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Monday, July 8, 2013

Last Post before leaving for vacation, retreat, etc.

I shall try to keep my journal while I am away and post when I can, but read yesterday's blog to know my schedule and you will understand that I often take a vacation from the blog while away. However, use the great links on the right of my blog to find wonderful spiritual reflections and prayer resources.
Do pray for my retreat, July 17-24 as that is such an important time - I guess I see it often as a honeymoon time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Welcome is a gift to be given as well as receive

I love to welcome people to our community home. I love to be welcomed also in the homes of others.
I think Jesus loves to be welcomed into our hearts each morning anew. We leave the door open so He is always welcome, but He waits for the little attentions that we give our guests and often may forget to offer Jesus. How do I greet Him each morning? I am aware that He waits for me. Is my head still full of what I heard yesterday or thinking of today's plans or do I make a real effort to just be present to my beloved guest?
I am leaving early Tuesday for California and will only be back the 8th of August. If a computer is easily available, I will perhaps post something while away, but know that I will certainly be back to the daily postings as of August 12, just to give me time to settle in at home and answer the e-mail that does pile up.
I will be taking part in a Spirituality Forum with about 200 others from July 10 to 14. I will have some time to visit with my friends at our retirement home before and after my retreat (July 17-24 is when I beg your prayer for my retreat); then I will return to the hospitable community in Redwood City that welcomes me so lovingly each year; then, on the 28th I visit our community at the University of San Diego and see friends. The first week of August I will be with my sister and her husband on Coronado and my brother is also coming for a few days. Then home, arriving around midnight on August 8.
I hope to post a few times in this blog, but often do not when away but do look and use the links to other great blogs and prayer resources that are on the side of my blog.
May you all have a great summer! Keep the door of your heart always open for Jesus and those who need your love!!

In case you would like to pray in union with the United States-Canada Province - this is the prayer that Barb Dawson asked all to pray as they met to finalize the merger of the two into one province:

Leader:                For all that we have,

All:                       We thank you, bountiful God.

Leader:                For all that we have had,

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.

Leader:                For all that we will have,.

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.

Leader:                For what we are,

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.

Leader:                For what we have been,

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.

Leader:                For what we can be,

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.

Leader:                For what we will be,

All:                       We thank you bountiful God.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

"Song of the Swan" by Reverend Mother Stuart

One of my favorite songs is from the play written by Reverend Mother Stuart, 'The Ugly Duckling" which has this beautiful Song of the Swan, better know by its first line: "Spirit seeking light and beauty". As I often pray with these words, I am copying them for you here. I know I would like them sung at my funeral...I had them for my golden jubilee:

Spirit seeking light and beauty,
Heart that longest for thy rest,
Soul that askest understanding,
Only thus can ye be blest.

All the joy and all the fairness
Fade away from earth's delight
By the steadfast contemplation
Of the glory out of sight.

Through the vastness of creation
Though your restless thought my roam,
God is all that you can long for,
God is all His creature's home.

Taste and see Him, feel and hear Him,
Hope and clasp His unseen hand;
Though the darkness seem to hide Him,
Faith and love can understand.

God, Who lovest all Thy creatures,
All our hearts are known to Thee,
Lead us through the land of shadows
To Thy blest eternity!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Teach us your ways, O Lord

We trust that God will teach us His ways and that is one reason to seek solitude and silence so He can speak to us! This picture was in my file as "Teach me your ways, O Lord..." and it reminds me of the desert in the north of Chile. I lived there in the poorest region just a short walk from the desert on one side and, on the other, I could stand on our cliff and see the ocean. Both speak to me of God. Both are places where I listen to God and know that He is with me in a special way when I am able to be silent and solitary. I am desiring my retreat which will be on the ocean this year from July 17-24. Sometimes the morning is foggy and one can see nothing but that seems to help me pray just as much as the sun sparkling on the beautiful Pacific ocean. In the meantime, I find that the silence and solitude of my morning prayer is an invitation to just be with God and let Him act. We surrender ourselves and wait in silence...Remember, God is always with us even if we do not feel His presence! "Be still and know that I am God!"
For a great First Friday reflection please go to our webpage:

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!

We are staying home this year for a quiet Fourth of July but will feast on hot dogs and baked beans tonight. It is a good day to feel grateful for the freedom we have and to thank all those who have fought and are still fighting and working toward freedom for all. Have you made a list of all the things you are grateful for lately? I think it is a real help to take time in prayer to tell God how grateful we are for all the gifts we receive daily; the gift of freedom that we celebrate today should never be taken for granted!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Invitation to Solitude and Silence

Since many of us will be making our retreats during the month of July, I want to share a bit from a book I am reading. It is Ruth Haley Barton's Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God's Transforming Presence. It was published in 2004 by InterVarsity Press. It is not listed under the spiritual books on the right as I do not think I ever have managed to finish reading it. It is a book that leads one to silence and solitude.Here is a sample from the beginning of Chapter 2:

"To enter into solitude and silence is to take the spiritual life seriously. It is to take seriously our need to quiet the noise of our lives, to cease the constant striving of human effort, to pull away from our absorption in human relationships for a time in order to give God our undivided attention. In solitude God begins to free us from our bondage to human expectations, for there we experience God as our ultimate reality--the One in whom we live and move and have our being."

When reflecting on being freed from the bondage to human expectations, I found that I do not think myself too concerned about the expectations of others, but find that my own expectations are often not realistic and certainly not the same as God's. I also find that I do care about what others think and it does influence me more than I thought... I want to be responsive to God and His desires and His love and not ruled by my expectations or the expectations of others.
Silence teaches us so much for then we are still and can hear God's voice!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How do you pray?

Last night we were speaking about the influence of Saint Ignatius on our prayer. This is a picture of Ignatius at prayer. His feast is the last day of this month and I suspect most Religious of the Sacred Heart have been formed so deeply in Ignatian spirituality that we have a habit of using Ignatian contemplation and his way of discerning. However, I firmly believe that each of us has her or his own unique way of praying and that there are many ways to even define prayer. What I have invited all of you to do in this blog before and, since I still feel the need to do this, is to reflect on how I pray and how my prayer varies. Usually with those I have given spiritual direction over a period of several years I can see how their prayer life develops, becomes more real and finds a focus. I am sure each of us has a vocation within a vocation and this influences our prayer. Since prayer is so personal, it is not easy to share or perhaps even know how to express this intimate relationship. Still, I think it good to look again and talk to Jesus about our prayer life as we begin this month where many of us have time for vacation.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rejoice in the gifts of others

As we begin July, I was struck by the Pope's last Wednesday talk before the summer recess and would like to quote this part: (I put some in bold, not the Pope)

"It is, moreover, the Holy Spirit with His gifts, who designs the variety – and this is important – what does the Holy Spirit do in our midst? He designs the variety – the variety, which is the richness of the Church and unites everything and everyone, so as to constitute a spiritual temple, in which we offer not material sacrifices, but us ourselves, our life (cf. 1 Pt 2:4-5). The Church is not a weave of things and interests, it is rather the Temple of the Holy Spirit, the Temple in which God works, the Temple in which each of us with the gift of Baptism is living stone. This tells us that no one is useless in the Church – no on is useless in the Church! – and should anyone chance to say, some one of you, “Get home with you, you’re useless!” that is not true. No one is useless in the Church. We are all needed in order to build this temple. No one is secondary: “Ah, I am the most important one in the Church!” No! We are all equal in the eyes of God. But, one of you might say, “Mr. Pope, sir, you are not equal to us.” But I am just like each of you. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters. No one is anonymous: all form and build the Church. Nevertheless, it also invites us to reflect on the fact that the Temple wants the brick of our Christian life, that something is wanting in the beauty of the Church.

So I would like for us to ask ourselves: how do we live our being Church? We are living stones? Are we rather, so to speak, tired stones, bored, indifferent? Have any of you ever noticed how ugly a tired, bored, indifferent Christian is? It’s an ugly sight. A Christian has to be lively, joyous, he has to live this beautiful thing that is the People of God, the Church. Do we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, so as to be an active part of our communities, or do we close in on ourselves, saying, “I have so many things to do, that’s not my job.”?

May the Lord grant us His grace, His strength, so that we can be deeply united to Christ, the cornerstone, stone of support for all of our lives and the life of the Church. Let us pray that, animated by His Spirit, we might always be living stones of the Church."

Maybe we should cultivate the gifts of each other during July. It would help us to to be "living stones" and to rejoice in the gifts of others.