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Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

Today we prepare for the New Year by looking back over the past. I know I have shared this in a blog before, but when I was a child at the Academy of the Visitation we were given time to think if there was "grudge" against anyone. Whatever resentment or bad feeling against anyone was written down and then the entire school went down to the playing fields where a huge bonfire made of all the now discarded Christmas trees was set on fire and each of us could burn our grudges and start the new year without any. It made a big impression on me and I think it is a good thing for all of us to do! We can just imagine throwing out grudges into a bonfire!!

Let us pray for one another that we all will have a holy, happy New Year - one full of joy and peace and hope. That is my prayer for each, and I do count on your prayer for the Guided Imagery Retreat I am to begin tomorrow in Santa Cruz. I shall be away from Monday to Monday, but will try to schedule ahead by sharing some of what I want to say for the Community retreat today. Look for that as of Monday.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Preparing for our day of retreat on New Year's Eve

Since I am giving the retreat to the community tomorrow, I thought I might share some of my thoughts on prayer as I have prepared for them a handout with several suggested ways of praying. Now, why would I do that? I think that prayer is the expression of our own relationship with God the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, Mary, and then all the saints that we pray to. The point is that when we are in relationship with someone, we are not always the same. So, although I am a firm believer in the way we pray best is the best way for us to pray, I also believe that using some suggestions on a day of retreat may be found helpful. Prayer is really quite simple. As Sister Wendy Beckett says: "If you want to pray, you are praying."  My experience in directing others is that prayer is often helped when we try something a bit different. I personally feel that I go to prayer to let Jesus love me, but sometimes I may find my mind wandering all over and so I will probably try one of my own suggestions today, or a combination of some suggestions.
First, since this is the end-of-year, you may just want to look back and see the story of your year. Usually there are graces that we may not have thanked for, or something we want to beg pardon for, or just look over the year to see how God has been leading us.

That is enough for tonight but I have six suggested ways to pray so I may just be spreading them out as I will be making another guided imagery retreat from January 2-9 and will not be on the computer so will try to schedule ahead.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

A Gift

I found this gift done up in a scroll at my door on Christmas eve and I pass it on to all of you, my readers.

What I really would like to give you for Christmas is a star...
Brilliance in a package, something you could keep in the pocket of your being.
Something you could take out in times of darkness
something that would never snuff out or tarnish,
something you could hold in your hand,
something for wonderment,
something for pondering,
something that would remind you of what Christmas has always meant: God's Advent Light in the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God's for giving, and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages without stars.

But I can wish you life as radiant as the star that announced Christ's coming, and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood beneath its light.
And I can pass on to you the love that has been given to me, ignited countless times by others who have knelt in Bethlehem's light.
Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star.
                                                             Jeanne Houlihan, MM

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Holy Innocents

This picture of the nativity makes it look rather homey. I am sure it was not that way and suspect the sheep did not just lie down an behave, even if the shepherds had brought them to the cave.

What we celebrate today are all the young innocents that were killed just because Herod was fearful of having someone born to be king of the Jews. I think of the suffering of all the mothers and families who lost an infant or toddler. The Innocents are honored today, and one thinks of the many who have lost their lives as martyrs since this first massacre. Have we the faith to die for Jesus?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

An Unexpected Christmas Gift

Veilee  at Oakwood was at 10:30 in the morning with all the music from Handel's Messiah. At the end we all joined in a quote from Barb Dawson in her closing conference of the 2016 Chapter:
"Having received Pope Francis' blessing today not only for ourselves, but also for our families, our communities, our people, let us go forward in hope to live the mission, as women of fire and sowers of seeds of new life."

I picked up a cough overnight it seems and so tried to disguise it until after the 4:00 Liturgy. By 6:00 I realized that I had some kind of illness and went to bed and slept almost 19 hours straight. I woke up to drink tea with honey when the CPN came; went back to sleep except when I woke up to receive Holy Communion, then slept again until 1:00 when I asked for jello - a strange Christmas dinner but all that I wanted. Then I did sit up for some of the afternoon but was back in bed early and slept until awakened about 8:00 in the morning to find out what I wanted for breakfast. I am recovering quickly so it must have been a 24 hour bug that really had me just sleeping. Today I am allowed out of my room as long as I do not cough. It was an unexpected Christmas, but I really only wanted to sleep!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Day after Christmas

The day after Christmas is one for savoring the entire scene of the birth of Jesus, the singing of the angels, the coming of the shepherds and I love to pray imagining the Mary lets me hole the Infant Jesus. He is so little, so helpless, so needy, and He has come to reveal God's love to each of us!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

I shared this picture of my prayer shelf in Miami on my blog before, but continue to love the picture as it speaks to me of my vocation within my vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart. I feel that I am called to pipe or drum or hum a song of joy to Jesus.
I do my best to please Him and then give joy to others. I no longer have the world in the shape of a globe to remind me to pray for all, but I am conscious of how Jesus is suffering in the world today and how much we need to pray for our world. I think I need a map of the world on my wall.
We have been seeing Christmas cards from all the Provinces and that is a wonderful feeling of belonging to an International Society. We also are more in touch with news from Rome with our new Mother General and her team just getting started and also helping prepare for Christmas at the Motherhouse.
Merry Christmas to all and may it be one you celebrate with Jesus and feel all the love He has for each of us.

Christmas Eve

Jesus is born. Let us rejoice! We want to take time today just to be with Mary and the newborn Infant Jesus. What might I offer as a birthday gift? St. Joseph and the Shepherds are also there and, of course, the angels. However, we may just want to kneel in adoration and wonder. God has come to us! The Incarnation is a great mystery.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us..."

We are having our "veilee" at 10:30 AM and Mass at 4:00 PM;
we also have Mass at 11:00 on Christmas Day. I think we have egg nog and cookies after the Mass at 4:00. That might be our supper! When I was here before, I was in isolation for Christmas so I am looking forward to everything this year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God.

Mother Stuart: God with us; when this is said, all is said, the desire of four thousand years and of all ages to come are accomplished; for eye hath not seen, nor ear heard nor hath it entered into the heart of man, what there is laid up in this truth, that God is with us and that God is one of us.
The keynote of religious life is: Domine Deus noster and God with us. Veni Domine Jesu jam noli tardare.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

O King of all nations

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man whom you formed from the dust!

Mother Stuart: "Man so high by his destiny as to desire the vision of God,- so low by his mortal and material part- so dependent on God.

...God satisfies the desire that He implants.

We have had parties this week and last night I went out with others and we drove around to see all the Christmas lights.
On Tuesday we had the staff party with their children so there might have been over a hundred for a delicious dinner with all of us in the gathering room, served from the dining room of
Westwood; there were 27 gifts under or around the tree for the children who drew numbers and then came to choose the gift they wanted. All the children were so well behaved and had such beautiful eyes. On Monday we had a "conge" and played Bingo with red and green M&Ms and the cards had all the terms that we use in the Society of the Sacred Heart. Then we had some entertainment and also prizes for those whose tickets were drawn. Of course, we also had food so this week is not good for anyone hoping not to gain weight. I have worked out for an hour each day, but did not take the time to go out and walk and the weather is lovely by late morning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

O Radiant Dawn

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Mother Stuart: Mother Kerr's dying words: "He has always been the sunlight of my life." If not there, then where is it?

The attitude of watching for the dawn, face set eastwards, the steadfast look, the great desire...

The joy of the coming. "Till the day break and the shadows retire." It the first streaks of dawn are so lovely what must the rising be: "In the morning Jesus stood on the shore."

What are we without Him?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

O Key of David

O Key of David, opening gates of God's eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!

Mother Stuart: the key in so many ways.

a) Because in Him "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally," and He opens its treasures to us.
b) The key to all our questions. For those as to God's dealing with us, the answer to all : Verbum caro factum est. For those as to our relations with God, "Jesus Christ and Him crucified: in the Blessed Sacrament, the answer is Domine quid est?
c) Key of authority "I will lay the key of the house of David on His shoulders - He shall open and none shall shut."

His power "of the keys" gives us absolute security. "I have set before thee an open door and none shall shut it, and again we are shut up in safety with Him in such security that none can open. Quis nos separabit?... Enter into the chamber, shut the door.

Monday, December 19, 2016

O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse's stem, sign of God's love for all his people:
come to save us without delay.

Mother Stuart: "From His Nativity to the Cross and through all ages in the Blessed a sign which shall be contradicted and yet... the end, and the sign which is contradicted is the sign of victory. "this sign shall be in heaven." The last word is always His and the eyes of all wait and hope in Him...
Veni...jam noli tardare. His own words are: Ecce venio cito though it tarry, wait for it, for it will surely come. He looks for a spirit of longing desire and expectancy.

I hope my sharing of Mother Stuart's points of meditation is helpful; I am not copying all the Latin phrases as she was using the O Antiphons in Latin.
I am copying the O Antiphons used in the Liturgy today and this will allow you to make your own points of meditation.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

4th Sunday of Advent

O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!

Mother Stuart reminds us that "His standard is the Cross from the first and He leads whither the house of Israel does not expect to be led. 'If any man will come after Me.'"
"When His true leadership shows itself it is not in the whirlwind, the earthquake, or the fire, but "in the whistling of a gentle air;" in the humility of His Incarnation.
His outstretched arm is a sign of strength and protection, of destruction of obstacles...on the Cross, a sign of the fullness of His oblation ad redimendum nos."

There is now only one week until Christmas! Let us be peaceful to receive the Prince of Peace!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

O Antiphons

Today we begin the O Antiphons. Most familiar today from the Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," the seven traditional "O Antiphons" are actually more than a thousand years old. They have long been used at the very end of Advent (Dec. 17-23) in the liturgical prayer of the Church, as Antiphons for the "Magnificat" sung or recited during Vespers (the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours). Since the Second Vatican Council, they have also been adapted (slightly reworded and rearranged) for the "Alleluia Verse" of the Mass (the short scriptural text or paraphrase that immediately precedes the Gospel reading). Each Antiphon invokes the coming of the Messiah, beginning with a biblical title and closing with a specific petition.

The first is "O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge."

Each is a plea for the Savior to come!

Mother Stuart says that God in His wisdom is "disposing all things strongly and sweetly; saying to all "thus far shalt thou go and no further," therefore what folly is all human planning, anxiety, doubt. Adoration of the action of His Providence.

Friday, December 16, 2016

We have been sought by God.

"How marvelous a condescension in God to come down from heaven in quest of us! And how great an honor to us so to be sought by God."
I love this quote from St. Bernard of Clairvaux for it is so true. God came to be with us; to be like us in all things except sin. To think that God sent His only Son to be one of us! Jesus came into the world a helpless baby. He could not talk or walk; he had to depend on others to take care of all his needs.
Sometimes it is difficult for the elderly to lose their independence. They need to be cared for and fed and often cannot express what they want to say. Jesus did not experience old age, but he knew what it was to be vulnerable and depend on others for everything.
Let us ask Mary to help us prepare our hearts to receive her Son.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

First Vows made 64 years ago today

This used to be the octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and five of us made our first vows at Kenwood on this day 64 years ago. One is still alive in Taipei, Sister Rose Chen, and I am here in the States. Two have died and the other one left the Society, but is still living. So, I celebrate this anniversary alone here and it is nothing besides those who have spent 75 years or more in the Society. Still, it marks an important day in my life. I was twenty-one but very aware that day of the life commitment I was making to serve God in the Society of the Sacred Heart.
Maybe these anniversaries this week bring back memories and are part of my Advent preparation for Christmas. 

On Saturday, we begin the O Antiphons so I will take one each day for prayer and use some points given by Reverend Mother Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ.

Tonight I will just end with a prayer for blessing your Christmas tree: "Blessed are you, Lord our God, before whom all the trees of the forest sing for joy, for you have come to rule the earth, and all its peoples in your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. By his death on the cross and his rising in glory, the tree of our defeat has become our tree of victory and the pure light of Christ forever gladdens our waiting world.
We ask you to send your blessing upon this tree which we have decorated in honor of your Son's birth. Let it help us to celebrate this holy season as living branches of him, and bear the fruit of good works for your glory this day and every day both now and forever. Amen. (Fr. Michael Kwatera, in Give Us This Day.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


In Advent, we let our expectations build up for the coming of the Lord at Christmas. Unfortunately, we also have all these expectations of what a perfect Christmas should be and are too busy trying to buy and wrap gifts, send our Christmas cards, plan the dinner, get and trim the tree and put up all sorts of decorations, and maybe we forget the most important of all - Jesus comes to us as a helpless infant born in a stable. He allows us to rejoice with the decorations, the elaborate dinner, etc. but that is not the essential.
Take time today to sit with Jesus who loves to sit with you. Tell Him that you are going to slow down and stop rushing around to make everything perfect. Just be yourself and relax; Jesus does not want the stress that often comes when trying to do too much. The essential always gets done, maybe just not as we wanted but we are able to enjoy the birthday of the Infant Jesus. That is essential for He comes to be with us. Make some time for Him during these last days of Advent.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The lover of silence draws closer to God

This Third Week of Advent is so full that I am late with my blog today. I thought that I had written it and had this quote ready from The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Clemacius:

"Intelligent silence is the mother of prayer, freedom from bondage, custodian of zeal, a guard on our thoughts, a watch on our fears, a friend of tears, a recollection of death, a concern without judgment, a foe of license, a companion of stillness, the opponent of dogmatism, a growth of knowledge, a heand to shape contemplation, hidden progress, the secret journey toward the Light." The lover of silence draws closer to God."

Sorry that is all I have time for as I am on the way to my prayer group. We had a great day yesterday and a sharing on St. Madeleine Sophie that was beautiful.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Double Feast Today

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the birthday of St. Madeleine Sophie. I took the habit 66 years ago today! Time has passed quickly. I was nineteen and only knew that I wanted to give myself to Jesus. I have good memories of my parents coming to see me walk down the length of the Chapel in a bridal gown and veil. After the first part of the ceremony, our habits were blessed by the priest and then our "angels" carried the little baskets with the folded habits and white veils and we processed out to have our hair cut and exchange the bridal dresses for a new habit. I remember feeling joyful in spite of the fact that I had a terrific cold and had to concentrate so as not to cough. It was cold and my parents were wonderful but it was so hard for them; they went to New York when they left Kenwood and sent me a box of toys from Macy's and all the novices had such fun playing on Christmas with the things in that box: pick-up sticks, jacks, Old Maid, checkers, Parchesi, Monopoly, and then there was a yo-yo, a Jack in the Box, a ball with a paddle, etc. I really do not remember all that box contained but we certainly had time on Christmas to play.
Yesterday evening Barbara Dawson began her mandate as our Mother General with her new team and the other team handed all over to them in a special ceremony. I am glad Barb starts her new ministry on this Feast today as it will not be easy and she is in office for eight years. Her team does not have a common language, but two are good in Spanish and the other two know English, I think, and Barb knows both Spanish and English and is going to brush up her French and, I suspect, will be learning some Italian.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent

This is Gaudete Sunday and we begin with:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice.
In deed the Lord is near."

The first reading from Isaiah tells us that even the desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers and rejoice with joyful song...
Those whom the Lord has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

I guess that is sort of a description of what I imagine going to Heaven is like - everlasting joy! Today reminds us that Advent is a joyful season as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.  The second reading is from the Letter of St. James and begins:
"Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord." He then tells us to make our hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. We are not to complain about one another.
I guess that is a good resolution for me to take for these last two weeks of Advent: Do not complain about anything but keep on thanking the Lord for all He is doing in me as I prepare to celebrate his birth again this Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Prayer for Healing

This prayer can be done whenever you need inner peace, are suffering, or just in need of healing of past memories. It has four steps:
1. Act of Presence - just imagine yourself before the Blessed Trinity who are looking at you with love. This loving God is wanting to help me, to heal me, to enable me to grow.
2. Ask for the Grace I want - I may be asking for courage, or for wisdom, or just light to see the next step I am to take. I pray now for what I want and for what Jesus seems to want for me. I may need to pray for the grace to accept what Jesus helps me to see.
3. Prayerful Reflection - I now dialogue with Jesus about the things I see as I prayerfully ponder over the past memory or hurt that I am trying to get rid of or at least to know what I am to do. I talk to Jesus and let Him take the lead. Sometimes I let Jesus surface the memories and I become aware of the feelings I now have as I am looking at this memory in his presence.
4. Colloquy - This is not the same as the dialogue. Now I talk to Jesus about what I am feeling. I talk about these things that are hard for me to accept until I find peace in God's presence and realize that all is gift.
This is sort of a simplified summary of a paper by John Gavan, S.J. from Guelph, Ontario. I am sure you see that a Jesuit would go through these four points. I think I might be combining the last two. I am not sure why I am trying to put this method of prayer on my blog tonight, but hope the Holy Spirit knows and perhaps it will help someone!

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Holy Spirit

This is what the Holy Spirit seems to want me to share today. On each Friday in Advent and Lent, the  preacher to the Papal household, Capucin Father Cantalamessa, gives a meditation to the Pope, Cardinals, and members of the Roman Curia. This Advent, he is preaching on the Holy Spirit. He begins by saying the with the 50th year of the end of the Second Vatican Council, he thinks this new period will be marked by the completion and integration of the Council. Then he says that the "major innovation in theology and the life of the Church after the Council has a specific name: the Holy Spirit."
He speaks of a new book out since September in English called, "Third Article Theology." He had been invited to contribute along with other theologians to this volume. He then tells us that he will be speaking about the Holy Spirit beginning with the Nicene Creed.
I think these meditations will be worth reading each Friday. They are on The Pope App and I am sure they can be found on the Internet through Vatican Radio, if you do not have the App.

I also want to share this reflection from yesterday's Gospel reflection by an alumna on the Notre Dame daily offering of Faith - I get it by e-mail and often find it helpful:
"When I think about my relationship with God, I think about some “should haves”: I should be trusting; I should express gratitude; I should present my best self in prayer. If God is calling me, I should immediately trust and answer.

In the Gospel reading today, what most strikes me is that Mary does not immediately embrace any of these “should haves.” When God sends an angel to Mary, she is afraid. When the angel Gabriel speaks to her of her grace, she is perplexed. When the angel tells her of God’s plan, she questions, “How can this be?”

The honesty of Mary’s reactions is comforting to me. Her conversation is real, full of confusion and doubt. If I’m being honest, these are feelings I can have toward God as well. 

In these moments, Mary’s example teaches us to bring all of our thoughts to God. Presenting my best self in prayer means presenting my real self. Only after expressing her emotions and asking her questions did Mary come to a place of total trust and peace. This process is what ultimately leads her to a deeper level of clarity of God’s love for her.

My prayer this Advent is to recognize that although there are many graces that come with trust, there are also many graces that come with uncertainty. My prayer is to be honest in expressing my feelings with God, just as Mary did. God has the power to transform our questioning into trust, and to transform our emotions of uncertainty into confident acceptance of whatever is asked of us. For nothing will be impossible with God." 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Feast of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception

This is a Holy Day of Obligation and the patronal feast for the United States. It is celebrated because God kept Mary free from sin and this day was picked to celebrate this feast; nine months from now, we celebrate the birthday of Mary.

I have been having a busy week and will be starting a new group with some of the mothers who made the Busy Persons' retreat this afternoon. I am confiding it to Mary and need to plan a bit for this first meeting. They are coming to pray together and to share.

Christmas trees are going up all over and give the house a festive look. I am also going to the high school concert tonight; last night the middle school had theirs, but I went by invitation to San Francisco yesterday for the matinee of a the musical "The Christmas Carol" so I will be home tonight. I need to discern these days what to choose as we have many options for varied activities. I have said no to art class, reading, Bingo, and, so far, have not made a movie on Saturday afternoon. I really prefer to read or have the time for prayer. This Saturday we will have an Advent retreat and I look forward to another day of silence plus the talks given by Sister Marilyn Lacey, RSM.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In silence we meet God

"We need to recover an oasis of silence within the rhyme and reason of our active life, for it is in silence that we meet God face to face." Max Picard taken from the November Issue of "Friends of Silence."

Also taken from there is this quote from The Ghagavadgita'
"Teach us that even as the wonder of the stars in the heavens only reveals itself in the silence of the night, so the wonder of life reveals itself in the silence of the heart. in the silence of our heart we may see the scattered leaves of all the universe bound by love."

No words of mine are necessary to reflect on the value of silence for us today.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Gaudete Sunday

The entrance antiphon for the Third Sunday of Advent is
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice.
Indeed, the Lord is near.
The reason to rejoice is because we are getting close to the coming of the Lord. We ask in the Collect that we may attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. There is nothing sad about this waiting for the Lord to come. Isaiah will tell us that the desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. There will be abundant flowers and joyful song. "....they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God." God comes to save us...
I think that we need the comfort of this liturgy and even the pink candle signals joy and matches the vestments of the priest.
At the same time, we rejoice that Christ is coming soon, but we also keep preparing out hearts to receive Him. He loves to see us joyful. Let us remember our Advent resolutions and strive harder now that Advent is half over to please the Lord by our renewed effort. Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay!

Embrace silence, it will give you peace.

"The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective." Mother Theresa is the source of this quote.

"Mirroring the creation of the universe, all great things have come from the ancient weave of silence. it is a part of us that we must welcome home." Frank MacEowen

It is a grace to have time just to sit in silence with Jesus. The amazing thing is that He wants just to sit with us. Words are not necessary. Why are we not comfortable with silence when we know that this is not only restful, but it releases us from so many concerns and, in the silence, we sink into a deep peace and find more energy afterwards to deal with those same concerns.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Silence is transformative

Silence has a mysterious power. It cannot be seen, or touched, or heard, yet it is palpable, transformative. Nan Merrill said this about silence:

In silence and solitude
you will come to meet the Beloved of your heart.
For silence is power, the power of Divine Love blessing and transforming you.
Seek always the Eternal Flame
ever shining in your heart,
and let yourself be nourished and refreshed in silence.

In Advent, it is good to let ourselves wait in silence. Just be.

I read this saying in "The Divine Dance" and thought I would pass it on as Richard Rohr has a way of saying something sometimes that just stays with me. "God does not love you because you are good. God loves you because God is good." So true!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent

We not have begun the second week of Advent so we light two candles and try to increase our desire for the coming of the Lord. The Collect prays thus:
Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set our in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company.

Borrowing this quote of Soren Keirkegaard from the November issue of "Friends of Silence" because it reminds me of our Chapter call to create silence, I think it is good for our silent Sunday; at Oakwood, we decided to have the first Sunday of each month a day of silence. Here is the quote:
"The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and my advice asked, I should reply, "Create silence. Bring people to silence. The word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today. Therefore, create silence."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Feast of St. Francis Xavier

St. Francis Xavier was one of the original six companions of St. Ignatius who became the first Jesuits after taking vows in the Society of Jesus. Xavier would be a great missionary taking the Good News to Japan and then died on his way to China. He was named patron of the foreign missions. He said, "It is not the actual physical exertion that counts towards one's progress, nor the nature of the task, but the spirit of faith with which it is undertaken."

How is our spirit of faith? People are still talking about their fears because of the unsettled state so many are experiencing after the elections. Have we considered what Jesus is saying to us now? I am sure He is repeating, "Fear not. I am with you." Let us seek the peace of Advent during these days and pray much - I read in the newspaper that San Francisco has 44,000 undocumented people in the city. Let us pray for all those who are living in our country, some for many, many years.

Friday, December 2, 2016

First Friday in Advent

I love the Collect for today:

"Stir up your power, we pray, O Lord, and come, that with you to protect us, we may find rescue from the pressing dangers of our sins, and with you to set us free, we may be found worthy of salvation."

Stir up your power and come - we need You. We know You can save us from ourselves, from all the evil we are capable, so come, Lord Jesus and do not delay.
The Gospel has two blind men following Jesus as he passed by. They cry out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When Jesus goes into the house the blind men approached him and Jesus asks them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" They answer, "Yes, Lord." So then Jesus touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And the Gospel tells us  that their eyes were opened.
When I beg Jesus for something, do I have the faith that He can and will do what I ask?
The reflection for today in "Give Us This Day" talks about waiting for God. It says that it sounds simple, but it is very demanding, since God's ways are not our ways and "for the Lord on day is as a thousand years." We wait. This is a time to trust the Lord. I always feel that each First Friday is a time to renew our trust in the Lord who loves each of us.
I feel on vacation with Patrick here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


We wait during Advent with great expectation. We desire the day to come when we celebrate again the birth of Christ. We prepare with anticipation and joy. We want to have our hearts ready to receive Jesus again this Christmas. Perhaps our preparation is something we think about each day. We want to have time to have all ready, interiorly as well as all the exterior details that we need to do because Christmas is celebrated with sending cards to loved ones, giving gifts, decorating the home, trimming the Christmas tree, and planning the festive dinner. That just mentions a few of the many exterior preparations that most families are caught up in during Advent. Let us make sure that we find the silence so necessary to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus.

I am having a friend arrive today from Miami and I am thinking that the anticipation and joy I have is making me aware of how much expectation I have for the coming of Jesus, if I have so much for my friend's three-day visit. I have even rejoiced to see that the weather promises us sunshine. I intend to take him to my sacred spot, the retreat house on the Pacific, Villa Maria del Mar, where I have spent so many wonderful hours. If they are not having a retreat, perhaps we will pray together in the little meditation Chapel. It is a beautiful drive down and back.