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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Leap Year 2020

Leap Year is always special because we get an extra day. Let us make good use of it. It is a Saturday so could lend itself to some clearing out, cleaning bookshelves or whatever. The point is to make it a special day - maybe that just means taking time to prepare for the First Sunday of Lent by having your Journal ready with whatever you have discerned with the Lord to do or not to do this Lent written down so you will not forget. Maybe your will just take a daring leap and find yourself in the arms of Jesus or even caught up into the Trinity. Make this special day special!

Friday, February 28, 2020

How do you want to spend Lent?

The season of Lent is six weeks. Six weeks is long enough to form a new habit or break a bad habit. What are you discerning to do for the Lord this Lent? I guess I really mean, "What does the Lord want from you? How is He calling you to spend these six weeks? 

I have been discerning and will start with my one act of kindness each day while really discerning what I am to say "no" to each day. I also will start my new Journal on the First Sunday of Lent and be more concrete about each day's prayer. I am happy to be taking time to be serious about trying to stay united to Jesus through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius that I am making as well as directing. They are always a call to beg the grace to know Jesus more intimately, to love Him more ardently, and to follow Him more closely. Not a bad grace to pray for even if you are not making the retreat!

Thursday, February 27, 2020


In the Rule of St. Benedict, monastics are to listen with the "ear of the heart." If we learn the art of deep listening, we can hear the voice of God.  Here is a quote from Mark Nego:

There is a time to listen to the whole
and a time to listen to the part,
a time to listen for how things go together
and a time to shut out everything so we can hear
what lives beneath our masks.

I think this gives us something to reflect on today. Let us try to listen with the ear of the heart.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday 2020

Today we receive ashes to remind us that "we are dust and to dust we shall return". The Liturgy is very beautiful and, I think, is encouraging. We ask God that we "may begin with holy fasting this campaign of Christian service, so that, as we take up battle against spiritual evils, we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint."

The first reading reminds us the Lord waits for us to return with our whole heart..."For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment."

Paul reminds us in the second reading that we are ambassadors for Christ. "as if God were appealing through us." He implores us to be reconciled to God.

Jesus will give us good advice in the Gospel (Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18).  He tells us, among other things, "when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you."

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mardi Gras

We are having games and a special party in the afternoon for all. I do not think we will be having pancakes, but they are on our menu for Friday's breakfast. Dinner is special as it is a birthday and the birthday person gets to choose the menu for dinner. 

Since I am trying to make as well as direct the 34 week retreat in daily life, I am really trying to stay with Jesus as He goes around teaching and just showing us His values, His choices, etc. 

I hope each of us now has prayed to see what Jesus may be asking us to do, or not to do, this Lent. It is good to write it down so we can review what we promise each week. I always review the week in my Journal every Sunday. Speaking of Journals, I think I will begin a new one at least by the First Sunday of Lent. I have one ready to use and I am almost finished with my present Journal.
I do urge people to keep a journal - Maybe just a gratitude journal!

Monday, February 24, 2020

Preparing for Lent

Tomorrow we are having a Mardi Gras party and then comes Ash Wednesday and time to reflect on what the Lord might want from each of us this year. I had time to review my goals and to ask the Lord what He wants from me at this moment in my life. I want to take this season of Lent seriously, but the Lord seemed to say to me that it might be good to do nothing. I think that means that I am to not volunteer for anything extra; I think I will only try to do one act of kindness each day and relish the time I do have for prayer.

Today is my sister's birthday and she is entertaining a few friends for lunch, something she loves to do. I am so glad she came for my Jubilee as we really had time just to relax and enjoy our time together. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

We ask in this Sunday's Collect that "always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you."

I like that and in the first reading from the Book of Leviticus, the Lord told Moses to tell the whole Israelite community: "Be holy, for I, the Lord your God am holy."
The Lord then adds the command not to bear hatred in your heart.

Jesus will tell us in today's Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48) how we are to turn the other cheek, give to the one who asks of us, and love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 

I like Paul's words to the Corinthians when he asks, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? There is the secret of becoming holy and loving even those who persecute us.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Home again

I arrived home yesterday and have been hurrying to catch up after the wonderful days away. We had perfect weather and arrived on Sunday afternoon to unload and put away the food we had brought with us and then there was an incredible sunset. I am sorry I did not take a picture of it. The sky was streaked with red and purple but it was just gorgeous and lasted a long time. 
It was a real vacation for me and time for more prayer and reflection as well as some light reading. We prayed together for an hour each evening before dinner, but kept silence much of the day for personal prayer. I could eat breakfast late and lunch when I wanted. I love Oakwood, but a few days without a schedule makes for a real vacation. I sat outside and just contemplated the ocean.
Now I am reading and answering mail and hope to get my vote into the mail tomorrow, if I am not too tired tonight. Our wonderful congresswoman came last Sunday to help us go over our sample ballots and so I feel prepared to vote after listening to pros and cons. 
Our Mardi Gras decorations are up and we will have a party on Tuesday. It seems Lent is almost here and I have been giving it quite a bit of thought. I know I need to slow down but maybe plan one act of kindness each day. I am not volunteering for anything!

Friday, February 21, 2020

God is so present in the ocean for me

Today I leave the ocean which speaks to me so deeply of God. I find the ocean is always the same and yet different. There is the movement of the waves, the rising tide and then low tide - always changing, yet always the ocean. The sound of the surf speaks to me of God's presence. I am just happy to sit and contemplate the ocean!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Good soil brings good things

We are all good soil! Sometimes we forget that God has sown good seed in good soil. He wants us to grow and bear fruit. He has chosen each one of us; He is with each of us; He provides what we need. Interior growth is just as slow sometimes as natural growth, but not always. How is God watering your soul today? And are you bearing fruit?

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Color is such a gift

Many of the Oakwood community appeared in red sweaters or jackets on Valentine's Day. It made me reflect on what a gift color is in our lives. The flowers in the picture reflect God's gift of color.
I have a colorful quilt on my bed and everyone who visits my room remarks on it. It is a cheerful quilt. I think color is part of the wealth we all have. 

What colors do you wear when you want to show joy? I find pink is my most joyful color. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Our True Wealth

I invite your reflection today on your true wealth. Macrina Wiederkehr asks us to spend a little time contemplating each day the riches of your life, excluding material or financial riches. What are the riches we cannot buy? What graced gifts can we fine when we are willing to search for treasures within?

It is a good reflection and we will be more aware of our own true wealth. Maybe make a list of the treasures you discover both in and around you that have nothing to do with material or financial wealth!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Ski Week Vacation

This is "Ski Week" for the entire school here and so I am now enjoying three full days with one of my sisters who is still teaching and with whom I love to go away with when we are able to use the condo that belongs to the Sisters of Mercy. It is only about an hour and a half from here, but near the beach. We are behind sand dunes, but can walk out to look at the ocean. We have a lovely lagoon on the other side that is full of all sorts of birds and ducks and has a couple of benches to sit on as I no longer walk all the way around the lagoon without needing to sit and contemplate the beauty.
We go on Sunday afternoon and leave on Thursday morning so I am writing my blog ahead for this week.

My senior student is a basketball player and, this being still the season for basketball games, will need to be here. However, it is amazing how many families leave for vacation, many to Tahoe, but others go much farther. 

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Collect for this Sunday's Liturgy is worth praying over:
"O God, who teach us that you abide in hearts that are just and true, grant that we may be so fashioned by your grace as to become a dwelling pleasing to you.

The Liturgy speaks of the commandments of God and I love this thought from the reflection by Lewis B. Smedes:

"Having affirmed the commandments, however, Jesus demonstrated that their purpose was to point the way to a loving community....the commandments are signals of the life of constructive joy; they aim at our welfare and happiness."

I would like to underline "constructive joy"!

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Flowing Grace of Now

Macrina Wiederkehr has book, The Flowing Grace of Now: Encountering Wisdom Through the Weeks of the Year. I mentioned it here before, but I am finally using it sometimes in my afternoon hour of prayer. Yesterday I was struck by Week Two which told me to read Colossians 1:24-29 and claim the power of Christ's energy in you. In her reflection on the reading, she says: "The fire of Christ burns on in me, yet I forget to sit by the fireplace. I forget to blow on the embers and fan the flame."

I am going to sit by the fireplace and contemplate Christ's energy in me. 

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sorry I have not been writing my blog this week, but getting ready for today took some time as I try to remember many friends and staff just to send love and gratitude. I wish to do the same for all my readers. It is a feast of love. Our pastoral minister gave us all this verse this morning with a heart and a candy heart:
Love brought me here
Love will take care of me
Let love be my life
That I may die of Love!

I think that comes from Saint Therese.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Tiime

I am so sorry that I did not save the transcription of the homily from our Jubilee Mass yesterday, but perhaps the Lord just wanted us to remember certain things. I was struck by the good we have done during these past 60 years; most of us spent years teaching, drawing out what others did not even know was within them. He also spoke of our Apostolic Courage which was the name given to our profession group. We have all had a great deal of apostolic courage.
My sister and brother-in-law are here until Tuesday morning so the celebration continues. I am just taking it one day at a time and thanking God that He did arrange it so Betty and Phil could be here.
We are having lovely weather; sunshine and sweater weather after a few cold (for California) days. I am full of gratitude for the many graces of these days as well as my whole life. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Diamond Jubilee Celebration

I have just come from a really wonderful celebration of 60 years since my final profession; Ann Caire, Rose Chen, and Patti Desmond celebrated with me and the retired Jesuit bishop, Carlos Sevilla, was the celebrant. He gave an inspiring homily and I had it on my Live Transcribe app, but when I went to look for it now, it had not been saved. I had the entire Mass of First Friday and nothing for today. 
He spoke of how Jesus calls His own disciples as the Gospel tells us, too, when Jesus says "It is not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatsoever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
After a really beautiful liturgy, we had a delicious turkey dinner served in the Fireside Room. Rose Chen had her own table with about twelve and I had made place-cards for the 16 at our table with the Bishop. Most were all my friends as Patti did not invite anyone and Ann came from Houston. It was a lovely day and I am still going over all the graces received during these past 60 years when I went straight from final Profession in Rome to Chile!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Better late than never

I have been busy with the preparations for the Diamond Jubilee on Saturday. My sister and brother-in-law arrive tomorrow afternoon and I have planned something each day for the five days they are here. The Liturgy will be beautiful on Saturday and I believe that we will have three tables in the Fireside Room for our guests. Not many RSCJs are coming from outside of our immediate area, but Rose Chen has a group of at least 8 and I have the Jubilarians at a table for 16; I think the other table will be for RSCJs from the communities nearer to us. I am sure this is not at all interesting for my readers, but this is where my thoughts are.
I think I may be taking a few days of vacation so I can come back full of spiritual thoughts. I am full of gratitude for my almost 70 years in the Society of the Sacred Heart and 60 years since final profession this Saturday.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Feast of St. Blaise

Today we have our throats blessed. We know little of the deeds of St. Blaise, a bishop who died as a martyr. His feast is still marked by the blessing of the throats. He must be very humble because every time I save his picture, I cannot find it. Thus, no picture today, but I do hope you are able to get your throat blessed!

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Feast of the Presentation of Jesus

Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the temple to present him to the Lord as the law said. They were not expecting anything unusual but Simeon was there and the Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Christ. So, he is in the temple when Mary and Joseph came and he took the child in his arms and said, "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory for your people Israel."

Imagine the amazement of Mary and Joseph. But Simeon also said to Mary, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted -- and you yourself a sword will pierce--so that thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Mary must have kept all these words and pondered them in her heart. Then, Anna, a prophetess advanced in years who never left the temple, came forward and "gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Israel."

There is much to reflect on in today's Gospel. Jesus was fully human and therefore was a helpless baby in the arms of Mary, but God revealed that Jesus was much more! Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth, a small village to raise Jesus.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

What will matter?

There is wisdom in thinking of what will matter in the long run. Michael Josephson has developed this in a rather long poem so I will maybe just share some lines here:

"Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten
will pass to someone else....

So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought
but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success
but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned
but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity,
compassion, courage, or sacrifice
that enriched, empowered or encouraged others
to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence
but your character....

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It is not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters."