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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Paul's Third Inner Attitude

Praise is Paul's third inner attitude. 
Paul continued those marvelous praises that are part of the Jewish tradition of blessings. He knows how to expand them to encompass everything that concerns the life of the community in Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places' (Ephesians 1:3)
Martini tells us that we know from Paul's letters that his prayer consists first of all of praise."
Now, the grace we need to ask God for is that these three attitudes of Paul become habitual in us. So let us reflect today how we are manifesting joy and inner peace, gratitude, and praise in our daily lives. Lent is coming and we may see that we need to take one of these attitudes to practice during Lent if we have not yet been transformed as Paul was.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Paul's Second Attitude after his Transfiguration

Gratitude is the second attitude that Cardinal Martini speaks of with regard to Paul's transfiguration. This inner attitude is his capacity for gratitude. He exhorted his people to thank the Father with joy (see Col 1:11-12). It is typical of Paul to combine joy with gratitude, thanksgiving.
Paul's Letters begin with thanksgiving. "Grace to you and peace. We give thanks to God always for you all." (1Thessolonians 1:1-2).
Paul had the capacity always to see the good first. Beginning every letter with thanks means that he knows how to value primarily the positive in whatever community he is writing to, even if there are some weighty, negative things that will need to be said. He had the ability to see the good that is present and to express it with simplicity.
Tomorrow we will take up Paul's third inner attitude.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Paul's Transfiguration

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ, writes of three attitudes that show Paul's transfiguration. He also speaks of two modes of action which I will talk about tomorrow. I think this has made a big impact on me because I am reflecting on how I manifest the same in my own life.
The first attitude is joy and inner peace. Paul had an overflowing joy. This joy comes from God; he could not possess it on his own. (See 2 Cor 4:8-10) "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair... so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."
This is true joy that deals with every kind of burden.
I think I will stop here today and continue with Paul's second attitude tomorrow.

Monday, February 25, 2019


The book I have been reading is The Gospel According to St. Paul: Meditations on His Life and Letters, by Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, SJ and translated by Marsha Daigle-Williamson, PhD. It was translated in 2008, but I had not read it and I love Cardinal Martini's writings.
What struck me most was Chapter 3 on the Transfiguration of Paul. 
We are to reflect on Paul's transfiguration that his inner purification led to in order to meditate on our own transfiguration. Martini's first point is the transfiguration of Christ. Jesus was transformed. Paul will write to the Corinthians that "with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord are being changed (transfigured) into his likeness...for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." (2 Cor 3:18)
The same word that Luke uses for the change in the garments of Christ is used to describe the light Paul saw at his conversion.
I will continue tomorrow with my notes on the attitudes of Paul that help us to see his transfiguration.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

  Every Sunday the Church has a special request found in the Collect for the Mass. This Sunday, "grant, we pray, Almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you."

Despite the way it is worded, it is a great petition and makes me think of how I am carrying out in both word and action what pleases Jesus. Maybe the secret is that we are to be always pondering spiritual things!

I have been pondering some great thoughts on transfiguration and will start sharing them tomorrow. 

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Visual Imagination

This picture just appeared so I am using it for a little reflection with my imagination. There are several images in this picture that could serve for reflection. First, there is the cottage with lights in the windows, a welcoming sign. Then there is the bridge that one needs to reach the other side, and finally there is the stream of living water. Those are the images that draw my attention, but you may contemplate the path, of the rocks, or the distant trees...the point is that a picture can trigger all sorts of thoughts and lead us into prayer. Take some time with this one.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Home and Happy

I am home again and loving this month that has had two vacations while recovering from pneumonia. I am thinking of George Washington today but Our Lady seemed to be on my mind as I read that Jesus renewed the covenant when He said "Behold your son; behold your mother."

I am seeing George Washington and his wife from a different angle as I am finally reading "Jefferson's Daughters" and really getting a different picture of young America.

I am still unpacking so this is short tonight.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

On this Sunday we are asking that our hearts may by so fashioned by God's grace as to become dwelling places pleasing to God.

The Responsorial Psalm tells us that "Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

The Gospel has the Beatitudes according to Luke's Gospel:
"Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. … and then come the woes: Woe to the rich, etc.

The reflection by Walter Burghardt in "Giving Us This Day", turns the woes around. He says that "fortunate, happy are you who are rich, rich in money or power, in talent or time, because you can do so much for the poor, can lift the yoke of the oppressed. Bus blessed only if you have the mind of the poor, the mind of Christ. Only if you recognize that you may not do what you will with what you have...."

I have not room nor time to copy all, but it is something to reflect on today about turning the woes around!                                                                                             

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Ski Week

Until I came to California, I had never heard of ski week. Other schools may have Spring Break, but our school here has the entire week off and many do go skiing! Entire families ski and this year there is plenty of snow. My student went skiing during the Christmas break with his family so now is going to visit the University that has accepted him. He will go with his Dad and spend some time with relatives, too.

I was invited to go away with the same Religious that I gave the retreat to last June at the condo lent us my the Sisters of Mercy; we enjoyed being there so much that we plan to leave today and stay until next Thursday. I will try to schedule my blog ahead. 

Everyone has been telling me to slow down so I am trying to do this. Nothing really spiritual about this blog, but I am preparing for tomorrow.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Open my eyes, Lord...

Another picture taken from inside at Lake Tahoe by me.

Here is another prayer given to me; it is by Alan Paton.

"O Lord,
open my eyes that I may see the needs of others;
open my ears that I may hear their cries;
open my heart so that they need not be without succor.

Let me not be afraid to defend the weak because of the anger of the strong,
nor afraid to defend the poor because of the anger of the rich.

Show me where love and hope and faith are needed,
and use me to bring them to those places.

And so open my eyes and my ears
that I may this coming day be able to do some work of peace for Thee.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

A very Happy Valentine's Day to all. I keep thinking of that day fifty-nine years ago when I arrived in Chile from Rome.  It was a long flight and we arrived late. There was not much to remember about the flight except that we were very hot in our habits with sweaters underneath as Rome was so cold and we arrived in summer in Chile. I was touched to see that the two who had come to meet us at the airport that night were the Superior Vicar and the Mistress of Novices. We returned to Maestranza, the first convent we built in Chile with some 13 different patios as it had housed a boarding school, a normal school, a poor school, a large community, and numerous works.

I have been writing Valentines for our different groups of staff plus some individuals and it is such a good way to thank them for all they do for us. We are short of help and some have even taken double shifts to be able to care for us. I am in Westwood so we do not see or need help except for cleaning and one or two may need something else, but many in Oakwood need help to go to bed and then get dressed in the morning. Actually, I think Valentine's Day is a great day for expressing gratitude for God's love, our love for one another, and love for all of creation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

His joy sustains me...

I love this quote from St. Philippine Duchesne so will share it again today.

"His Wisdom governs me
His power defends me
His grace sanctifies me
His joy sustains me and 
all will go well with me."

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

My liffe is but a weaving between my God and me...

Another picture taken from my window at Lake Tahoe. I loved the snow, but was happy not to be out in it!

One of my friends here has given me some things to share in my blog. Here is one to reflect on today:

"My life is but a weaving between my God and me.
I may not choose the colors. He knows what they should be, 
for He can view the pattern upon the upper side,
while I can see it only one this, the under side.

Sometimes He weaves me sorrow which seems so strange to me,
But I will trust His judgment and work on faithfully.
He knows just what is best, so I shall weave in earnest and leave with Him the rest.

At last when life is ended, with Him I shall abide.
Then I may view the pattern upon the upper side.
Then I shall know the reason why pain and joy entwined
was woven in the fabric of life that God designed."

         (Source unknown)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

After giving the thirty-day retreat to priests, a Brother and a Benedictine Sister in Spain at Manresa, where the cave is that Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises, I went with the group on a bus through the mountains to Lourdes. It was the eve of Pentecost's Mass that most impressed me. We had people from all over the world there and the candlelight  procession before the Mass was something that stays with me. I did not like the commercial part that is just outside the grotto, but Lourdes is impressive and the number of cures shows us how Mary intercedes to help those who come as pilgrims. I am glad I had this experience before returning to teach a semester in the Normal School in Peru. That was another great experience as I had the graduating class for conversation and composition and they had no set syllabus nor even a textbook. I would put a maxim of St. Madeleine Sophie in English on the blackboard each morning and they all copied it and said that they would be doing the same wherever they were sent to teach by the government. Then they would write about whatever they thought I should know about Peru, its history, culture, and the educational methods. I learned so much from my students and I hope their English improved after we had lively conversation about different topics. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is another picture taken at Tahoe before the blizzard.

Now to look at this Sunday's Liturgy - you know by now that I like to look at the opening prayer, the Collect, as we so often are distracted and do not hear what we are asking God. Here it is for this Sunday:

"Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection."

The Gospel has Jesus teaching the crowds from the boat. "After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and lower your nets for a catch.' Simon said in reply, 'Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.' When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come help them."
They are astonished at the catch of fish, but Jesus tells them: 
Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." And Luke tells us: " when they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."

Jesus is still calling us to follow Him more closely, to help Him shepherd souls. What must I give up today?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Lake Tahoe

This is the first picture I took on February fourth when we arrived at the Dominican vacation house. All my pictures were from inside the house as I only went out the first morning to help bring in wood for the fire. Fortunately, we had enough wood to last us through the blizzard that came. I think we all loved having the extra days just to be and it was a real gift to have six days there instead of four. Sometimes God just makes us slow down. I am feeling so lazy, but they keep telling me that it takes time to recover from pneumonia and I should just do nothing. Hard to do here, but I am trying. Hence, no spiritual reflection today. 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Apostolic Courage

This picture of our Dominican host, was taken just before we left Tahoe Wednesday morning. It was a great six day vacation and I loved the gorgeous scene and will be sharing my pictures each day for at least a few days. 
Today is the anniversary of my final Profession in Rome in 1960. Two of my profession sisters are here at Oakwood. We had three days of ceremonies as we were 46 but the Americans were on the first day. Then, I flew straight from Rome to Chile, arriving on Valentine's Day without knowing a word of Spanish! The name given to us was Apostolic Courage and I guess I needed that immediately!

Thursday, February 7, 2019

i was snowed in...

Having scheduled my blog ahead before I left for Lake Tahoe, I said I was home again on Monday. I really thought I would be but we had six days instead of four in this really beautiful spot. I took pictures but need to transfer them from my I-pad. We actually had a blizzard and over three feet of snow that also stuck to the trees and made it a spectacular scene. I had taken books to read, but mostly I just sat and contemplated the beauty of the scene before me. It was different each day, but really amazing. We finally were able to get out this morning and I arrived home at five this evening. I enjoyed the week immensely and had two great companions. We took turns cooking; I made a pot roast dinner that was delicious and I was relieved as it has been almost three years since I have cooked! There was plenty for Sunday dinner, too. 
I am just grateful for those days of quiet and will be sharing the pictures I took from the window in front of me. More tomorrow, God willing. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

Home again!

It is always good to be home again but the days at Lake Tahoe were very special. I will write more about the freedom of these days tomorrow. Today I will finish sharing from the Guided Imagery Retreat. This was my third session with my Guide and the last. This one was different and I guess it is partly the music that brings the images. I began this one in Ireland on my birthday and I am taking a hot bath in the hotel after a night on the plane. My sister is asleep. I want to go to a late lunch and she finally agrees to get up and go with me.
Then we seem to be at a huge Waterford Crystal store and my sister is explaining the qualities and I am struck by the idea of transparency.
Then I am skipping joyfully up a path and when I reach the top of the hill, I can see the ocean below the cliff. Then a shepherd comes; it is Jesus and he shows me a rock where we can both sit. He seems happy with me and wants me to know that I am just to be myself. Then He invites me to walk with Him.  Jesus takes me to the other side of the hill and shows me His Flock way below. They are people, not sheep, and He seems to want me to help shepherd them. Before I feel hesitant about this enormous task, angels appear and each is a Guardian Angel and they fly to the person they guard and my Guardian Angel is with me and I am so happy to see her. 
Now I am condensing this last part but the message is that God is loving me all the time and Jesus tells me: "I have work for you; you are to be a shepherd.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

As I am in Tahoe this Sunday and trying to schedule ahead, I shall be brief. One thing that strikes me here is the number of times one of the priests speaks of how the Gospel is for us; we are the ones now that it is meant for and how do we live what Jesus is saying and showing us? We need to read the Gospel seeing ourselves and getting the good news for us now.

Here is something from a commentary on this Sunday's readings by Dennis Hamm:

"our Scriptures invite us to take the role of prophet with utmost seriousness—regarding Jesus, the apostles, and ourselves. Jeremiah was for the early Church the archetypal prophet, so much so that language from his call story (this Sunday's First Reading) is used to describe our archetypal apostle, St. Paul; he uses Jeremiah's call to describe his own vocation (Gal 1:15), and Luke does the same in Acts 26:17. The Gospel reading shows Jesus placing his mission in the prophetic tradition of Elijah and Elisha. Further, our theology of baptism describes our own Christian mission as a participation in Jesus' role of prophet, along with the awesome roles of priest and king.
What can give perspective to any application of the role of prophet to ourselves or others is Paul's reflection on the place of love as the “way” of exercising all the gifts. When we feel called to confront our little part of the world in the name of God—that is, according to an informed conscience—it must be motivated by love. Otherwise our action is empty and our perceived role self-appointed

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Feast of the Purification

I am tempted to let the pictures be the reflection for the day. I love this feast because I can imagine what it must have been like for Mary to hear the prophecy about her Son and then to hear that her own soul a sword would pierce...

Since I did promise to share more on my Guided Imagery Retreat, here is what I wrote after the second GIM with my guide:
I am a bird flying high in the sky. There is a storm below but I am being drawn to the sun. But then I see another light- this light draws me in and I feel that the Light is God, all three Persons in the Trinity are in the Light and I am there as myself now - not a bird- and I am feeling God loving me. The love of all Three Persons is pouring into me and filling me with love and joy! This love overflows into the world. It is such a good feeling and penetrates every part of my body. I feel this love and only want to be totally open to receive God's love and let it flow through me to the whole world.
Then I am conscious of the Three Persons and drawn deeper into the Light while feeling infused with this love of all Three. I am possessed by God who only wants me to allow Him to love me....
There is more, but that seems to be all I can share today.

Friday, February 1, 2019

When you pray...

When you pray, be like the bird,
endlessly singing before the Creator
its song rising like incense.
Pray like the turtle dove
and you will never lose heart.

I feel that these five stanzas from St. Seraphim have helped me in prayer this week and I hope they have helped you, too.