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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Divine Mercy

Since Jesus Himself asked for this universal feast, I am paying more attention to His request and to the picture of Divine Mercy that he asked Sister, now Saint, Faustina Kowalska, to have the image venerated publicly. He told her that He desired the Feast of Mercy to "be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners...."

Jesus continued to say: "The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is my desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy."

Several years ago, my sister tried to get me interested in reading Sister Faustina's Diary where she has recorded her conversations with Jesus. I am afraid I was not interested and even after Faustina was canonized in 2000, I did not really pay much attention to the Image of Jesus as Divine Mercy and none at all to the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Now I am actually reading all about this devotion in the Appendix 2 in Michael E. Gaitley, MIC's Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A  Do-It-Yourself Retreat Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

I am trying to keep an open mind and see how this Devotion is a form of Devotion to the Heart of Christ which is central to my own spirituality. I did feel that I should have said more about Divine Mercy Sunday so now I have.
An added note is that Jesus said that the two rays "denote Blood and Water... These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized Heart was opened by a lance on the cross...Happy is the one who will dwell in their shelter."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Joy of Remembering

As one becomes older, one of the joys of life is all the very good memories we have and can recall. I seem to find joy in the people I have lived with - many from other countries and cultures but all have given me so many beautiful memories. This picture reminds me of weekly visits to the beach in Renaca, Chile, with one of my community to pray and share our week. We were trying to develop a contemplative outlook on whatever was happening in our lives.

Perhaps Jesus, during this time after Easter, relived some of the good memories of His life with Mary and Joseph, with His closest friends, the times He could relax and enjoy a good meal with others, etc.

There is a prayer of memories and it is useful. Perhaps my gratitude journal is also recalling some of the best moments of my life and giving me renewed joy as well as gratitude.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Books and More Books

It has been some time since I put out a list of good spiritual books; I have been promising to do it, but finally am doing it, although some I have not had time to read, but they are all good books are I would not add them to the list on the right side. The original list became so long that I have now one that says "Recent Spiritual Books." (I intend to update but not today)
I am beginning with one that I am now reading: Sandra Schneiders, Jesus Risen in Our Midst: Essays on the Resurrection of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel. This is a book for those who are interested in a solid theological look at the Resurrection as it is presented in the Gospel of John. The book is really a collection of essays and most of the essays were published earlier in academic journals. I find it excellent but deep.

Journey to the Heart: Christian Contemplation Through the Centuries, is a great look at the contemplation of mystics through the ages.

Michael Hansen, SJ. has a book, The First Spiritual Exercises: Four Guided Retreats. I have really not used this book yet, but am looking forward to doing so soon.

Gaitley, Michael E., MIC Consoling the Heart of Jesus" A Do-It-Yourself Retreat Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is a book I bought on the recommendation of another friend and I actually used some of it during Holy Week; I think I like the title more than some of the piety I found in the book. However, it certainly rekindled my desire to console the Heart of Jesus.

Sara Young has written a book that my brother-in-law gave me, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. This is not a new book but has a daily brief message from Jesus as Sara learned to listen to Jesus in prayer with a pencil in her hand. The book has helped me to remember that I am supposed to be listening to Jesus in prayer; I was trying to read  the message for each day and I know my sister even takes the time to look at the Scripture passages that are listed after the message from Jesus, but I guess it is mostly sitting on my bookshelf. I think this is a book that could be helpful for those who are looking for some help with their prayer-life.

If you are reading this blog, you know how much I love the books by Ilia Delio. She has edited a new book, From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe.  I have only dipped into this book but really look forward to reading it. I suspect it is not an easy read but one that will be very worthwhile.

That is all for today; I have another half dozen books to add soon, but time is up now. I must just add James Martin, S.J.'s latest: Jesus: A Pilgrimage. It is easy to read and interesting but if you can only read one book about Jesus be sure it is Jose Pagola's Jesus:An Historical Approximation.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday

This is the day the Lord came to Thomas and told him to put his finger into the wounds of his hands and his hand into the wound in his side and believe - Thomas immediately exclaims, "My Lord and My God!"  How many of us repeat this same profession of faith at each Eucharist? The Gospel begins with Jesus appearing on the first Easter Sunday evening to the Apostles without Thomas. Jesus breathes on them and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit" and then tells them that the sins they forgive are  forgiven and the sins they retain are retained. It is fitting that Pope John Paul II named this day, a week after Easter, as Mercy Sunday. We see Jesus coming back to Thomas, now with the other disciples. Jesus had forgiven all for abandoning Him and now he comes to Thomas who was not with the others on Easter Sunday and no doubt had a bad week because of it. Now we also can rejoice as Jesus said that we are blessed because we believe without seeing.
This is also the Sunday that Pope Francis is canonizing two wonderful former Popes: John XXIII and John Paul II so Rome is full of people celebrating and all of us are full of Easter hope and joy.
Here in my community, we are having the area for a party to say good-by to two of our community: Shelley returns to Canada after her sabbatical with us and Ellen returns to Rome after only three months with us this time but she is doing a great work on the Formation Team for our young sisters preparing for final vows. The next group does not come until September but she will also be doing other things in Rome and Europe.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Trust and Joy

"Trust must be safeguarded, together with joy which is the fruit of the contemplation of what the Lord has done for each one. When your flaws disturb you, place yourself humbly before him and before others and continue your way with that courage that comes from the knowledge that it is he who has called you." This is a quotation from St. Madeleine Sophie and I am using it today as we are all called to live in trust and joy.

We know that all things work together for our good so we should be joyful and just trust the Heart of Jesus and all will be well. I think these forty days after Easter are meant to be lived in trust and joy with the Risen Jesus who is going about and dropping in on us at unexpected moments to make our hearts burn within us.

How can I increase my trust and joy today?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Stay with us, Lord

Although the disciples would say that their hearts were burning within them while they walked with Jesus, they do not recognize Him until He breaks bread with them that Easter Sunday evening. Actually, Jesus had acted as if He would continue on when they reached Emmaus. They begged Him: "Stay with us, Lord, for the day is for spent." They invite Him to share their simple Sunday night supper. While they were at table, Jesus took the bread and blessed it and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, but Jesus disappears. The two disciples are filled with joy and new energy and rush back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples that Jesus is truly risen and they have seen Him

I love this scene and think it is a great prayer to just say to Jesus, "Stay with me." He is always present but waits to be invited, I think, to make His presence known in a very real way.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jesus walks with us

One of my favorite apparitions is that of the two disciples who have left Jerusalem discouraged and disappointed because they had believed that Jesus would save them and instead they had to accept the fact that Jesus was dead, crucified and buried. They leave for home but are talking about the sadness in their hearts when someone (they do not know it is Jesus), joins them on the road and asks them what they are talking about as they walk. They tell him how they are feeling so low and disheartened because of the death of Jesus. They do not know that Jesus has risen and is even now walking with them. They are just really down and depressed!

I go back to this apparition often because I believe that we are so insensitive to the Presence of Jesus in our own lives. We do not recognize Him and we certainly give in to discouragement too easily. Jesus comes to us disguised; He is in the person who smiles at you as they wait for a parking place, or the person who brings us our mail with such care and concern, or the grocery clerk who helps you bag the food, etc. Let Him walk with us. More on this tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mother Stuart on the Easter Apparitions

Today I thought I would share something from Reverend Mother Stuart on the Easter Apparitions. It is from a little book of her poems that was given to me in Scotland. The title is "Poems" and
the editor is Maud Monahan. It was printed in 1924 and I had the joy of sitting in the little Chapel where Mother Stuart is buried in England, and reading these poems aloud to and with her as she really made her presence felt in that time alone with her. I also had the joy of Mass at noon two days in the Chapel with only two or three present.

"They say that earth has little joy,
That, through the lapse of many years,
Beneath a heavy-laden sky,
We wander down a vale of tears.

And yet, to those who hold the key
Of faith and knowledge heaven-born,
At times the vale of human tears
Is sunlit as the Easter morn.

There is a joy--it may not last--
But for the moment it is ours,
When all the sounds of earth are hushed,
And from the height of Sion's towers

The chimes are wafted, with the song
Melodious to the inward ear,
And, through the mists, Jerusalem
Orbs itself to a vision clear,

As Jesus risen walked the earth,
Appeared, and then was seen no more,
And yet again returned, and stood
With His Apostles as before,

And bade them clasp His Hands, and one,
Reluctant, with a loving shame,
To sound the sacred, wounded Side
And own He was the very same.

As sent from Heaven, the Paraclete
Who should the Apostles' words inspire
On each upturned, expectant brow
Lighted in tongues of lambent fire.

And breathing ever where He will,
Though none can tell from whence He came,
Nor wither goes the Sacred Breath,
Nor where He carries Jesus' Name.

Still through the Church's courts and far
Through desert regions sounds His voice,
Life-giving, full, omnipotent,
Making the wilderness rejoice.

So Jesus yet, though all unseen,
To quickened minds and hearts appears,
And still the Paraclete from Heaven
Is present unto wistful tears.

Though but a moment as they pass,
Such priceless joy they leave behind,
Nor years nor sorrows can efface
That golden glory from the mind."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

He is Risen!

What a wonderful belief we have! Jesus rose from the dead and is with us forever with His glorified body showing His wounds as proof of His love for each of us. Because I believe that Jesus is risen, I also believe that one day I will be with Him forever in heaven. He is our Savior and all of us are called to further the reign of God on earth and to be with Him forever in eternal joy!

Now, I am to be the hands and feet and heart of Jesus on earth. He looks to us to reach out to others who need us. We have His Love and grace and we feel that nothing is impossible because the Risen Jesus is with each of us. Let us go forth and spread the Good News and give His Love to each one we contact today!
We are Easter people! Let us rejoice!!! Alleluia, Alleluia!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday

Jesus comes to console Mary Magdalene who is weeping because she cannot find Him. He only needs to say her name and she is at His feet, overcome with joy. He then sends her to tell the disciples that He is risen.

I love the forty days after Easter and believe that the Lord comes to console us in so many ways. He wants us to share His joy! Where is appearing in my life today? What is my response? Am I filled with Easter joy and wanting to go out and proclaim the Good News to all?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday

He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia! "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it!"

I am sure that Jesus went to see His Mother before He appeared to anyone else. What that meeting must have been like is best left to our imaginations, but it gives me joy to see them together.

The women who had been such faithful followers of Jesus were the first to go to the tomb and the first to encounter Jesus. Mary Magdalene weeps when she sees the empty tomb, but Jesus comes to console her and to send her to give the good news to the others. They are not about to believe a woman so Peter and John rush to the tomb. It was  difficult for them to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead after dying on the Cross. Jesus does appear to Peter and then to the others that first Easter night. He comes so that they may share His joy and He says not one word of reproof to them for having abandoned Him. Instead, He gives them the Holy Spirit! He also gives us the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that we may also have the joy of being forgiven!

Let us rejoice with Jesus and thank Him.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

We spend this day waiting and pondering with Mary what these last days have been for her and for us. I keep thinking of what the Holy Father asked of us: Who am I? Where is my heart? What do I want to say to Jesus at this moment in my life?

What would the world be like if I did not believe in the Resurrection? I find this day of waiting for the Easter vigil to be a time of deep silence as well as some deep thinking. I so often take things for granted!

I must say that my gratitude Journal has had full pages. I am so grateful for my life, the world I live in, my vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart, my family, education, health, missionary years in Chile, etc. Each day I have some special marks of His Love to thank for and I do think that when we are grateful we are also joyful. I wish you the joy of the Risen Jesus!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

This is a day to just be with Jesus. He has given His life for each of us. What am I doing for Him? What will I do for Him?

There is the Veneration of the Cross followed by a Communion service today. I usually go to the noon service as it is near here and very moving. At the end, since it is a parish with many Hispanics, there is a procession and they carry in a life-size statue of Jesus lying in the tomb. It startled me the first time I went there but now I see how much it means to the parishioners and how they stay and pray at the tomb after the service. They also use a huge, heavy Cross that is carried into the Church by six men in a procession after the first part of the ceremony of readings and prayers; the men hold the cross while all the faithful come up to kiss it with reverence.

For me, today is a day of silence and perhaps some manual work at home. We pray together as a community each of these holy days.
I am asking myself how Jesus wants me to stay with Him these days and begging the grace to be able to do so.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who am I?

Today I want to quote from the Pope's honily during Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square where 100,000 had gathered. Pope Francis said that during this week:

"We would do well to ask just one question: Who am I? Who am I , before my Lord?" The Holy Father recalled the names of those appearing in the Gospel reading and asked, "Is my life asleep like that of the disciples who slept while the Lord suffered? Am I like Judas, who pretended to love, and kissed the Master to give him over, to betray him? Am I a traitor?"

Today is Spy Wednesday; it is so named because it is the day Judas arranged to betray Jesus.

The Pope also asked if we were like one of these: Pilate, who washed his hands of his responsibility; the crowds who chose the criminal Barabbas over Jesus; the soldiers who struck Jesus and mocked him; the passersby who mocked Jesus as he hung on the Cross.

The Pope also named those who showed fidelity and then concluded with this question that should accompany us through Holy Week: "Where is my heart: To which of these people am I most alike?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"The holiest week of the Liturgical Year"

If you go to the RSCJ Province website to find my blog (link on the right side of the page), perhaps you have read Barb Quinn's Lenten Reflection. I was so struck by it, that I am copying a bit from it here, plan to use it with the Spirituality Group that comes on Wednesday night, and hope to urge many to read it.
 She writes on Palm Sunday and begins by saying that we are on the threshold of the holiest week in the liturgical year. That made me stop and reflect. She describes it as "a week that unfolds the stories of profound darkness and death and the promise of light and the life unimagined!"
 I will stop there in the hope that each will have time to read the entire reflection.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Facing the Fact

I read in the Little Black Book for Lent that contains six-minute meditations on the Passion in Matthew, that none of the Gospel writers describe the crucifixion. It was such a shameful and painful form of execution that they do not describe it. Matthew, "looks the other way and then says: '...After they had crucified him...'  That's it. Five words. Nothing about throwing Jesus on the ground, stretching his arms on the cross-beam and holding him down as they drive in the nails. Nothing about hoisting the cross beam to the stake already fixed in the ground, his body writhing as they did it. Nothing about wrestling his feet in place and then nailing them to the bottom of the stake. Nothing about the screams of pain. It was too awful to tell, which is why not one of the four evangelists tells it."
 We even get used to looking at the Crucifix and thinking only of God's love for us and forgetting the terrible suffering.
Now, am I with Jesus in His suffering as we live through another Holy Week? Am I even aware of all the suffering in the world? This week is not an easy week and we need to face what is going on in so many places right now where people are being treated inhumanly; the injustice and cruelty that causes so much anguish is everywhere. But, Jesus has come and died for us.  Easter is coming! But how am I going to stay with Jesus this week to live more fully the Paschal Mystery?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Palm Sunday

Today we just want to be with Jesus. We want to ask for the strength, the courage, the steadfast love, that will allow us to accompany Him through this week when He will be betrayed, denied, abandoned by his closest, chosen friends. He goes to His death on the Cross for love of us. Let us ask the grace to be with Him and to open our hearts to the suffering so many endure today so we can at least carry them in our prayer,
I would remind you to look at the Preface for the first days of Holy Week. Holy Thursday will have its own Preface and then, of course, we have the Preface for Easter.

What is Jesus asking of me today?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Preparing for Palm Sunday and Holy Week

Jesus and the Pope call us to go out to others and proclaim the Good News. I think that Palm Sunday has an aspect of joy as well as sorrow. Jesus is proclaimed and celebrated as he enters into the city of Jerusalem, It is a joyful crowd and these are people who want to welcome Jesus. The problem is that so many of them are like many of us. We welcome Jesus until we are asked to be with Him in His Passion and Death. The fact is that the Resurrection comes after Jesus has suffered and died for us and we need to be with Him all the way. The disciples left Him and fled, but the women found their way to be near Him to the end and were also the first to know the joy of the Risen Jesus.
One of our Sisters in California does a Way of the Cross each year linking all the suffering in this world of ours. It is really impressive and I will be praying over it in Holy Week.
May all have a Blessed Palm Sunday and enter into Holy Week with great love and compassion for those who are suffering in all parts of our world.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Holy Thursday

The Preface for this most holy day tells us that "we are made strong" and that we are "washed clean" when we participate in the Eucharist. I am copying it here for your prayer and reflection:

"It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.

For he is the true and eternal Priest,
who instituted the pattern of an everlasting sacrifice
and was the first to offer himself as the saving Victim,
commanding us to make this offering as his memorial.
As we eat his flesh that was sacrificed for us,
we are washed clean."

Approaching Holy Week

The Pope has begun speaking about the Holy Spirit and the seven gifts of the Spirit in his Wednesday audience talks. He begins with the gift of wisdom and, although I do not have those words in front of me, I was impressed by the idea that we must ask to be "wise" - to see at God sees, to hear as God hears, and to feel as God feels.

He suggests that we ask the Holy Spirit to be with us as we enter into Holy Week. This Sunday is Palm Sunday; we often have a procession to enter the church after the blessing of the palms. This  is to remind us of how Jesus entered Jerusalem just a few days before his death. The people were happy to see Him but some may have also been in the crowd that called out "Crucify him!" on Good Friday. On Wednesday, Judas will betray Jesus; on Holy Thursday, we have Jesus washing the feet of his disciples before giving them Himself in the Eucharist. Then Jesus prays to His Father before going out to the Garden where He goes through a very human struggle to accept the suffering and death that awaits Him, but His prayer is always "Thy Will be done." I find the prayer in the garden 
the place where I stay often during Holy Week. Jesus felt alone; his 
disciples slept while He prayed. Then, after the really difficult prayer, Jesus is at peace and we do not see that same anguish as He goes forth to be mocked, scourged, and crucified. Now His thoughts turn to others - He forgives the very ones who are nailing Him to the cross!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trust Me in every detail of your life...

Jesus always asks us to trust Him in every detail of our lives. Why do we think we can handle things when we have one who loves us and is all powerful with us and who waits for us to turn to Him? Jesus says in the daily reflection from Jesus Calling: "focus your energy on trusting me and thanking me at all times."

Lord, help me to trust You, to turn to You, to thank You today for your presence in my life! I need You, I desire You, I seek You and know that You are with me and can handle all the situations of this day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Enjoying Peace in His Presence

I mentioned in an earlier blog the little book, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by  Sarah Young who learned to sit in the presence of Jesus and listen to Him with pen in hand. I want to share a few of the thoughts that struck me from today's reflection:

"You are mine for all time: nothing can separate you from my Love...Many problems vanish instantly in the light of my Love because you realize that you are never alone. Other problems may remain, but they become secondary to knowing Me and rejoicing in the relationship I so freely offer you. Each moment you can choose to practice My presence or to practice the presence of problems."

There are always a couple of scripture passages given at the end of each reflection. Today's are Romans 8:38-39; Exodus 33:14

What a joy and a gift to know that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus! I am trying to just sit and listen to Jesus and He tells me that He likes me to be quiet in His Presence so I can hear Him!!
Easier said than done! But let us keep trying to just be with Him who loves us so much!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I guess hearing about the earthquake in Chile brought back so many memories of living through earthquakes and the after quakes and tremors that keep one alert. Fortunately, we heard that our nuns were fine in the north of Chile and this huge earthquake did less damage than would be expected, but it certainly did not help the poor fishermen who lost their boats and thus their livelihood.

To continue with something from the Pope"s Joy of the Gospel:

If anyone feels offended by my words, I would respond that I speak them with affection and with the best of intentions, quite apart from any personal interest or political ideology. My words are not those of a foe or an opponent. I am interested only in helping those who are in thrall to an individualistic, indifferent and self-centered mentality to be freed from those unworthy chains and to attain a way of living and thinking which is more humane, noble and fruitful, and which will bring dignity to their presence on this earth.

Jesus, the evangelizer par excellence and the Gospel in person, identifies especially with the little ones (cf. Mt 25:40). This reminds us Christians that we are called to care for the vulnerable of the earth. But the current model, with
its emphasis on success and self-reliance, does not appear to favor an investment in efforts to help the slow, the weak or the less talented to find opportunities in life.

Maybe our economic and political policies need an earthquake to shake us up to think of the common good - those who make the policies need to remember that cooperation and compromise are two words they need to put into their lives plus compassion!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jesus Calling

Before we forget what the Joy of the Gospel is about, I need to keep giving some excerpts but please know that I am now skipping around a bit - one really needs to take time and study the entire document and I want to do that and have bought the book, even though I have it all on the computer. It helps me to have the book in my hands and be able to underline it and pray over it. The other book I am using is Jesus Calling - it gives a daily message from Jesus to the author who listens to Him in prayer with pen in hand.

From the Joy of the Gospel:

I ask God to give us more politicians capable of sincere and effective dialogue aimed at healing the deepest roots – and not simply the appearances – of the evils in our world! Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good.174 We need to be convinced that charity "is the principle not only of micro-relationships (with friends,
with family members or within small groups) but also of macro-relationships (social, economic and political ones)".175 I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor! It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare. Why not turn to God and ask him to inspire their plans? I am firmly convinced that openness to the transcendent can bring about a new political and economic mindset which would help to break down the wall of separation between the economy and the common good of society.


      Sunday, April 6, 2014

      Jesus is the resurrection and the life!

      Jesus is the resurrection and the life. We are often entombed in our own selfishness, our concers for material things, comfort, reputation, etc. and need Jesus to call us to "Come forth!" Here is one commentary on the Sunday Gospel and, since Peter Chrysologus says it better than I can, I am using his commentary today:

      Commentary by Peter Chrysologus
      I am the resurrection and the life.

      On his return from the underworld, Lazarus comes forth from the tomb like death confronting its conqueror, an image of the resurrection to come.

      Before we can fathom the depths of meaning behind this miracle, we must consider the way in which our Lord raised Lazarus to life. This action appears to us as the greatest of all his signs; we see in it the supreme example of divine power, the most marvelous of all his wonderful works.

      Our Lord had raised up the daughter of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue; but although he restored life to the dead girl, he left the law of death still in force. He also raised the widow’s only son. He halted the bier, forestalled the young man’s burial, arrested the onset of physical decay; but the life he restored had not completely fallen into the power of death.

      The case of Lazarus was unique. His death and resurrection to life had nothing in common with the other two. Death had already exerted its full power over him, so that in him the sign of the resurrection shone out in all its fullness.

      I think it is possible to say that if Lazarus had remained only three days in the tomb it would have deprived our Lord’s resurrection of its full significance, since Christ proved himself Lord by returning to life after three days, whereas Lazarus, as his servant, had to lie in the grave for four days before he was recalled. However, let us see if we can verify this suggestion by reading the gospel text further.

      “His sisters sent a message to Jesus saying, Lord, the friend whom you love is sick.” By these words they appeal to his affection, they lay claim to his friendship, they call on his love, urging their familiar relationship with him to persuade him to relieve their distress.
      But for Christ it was more important to conquer death than to cure disease. He showed his love for his friend not by healing him but by calling him back from the grave. Instead of a remedy for his illness, he offered him the glory of rising from the dead.

      We are next told that “when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, he remained where he was for two days.” You see how he gives full scope to death. He grants free reign to the grave; he allows corruption to set in. He prohibits neither putrefaction nor stench from taking their normal course; he allows the realm of darkness to seize his friend, drag him down to the underworld, and take possession of him.

      He acts like this so that human hope may perish entirely and human despair reach its lowest depths. The deed he is about to accomplish may then clearly be seen to be the work of God, not of man.

      He waited for Lazarus to die, staying in the same place until he could tell his disciples that he was dead; then he announced his intention of going to him. Lazarus is dead, he said, and I am glad.

      Was this a sign of his love for his friend? Not so. Christ was glad because their sorrow over the death of Lazarus was soon to be changed into joy at his restoration to life. “I am glad for your sake,” he said.

      Why for their sake? Because the death and raising of Lazarus were a perfect prefiguration of the death and resurrection of the Lord himself. What the Lord was soon to achieve in himself had already been achieved in his servant. This explains why he said to them: “I am glad for your sake not to have been there, because now you will believe.”
      It was necessary that Lazarus should die, so that the faith of the disciples might also rise with him from the dead.
      (Sermon 63: PL 52, 375-377)

      Peter Chrysologus
      (c.400-450), who was born at Imoly in Italy, became a bishop of Ravenna. He was highly esteemed by the Empress Galla Placidia, in whose presence he preached his first sermon as bishop. He was above all a pastor, and many of his sermons have been preserved.

      Saturday, April 5, 2014

      Jesus gives life; He is Life

      South Florida has no mountains or even hills so I love to contemplate pictures of mountains. We lived in sight of the Andes in Chile and mountain-driving is one of the things I do well and enjoy. at least in good weather. Well, we are getting ready for another wonderful Gospel for this Sunday.
      Jesus hears that his friend, Lazarus is ill but waits until he is dead before going to him; he weeps as he also feels for Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. Death is a mystery and we all have to die at some time. Here, Jesus is able to call forth Lazarus from the tomb.

      Friday, April 4, 2014

      We all need God

      We all need God but the Holy Father is really concerned about the poor and their spiritual care. Here is another excerpt: (bold is mine for emphasis) 

      Since this Exhortation is addressed to members of the Catholic Church, I want to say, with regret, that the worst discrimination which the poor suffer is the lack of spiritual care. The great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith. Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.

      201. No one must say that they cannot be close to the poor because their own lifestyle demands
      more attention to other areas. This is an excuse commonly heard in academic, business or professional, and even ecclesial circles. While it is quite true that the essential vocation and mission of the lay faithful is to strive that earthly realities and all human activity may be transformed by the Gospel,171 none of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice: "Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the love of God and neighbor, zeal for justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are required of everyone".172 I fear that these words too may give rise to commentary or discussion with no real practical effect. That being said, I trust in the openness and readiness of all Christians, and I ask you to seek, as a community, creative ways of accepting this renewed call.

      How am I doing this? I did agree to be connected to some prison ministry but have not yet begun that work. I am most grateful for the years, the last ones, in Chile when I really had the opportunity to live poor among the poor. I was superior of a community of five and we lived really poor because that is what we wanted to do as we lived in a very poor section in a wooden house built for us by the priests so we also took care of the church. We had a soup kitchen in our backyard that fed all the pre-schoolers - many did not have fathers and no money or food at home. It was touching to see these little ones want to take home their bread to share or give to their mothers.


      172 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Libertatis

      Thursday, April 3, 2014

      These flowers remind me of my community

      We are six in our community at present and each of us has the essential charism of a Religious of the Sacred Heart. Just like the six flowers above are all tulips. But each flower is unique and we are unique. These are the same color and I think maybe we show red for courage, but there are also different colors among RSCJ just as we have tulips of varied colors.

      I want to get back to the Joy of the Gospel. Here is another excerpt: (The Pope is writing about commitment to the poor)

      Our commitment does not consist exclusively in activities or programmes of promotion and assistance; what the Holy Spirit mobilizes is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other "in a certain sense as one with ourselves".166 This loving attentiveness is the beginning of a true concern for their person which inspires me effectively to seek their good. This entails appreciating the poor in their goodness, in their experience of life, in their culture, and in their ways of living the faith. True love is always contemplative, and permits us to serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but rather because he or she is beautiful above and beyond mere appearances: "The love by which we find the other pleasing leads us to offer him something freely". The poor person, when loved, "is esteemed as of great value", and this is what makes the authentic option for the poor differ from any other ideology, from any attempt to exploit the poor for one’s own personal or political interest. Only on the basis of this real and sincere closeness can we properly accompany the poor on their path of liberation. Only this will ensure that "in every Christian community the poor feel at home. Would not this approach be the greatest and most effective presentation of the good news of the kingdom?" Without the preferential option for the poor, "the proclamation of the Gospel, which is itself the prime form of charity, risks being misunderstood or submerged by the ocean of words which daily engulfs us in today’s society of mass communications...

      I am thinking that we should all have true concern for each person, and seek the good of each. I need to appreciate the poor in their goodness, in their experience of life, in their culture and in their ways of living the faith. The Holy Father may be writing about the people living in material poverty, but we are all "poor" in some way so we can apply his words to our own situation, even if we are not in contact with those deprived of basic needs.

      Wednesday, April 2, 2014

      We are in formation for life...

      Do I believe that I am being formed even now after nearly 64 years in the Society of the Sacred Heart? Yes, I do believe this but sometimes I need to stop and think how am I being formed? First of all, I think Jesus is the most active in my formation and much happens in my daily prayer. Then, I live in community and one cannot live with five others and not be aware of how we help form one another. I also give importance in my own life to my reading. I read spiritual books, good ones, and ponder them, but I also read all sorts of books: novels, biographies, mysteries, even regency romance books - and all probably contribute in some way to my own formation as they influence me to some degree; then, I read the Miami newspaper every morning and at least scan every section; we get the New York Times on Sundays and I must confess that usually I only take time for the Magazine and for the Book Reviews. I also read a huge amount on the Internet and I am sure all of this is either helping or perhaps hindering my personal formation. I need to think more about this.

      Maybe you also need to reflect on your own formation? Who are the persons in my life now who are helping me to grow spiritually? How does my ministry influence the formation of others?

      Tuesday, April 1, 2014

      Don't Be Fooled on April Fools' Day

      Sometimes it is fun to fool and be fooled by others but it can also be carried to an extreme. It is supposed to be good fun and now they even have April Fool Day cards to send. I must confess that I did send one as I enjoyed it myself and thought others might, too.

      The Concord Pastor, whose blog I love, is also sharing his Sunday homilies and I have a short excerpt to share with you here:

      Except for the very wise among us

       - and some among us are wise indeed -

      most of us simply believe what we see

      and spend not much time pondering

      how we see what we see,    

      or what we fail to see,

      or what we refuse to see,   

      or what we see only because it’s what we want to see.

      We tend to trust what we see, the way we see it

      and believe what we see, the way we see it to be true.
      Well, are you wise enough to ponder how we see what we see or fail to see?
      Do I see only what I want to see?