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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On My Way but...

This is just a reminder that I will be making my retreat from August 4 to 13th and really do ask for your prayers for me especially during those days. It is the most important time of the year for me as one does nothing for eight days except concentrate of Jesus and what He is saying to me. Silence during those days deepens so that one is really attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. It is such a grace to be able to take this time each year; some years I have been able to prolong it, but this year I will be visiting with my friends in our retirement home, although spending a few days in a community in Redwood City and then in our new community home in Berkeley. I will also have the opportunity of seeing my nephew and his wife the last week end I am in California.

I shall not be writing, but will keep all in my prayer. When you read this I shall be either in the air or arriving in San Francisco!
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Ignatius!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Farewell until August 22...

I cannot resist giving a few more quotes from Janet Stuart. She said: "Say 'O' in silence; add nothing...what is less than an 'O'? But what is greater than this cry of the heart? All the eloquence of the world is in this O; I don't know what more to say- for I have lost myself!"

"God knows you and loves you, and He knows better than anyone what each person needs, and He will provide. God who looks after the robins will surely not forget us. God loves us poor little things who can only shiver and tremble and wait for the sun. Keep on looking to heaven and as little as possible to the troubles of earth."

Do not lose a particle of your spiritual joy for any failure that you find in yourself to come up to your aspirations and to all that God has done for you. He is not disappointed, for He knows exactly what we are like, how sensitive, how easily wounded, how too easily discouraged."

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Give us yourself..."

Mother Stuart said this about prayer: "'Give us yourself' is the best prayer we can pray and 'we give ourselves to you' - no better offering. For we do not know what to ask and what to offer. Leave it all to Him.

She also said: "Let the beauty of nature...steal over each power of our souls and every mood of our mind, that they, teachers sent from God, may make a sanctuary of silence within us..."

I leave early Wednesday for California and there the beauty of nature is all around me. Our retirement home in Atherton has such beautiful trees and flowers and I look forward to my retreat right on the shore of the Pacific which is not so pacific in Santa Cruz. There are many surfers there and one never tires of watching them try to become 'one with the wave'.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Reflections

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds and hides again and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, it is like a merchant searching for pearls. When he find a pearl of great price, he sells all that he has and buys it. The Kingdom of heaven is also like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. Now, you can reflect on these examples yourself as I am not about to give a homily. However, I do want to call your attention to the other two readings.

In the first reading from the first Book of Kings, Solomon has a dream and the Lord tells him to ask for something and He will give it to him. Solomon ask for an understanding heart and wisdom to govern... the Lord tells him, "I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you."

And in the second reading from Romans we read: "We know that all things work for good for those who love God..."

Plenty to reflect on and thank for today. I leave for California on Wednesday and so plan on taking a vacation from the blog until about August 22 - I shall be in retreat from August 4-13 and count on your prayer especially during those days.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

A Pilgrim Path Within...

More unusual flowers that really leave me in awe of the Creator of so many varieties. Yesterday was my nephew's birthday and today is my brother-in-law's birthday. They are very different but so good. I have much to thank for in both of them.

Now, today's reflection in my Mass booklet is by Marina Wiederkehr, an old friend and great author of creative, sometimes humorous, spirituality books and articles. She triggered my own reflection today when she wrote: "Each time we sit down at the altar of our own lives to evaluate our growth in Christ, whether this is through spiritual direction or part of our personal rule of life, we are on pilgrimage." She says that the Word of God is our guide and that we have within our beings a pilgrim path.

Where am I now on my pilgrim path? What Scripture path am I using today to continue my journey?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The gift of silence

These monkey-faced flowers intrigue me. So does the whole concept of silence. The pastor of St. Augustine Church, where I go to noon Mass during the week, has just finished a thirty-day retreat and wrote an entire page on silence as a necessary element for human health and growth- physically, psychologically, and spiritually. He talks about what a tremendous gift it is to really experience both interior and exterior silence. He spoke of how it created a tremendous sense of peace, renewal, clarity of mind, and awareness of the presence of God. He spoke of the need for silence to be aware of God's love in the retreat and that silence is also essential for life. He ended his reflection with this quote from Blessed Theresa of Calcutta: "We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature- trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence...we need silence to be able to touch souls."

Let us thank for the silence we are able to find in our lives; anyone who does Centering Prayer knows what a gift interior silence is for sinking deep into the Heart of Christ.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An avalanche of words...

Have you ever thought of being overwhelmed, even smothered with words? I was reading a reflection by Kathy Coffey in my Mass booklet, "Give Us This Day" and she says: "The day has held an avalanche of words." She then asks, "Which ones can be carried forth and cherished, like embers against the cold?"

I was reflecting on the many words I encounter each day, not only orally but I am a reader and devour thousands of words each day. Then Kathy reminds us that "when we hear precisely the right words at the right time, our gratitude is immense. Someone understands, someone walks the same path; someone encourages us on. In such wisdom, we rediscover what we already know, what simple essentials it boils down to "to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly with your God."

Now, I shall share I the grace I had when I was reflecting on this after Communion. Please note that I am not in the habit of hearing Jesus speak to me in words, but this time He told me quite clearly that I did not need words because His Heart was open for me just to enter and be with Him. I am trying to remember the exact words to share with you today:
"Words are not necessary. My Heart is open for you to enter."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Wade out...until I lose my footing" says Mother Stuart about prayer

Mother Stuart, in a letter to Archbishop Goodier, said this about prayer: "To set our from some words such as 'Sea of peace, eternal Trinity...' and wade out and out into the bare thought of them, until I lose my footing and am overwhelmed..."

She had a way of describing an experience that we may also have experienced, but hardly know how to put it into words. I love the image of wading out until the depth overwhelms us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Feast of Mary Magdalene

Mary was seeking Jesus and Jesus let Himself be found! It was the first Easter Sunday and Mary ran to the tomb only to find that Jesus was not there. She was distressed and in tears and did not even look up when someone asked her why she was weeping. It was only when Jesus called her by name that she responded. She was then filled with joy but Jesus sends her off to tell his apostles that he has risen. He chose a woman to spread the good news!

Mary Magdalene is honored as the "Apostle to the Apostles." She saw and proclaimed Jesus - seeing Jesus and being sent by Jesus is what it means to be an apostle. Actually, we are all called to have an experience of Jesus and to go forth and proclaim His Love to others; that makes us Apostles, too. And we must also be filled with joy!

Monday, July 21, 2014

More on Prayer from Mother Stuart

We are to be flexible and not want our prayer "to be this way or that way." We are to "tend to what is simple and quiet...the thought of  all God is in himself and all that he has done for love of you...."

It is a grace to be able to stay with the thought of all God is in himself... much easier to recall all that he has done for love of us. Both are ways of entering into union with the Heart of Jesus who waits for us, longs for us, to enter into his most Sacred Heart. His Heart is open for us to enter and find all that we need.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Reflections

Jesus taught in parables and we have three for this Sunday. Each tells us something about the kingdom of heaven. We have the man who sowed good seed, but in the night the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat. That both were allowed to grow together was to not harm the wheat which would be separated at harvest time. Then we have the parable of the mustard seed which grows into a large bush big enough to shelter the birds of the air; finally we have the yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened,

Then, we have the second reading from Romans:

"The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the holy ones according to God's will."

It is so consoling to know that the Spirit comes to our aid. Let us ask the Spirit to teach us how to pray. The Spirit will also help us to be yeast, to grow to receive all who come for shelter, and to separate the weeds from the wheat!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

"I say 'let go' and so does God!"

The title today is a quote from Mother Stuart. In talking about prayer, she also says: "He wants to take you sailing out into the glory of his thoughts and love, and through sheer freight you cling to the rope...
Sometimes, in giving spiritual direction and retreats I have found souls who are afraid to let go and go deeper. God is love and there is nothing to be afraid of so we must just let go and let God...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mother Stuart on Prayer

Mother Janet Erskine Stuart said that we should prepare our prayer, "but when you have made a beginning, they you may and should follow what comes."

"The Spirit breathes where he will...Go trustfully. There is nothing to make you afraid..."

Mother Stuart faithfully prepared her own prayer by writing points of meditation; we were taught as novices to do the same and for years I found it very helpful to try to do the same, but I seldom do so now. It is a good discipline and I do try to prepare my prayer whenever I feel the need; usually I have something I want to take to prayer the next day and so rise with a great desire to have at least an hour of just being with the Lord and He takes me as I am - sometimes jubilant, sometimes concerned, sometimes dry of all spiritual thoughts and other times have so much to say that it takes me time to sink into the silence of deeper prayer.  I really believe that "the Spirit breathes where he will..."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More on Janet Erskine Stuart

A very dear friend who lives in our community just across the street from the Chapel in which Janet Erskine Stuart is buried in Roehampton, sent me the latest booklet on Mother Stuart that is composed of really gorgeous photos by Margaret Wilson, RSCJ to match the equally glorious quotes of Mother Stuart chosen by Sue Acheson, RSCJ. It is a real source for prayer and I am so grateful to have it. Here are a couple of the quotes that I love:

"It is the gift of your heart that God wants above all in your prayer, that you may both give to him and receive from him. Keep it always uplifted with great expectation. Expect, expect again."

"Our prayer should invade the whole day.
The great thing is to find what suits us, and not what suits another."

I will continue with more of these quotations tomorrow. A little goes a long way and we get indigestion when we try to reflect on too many beautiful thoughts at once.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to develop a positive attitude

Below is a link to a video that takes less than four minutes to view and gives seven ways to keep a positive attitude. It is worth watching. For those who will not be able to take the time, here are some of these ways that I remember and think I have been trying to practice:
1. Do not worry; wait to worry and maybe you will not need to do so.
2. Be grateful
3. Stay healthy
4. Be aware that joy boomerangs - do something nice for others and you will feel good about it.
5.Be disciplined - I think this is what sometimes lessens my positive attitude as I tend to waste time, procrastinate,....
6.Learn to say "no" - this sounds simple but is difficult to practice
7.Surround yourself with positive people- this is the most fun of all!

I urge you to take the time to watch this yourself as attitude is important and our spiritual life calls us to a positive attitude.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

These unusual flowers that I am using in my blog now are so unique and creative. We are each unique and special and a marvelous creation. We only need to look at our own hand to realize how special we are to our creator; no two hands are identical.

Having these days of summer to ponder in awe the unfolding of beauty around me has made me more grateful for the vast variety of plants, trees, flowers, and people. I am grateful and every day there is something new to learn. I, for instance, have no idea of the names of the flowers I am now showing each day in my blog. I am sure that I could do research on Google to discover this, but I am just fascinated by the variety of so many unusual pictures and I hope this leads us to praise the creator and to appreciate the people around us who might be thought of as unique, special, and precious in the sight of God.

I am also finding new words that I have never heard or read just by playing Words With Friends - amazing!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The importance of attitude

I read that attitude makes a huge difference in our lives. I know this from my own experience. Some people have a negative attitude and are ready to find fault with everything; others have a positive attitude toward life and these are happy people. They are grateful for what they have; they look for the good in others. They want to share this positive attitude with all.

Jesus wants us to realize that we have all we need to live a happy life. He wants us to enjoy life and His Love is trying to expand our hearts; He wants us to let His Love overflow into our day and help others to see what a difference it makes when you know that you are loved and loved unconditionally. Then we look for the good things and find good even when we think something is not working for us. We trust His Love and go on with a smile for we have cultivated a positive attitude and this attracts others, too.

How am I trying to develop a positive attitude? For me, I think keeping a gratitude journal is a great help. At least I can now find good things happening all day long - sometimes they are little things like a green light, finding a parking place, reading something that uplifts me, receiving encouragement from a friend, etc.

Today I will tackle the last of my Spanish letters, I hope. I keep procrastinating because I no longer write easily in Spanish (I was fluent but not free from mistakes; now I have lost the fluency and flounder trying to say what I want.) I did mail two letters yesterday and intend to do two more today.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What kind of seed are you?

Today's Gospel makes one reflect on where we are. Are we the seed that has fallen on the path? Or the seed that is on rocky ground? Or the seed that falls into good soil? I once had a holy priest in Chile tell me that the one who recognized herself in all the places the seed had fallen was the one whose seed would grow. I think that is consoling so pass it on today.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Life Unfolding..."

The name of the new formation booklet for the Society of the Sacred Heart is "Life unfolding...Offering the Gift Received"; the entire Society is praying over it this year and all of us are still in formation as formation and ministry are for life. There are two quotes on the title page:
 "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."(Jn 10:10) and
"It is always here and it is always now. All our raw material for sanctity is in the now, just as it is." (Janet Stuart)  Both are worth reflecting on today.

Do I really believe both quotes? If so, they influence my whole outlook and lead to deep joy.

The flower arrangement above also speaks to me of joy! For some reason it also reminds me of the spiritual bouquets we used to offer as a special gift to one we loved. I have not thought of this for years but have the desire to offer a spiritual bouquet to several who are now in heaven; maybe this inspiration will help me get back to writing that book that I put on hold and keep getting strong nudges to get back to it.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thoughts from my morning prayer

This month we received the Society of the Sacred Heart published  book of the "Letters and Conferences 2000-2008" of our former Mother General, Sister Clare Pratt. I, compulsive reader that I am, sat down and reread them all and then began to use the book for my afternoon prayer/reflection time. Some days I have gone back to it during my morning prayer as it is all on our spirituality and so I find it helpful, stimulating, and satisfying.

There is a Conference given for the entire Society of the Sacred Heart for the Feast of the Sacred Heart. Since we are in 43 very different countries on all continents, the internationality aspect of our vocation is very evident in these Conferences but also in the Conference given for each international group of our young Religious who spend five months in Rome before final profession. In a conference given before the end of these months of prayer and reflection, each group receives a "name" and a "devise" - my group (who made our Profession back in 1960 we were 45 and all was in French then) received the name "Apostolic Courage" which was very helpful for me as I went straight from Rome to Chile.

This morning I went back to one of the conferences for our young Religious (we still call them probanists and the months before Profession is called "Probation"). The time was described as one of reflection, discovery, integration, and renewed commitment. I see that my retirement years are also a time of reflection, discovery,
integration, and renewed commitment. I am so grateful for this time!

Give us This Day

A dear friend just sent me some gorgeous pictures of the most unusual flowers. I will be sharing some of them with you and I guess that triggers off my reflection on "Give Us This Day" as I am so grateful for the good things that come to me each day. I am also grateful to our Provincial Team who has given us the gift of the monthly booklet that is "Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today's Catholic". It not only has the readings for the daily liturgy, but also morning and night prayer and wonderful reflections. I have used both "Living With Christ" and "Magnificat" and find that this latest subscription to "Give Us This Day" is the best of all! It is published by Liturgical Press and this list of the six editorial advisors should be enough for anyone to realize how excellent it is:
James Martin, SJ; Bishop Robert Morneau; Kathleen Norris; Irene Nowell, OSB; Timothy Radcliffe, OP, and Ronald Rolheiser, OMI.

This is my third year using the monthly booklet and I am finding that the daily reflections are so worthwhile. Some are contemporary while others are taken from historical sources, Fathers of the Church, Saints and Mystics, etc. I was happy to find one this week on "Misery Washes Up Against Love" taken from Romano Guardini. It is on the love of Jesus that goes out to all. I guess I was struck by the title as one of my graces as a novice was to see clearly that my misery attracted the mercy of Jesus. Perhaps that is why I always seem to find joy - no matter how miserable we are, we are attracting the mercy of the Heart of Jesus!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our new formation booklet speaks of mutual accompaniment in community. I think this is a great gift when it happens and I do know how to foster it, but it is a grace to pray for and something to strive for as we realize that community is a place for our formation and growth.
When I was asked to be superior in Coquimbo in the poorest region of Chile, I agreed only if the community would meet for prayer and sharing each week. They were all still in habits and, although souls of prayer, they had not been praying together and sharing their week with one another. It was difficult for some, but we kept at it and never missed a week. Gradually, we came to know the interior life of each; I assure you that knowing the interior life is much more interesting and leads to love, compassion, empathy, and admiration. We grew together in a way that I would not thought possible and we were able to see the value of the weekly sharing. The flowers above triggered off this reflection; they are different, but mingles together in a joyful mix and willing to just be there.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pictures are a gift

So often a picture is a better meditation than anything one can think of to write. This picture was a gift from an alumna who I was fortunate to have on the list to pray for by name for a year; thanks to the picture, she is still in my prayer. This picture of flowers in her garden gives me joy. These are happy flowers and open each day to the sun; by just being, they give glory to God!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hospitality is a gift

This picture was supposed to have appeared on the 4th of July but that was when we were without phones, TV, and Internet and so I felt as if I were in retreat instead of celebrating the 4th of July! Today I am having a wonderful friend come for lunch and another for dinner! I love to entertain - my mother loved to have people over and I think I have received this gift of hospitality from her. She and my Dad gave great dinner parties; my Dad was a good cook but most of the family parties in the last years of my Mom's life were more  picnic style and all prepared ahead so that she could enjoy the company. We were usually about twenty as she always wanted to have some who were not family present, too. I remember one day she had the food all ready and realized that many would need to eat at the tables in the yard but the stone patio had grass growing up between the stones so she got Dad to help her haul our oriental rugs stored in the garage and spread them under the tables in the patio. We teased her about that "elegant picnic" for a long time. Gradually the family grew smaller, but my Mom continued to have family parties and now my sister does the same in Arizona.

What is the spiritual thought that triggered off these memories? I think it is that just as Jesus invites us all to come to Him, we also are to say "Come" to others and be open to receive from them as well as love them with the love we draw from the Heart of Jesus.

Monday, July 7, 2014


"Come to Me..." It is really wonderful and a reason for both awe and joy to think that Jesus is inviting each of us to come to Him.

He never forces us to come, but his invitation is always there and his Heart is open for us to enter and draw out what we need.

Love of the Heart of Jesus, inflame my heart; enkindle all of our hearts with a burning, ardent love for You. When we are in love, nothing seems difficult; we want only to please the Beloved.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday's Invitation

Every Sunday the Liturgy has a special message for each of us. Sometimes we need to ask ourselves what we are to take away from the Sunday reading and pray over and try to live during the week. Sometimes we are almost hit over the head with a phrase from one of the readings, but other times we need to be attentive to what the Holy Spirit wants each of us to ponder and use in our own transformation as I am convinced that the Sunday readings do have the power to transform us when we live them.

This Sunday we meet again the same Gospel for the Feast of the Sacred Heart this year and Jesus says to each of us: "Come to Me...
come and learn of Me that I am meek and gentle of heart."

Jesus asks us to come to Him just as we are. His Heart is open for us and He loves us and wants us to be happy. Let us trust Him and stay with Him this week, hearing again His words: "Come to Me all you who labor and are burdened...and I will give You rest." Let us rest in His Heart today.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Yours!

"Come to My Heart and find all that you need, even if it is what I have asked of you." That quote is from Jesus to Sister Josefa and one of my favorites!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Still trying to catch up...

There is still a problem with our internet connection but I have found over two hundred e-mails that have come just during this week! Maybe I need to take a vacation from the computer! I will be doing that at the end of the month. In the meantime I will try to keep the blog going and find that my message for today is all about gratitude. We just need to be grateful for every moment of the day. When we are grateful, we are happy.
Miami is going wild with the World Cup as we have thousands of fans from Latin America living here; the newspaper shows how these Latinos are flocking to the bars to watch the games and how really excited they are even when their country is not playing.
I was thinking that I should be just as excited about the things of God. We are called to go forth and reveal God's love; I think we need to be enthusiastic and joyful and then others will also get excited about all the good things God is doing for us at every moment because He loves us.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Five Days Without Phones, Computers, TV...

My house has really been quiet this week. One of my community is in retreat, another left for vacation, and the two of us at home are quiet without TV, without phones, and without access to the internet. We are waiting for ATT to solve our problems but I am not happy with the fact that it has been five days and no one knows that we are without a means of communicating with them - of course, although the 8 phones in this house are not working, their are our I-phones but I only text on mine and seldom give anyone the number so I have not really used mine all week, It is almost as if we are all in retreat and very nice to have such quiet all day.
Today is the 4th of July and I have just been praying for our country and for the whole political situation; we need to have our politicians think about the common good and stop the dishonesty. I lost track in Florida of how many mayors and other elected officials and police chiefs have been caught in tricky situations, some real fraud and others just cover ups for deals that were not honest and so we are not feeling that we can trust the very people who are in charge of our local government. Well, God can take care of all of this so I am just going to let Him but keep praying that He does do something soon to help our country.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Each of us is Unique1

God made each of us and so each of us is very precious in His sight; we are created for a purpose and each must be the one to give God glory and praise for being who we are - unique and therefore precious. Brother David Steindal-Rast says that "there never was and never will be anyone exactly like me. If I fail to experience God in my own unique way, that experience will forever remain in the shadow of possibility. But if I do, I will know life by the divine life within me." He is saying that each of us is a human being and each human being is a special kind of mystic.

God touches each of us in different ways. The essential is to be aware of His Presence no matter how He chooses to reveal Himself to us. Often it will be through others: a friendly smile, a word of encouragement, a pat on the back, maybe just an e-mail but we are aware that God has touched us in some mysterious way. Let us rejoice and thank God for the many ways He tries to get our attention each day.

As we begin this month of July, let us look for the "God moments" of each day and thank Him for making us aware of His Presence.