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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Jesus is placed in the tomb

Joseph of Arimathea has approached Pilate
- Nicodemus brings myrrh and aloes, about 100 lbs
- Slowly Jesus' body is placed in Mary's arms
- Joseph places Jesus' body in his own new tomb
- A huge stone is rolled over the tomb's entrance

Let us offer our bodies with Christ that others may have life.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Jesus on the Cross, His mother and his disciple

At the cross of Jesus a group of women and John
- Jesus' last gift and duty, to care for his mother
"Woman, this is your son."
"This is your Mother"
- So we too pray "and at the hour of our death" 
- The new family of faithful disciples of Jesus

Let us dwell on the words: "Behold your son."
a new community is born:
a family for everyone

"My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"

"It is finished"
loved to the end

Jesus dies on the cross - bereft of any consolation
Jesus hands back his spirit to the Father
The divine mission is fulfilled
From his pierced side blood and water flowed

Let us pray in union with Jesus,
Into your Hands, O Lord, I commend my Spirit.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Holy Thursday

The Stations of the Cross will be continued tomorrow. Holy Thursday is such a gift to us. Jesus began by washing the feet of his disciples and thus giving us an example of how we are to serve one another with love. Then Jesus gives us Himself in the Eucharist. He took bread and wine and changed it into His own body and blood so that he could continue to be present to us through all the ages. He waits for us to come to receive Him in the Eucharist; He gave those present at this last supper the grace to go and do this in remembrance of Jesus.  We can go visit Jesus in a special way whenever we go to a Catholic church or chapel where there is a tabernacle with a sanctuary lamp burning to indicate that Jesus is present in the Eucharist. What a gift we have!
Let us spend time in adoration after the Holy Thursday services tonight so we may be with Jesus to thank Him for His gift to us as well as stay with Him for it is on this same night that He will suffer the agony in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, and the abandonment of his friends.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Jesus promises his Kingdom to the good thief

Jesus between the two thieves
-One criminal taunts, the other asks
"Jesus remember me..."use of first name
"Today...." we will receive the same reply
-What of those who are not close to Jesus?
-Let us speak to Jesus for ourselves, for our friends.
for our enemies, for the persecutors of our friends.

Let us draw courage from the promise: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."

The interchange of love that constitutes the essential happiness of Heaven
a dizziness, a heart-pounding, a thundering Now, an Eternal embrace, a consuming happiness

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Jesus is Crucified

The pall of death and doom hangs over Golgotha
The beam is thrown on the ground
Soldiers tear off Jesus' clothes
Jesus' arms are stretched wide on the beam
Nails are hammered into his wrists
With a jolt the beam slits into the upright
Jesus' feet are nailed
The chief priests mock
Jesus only prays "Father, forgive them.
Let us reflect on the words: "Forgive them they know not what they do"
Forgive us our closed minds, which deny truth
Forgive us our closed eyes which fail to see needs
Forgive us our closed hands which fail to give
Forgive us our closed ears which shut out cries
Forgive us our closed hearts which limit sympathy
Forgive us our deliberately held blind spots

Monday, March 26, 2018

Monday of Holy Week

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem - this is Pope John Paul II's Scriptural Way of the Cross and is his Station IX

-A large crowd, held by curiosity
-A group of women offer relief
-Is his Mother in this group?
-Jesus sees the women, speaks
"Daughters of Jerusalem do not weep for me.
Weep for yourselves - your city is doomed.
If this is the green wood what to the dry?"
-If Jesus the innocent suffers so much, what will be the judgment on the guilty?

Let us beg fulfillment in our being as People of Communion, People of Contemplation, People of Reconciliation,
therefore grant unto us
-a heart that remembers
-a heart that is faithful
-a heart that is grateful
-a heart that truly loves

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday

The commemoration of the Lord's entrance into Jerusalem begins with a procession. The opening prayer is worth taking time to reflect on so I am copying it here:
Dear brothers and sisters,
since the beginning of Lent until now we have prepared our hearts by penance and charitable works.
Today we gather together to herald with the whole Church the beginning of the celebration of our Lord's Paschal Mystery, that is to say, of his Passion and Resurrection. For it was to accomplish this mystery that he entered his own city of Jerusalem. Therefore, with all faith and devotion, let us commemorate the Lord's entry into the city for our salvation, following in his footsteps, so that, being made by his grace partakers of the Cross, we may have a share also in his Resurrection and in his life.

Then comes the blessing of the palms and the procession begins.
During the Mass, the Passion is read from Mark's Gospel.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross

It's a requisition
Simon caught unaware
death must be avoided before public execution
Simon shoulders the beam
Simon steps into Jesus' footsteps - a disciple image
Faith comes to Simon and his sons

Jesus, we, too, need a Cyrene.
Be our Cyrene in 
those who give us a spiritual uplift
those who smilingly chat with us
those who share their courageous spirit with us
those who give new meaning to life
those who visit and sit silently with us
those behind the scenes who feed us
those who remind us of God's mercy

And we are called to be a Cyrene for Jesus and for others!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Jesus takes up the Cross

Roman soldiers lead Jesus out
The execution beam is placed across his shoulders
The beam is our human rebellion against God
The beam crushed...
Jesus stumbles....staggers....falls

Jesus, grant us the strength to carry our crosses:
when it seems all our energy has failed
when living seems monotonous
when we remain attached to the past
when all seems unsure, unclear, doubtful
when small arrangements nag us
when mental and physical pain dominate
when we can no longer be creative
when we feel that no one understands
when we cannot pray
when both body and soul are restless
when we feel opposition

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns

A chastisement!...blow after blow
No one counts
The crown cap is pushed on Jesus' head
The jeers, the slaps, the mockery of homage
They kept coming up 'Hail, king of the Jews'
Jesus is handed back to Pilate
Pilate shows the utterly disfigured Jesus to the crowd - Ecce Homo
"Take him yourselves...

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, deliver us
from the desire of being esteemed,
from the desire of being loved,
from the desire of being extolled,
from the desire of being honored, 
from the desire of being praised,
from the desire of being preferred to others,
from the desire of being consulted,
from the desire of being approved.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Jesus is Judged by Pilate

I am back to following the booklet with Pope John II's Stations

Pilate the Gentile interrogates:
Are you the king of the Jews?
Pilate finds a loophole: Jesus is a Galilean
Pilate hands over Jesus to Herod
Herod hands Jesus back to Pilate
"I do not find this man guilty nor does Herod."
Another stratagem: This man or Barabbas?
Weak Pilate washes his own hands and hands over Jesus to be whipped by the soldiers.

My own reflection: Jesus is now passive. He allows all this suffering to show His love for us. What will I say and do as I contemplate the Heart of Jesus undergoing all this to show His love for me?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Peter denies Jesus

Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss; Peter denies three times even knowing Jesus. What must the Heart of Jesus feel when his chosen ones betray him, leave him, and deny him? 

Today, in all parts of the world, we have people in pain, people who are betrayed, denied, by those in power; people who need to flee from their home to save their lives. Jesus still sees and suffers with the injustice in our world today. He asks us to do something to help the homeless, the refugees, the outcasts in our world. What will I do?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Feast of St. Joseph

St. Joseph does not speak in the Gospels. He was a carpenter and no doubt taught Jesus his trade. He was a man who listened to his dreams and acted upon them. We really know so little about Joseph, but he must have been an important father figure for Jesus who gradually came to the realization that he was the Son of God. By then, I think Joseph had departed and Jesus was left to take care of his mother. 

As we need to start the stations of the Cross today, or continue with them, here is the third one according to Pope John Paul II:
Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin (Luke 22"66-71)
Jesus is led in for trumped-up charges.
Caiaphas declares "It is expedient that..."
"Are you the Son of God?"..."I am"....
"What further testimony do we need?"
The whole Sanhedrin formally hands over Jesus to Pilate desiring he be put to death.

Let us pray: O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, deliver us
-from the fear of being humiliated
-from the fear of being despised
-from the fear of suffering rebukes
-from the fear of being forgotten
-from the fear of being ridiculed
-from the fear of being wronged
-from the fear of being suspected.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that "unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit." Then Jesus says that he is troubled. "Yet, what should I say? Father, save me from this hour? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it and will glorify it again." The crowd heard it but some said it was thunder but others thought an angel had spoken to Jesus. Jesus told them that this voice did not come for his sake but for theirs. And Jesus said, "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself."
Jesus knows that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. He is trying to prepare his friends for what he is going to suffer for them and for us. He himself said that there is no greater love than to give one's life for another. Am I ready to go with Jesus now, to be with Jesus during these two weeks that remain before we celebrate his resurrection? What am I doing for Jesus? What will I do?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This is a great day for the Irish and I am quite Irish as my maternal great grandparents and my maternal great grandfather all came from Ireland and were proud to raise good Irish Catholic families. We always celebrated this day and were proud to be Irish Americans. That is why the whole question of limiting immigration and deporting so many who have been living peacefully here is so upsetting to me. We are spending more than three trillion dollars a year to be able to deport people who only want to be good citizens if we let them. If some are not yet citizens, is it because it costs $800 to get you citizenship now? And what are we paying for the hard labor of picking fruit in the fields all day? We are treating those who come to have a better life in a way that is certainly not the way we would want to be treated.     


Friday, March 16, 2018

Scriptual Stations of the Cross

These Scriptual Stations of the Cross were promulgated by Pope John Paul II and I am using them in this blog to help us enter more fully into the Passion and Death of Our Lord this year. By beginning today, I hope to cover them by Holy Thursday with time out for St. Patrick's Day and Palm Sunday. Actually, the first two I have really covered in my own reflection on the Agony in the Garden and Jesus' arrest when betrayed by Judas. However, I shall add here the thoughts of John Paul II when he adds "Let us offer to the Father our difficulties;"Your will be done, not mine:
-in our aging when we are no longer consulted
-in the times we register ourselves as useless
-when we must ask more frequently for help
-in the scenario of ebbing energy
-in the standing aside for younger people
-in the acceptance of pain
-in the dependence when another girds us and leads us where we would not go"

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What I am reading

The New York Times Magazine that I read faithfully each week, always asks the author being interviewed: "What books are on your nightstand?" Usually there are many and quite often I have never heard of any of the books on the nightstand and even on the floor by the bed.
I have no books on top of my very tiny nightstand which barely holds a lamp, a clock, and a tiny statue of Our Lady. However, I do have nine book shelves still full of books. What I am sharing today are those I seem to be reading at present and only one, recently received as a gift from a dear friend, belong to me; the rest have been given to me within the last ten days by my kind sisters here who have even checked a couple of books from our library for me after I have expressed an interest. These books are now to be found between bookends on top of the bookcase near my chair: World Without End. This book is the one given to me and consists of interviews with both Father Thomas Keating and Joseph Boyle by Lucette Verbovin, a Flemish film producer and author; Richard Rohr's The Divine Dance; David Richo's
The Sacred Heart of the World: Restoring Mystical Devotion to our Spiritual Life, a book I had in Miami and now want to read again; Ashes to Easter, by Robert Morneau, a old book but is good Lenten resource but I have not really been using it yet; and This Fight is Our Fight by Elizabeth Warren. This last book is not really spiritual reading but is concerned with the struggle to save America's Middle Class. I also have my Journal between those book ends in case I need to record a thought or a quote for future use.
I have less time to read here than I did in Miami. but reading is important for me and I was delighted to know that my high school senior had made a resolution to read a book a week. I forgot that there is still another book among the above just waiting to be read. It is called Religious Life: The First Constitutions of the Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart, Text and Commentary.
My friends who know me are going to say, "And what novel are you reading this week?" I think I am not reading any at the moment; I have quite a collection on the shelf under my night-stand, but perhaps Lent lends itself to more serious reading. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

"I say yes to everything that happens to me today...

Here is the prayer by David Richo: The Power of Grace

I say yes to everything that happens to me today
as an opportunity
to give and receive love without reserve.
I am thankful for the enduring capacity to love
that has come to me from the Sacred Heart of the universe.
May everything that happens to me today
open my heart more and more.
May all that I think, say, feel, and do
express loving kindness
toward myself, those close to me, and all beings.
May love be my life purpose, my bliss,
my destiny, my calling,
the richest grace I can receive or give.

I have just returned from almost an hour and a half of prayer with the Sacred Heart Prep; after the early prayer service, we processed in perfect silence to the plaza where we stood in circles around the mandala and again the names of each of the 17 who were shot at the high school in Florida were read aloud and the big tower bell tolled for each of them. Then, still in silence, we walked out the front gate and stood on both sides of the street for seventeen minutes in honor of the 17 who had lost there lives. The early prayer service was so solemn and each of the 17 had their picture shown on the big screen while one student came forward for each to place a lighted candle on the stage. The students had prepared the prayers and all was so solemn. I was really impressed by the silence. The middle school had their own prayer service, but the seventh and eighth grades came for the ceremony with the tolling of the bell in the plaza. It was impressive to see how many of the RSCJ from Oakwood took part on walkers and three with their electric carts. Some parents were there and the teachers also came.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Jesus, betrayed by Judas

We begin our meditation today with the betrayal of Judas, one of the twelve chosen by Jesus to be an Apostle. Judas comes with soldiers to take Jesus captive and Judas goes to kiss Jesus so the soldiers will know whom to seize. What must the Heart of Jesus feel when one He loves has chosen to betray him for thirty pieces of silver! And his other chosen friends are also to flee and leave Him alone. How often do I turn from the love Jesus is showing me and walk away, preoccupied with my own concerns?

We had an excellent retreat day with the Associates last Saturday given by Father David Richo. I will share a prayer from it tomorrow as I thought it quite powerful. It has been a busy week with the retreat for the faculty and staff, the third graders for reading, my student, the Bible group, and trying to get in some exercise by walking outside.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Agony in the Garden

One year when I was in Chile I spent the entire Lent praying with Jesus in the agony of the garden. I feel that this is where Jesus showed how human he was as he struggled to accept what he was to go through for us. In spite of the struggle, he kept praying, "Not my will but thine be done." 
We have so much to learn from Holy Thursday when Jesus washed the feet of his friends, then gave himself to them in this wondrous Sacrament of the Eucharist. Then he went to pray and asked his three closest disciples to watch and pray with him. Peter, James and John were not able to do this and Jesus was alone with the struggle to accept all of the suffering and even death on the cross. Once he has accepted all, he is at peace and will go forth to meet Judas who comes with the soldiers to betray him with a kiss. Imagine how the Heart of Jesus feels. Yet he surrenders himself to the soldiers and his disciples all leave him and flee. Let us not leave Jesus alone this Lent!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The entrance antiphon for this Sunday is: Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning: exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast.

The collect asks "that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebration to come."

We rejoice but we also hasten on as we begin the fourth week of Lent. We are preparing for the solemn celebration to come and we are following Jesus on his way to Jerusalem where he will lay down his life for us. Let us remember the resolutions we have made to give these forty days of Lent to the Lord in a special way. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Litany of the Sacred Heart

The response is: Immerse us in your Mercy...

Heart of Jesus...
providing in lavish proportions...
revealing new truths and forms of beauty...
orientated to those most in need...
rebuffed for your sheer goodness...
center of a Church without borders...
shepherding all nations...
diffusing the fragrance of divine indwelling...
delighting in innocence and modesty...
guiding us to the sabbath of eternity...
beating with 'Yes' to the Father...
restoring people to their intrinsic dignity...
yearning for a Church which is poor and for the poor...
fulfilling God's covenant with his people...
banishing judgmentalism in all forms...
befriending society's cast offs...
lavishing unquenchable love on good and bad alike...
merciful beyond human imagining...
existing in space and time and for eternity...

Let us pray: Christ Jesus whose heart encompasses all humankind, let our eyes see with your eyes, let our hands do as You would do, so your reign comes on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

His Embrace

"His father saw him...ran to him...clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly" Luke  13:20

How often was there the deep joy of being welcomed home? An embrace from your mother? 

Heart of Jesus existing in space and time and for eternity...

Pope Francis: "The community of Peter and Paul teaches us that the Church at prayer is a Church on her feet, strong, moving forward! Indeed a Christian who prays is a Christian who is protected, guarded and sustained, and above all who is never alone. Prayer is the encounter with God, with God who never lets us down, with God who is faithful to his word, with God who does not abandon his children." 29 June 2015

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

His Mercy

"I want mercy, not sacrifice."  Matt 9:13

How often was there the deep joy of being welcomed home? An embrace from your mother? concern for your well-being?

How tough was it when folk did not grasp that ritual words and actions were invalid unless they represented tenderness and love?

Heart of Jesus merciful beyond human imagining...

Pope Francis: "Christ's resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world... it is true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit...however dark things are, goodness alwas re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew... values always tend to reappear under new guises."  EG276                                                                                                                                                     

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

His Generosity

"What do you want me to do for you?" Mark 10:51

Did you feel impelled to give of yourself to all who came for healing not matter how tired you were? Was the cost high?

Heart of Jesus lavishing unquenchable love on the good and bad alike...

Pope Francis: "...what the Holy Spirit mobilises is not an unruly activism, but above all an attentiveness which considers the other " in a certain sense as one with ourselves." This loving attentiveness is the beginning of a true concern for their person which inspires me effectively to seek their good... True love is always contemplative, and permits us to serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but rather because she is beautiful above and beyond mere appearances." EG 199

I love the question Jesus keeps asking us: "What do you want me to do for you?" And then the quote from Pope Francis is worth pondering today!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Know His Heart: His Gentleness

"Woman, you are free of your infirmity" Luke 13:12

Did your loving Heart sense the pains of age and disability? When the woman straightened up what was the eye-to-eye communication? Did you ever meet her again?

Heart of Jesus befriending society's cast-offs...

Pope Francis: "Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a "disposable" culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new,...those excluded are no longer society's underside or fringes or its disenfranchised- they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the 'exploited' but the outcast, the 'leftovers'". EG 53

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Third Sunday of Lent

I read somewhere that when Jesus was cleansing the temple, overturning the money-changers' tables, and driving out those who sold the animals to be sacrificed, he was upset because people were not paying attention to the Presence of God. That makes sense to me as the people who sold the animals and the money-changers were really there to help the Jews to fulfill the law, but the reason the Jews were coming to the temple was God! They had lost sight of that. 
Now, how many times have we gone into the Presence of God and been concerned about our own problems and failed to realize that God was waiting to have us come to Him? I think we are just to be with Him and listen to Him and let Him love us! Try this at Church today.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

His Meekness

"Neither do I condemn you: go in peace and sin no more." Jn 8

How repulsed were you when the pharisees smugly pushed the woman forward? Did the frightened woman's eyes speak for many others? 

Heart of Jesus banishing judgmentalism in all forms...

Pope Francis: "Who am I to judge them if they are seeking the Lord in good faith?" (Press conference on plane 2013)

Friday, March 2, 2018

His Culture

"as was the custom...." Luke 2:42

As a teenager did the multiple rules rile you? Was it cool to talk to Joseph about traditions? 

Heart of Jesus fulfilling God's covenant with his people...

Pope Francis: "We cannot demand that people of every continent in expressing their Christian faith, imitate modes of expression which European nations developed at a particular moment of their history, because the faith cannot be constricted to the limits of understanding and expression of any one culture. It is an indisputable fact that no single culture can exhaust the mystery of redemption in Christ." EG 118

We are celebrating a 100th birthday today with many guests and there will be still another celebration tomorrow in San Francisco. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

His Inclusiveness

"It happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples." Matt 9:10

Was it hard to bear with the critics fault finding about your table friendships? Did their envy of your popularity dampen your spirit? Did class distinctions disturb you?

Heart of Jesus yearning for a Church which is poor and for the poor...

Pope Francis: "Let us ask the Lord to help us understand the law of love. How good it is to have this law! How much good it does us to love one another, in spite of everything. Yes, in spite of everything!....We all have our likes and pray for a person with whom I am irritated is a beautiful step forward in love...Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed ot the ideal of fraternal love!  (when still Archbishop)