in the Conclave and I think all Latin America is rejoicing tonight. From all I have read, I think we have a pastor who will make the right changes. I rather like the fact that he is a Jesuit for I know he has had a strong formation that gave him a personal love for Jesus, a habit of discernment, and a real love of the poor and marginalized. I am rejoicing tonight.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Jesus and the women followers

In spite of the fact that women did not seem to count in Jewish society except within the family, it is true that Jesus had followers that were women. He was not afraid to heal them, speak to them, and allow them to be part of the group that followed him in spite of the Jewish customs at the time which seemed to ignore women; their place was at home. Jesus had friends who were women. We know how he loved Martha and Mary and felt at home with them. We also know that He treated women with gentleness and compassion. In the culture of Judaism, women were equal to men; Jesus treated them differently and used many examples in his stories and teaching that appealed to women. Women were attracted to his message of love and compassion and still are!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The story of the Father who had two sons...

This Sunday's Gospel has the parable of Jesus that is usually known as "The Prodigal Son" but really it is all about the love of the Father. I think this was what Jesus was all about: making known the love of God. He wanted all to know that God is Love. The father readily gives his son his share of  what he would inherit; he watches his son leave and continues to follow him with his love, looking, hoping, praying, each day for the return of this younger son. He runs to meet him. There is not a single word of reproach; indeed, the Father is so happy he wants all to rejoice with him and calls for the best robe to be brought, puts a ring on the finger of his son and kills the fatted calf - what more can he do for him? He has forgiven all and just wants to pour out his love. Jesus wants all of us to realize that God is love. That is the Good News!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

What did Jesus know?

St. Paul tells us that Jesus was like us in all things except sin. Therefore, Jesus was fully human and did not know everything. He had to learn the skills of his trade from Joseph. He was a craftsman as his father was and probably a builder who worked with stone, wood, and even iron. He repaired roofs of thatch and clay, knew how to tighten beams, build doors, window, benches, chests, and maybe helped to build the terraces needed in the hilly country for the vineyards. There was not enough work in Nazareth so he would have been to surrounding villages to find work. He also must have helped in the fields when extra hands were needed.
The fact that Jesus did not marry must have upset others as Jewish men were expected to begin their own families. Jesus, until he finally felt he had to leave home and seek out John who was baptizing before Jesus left Nazareth, did nothing extraordinary but he was learning to listen to God and respond. He went into the desert to find John but also to listen to God. John was admired by Jesus for John had a vision of a new covenant with God's forgiveness. John's baptism was a rite of conversion and radical forgiveness. Jesus, according to Pagola, was impacted by this vision.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jesus still walks with us

Jesus was a Jewish boy who grew up in the very small village of Nazareth. We forget that Jesus was just a country boy who spent most of his life in Galilee, walking the paths that connected so many tiny towns and, except for Jerusalem, seemed to avoid the larger cities. Nazareth may have only had about 200 or 400 living there at the time of Jesus and most farmed their own small plots of land. Their homes were usually only one room and often this was shared with the animals. Several families would group themselves around a common patio. Jesus may not have known how to read and write, but he was very observant of all and used so many ordinary details from his surroundings to make his point when telling stories or parables to teach his followers. The extended family was so important as they had to help and support one another. They were all poor and life was hard; few lived beyond the fiftieth year. Survival and honor were their main concerns. To leave the family was a serious matter. Pagola's book has made me think again about Jesus' years growing up in a tiny town, learning to work with others and then deciding to leave. It took much prayer and discernment for Jesus to move out. We do not know how much time he spent before making that decision. Did he hear about John who was baptizing and calling all to conversion? Was that when the Holy Spirit gave Jesus the final nudge to go off and then to begin to call others to help him? I think that Jesus has much to say to each of us today as he still calls, still walks with us, and waits for us as we respond to his call to come and see.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sunday will be the 4th Sunday of Lent

Lent has flown by so far this year and I do not feel very happy with my own prayer but leave all in the hands of Jesus. I found myself reading all the profiles of the Cardinals done for NCR and also those found in this week's America. I really know little about most of the Cardinals and it is fascinating to learn what they have been doing for the Church in all parts of the world. If I am not writing much these days (this cold has really made me lazy), I know that there is much to reflect on and pray over as the Cardinals also are praying and discerning as they get to know one another.
Here is a new website to look at for the Sunday Liturgy:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Diary from Indonesia

I just found this site: and think you will enjoy the diary of an Australian-New Zealand Province RSCJ who has been in Indonesia with our Sisters there for the past five weeks. This is my contribution for today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Jesus: An Historical Approximation

The book, Jesus: An Historical Approximation is easy to read. The author, Father Pagola, wants us to read with a feeling of joy of knowing more concretely the human life of the one in whom God is revealed to us in a unique and unpredictable way. By reading this book, he says that commitment to Jesus will grow and our desire to follow Jesus faithfully. We are told to aim for a joyful relationship with Jesus; let Him seduce us and transform our lives. This book is a real encounter with Jesus.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Have a Good Day!

I came home sick with a miserable cold and acute bronchitis and just do not feel up to writing anything. I am sorry, but hope everyone else feels well and full of energy. I am just hoping this will go away soon!
In the meantime, I think some websites are publishing pictures of the Cardinals and you can follow them as they discuss before the Conclave about the needs of the Church.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jesus - Thoughts from book by Jose Pagola

Here are some of the Chapter or section titles in the book that I am enjoying:

Life in Nazareth; A Seeker of God; A Poet of Compassion; A Healer of Life; A Friend of Women; A Teacher of Life; and so on. I will write more tomorrow.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Jesus: an Historical Approximation"

I have been reading a great book by a Spanish priest, Jose Pagola. The title is Jesus: An Historical Approximation and is translated by Margaret Wilde. Convivium Press, Third Printing, 2012.

I have read many books about Jesus but this one is probably one of the best I have ever come across and I want to tell my readers a bit about it. First, I will say something about the author today as I had not read him before.
Father Jose Pagola was born in Spain in 1937; he completed his theological studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1962 and his studies in Sacred Scripture at the Papal Biblical Institute in Rome in 1966. He also studied at the Ecole Biblique in Jerusalem. In spite of his scholarship, he writes a book that is easy to read. Almost every page has some footnotes that are fascinating to read as he has done so much research. He wrote the book because he is convinced that "Jesus is the best we have in the Church and the best we can offer today to modern society."

Father Pagola writes with historical vigor using simple language to bring Jesus and his message closer to us today. He awakens a deeper desire for Jesus and I am really loving his book. It is well over 400 pages (more with the appendices) so I have only read a little more than half the book, but the author is really doing what he said he wanted to do and that is to "awaken an attraction, interest, and admiration for Jesus" and this can be the first step toward a more vivid, real, and profound relationship with Jesus.

I am planning to continue to share some of my insights from reading this book.