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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Here and now

This morning I was pondering the truth of this quote from Mother Janet Erskine Stuart:

"It is always here and now, there is always the present moment to do the very best we can with, and the future depends on the way these moments are spent."

It is not easy to live in the present moment; try doing it just for a day! Yet, God's grace is given in the present moment!

I am trying to get more pages written before I fly to St. Louis on October 2 for a Prayer and Dialogue week end. I will stay on for three days to work in the archives so need to know more about what I have for Lucile Mathevon's life and what I information I still hope to find. Someone suggested that I write a shorter blog - thus you may be receiving a few of the quotes that I love from Mother Stuart to reflect upon instead of my musings.

I am looking forward to talking to high school students about my vocation today.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Gentle Call

This Thursday I am going to talk about my vocation to the students at Pace High School and I am thrilled to be able to do this. I am sure God is still calling young people to follow him in many ways, and religious life is one way to know that you are consecrated to God and to his service in a special way. It means responding to His love and putting God first and at the center of your life.

My own vocation was a gentle call. I first really thought about entering a convent when I was in my first year of high school and making my first retreat; since we were a boarding school, we began our retreat on Monday night and kept silence until Friday morning.
The desks in our study hall all faced the windows or the wall and we had a Jesuit who gave us talks during the three days. One talk was on vocations and I began to think that maybe I would like to be a nun and teach others about God. It was just a thought but I began to be conscious of a desire to be with God for all those who never thought of Him or thanked Him. I began to make short visits to the Chapel to talk to God and this is the way God led me to really consider giving up the life I thought I wanted to go see if the Society of the Sacred Heart would accept me. I entered for the Feast of the Sacred Heart in June after two years of college; I just had my nineteenth birthday and thought that maybe I would be sent home by September and so would be able to rejoin my classmates.
I knew the Religious of the Sacred Heart but had no idea of what religious life was all about and only a vague idea that nuns took three vows. I just had liked what I saw and thought the nuns that taught me were united to Jesus when not actually teaching - that was a big disappointment to discover that union with God was not something that happened automatically because one entered the convent! However, I have never regretted entering and count my vocation as a great gift from God.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Transforming my ways...

I am still praying over yesterday's Liturgy and want to share this bit from the Concord Pastor's blog:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts
and my ways are not your ways, says the Lord…

Sounds to me like some pretty solid grounds for disagreement here,

disagreement with God unless you’ve cleared all that up

and now your thoughts are God’s thoughts and

your ways are God’s ways – just about all the time.

But we know that’s not the case.

Very often, in fact, God’s take on things substantially differs from ours:

we don’t always think the way God thinks,

our ways don’t always parallel God’s ways.
He gives examples: how about forgiving my enemies? Or how is my generosity? God is so good and wants us to be good and merciful as He is; He is concerned about each of us. I need to spend time with Jesus today and just be with Him as He tries to teach me about the Father. Jesus centered his entire life around his Father, God, and his reign. He wants us to trust God and let Him transform us so that our thoughts are more like God's thoughts and our ways are God's ways.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Be generous, not envious

Jesus told the parable of the owner who hired laborers every time he went out and found some who had not been hired. He paid each a daily wage, even if they had been hired at a late hour. He was generous. The ones who had worked all day and were paid last were resentful. They did not think that was fair. But the owner said that they had received what was agreed on and they had no right to find fault with his generosity. Now, I think that I would have been resentful, too, and wonder how this parable now applies to my own life.
Jesus knew that God is all loving, merciful, generous and would not want anyone to be left out. He is like that owner who kept going out to see who had not been hired. He looks for ways to show His love. Jesus went out and looked for those who were poor, those who were treated as outcasts, those in need of love. May I do the same today.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Another week end...

Where has the week gone? The days pass so quickly and I must confess that I seem to find time for all except the book I want to write about one of our great pioneer religious. I suppose I am not giving it priority and so it is still waiting for me.
The week end is rather free but I find it hard to work on week ends. I used to write papers on week ends; then I often spent hours correcting papers on week ends. What has happened to my work ethic? I need to sit down and not get up until I have written at least three pages. I will try it today and see what happens, but I need the support of others to make myself do this so please, lots of prayer for this miserable creature who wants to write and does not do it!!

Now for something spiritual. God is not envious. When Jesus tells the parable of the workers who are told to go into the fields at nine in the morning, at noon, at three, and finally at five o'clock, he is showing us how God keeps looking for us and wants to give us all that we need - that was the daily wage that the owner gave each, beginning with those who had only worked the last bit of the day since they were only hired at five o'clock. God gives each of us all that we need and we need to be free from envy and resentment. I guess we can apply this to our own lives and rejoice in such a generous God!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Being Blessed

This morning I woke up thinking of all the blessings I had received in my twenty years in Chile. This is a picture of Chile, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It was a grace for me to have lived and worked there and met so many wonderful, holy people who blessed me in so many ways.

Thinking of the actual act of blessing brought back memories of a summer in Mexico when I was just sixteen. I still remember being so impressed with three grown sons asking their father's blessing, not only before bed, but when they left the house. I think many Hispanic families still have the custom of a blessing before bedtime.

I am thinking of how I am to use the three components of a blessing in my relationships today. It is easy to show delight in those I will be meeting and to want the best for them, but what of the third component? I guess I need to repeat what Rolheiser said:

"To bless someone is to see and admire that person, speak well of him or her, and give away some of your life so that he or she might have more life."
 I am going to try to have all of these components today in order to bless all I meet both at home and at the University!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


There are three components to a blessing. To bless someone is to see and admire that person, speak well of him or her, and give away some of your life so that he or she might have more life. Richard Rolheiser develops each of these components in his latest book, Sacred Fire: A Vision for a Deeper Human and Christian Maturity.
Just reading the three components made me start reflecting on the many blessings I have received during my life. When I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart, I discovered that it was the custom for the superior to give a blessing by making a small cross on one's forehead. This was an old monastic custom and one reads about the monks filing past the Abbot after night office to receive a blessing. Anyway, I do remember that the only phrase I managed to learn in Spanish before arriving in Chile straight from profession in Rome was how to ask for my superior's blessing. I think I thought that would solve all problems!
But I digress - it is really good to think of how these components are active in my own life. Who will I bless today?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ask Us to Dance


This morning I read the reflection in "Give Us This Day" by Madeleine Delbret (1904-1964). I liked it so want to share it with you:

"Lord, come ask us to dance.
We're ready to dance this errand for you,
These accounts to do, this dinner to prepare, this vigil to keep
When we would prefer to sleep.
We're ready to dance for you the dance of work,
The dance of heat, and later the dance of cold.
If certain melodies are often played in the minor key, we won't tell you
That they're sad;
If others leave us a little breathless, we won't tell you
That they knock the wind out of us.
And if other people bump into us, we'll take it with a good laugh,
Knowing well that that's the sort of thing that happens when your dancing...
Make us live our life
Not like a game of chess, where every move is calculated
Nor like a contest where everything is difficult,
Not like a math problem, which makes our head hurt,
But like an endless celebration, where our meeting with you is constantly new,
Like a ball,
Like a dance,
In the arms of your grace,
In the universal music of love,
Lord, ask us to dance."

I think this is my prayer for all of us today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Do we worship the Lord?

"Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him?

What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him; it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him; it means sensing that his presence is the truest, the most good, the most important thing of all. All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things  we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means stating, believing--not only by our words--that he alone truly guides our lives. Worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history." Pope Francis, April 14, 2013 Homily

Sorry that I am a bit late today but I am with the workmen and it seems that everything happens at once. The alarm man is also going to arrive as our alarm is not working properly. We did have the electricity cut a couple of times with a storm and that may have caused it. I also seem to have mixed up things on the blog as for as being able to publish as soon as I write it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Autumn Thoughts

Are the trees turning into autumn colors where you live? It is still summer here, but I have been having autumn thoughts. When we let go and fall freely from a tree, we die but are soon raked into a pile with other leaves, some are close relatives from my own tree, others are neighbors that I might not have known until we were swept together and piled up to make a bonfire. Soon I shall be consumed and a new life awaits me. How do I feel about that?

Now these may seem to be fantasy thoughts, but there is always a truth behind what my imagination invents.

I just read this is the latest "Friends of Silence" bulletin that just came:

"The rooting (of trees, of ourselves) is as important and as necessary as the rising. We have the opportunity to sink roots into soul and rise up with branches in heaven...
Our spiritual growth is meant to go in both directions, toward the fertile darkness and the glorious light, each of us having the opportunity to bridge earth and heaven--the underworld and the upperworld--through the trunks of our middleworld lives...
There's no conflict between spirit-cantered being and soulful doing, between transcendence and inscendence. Each supports and enhances the other. Like Rilke, we discover we can have both:
You see, I want a lot
Maybe I want it all;
The darkness of each endless fall,
The shimmering light of each ascent."

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is a Feast day dear to the Society of the Sacred Heart. I had my own experience that made me love this feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. I received a great disappointment when I still a young nun waiting to go to Rome for final Profession. I had this dream and saw Mary standing at the foot of the Cross with tears flowing but she was there and standing as near as possible to Jesus. The dream was a consoling one and the vivid image of Mary has never left me.
When I told my mother that I wanted to enter the convent, she left me to finish putting my little brothers to bed. I then went across to my parents' room and found my mother sitting on the side of the bed looking up at the cross with tears on her face but also I realized that she was lost in prayer.
Well, nothing I have written was planned but I need to get to the gym so will just send these two experiences today and I am sure all have their own moments when Our Mother of Sorrows has come to console us. Our Lady always came to console me when I was homesick: at boarding school, in the novitiate, and in Chile!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Thoughts on this Feast

"For God so loved the world..."
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. 
The Entrance Antiphon tells us that "we should glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered."

Catholic homes used to have a Crucifix on the wall in many rooms; many Catholic schools still have one in every classroom. Today we celebrate the reason why we venerate the Cross. In the Gospel we read that " just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
The Preface for today's feast, tells us that God " placed the salvation of the human race on the wood of the cross"...
I have a small cross sent to me by Reverend Mother Benziger from Rome when I was in Chile with the message that I was never to give it up but always keep it with me.  It gives me great comfort; I am holding it in my hand as I write on my I-pad this morning. Here is a picture of my small cross that has brought me such consolation for over 53 years! (Guess I have not learned how to get this from I-pad to blog, sorry but maybe it will appear tomorrow.)


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week end Joys

This is a free week end and there is such a sense of leisure. I went back to sleep until almost eight o'clock; the house is quiet and two of my friends who came to lunch yesterday brought beautiful flowers; the deep pink roses are decorating our living room and the delicate and varied bouquet that I was told was for my room, is the centerpiece on the dining room table. I have really never had flowers in my room, but I am loving having them today in the two rooms where we can enjoy them. The third friend brought a delicious chocolate chip cake which I am also enjoying, but most of all I just rejoiced being able to entertain my friends.

I love waterfalls and they remind me that "living waters" flow from the side of Christ. I think Jesus is so present to each of us and wants to give Himself to us even more fully, if we would just be attentive to His Presence in our lives.

I am reading Julian's Gospel and finding new information about the fourteenth century; it makes me grateful to live in the 21st century!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Another Feast of Our Lady

Names are important. Today, we celebrate the naming of the Blessed Virgin Mary who is now not only the Mother of Jesus and therefore the Mother of God, but she is our mother, too.

I have been so busy all week but intend to have a slow week end; maybe I will be able to really get some work done. I do not know why this week seemed so busy. I did get both gas and a flu shot on my way to the University yesterday morning. I made a huge salad for the reflection group last night. It is always a joy to have them come and share their lives so simply.

Today I am having four for lunch and look forward to that.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Am I open to formation?

Our parish has asked for a day of prayer and fasting today for growth in holiness... the Pastor always writes a page in the bulletin and this time he is offering four concrete characteristics that can help us remain open to formation.
1. Humility. It is said that there are many who want to learn, but few who want to be taught....We must recognize our need to grow to learn, to be formed - and be open.

2. Docility. In its oldest form, "docility" means "teachableness; readiness or aptness to learn." Clay must be soft if it is to be formed by the hands of the artist...

3. Availability. I must make myself available to the opportunities to be formed; go, risk the experience.

4. Dedication. Once available, I must strive for growth in holiness. The most important person responsible for my formation is "me"!

I guess desire is what leads to all four of these characteristics - do I truly desire to be formed by God, by others, by circumstances? We are never too old to be formed and even transformed!

Let us look upon our continual formation as a great adventure and may we become more like Jesus who came to serve the lowly, to spread good news, to welcome all and told us over and over not to be afraid!
We have our first Reflection Group of the year tonight!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Encounter with Christ

For me, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is a real encounter with Christ. Just as I feel that Jesus waits for me in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, I also feel that He waits for me in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a joyful encounter with Jesus as He loves to forgive me and embraces me with His love. He wants to help me and so has arranged the opportunity to confess my sins, failings, weaknesses and start over to try to live with and like Him - it is the grace of the Sacrament.

It makes me more sensitive to what pleases Jesus; it helps me to be accountable; it makes me reflect on how I am living my consecrated life; it is a tremendous help to see how I am to grow in union and conformity with the Heart of Jesus.

Since now the penitent may begin by using a Scripture passage, I will suggest a couple that are helpful for me. These first two are from the Book of Sirach:

"My child, if you have sinned, do so no more, and for your past sins pray to be forgiven." (Sirach 21:1)

"For the Lord is compassionate and merciful; forgives sins and saves in time of trouble. (Sirach 21:11)

"The Lord's acts of mercy are not exhausted, his compassion is not spent;
They are renewed each morning--great is your faithfulness!
                       (Lamentations: 3:22-23)

"Let us search and examine our ways and return to the Lord."
                                  (Lamentations 3:40)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Today I want to share with you a quote from Walter Kasper's book on Mercy as I find it helpful:

"The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a true refuge for sinners, which all of us are. Here the burdens that we carry around with us, are taken from us. Nowhere else do we encounter the mercy of God so immediately, so directly, and so concretely as when we are told in the name of Jesus: "Your sins are forgiven!" Certainly no one finds it easy to humbly confess his or her sins and, often enough, to confess the same sins over and over again. But everyone who does that and then is told, "I absolve you", not generally and anonymously, but concretely and personally, knows of the inner freedom, inner peace, and joy that this sacrament bestows."

I am talking about this Sacrament today and tomorrow as so many have found it almost absent from their lives. I reflected on my own reception of the Sacrament and I usually try for once a month and end up with about six or seven times a year, but each time I feel a deep peace and joy after receiving the Sacrament. When sharing some of my retreat reflection, I was asked to put it in my blog so that is why I am writing again tomorrow about this Sacrament. Remember that a Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. Why not try to receive the grace of this Sacrament?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Celebrating Mary's birthday

I have always loved thinking of Mary as a small child and wondering how they celebrated birthdays then. Now, the Church gives us a special feast day to honor Mary who is such a wonderful Mother for all of us.

I am sure we all want to give her a birthday gift today. She likes it when I tell her that I want to do all that pleases Jesus. She also is glad when I turn to her for help. I need Mary in my life and she leads me to Jesus.
I just saw that this was published on the 6th instead of the 8th!

Our community day was very good and we even did most of our budget for the coming year in the afternoon.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Thoughts

Today we are having a community planning day; yesterday we said good-bye to one who has lived with us in Miami for many years; since one of our community is in Rome forming our young Religious preparing for final profession, there are going to be only three of us living in our community until February. It will be a new community and we are beginning with prayer, looking at what has been good and we want to continue and also looking at what we would like to change.
After the more contemplative part of the morning, we work out a plan for the year, coordinate calendars, and agree about the many household tasks, cooking schedules, celebrations of birthdays, feasts, and holidays.
We will do the budget another day as we all like to have time in the pool and will go out for dinner to celebrate our beginning of this new community.
I was struck in retreat when reading our formation booklet that says that God has called us to live in community as sisters... I stayed with that thought that I am called by God to live in community. I am looking forward to our new year together and hope and think that one of our goals will be hospitality.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Are the leaves changing color where you are?

Although I love Miami, I miss the change of seasons. I loved the first crisp, cool days when the trees suddenly are so beautiful with all the colors of Fall. I think that our interior life can also have seasons and we should be attentive to the changes that happen inside of us through the year. I said in an earlier blog that our interior life is much more interesting than our exterior and I have been reflecting on that and wonder if others feel the same. We are so often unaware of the changes that are taking place deep in our souls; the leaves are changing colors and we must marvel at the beauty before they begin to fall. Let us take a slow walk in our own soul today and see what God is doing and thank Him for His gentle ways of transforming us.

Friday, September 5, 2014

God's love just keeps flowing...

During my retreat I was fascinated by the waves. Sometimes they were huge to the delight of the surfers; at other times they broke gently and just lapped the shore, wetting the sand and sending the toddlers scurrying back to safety. What struck me was that, although the waves were different in intensity, height, and depth, they were relentless. They just kept coming.

For me, the sound of the waves had a prayerful tone: I heard Jesus saying to me over and over: "Remain in my love; I love you; you are mine; love me..." The sound of the surf became prayer and I find the ocean such a wonderful image of God and God's Love. The ocean is always ocean but never the same; it is calling us to see how infinite God's Love is and to listen to Him. God's love just keeps flowing into us!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Be guided by the Holy Spirit

In an audience given last May, the Holy Father asked? "So how does the Holy Spirit act in our lives and in the life of the Church in order to guide us to the Truth? First of all. he recalls and inspires in the hearts of believers the words Jesus spoke...." Then, the Holy Spirit guides us to encounter Jesus, the fullness of the Truth; he also guides us "into" the Truth--that is, he makes us enter into an ever deeper communion with Jesus, giving us knowledge of all the things of God. And we cannot achieve this by our own efforts."

If I keep quoting Pope Francis, it is because his spirituality is for all of us now and what he says needs some reflection. Do I pray to the Holy Spirit? We must pray every day, says the Pope: "Holy Spirit , make my heart open to the word of God, make my heart open to goodness, make my heart open to the beauty of God every day."

The bold is mine for emphasis.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Julian's Gospel"

When I was in Berkeley last month, I met Veronica Rolf, the author of a tremendous book: Julian's Gospel: Illuminating the Life and Revelations of Julian of Norwich, Orbis, 2014. Veronica worked for six years to give us this book; she has researched so much of the background of the time of Julian as well as giving us new insights into the Revelations of Julian. I have just received the book, but feel that it is going to be my spiritual reading for months.

In the meantime, here is again something from Pope Francis taken from his General Audience , October 16, 2013:
"An apostle is a person who has been given a mandate, sent to do something, and the apostles were chosen, called and sent our by Jesus to continue his work, that is, to pray--which is the primary job of an apostle--and, second, to proclaim the Gospel."

So, the more important task of the apostle is to pray! And the Pope says that if we want to be apostles, "we must ask ourselves: Do I pray for the salvation of the world? Do I proclaim the Gospel?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Peace and Joy

What gives you peace? I think a right conscience gives peace, but sometimes we see or hear something that upsets our peace. Maybe we have even found ourselves in a confrontation and have felt, what gives you peace when you may have lost it, felt disturbed, worried, afraid? I was reflecting on this and think I recover peace by just sitting with Jesus. I feel a great calm and a stillness comes that brings peace. Other times, I can recall a peaceful scene that seems to inspire peace. When I have peace, I usually also feel joy. These are just thoughts that come while I sit here, but I think it has been my experience to live in peace and joy and, if something upsets me, turn to Jesus to see what happened to make me lose my peace. That seems to me to be the first step to recovering it! And, often I realize that it is my own fault.
Peace is a gift of the Holy Spirit and so is Joy; let us thank the Spirit for these two great gifts!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Go with Him...

To continue with what Pope Francis told the Catechists, the third element flows from the second for, as Paul told us: "the love of Christ impels us" - the Pope says that this can be translated as "the love of Christ possesses us. And so it is: love attracts us and sends us; it draws us in and gives us to others. This tension marks the beating of the heart of the Christian...The third element is along these lines, starting anew with Christ means not being afraid to go with him to the outskirts."
The Pope uses the story of Jonah to show how the Lord calls him to go and preach to Nineveh and Jonah does not want to do this and tries to run away. The Pope says that this short parable teaches us not to be afraid to pass beyond our comfort zone and to follow God, because God is always pushing, pressing forward...God is not afraid!...God is creative; he is not closed, and so he is never inflexible. God is not rigid1 He welcomes us, he meets us, he understands us."
We need to be able to change, to adapt to situations in which we need to proclaim the Gospel. But again, the Pope assures us that we go with Jesus who has said to us, 'Go, for I am with you!' He walks with us, he goes ahead of us, and he gets there first....God is always ahead of us! ..."Jesus is waiting for us in the hearts of our brothers and sister, in their wounded bodies, in their hardships, in their lack of faith."
"Let us remain with Christ-abiding in Christ - and let us always try to be one with him. Let us follow him; let us imitate him in his movement of love, in his going forth to meet humanity. Let us go forth and open doors. Let us have the audacity to mark out new paths for proclaiming the Gospel."
Have a happy Labor Day!