Daily reflections for prayer, growth in the spiritual life, and good prayer sources. This blog also has links to other websites. One feature is a list of spiritual books.
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Friday, May 31, 2013
Feast of the Visitation
It is a feast that I love. I was born on this day 82 years ago; I never thought I would live to be 82! The truth is that I do not feel any older today than yesterday. Let us spend the day with Mary.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
"In my view, prayer should somehow be an experience of giving way, of surrendering, where our entire being enters into the presence of God. It is there where a dialogue happens, the listening, the transformation. Look to God, but above all feel looked at by God. Sometimes the religious experience in prayer occurs to me when I pray aloud with the rosary or the psalms. Or when I joyfully celebrate the Eucharist. But the moment when I most savor the religious experience, however long it may be, is when I am before the tabernacle. At times, I allow myself to fall asleep while sitting there, looking at it. I feel as if I were in someone else's hands, as if God were taking me by the hand. I think you have to reach the transcendental otherness of the Lord, that the Lord is everything, but He always respects our freedom."
I hope each of you will reflect on your experience of prayer today. I know that I go to prayer to allow God to love me and so I especially like the sentence: "Look to God, but above all feel looked at by God."
My mother once asked me if I thought she was praying correctly for "I just go to Church and begin to thank for my woderful husband and my four children and then I just sit there in gratitude." I remember telling her that her prayer was just right and God was pleased to see her gratitude. I now try to remember to do the same, at least some days!
Today, in some places such as the Vatican, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated; we will celebrate it on Sunday.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Reaching Out to Others
Our present Holy Father is certainly stressing the fact that we must be like Jesus and go out and find those in need. I am thinking of the many ways we have to do this just by sitting at a computer. I will be 82 this Friday and do not have the same amount of energy I used to have, but I can still be present to others in so many ways. I have friends who live alone; some have no immediate family. They appreciate a handwritten note and it is easy for me to write to them as I want to stay in touch. Others can be reached by e-mail. I am sure all of us have friends who love to hear from us so we need to make time to pick up the pen or phone and just let others know that they are loved.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The Heart of God
Accept me, dear God, accept me for this while.
Let those orphaned days that passed without You be forgotten.
Only spread this little moment wide across your lap, holding it under Your light.
I have wandered in pursuit of voices that drew me, yet led me nowhere.
Now let me sit in peace and listen to Your words in the soul of my silence.
Do not turn away Your face from my heart's dark secrets, but burn them till they are alight with Your fire.
I love the line "Now let me sit in peace and listen to Your words in the soul of my silence."
Monday, May 27, 2013
Some sayings of St. Madeleine Sophie - Memorial Day
Here are a few more as she had a real love for the Holy Spirit: "Holy Spirit, in giving us knowledge of the Father and the Son, make us also aware of your divine presence; then all will be easy in the service of God."
"We all need great fidelity and much courage to carry out the demands of the Holy Spirit. Train yourself in this fidelity and dependence on the Spirit of God. This is the way of holiness."
"Only try to be generous and faithful; the Holy Spirit will do her work in you."
"Remain in peace, and remember the words of the Holy Spirit: 'To those who love God, all things work together for their good.'"
I think I will stop here and reflect on how true it is that all things work together for good - sometimes we need just to stop and thank the Holy Spirit for being present to us at all times.
The first picture above was taken when St. Madeleine Sophie was being moved from Jette to Paris.
Happy Memorial Day - Let us pray for all those who have given their lives for our country and for all those who are suffering from the experience today: those returning wounded, those who are now depressed and unable to return to normal life with their families... it is a holiday but one that is to be a remembrance for all of us and urges us to pray for peace for our world.
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Here is the prayer:
Come, Holy Spirit
Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.
O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
It is a great prayer as we are asking for wonderful things:
- to have our hearts filled by the Holy Spirit
- to have our hearts on fire with His love
- to renew the face of the earth
- to be always wise
- to always rejoice in his consolation
I need to remember to go back and pray this prayer again daily!
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Feast of St. Madeleine Sophie
The next experience was at Jette where I sat next to the body of our Saintly Mother and had a dialogue with her. She was so present and looked so calm and alive as she spoke with me. It was a real grace and I am sure she arranged it; the day I went to visit, no one else was in the Chapel. I just pulled up a little chair and sat next to Sophie and we talked. I had often had "Little Words", as we used to call it, with her, but this was very special. Then I went to Rome and read all of her letters in chronological order while doing my dissertation research on her spirituality. I have much to thank her for in my life.
Here is a quote to reflect on today:
“The Holy Spirit looks for a heart totally free of selfishness in order to take possession of it.
When the Spirit finds such openness, she pours herself out plentifully and rewards the person with boundless love.”
Friday, May 24, 2013
The third section of the Pope's homily on Pentecost is about "Mission." He has been telling us since he first became Pope that we need to go out to others. Here is an excerpt from the Pentecost homily:
The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?
Please try to read the Pope's talk to the Bishops of Italy yesterday evening as it is excellent as, indeed, I am finding joy in all he says. You can find it on the blog link on the right to Whispers in the Loggia.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
He says, after having spoken of the harmony that only the Holy Spirit can bring to diversity, " So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?"
We live in a world that seeks unity. We have need of the Holy Spirit.
"Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselve be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. "
How do I bring help the Holy Spirit by bringing harmony into all the details of my life? Am I letting the Holy Spirit bring diversity into my life?
Remember, everything I do or do not do is helping the evolution of the world and the unity of the Cosmic Christ!
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Wednesday after Pentecost
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Tuesday after Pentecost
This link got stuck - go to Reflection of an RSCJ - reflectionsofanrscj.blogspot.com to not miss daily posts until this is corrected on RSJC website
The Holy Father in a homily last week asked those present if they prayed to the Holy Spirit every day. It made me think of how we always prayed to the Holy Spirit before class at the Academy of the Sacred Heart. I suspect we said the prayer with greater fervor on the mornings we had a test. My problem is that I cannot remember all of that prayer now. (I am not good at remembering vocal prayers except for the Memorare which I love and recite often, especially in the car).
To continue today with some thoughts from the meditation in "Following in the Footsteps of Jesus" by Jose Pagola, he prayes "Come Spirit of Truth, and make us walk in the truth of Jesus."
That might be enough to reflect on today. What does that mean for me?
There are so many feast coming up that we may have spiritual indigestion trying to contemplate the riches of each. For the Society of the Sacred Heart, we have the feast of our Mother Foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie, on May 25, followed by Trinity Sunday where we celebrate all three Persons in one God. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us to enter into the meaning and celebration of these feasts. Saint. Madeleine Sophie wanted to live her whole life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit! The next week brings us the Feast of Corpus Christi when we celebrate the great gift of the Eucharist and then, on June 7, we have the Feast of the Sacred Heart.
Pope Francis asks us in his homily on Pentecose to reflect on three words: newness, harmony, and mission.
The Pope also said, speaking of 'newness" and trusting the Holy Spirit:
"The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfillment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, ....?"
Monday, May 20, 2013
I am reading Pagola's "Jesus: An Historical Approximation:" for the second time and still urging all my friends to read it. We chose it for our Reflection Group to read next year. I find it is a book that leads me into a deeper relationship with Jesus and I need to stop and pray when reading this book. I think Pagola, a Spanish priest, has a real passion for Jesus. He also asks in the meditation for Pentecost for the Holy Spirit to come and remind us of the inspiring message Jesus gave us and to teach us to listen only to Jesus.
It is only with the Holy Spirit that we can proclaim the good news of the Gospel!
Pope Francis gives us three words to reflect upon this week: (from his homily for Pentecost found)
"I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission."
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I was praying about the role of the Holy Spirit in my own life. I think the Spirit really does pray in us. We do not know how to pray; actually, it is the Spirit who leads me into a deep stillness where I find God and allow God to love me. This is possible because of the Spirit; I am so easily distracted and have so many thoughts flying through my head. However, I really believe the Spirit comes and takes my heart and puts it into the Heart of Jesus. Alas, this does not always describe my prayer, but I am grateful for the times I am able to sink deep into the Heart of Christ and there find all I need.
I hope that was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as I did not mean to write that at all! I guess it is because I woke up thinking about my own relationship with the Holy Spirit and how my own prayer has developed over the years. The great grace of consciously developing a relationship with each of the three Divine Persons in the Trinity during those months at the Trinita dei Monti in Rome has certainly marked me and has stayed with me now for over 54 years!
I suggest that you reflect with the Spirit today how you are being led in prayer and beg the Spirit for the gifts and fruits you need especially this year. We usually draw the gifts and fruits in community - it is part of our way of celebrating Pentecost.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Reflection on Ministry
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom of God is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about:
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they
hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results,
but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are the workers, not master builders; ministers not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
I always find that it helps me to read this and then confide all to the Heart of Jesus! I am also praying much to the Holy Spirit these days. My youngest grand nephew, Michael, is making his First Communion tomorrow on the Feast of Pentecost. Please pray for him and for his paternal grandfather who has a fast- spreading cancer.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Preparing for Pentecost
I love the story of St. Francis who told one of his brothers that he was going out to preach. The brother went with him and they walked into the village and around the village square and then returned home. The brother said, "I thought we were going out to preach" and Francis smiled and said, "That is what we just did."
May our very presence give Jesus to others.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Preparing for Pentecost
In Miami, we have no need for a fireplace and therefore no fire. I do have very fond memories of our fireplace at home as my mother loved a fire and the entire family would gather around; if my grandfather was there, we would have some Irish songs. Sometimes we would roast marshmallows right there in our living room! Then, I remember the wonderful campfires when I was a counselor at camp; the sharing of stories around a fire, and somehow I know the Holy Spirit was always with us kindling the fire of love in our hearts.
“In these days of waiting for the feast of the Holy Spirit, we ask: Come, Holy Spirit, come and give me this big heart, this heart capable of loving with humility, with meekness, an open heart that is capable of loving. And let's ask this grace of the Holy Spirit. And may He free us always from the other path, the path of selfishness, which eventually ends badly. Let us ask for this grace.”
Homily at Morning Mass
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
14 May 2013
Homily at Morning Mass
Chapel of the Holy Spirit
14 May 2013
* * *S
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Leaning to trust
We need not be afraid to love and trust Jesus. We are afraid to be vulnerable, but God ask us to trust Him.
I found this quote from Ruth Burrows helpful and pass it on because we need to know it is safe to love - to love God and others:
It is safe to love. Yes, it is safe to be vulnerable because we are in loving hands. It is safe to surrender because we fall into light, not darkness. It is safe to be weak because the strength we need is found when we give up on our own power. It is safe give up the hurts we cling to because these lose their force when we are in love. It is safe to trust, to let our loved ones be free, because a power beyond us loves them more than we do and ultimately takes care of their safety. It is safe to give ourselves over without fear because, as faith teaches, in the end, all will be well. And it is safe to live our lives with daring because God, as Julian Norwich assures us, sits in heaven, smiling, completely relaxed, his face looking like a marvelous symphony. The world is ultimately safe. It is safe to love.
But it's not easy to believe that. Perhaps if we had all been loved perfectly, had perfect confidence, and had never been wounded, disappointed, betrayed, or made to cry tears of regret, we would find it easier to believe that it is safe, that we can trust, that we have no need to protect ourselves, ....
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Trusting His Heart
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee;
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Thy love for me;
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may Thy Kingdom come!
These ejaculations have stayed with me. I can even still sing them. But I am also using some of the lines from the Litany of the Sacred Heart which I have shared in a previous blog about a year or so ago now so I guess I should copy it again; it was the one we said for the novena before each First Friday. I use some of the invocations for a "walking prayer" which in Miami, means walking to my car or the pool, or while driving sometimes, while waiting in the checkout line, etc. My favorite invocation right now is "Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart." I also love, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, to your burning love, I unite myself." Just another way of praying during the day. I also often find myself saying, "Jesus, Jesus, be to me a Jesus!" over and over; they told me my great-uncle Jim kept saying that over and over before he died when I was a young teen-ager and it made such an impression on me that I seemed to have formed the habit. I think most of us probably have a favorite short prayer that we find helpful.
Monday, May 13, 2013
When my mother, wanting me to have the experience of a parochial school during 7th and 8th grade so I would have friends in the neighborhood, took me out of the Visitation, I found joy in joining the choir and learning to sing the Mass of the Sacred Heart, "Cogitationes" - all in Latin! What I probably loved most about First Friday at that aage was the breakfast with cinnamon rolls in the church basement every First Friday. Then, I went to the Academy of the Sacred Heart for high school as a boarder and learned to love Jesus more deeply and to be aware of His constant, unconditional love. He wanted my heart and gave me His Heart.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
I pray for all mothers today.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Devotion to the Sacred Heart
Today, however, I am sharing some memories that seem to me to explain how devotion to the Heart of Christ developed in my own life. It began when I was in the First Grade at the Visitation Academy and preparing for First Communion. I knew that Jesus loved me even before that, of course, but now I learned that He longed for my love. There was an oratory off the long corridor that lead to the cafeteria and I often managed to slip in there and kneel before the statue of the Sacred Heart. I began to think about all the people who never thought about Jesus, who never thanked Him, and I wanted to make up for their indifference. I think it was at this time I began using the ejaculatory prayer: "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I implore that I may ever love Thee more and more."
I seem to have always known that when we spoke of the Heart of Jesus we meant the person of Jesus. It was the language of St. Margaret Mary that I learned at the Visitation. This is a first installment of the development of my spirituality at least with regard to my reflections on how I grew in love for the Sacred Heart.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Trust is a gift...
"Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, I believe in Thy love for me; Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may your Kingdom come!"
During the first months we concentrated on placing our trust in Jesus. He never failed us. That complete trust worked miracles. Here is an example: Clifton was at the top of a long hill. After a deep snowfall, I took the young boarders out sledding after school. When we came in and the children had struggled out of their wet snowsuits, one child who had a diamond ring that she was not supposed to wear at school, cried out that her ring was gone; she had lost it in the snow somewhere on the front hill. The children immediately began to say, "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee" and rushed to don the still soaking snowsuits and boots to go look. We had little time and it was also getting dark but they trooped out repeating over and over "Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee." Within a few minutes one of the children found the ring buried in the deep snow!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
I am reading Illia Delio's book "The Humility of God in the Spirit of St. Francis" and loving it. She speaks of God bending low to be with us.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
"The solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality..."
Sometimes one phrase will speak to me so powerfully that it influences my spirituality. When a novice, I had a bookmark that said "The solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality." The quote comes from a Circular Letter of Reverend Mother de Lescure to the Society in 1949. I am called to descend into the depths of the Heart of Jesus and people His solitude. As I have no doubt confessed before in this blog, I thought just entering the Society would make me so united to Jesus that I would be thinking of Him at least during all my free moments. I soon realized that this does not just happen but is a lifetime of learning how to stay with Jesus each day.
I have an image that helps me to enter into quiet prayer: I dive down into a quiet pool and enter the cleft in the rock and there I am in His Heart surrounded by love. I know that my desire to be with Jesus at least in part was influenced by that bookmark!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Spiritual Direction and Retreats
I find that my own preparation for receiving spiritual direction is quite important as it forces me to look over the past weeks to see how Jesus is reaching out to me and how I am responding. When I keep my prayer journal during the month I often can see a pattern in what God is doing or trying to do in my life. Lately, I have been less faithful about writing my journal.
The picture shows the cave at Manresa in Spain where St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises and where I had the grace one year to make a thirty-day retreat with a holy Jesuit who had been my director during the year I was part of the Institute for Religious Formation. The last night of retreat I kept vigil all night in this cave. Then, three years later, I was asked to give the thirty-day retreat to priests, a Religious brother, and a Benedictine Sister in Manresa. Both experiences are still very present to me. Since then I have made other directed retreats, a few for thirty days, but Manresa was special!
Monday, May 6, 2013
Ascension Thursday now on Sunday
We moved our Chapel on Saturday morning to give the big room with two windows to one of our community. It was quite a job as we had so many books to decide on what we would take to the new chapel - we have two chairs so it can still be used for Spiritual Direction but when I see someone in the evening it will need to be in my room as the Chapel is now next to the family room. I loved having the Chapel next to my room, but the important thing is that we do have a Chapel.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
One God, Three Persons
I found developing a relationship with each was a great experience as a young Religious during the months I had at the Trinita in Rome. I was sacristan of Mater's chapel and cleaned it each day and while doing this consciously tried to develop my relationship with each person in the Trinity. The superior of the convent had suggested that we consecrate each Sunday to honoring the Blessed Trinity.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Preparing for Sunday
The point I wanted to make when I began this blog is that we need to take time to prepare the Lord's Day. It is a time for rest and relaxation, but it is important to plan the day with Jesus. I am going to try to do that concretely this month.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Feast of St. Philip and St. James
Today is a feast day when we celebrate two of the Apostles. At the noon Mass, we also had a huge procession of children (from pre-school age up maybe to sixth grade) all carrying flowers to put in the vases in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima that must be visiting the parish. She was in the center and was incensed before the Mass. Since many of the girls were dressed in long First Communion dresses with white veils, I think it was also First Communion Day for whatever group of children were there. They did not wear uniforms and many seemed to be there with parents and baby brothers and sisters. It was great to see all those children approach the altar with their flowers and I thought of how Jesus said, "Let the little children come unto me." We also had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament so I am late writing my blog. I may also be missing a couple of days at the beginning of the week as we are having computer trouble. I have a laptop but in case you do not see my daily blog, please blame it on the computer!
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Thursday, May 2, 2013
May is full of Feasts
I know He is asking me to live in joy and to give his love and joy to others and, with the Internet and even regular mail, I have no excuse for not spreading his joy and love to others.
Jesus spent much of his public life in going out to see people, reaching out to them, showing them that He loved them and healing those who needed to be healed. He wanted to bring all to seek the reign of God as that was what he came to teach us and what he preached from the beginning. May this month of May bring us closer to Jesus and to one another.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
"A joy not shared is incomplete."
This made me reflect on how seldom I really am able or even try to write of my life in God. He suggests that we write someone "of the joy of life with God." I think I have tried sometimes to write of the joy of life with God. I know that God loves me and that is the source of my joy. He knows me and He loves me. I cannot deserve or earn love; it is a gift and God has given me this gift of his eternal, unconditional love and having that conviction no matter what is a deep joy for me. I think prayer is a joy for me as I go to be loved by God. When I feel myself in the Heart of Jesus surrounded by love, I feel deep peace and joy. It is also a joy to know that God is always present to me. It is a mystery but I know that I am in God and God is in me - I guess I should be overflowing with joy all the time. It helps to keep things in perspective as I am prone to let little things upset me. Well, I do want to try to write a few notes today and maybe try to write of the joy of life with God. Looking for daily joys is a good practice for the month of May and one that I think will please both Jesus and Mary.
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