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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Day of silence

We have this entire day in silence to review the past year and plan for the future. What is God asking of each of us? How have I responded in the past? How am I going to try to respond in this New Year?

I have had the same six goals for two years and will renew them again as they came, I think, from the Holy Spirit and seem to be what I need. I do not like to have many resolutions or goals, but each of these is so needed in my life.

Here is a picture I took of our Infant Jesus in the Oakwood Chapel last night:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

How vulnerable the Infant is...

Tomorrow is the last day of the year. It is also the first Sunday after Christmas! I love the Entrance Antiphon:

When a profound silence covered all things and night was in the middle of its course, your all-powerful Word, O Lord, bounded from heaven's royal throne.

Yet, this all-powerful Word, came to us as a helpless Infant in need of care, love, and He had no words but only could cry to make wants known as any baby does. He was full of love but came so we might realize His Love.

We need silence to appreciate the mystery of the Incarnation. We are to spend New Year's Eve here in a day of silence. I am happy with that. Last year I was asked to give the end of the year retreat, but I think I like having the day in silence better as we always want to review our year and ask the Lord what He wants from us for the New Year.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Praying by just holding the Infant Jesus

This Infant seems to want to be picked up and held. My favorite way to pray at this time of the year is to just ask Mary to let me hold the Infant Jesus and let Him love me as I hold Him and love Him. I think Jesus came as a baby so we can hold Him and let Him love us. 
Next Tuesday I will be going to another Guided Imagery Retreat. It will be my third one and I am really looking forward to it. I find the images that come in the retreat stay with me all year. I do ask prayers for this time as I really believe that the graces given in retreat are the result of the prayer of others.
And I will be praying for all of you, too.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Herod feared that a new born King could take away his power. He sent his soldiers to kill all the male infants two years old and under two to make sure that this child that the Magi had told him that they had seen his star and set out to find, would perish. Evil is present in our world, but Jesus has come to teach us the power of love.
Let us spend time just holding the Infant in silence.

Here is another quote from Catherine de Hueck Doherty:

"If we are to witness to Christ in today's marketplace, where there are constant demands on our whole person, we need silence. If we are always available, not only physically, but by empathy, sympathy, friendship, understanding, and boundless caritas, we need silence. To be able to give joyously, unflagging hospitality, not only of house and food, but of mind, heart, body and soul, we need silence. True silence is the search of man for God. True silence is a suspension bridge that a soul in love with God builds to cross the dark, frightening gullies of its own mind, the strange chasm of temptation, the depthless precipices of its own fears that impede its way to God."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Feast of St. John

John was beloved; each of us is also beloved.

"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him....We love because He has first loved us."

Here is a quote I found from Catherine de Hueck Doherty:
"He who touches God, who is in love with God, must touch and be in love with humanity. Not with humanity as a whole, but with each individual in it."

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Day after Christmas

No words are needed today as "The Word was made flesh and dwells amongst us."

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day

Christ has come. Let the earth rejoice. A Savior is born to us. 

Entrance Antiphon: "Today a light will shine upon us, for the Lord is born for us; and he will be called Wondrous God, Prince of Peace, Father of future ages: and his reign will have no end.

What will I give the Lord today? He asks for my heart and He wants so much to love us and be loved. Let us ask Mary to let us hold the Infant and Love will invade us anew.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

First we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent and feel the joy that instead of waiting longer this year, Christmas Eve is also today and we have our "Midnight Mass" at 4:30 followed by egg nog and cookies.
Let us remember that the reason for the season is Jesus who comes to us to love and be loved!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Eve of Christmas Eve

This year is quite confusing with such a short Advent. We have the Fourth Sunday of Advent tomorrow (or this afternoon for those who prefer Saturday evening Mass) and then we are having our midnight Mass for Christmas at 4:30 in the afternoon on Sunday. We also have a 11:00 Mass on Christmas morning. I am thinking that today is really the end of Advent as tomorrow is Christmas Eve. I guess that was always such an exciting day when we were children that I still feel some inner excitement and joy as Jesus is coming. 

I leave you this brief reading from the book of Revelation 22:17-20:
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come'. Let the hearer say, "Come". Let the one who thirsts come forward and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.
The one who gives this testimony says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Friday, December 22, 2017

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.

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

2.  Mother Stuart was using an older version of the Antiphons so this point does not follow, but the thought I like from her second point is that God raises us to the heights of our desires: a perfect being in the fullness of Christ: for God satisfies the desire that He implants.

Mother Stuart is always so positive and so let us have great and true desires as we near the end of our Advent waiting.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

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's points of meditation on this antiphon:
1.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 see, 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.

2. All our work then is to prepare the ways of our Lord by expectation and desire of the coming salvation.

3. The keynote of religious life is: Domine Deus noster and God with us. Veni Domine Jesu jam noli tardare.

I always find something to send me into deeper prayer when I use Mother Stuart's meditations.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

O Key of David

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

From Mother Stuart's meditations:
1. O Clavis, the key in so many ways.
a) Because in Him "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally," (Col ii. 9) 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 is: Verum 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? (Acts x. 4)

c) Key of authority "I will lay the key of the house of David on His shoulders - He shall open and none shall shut."

2. Qui aperis et nemo cladit. 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?...(Rom. viii. 35) Enter into that chamber, shut the door.

We all were anointed yesterday at Mass and felt the power of the Sacrament of Healing. Then, in the afternoon, we had a winter solstice party. As I have often said, we keep busy around here. I saw my student on Monday as this is exam week.  

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

O Root of Jesse's stem

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

I have Mother Stuart's points of meditation on the O Antiphons. She writes the Antiphon at the top in Latin and then develops three points. Today, I will take her third point which is on the last line: "Veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare." 
"His own words are: Ecce venio cito, (Apoc, xxii.12) though it tarry, wait for it, for it will surely come. He looks for a spirit of longing desire and expectancy."

Monday, December 18, 2017

O Leader of the House of Israel

The O Antiphon for today is found in the Gospel Acclamation:
"O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power."

All the Aniphons give the Lord special titles and all ask Him to come.
This is the final week of Advent and we are to prepare our hearts by desiring the Lord of all to come again. We need Him.

The O Antiphons, also known as The great Os are Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions. They are also used as the alleluia verses on the same days in the Catholic Mass.

O Antiphons - Wikipedia I have Mother Stuart's meditations so stand by...

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Christmas Eve

It is the Fourth Sunday of Advent, but also Christmas Eve and so we have the Christ candle lit for the Lord is born this very night. We think of what it must have been for Mary and Joseph. There was no room for them in the Inn and so they are in a stable. There is only a manger to serve as a crib for the newborn babe. Yet, God is sending His Son into our world; God is becoming human to be with us - to be like us in all things except sin. He comes as a helpless Infant in need of all. He is so small and vulnerable. He cannot talk, or stay awake as a tiny babe. He is the Savior of the World. We can learn much from our contemplation of the first Christmas.

Third Sunday of Advent

The entrance antiphon sets the tone as we rejoice for the Lord is near.
"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near."  

The Collect asks that we may be enabled to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
The first reading from Isaiah speaks also about rejoicing:
"I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul...
Paul tells us to "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit...

And then we have the Gospel where John the Baptist is asked:
Who are you? And he replies, "I am not the Christ." John finally says that he is "the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord." He is quoting Isaiah but we catch a glimpse of the humility of John. Then he will say that he is not worthy even to untie the strap of the sandals of the one who is coming.

I think we need to listen to the readings this week as we also will be starting the O Antiphons. These help us to fix our attention on the coming of the Lord; we need to concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

God is present amid a busy week

This week has flown by as we have had many extras and I am sure each of my readers has also had a busy week. We began with the kindergarten children coming in after Mass to sing for us. I was impressed by the number of songs they had memorized  and the poise with which they sang them, gestures included. Then our three Third Grades showed up and each class performed the "Tea dance for Two" and then gave us a lovely time singing carols. Then we had the party given us by some of the Mothers followed by a gala luncheon with our staff on Friday. The staff had their own party a week ago, but this one is fun for staff and community together.
Now, today, we are celebrating a funeral - something that we do very well here.
Having had a week with so many events, we hope that next week, the last week of Advent, will be more routine and let us have time to enter into the Advent longing for the coming of the Lord.
God has been present in every event this week; was I present to Him?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Anniversary of Vows - 65 years

When this was still the octave of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, we had a vow ceremony at Kenwood; I made my vows with five others; Rose Sun in Taipei and I are the only two left of that vow ceremony. It was a day I will always remember. I was just 21 so I had prayed during the retreat before taking our vows that I would really be able to understand what I was doing and give myself completely to the Lord. I think He gave me a special grace on that day.
Now, 65 years later I am still praying for the same grace of being completely given. I have been in dialogue with the Lord about a dream I had while giving the retreat in Miami last month. It takes a long time for me to process a dream and so I think I seldom remember my dreams, but this was very brief and very clear. I was given some work to do; what this was exactly was not clear but seemed to involve typing something.
I had not finished but left it unfinished to go to the Chapel. When I returned, the work was not there.
When I, some weeks after the dream, began to dialogue with Jesus about this, it seems that the unfinished work may be me. It may have been given to me by St. Madeleine Sophie or by St. Philippine Duchesne, at least Jesus suggested I now dialogue with them. 
I share this only because I think we forget that this is a very fruitful way to pray. I ask a question; I wait for an answer and soon I am having a conversation with someone who really cares about me. Try it.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Keeping an inner diary of good things

Reading Archbishop J. Peter Sartain's An Advent Pilgrimage has given me new inspiration. He speaks of keeping an inner diary: noticing signs of God's nearness. To keep a diary of good things would be a beautiful and healing task is one way he puts it, but he also quotes something Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote when he was still archbishop of Munich:
"Perhaps we should try an experiment. Let us understand the individual events of the day as little signs God sends us.  Let us not take note only of the annoying and unpleasant things; we should endeavor to see how often God lets us feel something of his love. To keep a kind of inner diary of good things would be a beautiful and healing task."
Maybe it would help us to prepare for both Christmas and the New Year if we focus on the signs of God's nearness. Each day is full of His gifts to us. Did you think to thank for the hot cup of coffee this morning (or tea, for me)? How about the fact that I can make my own bed, wash and fold sheets (I am not so good at folding sheets by myself) but the gift of clean sheets is not to be taken for granted. I still remember how I had to siphon water from the buckets after the mud had settled to try to wash my sheets and towels and wring them out by hand while I was living in Coquimbo, Chile!) I guess past experiences can make us even more grateful for what we have today.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Today the Third Graders are celebrating a Christmas party with their RSCJ readers. We are only about six or seven this year but I know the party will be fun and it is so nice to see our Third Graders when we can just enjoy them. They are all so interesting.
Last Wednesday,  my nephew's wife came in time for our noon meal and then I drove back to Fairfax with her so that I could see their home which they have been remodeling since I was there in 2013. Gaby is very creative and artistic and they have finished the lower floor so it is really lovely. Their house is way up on top of a hill with a gorgeous view. I managed to climb the hill and went first to the lower floor which now has gorgeous hardwood floors, a combined bedroom, sitting room, a small room made into closet space, a large bathroom, a "viewing room" for movies or TV, and some storage space that will some day house the inside staircase that needs yet to be built. There are new, huge windows downstairs so you now can see the gorgeous view. Upstairs is going to be worked on but I love it as it is except that the floors need to be sanded or whatever they are going to do. The kitchen is small, the living, dining room is lovely with windows giving a view on three sides; the other room is the guest bedroom and bath which I hope they will keep as is. Outside is lovely, too , with plants and porches, and room to sit and enjoy life.  On Thursday morning we left the house around 7:10 in the morning to go to Oakland where the ceremony for our new American citizens was held in a lovely theater. The 1,309 who were to take the oath to become citizens of the United States were seated downstairs; everyone else was in the balcony above and Blase and I were in the second row. We arrived an hour ahead, but the crowd was immense. At 9:15 the ceremony began and it was so well-planned and all went so well that we were out by 11:30. First they showed the flags of all the countries represented as the applicants were from 86 different countries; Mexico had the largest number with 22, China had 21, and then India and I did not hear the other countries, but I thought that I cannot identify flags of most of the countries and it would be a good project for someone to study the flags of the 41 countries where the Society of the Sacred Heart is so we would know them.  After instructions about registering to vote, changing Social Security card, and how to apply for a passport, we had a short speech, the oath, the pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, and then the giving of the certificates that prove they are now United States citizens. It was very moving and I forgot about the choral group that sang for 20 minutes at the beginning. We all stood and sang the national anthem at one point before the end. I am so glad I was there for Gaby and we went to a celebration lunch afterwards at a wonderful little place called "Small Wonder" and we were the only ones there so it was quite special. 
These celebrations are held every month in different places with often over 1,000 applicants, I think. Each needs to pay $800 to become a citizen so that, of course, keeps some of our immigrants from applying. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sixty-seven years ago to today I took the habit and became a novice in the Society of the Sacred Heart. Our Lord had called me and I have never regretted following Him, and He has led me all over in places I never would have dreamed of and He is still leading me.
I keep going back to the last lines from the first reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent: "Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care." Jesus is always the Good Shepherd who loves and cares for each of us. He is with us every step of the way.
Now, I should say that I have devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe; it began when I visited her shrine in Mexico when only sixteen. I think it was the faith of the Mexicans that most impressed me, but I realized that Our Lady is always a mother and cares for each of us and brings us to Jesus.
Tomorrow I shall write about the wonderful ceremony of Citizenship that I attended last Thursday just before getting a bad cold that really knocked me out for a few days.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday of the 2nd Week of Advent

This may have been published before I wrote anything as I have had the bad cold that seems to be very contagious and many of our staff have had it and now five of us have been in isolation with it. Today is my fourth day and I think I am better and hope this is the last day in my room. I guess
God wanted to give me lots of silence.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Second Sunday of Advent

I love the Collect for the Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent:
Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those 
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company. 
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I certainly felt as if I spent the first week of Advent in haste, but fear that much of my doing was my own desire to catch up with myself after having been away for sixteen days. Now I hope to quiet down and just have time to create inner silence and wait for the Lord. Advent is a time of waiting; it is waiting but in joyful anticipation of the coming of the Lord.  We want to make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Isaiah goes on to say: "Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill shall be made low; the rugged land shall be made a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

I like the end of the reading from Isaiah when he tells us:
"Like a shepherd he leads his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care."

Prepare ye the way of the Lord. How am I doing this each day?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christ wants to be born in me!

Today is the last day of the First Week of Advent. It is time to see if what we are doing to prepare for Christmas is what we are being nudged by the Spirit to do, or are we just caught up in many material preparations? This is a busy season so we need to stop and slow down and just be with Mary and Jesus. In our Advent retreat we had this question from Meister Eckhart: "What good is it that Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago if he is not also born in me?
Why not conceive and give birth to Christ this Christmas? Now, I know that Christ lives in me, but I think this means letting Christ so identify with me that my actions are Christlike.
I have a spiritual friend here at Oakwood and we get together before feasts or during Advent and Lent just to spur each other on - for Advent we are saying what has been my prayer so often lately and we intend to say it often during the day and night to prepare for the coming of Jesus. It is the little song we so often sing here: "Breathing in, breathing out; I am calm, I am smiling; You in me, I in You. Present moment, wondrous moment, Peace to the world, peace to the world."

Friday, December 8, 2017

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

Today is a Holy Day in honor of Mary. She was conceived without sin. The angel's greeting to her was : "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee." Mary is our Mother and is always watching over us and wanting the best for each of us. She leads us to Jesus, she consoles us, loves us, tells Jesus what we need, and never gives up on us. We owe our heavenly Mother so much. Let us take time to thank her today for her constant care.
I have been lent a delightful little book by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, An Advent Pilgrimage: Pteparing our Hearts for Jesus. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 2014. I am asking permission to quote from it as it has some good Advent thoughts. 
Advent is so short this year that we need to be careful not to waste a single day. Christmas Eve is the Fourth Sunday of Advent so we have the four Sundays, but only three weeks to prepare for the coming of Christ into our hearts again this Christmas!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

How to "create" silence

I am scheduling ahead; that is always dangerous but gives me great peace of mind. I really want us to embrace silence; that means that we are fully centered on what we have to do, but that we also have so many thoughts running around in our heads that need to be organized so to be able to silence them.

We had a lovely day of retreat last Saturday planned by some of us. I was struck by the questions taken from Pope Francis' Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People. He calls for all Religious to embrace joy. Do I radiate joy? I know that I try to as I really feel that my vocation within my vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart is to give joy to Jesus and to others. I do not always succeed, but I know it is important for me to keep trying.
The second question asks if I recognize the face of Christ and rejoice in the knowledge that I am being conformed to him who out of love for us did not refuse the suffering of the cross? That is hard in the face of suffering but I trust the Lord to give me strength for whatever He asks of me.
The next question needs some reflection: In a society which exalts the cult of efficiency, fitness and success, one which ignores the poor and dismisses "losers" do I witness by my life to the truth of the words of Scripture: "When I am weak, then I am strong"? Does my life radiate the joy and beauty of living the gospels and following Christ to the full?
The last question is about how to clear out the obstacles and open a path of charity for the advent of our God?

You do not need to be a consecrated Religious to reflect on these questions!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Night Out

It is really two nights out this week as I took Dee out to dinner on her birthday last night and tonight I am spending it at my nephew's. He and his wife have been remodeling their home which is up high with great views. Gabriela becomes a United States citizen on Thursday morning so she is picking me up today and I will be with her tomorrow to celebrate. 

I want to share something I found in my room. I think I had seen it a long time ago, but it still makes me think so I am passing it on today.

Be Careful When You Say Amen
be careful of simple words said often.

'amen' makes demands
like an unrelenting schoolmaster;
fierce attention to all that is said;
no apathy, no preoccupation, no prejudice permitted.

'amen' : we are present, we are open,
we hearken, we understand,
here we are; we are listening to your word.

'amen' makes demands like a signature on a dotted line;
sober bond to all that goes before;
no hesitation, no half-heartedness,
no mental reservation allowed.

'amen': we support, we approve
we are one mind, we promise,
may this come to pass, so be it.

be careful when you say 'amen'.
-barbara schmich searle 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Advent Desire

Advent is a time of holy longing for the coming again of Jesus. We all want to be more aware of the Presence of Jesus in our hearts. Advent is a time to focus on this intense desire to be able to be united to Jesus in all we do. The desire is important and we often talk about preparing our hearts for the coming of the Infant Jesus at Christmas. I am sure it pleases the Lord when we clear out so much that clutters our minds and hearts so we can prepare a place for the Baby Jesus; however, let us remember that Jesus is dwelling in us and we are the ones who are not always conscious of his presence. Having said this, let us sing, Come, O come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay! This prayer can be said when walking, working, waiting, waking, and whenever! Try it! (I sing the "Veni, veni, Domine Jesu," to myself.)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Embrace silence!

As we begin this first week of Advent we are told to be awake, stay alert. We pray to God to rouse his power and come and save us. We are to be watchful, be alert. Why? Because we are destined to be with God for all eternity. Advent is a season of joyful preparation for the coming again of Jesus. We need to prepare ourselves and that may be something different for each of us. I know that I am being drawn to silence. To create silence in my life I do not watch TV, I do not go to movies, I try to find quiet time when I am just with Mary and Jesus. These weeks of Advent are precious, if we take the time to just be still and be. It is tempting to just rush to accomplish all we have on our "to do" lists, but let us put first the task of embracing at least some moments of silence! I need to heed my own advice!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. It is a joyful season and we often gather around an Advent wreathe each evening to light a candle for each of the four weeks of Advent.

The reflection in Give Us This Day for the First Sunday of Advent is from St. Teresa of Avila and worth copying here:
"Here's what a friendship with our dearest Companion, our holiest God, is like. In it, intimacy is always possible and can't be stopped, except on our side, for God is always open to us. Nothing can come between us and God, our Spouse, and we can be alone with God whenever we want, as long as we want. All we have to do is desire it.
So let us close the door our our worldly calendars and deadlines and live instead in paradise with the God of love. If we desire this closeness that comes from closing the door on the world, we must realize that that door is our hearts. We don't have to be mystics to accomplish this communion. We only need to focus on God with our will. That's all. It's our own choice, and because God loves us, we can do this.
Don't confuse this state with empty silence. I am speaking of a turning inward and a listening. St. Teresa of Avila

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Blessing of Water

Today I want to share the Blessing of Water with you.  It is found on one of the Sisters of the Holy Names card and the text is from Jean Cather, snjm - I think it is a help to prepare for Advent:

May Water's sacred rains
anoint you for your journey,
and her promised Rainbow
gleam through your darkness.
May Water's Living Springs well up within you,
and her ancient Oceans
wash their Wisdom over you.

Blessings of Water to you.

What a gift water is for us and how often we take it for granted. There are thousands of people who do not have easy access to water. Yet, water is necessary for life. I find myself wasting water as we have it in abundance, or so it seems. When I was here during the time of no rain in California, I was careful not to waste a drop, but now I find I often take the gift of water for granted. 
The blessing speaks of the living springs within us. Let us reflect on what that means and let the oceans wash their wisdom over us today.

Friday, December 1, 2017

First Friday of December

We have the First Friday dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and the First Saturday of December with Our Lady to help us to prepare for the beautiful and joy-filled season of Advent. I hope each of us is spending some time in reflection on what God might be asking each of us  - how does God want you to spend this Advent? Sometimes it is just taking time to sit with God or be with Our Lady as we await the coming again of the Infant Jesus into our hearts. Jesus is no longer an infant, but He is present to us and Christmas shows us how He came so vulnerable, helpless, and needy!
I want to share something I read yesterday in Ruth Burrows'
Essence of Prayer, a book I often return to for inspiration. She writes "The Mass is the supreme expression of prayer because it holds, for me, at this moment, the mystery of Jesus himself in his surrender to Father and in the Father's response to that surrender. Here we see that it is God who does everything. I can only be there, saying my fiat and surrendering with Jesus. Once we have really grasped this, prayer is simple indeed. . . It is simple but it isn't easy...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Home Again!

Sixteen days away was a long time for me to be away. I had great experiences, but I am glad to be home. The week in Miami was full of graces; I had six wonderful people for the Busy Persons's Retreat and that was a real joy. I also had time to see some of my friends and that was a gift, too. Then, I had four days with my sister and her husband in Scottsdale, Arizona, and then four days with my brother and his wife in Gold Canyon, Arizona. My sister had 17 for Thanksgiving dinner and the long table looked like the ones we saw in Downtown Abbey. She loves to entertain and the dinner was so perfect - some brought dishes to add to the feast. It was a happy Thanksgiving and we had a lovely Mass in the morning. 
Now, it is time to prepare for Advent. We will have a day of retreat on Saturday. I look forward to that and have a desire to really create silence during Advent this year. It is a gift we need to give ourselves and give God as He wants to speak to us and we need silence to hear his voice. More tomorrow.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Today we close the Busy Persons' Retreat for Parents this afternoon with a prayer service and then we begin the meeting of the Western Region which lasts until Sunday noon. I will need to leave a bit early as I have a 1:00 flight that arrives in Miami at 9:30 PM. Monday begins the Busy Persons' Retreat for the faculty, staff, and usually a few mothers. We are a team of six coming from New York, Boston, Cape Cod, San Diego, Grand Coteau, and Atherton. I will be in Miami until the next Sunday and then visit my sister and her husband in Arizona for four days and then my brother in Gold Canyon for four days. I will not be home until November 28. I will also be taking a vacation from my blog as it is too difficult to find a computer to write and post it. I will be back on before Advent. I suggest that you go to our webpage: for I understand that we are beginning a year of prayer in honor of St. Philippine Duchesne who brought the Society of the Sacred Heart to America 200 years ago. Some reflection will be posted every Monday until Philippine's feast next November. I will be celebrating her feast this year in Miami on November 18.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The need for silence

This picture makes me feel that the bench is waiting for me and I am just to sit in silence and admire the gorgeous colors of the leaves. It opens up the interior life so that I just stop and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me. To sink into silence is to find God and gives me joy. I need silence.
We all need some silence to listen to the Spirit who whispers words in our hearts. When I sit in silence, I know that God is in me and I am in God and that gives great peace and joy. Try it today.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Today's inspiration

At the end of Mass each morning one of us takes Communion to the sick and we have beautiful prayers that we say just before the sending. This morning we were using what we call prayer G (we have A through S this season and different prayers for different liturgical seasons) and I will copy "G":

"As we contemplate the mystery of a God who gives His life for us we are grateful for the promise given to us of life everlasting. Receiving the Eucharist increases the life of God within us. It is with joy that we send our sister to bear witness to this love and we pray for their healing." 

What really struck me this morning was "Receiving the Eucharist increases the life of God within us." That is a tremendous truth that gives me great joy. Each day, I am increasing in the life of God!

Actually, we say the same in prayer "C" but it was only this morning that I was inspired to realize what I have said often, but the meaning really hit me today and makes me think that all my sisters are also increasing the life of God within us each time I give them the Eucharist. I am one now who gives the Eucharist each morning to those who cannot walk up to receive it even if they are at Mass; sometimes it is as many as 16 as we have many who need to use a walker so stay in their places for Communion. I also prepare the number of hosts for those who were not at Mass as there is almost always Communion for a few who are unable to come to Mass.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

St. Madeleine Sophie's Daily Prayer

Someone wrote to me and asked if we had a place or book she could find with prayers used by the Society of the Sacred Heart. I do not think we have and intend to ask about a future booklet containing some of the prayers we often say and that are often only known to the Society of the Sacred Heart.
I have copied some prayers in past blogs, but today I am using one that I first found when doing my dissertation research and since then it has been copied with a better translation into English so here it is:

Sacred Heart of Jesus, give me a heart that is one with your own:
A humble heart that knows and loves poverty,
A gentle heart that holds and calms its own anxieties,
A loving heart that has compassion for the suffering of others;
A pure heart that seeks only the face of God;
A detached heart that longs for nothing other than the goodness of heaven;
A heart detached from self-love and embraced by the love of God, its attentions focused on God, whose goodness is its only treasure in time and eternity. Amen.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Seed scattered and sown

Today I am sharing one of Pam's musings as it seems to be what we are all about. We also begin the Busy Persons' Retreat for the parents today and I have my group of mothers formed after last year's retreat.

"Carry the seed to be sown."

Seed has potential...
was never meant to remain seed!
It was to go beyond,
to be sown, grown, harvested.
I carry the seed.
It's potential can happen
if I sow it freely, faithfully,
wherever I go.
Water it with tears and
warm it with Light...and be patient.
It will grow beyond my hopes.
I am meant to carry the seed
and scatter it as I go.
God will take care  it grows.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

This Sunday has Jesus finding fault with the leaders for their own lack of humility. Jesus expects us to love one another; to be willing to serve one another. He has shown us how to live more humanly and wants us to follow his example. 

I think Pope Francis is saying the same to us today and he wants the leaders in the Church to be humble servants of all.
Jesus washed the feet of his apostles to let us know how we must be willing to do the same for those around us.

May this week find us serving others and with a smile. Let us seek ways in which we can help those around us. When we give joy to others, we give joy to Jesus.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Praying for the long retreat of our Probanists

Our Probanists in Rome must be about half way through their long retreat. For those who do not understand the term I used, probanists are our young nuns from all over the world who have gathered in Rome for what we have always called "Probation" - the five more contemplative months before final Profession when the group comes together to pray, study the Constitutions, form an international community, and reflect on their vocation to the Society of the Sacred Heart and their inner call to follow Jesus. During this time, a thirty-day directed retreat is made and there are also visits planned in Rome, and a trip to Joigny where St. Madeleine Sophie was born and lived. This international group gets to know the Mother House in Rome and our Mother General and her Team. 
For many years now I have prayed for each Probation and the Probation Team that plans these important months. I also pray for our novices all over the world. Please join me in praying for the present probanists and novices. 
When I reflect on my interior path, I know I have come such a long way from the time of my first vows and then from final vows. I marvel at the graces I have been given on the way and feel such gratitude!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Walking and savoring the interior path

We all have an interior path to walk and I hope we are taking the time to savor our  path. God has planned the path for each of us; no two paths are exactly alike. Do I take time to thank for the moments of beauty on my path that feed my soul? Have I been grateful for the companions who walk with me? Jesus is always there and Mary comes as soon as I call her. I do not know the path that leads me deeper into mystery, but I trust the Lord and go forward. If I am tempted to stop and rest along the way, Jesus is very patient and waits for me. The important thing is to stay on the path I have been called to follow and not let a side path lead me astray. I am sure we are all happy to have a path and not be stranded in a forest without any sense of direction. The path for each of us is a grace given and we go forward with joy. Sometimes we seem to be carried along our path and feel energized, but other times we slow down, look for a place to sit and contemplate where we are, where we have come from, and where we are going. That gives us courage to get up and continue on our path even if the going seems to now be uphill and a bit more difficult. If we ask Jesus to walk with us, the interior journey is enjoyable even in rough spots.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Today is the day we honor all the departed souls

Today we pray for all those who have died. There is no time with God so I think we are on shaky ground when we talk about "purgatory" and so I just pray for all those who have died and may need our prayer.
I am thinking about a year of prayer with St. Philippine Duchesne as one of the ways the Society of the Sacred Heart is celebrating the bicentennial of her arrival in America. I am looking forward to sharing the Monday reflections with all of you as soon as they begin this month. 

There is a great reflection entitled "The Soul's One Purpose" from the writings of the Cistercian mystic, Beatrice of Nazareth in "Give Us This Day": She said the "all the soul's seeking, teaching, prayers to God, and meditation are for this one purpose: to get into the presence of God and become Love, and to live a moral life with the purity that is the signature of true love. " The rest of the reflection is worth reading.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Feast of All Saints

I want to begin with a thought from the reflection of Kathy Coffey given in "Give Us This Day" for this feast:

"With no superpowers or special effects, the saints faced catastrophe with limitations, skills, gifts, and virtues similar to ours. They feasted on the same Eucharist and read or heard the same Word. Most important, they looked to the face of Christ which shines as radiantly on us. Theirs - and ours- the kingdom."

When I was ill two years ago with high fever, I found it consoling to feel the presence of all the saints in my room. My parents were there and so many others and I felt that all were praying for me. Since then, I have had devotion to all the saints in heaven and find that I often feel their presence. Of course, I am sure we all have favorite saints we pray to and this way of connecting with all the saints is rather new to me, but I find it helpful. 
I guess it is a time to honor those who are helping us and who have not been canonized by the Church. I know my parents, my brother George, my grandparents, aunts, etc. are all up there and take an interest in seeing that I also will eventually be joining them. We were made to be happy with God for all eternity so let us rejoice today with all those who are now with God and keep on aspiring to be with them when God calls us.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Today is Halloween, the eve of All Saints. It is good to see that some parishes are now having the children dress as saints. 
I loved our Halloween party last Saturday with all our staff and their children and friends invited. Almost everyone came in costume and prizes were given for the Sisters, the Staff, and the Children. I had the satisfaction of having the Seven Dwarfs win first place for the Sisters. We had come in singing "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work we go...Hi Ho, Hi Ho and the seven of us had lovely different colors of felt elf hats made by our wonderful activity director; we had great wooden sticks with bandannas attached and beards for all except Dopey. It was fun and I guess I will think of something for next year. The Third Graders are coming to visit us today in costumes so that will be fun. One of the staff was a perfect Dorothy from the wizard of Oz even with the sparkling red shoes!
The important thing to remember today is that it is all hallows eve and tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of All the Saints!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Interior seasons of the soul

The beautiful fall colors draw me to walk in the woods of my imagination... when I make this an interior walk, all sorts of thoughts and feelings accompany me. How good God is to give a change of seasons, even in our interior. I suspect I love autumn because the longer it lasts, the further off is winter. When speaking of our interior journey (and that is what I am trying to do), winter days are often cold, dreary, and isolated. On the other hand, think of curling up with a good book in front of a friendly fire and maybe putting the book down to just be with God, contemplating His Love as the flames send you light and warmth. I love each season, but I have usually spent my interior life basking in the sun of summer or walking in the cool of autumn amidst gorgeous trees arrayed in scarlet and gold. 
Perhaps you will be reflecting today on the seasons of your soul. Pay no attention to the calendar year, but let your soul speak to you of its present season and the value it has.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I find this Sunday's Mass joyful. The opening antiphon says: "Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face."

In the second reading from Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes: "And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth not only in Macedonia and in Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything."

The Gospel reading from Matthew 22:34-40 has Jesus telling the scholar of the law, who asked him which was the greatest commandment: "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and prophets depend on these two commandments."

When we are keeping those commandments, we are joyful!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Halloween Costume Parade and Party

Our trees are just beginning to turn autumn colors but it is still so warm during the day that I did not even put on a sweater. This has been one of the busiest weeks with our celebrating Pastoral Care Week, preparing for a Halloween costume party today and having had several visitors who spoke to us at different times during this week. I also was interviewed by my student who has a creative project of interviewing people about their faith, how it has developed, etc. and then he makes podcasts of the interviews. He also transcribes it and that is all I want to see. After he left, I thought of several things I could have said and didn't, but hopefully it will be of help and he seemed very pleased with it. I thought it was a good way to get to know a person better and now want him to share his own faith with me.
I have been preparing the seven of us who live and eat breakfast together for our costume parade this afternoon. We went as a slumber party last year and I thought the seven dwarfs would be fun for this year. I had them draw the name of one and I ended up with Dopey. I have poles so we can carry bundles over our shoulders as that seems safer than pick axes or other tools. Our activity director got the film for us to see (it has been many, many years since I last saw "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" but I think we will be able to parade in singing "Hi Ho Its Off To Work We Go".  The important thing is that I have them all excited about it and we will practice before the parade and party this afternoon.
This blog is not so spiritual, but it is good to think about those seven and see if I am imitating the good qualities of the dwarfs as they seemed to accept each other and work together as a community with love and compassion.