Daily reflections for prayer, growth in the spiritual life, and good prayer sources. This blog also has links to other websites. One feature is a list of spiritual books.
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Thursday, March 31, 2016
Jesus ends Easter Sunday with a visit to his disciples
Jesus suddenly appears in the midst of his disciples even as the two from Emmaus are recounting how they had walked with Jesus and recognized him in the breaking of the bread.
Jesus says, "peace be with you", but they are so startled that Luke tells us they thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus asks 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." Then Jesus showed them his hands and his feet.
Since they still are incredulous for joy, Jesus asked them if they had anything to eat. They gave him a piece of baked fish and he ate it. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Jesus comes to us and we seem to not recognize him so often and we need to touch him in the Eucharist. He wants to share his joy with us and often says to us, "Let not your heart be troubled."
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Do we recognize Jesus as He walks with us?
Two disciples were walking and discussing how disappointed they were with all that had happened in Jerusalem and how Jesus had been crucified. Jesus approached them on their way and asks them why they are so downcast. Then he shows them the Scriptures and how they were fulfilled. They reach Emmaus and Jesus seems to be going further but they invite him to stay with them as it is late. He sits down with them to a simple Sunday supper, takes bread and blesses it and gives it to them and they recognize him in the breaking of the bread. Then he disappears and they are aware of new energy to rush back the seven miles to Jerusalem to tell the others that they had seen Jesus and their hearts were burning in them as he spoke to them on the way and opened the Scriptures for them.
It is so like Jesus to seek out these two who were foolish and slow of heart to believe. He joins them to console them. And they do not recognize him until the breaking of the bread. We, too, often have Jesus walking with us and do not recognize him.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Be creative, invent 14 stations of joy
A few years ago I read the suggestion of making stations of joy for after Easter. The Magnificat Mass Booklet now gives fourteen stations of the Via Lucis, The Paschal Way of the Light.
They are by Richard Veras. I am sorry I do not have my own 14 stations of joy, but I am happy to share his. I suggest you make your own during this Easter season. You have fifty days and need a Scripture quote, a short meditation, and a prayer for each station.
1.Jesus rises from the dead.
2. Disciples find the empty tomb.
3. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene
4. Jesus walks with the Disciples to Emmaus
5.Jesus reveals Himself in the breaking of the bread.
6. Jesus appears to the disciples
7. Jesus confers on his disciples the power to forgive sins.
8. Jesus confirms Thomas in the faith.
9. Jesus appears to his disciples on the shore of Lake Galilee.
10. Jesus confers primacy on Peter.
11. Jesus entrusts his disciples with a universal mission.
12. Jesus ascends into heaven.
13. Mary and the disciples await the coming of the Holy Spirit.
14. Jesus send the Spirit promised by the Father to the disciples.
Monday, March 28, 2016
Jesus appears to the women and sends them off with these words:
"Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." (Mt 28:15)
Jesus is always telling us not to be afraid. He sends the women to be his messengers and calls his disciples, "brothers", even though they had left him and fled and even now are behind locked doors.
I am sure that Jesus spent the first Easter morning giving joy. He must have gone to His Mother first of all. Then He rewards the women who had gone to the tomb early that morning. Later, He will appear to the two disciples who have left Jerusalem feeling discouraged because they thought Jesus was dead and they had lost hope. He appears to Peter and that must have been a tender and forgiving Jesus embracing a humbled, contrite Peter. Finally, he appears to the disciples on Easter Sunday evening and gives them His peace and also gives us His peace by instituting the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Now, we will continue to stay with Jesus as He encounters His friends and count on encountering Him in our lives this week as we ponder His words and actions.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Alleluia, Alleluia! This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad. Jesus is risen today and this is the reason we celebrate Easter!
We are celebrating with a brunch in our community for the other RSCJs in our expanded community.
May we all be filled with the joy of the Risen Jesus!
Saturday, March 26, 2016
Today is another day to just be quiet and contemplate what the death of Jesus meant for His Mother, for the apostles who had fled from fear, for each of us...
Friday, March 25, 2016
Today we stay with the Lord in silence. It is a day of prayer and fasting and just being with Jesus as He faces the last hours of His life in suffering and then, finally, an agonizing death. "Greater love no one has who gives his life for another." Jesus has died for us to show His love for us. He reveals God's love for each of us.
We, too, pray "Lord, remember us as you come into your kingdom."
Thursday, March 24, 2016
This is a day to give thanks. Jesus gives us Himself in the Eucharist. He begins by washing the feet of his apostles; he is humble and teaches us the way to love by serving others. Then, although Jesus knows that Judas is going to betray Him, He still thinks of a way to stay with us by giving us the Eucharist and telling His apostles to continue to do this in memory of Him. He then tells them "Do not let your hearts be troubled" and goes on to tell them that He goes to prepare a place for them. This is such a special moment in the life of Jesus and in the lives of every one of us. Let us spend it with Jesus in thanksgiving, love, and asking for the grace to bear fruit that will remain.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Tonight we remember how Judas came with soldiers to betray Jesus with a kiss. And we remember how all the chosen disciples left Jesus and fled.
Let us try to be with Jesus today and console Him by our love.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Tuesday of Holy Week
I read this quote from the priest-theologian Michael J. Himes and like it enough to copy it here. Actually, I am quoting him from an article in America (March 21, 2016) by Emily Dagostino called "A Restless Heart".
Father Himes says that restlessness is the path to joy. It keeps us hungry. A gift of the Holy Spirit, it drives us to always want more, to give more, to seek God by committing ourselves more completely to loving service. Then he says that "the more restless we are, the more we seek to give and serve, the more likely we are to achieve joy. Joy is impervious to what I'm not and can't be. It consents to a life strung with beads of disappointment. It cedes control. It expects nothing and accepts everything as it is. Joy lets me be flawed, finite and unfulfilled. In the face of failures, it holds and retunes one steady, prolonged middle C."
Monday, March 21, 2016
Monday of Holy Week
Jesus asks us to stay with Him, to let Him reveal His Love for each of us and He invites us to follow Him throughout this Holy Week!
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Holy week begins with Passion Sunday, or what has come to be called "Palm" Sunday. The palms are blessed and there is a procession that recalls the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem where the people honor Him - perhaps some of these same people will be in the crowd on Friday that call out "Crucify him!"
The readings are powerful and the Gospel has Luke's entire account of the Passion. We only here the entire Passion read in the liturgy twice a year.
The Concord Pastor's blog suggests:
Spend some time with all of the readings, especially the gospel. You might find it helpful as your read it to imagine yourself as one or several of the characters and ponder:
what if I had been one of the apostles?
what if I had been one of the priests, the elders or the scribes?
what if I had been Pilate? or Judas? or Peter?
or one of the bystanders?
what if I had stood at the foot of the Cross?
what if I had been Jesus?
At one time or another in our lives, we are all of these...
who am I, who are you
in this Week we call Holy?
At one time or another in our lives, we are all of these...
who am I, who are you
in this Week we call Holy?
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Feast of St. Joseph
What does St. Joseph want to say to me today? I suspect he will not use words but show me something in other ways. In fact, I am realizing how often the Holy Spirit and the saints nudge me in ways that I used to be unaware - sometimes it is something someone says to me in passing, or an e-mail, or a line I read, or a picture I open to in a book, etc.
St. Joseph recognized God in the dreams he had and he acted on them immediately. I marvel at the trust he had to believe in a dream. Still, that is one way God speaks to us. I think, since my retreat last January, that God speaks to me through my imagination. Maybe I just did not trust enough before to act on what comes through my imagination. Let us all pray for more trust in the Lord who does such wonders for each of us!
Friday, March 18, 2016
Eve of St. Joseph's Feast Day
St. Joseph is a silent saint but one who is very influential and should not be forgotten. He gave us wonderful examples of trust and obedience but has kept a low profile through the ages. Still, I love to think of how much he taught Jesus and the joy he both gave and received from Jesus. It makes March 19 special for me. I guess we should be praying to him to sell our house quickly.
I find that the older I get, the more I need to trust the Lord and He does such wonderful things. May He do something to bring peace to this world of ours.
Here is St. Patrick's prayer that I wanted to publish yesterday:
Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Happy St. Patrick's Day
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Spring is breaking out all over in Miami
We have a butterfly garden in our yard and the buds on the bushes are beginning to open. The pool is heated and so almost comfortable for swimming. We are looking forward to Easter!
In the meantime, we are caught up in this wonderful year of Mercy.
It makes praying with the Passion take on a different emphasis as Jesus is still forgiving, wanted to reach out to all of us with His love and mercy, even as He faces the suffering and death that will leave Him with an open Heart, a pierced Heart, one that asks for our love in return.
"Could you not watch one hour with me?" is His question to His three closest friends, Peter, James, and John. He has just given Himself to them in Communion and ordained them, yet they are too sleepy now in the garden to stay awake while Jesus prays.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
I will go vote this morning with much prayer for our country. As a registered Democrat, I will vote for a woman to be president for the first time and hope and pray that she will be able to lead us into four years where Congress will work together for the common good of all. I do believe in miracles!
I sometimes think a quote from the desk of our Pastor is worth copying here. Monsignor Carruthers has been reflecting on three words that can help us as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ: Stillness, Beauty, and Trust. He has been telling us the "Our God desires an intimate relationship with us." Here is what struck me this week:
"To be open to an emotionally and spiritually intimate relationship with someone requires vulnerability and the capacity to open one's heart. While entering into an intimate relationship with God requires the act of the intellect to assent to God's will in faith, it too is a relationship of vulnerability that is augmented by the more psychological assent of trust."
Then he says that to grow in our capacity for trust requires a growth in self-knowledge.
Later he speaks of "Christ-centered friendship is also an important step in the process of learning to trust God."
How am I increasing my trust in God? I feel the need to entrust our country to God!
Monday, March 14, 2016
Waiting for God
Often I sit here and wait to see what the Holy Spirit inspires me to write. When nothing comes, I turn to Mother Stuart and this, too, seems to be the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Today, I opened to this quote: "One of the hardest and most precious lessons is to wait for God."
We wait for God, but God is always present to us. He is waiting for us. He waits for me to remember His Presence in me; He waits for me to thank Him for the beautiful day, the quiet time of prayer, the cup of tea and toast for breakfast, etc. I think I am waiting for God, but really He is waiting for me!
I have added a link for Janet Stuart on the right side of my blog. I do remember asking readers to look at the new website of the English Province; it also has the link to Janet Stuart. I love to go all over the world by checking on our International website, too.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Fifth Sunday of Lent
In the Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent we find the Scribes and Pharisees again trying to trap Jesus. They have caught a woman committing adultery and brought her to Jesus. They do not bring the man. Now, they will trap Jesus into either upholding the Law of Moses which would have the woman stoned, or breaking the Roman Law which does not give the right to the Jews to put anyone to death.
Jesus tells them that "he who is without sin should cast the stone" and then Jesus scribbles on the ground and the men leave, one by one. Then Jesus asks: "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? She says, "No one, sir." Then Jesus says, "Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more."
Jesus forgives the sinner without denying the sin. He shows only compassion and His mercy leads to conversion.
I stand before Jesus and hear Him say to me, "Go, and from now on do not sin any more."
Saturday, March 12, 2016
"Give us Thyself"
Mother Stuart said that " give us Thyself" is the best prayer we can pray, sand "we give ourselves to Thee" no better offering. for we do not know what to ask and what to offer. Leave it to Him, but remember that we must, and we mean to give all for all.
Lent is a time to be with Jesus in His heart suffering as we see each day the way people are treating each other, the killing, the cruelty, the indifference that is so widespread today.
Posted by Helen at 4:28 PM No comments:
Friday, March 11, 2016
This morning I heard that I could go to our retirement home, Oakwood, on June 4, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I know that my community is happy to have a definite date set for my departure as they also want to be able to leave in early June and seemed to think I needed to be the first to go. I am trying to keep only joyous thoughts about this move. It is such an opportunity and I know I will love being there, once I get there.
Now, I am also entering into Lent more deeply with meditation on the suffering of Jesus. I think one of the saddest lines in the Gospel is when we are told that all his disciples "left him and fled." All abandoned Jesus and left Him alone. They were afraid and ran away. How did Jesus feel at that moment?
Posted by Helen at 11:30 AM No comments:
Thursday, March 10, 2016
The way to do much in a short time
Mother Stuart says: "The way to do much in a short time is to love much. People will do great things if they are stirred with enthusiasm and love."
I know that love makes all things easy. However, I find that at my age, love needs to give me energy. I used to have a hidden reservoir of energy that I could call upon. Now, that seems to have vanished and I must humbly accept my limitations.
Perhaps these very limitations have made the interior life so thrilling and exciting. One has only to let the Spirit lead and the inner life reveals such treasures.
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Now, I know that March Madness refers to college basketball, but I think I have been experiencing a bit of March madness in these days when I am packing books, giving books, trying to sort through much of what I have to send to the Archives, etc. The effort to do all this has created a bit of chaos. I am very neat and hate to see disorder, but now we are going to be living with disorder unless we find a place to store boxes. The realtor may insist on our getting things out of the way in order to show the house. I am trying to be resigned and accept that we need to start now to pack, but I know it is hard for me to live with disorder and we still have three months before we leave! Please pray!
Again I resort to Mother Stuart for inspiration:
"It is always here and now; there is always the present moment to do the very best we can and the future depends on the ways these moments are spent."
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Praying for children
Our newspaper in Miami makes me very aware of how many children are being, shot, neglected, and abused. Last week a mother left her healthy two-year old in a dumpster. Fortunately, she was seen and the child is now being cared for in another home. The picture of this smiling little girl makes me pray more for all children. It is so important that they experience happiness and feel safe. All the refugees lack so much and how hard it is for the parents to see the suffering of their children.
I am trying to give away books - maybe close to 2,000 or more books that I seem to have collected - then there are the community books. We have a bookcase in the Chapel with more spiritual books and then we have a ceiling to floor built in bookcase at the end of the corridor that is full of lighter reading: novels and mysteries and biographies. I did not realize that we had so many books in this house! I had about 22 shelves full in my room and last Saturday, with the wonderful help of a 6th grader from Carrollton, I cleared about 14 of them in one morning. I have plans to give most of them away by Friday to friends, and to the Carrollton library, and to the prison.
Monday, March 7, 2016
Another Parable of Joy
One of my favorite images is that of Jesus going to look for a lost sheep. I think he told the story to remind us how much joy there is when what has been lost is found. Jesus never abandons us but keeps going after the lost sheep with such love and patience.
Pope Francis would have us all out looking for the lost sheep. By our prayer, love, and concern, we can help bring others back to the fold.
When I have nothing to say, I turn to Mother Stuart. She said:
"May God's presence be ever your living joy and the central fact in your life, from which will flow patience, calmness, and an unquenchable joy."
This is the second time I am using this quote as I think it so helpful to pray for this for ourselves and for others.
Another to reflect on is, "Above all remember that you are the cherished object of our Lord's most tender love. May He convince you of this."
Sunday, March 6, 2016
Fourth Sunday of Lent
This Sunday is a moment of joy and thus we have pink vestments and the opening antiphon for the Mass is "Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast."
The psalm response is: "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord."
The last verse in Sunday's Psalm is
"Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your face may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him."
Then we have the Gospel of the Father who has two sons. The prodigal returns and that is a reason to rejoice.
Let us hope that we have all returned to the Father and have asked forgiveness so that God rejoices today, with only two weeks of Lent left to repent, if we find ourselves more like the resentful older son.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
I read this from Richard Rohr and want to pass it on:
The deepest understanding of human personhood is that we are a sounding through from Another Source. If you are afraid of intimate interface, you will never allow this or know its softening power. You will stop the process before it even begins and never know how it works its transformation on the heart, mind, and body. If human eyes are too threatening for you, start with a stone, work up to plants and trees, animals will be easier, and probably only then are you ready for humans, and finally for the divine gaze.
He does admit that some of us start with the "divine gaze" and work down.
The Gospel for today is the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Both went to the temple to pray. But it is the poor tax collector who stood at a distance and would not even lift his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." He is the one whose prayer was pleasing to God. As Jesus reminds us: "Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Lord, help me to be humble! I guess the Lord replied at once and this was published by mistake on March 1st!
Posted by Helen at 7:20 AM No comments:
Friday, March 4, 2016
I wrote a First Friday blog and it vanished! I suppose the Holy Spirit wanted something different. I am now thinking of the passage where Jesus tells us that we must love our neighbor as yourself. Think what that would mean if we really did this at all times. But Jesus asks more of us, I think, when he asks us to love one another as I have loved you. Now, that is really calling for us to love unconditionally and to love without limits. This would be impossible except for the fact that we are able to love with the love of Jesus who is in each of us. Now, it is something we need to do and therefore we have the grace to do it.
What helps me is what my mother always said, "Love others and they will love you." Then, when people love you, it is easy to love them. I also connect this to what John of the Cross said: "Put love where there is no love and you will find love."
Thursday, March 3, 2016
God made us all unique
Sometimes I forget that each of us is unique and we need to take this into account. I marvel that each snowflake is different. Why do I not stand in awe when I realize that each person is different?
Mother Stuart says: "Don't compare your state of mind to that of others, it never helps. You must go the way that suits you, and they must go the way that suits them."
Am I allowing each person in my life this same freedom? I find myself being critical because I think others should be acting the way I was taught - this is not good and so I delight in thinking of the uniqueness of each of us. I am working on never judging and letting each be who he or she is and being in awe of the Creator who loves the uniqueness of each creature.
I read in a comic strip the other morning three things about prayer for us all to remember: we say, "help me", "thank you", and sometimes just "Hi" - I think the hello part is important and the rest follows from the relationship established.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Jesus teaches us to pray
The Apostles ask Jesus to teach them to pray. He does so by saying, "When you pray. say, "Father". As Wendy Beckett points out, Jesus does not give them a talk on prayer or tell them what they should do before prayer, or talk about conditions or stages, etc. but just tells them to begin by saying, "Father" - she goes on to ask if we really want to pray. If we do, then we will as we have only to ask: for Jesus told us:
"whatsoever you ask the Father, he will grant it to you."
Maybe we have become so used to methods and different types of prayer being taught to us that we have forgotten that prayer is just an expression of a relationship - a very real relationship that we have with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
I now am adding the entire political situation in our country to my most fervent prayer - I have been praying, but now it seems to be that only a miracle is going to get things right - we need a good President but also a Congress that will work together for the common good of the people. Lord, come and help us!
What I wrote for March 5 was published yesterday - this is good for my humility and patience! Once it goes, I cannot edit.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Prayer is Simple
One of my favorite writings on prayer is from Wendy Beckett. She speaks of the essential act of prayer: "it is to stand unprotected before God. What will God do? He will take possession of us. That He should do this is the whole purpose of life."
Prayer is concerned not with me but with God.
If we want to pray, if we want God to take possession of us, then we are praying!
I find that the "joyful surrender" that I am trying to live this year is a great help to that "standing unprotected before God". It is letting God be God and do with us what He wants.
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