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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Eve of Advent

Thanksgiving is over and Advent begins tomorrow. I cannot believe that Christmas is less than four weeks away. I like to write my Christmas cards before Advent, but do not always succeed in doing this. I do write a Christmas letter to go into the cards. Here, we have a busy Advent as we often have groups who want to give us a "party". Our seniors come one day at noon with cookies and brownies and we all have dessert together. This year, because of the construction, we were not able to have the Third Graders come on Wednesdays, but I suspect we may still have them come to just be with us before Christmas. 
In Westwood, the house where I live, we will have an Advent wreath and later the tree and the crib will appear. We will be able to pray together, something that helps us build community in our small house. We used to have breakfast together, but now we go over to Oakwood for a hot breakfast, my favorite meal.
This is not really a spiritual reflection today, but I am hoping each will begin to plan what to do to celebrate Advent this year. I love just saying, "Come, Lord Jesus, come and do not delay!"
I think I am choosing just to be grateful this Advent!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are happy when we are thankful! I am not writing much today but I am so full of gratitude for all the ways God has been working in my life from birth to now. I am grateful for my family, for my friends, for my education, for my missionary vocation, for my whole life as I see how God has been present.
I wish you all the joy of feeling grateful today and everyday!

I hope this gets published again, but it was my mistake and once I hit publish off it goes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Take time to remember to give thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I think it helps to take time today to contemplate all in our lives that call us to give thanks. I often make mental lists of all the people in my life that I feel gratitude for and who are still part of my life, here or in heaven. My list is very long, but after thanking for al the people in my life, I begin to think of all the gifts I have received from God in the different places where I have lived. Since all of this takes a great deal of time, I think I am returning to keeping a gratitude journal where I will just list three things I want to thank God for from the present day or from the past. I have found that this gives me joy!

Sorry this appeared earlier by mistake!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Living in the Present Moment

Our construction continues but we no longer believe in even contemplating a date for it to end. It seems there was a sign at first saying that the temporary entrance would be from September 5th to September 30. I guess that is why most of us thought we would have our new entrance and meeting rooms by October 1. Then, we started hoping for November 1, and now, maybe, just maybe, for early December. I suspect we may have all finished by Christmas, but I am an optimist.

Seeing how slow the entire project seems to be going, makes me think of how impatient I am when I cannot construct something needed in my own soul. It takes patience. One day at a time and only after several days do we usually see any results. I think that with inner work, we should not be looking to see the results, but keep striving and leave the results to God. The important thing is to persevere! God loves us as we are, but God is also always calling us to grow in love and compassion.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Flowing Grace of Now

This picture is of "old man's cave" and I am thinking of my brother on his birthday today. He is twelve years younger so I do not think of him as "old"! He does not read my blog but today I give thanks for the gift of my baby brother. He really does not remember me before I entered, but I used to bathe both of my brothers and put them to bed and read to them every night I was home. My mother was happy to let me do this as she had them all day. I remember the morning my brother got up before my parents and went to look for breakfast. He found a box of muffin mix in the cupboard, opened it, and shook it out all the way up the stairs trying to find the muffins pictured on the box. As our staircase was all mahogany wood, it was a mess to get the muffin mix cleaned up.

I am using Macrina Wiederkehr's latest book, The Flowing Grace of Now: Encountering Wisdom Through the Weeks of the Year. It is from Sorin Books, 2019.  In her introduction, Macrina tells us that to live in the present moment is to live in the "flowing grace of now"! She presents us with a "teacher" for each week of the year.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

This is the last Sunday of the Liturgical year as we begin Advent next Sunday.           
We ask in the Collect of today's liturgy: "Almighty God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the Universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise...."

The second reading is from Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:12-20.
Paul tells us that God transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible... all things were created through him and for him...." It is a wonderful portrait of Christ in whom all the fullness "was pleased to dwell and through him to reconcile all things for him...."

Let us spend this last week of the Liturgical year with Christ allowing Him to set us free from whatever is enslaving us from entering God's kingdom and helping others to also be free.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Thanksgiving is coming

Vacation begins today for the school here in Atherton. They have all next week free and I believe many travel to be with grandparents for Thanksgiving. It is such a family feast. When I was in St. Louis studying for my doctorate, I had my first opportunity to cook the turkey for my community. I also had on both Thanksgiving and Christmas two turkey dinners - one with my community and another with my parents, siblings, and others. But I will never forget the Thanksgiving dinners at my grandmother's home when I was a child. When my brother George, born on Christmas Day, was almost two years old, my brother John was born on Thanksgiving. 
We need to prepare for this Feast and especially think about those who are homeless, hungry, and perhaps have no family to celebrate with this year. I think of so many facing deportation after years of living together in the United States. We have so much to be grateful for but we must not forget those who are alone, in prison, or in detention. I cannot understand how we can treat refugees and immigrants so badly --do we not remember that our ancestors came to America from other countries?

Friday, November 22, 2019

Why celebrate?

Someone I love sent me this quote but I have no idea who wrote it.

"You started in His Heart...
were created by His Hands...
and were presented to the world as gift.

That's why you must celebrate every day
And bring love and peace and hope
to our troubled world."

You are God's gift. We need to celebrate this every day!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The collect for this feast in our daily Mass book, Give us this day,:

As we venerate the glorious memory of the most holy Virgin Mary,
grant, we pray, O Lord, through her intercession,
that we, too, may merit to receive from the fullness of your grace.

Mary is always with us and she see what is lacking to us and asks Jesus to help. She noticed that the wine was running out at the wedding and went to her Son for help.  Then she told the servants:
"Do whatsoever He tells you." I think she often says the same to me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Eve of the Feast of the Presentation of Mary

The Society of the Sacred Heart used to have a tradition in the Primary School of choosing a child to represent the little Mary being presented at the temple. I never enacted this when I was head of the primary school, but know it used to be done. 
Since the Feast of the Presentation is also the birthday of the Society of the Sacred Heart, November 21, 1800, it was always celebrated as a feast day. After my first vows, I found that the young nuns who had not made final profession prepared for this feast by a three-day semi-retreat (we were always so busy during the day that an evening talk was usually the extent of the retreat and often it was given by the superior of the house just for the young nuns.) I really do not remember much about those years before final profession. I was with the young boarders day and night. However, I always like the idea of the birthday of the Society on a feast of Mary and we do celebrate our 219 years of existence! We are in 42 or 43 countries now and I love knowing that we are working and praying in so many countries and different time zones!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Preparing for Thanksgiving

The disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Jesus always gave thanks and our meals today also should be a time of Thanksgiving. We do not need to wait for one day! Still, it is nice to know that we have a national holiday to give thanks. 

I like to propose this simple practice to prepare for Thanksgiving:
Each night, around the dinner table, let each one share one thing they are grateful for from that day. Families who do this often find it a wonderful way to communicate. Remember, when we are grateful, we are joyful!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Feast of Rose Philippine Duchesne

I was thirteen years old when I became acquainted with Saint Philippine Duchesne. She was only "Blessed" before the Church canonized her and so we sang "O Beata" often and all the children at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Saint Charles loved her and we visited the little shrine in the front yard where she was buried. I was one of the ones that went every night to help close up the little shrine and blow out the green and amber vigil lights around the tomb.  For me, Philippine was both maternal and a great friend. She had founded St. Charles in 1818 and we felt she was still watching over us and ready to help us. It was only when I entered the Society that I heard nuns in the East speak of her austerity and fortitude. She was a courageous woman, but a loving and compassionate one. Now that I am reading her "Complete Works", I am struck by her humility. She has a great heart and is still interested in all the is going on in our lives and in the Church.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Collect for this Sunday is good for our reflection:

"Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

The psalm is joyful (Ps 98:5-9) but the reading are preparing us for some hard things. But the Gospel ends by telling us the "not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

Saturday, November 16, 2019

St. Philippine Duchesne

The feast of Rose Philippine Duchesne in November 18, but that day is also the Dedication of Saints Peter and Paul. I have been preparing for Philippine's feast this year by reading her Complete Works; I have read over 1,200 pages and still have years to go in the 2nd volume, but I am loving it as I almost feel as if I were present while Philippine is penning her many letters or making entries in the Journal that she kept so faithfully. 

I will copy again here a favorite prayer of Philippine:

"I am where God wills me to be,
and so I have found rest and security.
God's wisdom governs me,
God's power defends me,
God's mercy encompasses me,
God's joy sustains me,
And all will go well with me."

Friday, November 15, 2019

God is relationship

To think of the Trinity is to realize that the Father is in relationship with the Son and the Holy Spirit; the Son is in relationship with the Father and the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is in relationship with the Father and the Son. According to Darrell Johnson, " the living God is Relationship. And this God draws close to us to draw us close to himself, pulling us into the circle to participate with him in the Trinitarian Intimacy, Trinitarian Joy, Trinitarian Servanthood, Trinitarian Purity, Trinitarian Power, Trinitarian Creativity, and the Trinitarian Peace." 

Reflect today on the indwelling of the Trinity in each of us!

Thursday, November 14, 2019


You can tell I miss autumn by the pictures I am choosing. Here, it is cool and we do have one tree in the patio that has red leaves now, but we also have roses blooming all around. I see that other places are actually having some winter weather.

Today I want to go back to Darrell Johnson's book on Experiencing the Trinity. If you remember, I said that he picked seven characteristics of the Trinity to write about in his fourth chapter, "Entering the Trinity". I did comment on the first two: Intimacy and Joy. Then comes Servanthood, Purity, Power, Creativity and Peace.

I am reflecting on the creativity of the Trinity today. Just look at creation- no two persons are exactly alike; we see the creativity of the Trinity at work constantly in our world. And we, too, have been given the gift of creativity. How am I using this gift?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Stay connected...

The opening prayer for the Busy Persons' retreat has one of my favorite Scripture passages. It is from I John 4:7-12. I will only copy here one sentence/ "In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that God loved us..." 
I would put this in the present tense.
I am just convinced that God made us so He can love us and we just need to allow Him to love us. Stay connected. The Pope in his exhortation to young people and to the entire people of God, Christus Vivit, tells us to "stay connected to Jesus, to 'remain online' with him..." He goes on to say that just as we try not to lose our connection with the internet, we need to make sure we stay connected to the Lord."

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Busy Persons' Retreat this week

I am again having the privilege of directing three of the faculty in the Busy Persons' Retreat here. It is always a special week for me and I ask your prayers for the retreat and my retreatants. 

Last Thursday, a few of us spoke to the Parents' Association meeting at 8:00 in the morning. We were amazed at the number of parents who were present for the meeting. It was to get to know some of the RSCJs here and each of us had a couple of questions to answer, but the two lovely women who had interviewed us ahead of time, actually put all the answers to there questions into a booklet for the parents. I thought the idea was really appreciated by the parents and it is good for them to know more about the Religious of the Sacred Heart and our education. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

When can we really celebrate peace in our world?

Today we celebrate the end of a terrible world war. We are still at war in various parts of our world. War is terrible, not only for the soldiers who are fighting, but for all the innocent families who are often in the path of destructive warfare. We must continue to pray for peace in our war-torn world.

I chose this picture after looking at some of the World War II photos that brought the reality of war back and I felt that I needed to look for a peaceful scene.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel for this Sunday is from Luke 20:27-38 or a shorter form may be used, but what I want to point out is that here we have Jesus talking about what happens after we die. He said, "The children of this age marry and remarry, but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like the ones who will rise. That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out 'Lord', the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."

If I have copied this passage, it is because I think I have never really meditated on it. I find it consoling to think that for God we are all alive in him. 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

"And God said to the soul...."

Here is a poem by one of my favorite mystics; I found the poem when trying to find the words of one of Mechthild of Magdeburg's songs. I have it copied in one of my journals but thought I could find it quicker through Google. Instead, I have the poem to share with you today:

And God said to the soul:
I desired you before the world began.
I desire you now
As you desire me.
And where the desires of two come together
There love is perfected

How the soul speaks to the soul
Lord, you are my lover,
My longing,
My flowing stream,
My sun,
And I am your reflection.

How God answers the soul
It is my nature that makes me love you often,
For I am love itself.
It is my longing that makes me love you intensely,
For I yearn to be loved from the heart.
It is my eternity that makes me love you long,
For I have no end.

Mechthild of Magdeburg (c.1207- c.1282/94) Germany
Translated by Andrew Harvey
We are having the funeral of Mamie Jenkins today and this poem makes me think of her.

Friday, November 8, 2019

More thoughts on Joy

Some rules for keeping and fostering joy are: (These are sent out by Karl Moore who has now put his 18 rules for happiness into a 99 cent Kindle booklet, but I am giving you an idea here. He said:
Eventually, I put the rules together into a book -- The 18 Rules of Happiness. Buy it on the Kindle for 99c here.

 Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself!
Self-pity is the very worst kind of emotion. It destroys everything around itself, and leaves you feeling powerless. Stop being the victim, stop feeling sorry for yourself – and be happy.
Rule #2 – Be Grateful
The world is so fast-paced that we’re rarely grateful of its gifts. Think of all the things you’re grateful for right now: family, health, home, everything. Spend time being grateful each day – and be happy.
Rule #3 – Say Yes More
We each say “No!” way too often. Try saying “Yes!” more to all of life’s experiences. Don’t fight the river’s current. Say “Yes!” more to emotions, situations, social invitations – and be happy.
Rule #4 – Follow Your Bliss
In life, we often find ourselves half-way up a ladder we don’t want to climb, rather than at the bottom of one we do. What do you really want to be? Follow your own bliss – and be happy.
Rule #5 – Learn to Let Go
Emotions often hold us back from true happiness 

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The Joy of the Trinity

The second characteristic of the Blessed Trinity given by Darrell Johnson in his book, Experiencing the Trinity, is joy. I guess there has to be joy as they love one another so completely and perfectly.
The Father finds joy in the Son, the Son finds joy in the Father and both are full of joy in the Spirit and the Spirit rejoices in both the Father and the Son. Their joy is complete.

Now, the wonderful thing is that we are called to share in the joy of the Trinity.  I guess I need to reflect more on how I do this. One quote that comes to mind is John 15:11--"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete."

Remember the hymn that we often sing in parishes?
"Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love.
Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee,
opening to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
Drive the dark of doubt away.
Giving of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day....
All Thy work with joy surround Thee...
Lift us to the Joy divine."

I can still hear my Dad singing that next to me in the pew. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Characteristics of the Blessed Trinity

In his book, Experiencing the Trinity, Darrell Johnson has a Chapter on "Entering the Trinity" and in it he says that he has come up with seven words to try to understand and express the "inner-Trinitarian" dynamics. I find myself thinking about these words and how they both apply to the Trinity and to our relationship with the Trinity. I think I will try to put into my own words what each word is saying to me since I have been praying over the seven words the author selected.

The first word is intimacy. I rather like thinking of the Trinity as being always in an intimate relationship. I have no trouble seeing the Three in One as possessing the highest degree of intimacy. It is really amazing though to see how we are called to intimacy with the Trinity. I guess I often experience something of this when I say the words from the song:
 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.

I often cannot get further than the line "You in me, I in You" - that is intimacy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The gift of a smile

I have been thinking about the truth of a saying found in the wrapper around a piece of Dove candy. (One of the Religious at my table at noon has been bringing each of us a piece of candy).

" A smile is the quickest way to brighten a room."

In college, one of the Seniors on the hockey varsity with me gave me the nickname of "Smiley" and I think it was a helpful one.  Of course, I did have a superior who told me that I was always smiling and needed to try to look more recollected! Fortunately, when I went to summer school I had a superior who had known me even as a student and she asked me what was wrong with me as I was looking so serious. When I told her why I was trying to look more recollected, she said to forget what I had been told as that was just nonsense and I had to be myself. She was a wise woman and later, when I returned from Chile, she became my spiritual director and gave me several directed retreats. I think she is still watching over me from Heaven. Anyway, I went back to smiling at myself, at others, at the world. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

Feast of St. Charles Borromeo

 It seems that when his uncle became Pope Pius IV, he made his young nephew Cardinal and then administrator of the see of Milan. Then he was given other offices and made papal secretary of state. He was not yet twenty-two and not yet ordained!
He assisted at the Council of Trent and helped draft the catechism. Finally, in 1563 he was ordained a priest and consecrated a Bishop. After the death of his uncle, he was allowed to return to Milan and dedicate himself to reforming the diocese. He died at the age of 46. Here is a quote from him:
"If we wish to make any progress in the service of God we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor."

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel for this Sunday is one of my favorites (Luke 19:1-10).

It seems that Jesus came to Jericho intending to pass through the town. However, there was a wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus who really wanted to see Jesus. Since he was not very tall, he climbed a sycamore tree in order to be able to see Jesus who was about to pass that way. When Jesus reached the place, He looked up and called out: "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house." Zacchaeus came down quickly and with joy. When the crowd saw this, they began to grumble as they thought Jesus was going to go to the house of a sinner. But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord: "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over." And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

Let us ask Jesus for the desire to see Him and then for the grace to respond to His invitation as Zacchaeus did. 

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Feast of All Souls

This is also the First Saturday of the Month. I do believe in praying for those who have gone before us, but I think those poor souls have gone to God and are enjoying His loving embrace. Our Lady is there to welcome all who have gone before us. 

I love this picture and hope you will reflect on it today. Let your imagination freely roam as you gaze at this picture and then talk to Jesus about it. It is an easy way to pray.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Feast of All Saints

Happy Feast! Enjoy the day! 
Here is a quote from Gratefulness, Word for the Day that came to my e-mail on October 30 and has stayed with me:

"Busyness is not a reason for not getting other things done. It is an excuse for not claiming your true priorities." Alan Cohen

Now, let us stop and reflect with all the saints today about our true priorities. Do I even know them? Maybe we need to make a list and see that these really come first in our lives that can so easily be overwhelmed by "tasks, computer busyness, online games, etc."!!