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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Flying home

Seven months seems short when today I am finally going home! It is true that those same seven months also have seemed an eternity at certain moments, but now I am closing a period of a more quiet, contemplative life style that my sudden brush with death brought me as a gift and I will be going back to my community, my ministry with friends and groups, my normal activities such as cooking. I have over five hours in the air to make this transition from the beauty of California to the beauty of Miami. Hopefully the plane will land on time and I shall be home by 9:30 tonight which will only be 6:30 in California. 

When one has been away so long, it takes time to adjust as others have been doing many things while I was away. I remember the first time I came back from Chile and had not seen anyone from home for nine years; they did not seem to know how to talk to me and it took a little time to get used to the different culture. That is not true this time and months are not years, but still I am looking forward to seeing everyone and being at home again in every sense of the phrase "at Home". I do feel at home with Jesus wherever I am!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I embrace the world this morning

Go out and preach the Good News. The whole world is waiting for me and this poem by Sister Carol Bialock helps me and perhaps will be good for all of us to reflect on today:

I embrace the world this morning,
Hold her in my arms a long moment
And decide never to let her go.
Never to return to safety,
Never to say, "It's none of my business."
It is.

Maybe there should be a ritual
When we come of age,
When we are old enough to respond
"I do,"
To the most crucial question:
"Have you truly, deeply, faithfully
Loved this world?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Young Woman/Old Woman

Living water, life-giving water, all flows to us from the Heart of Jesus. We are so blessed. I have been thanking for the many graces received here at Oakwood and think that it has been quite an experience to live with so many saints. 
I want to share a poem by Sister Carol Bialock:

Conversation: Young Woman/Old Woman

She said she swims in God
"It's like swimming
I held my tongue.

I wanted to tell her about floundering,
about drowning,
about arid autumns, and all the waterless ways.

But you cannot tell a summer swimmer
about December ice;

nor how, in the spring of her elder years
the pool where she swam in her youth
will be all the world's oceans wide.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Preparing for a return home

I am sorry that I have not seen more of the ocean here during these months in California, but I am thinking of returning next January to make my retreat near the ocean. We will see if this works our as I need to discern this with my community. However, we do have an ocean in Florida and I need to go at least to Biscayne Bay to contemplate it.
I am going to miss the people at Oakwood - the community, the staff, the nurses and the cooks. I am sure I will also miss the big breakfasts that are served here at 7:30 each morning. I will miss the times in the Chapel; I can still have daily Mass in Miami and my afternoon prayer in the Chapel at home and I am just grateful that I am able to return to my community and take up ordinary work again. Being here has been a great contemplative experience and I have received so many graces here. I feel my room is a holy place as I have encountered Jesus daily here. I must say that I feel the same about my room at home. 
I would wish that all would be able to have quiet time, but not because they are ill. We just need to make some time for silence and solitude in our lives.
I look forward to seeing all my friends again!
I also look forward to not trying to write my blog on my I-pad. It now tells me when I cannot scroll down to edit it that I should "complain to Google" - and yesterday my blog did not even appear on the website! Well, I am trying to schedule ahead for this week and then I will be home!
I have been going over the encounters with Jesus in my own life and finding this very fruitful.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Good Shepherd Sunday

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd who cares for each of us. We are never alone as He is with us to watch over us, to lead us, to love us, and to bring us back when we stray. His love for each of us is infinite, constant, and very real. We have all experienced quite 
wonderful encounters with Jesus. As the Holy Father said in his homily on April 24, let us go back to remember our first encounter with Jesus. Maybe you need to pray for the grace to remember, but we have all had many encounters with Jesus. Let Him shepherd us with all His love. We encounter Him in every Eucharist.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Encounter with Jesus

The Pope's homily yesterday is really worth keeping and praying over so here it is:

Each man and woman has a personal encounter with the Lord. A true and actual encounter that can radically change one’s life. The secret lies not only in being aware of it, but also in never forgetting it, so as to preserve its freshness and beauty. Pope Francis shared these thoughts during Mass at Santa Marta on Friday morning, 24 April, along with some homework and practical advice: pray for the grace to remember and then read the Gospel once again, in order to recognize it in the many encounters of Jesus.

The First Reading (Acts 9:1-20) recounts “the narrative of Saul — Paul”, Francis began, of his being “certain of his doctrine, even zealous”. But “this zeal led him to persecute this new Way that was born there, namely Christians”. Thus Saul “asked for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, for the authorization to put Christians in chains”. And “he did this with the zeal of God”.

Then, the Pope explained, “we all know what happens next”. He has “that vision, and falls from the horse”. At that point, Francis recalled, “the Lord speaks to him: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ — ‘Who are you, Lord?’ — ‘I am Jesus’”. This is “Paul’s encounter with Jesus”. Until that moment Paul “believed that everything the Christians were saying were stories”. But “here he encounters Him and will never forget this encounter: it changes his life and makes him grow in love for this Lord whom at first he persecuted but now loves”. This encounter, the Pope added, leads Paul “to proclaim to the world the name of Jesus as an instrument of salvation”. Thus, this is how “Paul’s encounter with Jesus” happened and what it meant.

“In the Bible”, Francis said, “there are many other encounters”, and “in the Gospel” as well. They are “all different” and thus, truly, “each one has his own encounter with Jesus”. Let us think about “the first disciples who followed Jesus and stayed with Him all night — John and Andrew, the first meeting — and they were happy about this”. Indeed, “Andrew goes to his brother Peter — he is called Simon at that time — and says: ‘We have found the Messiah!’”. This is followed by “Peter’s encounter with Jesus”, when Jesus says to him: “‘you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas’, (which means Peter)”.

There really are many such “encounters”, Francis reiterated. There is, for example, “that of Nathaniel, the sceptic”. Straight away, “with only a few words, Jesus bowls him over”. Indeed, the intellectual admits: “You are the Messiah!”. Then there is “the encounter of the Samaritan woman who, at a certain point, feels herself in difficulty. Yet the woman, “in her own sin, encounters Jesus and goes to proclaim him to those in the city: ‘he told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?’”.

Francis also referred to “the encounter of the leper, one of the ten healed, who returned to express his gratitude”. Another, “the encounter of that woman” who, sick for many years, “thought: ‘if I only touch his garment, I shall be made well’, and she encounters Jesus”. And finally, also “the encounter of the possessed man from whom Jesus casts out many demons, which enter the swine”. The man then “wants to follow Him and Jesus says to him: ‘No, no, stay at home, but tell everyone what has happened to you’”.

Thus, the Pontiff summarized, “we can find so many encounters in the Bible, because the Lord looks for us to have an encounter with us” and “each of us has his own encounter with Jesus”. Perhaps, the Pope pointed out, “we forget it, we lose the memory”, and we have to ask ourselves: “when did I encounter Jesus, or when did Jesus encounter me?”. Surely, Francis said, Jesus “encountered you on the day of Baptism: that is true, you were a child”. And with Baptism, he added, “He justified you and made you part of his people”.

We all, the Pope stated, “have had some encounter with Him in our life”, a true encounter, when “I felt that Jesus was looking at me”. This experience is not only “for the holy”. And “if we do not remember it, it will be beautiful to think back and ask the Lord to remind us, because He remembers, He recalls the encounter”. In this regard Francis referred to the Book of Jeremiah, which reads: “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride”. Thus, it speaks of “that enthusiastic initial encounter, that new encounter: He never forgets, but we forget the encounter with Jesus”.

Francis offered a “nice homework assignment”, which would be to recall “when I truly felt the Lord near me”, to think about “when I felt I needed to change my life or to be better or to forgive a person”, and “when I heard the Lord asking me something” and, thus, “when I encountered the Lord”.

Our faith is, in fact, “an encounter with Jesus”, and this is precisely “the foundation of faith: I encountered Jesus like Saul”, as offered in the passage from the day’s Reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Therefore, Francis continued, if one says to himself, “I don’t remember” my encounter with the Lord, it is important to ask for this grace: “Lord, when did I consciously find you? When did you tell me something that changed my life or invite me to take that step forward in life?”. And, the Pope recommended, “this is a fine prayer, do it every day”. Then, when “you remember, rejoice in that recollection, which is a remembrance of love”.

Francis also proposed another fine assignment, which “would be to take up the Gospels” and read again the many accounts there are in order “to see how Jesus encounters the people, how He chooses the apostles”. And realize, perhaps, that some encounters “resemble mine”, for “each one has her own” encounter.

Thus, the Pope offered two practical and concrete suggestions “that will do us good”. First of all “pray and ask for the grace of memory”. Ask ourselves: “When, Lord, was that encounter, that love I had at first?”. In order “not to feel that rebuke that the Lord gives in Revelation: ‘I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first’”.

The Pope’s second suggestion was to “take up the Gospel and see Jesus’ many encounters with so many different people”. It is obvious, he explained, that “the Lord wants to encounter us, He wants the relationship with us to be face-to-face”. For certain, “in our life there was a strong encounter that led us to change our life somewhat and to be better”.

The Eucharist celebration, the Pontiff concluded, is indeed “another encounter with Jesus in order to carry out what we have heard” in the Gospel (Jn 6:52-59): “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him”. Yes, to so abide “in the Lord, let us now go toward this daily encounter”.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Jesus has been waiting for his disciples....

This is one of my favorite Gospel stories. Peter went out fishing; others go with him and they toil all night and catch nothing. Then Jesus comes; they obey Him and their nets are full. Peter cannot wait to get to Jesus so he gets out of the boat. Jesus has breakfast ready for them and just adds some of the fish they have caught.
Now, what is the truth behind this story. Again, Jesus comes when they are tired and discouraged for they have worked hard and have not caught a single fish. With Jesus come the fish and the net is overflowing. Then we see that Jesus has prepared a meal for them.
Apply that story to your own life and you will find the truth that those Jewish Christians saw and used in their liturgies. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Jesus walks with us...

Maybe Jesus did not appear to you, but I am sure we are all aware that often Jesus comes to walk with us when we are discouraged and feeling sad; Jesus also comes when we are striding along full of joy. In fact, Jesus is always with us. Perhaps that is the point the evangelist was trying to make when he tells us about the two disciples and how they asked Jesus to stay with them and He did! They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. We, too, ask Jesus to stay with us and we also recognize Him in the Eucharist.
The point I am trying to make goes back to the blog I wrote the other day about the book I am reading that believes the Jewish writers of the Gospel wrote to tell us a truth, but did not try to be literal when telling it. They may have invented the details, but Jesus does walk with us and we do recognize Him in the Eucharist. He does like to be invited to "stay with us." And, when we encounter Jesus, we are filled with new energy and "our hearts are burning within us."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I know mine...

Today is Earth Day! Let us care for our planet and be grateful!

Next Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday and we hear again in John's Gospel: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep....I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep."

I love this Gospel and how wonderful to be known as the Father knows Jesus and even more marvelous to think that we know Jesus; we belong to Jesus and He cares for us as this mother duck is taking care of her offspring.

Have you not had moments when you have known that Jesus was carrying you tenderly home?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to read the Gospels?

Before Holy Week, I began to read a book by John Shelby Spong , an Episcopal bishop; the title of the book is "Liberating the Gospels" and it has caused quite a bit of controversy but I think the Holy Spirit wanted me to read this book and reflect on the truth that each Gospel story is trying to teach us. You see, Spong does not take the Gospels as literal truth but points out that they were written by Jews for Jews as the earliest Christians were Jews. Therefore, we should not take them literally but look for the truth they were trying to tell us. He shows how the Gospels are written as  the Jewish midrashie literature of Jesus' era; the stories are not historic accounts of actual events, but interpretative narratives about the meaning of Jesus, using images and scenes from the Hebrew Bible.
I am not suggesting that you read this book, but I do think it is helpful to try to look at the Gospels as telling us truth about Jesus but perhaps the stories are not really true -yet the authors want us to grasp a truth and so we need to struggle with what we have taken literally to see what is being conveyed. I am wrestling with this as I love all the stories of the Easter apparitions. Still, I am open to admit that they may have been told to convey a truth and did not really happen as we think. Maybe I am not making much sense, but I thought some of my readers might be interested in knowing that I am finding a new way of reading the Gospels.

Receiving grace . . .

We have been going over how much we received last week with the visit of our Mother General and one of the Central Team who arrived on Sunday and stayed until Thursday afternoon. They, and our own Provincial team Members, ate with us, choosing different tables and really trying to speak to each of us between meetings. Their slide show took us around the world and gave us hope for the future of the Society. Asia and Africa have more vocations than other regions. We heard how the Society of the Sacred Heart is flourishing with Associates in many Provinces. We feel that the future is bright with hope.
The staff here at Oakwood were wonderful; they are wonderful but outdid themselves during the visit. The entire area was here on Wednesday with most of the visitors staying at Oakwood. The outside of the house was painted and every window washed inside and out. The area consists of the San Diego communities, including those who work with the Indians, the communities of Redwood City, San Francisco, East Bay, and Seattle. We had Lunch outdoors on Wednesday. The weather has been so beautiful and now all the roses are in bloom. I am sure our website will have pictures. I did not think to take any.
I think we are all feeling grateful and "our hearts were burning within us" !

Monday, April 20, 2015

You have given my heart more joy...

Psalms 4:8  But you have given my heart more joy than they have when grain and wine abound.

This struck me in the Sunday readings and stayed with me. Jesus gives us joy! He wants us to be joyful! I am called to live in joy!

How is this possible when I keep hearing of such tragedies, innocent people being killed, another boat full of immigrants sinking, wars, hunger, homelessness everywhere...and yet, we are all given the joy of the Risen Jesus.

The translation is different for Psalm 4 in my Mass book: "you put gladness into my heart."
I like this and can imagine Jesus pouring gladness into my heart as I feel His joy - being grateful brings joy!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Third Sunday After Easter

The Gospel for the third Sunday after Easter begins:

The two disciples recounted what had taken place on the way,
and how Jesus was made known to them 
in the breaking of bread.

While they were still speaking about this,
he stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
But they were startled and terrified
and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?
And why do questions arise in your hearts?
Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones
as you can see I have.”
And as he said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.

The two disciples told the others that they had met Jesus on their way and He had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Jesus then comes and stands their in their midst and they are terrified. Jesus asks them, "Why are you troubled?" I love the way Jesus tries to convince them that it is really himself. He shows them his wounds and invites them to touch him and see...
We are invited to receive Jesus into our hearts and He is present there in a special way in the Eucharist. We just need to believe and accept the gift of the Risen Jesus who continues to say to us, "Peace be with you."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Presence of Mary

Saturday is always a special day for me. It is Our Lady's day. I think I received a love for Our Lady from my mother, but when I was sacristan for Mater's Chapel in Rome I experienced her in a new way as friend as well as mother. Then the many years in South America deepened my love for her and appreciation for her presence in my life. When I need her, she lets me feel her presence in a tangible way. Sometimes I think she is so close to me because my mother keeps asking her to look out for me. Of course, Mary keeps telling me, "Do whatsoever Jesus tells you." However, she also lets him know when I have no "wine" or whatever is needed at the moment.

I will be home in 12 days! I love it here, but miss my community!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Joy and Psalm 100

It has been a joyful week. I memorized Psalm 100 so I could go about saying it as it expresses something of what I have been feeling. It is a good walking prayer:

A psalm of thanks.

100 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with celebration!
    Come before him with shouts of joy!
Know that the Lord is God—
    he made us; we belong to him.
    We are his people,
    the sheep of his own pasture.
Enter his gates with thanks;
    enter his courtyards with praise!
    Thank him! Bless his name!
Because the Lord is good,
    his loyal love lasts forever;
    his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.

I prefer the New American Bible translation as it has "Sing joyfully to the Lord, all ye lands'
Serve the Lord with gladness"  - but celebration is good, too!

We have had a week of joy here at Oakwood as we had both Central Team and Provincial Team members here with us from Sunday to Thursday. We had many meetings and meals with them and certainly our hearts were burning within us as we heard about all the Society of the Sacred Heart is doing in all parts of the world.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jubilee of Mercy

We are in a year dedicated to deepening consecrated life and we are looking forward to a Jubilee Year of Mercy! It is exciting to see what is happening today in our Church! Pope Francis is sending us out to wake up the world! Here is what he said in a homily for Divine Mercy Sunday:

Many question in their hearts: why a Jubilee of Mercy today? Simply because the Church, in this time of great historical change, is called to offer more evident signs of God’s presence and closeness. This is not the time to be distracted; on the contrary, we need to be vigilant and to reawaken in ourselves the capacity to see what is essential. This is a time for the Church to rediscover the meaning of the mission entrusted to her by the Lord on the day of Easter: to be a sign and an instrument of the Father’s mercy (cf. Jn 20:21-23). For this reason, the Holy Year must keep alive the desire to know how to welcome the numerous signs of the tenderness which God offers to the whole world and, above all, to those who suffer, who are alone and abandoned, without hope of being pardoned or feeling the Father’s love. A Holy Year to experience strongly within ourselves the joy of having been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd who has come in search of us because we were lost. A Jubilee to receive the warmth of his love when he bears us upon his shoulders and brings us back to the Father’s house. A year in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy. Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favourable time to heal wounds, a time not to be weary of meeting all those who are waiting to see and to touch with their hands the signs of the closeness of God, a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.

May we all experience the joy of having been found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd...let us pray now that this year of mercy will truly be one in which we "receive the warmth of his love" and that it will be a time to offer everyone the way of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

God so loved the world...

Today's Gospel tells us that God so loved the world that "he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life."

God still loves the world and I am sure He is trying to inspire us to care for it. We have been so careless and are using so much of the world's resources without calculating the consequences and so now we have the great problem of climate change. That is just one of the ecological issues facing us. Then, we have the wealthy getting more wealth while the poor are getting poorer; we have people who are homeless and hungry; people who are being persecuted, tortured and killed. What does God's heart feel as he sees the way we are living on this earth? 
Let us pray and act; everything we do or do not do counts as we are all helping to build the Cosmic Christ. We are in evolution and we need to be aware of what we are doing to our world and all who dwell in it.
Now, I do not know where this reflection has come from, but I will leave it as it seemed to write itself. Just remember that God loves the world and each creature in it including you.
I continue to strive to live the three attitudes of hopefulness, letting myself be surprised by God, and living in joy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Atmosphere of Joy

Just as Jesus went about consoling his friends for forty days after Easter, we are having our Mother General and one of the Central Team plus our Provincial and three of the Provincial Team here for a visit. You can feel the joy and excitement in the house. They arrived on Sunday afternoon and will be here until Thursday when they go to another visit with the younger members of the Province; then they continue to visit other parts of the country and only return to Rome at the end of the first week of May.
Today we will hear about what is happening in other Provinces all around the world. We will see slides and then be able to ask some questions. I am just happy to be here and every bed is filled. On Wednesday, the Religious of the Sacred Heart from San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, and all the local communities (we have three in Redwood City) will be here, too. We will be allowed to listen on that day, but not go to the afternoon session which will just be for the smaller communities. There is such an atmosphere of joy that is so tangible this week. We must be celebrating Easter with alleluias in our hearts.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Born to be bold?

"In the Spirit, we are born to be bold. Our boldness comes in the defiant nature of our hope, the steadfast mystery of our faith, and the tireless impetus to love. . . it calls us to do signs and wonders, to heal and be healed, to forgive and be forgiven. It is a boldness captured in both grand, courageous actions and in the intentional act of standing unbridled in belief.
"While we long to know what's ahead, we can't. All we can do is boldly go where the Spirit leads, a place deep in relationship with God, self, and the world. . .a place we call the Kingdom."
             Sister Colleen Gibson - taken from her Reflection in Give Us This Day on today's Gospel when Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born from above. We are all born of the Spirit, but do we feel bold? 
My mind is telling me that I need to reflect on this today, especially the idea of a defiant nature of hope, and a tireless impetus to love! 
I am willing to go wherever the Spirit leads...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Pope wrote a rather long Bull to announce the official institution of a Jubilee year of Mercy. It is fitting to announce it today as it is "Divine Mercy Sunday" - the Jubilee begins December 8 and ends on the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday in November.

I was struck by the Collect for today's Liturgy:
God of everlasting mercy,
who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast
kindle the faith of the people you have made your own,
increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand
in what font they have been washed,
by whose Spirit they have been reborn,
by whose Blood they have been redeemed.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

That collect is full of theology and worth reflecting on today.
I also love the first reading: the "community of believers was of one heart and mind" and then we have Thomas making his act of faith in exclaiming, "My Lord and My God!" and I suspect many of us were taught to do the same at the elevation of the consecrated Host and then with the consecrated Wine. I will share more about the Jubilee later this week.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Celebrate progress

I have just read a thought-provoking article or reflection on the idea of starting small and celebrate progress. This will work for whatever we want to change in ourselves or our world. Start small...whether it is saving water, making time to reflect back over your day, pulling weeds, losing weight, start walking, or just smiling more. Start small and celebrate progress!
Do not become discouraged. We won't, if we start small and celebrate our progress!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Living in Joy

I am concentrating on the joy this week; what does living in joy really mean for me? It means seeing all the good around me and it means being grateful from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night. We are so blessed and I must say it is easy to be grateful and full of joy at Oakwood. I am looking forward, however, to going home to my own community at the end of the month.
Living in joy means savoring each moment. It means taking time to smell the flowers, feel the sun, touch the trees, hear the birds, and sing a song of joy to Jesus. Yes, to live in joy involves all of our 
senses. We also need to be humble and grateful to have real joy!

I remember how the bacon tasted this morning. I love the 
smell of bacon frying, but I also love the taste of it. When you start living in joy, you find that everything gives joy!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hide us in your wounds...

I went back to this prayer after the Pope quoted it.
I love the "hide us in your wounds" and "do not allow us to separate from you."

Soul of Christ, sanctify us!

Body of Christ, save us!

Blood of Christ, inebriate us!

Water from the side of Christ, wash us!
 Passion of Christ, comfort us!

O Good Jesus, hear us!

Hide us in your wounds!

Do not allow us to separate from You!

From the evil enemy defend us!

In the hour of our death, call us!

And command us to come to You,

so that we may praise You with Your Saints forever and ever. AMEN.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Three Attitudes

We think of the two disciples who walked away from Jerusalem on Sunday morning; they were distressed because they thought that Jesus had not fulfilled their hopes but had been put to death. They could not believe that He had risen, even if they had heard that the women had found the tomb empty and had a story to tell the disciples!
We so often lack faith and hope. I have really enjoyed concentrating on living the three attitudes that the Pope asked for when he was at the Youth Day in Brazil: Hopefulness, Letting 
yourself be surprised by God, and Living in Joy. They make a difference and we all have the grace to strive to cultivate these attitudes, especially during the Easter season.

Here is a quote taken from Genevieve Glen, OSB who spoke of how the Israelites could not imagine that God would summon a future for them out of the desert wastelands. Then she says:
"And where imagination is locked in a box, hope suffocates and dies."
Let us be filled with hope and thank God that he gave us the gift of an imagination!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Monday

We continue to sing Alleluia, Alleluia, with joyful hearts.

This is a picture that has my imagination working to see the different colors and what they mean to me today.

I love these days after Easter as I really believe that Jesus goes  around consoling us in a very tangible way after Easter. I have read how often the Pope has received a white rose after praying to St. Theresa to solve some problem. I find that the forty days after Easter are full of delightful surprises. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Sunday

This is the day the Lord hath made; rejoice and be glad in it!

Alleluia, Alleluia

Sorry, but I have lost the rest. Just rejoice because Jesus wants us to be joyful with Him!

From the pope's homily:

To enter into the mystery” means the ability to wonder, to contemplate; the ability to listen to the silence and to hear the tiny whisper amid great silence by which God speaks to us (cf 1 Kings 19:12).

To enter into the mystery demands that we not be afraid of reality: that we not be locked into ourselves, that we not flee from what we fail to understand, that we not close our eyes to problems or deny them, that we not dismiss our questions…

To enter into the mystery means going beyond our own comfort zone, beyond the laziness and indifference which hold us back, and going out in search of truth, beauty and love. It is seeking a deeper meaning, an answer, and not an easy one, to the questions which challenge our faith, our fidelity and our very existence.

To enter into the mystery, we need humility, the lowliness to abase ourselves, to come down from the pedestal of our “I” which is so proud, of our presumption; the humility not to take ourselves so seriously, recognizing who we really are: creatures with strengths and weaknesses, sinners in need of forgiveness. To enter into the mystery we need the lowliness that is powerlessness, the renunciation of our idols… in a word, we need to adore. Without adoration, we cannot enter into the mystery.

The women who were Jesus’ disciples teach us all of this. They kept watch that night, together with Mary. And she, the Virgin Mother, helped them not to lose faith and hope. As a result, they did not remain prisoners of fear and sadness, but at the first light of dawn they went out carrying their ointments, their hearts anointed with love. They went forth and found the tomb open. And they went in. They had kept watch, they went forth and they entered into the Mystery. May we learn from them to keep watch with God and with Mary our Mother, so that we too may enter into the Mystery which leads from death to life.

 (from Vatican Radio)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Holy Saturday

Jesus died and was buried. We say that and think of what that meant to Mary, His Mother. And how did His disciples feel as they had abandoned Him out of fear? Let us pass this day with Mary who believes that Jesus will rise from the dead, but she has held Him in her arms when they took Him down from the cross.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday

 I am so blessed to be celebrating Holy Week here at Oakwood. I think I started to write this and it got published before I could get it scheduled. All these things happen when I write the blog on my I-pad so I am on a computer tonight. 

I suspect each of us spends the day differently. I am happy to have the silent time between 12 and 3:00 and then we have our liturgy at 3:30.  I just like to be with Jesus on Good Friday and I think that we can console Him by our love. And by accepting His love for us.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Today we begin the Triduum...

Here is the Pope's summary of the sacred Triduum we begin today, Holy Thursday:

"We begin the Triduum by celebrating the Mass of the Lord's Supper, as we recall Christ's offering of his body and blood to the Father, which he gave to the Apostles as food for their nourishment, with the command that they perpetually celebrate these mysteries in his memory. We recall also the Lord washing the Apostles' feet, through which he showed that the purpose of his life and passion is to serve God and neighbor, a service which we are called to imitate by loving one another as he loved us. On Good Friday, we will meditate on the mystery of Christ's death and we will adore the Cross. By his sacrifice, sin has been overcome through love, an immense love which we are called to live and transmit. On Holy Saturday, we will contemplate Jesus' lying in the tomb, and with Mary, the Church will keep alive the flame of faith, hoping against every hope in Christ's resurrection. Then, at the Easter Vigil, when the Alleluia resounds again, we will celebrate the Risen Christ, the center and fulfillment of the universe and history. In these days, may we not only observe the Lord's Passion, but truly enter into its mystery, making our own the sentiments of Christ. In this way, our Easter will indeed be blessed."

I have always loved Holy Thursday. As a child, my grandmother would take us to visit the Repositories in the different churches. We would visit at least six different churches each year and were given shiny new dimes so we could light a candle in each. Now, after Vatican II we have an evening liturgy and then adoration but only until midnight. I remember staying in prayer all night at the Trinita dei Monti in Rome; I also remember that I had a terrible cold after doing that. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday of Holy Week

How am I staying with Jesus?

I continue with the Pope's Letter to the Carmelites as it has helped me to pray over it.

2. Since her encounter with Jesus, St Teresa lived "another life"; she become a tireless communicator of the Gospel (cf. Life, 23, 1). Eager to serve the Church, and in the face of serious problems of her time, she did not limit herself to being a spectator of the reality around her. In her position as a woman and with her health difficulties, she decided, she said, "to do what little depended on me ... that is to follow the evangelical counsels as perfectly as possible and to ensure that these few nuns who are here do the same" (The Way, 1, 2). Thus began the Teresian reform, in which she asked her sisters not to lose time negotiating with God "interests of little importance," while "the world is in flames" (ibid., 1, 5). This missionary and ecclesial dimension has always marked the Carmelites and Discalced Carmelites.

As she did then, even today the saint opens new horizons for us, she calls us to a great undertaking, to see the world with the eyes of Christ, to seek what He seeks and to love what He loves.

3. St Teresa knew that neither prayer nor mission can be sustained without authentic community life. Therefore, the foundation that she laid in her monasteries was fraternity: "Here everyone must love one another, care for each other and help one another" (ibid., 4, 7). And she was very careful to warn her sisters about the danger of individualism in fraternal life, which consists "all or almost all in the denial of ourselves and of our own comforts" (ibid., 12, 2) and to place ourselves at the service of others. To avoid this risk, the saint of Avila recommended to her sisters, first of all, the virtue of humility, which is neither outward neglect nor inner shyness of the soul, but each knowing their own abilities and what God can do in us (cf. Relations, 28). The opposite is what she calls "false point of honour" (Life, 31, 23), a source of gossip, jealousy and criticism, which severely damage relationships with others. Teresian humility consists of self-acceptance, awareness of one’s own dignity, missionary courage, gratitude and trust in God.

With these noble roots, Teresian communities are called to become houses of communion, capable of witnessing to fraternal love and to the motherhood of the Church, presenting to the Lord the needs of the world, torn by divisions and wars