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Friday, February 28, 2014

Enjoying Arizona

God has made this beautiful state so full of both mountains and deserts. I am writing outside with gorgeous clouds floating in a deep blue sky. We are hearing reports of terrible mudslides in California; Arizona and California have longed for rain and now it is coming here tomorrow. Water is needed in both states but too much at one time is not good. I just thought I would write something for the first day of March even if I am writing on my I-pad -my gratitude journal page is full each day. I gave a talk at my sister's parish with wonderful people for two hours!!

  My sister'spatio with Indian reservation behind.

It is a loving God who reigns in our world

To continue with our reflection on excerpts from Joy of the Gospel:

  1. Reading the Scriptures also makes it clear that the Gospel is not merely about our personal relationship with God. Nor should our loving response to God be seen simply as an accumulation of small personal gestures to individuals in need, a kind of "charity à la carte", or a series of acts aimed solely at easing our conscience. The Gospel is about the kingdom of God (cf. Lk 4:43);it is about loving God who reigns in our world. To the extent that he reigns within us, the life of society will be a setting for universal fraternity, justice, peace and dignity. Both Christian preaching and life, then, are meant to have an impact on society. We are seeking God’s kingdom: "Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let me seek you..

Today I want to share a prayer of St. Anselm (1033-1109)

O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you.,
where and how to find you...
You are my God and my All and I have never seen you.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know you...
I have not yet done that for which I was made,,,
Teach me to seek you...
I cannot seek you unless you teach me
or find you unless you show yourself to me.
Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When I try to write, I have a hard time changing the size of the font. Sometimes I can make it large and other times I cannot do this1 It is frustrating!! I am leaving this question with the community as the day after I left for Arizona, someone was going to come and answer our many questions. The best thing about our new computer is the speed; our old one was so slow.

Now to give you something spiritual while I have this nice large print:
We are invited
to receive God’s love and to love him in return with the very love which is his gift, brings forth in our lives and actions a primary and fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others.

This inseparable bond between our acceptance of the message of salvation and genuine fraternal love appears in several scriptural texts which we would do well to meditate upon, in order to appreciate all their consequences. The message is one which we often take for granted, and can repeat almost mechanically, without necessarily ensuring that it has a real effect on our lives and in our communities. How dangerous and harmful this is, for it makes us lose our amazement, our excitement and our zeal for living the Gospel of fraternity and justice! God’s word teaches that our brothers and sisters are the prolongation of the incarnation for each of us: "As you did it to one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). The way we treat others has a transcendent dimension: "The measure you give will be the measure you get" (Mt 7:2). It corresponds to the mercy which God has shown us: "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you… For the measure you give will be the measure you get back" (Lk 6:36-38). What these passages make clear isthe absolute priority of "going forth from

ourselves towards our brothers and sisters" as one of the two great commandments which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s completely free gift. For this reason, "the service of charity is also a constituent element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being".144 By her very nature the Church is missionary; she abounds in effective charity and a compassion which understands, assists and promotes.

    Monday, February 24, 2014

    From sunny Arizona

    At least there is a picture and this is not Arizona1 I am scheduling a few blogs ahead so you will have something to look at while I am visiting with my family. Today is my sister's birthday!

    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Love Everyone

    Sunday's Gospel has Jesus telling us to even love our enemies. I had a lovely group here last night; they all work at our school and four of them I had for the Busy Persons' Retreat and the others also made that retreat and wanted to meet monthly as a spirituality group. We do some Centering Prayer and then discuss the Sunday's Gospel and other readings. It is very life-giving for me as is my weekly faith-sharing group at St. Thomas University. What made me want to write today is a commentary I read by Jose Pagola who stresses cordiality at home, in the workplace, everywhere. He says that we need to treat everyone with cordiality and at all times. I thought this was helpful - we do it not to be polite but to show love for one another.

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

    Three Minute Retreat

    I just want to remind you that, although I am in Arizona, you can use the prayer resources listed on the right of my blog. I have just added the "Three Minute Retreat" at the top of all of them but just recently discovered this good site: if you want to mark it instead of going to it from my blog. However, I do keep statistics so it helps if you enter my blog and then check out both the prayer resources and some of the other good things listed on the right of my blog. I will be back blogging by Ash Wednesday so we can have a great Lent together.
    The Holy Father gave a homily saying that a Christian must walk forward, walk like a lamb, and walk with joy!

    Friday, February 21, 2014

    I managed to schedule some blogs up to almost the end of the month and now I am just feeling the need for prayer - I find myself wanting more and more to just sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and just be there. I guess it is really like the peasant said once about his prayer: "I look at God and God looks at me."
    Reading all that the Pope writes has been good for my own spiritual life. I am going to Arizona with a real desire to give God's love to all I meet. Do pray that the Holy Spirit inspires my conversations with so many different people in Arizona.

    Thursday, February 20, 2014

    The very heart of the Gospel

     I am going to visit family in Arizona - five days with my sister and her family, and then five with my brother and his wife. I arrive Friday night to celebrate my sister's birthday. I will not be writing my blog until Shrove Tuesday, March 4, to help us get ready for Lent! That week is Spring Break at the University so no big Ash Wednesday celebration there. My faithful readers can all have a break before Lent! It is just too difficult to write when I am away but I will be back before Ash Wednesday!
    However, I have added a couple of blogs and may send pictures from my I-pad next week.
    From the Pope's The Joy of the Gospel"- remember that the bold is my emphasis - what I want to reflect on today. We have reached the fourth chapter!


    1. To evangelize is to make the kingdom of God present in our world. Yet "any partial or fragmentary definition which attempts to render the reality of evangelization in all its richness, complexity and dynamism does so only at the risk of impoverishing it and even of distorting it". I would now like to share my concerns about the social dimension of evangelization, precisely because if this dimension is not properly brought out, there is a constant risk of distorting the authentic and integral meaning of the mission of evangelization.
      The kerygma has a clear social content: at the very heart of the Gospel is life in community and engagement with others. The content of the first proclamation has an immediate moral implication centered on charity.
    Please do not forget that you could be using for a short prayer each day - it really is reflective and has great pictures. I will add it to my prayer resources on the right side of this blog.


            Wednesday, February 19, 2014

            God's word nourishes us

            I am more and more convinced that we need to live our lives centered on Jesus; then it is His love that we give to others. We will be compassionate and forgiving and able to bring God to others.
            This blog is for February 19 so why did it appear on the 15th? One of the many mysteries of my blog!!
            Here is a bit more of "The Joy of the Gospel":

            The sacred Scriptures are the very source of evangelization. Consequently, we need to be constantly trained in hearing the word. The Church does not evangelize unless she constantly lets herself be evangelized. It is indispensable that the word of God "be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity". God’s word, listened to and celebrated, above all in the Eucharist, nourishes and inwardly strengthens Christians, enabling them to offer an authentic witness to the Gospel in daily life. We have long since moved beyond that old contraposition between word and sacrament. The preaching of the word, living and effective, prepares for the reception of the sacrament, and in the sacrament that word attains its maximum efficacy.

            175. The study of the sacred Scriptures must be a door opened to every believer. It is essential that the revealed word radically enrich our catechesis and all our efforts to pass on the faith. Evangelization demands familiarity with God’s word, which calls for dioceses, parishes and Catholic associations to provide for a serious, ongoing study of the Bible, while encouraging its prayerful individual and communal
             reading. We do not blindly seek God, or wait for him to speak to us first, for "God has already spoken, and there is nothing further that we need to know, which has not been revealed to us". Let us receive the sublime treasure of the revealed word.


            Since I am going away on Friday, here is a great source that you might want to look at for prayer each day:


            Tuesday, February 18, 2014

            Spiritual Accompaniment

            More from The Joy of the Gospel-Please remember that the bold is what I want to highlight"

            One who accompanies others has to realize that each person’s situation before God and their life in grace are mysteries which no one can fully know from without. The Gospel tells us to correct others and to help them to grow on the basis of a recognition of the objective evil of their actions (cf. Mt 18:15), but without making
            judgments about their responsibility and culpability (cf. Mt 7:1; Lk 6:37). Someone good at such accompaniment does not give in to frustrations or fears. He or she invites others to let themselves be healed, to take up their mat, embrace the cross, leave all behind and go forth ever anew to proclaim the Gospel. Our personal experience of being accompanied and assisted, and of openness to those who accompany us, will teach us to be patient and compassionate with others, and to find the right way to gain their trust, their openness and their readiness to grow.
            Genuine spiritual accompaniment always begins and flourishes in the context of service to the mission of evangelization. Paul’s relationship with Timothy and Titus provides an example of this accompaniment and formation which takes place in the midst of apostolic activity. Entrusting them with the mission of remaining in each city to "put in order what remains to be done" (Tit 1:5; cf. 1 Tim 1:3-5), Paul also gives them rules for their personal lives and their pastoral activity. This is clearly distinct from every kind of intrusive accompaniment or isolated self-realization. Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples.

            I, Helen now speaking, have always found that accompaniment is a grace and it is also a great grace to be able to accompany others. I have had some great spiritual directors and urge others to look for one or to find a spiritual companion.

            Monday, February 17, 2014

            The 'art of accompaniment"

            What does the Pope say about "the art of accompaniment" in "The Joy of the Gospel"?

            Personal accompaniment in processes of growth
            1. In a culture paradoxically suffering from anonymity and at the same time obsessed with the details of other people’s lives, shamelessly given over to morbid curiosity, the Church must look more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary. In our world, ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this "art of accompaniment" which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates and encourages growth in the Christian life.
              170. Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. Some people think they are free if they can avoid God; they fail to see that they remain existentially orphaned, helpless, homeless. They cease being pilgrims and become drifters, flitting around themselves and never getting anywhere. To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father.
              171. Today more than ever we need men and women who, on the basis of their experience of accompanying others, are familiar with processes which call for prudence, understanding, patience and docility to the Spirit, so that they can protect the sheep from wolves who would scatter the flock. We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful
              and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to God’s love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives.
            2. Our new formation booklet is strong on our having accompaniment and also of our accompanying others. I find I am doing more of this by e-mail than ever before. I also belong to a couple of groups where we mutually accompany each other - sort of group spiritual direction, but I also have a spiritual director.

            Sunday, February 16, 2014

            Sunday Reflection

            Sunday is a day of rest, relaxation, and renewal. There is more time for prayer, reading, and just being. However, we need to make the day really God's Day or we will be working, washing, worrying, and miss the day of rest that God intended us to have. Now, so many people need to work on Sunday, but I hope at least some of them have one day a week that is possible, with planning, to make a day of rest.

            I do want to say something about the Sunday Gospel. However, when I read it I just thought of how important it is to have positive thoughts; to believe in others and see the good. We want others to see the good in us, but are we able to focus only on the good in others and see their best side? I think I need to try harder as I think critical thoughts are harmful.
            I also was reading one of the Pope's homilies and felt guilty when he said we should not watch the clock during Mass - it is God's time and each Mass is a theophany, a manifestation of God's glory.

             God is active and present in a special way in each Liturgy and I am one who is guilty of looking at my watch...

            Saturday, February 15, 2014

            I love this picture posted on facebook

            I would write more today, but have a difficulty because of the way I just copied and pasted the picture.

            I copied it and that is all you are getting from me today but I hope it is a great Valentine, even if a day late! Just reflect on the picture! We had a great reflection group on Thursday night and it has made me realize how important it is to give God's love to all.

            Friday, February 14, 2014

            Happy Valentine's Day

            This is always a special day and I mean to spend extra time with the Lord as this is a day for expressing love. I will also be thinking of the Valentine's Day in 1960 when I landed in Chile and was driven to the old convent and school in Santiago. Reverend Mother DuRousier had made the first foundation in Chile in 1854 and had moved the community into this huge place that actually had thirteen patios. An enormous cedar in one of them had been planted by her and the Community gathered in summer beneath its shade for recreation. Of course, I did not know this when I arrived and only remember being faced with food the Sisters had kept hot for us; we had been fed several times since leaving Rome and I could not eat a bite. My companion, a Japanese Religious, to be polite sampled everything. As we did not speak Spanish, the conversation was difficult but I remember feeling very much at home in this huge place. It was quite warm and my tiny room had a curtain so the door was open onto one of the many galleries. The next day I discovered the little Chapel in the back of the convent where Mother du Rousier was buried. We spent the first days getting a "permanency" card that would enable us to remain in Chile for the rest of our lives for that is what missionaries did at that time. I remember feeling that I was a Valentine sent to Chile and that Chile was definitely my Valentine.

            Here is something from The Gospel of Joy or as I read in America: The Joy of the Gospel!! I like that better!

            Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are "disciples" and "missionaries", but rather that we are always "missionary disciples". If we are not convinced, let us look at those first disciples, who, immediately after encountering the gaze of Jesus, went forth to proclaim him joyfully: "We have found the Messiah!" (Jn 1:41). The Samaritan woman became a missionary immediately after speaking with Jesus and many Samaritans come to believe in him "because of the woman’s testimony" (Jn 4:39). So too, Saint Paul, after his encounter with Jesus Christ, "immediately proclaimed Jesus" (Acts 9:20; cf. 22:6-21). So what are we waiting for?

            Thursday, February 13, 2014

            What we should fear...

            This is a Chilean lamb! I guess I like it because it is a black sheep and apart from the flock. I know that Jesus is wanting to carry it home with tenderness.

            More from the Pope's Joyous Gospel:

            If something should rightly disturb us and trouble our consciences, it is the fact that so many of our brothers and sisters are living without the strength, light and consolation born of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith to support them, without meaning and a goal in life. More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us: "Give them something to eat" (Mk 6:37).        

            I am letting you do your own reflection - in the Society of the Sacred Heart, we are in a process of examining the way we want to restructure our Province and I guess the above has something to say to us about going out to give God's love, opening ourselves and our communities to others and not holding on to past structures if we need to organize ourselves differently.

            Wednesday, February 12, 2014

            To Whom Should We Go?

            This is another picture from Chile. My years there have such wonderful memories and just spending a day with a professor from Chile made me realize that I have been so enriched by so many there and all the ways I experienced God during those twenty years. I also found myself thinking in Spanish again! However, I am actually struggling to translate Lucile Mathevon's letters written in the first half of the 19th century in French. I had to borrow a huge dictionary as the small ones do not contain the words I need.

            Well, here we are again with the Gospel of Joy: (Again, the bold is mine!)

            If the whole Church takes up this missionary impulse, she has to go forth to everyone without exception. But to whom should she go first? When we read the Gospel we find a clear indication: not so much our friends and wealthy neighbors, but above all the poor and the sick, those who are usually despised and overlooked, "those who cannot repay you" (Lk 14:14). There can be no room for doubt or for explanations which weaken so clear a message. Today and always, "the poor are the privileged recipients of the Gospel",52 and the fact that it is freely preached to them is a sign of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish. We have to state, without mincing words, that there is an inseparable bond between our faith and the poor. May we never abandon them.

            49. Let us go forth, then, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ. Here I repeat for the entire Church what I have often said to the priests and laity of Buenos Aires: I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.

            Tuesday, February 11, 2014

            Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

            One time, after giving the thirty-day retreat to priests and other Religious at Manresa in Spain, I drove through the mountains to Lourdes. I was there for Pentecost and still remember how impressed I was with the great crowd of people who showed such faith. The people impressed me but not the many shops selling souvenirs. Fortunately, this was done away from the shrine. It was a long time ago, but I still remember the atmosphere and the Mass that was said on the eve of Pentecost.

            To continue with the Pope's Gospel of Joy - (in Spanish, so I was informed, they say "The Joyous Gospel") - I need time to grasp the many, many things that the Pope says and that are true to the Gospel but hard to reconcile with what I see being taught and lived especially in some of the ones who are Catholics in front of the public - some Bishops, priests, theology professors, etc. I guess instead of copying more today I will just pray that we all begin to live what Jesus came to teach us and the Holy Father is trying to show us how to do this today!

            Monday, February 10, 2014

            Love creates equality...

            This is a picture of a mountaintop in Chile. Sometimes I forget how really beautiful that country is and it helps to look at a picture. I arrived in Chile on Valentine's Day in 1960; at that time we went as missionaries to other countries for life. I had a wonderful twenty years, but know it was difficult for my parents to have me so far away.

            I have the entire message of the Pope for Lent and think I am posting it for those who will at least skim it; I find that he makes me reflect on my own values and ways of acting. I will put a few things that strike me in bold:

            “Dear Brothers and Sisters,
            As Lent draws near, I would like to offer some helpful thoughts on our path of conversion as individuals and as a community. These insights are inspired by the words of Saint Paul: 'For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich'. The Apostle was writing to the Christians of Corinth to encourage them to be generous in helping the faithful in Jerusalem who were in need. What do these words of Saint Paul mean for us Christians today? What does this invitation to poverty, a life of evangelical poverty, mean to us today?
            Christ’s grace
            First of all, it shows us how God works. He does not reveal himself cloaked in worldly power and wealth but rather in weakness and poverty: 'though He was rich, yet for your sake he became poor …'. Christ, the eternal Son of God, one with the Father in power and glory, chose to be poor; he came amongst us and drew near to each of us; he set aside his glory and emptied himself so that he could be like us in all things. God’s becoming man is a great mystery! But the reason for all this is his love, a love which is grace, generosity, a desire to draw near, a love which does not hesitate to offer itself in sacrifice for the beloved. Charity, love, is sharing with the one we love in all things. Love makes us similar, it creates equality, it breaks down walls and eliminates distances. God did this with us. Indeed, Jesus 'worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he truly became one of us, like us in all things except sin'.
            By making himself poor, Jesus did not seek poverty for its own sake but, as Saint Paul says 'that by his poverty you might become rich'. This is no mere play on words or a catch phrase. Rather, it sums up God’s logic, the logic of love, the logic of the incarnation and the cross. God did not let our salvation drop down from heaven, like someone who gives alms from their abundance out of a sense of altruism and piety. Christ’s love is different! When Jesus stepped into the waters of the Jordan and was baptised by John the Baptist, he did so not because he was in need of repentance, or conversion; he did it to be among people who need forgiveness, among us sinners, and to take upon himself the burden of our sins. In this way he chose to comfort us, to save us, to free us from our misery. It is striking that the Apostle states that we were set free, not by Christ’s riches but by his poverty. Yet Saint Paul is well aware of the 'the unsearchable riches of Christ', that he is 'heir of all things'.
            So what is this poverty by which Christ frees us and enriches us? It is his way of loving us, his way of being our neighbour, just as the Good Samaritan was neighbour to the man left half dead by the side of the road. What gives us true freedom, true salvation and true happiness is the compassion, tenderness and solidarity of his love. Christ’s poverty which enriches us is his taking flesh and bearing our weaknesses and sins as an expression of God’s infinite mercy to us. Christ’s poverty is the greatest treasure of all: Jesus wealth is that of his boundless confidence in God the Father, his constant trust, his desire always and only to do the Father’s will and give glory to him. Jesus is rich in the same way as a child who feels loved and who loves its parents, without doubting their love and tenderness for an instant. Jesus’ wealth lies in his being the Son; his unique relationship with the Father is the sovereign prerogative of this Messiah who is poor. When Jesus asks us to take up his 'yoke which is easy', he asks us to be enriched by his 'poverty which is rich' and his 'richness which is poor', to share his filial and fraternal Spirit, to become sons and daughters in the Son, brothers and sisters in the first-born brother.
            It has been said that the only real regret lies in not being a saint (L. Bloy); we could also say that there is only one real kind of poverty: not living as children of God and brothers and sisters of Christ.
            Our witness
            We might think that this 'way' of poverty was Jesus’ way, whereas we who come after him can save the world with the right kind of human resources. This is not the case. In every time and place God continues to save mankind and the world through the poverty of Christ, who makes himself poor in the sacraments, in his word and in his Church, which is a people of the poor. God’s wealth passes not through our wealth, but invariably and exclusively through our personal and communal poverty, enlivened by the Spirit of Christ.
            In imitation of our Master, we Christians are called to confront the poverty of our brothers and sisters, to touch it, to make it our own and to take practical steps to alleviate it. Destitution is not the same as poverty: destitution is poverty without faith, without support, without hope. There are three types of destitution: material, moral and spiritual. Material destitution is what is normally called poverty, and affects those living in conditions opposed to human dignity: those who lack basic rights and needs such as food, water, hygiene, work and the opportunity to develop and grow culturally. In response to this destitution, the Church offers her help, her diakonia, in meeting these needs and binding these wounds which disfigure the face of humanity. In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.
            No less a concern is moral destitution, which consists in slavery to vice and sin. How much pain is caused in families because one of their members – often a young person - is in thrall to alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography! How many people no longer see meaning in life or prospects for the future, how many have lost hope! And how many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care. In such cases, moral destitution can be considered impending suicide. This type of destitution, which also causes financial ruin, is invariably linked to the spiritual destitution which we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love. If we think we don’t need God who reaches out to us though Christ, because we believe we can make do on our own, we are headed for a fall. God alone can truly save and free us.
            The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution: wherever we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our sinfulness, that he freely loves us at all times and that we were made for communion and eternal life. The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness. It means following and imitating Jesus, who sought out the poor and sinners as a shepherd lovingly seeks his lost sheep. In union with Jesus, we can courageously open up new paths of evangelisation and human promotion.
            Dear brothers and sisters, may this Lenten season find the whole Church ready to bear witness to all those who live in material, moral and spiritual destitution the Gospel message of the merciful love of God our Father, who is ready to embrace everyone in Christ. We can so this to the extent that we imitate Christ who became poor and enriched us by his poverty. Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.
            May the Holy Spirit, through whom we are 'as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything', sustain us in our resolutions and increase our concern and responsibility for human destitution, so that we can become merciful and act with mercy. In expressing this hope, I likewise pray that each individual member of the faithful and every Church community will undertake a fruitful Lenten journey. I ask all of you to pray for me. May the Lord bless you and Our Lady keep you safe”.

            Sunday, February 9, 2014

            Sunday Prayer for our World

            Do you make Sunday special? Maybe it is just a late sleep or a big breakfast, or maybe you and I are really conscious that this is God's Day and a real gift to us. We are to slow down and try to focus on what really matters. Since I am convinced that we have a real responsibility to pray for our world, Sunday is a good day to reflect what I am doing to make it a better place. Am I furthering the Reign of God in this world of ours by what I do and do not do? Really, what I think and do are important and do make a difference.

            We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world... Here is a bit from a commentary for this Sunday:
            Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16

            The band of disciples, the nucleus of the future Church, is described under three metaphors: salt, a city on a hill, and a light in the world. The passage concludes with the well-known exhortation especially familiar to Anglicans as the first of Cranmer’s invariable offertory sentences and so constantly heard Sunday by Sunday for three centuries: “Let your light shine before men.”

            The Sermon on the Mount does not say that the disciples are to become the salt, that they are to become like a city on a hill or make themselves a light amid the darkness of the world. They are all those things, and that because Jesus has called them and they have responded. Rather, they are expected to manifest what they are: “Let your light so shine before men.”

            How is this done? By good works. Reginald H. Fuller

             (You can read more by going to the Concord Pastor's Blog, clicking on the Bible and choosing Fuller's commentary.)

            Saturday, February 8, 2014

            Day of Retreat

            Exactly 54 years ago today I made my final profession in Rome and was sent directly from Rome to Chile. I still marvel at the way the Holy Spirit works. I arrived on Valentine's Day without knowing any Spanish, but I did have what I thought would be the best phrase to learn written out by one of the Spanish Sisters for me - it was how to ask for my superior's blessing!

            I am making a day of retreat at St. Thomas University given by Lawrence Freeman - I am delighted to be able to be there for this anniversary which I always celebrate. Actually, I entered 64 years ago this June but final profession after a year in Rome was such a grace, especially as I had almost six months at the Trinita before the months at the Mother House.

            The Pope has come out with a new message to prepare us for Lent. In it he talks about how Christ became poor to enrich us; he also speaks of the poverty that is really destitution: material, moral, and spiritual destitution are the three he explains. I will need to reread this message and pray over it. I am sorry I do not have it in front of me now. I will no doubt share it with all of you as it is something we should read and not too long.

            What a wonderful life I have had and how grateful I am!!

            Friday, February 7, 2014

            First Friday

            Next First Friday we will be in Lent! I find that time flies. I am finding more and more to be grateful for as I write my Journal each day. Sometimes it is just feeling a nudge from the Holy Spirit to do or not do something. I still have the strong push to continue with excerpts from the Pope's Gospel of Joy as it is such an important document and we should take the time to read and think about it - the problem is that this document is long and so I shall just keep trying to select what we all should take time to reflect upon. (I do not know who gets into my blog to underline, but I do not use any underlining nor a different color.)

            The Holy Father says:   (The bold is my emphasis)         "I  
            want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best. A small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties. Everyone needs to be touched by the comfort and attraction of God’s saving love, which is mysteriously at work in each person, above and beyond their faults and failings.


            A Church which "goes forth" is a Church whose doors are open. Going out to others in order to reach the fringes of humanity does not mean rushing out aimlessly into the world. Often it is better simply to slow down, to put aside our eagerness in order to see and listen to others, to stop rushing from one thing to another and to remain with someone who has faltered along the way. At times we have to be like the father of the prodigal son, who always keeps his door open so that when the son returns, he can readily pass through it.
              The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door. There are other doors that should not be closed either. Everyone can share in some way in the life of the Church; everyone can be part of the community, nor should the doors of the sacraments be closed for simply any reason. This is especially true of the sacrament which is itself "the door": baptism. The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.51 These convictions have pastoral consequences that we are called to consider with prudence and boldness. Frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators.


            Thursday, February 6, 2014

            We should not be afraid to examine customs that no longer serve to communicate the Gospel...

            I am skipping a bit but want to continue with The Gospel of Joy as it is something so precious and full of wisdom for us to reflect upon: (The italics are mine!)

            In her ongoing discernment, the Church can also come to see that certain customs not directly connected to the heart of the Gospel, even some which have deep historical roots, are no longer properly understood and appreciated. Some of these customs may be beautiful, but they no longer serve as means of communicating the Gospel. We should not be afraid to re-examine them. At the same time, the Church has rules or precepts which may have been quite effective in their time, but no longer have the same usefulness for directing and shaping people’s lives. Saint Thomas Aquinas pointed out that the precepts which Christ and the apostles gave to the people of God “are very few”. Citing Saint Augustine, he noted that the precepts subsequently enjoined by the Church should be insisted upon with moderation “so as not to burden the lives of the faithful” and make our religion a form of servitude, whereas “God’s mercy has willed that we should be free”. This warning, issued many centuries ago, is most timely today."

            I guess there is much to reflect on in the above. I think this can apply to our own lives as well as to the Church.

            Wednesday, February 5, 2014

            Computer is fixed; we had a virus so it is good that we were able to take care of this before it infected our websites. Now I am spending most of the day with a professor from Chile. We will have a tour of Carrollton, our school, and then go to lunch. I am looking forward to meeting her and getting news of Chile.
            One of my community came home from Rome yesterday and that was a joy! Here is something for your inspiration today:

            Look back and thank God.Look forward and trust God.
            Look around and serve God.
            Look within and find God!

            I will be back on tomorrow and try to have time to engage in some good reflections.

            Tuesday, February 4, 2014

            Missing Day but blame computer!

            today I am posting from my I-Pad, at least I hope I am able to post! My head is empty this morning so will just add a word from Mother Stuart:
            In prayer it is often the very best just to leave yourself face to face with God without saying anything."

            Sunday, February 2, 2014

            Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

            Running water always speaks to me. This Sunday's Readings  for the Feast of the Purification - the Feast forty days after Christmas when Mary and Joseph, to fulfill the Law, took Jesus to be presented in the Temple and Mary had to present herself for the Jewish rite of purification. Two people recognize the Infant Jesus; both of them are persons of prayer. They are often there in the Temple and now are able to recognize the Savior of the world in this tiny child.

            I was struck by the Psalm chosen for this Liturgy:

            Responsorial Psalm ps 24:7, 8, 9, 10

            R. (8) Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
            Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
            reach up, you ancient portals,
            that the king of glory may come in!
            R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
            Who is this king of glory?
            The LORD, strong and mighty,
            the LORD, mighty in battle.
            R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
            Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
            reach up, you ancient portals,
            that the king of glory may come in!
            R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
            Who is this king of glory?
            The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
            R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
             I guess one of the reasons that I kept thinking about this Psalm was that I read about a homily the Pope had given about the prayer of praise and how we need to cultivate this prayer and dance for joy. He spoke of the Gloria and the Sanctus at the Mass as being prayers of praise and do we really enter into these prayers praising God?

            Saturday, February 1, 2014

            The integrity of the Gospel message

            How do I read the Gospel? Do I tend to pick and choose and maybe ignore some hard sayings?

            We continue to look at the "Gospel of Joy":

            It is important to draw out the pastoral consequences of the Council’s teaching, which reflects an ancient conviction of the Church. First, it needs to be said that in preaching the Gospel a fitting sense of proportion has to be maintained. This would be seen in the frequency with which certain themes are brought up and in the emphasis given to them in preaching. For example, if in the course of the liturgical year a parish priest speaks about temperance ten times but only mentions charity or justice two or three times, an imbalance results, and precisely those virtues which ought to be most present in preaching and catechesis are overlooked. The same thing happens when we speak more about law than about grace, more about the Church than about Christ, more about the Pope than about God’s word.

            39. Just as the organic unity existing among the virtues means that no one of them can be excluded from the Christian ideal, so no truth may be denied. The integrity of the Gospel message must not be deformed. What is more, each truth is better understood when related to the harmonious totality of the Christian message; in this context all of the truths are important and illumine one another.
            Here is one of the prayers I love (copied from the Concord Pastor's blog) but has been a favorite of mine for many years:

            O Lord, teach my heart
               where and how to seek you,
               where and how to find you..

            You are my God,
            you are my all -
               and yet I've never seen you...

            You made me and you've remade me,
               you've bestowed on me
               every good thing I possess -
            and still I do not know you
               and have yet to do
               that for which you made me...

            Teach me to seek you, Lord,
            for I cannot seek you
               unless you teach me
            or find you
               unless you show yourself to me...

            Let me seek you in my desire
               and let me desire you in my seeking...

            Let me find you by loving you
               and let me love you when I find you...

            - from St. Anselm  1033-1109
            A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury
            O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
            where and how to find you…
            You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
            You have made me and remade me,
            You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
            Still I do not know you…
            I have not yet done that for which I was made….
            Teach me to seek you…
            I cannot seek you unless you teach me
            or find you unless you show yourself to me.
            Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
            Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.
            - See more at:
            A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury
            O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
            where and how to find you…
            You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
            You have made me and remade me,
            You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
            Still I do not know you…
            I have not yet done that for which I was made….
            Teach me to seek you…
            I cannot seek you unless you teach me
            or find you unless you show yourself to me.
            Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
            Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.
            - See more at:

            A Prayer from Anselm of Canterbury
            O my God teach my heart where and how to seek you,
            where and how to find you…
            You are my God and you are my All and I have never seen you.
            You have made me and remade me,
            You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
            Still I do not know you…
            I have not yet done that for which I was made….
            Teach me to seek you…
            I cannot seek you unless you teach me
            or find you unless you show yourself to me.
            Let me seek you in my desire, let me desire you in my seeking.
            Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you.
            - See more at: