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Thursday, January 31, 2019

When you pray....

When you pray, remember the breath
that made us men living beings,
from God it comes; to God it returns.
Blend the Word and prayer with the flow of life
and nothing will come between you and the Giver of Life.

If St. Seraphim were alive, he would not mind me changing the second line to "made us human living beings" but I like the idea of remembering God's breath and feel great gratitude for the life we have.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

When you pray...

When you pray, be like the ocean
with stillness in its depths
the waves ebbing and flowing.
Have calm in your heart, and evil thoughts
will flee of their own accord.

I am leaving for Lake Tahoe early tomorrow morning and will return on Monday. I am scheduling my blog ahead so you will still have a daily reflection. I will be with another RSCJ who will spend the night in order to drive me to pick up our dear Dominican Spiritual Director and then go to the Dominican house at Tahoe. I am planning on cooking a pot roast dinner on Saturday night, if I still remember how to do that! I have really been looking forward to this and perhaps we will have snow while we are there.  After so many years in Miami, I would love to see snow, but do not want to drive in it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

When you pray...

When you pray, be like the flower
reaching up to the sun;
straight stemmed like a column.
Be open, ready to accept all things without fear
and you will not lack light on your way.

This is the second stanza of St. Seraphim's poem to reflect on today.

Monday, January 28, 2019

When you pray....

One of my friends here presented me with this lovely poem by St. Seraphim of Sarov - someone I had never heard of before!

When you pray, be like the mountain
in stillness, in silence;
thoughts rooted in eternity.
Do nothing; just sit, just be;
and you will harvest the fruit of your prayer.

There are five verses, but as each merits reflection, I am planning to put just one verse a day. I just have found that it is worth praying over each and hope you will do the same.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's Gospel has Jesus standing up in the synagogue in his home town, where he had grown up. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of the sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."

Then Jesus rolled up the scroll and handed it back and sat down, "and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." 

That is all we read in this Sunday's Gospel and perhaps that calls us to reflect more on the words of Isaiah, but we also know that Jesus is going to be rejected by the very ones he has grown up with and loved.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Sharing my Guided Imagery Retreat

My first of three Guided Imagery Sessions with my Guide, Sister Joan King, OP, I started off by following a shepherd; I was a sheep in a flock and followed the shepherd who sat on a rock and I pressed as close as possible. Then there was a warm, soft, bright light and I felt God's love penetrating my whole being. I felt this intense love even in my fingers for now I am no longer a sheep. I feel God's infinite love overflowing to all the world; God wants me to just let Him love me - to be open and allow His love to permeate my whole being and then overflow to the whole world.
The above is copied from the first part of what I wrote; I titled this GIM as "Raising the Level of Love in the World."
There was more as this is a long session and the music invites other images: I was with Mary and then again found myself in the Trinity and the Trinity in me. I ended convinced that the entire universe is so loved by God and every creature is created to be loved by God!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Conversion of St. Paul

When Paul saw the great light and fell to the ground he heard a voice saying to him: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
He asked, "Who are you?" On hearing that it was Jesus, Paul said, "What shall I do, sir?"

Now, take a moment to reflect on what that answer meant. Here was Paul who had been persecuting the followers of Jesus and now he is asking Jesus what should he do. And, Jesus tells him: "Get up and go into Damascus and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do."

We have all met Jesus and been given a mission for life. Let us think about this today and renew our own response.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

What we think shapes our world...

"What we repeatedly think shapes our world. Out of compassion, substitute healthy thought for unhealthy ones." Jack Kornfield, The Wise Heart, quoted by Joyce Rupp.

Joyce says that she opened a retreat on compassion by handing each participant four seeds. She reminded them that these inert seeds held the potential for an abundant harvest, if carefully tended. Then she spoke of the seeds as symbols of the four main spiritual qualities necessary for compassion's growth: nonjudgment, nonviolence, forgiveness and mindfulness.

I guess I just think I need to get a head start on this book by sharing these thoughts. It does give us much for reflection!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Boundless Compassion

I bought a copy of Joyce Rupp's latest book: Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life. It is a six-week personal transformation process for developing and deepening compassion. I am not really beginning to use it as I need to spend time still with the Guided Images of my retreat, but I will be using the book in February. What I have been looking at and will share with you are some of the great quotes that seem to introduce each day. Here is one from Ilia Delio's book on Compassion: "Compassion is a thread that binds together the deepest centers of life beyond borders of race, gender, religion, tribe or creature." 

Awareness, Attitude, Action are the three essentials that "comprise the movement of compassion." 

Just something to think about today as you go about your daily duties. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Someone sent me this poem which I love. I think it may be from "The Stream and the Sapphire: Selected Poems on Religious Themes", a book of poetry by Denise Levertov.

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so I would learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

Soon I will continue sharing from my Guided Imagery Retreat; it has been such a silent, rather isolated almost two weeks since I returned from the retreat. I wish I could say that I loved the opportunity to continue with the silence, but I think I never pray well when ill. I just sat in my chair! 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Martin Luther King Holiday

This is a holiday to make us think of our own racism; it lingers in most of us and we need to be aware of it. We are all equal and God loves each of us. This brings me to the whole question of the refugees and migrants and what we are doing in our own country to really persecute some of these who have done no wrong except for not have the proper papers perhaps. 
I feel for the workers who are not getting paid in this stupid government shutdown, but I think the billions we are already spending to defend our border is enough and we certainly do not need a wall. We should be building bridges instead of walls.

I have had almost eleven days isolated with pneumonia and have really done nothing, but now I am feeling better and thank all my readers for their patience and prayer. I am back!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Maybe time to just be...

It has been raining all day, I think. I am in a dreamy state but that is because I have pneumonia and am just try to rest and get better. I may not be writing my blog for a few days. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Trust takes many forms

Sister Wendy Beckett says that "prayer is impossible without trust. We give our time and attention only and wholly because we believe that it is Jesus who prays within us. It is He who is united to His Father and we who life in Him--and do with that divine Father....Feeling or nonfeeling are equally unimportant. What matters is to stay at rest in the boat, down below sight level, while the wind that is the Holy Spirit bears us over the still waters to where the Father waits for us."

I have been having some days isolated in my room with a bad cold; maybe God just wanted me to prolong the retreat.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Trusting God

When I was in retreat, thoughts from Sister Wendy Beckett's Book on Prayer came to me as I had just heard of her death.  I have shared some of her thoughts in this blog but not from this book for a long time. It was published in 2006 and the title is Sister Wendy on Prayer,

Since I have been seeing myself in a boat with Jesus, here is what Wendy says commenting on a picture by Craigie Aitchison: " This boat sails on no specific sea, but on those mythic waters that have always been our image of the mysterious unknown of living. This is not an earthly sky, any more than this is an earthly sea. The small boat, its sail taut, does not reveal who is within it. Below our curious gaze, the sailor lies hidden. This boat that seemingly sails by itself can be seen to speak of prayer.
"When we pray, we are likewise carried, borne along by a power that we do not and cannot direct. It is our prayer, our boat. It is we who have launched it on this sea of faith and we who stay quiet within it. But all the movement comes from God. We await Him, we surrender to Him. Where we want to go is not to the point; it is where God wants to take us. We do not see where that is. There is starlight, yes, but no sun or moon, no clarity of vision. Our world becomes duotone: scarlet sky, purple sea. All that is in our power is choice (as it is in life, which is meant to be prayer extended); do we stay still, hidden, unable to take control, or do we jump up and steer that boat ourselves, refusing God's lordship?
"Put like that, it seems so obvious, yet it can be very hard to stay in this state of powerlessness, or blindness, of vulnerability accepted, when all that holds us motionless in the boat is our trust in God. But prayer is impossible without trust."

Monday, January 14, 2019

Being grateful

This lake is not frozen, I think, but I am still praying over my first guided imagery from the retreat and so I am out skating around a frozen lake and feeling very free and joyful. I think that is the way God wants us to live. Free, in the sense that we know we are children of God and destined to be happy with Him forever in heaven. 

I saw my senior student from the Sacred Heart Society here at Sacred Heart Prep. He is elated as he was admitted to the University of his choice. Actually, he was accepted by five other universities, too. He is a good student and I gave him a gratitude journal and hope he will begin to use it. It makes such a difference when we concentrate on what we are grateful for each day!

I am very grateful for my retreat, my guide, those with me in retreat, the ocean, etc. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Baptism of the Lord

Today is a wonderful feast and really the beginning of the public life of Jesus. Jesus was perhaps thirty years old when he comes to be baptized by John in the Jordon river. The entrance antiphon for this Sunday's Mass tells us: "After the Lord was baptized, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

Jesus has been preparing for this big step of leaving home and becoming a wandering teacher. He is confirmed in both his identity and his mission. Then the Spirit will lead Jesus into the desert to be tempted, but this moment is one of confirmation for Jesus. We, too, have been baptized and each of us has a mission to fulfill. We also have the grace to carry it out and one day will hear God the Father say to us: "This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Joyfully Free

This picture is nothing like my first Guided Imagery. I am out on a beautiful, small lake skating around. There are other people on the lake and snow-covered trees around the lake. I am skating alone but feel so free and joyful. The ice is smooth and I am skating with ease and circling this lake with joy. It is almost like dancing and I am so happy to be here and able to do this. I have so much energy and joy!

Now, that is all I wrote for my first "Mini" Guided Imagery under "log content". The feeling part was easy and I wrote that I feel joy and freedom - I feel free just sailing across the ice; free, young, energetic, and carefree. You must write in the present tense so I am actually feeling it all again.
I think my sensation is just being happy and grateful that I can skate so well and I am free and not worrying about anything!
I guess that is enough to bore you with today, but under the significant images I remembered receiving beautiful white hockey skates with a red plaid lining under the Christmas tree when I was in 7th grade. We used to go skate in Forest Park on the lagoon when it was frozen and somehow I also remember the fire and the hot cocoa near the shore when we finished skating. We also had the Winter Garden for indoor skating with gorgeous music playing as we skated around. I think one reason I am to keep going over that first GIM this week is that it triggers other memories and feelings.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Guided Imagery Retreat

For those who do not know what a Guided Imagery Retreat is, I offer this brief description as I have now made this retreat for four years from January 2-9. We begin the first afternoon with prayer and a short session where we listen to music and then fill out in the present tense what we saw or experienced during this shorter exercise which helps us to remember to be aware not only of all the images, but also feelings and sensations. Then, every other day you have about an hour and a half session with your guide. You are lying on a bed, very relaxed, and your guide plays music that helps you to begin to have images; you are to say out loud whatever you see, feel, hear, and your guide writes it all down and will go over it with you at the end as she often has written things you, or God, or someone, have said that you forgot. Then you spend the rest of the day going over what happened and listing the content, feelings, sensations, and significant images. You see your guide for a half hour every afternoon and this is one of the greatest gifts of the retreat. On the day you do not have a guided imagery in the morning, you are still busy having a dialogue with your most dominant images; looking to see if there are any images you would like to dismiss or ignore, and then looking at the affect of feeling level contained in your image and how does the flow of feelings from your imagery look to you now. You also are to state the major theme of your imagery. Then you look to see what is happening in your life at this time, and finally you write any insights or connections emerging between the material of your imagery experience, prayer, reflection and your conscious present life? You also give a title to your GIM experience. You are to write also what you sense God may be sharing with you, revealing to you about yourself, your world, your God. Then you look to see if there are some Scripture passages that come to mind in relation to your imagery experience, list any wonder questions, and state what seems to be the underlying message.
Now you know why I find this retreat a great deal of work, but it does stay with one and I have found each very fruitful.
I will be sharing more tomorrow on what happened in my first image!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Home Again!

It was good to get home but I love the Guided Imagery Retreat. I am too tire to write much tonight, but my first image had me ice skating and I felt so free and joyful as I kept going around the beautiful lake. The ice was smooth and I just was enjoying myself. I think it was the aspect of freedom and I was also proving to be a very proficient skater which I think was not true when I was a child. I do remember how happy I was in seventh grade to find a pair of white hockey skates under the tree. They has a red plaid lining and I loved them.
Sorry, but I am really tired tonight and cannot think. The picture is of the nook just outside my side window; my front window at the retreat looked out on the ocean. We had both gorgeous days and stormy days. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

At sea with Jesus

I have two thoughts to add to my contemplation on being at sea with Jesus: He is the captain and plots the course; I am the crew and trust that I will arrive at my final destination when the time comes. 
When we are out at sea, the smallest deviation of our route may take us to a new place. A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are made for and so we set sail, full of trust in my Captain.
I arrive home today and will try to share something of my Guided Imagery Retreat beginning tomorrow. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Steer the ship of my life....

We have been preparing for a special Chapter in 2021 by thinking of images to describe how we find ourselves in the Society of the Sacred Heart, and then how we see the Province, our Region, and the International Society of the Sacred Heart. I have been doing this personal reflection for some weeks now and keep getting images of different boats in the ocean. Today I want to share a prayer from St. Basil of Caesarea:
Prayer for Guidance
"Steer the ship of my life, good Lord, to your quiet harbor where I can be save from the storms of sin and conflict. Show me the course I should take. Renew in me the gift of discernment, so that I can always see the right direction in which I should go. And give me the strength and the courage to choose the right course, even when the sea is rough and the waves are high, knowing that through enduring hardship and danger we shall find comfort and peace."

Monday, January 7, 2019

"Yes, do be a saint; why not?"

In years past, I am sure I shared in some blog one of my favorite selections from Mother Janet Stuart, RSCJ. but it is worth sharing again:
"Yes, do be a saint; why not? What else is worth living for, caring about? And every little things in the day may help you on towards it, if you will look at it from the right side as coming to you from our dearest Lord. He is so in with us in our daily troubles and duties. He is so understanding of all our moods and longings and asks only one thing, that we take all our worries to Him to be comforted and all our joys to be blessed, and all our tangles to be pulled out, and all our troubles to be quieted down. If you have Him in the details of your life, all is well and you can manage anything. The one thing to avoid is thinking hard unworthy thoughts and misunderstanding Him.
Love Him and trust Him and let nothing take you away from the keep of His strong castle."

This has always helped me so I like to share it. And, remember, God only wants us to allow Him to love us in whatever way He wants!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Feadt of the Epiphany

The Collect for this Feast is worth praying over:

O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.

We do know God by faith. We are also called to follow a star to find God. What is your star? What must you leave behind to follow it? The one thing you can be sure of is that God waits for you and wants to found. He is in your heart loving you!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Eve of the Epiphany

I love the story of the three kings or three wise men who followed the star and found the new-born king and worshipped this helpless Infant. They had great faith and generosity as they brought gifts fit for a king.
I often have thought of the readiness of those three to follow a star; they had to leave all behind and did not really know where they were to go. They just set out in faith. Then, after they had found the child Jesus, they were told in a dream to go home by another way. 

Friday, January 4, 2019

Word for the Day

God has two dwellings-
one in Heaven
and the other
in a thankful heart.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give me one thing more - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart whose pulse may be
Thy praise.

This is the Feast of the most Holy Name of Jesus.

"Jesus, Jesus, be to me a Jesus."

I begin the Guided Imagery Retreat this afternoon so do pray for this.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Post Christmas Verses from Mother Stuart

Today I have a treat for you. Three post Christmas verses to Long the Ages written by Janet Erskine Stuart:

Once He came in flesh appearing, image of the Father's face,
Bridegroom of our human nature, radiant with Godhead's grace;
But a thousand times he cometh, in an unexpected hour,
To the souls of the Beloved, veiled within the Spirit's power

Then a moment when the thoughts and even longing, all are still -
And the mind, the soul-in silence of His presence drink their fill,
Past and future all are blended in a present so complete,
That eternity could only such another moment meet.

Yet from time to time the heavenly vision flashes forth again,
Faithful eyes behold the silent passing of His royal train.
May He lift the veil and show us something of His loveliness,
In this Christmastide that gives Him to our loving tenderness!

I leave today for the Guided Imagery Retreat but will be, I hope, posting just a word each day until my return, thanks to being able to schedule ahead.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

As we begin the New Year, 2019, let us thank God for the many gifts we have received and ask to be able to use all that He has given us for the greater glory of God. The Heart of Jesus is calling us to contemplate His love for every creature and to work to change the attitudes that so many have toward those who are of a different color or race or just "not like us". We are to love everyone as Jesus loves us and He is present in each of us wanting to be loved. 
Happy New Year may mean different things to different people. I just like the fact that we begin a new year and it is full of possibilities no matter what age we are or where we are. God has given us this gift of life and desires that we live our lives to the full. Let us resolve to love, to be grateful, and to be attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.