Search This Blog

Monday, March 31, 2014

How Great our God Is

I had a wonderful week end in Vero Beach. It was like a mini vacation and certainly I came home renewed in body and soul. I drove up early Saturday morning and had time for an hour of prayer before the marriage ceremony which was so simple and lovely. It was the first time I met the groom but found him super nice and worthy of my dear friend.
After the wedding I went to friends that I used to think of as my sisters' friends but after this week end they are really my friends, too. They could not have been more welcoming and I just had a great time with them. We talked all Saturday afternoon, went out to a special place for dinner and we also had a thunder storm so the ocean was choppy and grey but Sunday morning it was blue and calm and the weather was perfect. After a sumptuous breakfast I left with a delicious lunch packed for me - talk about being spoiled!!! I was going to go to Mass on the way out of Vero Beach and, although a good twenty minutes early, found cars fighting to get into the parking lot. The Holy Spirit inspired me to remember the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lantana so I just kept going, hoping they still had a noon Mass. I arrived there by 11:30 and saw cars leaving the parking lot but others entering. I grabbed a place in the shade and went into the Church where there was a lovely half hour of prayer before the noon Mass. Then I remembered a little park on the waterway where boats also go through to the ocean and so went there to eat my picnic lunch. Home by 3:00 to welcome one of the Provincial Team and then we had an area meeting so it was a lovely day and I am most grateful. It is a joyful Sunday anyway and I was glad to see the pink vestment the priest only wears twice a year: for Gaudete Sunday in Advent and for this Sunday in Lent.
To look at the ocean reminds me of the greatness of God.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


I am driving home today so I am not writing much in my blog but we can all ask Jesus to cure our blindness. Sometimes we do not see the good in our neighbors; we do not see the little things we can do to please someone; we miss opportunities to do good. Lord, give us light!

One thing that impressed me again about the Sunday Gospel is how Jesus treats the blind man contrasted with the treatment he receives from the Pharisees and others who shunned him as a sinner. Jesus only wants to help him. When, after having his sight restored, the man is still thrown out, it is Jesus who seeks him. Jesus is always searching for those who are outside, those who are shunned, ignored, blamed; Jesus is always the Good Shepherd and seeks those who are lost, wandering away, and then he carries them home with tenderness!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I am reflecting on a question found under the Lenten Reflections for March 24 on our Province webpage. Consider: How does my thirsting for God quench my thirst and hunger for a deeper interior life? What needs to be nurtured now? What has stayed with me is the question: What needs to be nurtured now for a deeper interior life? I think, for me, it is mindfulness. I find myself not living aware of the present moment; my mind wanders, even during Mass. I do things while thinking of other things and then I am really not sensitive to the constant presence of Jesus in my life. Well, I shall no doubt keep thinking of this while I absentmindedly do the next chore.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jesus is the Light of the World

Tomorrow I drive to Vero Beach for the wedding of a dear friend, former student and colleague. As I will be staying until Sunday with wonderful friends in Vero, I just want to say that I am scheduling ahead and hope the Holy Spirit is inspiring me. There is a wonderful part in The Joy of the Gospel that speaks of the Holy Spirit. I will see if I can find it for tomorrow. Today I am just thinking about next Sunday's Gospel. I want to share this commentary with you: (The Gospel is the Man Born Blind in John's Gospel who is cured by Jesus)

But what is particularly interesting in the context of the Gospel story of the “man born blind” is Jesus’ announcement, “I am the light of the world,” which is found in both the eighth and ninth chapters.
The healed man was in physical darkness from birth. The sight Jesus gave him not only allowed him to see the world, but to embrace his healer in faith.

More damaging than the man’s organic lack of vision was the spiritual blindness of his neighbors and the Pharisees. They had eyes but could not see the truth. Some of them could not even accept that the cure was real, even though the man said, “I’m the one all right.”

The Pharisees first reject the grace of healing under the pretext that it was done on the Sabbath. Surely good cannot come from that. Then they entertain the possibility that the poor fellow was never really blind. Even the testimony of the parents cannot convince them.

The Pharisees insist that the man deny the very gift of the sight he has been given and renounce the giver. But since he assures them that Christ must be from God, they expel him from their premises. “You are steeped in sin from your birth, and you are giving us lectures?”

When Jesus seeks out the man and receives his profession of faith, he utters the paradox that the sightless see and those who think they see are really in the darkness of sin.

The Fourth Gospel’s stark contrast of appearances and reality, true and erroneous opinion, light and darkness, is often seen as a result of Greek and Gnostic influences. But such contrasts are not limited to this Gospel, nor are they a theme of the Greeks alone.

We know that in the selection of David as king, the Lord told Samuel not to judge by mere appearances or by any other human standard, for God sees differently than mere humans. Paul calls his Ephesians children of a “light” that produces every kind of goodness, justice, and truth. Christ himself embodies the promise of the psalm: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”

The story of the blind man does, however, ring a bell for anyone who has ever read “The Myth of the Cave” in Plato’s Republic. There we find a story of all humanity chained in a darkened cave throughout life.

These captives can see nothing but flickering images on a wall—shadows, appearances, illusions—which they take for reality. One prisoner, liberated from the chains, makes the arduous crawl upward to the world of the shining sun.

When he returns to the cave with his tales of the new-found source of light and the life and warmth it gives, the prisoners think him crazy. They simply deny his experience. It just can’t be. The chains and the amusing images on the wall are reality. Thus his conversion is ridiculed; his invitation is resisted.

This is how the Greek Plato describes the intellectual assent of the soul to truth. To contemplate divine life is to find freedom; but it is also to encounter opposition from “the evil state of man, misbehaving in a ridiculous manner, arguing over shadows and images.”

Clearly there are parallels between the Platonic myth of the cave and the story of the man born blind. Each figure is given new sight. Each is rejected by the inhabitants of the old world. And even the so-called wise authorities would rather cling to their chains and discuss the shadows than embark on the journey of faith.

As opposed to Plato, however, for whom the sun was the absolute form of good, the light the blind man of the gospels saw revealed not merely an unchanging and perfect world of ideas, but the face of the Son of God.

In the light of his life, those who have embraced the vision have encountered the ultimate reality: not pure being or absolute form, but an eternal community of persons in relationship. The “I am” indeed gives light and life. Far more wonderfully, our God gives and receives love.

The words of the old hymn “Amazing Grace” remind all of is who know that, once blind, we now see:

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.

John Kavanaugh, S. J.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Take time to smell the flowers...

We rush around so much to see how much we can get done so then we can stop and do nothing! It is better to take each moment and enjoy it. Some seem to question why I am loving retirement as they cannot imagine themselves without a job. The truth is, retirement does not mean that one does less; it only means that one chooses what and when to do things. I seem to be busy every single day and always have things that I should do and others that I want to do, if I get the time to do them. I enjoy the freedom of putting off work without feeling guilty. What does not get done today, may or may not get done tomorrow. I spend more time on relationships, more time in prayer, more time doing things around the house that I was not home to see about before and now I find I enjoy every minute of the day. I do not watch TV (Downton Abbey excepted) and so have more time to read and I enjoy all kinds of reading.

How is Lent going for you? I have been faithful to the gym and to noon Mass, but cannot say I have done much in the way of writing. Please keep praying for that!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Thoughts on Prayer

Prayer is the expression of our relationship with God, especially with Jesus and Mary and the saints. Because we are unique, our relationship is also unique. There is no one way to pray. I firmly believe that the best way to pray is the way you pray best. You pray as you can, not as you can't. I love this from Thomas Merton: "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun."
I do believe that prayer changes as we change. I do not think and act the same way I did as a child so why would my prayer not change, too? That does not mean that the prayers I said as a child are less valuable, but maybe it is more like a married couple who simplify their conversation as each knows what the other is thinking just by looking at each other and words are not needed. That seems to happen to many with Jesus. He does not need our words but only our presence. And do remember that it is always an amazing grace that Jesus chooses to be with each of us, to sit with us when we pray.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Feast of the Annunciation

I seem to have two pictures today and both can remind me of the Annunciation as I have a great imagination. I am thinking of the Angel coming to Mary and how she so simply was able to say "Be it done unto me according to thy word." I wonder what really happened that made Mary able to say her yes to the most startling message of the Angel Gabriel. It tells me much about Mary and I think this is one mystery of the rosary that we never get tired of meditating on or rather just kneeling with Mary in awe that God has asked her to be the Mother of His Son who is becoming incarnate for love of us!
Let us spend the day with Mary and ask for the grace to always say yes to whatever God asks of us1

Monday, March 24, 2014

Walking with Jesus

Jesus did a great deal of walking. He did not have a car, a bike, a skateboard, or motorcycle; he walked. In Miami I seldom walk except to the car, or around the house, or from a parking lot to the gym or church, etc. Still, I had a spiritual director who advocated having a walking prayer and it has helped me so much. I must confess that I remember to say it more when I am driving in the car so in my case it might be a "driving prayer" but I do like to have an ejaculation that I repeat as I go through the day. It is not always the same and it just seems to come naturally. "Come, Lord Jesus, be with me now;" "Jesus, Jesus, be to me a Jesus"; Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart. These are some of the walking-driving prayers I use.
One of the most contemplative moments for me has been making my bed early each morning before I begin the hour of meditation that is sacred time. I met a former student on Thursday, a wonderful preacher and pastor that took a post-master's program in Spirituality back in 1988. He told me that he had just been talking about me as he gets up and prays at 4:30 each morning and says that I inspired him to do this. Well, that made my day to know that he has been so faithful to prayer each morning. The above picture leads me into prayer now and I hope you all are making an effort to spend some time with Jesus each day. He waits for us.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Third Sunday of Lent

The Samaritan woman comes to the well and finds Jesus waiting for her. How often we are just doing some routine, daily chore and find that Jesus is waiting for us. He asks us to give him a drink or whatever it is that He has been waiting to ask us. He wants to enter into a real conversation with us and sometimes we are so busy and concerned with our own interests that we do not even realize that Jesus has been waiting for us; He wants to talk with us!
May we find time for a good conversation with Jesus today. Maybe I am being nudged by Jesus to think about what I told Him I was going to do for Lent and how often I would seek His help to keep my resolutions. He knows all that I have done and not done and just wants me to stop, be still, and sit with Him.
As I read in the reflection for this Sunday: "On this mid-Lent day, we the baptized, the candidates, the catechumens, pray to hear, not the call to discipleship, that will come; but first, grace, not as an offered gift but as a simple request to give him a drink, give him what is most us - our emptiness. For that is all he ever waited for and wanted."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday is such a gift

Today is Saturday and we all enjoy Saturday in my community. Some sleep later, many just take time to read, get rid of mail that piles up during the week for those that are at work every week day; I just like the leisure we all feel and then the evening Mass. Tonight there is a concert at the seminary so I hope some of us go. We also have a house-guest which makes the week end special.
Now for something a bit more spiritual. I have been thinking of how Jesus revealed Himself with the Samaritan woman since this is the Gospel for the third Sunday of Lent. He was tired and thirsty and was sitting by the well waiting for this woman to come to draw water. He then asks her for a drink. Since Jewish men would not talk to a woman in public, especially an unknown Samaritan woman, she must have really been startled. However, she comes right back with a retort and so begins a fascinating dialogue between Jesus and this woman who He wants to not only convert but to have her become an evangelizer and go and call others. She seems struck by the fact that, as she tells people, Jesus has "told her all she has done." She knows that she is loved and also that she is known, forgiven, and befriended by one whom she now believes in with all her heart.
As I have often mentioned, as one of my theology professors used to say, "if you want to know the theology of a feast, go to the Preface." There is a special preface for the Third Sunday of Lent and it says:
"For when he asked the Samaritan woman for water to drink,
he had already created the gift of faith within her
and so ardently did he thirst for her faith,
that he kindled in her the fire of divine love."

Let us thank Jesus for the gift of faith and beg Him to kindle in our hearts the fire of His Love that will make us go out and invite others to come to Christ, the one who knows everything we have done and still loves us unconditionally!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Arrives with Welcome

It is really frustrating to write this blog on my I -pad but our computer is saying that we have no network connection and we are so helpless waiting for the man who bought and installed our new computer to return!!
I am rejoicing in the first day of Spring - almost every single day is beautiful in Miami and we have almost perfect temperatures all winter but now the trees have new leaves! We are always green but there is a moment when new life just pushes the old leaves away and the swimming pools are again ready with the sun warming the water so brave souls plunge in- the first swim for many of us since last October or early November. We have been aware of the cold, the ice, the snow, the loss of power, even frostbite that winter has brought to our northern friends. Now we can rejoice as the weather begins to change. Spring fever is spreading both energy and joy! 
Today I read next Sunday's Gospel in parts with my faith-sharing group. It is about Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. Is Jesus asking me for a drink or am I asking Him for living water?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Books

Yesterday's mail brought me five new books to read! I am going to share the titles with you now, but will not add a book to my list on the right side of the blog until I have read it. As I am actually trying again to work on the Life of Lucile Mathevon, I guess these books will take me weeks to read. However, one that came from the Provincial House and is the life of one of our nuns who became a great friend when we were sharing the same little apartment in the Grove Community in Miami, will no doubt be finished before tonight. It is called, "Faithful Friend, Ursula McAghon, RSCJ and Jan Dunn has done a great job in writing her life. She was a wonderful religious and I felt so honored to have her as a special friend for the years she was here in Miami. She was one who taught by example! I also made a directed retreat with her and had a last visit with her just weeks before her death.
The other books are James Martin's "Jesus:A Pilgrimage"; Ilia Delio's "From Teilhard to Omega: Creating An Unfinished Universe"; Michael Gaitley, MIC's "Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself-Retreat Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius"; and then a printed copy of "The Joy of the Gospel" so I can really study what Pope Francis is saying. I have had it on the computer since it came out last December, but it is something to have the copy in my hands. Now I shall practice austerity and not buy any more books at least for the rest of Lent!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Still on the mountain with Jesus

I love all the accounts of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It was such a special time for his three close friends. He had invited them to go up the mountain with him to pray. He wanted to strengthen them as he had begun to prepare them for his passion and death. I think that Jesus still invites us to have a glimpse of His Divinity to help us through the difficult moments when we will not feel His presence with us. I am grateful for this Gospel placed on the second Sunday of Lent. May I stay on the mountain with Jesus and then, as they did, look up and see only Jesus.

Here is a bit more from the Pope's The Joy of the Gospel:

  1. Solidarity is a spontaneous reaction by those who recognize that the social function of property and the universal destination of goods are realities which come before private property. The private ownership of goods is justified by the need to protect and increase them, so that they can better serve the common good; for this reason, solidarity must be lived as the decision to restore to the poor what belongs to them. These convictions and habits of solidarity, when they are put into practice, open the way to other structural transformations and make them possible

  1. Sometimes it is a matter of hearing the cry of entire peoples, the poorest peoples of the earth, since "peace is founded not only on respect for human rights, but also on respect for the rights of peoples".154 Sadly, even human rights can be used as a justification for an inordinate defense of individual rights or the rights of the richer peoples. With due respect for the autonomy and culture of every nation, we must never forget that the planet belongs to all mankind and is meant for all mankind; the mere fact that some people are born in places with fewer resources or less development does not justify the fact that they are living with less dignity. It must be reiterated that "the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others".155 To speak properly of our own rights, we need to broaden our perspective and to hear the plea of other peoples and other regions than those of our own country. We need to grow in a solidarity which "would allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny", since "every person is called to self-fulfillment."
There is much to reflect on as we seem to be living in an unjust world and so much needs to be changed. I still take the world to prayer, but wonder what more the Lord is asking me to do? I guess I need to come down from the mountain...

154 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 157.

155 Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Octogesima Adveniens (14 May 1971), 23:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Second Sunday of Lent

Today we get a glimpse of Jesus transfigured so that his garments are whiter than any and while Jesus is speaking with the great prophets, Peter, James, and John hear a voice telling them "This is my beloved Son; listen to Him." We are invited to go up the mountain with Jesus and be there to hear the same words. How am I listening to Jesus? The three disciples are really afraid; Jesus approaches them and touches them and tells them not to be afraid. He does the same for me. How often do I hear Jesus saying to me, "Do not be fearful?" I am to trust Him and believe in His Love and go with Him even to the cross. FEAR NOT" FOR HE IS WITH US ALWAYS!

Today is a day of prayer and preparation for St. Patrick's Day tomorrow. We actually celebrated on Saturday night with a St. Patrick's dinner and party with all the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the Miami Area.

I heard yesterday that one of the reasons that the Gospel of the Transfiguration is so important is that it is something that happened to Jesus - there are only five instances in the Gospels where Jesus has something happen to Him that is really out of the ordinary: his Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

You yourselves give them something to eat...

The ides of March and we are ten days into Lent. Time to go back and renew our resolutions!
More from the Pope's powerful Gospel of Joy:

The Church, guided by the Gospel of mercy and by love for mankind, hears the cry for justice and intends to respond to it with all her might".153 In this context we can understand Jesus’ command to his disciples: "You yourselves give them something to eat!" (Mk 6:37): it means working to eliminate the structural causes of poverty and to promote the integral development of the poor, as well as small daily acts of solidarity in meeting the real needs which we encounter. The word "solidarity" is a little worn and at times poorly understood, but it refers to something more than a few sporadic acts of generosity. It presumes the creation of a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.

Have I a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few?
I hope so, but what am I doing to change others to think in these terms?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Heed this plea

The cry of the poor is something that we must listen to and the Pope is certainly trying to get us all to realize that we must heed the cry of the poor. It takes all of us to make a real difference in our world.

Here we go with another excerpt from the Pope's The Joy of the Gospel:

  1. In what follows I intend to concentrate on two great issues which strike me as fundamental at this time in history. I will treat them more fully because I believe that they will shape the future of humanity. These issues are first, the inclusion of the poor in society, and second, peace and social dialogue.

II. The inclusion of the poor in society

  1. Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members

In union with God, we hear a plea
    Each individual Christian and every community is called to be an instrument of God for the liberation and promotion of the poor, and for enabling them to be fully a part of society. This demands that we be docile and attentive to the cry of the poor and to come to their aid. A mere glance at the Scriptures is enough to make us see how our gracious Father wants to hear the cry of the poor: "I have observed the misery of my I will send you..."
    I have not copied the entire quote, but I think it important that we hear this plea.
    The Pope continues

      If we, who are God’s means of hearing the poor, turn deaf ears to this plea, we oppose the Father’s will and his plan; that poor person "might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt" (Dt 15:9). A lack of solidarity towards his or her needs will directly affect our relationship with God: "For if in bitterness of soul he calls down a curse upon you, his Creator will hear his prayer" (Sir 4:6). The old question always returns: "How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods, and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?" (1 Jn 3:17). Let us recall also how bluntly the apostle James speaks of the cry of the oppressed: "The wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (5:4).
      1. The Church has realized that the need to heed this plea is itself born of the liberating action of grace within each of us, and thus it is not a question of a mission reserved only to a few...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lenten Reflections

Last night I had my spirituality group from Carrollton here as they wanted to continue deepening their spirituality after the Busy Persons' Retreat. They are a joy to be with and tonight my reflection group comes - not all 17 but I am expecting at least 14 counting my community so will make a big taco salad and they bring things, too. I love the picture with the quiet water and all so green. It reminds me of a phrase from the 1815 Constitutions: "the calmness of a soul who longs only for her God" (since I am quoting that from memory, it may be just the way I remember it but it comes from the paragraph on simplicity - one that makes us long only for God whom we wish to please...
If you are looking at the Lenten Reflections found on the Province website, be sure to click first on the "For Lent" button on the right and then click again on the date of the day to get the reflection. I did not realize that when giving instructions yesterday on how to find the daily Lenten reflection.

More from the Pope's Gospel of Joy:

An authentic faith – which is never comfortable or completely personal – always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it. We love this magnificent planet on which God has put us, and we love the human family which dwells here, with all its tragedies and struggles, its hopes and aspirations, its strengths and weaknesses. The earth is our common home and all of us are brothers and sisters. If indeed "the just ordering of society and of the state is a central responsibility of politics", the Church "cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice".

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Go out and proclaim the Good News!

I hope all my readers have discovered the Lenten reflections that are appearing on the Province website - link on the side. As my blog also appears on the website, I think many do look at it every day. There is a brown button on the right on the Province website that says "For Lent" so click on that and you will find a daily, short, reflection to nourish you. In the meantime, I am giving you excerpts from The Gospel of Joy:

  1. The kingdom, already present and growing in our midst, engages us at every level of our being and reminds us of the principle of discernment which Pope Paul VI applied to true development: it must be directed to "all men and the whole man".145 We know that "evangelization would not be complete if it did not take account of the unceasing interplay of the Gospel and of man’s concrete life, both personal and social".146 This is the principle of universality intrinsic to the Gospel, for the Father desires the salvation of every man and woman, and his saving plan consists in "gathering up all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph 1:10). Our mandate is to "go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation" (Mk 16:15), for "the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God" (Rom 8:19). Here, "the creation" refers to every aspect of human life; consequently, "the mission of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ has a universal destination. Its mandate of charity encompasses all dimensions of existence, all individuals, all areas of community life, and all peoples. Nothing human can be alien to it.
Am I going out to others? Is this blog a way to proclaim the Good News? Am I revealing Jesus to others by my love, my serving with joy?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To the extent that God reigns within us...


The Pope is in retreat this week with most of the members of the curia. They are in a retreat house outside of Rome and a Roman pastor was invited to preach twice a day during the retreat. Let us pray for them.

More from the Pope's "The Joy of the Gospel": (The bold is my emphasis!)

  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"

Monday, March 10, 2014

Am I Living Differently in Lent?

The house and my community both seem to have taken on a Lenten atmosphere which is very conducive to prayer. The week end has been quiet; I have only been out to Mass so tomorrow must go out and do all the errands at once. I began Lent with real enthusiasm but Ash Wednesday seems far away - how can I be so fickle? I must begin again and take one day at a time.

I love the Concord Pastor's blog and copied some of his Sunday post to share here with you. I do hope you read it all; just go to the link on my sidebar.

Got the ashes on Wednesday
   (or didn't)...

Know what I'm giving up for Lent
   (not really)...

Praying more each day
   (not so much)...

Setting coin aside to help the poor
   (wanna do that)...

Off to a great start
   (it's Lent already?)...

   it's five days into Lent
   and we're all in different places...

Some of us have run five laps,
   others are still looking for the start line...

Some of us do this really well
   and some of us have a hard time with it...

Help us all be modest in our goals...'

There is more so go read it, and above all do not be discouraged. The Lord loves a cheerful giver and we must just begin again each time we fail.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

First Sunday of Lent

The Gospel tells us that Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit where he fasted for forty days and was tempted. Jesus must have told his disciples about his experience in the wilderness and about his temptations. Having said that, we, too, need to be led by the Spirit during these forty days of Lent and reflect on the temptations that are part of our life as humans. We need to pray that we 'enter not into temptation".
I guess the temptations mentioned in the Gospel are the same today: we are tempted by riches, comfort, material possessions; we are tempted by vainglory, power and we are tempted by pride - Jesus came to teach us that blessed are the poor, the humble, the meek, and the merciful.

I am looking forward to a quiet day with some writing. I do have friends that appreciate some notes and I need to answer them and then get back to the book I say I want to write, but keep procrastinating!!

I continue to pray for our world and ask you to do the same.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

On the Road to Easter

Well, yesterday was First Friday and the Church was overflowing for the noon Mass. I left the gym and prayed for green lights as I knew I would have trouble finding a parking place. The lights were green and I found a space and arrived five minutes before the Mass; I have a nameless friend with a big, really lovely smile, who often keeps a place for me or I do the same for her as we like the second bench in from of the reader which is on the right side when you face the altar. Every other church has the readers on the left when you are facing the altar. Anyway, the Church was full of small children and at least ten altar boys! I think these children must be home-schooled as they show up on First Fridays when school is in session.
Well, my spiritual thought today is based on something I read in the morning yesterday and liked enough to copy it here for you:

It was under the title "Pope Took Late Confessor's Cross and comes from the Miami Herald Wire Services.

Pope Francis confessed that he took the rosary cross of his late confessor from his casket and wears it to this day in a fabric pouch under his cassock. He said he did so telling the late priest, "Give me half of your mercy."
Francis made the revelation during an informal chat with Roman priests about the need to be merciful to their flocks. He told the story of the "great confessor" of Buenos Aires who had heard confessions from most of the diocesan priests as well as from Pope John Paul II when he visited Argentina.
Francis said he kept the cross in his shirt pocket for years, but that the cassock he wears now as pope doesn't have a pocket. He now keeps it in a little pouch underneath.
"And whenever a bad thought comes to mind about someone, my hand goes here, always," he said, gesturing to his heart. "And I feel the grace, and that makes me feel better."

Don't you love this? I think the world would be different if we all tried to do something like this!

Friday, March 7, 2014

One of a flock...

The good thing about prayer is that each of us is unique and we have the undivided, complete, loving and understanding of Jesus who is always present to us. I love the image of the Good Shepherd and so often feel that I am picked up and carried in the arms of Jesus. I may of shared an experience that I had as a novice; we were making our morning meditation on the roof as it was mid-summer. The subject of my meditation was the Good Shepherd. Somehow I suddenly had such insight into the mercy of God that I have never doubted His Love and Mercy. It was a real grace and I also saw that my misery attracts His Mercy.

Now to return to reflection on some excerpts of the Pope's "The Joy of the Gospel":

  1. 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).

Friday of the First Week of Lent

Life is not always peaceful for so many. I was thinking of this coming Sunday's Gospel when Jesus is tempted. I suspect that Jesus told his apostles about the temptations to show us that this is part of our life but being tempted is not the same as giving in to the temptation. We always have the grace to resist, if we want it. Lent is a time to help us to reflect on the way temptation comes to us and to ask for the strength to resist. If we have made good resolutions, we are no doubt struggling to keep them. I think the need for prayer is evident- "pray that you do not enter into temptation" is one of those sayings impressed on me and I guess I am now reflecting on how I am tempted. Each one has her or his weak points and that is just where we are tempted.
Looking at the temptations of Jesus we see that He was tempted first with material things, comfort, and then vainglory and finally pride. What are my weakest points?

Here is something helpful from Thomas Merton for Lent:

"It is necessary that at the beginning of this fast, the Lord should show Himself to us in His mercy. The purpose of Lent is not only expiation, to satisfy the divine justice, but above all a preparation to rejoice in His love. And this preparation consists in receiving the gift of His mercy — a gift which we receive in so far as we open our hearts to it, casting out what cannot remain in the same room with mercy.
Now one of the things we must cast out first of all is fear. Fear narrows the little entrance of our heart. It shrinks up our capacity to love. It freezes up our power to give ourselves. If we were terrified of God as an inexorable judge, we would not confidently await His mercy, or approach Him trustfully in prayer. Our peace, our joy in Lent are a guarantee of grace.
In laying upon us the light cross of ashes, the Church desires to take off our shoulders all other heavy burdens — the crushing load of worry and obsessive guilt, the dead weight of our own self-love. We should not take upon ourselves a 'burden' of penance and stagger into Lent as if we were Atlas, carrying the whole world on his shoulders.
Perhaps there is a small likelihood of our doing so. But in any case, penance is conceived by the Church less as a burden than as a liberation. It is only a burden to those who take it up unwillingly. Love makes it light and happy. And that is another reason why Ash Wednesday is filled with the lightness of love."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Today I am blessed with two Liturgies!

Back at the University for Mass, prayer and faith-sharing with my faculty group, and then the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Spiritual Direction and then home to have Mass in my own!!!This is a good way to begin the season of Lent. I am still praying over my own plans for Lent but have some idea that involves some service of others as well as a real effort to get rid of the many things I seem to accumulate and really do not need. I like the idea of seeing Jesus in each person and event and hope I can give His Love to all, but now to make this very concrete!
I am definitely going to follow the Pope and ponder in joy and gratitude the immense love of God as we move through the paschal mystery this Lent. It is a gift to have this special season to renew ourselves and I am looking forward to really entering into Lent this year. We have so much to pray for and our world needs prayer! I need to safeguard afternoon prayer as I found that I did not really try to find time for it while I was away - now back to a routine of work, exercise, and prayer and I am convinced that prayer is the most important thing I can do!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday

I am home and have been to Mass with the older girls from Carrollton at the Church across the street and down from the school. I was really impressed by the silence and the seriousness with which the girls were beginning Lent by assisting at this Mass. It was a prayerful atmosphere and says much to me about the way the school is really educating these girls in the faith.
I had a great vacation and it was good to see all of my family in one visit except for the grand- niece and three grand- nephews who live in Oregon - three are still in school but had been to see the grandparents in Scottsdale just last month. Now, I am preparing for Lent.

Here is something copied from another blog but worth reading and you may not have seen it:

Lent should be more than a time of fasting. It should be a joyous season of feasting. Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others. It is a season in which we should:

Fast from judging others; feast on the Christ dwelling in them....

Fast from emphasis on differences; feast on the unity of all life.
Fast from thought of illness; feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute; feast on the phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from worry; feast on hope.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives; feast on affirmatives.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.

 William Arthur Ward (American author, teacher and pastor, 1921 - 1994) -  several variants or additional lines. For example

Fast from being so busy; feast on quiet silence
Fast from problems that overwhelm us; feast on prayerful trust
Fast from talking; feast on listening
Fast from trying to be in control; feast on letting go.
Maybe you want to add your own. I noticed that the Holy Father emphasized that Lent was a time of joy and gratitude for the overwhelming love of Our Lord as we participate in the paschal mystery. I may not be quoting that word for word, but I liked the idea that we are preparing for Easter and so joy and gratitude are proper as we are made aware of how much God loves us during this season.