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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Jesus calls Lazarus to come out

To continue our reflection on last Sunday's Gospel, we have Mary coming to Jesus and falling at his feet. She said to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
When Jesus saw her weeping, he wept also. 
Jesus comes to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone across it. Jesus asks them to take away the stone. Martha tells him that there will be a stench as Lazarus has been dead for four days. Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone and Jesus raised his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me." And when he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!"
The dead man came out.

Have I heard Jesus crying out to me to come forth from my own tomb? I mean that we all have the power to entomb ourselves and need Jesus to call us forth and free us.

Monday, March 30, 2020

"I am the resurrection and the life...

In yesterday's Gospel (John 11:1-45), Jesus learns that Lazarus is ill, but Jesus waits two days before saying to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea." 
When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been in the tomb four days. Martha went to meet Jesus, but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you."
Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise."
Martha said to him, "I know he will rise in the resurrection on the last day."
Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die. Do you believe this?
She said to him, "Yes, Lord, I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world."
When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, "The teacher is here and is asking for you." 
As soon as Mary heard this, she rose quickly and went to him.

I will continue with this Gospel tomorrow as it has so much for us to reflect on - I marvel at the faith of Martha and how Jesus leads her to profess her faith in him.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Fifth Sunday of Lent

The first reading is from the Prophet Ezekiel, 37:12-14 and worth reflecting on before the Gospel which has Jesus calling Lazarus forth from the tomb. Ezekiel says:
"Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord."
The Gospel of John (11: 1-45) has much for us to reflect upon so I just want to point out that Jesus will raise Lazarus from the dead. But more on this tomorrow as I think Ezekiel gives us much to reflect upon today.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Two Quotes on Silence

Today I want to share two quotes on silence taken from the closing prayer composed by Sophies Well, A Center for Sacred Heart Spirituality, for one of the Busy Persons' Retreats. The first quote is from Concha Camacho, rscj, a former Mother General:

"We must be able to create an inner silence so that the unfolding drama of the world becomes a reality that touches us; so that the love of God within us may inspire a creative and joyous response."

The second is from Meister Eckhart:

"Silence is a privileged entry into the realm of God and into eternal life. There is a huge silence inside each of us that beckons us into itself, and the recovery of our own silence can begin to teach us the language of heaven. For silence is a language that is infinitely deeper, more far-reaching, more understanding, more compassionate, and more eternal than any other language....There is nothing in the world that resembles God as much as silence."

Friday, March 27, 2020

May our angels watch over us now

We are approaching the end of Lent and will need to prepare for Holy Week on our own as the Churches remain closed. I have been thinking more about my Guardian Angel and asking my angel and all the angels to take care of us and halt the spread of this virus that is causing suffering and death all over the world.
Please join me in prayer.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Prayer for Pandemic

May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those who must choose between
Preserving their health or paying the rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools are closed
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel trips
Remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we settle in for a quarantine at home as we
Remember those who have no home.
As Fear grips our nation, let us choose love.
During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
Let us seek ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors and community.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Feast of the Annunciation

Mary may have been praying when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. How did she feel? Perhaps she was frightened as the angel's first words are: " Hail full of grace! The Lord is with you." Luke tells us that Mary was greatly troubled and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then Gabriel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God." And then comes the rather startling announcement that she will conceive and bear a son and name him Jesus. And if that was not enough to announce, the angel continued to tell her that her son "will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end."
Imagine how Mary felt - bewildered, astonished, confused and maybe scared? She asks how this can be since she has no relations with a man. Then the angel assures her that the "Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you...."  I cannot imagine what Mary made of that, but she is willing to accept. She says, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."

I never get tired of this Gospel where Mary accepts to be the mother of Jesus and now the Mother of all of us!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

We have set sail....

Are you finding it hard to "shelter in place"? Here is something to help you:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, 
and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, 
some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think 
differently. And the people healed. And in the absence of people living in 
ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again,
they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images,
and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully,
and they had been healed.”      Kitty O’Meara
We are called to create silence and this forced staying at home helps us to find time for quiet and prayer, if we are creative. I imagine it is difficult with young children, but not impossible. They need some quiet time, too.

Monday, March 23, 2020

"Seeing isn't believing; believing is seeing."

In today's Gospel, Jesus returns to Galilee and to Cana where he had made the water wine. A royal official asked Jesus to come and heal his son, who was near death. Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe." The man believed and was on his way back home when he heard that his son would live. He and his whole household came to believe.

Perhaps we need to believe that Jesus can halt the spread of this virus that is causing suffering and death in our world today. Let us pray with faith.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Lent

I love this quote from the first reading from the first Book of Samuel where he is sent to anoint one of the sons of Jesse....He thinks it will be Eliab but 
"The Lord said to Samuel: "Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."

The Responsorial Psalm's response is: "The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want." I love Psalm 23 and it is consoling to have it just now with so many ill everywhere.

The Gospel is from John 9:1-41 although there is a shorter form; it is when Jesus cures the man born blind.  Again, we see how the Pharisees are against Jesus and how Jesus reacts. Lent is half over and the opposition is growing. Let us stay with Jesus as He moves toward His Passion, death, and resurrection.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Chapter Calls continued

The last two calls from our Chapter of 2016:

"To live more humanly:
In the radical style of Jesus of Nazareth, we wish to be in closer relationship as sisters with one another and with others; we wish to be simpler, more human and closer to people and their experience, in order to show forth the joyful and compassionate face of God and to be at the service of Life, wherever we are sent."

To be and act as one Body:
To revitalize our unity in diversity and to act as one Body,
dynamic, interconnected, linked with other bodies, in the world and as Church, in order to share, collaborate, and be in solidarity among ourselves and with others."

Friday, March 20, 2020

Chapter Calls

This picture reminds me of two of our Chapter calls: 
The first was to reach new frontiers: "To go out, to "set sail" as a Society and go with others to new geographic and existential peripheries' to accompany the life that is emerging there, to defend justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in response to all of those who are searching for meaning in their lives, those who have been wounded, displaced, and excluded because of poverty, violence, and environmental degradation.

The call to create silence:
"To deepen our interior life, our capacity for contemplation and listening to the heartbeat of God in ourselves and in our world; to discern in silence and welcome the action of the Spirit that transforms us, energizes us, and calls us to live our prophetic and educational mission."

This picture led me to copy both of these call of our Chapter 2016 and I think I shall continue with the other two calls tomorrow as we sometimes forget all we have said trying to explain how we are to live these calls.

I really do see the connection in my own mind between these two calls and the picture of the ice-skater. Do you see it, too?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Feast of St. Joseph

I think of Joseph
as a kind and thoughtful
husband to Mary
a good and loving father
to Jesus.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Seek goodness everywhere

Our 102 year-old Religious whom I love and admire so much, is celebrating 80 years from her First Vows. Imagine that! She is such an inspiration and lives out my ideal of a Religious of the Sacred Heart. That is high praise, but she really is extraordinary. 

Here is a quote that I found helpful"
"Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed."
William Saroyan 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 Today we shed our worries and celebrate! It is really fun to be Irish! Enjoy the day!

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Direct all that is me toward your praise..".

Since we are not allowing visitors, I will not be seeing my spiritual director today, but she sent me this which I am sharing today:

Lord my God, when Your love spilled over into creation
You thought of me. I am from love, of love, for love.

Let my heart, O God, always recognize, cherish, and enjoy the goodness in all of creation.

Direct all that is me toward your praise.
Teach me reverence for every person, all things.
Energize me in your service.

Lord God, may nothing ever distract me from your love...
neither health nor sickness
wealth nor poverty
honor nor dishonor
long life nor short life.

May I never seek nor choose to be other than You intend or wish.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Third Sunday of Lent

The Gospel for this Sunday is that of Jesus and the Samaritan woman who meet at the well. There is a long form and a short form but it is from the Gospel of John, 4: 5-42. It is one of my favorite Gospels as it shows us how Jesus reaches out in dialogue with a woman of Samaria. Jesus was tired and sat down by the well around noon; his disciples had gone to town to buy some food. When the woman comes to draw water, Jesus says, "Give me a drink."Jews did not talk to Samaritans and especially to a woman so she is startled. Jesus then says to her, "If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, 'Give me a drink', you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
Jesus continues to talk with her and finally she is so convinced that Jesus is so special that she runs off to tell others to come and see. Jesus then spends two days there with Samaritans - this must have been startling for the disciples as Jews and Samaritans usually avoided each other.

I often go back to this Gospel as I find much to reflect on and I realize that when Pope Francis speaks of cultivating the culture of the encounter, Jesus did this!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Be who you are

Today, I have another thought from Living an Examined Life for our reflection. Hollis says that "the moment we realize that our life is really in our own hands, that it is a spiritual summons to be honored and that we deprive others by not bringing our more developed selves to share, the we realize permission is not something given--but something to be seized. And from that, a larger life of service to a force greater than we are, begins. And from that turn, we get our life back, the life intended by the gods in the first place. As Jung observed once, life is a short pause between two great mysteries. I cannot imagine a better, more succinct definition of life that that--though I add that it is up to us to make that pause as luminous as possible."

I wonder if that realization that our life is in our own hands, a spiritual something that happens at different turning points in our lives. This has led me to examine my own life.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Friday the 13th

California is such a beautiful state. We will not be going out for the next month or more, but our grounds are lovely and the patio with its two redwoods outside my window is a delight all year long.

I think it time to continue with some thoughts from the book, Living an Examined Life: Wisdom fora the Second Half of the Journey by James Hollis, PhD.  
"A mature spirituality does not offer certainty: it offers mystery. It offers depth, it obliges reframing our understandings, and it requires growing up psychospiritually. … The bigger picture for all of us is found in asking from time to time, "What is my life about, really?"....What does it mean to be here? To what am I called? What values, traits, and capacities must I embody in my life?"

Let us ponder some of these questions today so that we are living an examined life.

Spring is coming

With all the bad news of sickness and deaths now in 44 states, it is good to know that Spring is just around the corner. We have had some of our tulips bloom, but need more rain and sun before our patio breaks into bloom.
Here at Oakwood we had a lovely funeral yesterday; we do funerals very well here. Now we are banning visitors, the school is closed for a month, and we are taking care to not get sick - the slightest cough may cause the person to need to stay in her room.
We pray for all those who are ill all over the world and for the workers who are required to stay home, for the children who are missing school and the companionship of their peers, and for the parents who work and need to arrange care for their children. 

Here is a thought that came today that I find worth reflecting on:

"In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, hope to despair." Howard Thurman - Word for the day from Gratefulness

My keyboard is restored so that I can type again! I am most grateful to whoever came to restore the keys by removing that cleaning fluid. I was so frustrated, but now I am rejoicing !!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

God keeps teling us to listen to Jesus

As you can see, I am still with the mystery of the Transfiguration and especially praying over the words: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to him."
Lord, I am trying to listen. Sometimes you send me a word from someone else. I read and stayed with this quote from Mother Stuart:
"The color of our thoughts dyes our soul; the color of our soul dyes our world."

This will give us something to reflect on today.
My computer keyboard is acting up and will not let me use the backspace. I did not realize how often I want to use it. I think it is worn out but also the one who cleans our rooms on Wednesdays wiped it with some cleaning fluid and now I have trouble with all the double letters when typing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

We are here to be ourselves

I have been reading Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey by James Hollis, PhD. The author is a Jungian analyst and executive director of the Jung Society of Washington, DC.  I should begin with the first chapters, but today I am reflecting on Chapter 10 whose title is "What Gift Have You Been Withholding from the World? He tells us that we are here to be ourselves. Our gift to the world is our uniqueness. "Each of us has something to bring to the mosaic of time that is unfolding in and through us whether we are aware or not."

God loves each of us for our uniqueness. No two people are exactly alike. Let us learn to praise God for the gifts He has given each of us and thank Him for creating us just as we are!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Whoever exalts himself.

Today's Gospel ends with Jesus telling us: "The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

St. Paschasius Radbertus, in his Commentary on Matthew, tells us:
"Those who canvas for positions of honor are the ones who exalt themselves; those who delight in serving and caring for others are those who humble themselves so as to be exalted by God.. Anyone therefore who wants to be Christ's disciple must hasten to learn the lesson he professes to teach, for a perfect disciple will be like his master. Otherwise, to learn the master's lesson, far from being a master himself, he will not even be a disciple." 

Do I delight in serving and caring for others? Jesus did, but Jesus also went apart and spent time in prayer after being with people.
We need both the time alone with God and the time we find God in serving others.

Encounter with God

Pope Francis' word at the Angelus in 2014 on the Transfiguration continued (taken from Give Us This Day's Sunday Reflection). 

"From the event of the Transfiguration I would like to take two significant elements that can be summed up in two words: ascent and descent. We all need to go apart, to ascend the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better perceive the voice of the Lord. This we do in prayer. But we cannot stay there! Encounter with God in prayer inspires us anew to "descend the mountain" and return to the plain where we meet many brothers and sisters weighed down by fatigue, sickness, injustice, ignorance, poverty both material and spiritual....When we hear the Word of Jesus, when we listen to the Word of Jesus and carry it in our heart, this Word grows. Do you know how it grows? By giving it to the other! The Word of Christ grows in us when we proclaim it, when we give it to others! And this is what Christian life it. It is a mission for the whole Church, for all the baptized, for us all; listen to Jesus and offer him to others."

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Second Sunday of Lent

Today's Gospel is one that I love. It is Matthew 17:1-9 and is his account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. It begins, "Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves." Luke tells us that Jesus led them up the mountain to pray. While there, they hear God saying to Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him."

The reflection in Give Us This Day is from Pope Francis' words at the Angelus, March 16, 2014; I will only give you a bit of it, but hope you will read the entire reflection.
"Our Father said this to these Apostles and says it to us as well: 
"Listen to Jesus, because he is my beloved Son." This week let us keep this word in our minds and in our hearts: "listen to Jesus!"....We, the disciples of Jesus, are called to be people who listen to his voice and take his words seriously. To listen to Jesus, we must be close to him, to follow him...

I am going to continue this reflection tomorrow as I think it so important for us.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The intimacy of Christ

I read this today and want to share it.

In his moving spiritual exercises written under the direction of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Thuận recounts how he survived that long ordeal by calling to mind the intimacy of Christ at all times.

He reminds us that most things we think we need—and certainly everything we think we want—come from glancing nervously around at others. Aside from food and water, the one needful thing is the grace of God, which is poured out to us in exactly the same amount as we allow God to pour it out to others through ourselves.

—Tim Muldoon, author of Living Against the Grain
and The Ignatian Workout

Do I call to mind the intimacy of Christ at all times? I want to and that is why interior silence is so important. God wait for us to be aware of His presence within each of us. That is why I find it helpful to say often the little song that I am sure I have shared before, but it is worth repeating:

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.

Friday, March 6, 2020

First Friday

Today is the First Friday of March. This picture of Jesus is one that seems very much like a picture I was given for helping the Sisters wash the glasses after supper when a was a weekly boarder at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I hung it in my room at home and it seemed as if Jesus was always there with me and looking with love on me. 
I love First Friday and we will have a special morning because the Children of Mary come to our Mass which is at 9:30 to give them time to drive here without having to get caught in early morning traffic. One of the faculty is giving us a talk after the Mass and the coffee and sweet rolls. 
The following is a quote from Sister Shirley Miller, RSCJ: 
"Devotion to the Sacred Heart is incarnational, relational and transformational. We are all called to invite God's love to transform our own hearts into the hearts of love and to allow that love to flow freely from our hearts our to others."

It is worth reflecting on today; it is also part of the closing prayer of the Busy Persons' Retreat here at Atherton.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Oh, how I love you, Jesus

This is a prayer I found as I began the 23rd week of the Online Retreat. This is a week where I see how the love of Jesus heals. Love heals and Jesus loves each of us so much so let Him show us this week how much we need his healing love. 

Lord, let me see your healing love today
as I imagine you gazing into the eyes, the heart,
the very spirit of those around me.

Oh, how I love you, Jesus,
marvelous lover,
freer of hearts.

You give me courage to love more,
even to love and to free,
like you,
with you,
for I love you.
I really do.


Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Choose Life

Choose life! Two little words, but they can lead us to change many things. I often find myself saying those two words. They help me discern choices. To 'choose life" we need to listen to God and obey the soft inner voice that nudges us. It means we need some silence in our life; exterior silence is hard enough to cultivate in today's world, but interior silence is still more difficult but it is essential for prayer. Without prayer, how can I be sure I am choosing life?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fasting for Justice

Today focus on the deep hunger you have for God.
Allow this hunger to pray within you.
Now, become aware of that hunger for God as it is experienced by your family, friends, the poor, the homeless, the alienated, the destitute, the lonely, the refugee, the undocumented, and allow this hunger to pray within you.
As you do so, relax in silence and allow God to share with you how this hunger feels and what this hunger means.

These thoughts come from a 1993 book of Bridget Mary Meehan; It is called Your Prayerful Journal for Lent. It is an old book, but the content is still relevant today for each of us.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Busy Persons' Retreat

This week begins with my retreatants in the 34 week coming at 10:00 as usual to share and prepare for Week 22; at 11:10, I have a visit with my Provincial; at 12:30 I am looking forward to a visit with my student of two years ago who is home for a few days from Holy Cross. It will be good to see him and here how his second year of college is going. Then I need to be over in the Lower School Chapel to prepare the opening prayer and session with the faculty, staff, and parents who have signed up for the Busy Persons' Retreat. I do not yet know how many there are and no idea yet of my schedule for the week. Then back to 4:00 Reunion with our Provincial. You can see why part of my Lenten resolution is not to volunteer for anything and learn to say "no" to some things. 

I just read something I like on fasting for justice. You are to consider all those God may be calling you to love more deeply this Lent. Ask God to show you how you can serve this person or group more and listen to God's response response.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

First Sunday of Lent

Today's Liturgy leads us into this blessed season of Lent. The Liturgical Year gives us these six weeks to prepare to really enter into the life of Jesus, especially to be with Him in his Passion and Death. But the Paschal mystery includes the Resurrection.

In the Collect for today's Liturgy, we ask that we may grow in "understanding of the riches hidden in Christ and by worthy conduct pursue their effects." Since I am directing a group through the complete Exercises of St. Ignatius, the grace we are asking for is to know Christ more intimately, to love Him more ardently, and to follow Him more closely.

The first reading speaks of the temptation in the garden of Eden; the Gospel tells us how Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil as he fasted for forty days. Both readings suggest to me that we need to be aware of how the evil spirit may be tempting us. Let us pray for one another as we begin these forty days of walking with Jesus.