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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Make a joyful noise to the Lord...

 

We had Psalm 100 in the Liturgy this week. It is one of my favorite psalms. It tells us:

"Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful song.

Know the the Lord is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock that he tends.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise; give thanks to him, bless his name.

For he is good: the Lord, whose kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations."

So, let us today serve the Lord with gladness and come before him joyful and grateful.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Courageous Joy


 

I bought a book that has the title Courageous Joy: Delight in God Throgh Every Season. It is 'An (in) Courage Bible Study volume written by Mary Carver and the (in) courage Community, 2021. I think I am going to want to share a few thoughts from this book in my blog, but I am just now reading the Introduction. The first words are "Choose joy!" Those who know me, know that is what I try to do each day and that is what draws me to share a bit from this book.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phi 4:4)

It is a command and an invitation and really a gift from God. There are, of course, different kinds of joy. Here, the author wants us to know that the joy of the Lord in much deeper and more life-giving than any joy of this world. And, it lasts longer!

Remember that gratitude and joy go together!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Thoughts on a Marian Prayer


I was going through a folder yesterday and found something that Lawrence Cunningham wrote in "Give Us This Day" probably last year. It is on the Salve Regina and I think some thoughts are worth sharing as this in one of the four Marian hymns sung at the end of the monastic office known as Compline or Night Prayer. I am copying it here for any who do not know it and then will give some of ideas to reflect on from Cunningham.

Hail, holy Queen, Morthe of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope.To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; to you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus: O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

This prayer is usually said at the end of the recitation of the rosary. It is a prayer of hope. In it we cry out to Mary and invite Mary to turn her eyes of mercy toward us and asking her to show us Jesus, the blessed fruit of her womb.

Lawrence Cunningham suggests that we can also look at this prayer as a prayer of pilgrimage - a journey for which we need assistance, care, and direction. "It is within this theme of exile that hope resonates so explicitly. To reflect on this is to be reminded that Mary's life recorded in the Gospels is one of travel: to her cousin Elizabeth, to shelter in Bethlehem, to safety in Egypt, to the Temple in Jerusalem, to the hill of Calvary."

Let us, then, recite this prayer asking Mary to accompany us on our own life's journey.

 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


 

Again this Sunday we ask that we may merit to attain eternal life. How? By keeping the precepts founded on love of God and our neighbor.

The Gospel for this Sunday is Mark 9:30-37

First Mark tells us that Jesus was on a journey through Galilee, but he did not want anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them that "the Son of Ma is to be handed over to men and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise." They did not understand, but were afraid to question Jesus. Then, when they arrive in Capernaum and are in the house, Jesus begins to ask them what they were arguing about on the way. They remained silent as they had been discussing who was the greatest. Then Jesus sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servent of all." Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."

I am just giving the Gospel this week as I really think we all need to think what receiving, welcoming children, but also we welcome the elderly, the immigrants, the lonely, the ill, etc. Jesus would welcome all and wants us to learn from him.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Prayer to Our Lady


 


I am planning to share a prayer to Our Lady every Saturday. The prayers are found in Janice Connell's new book Christ Through Mary:Powwerful Prayers in a Time of Crisis. 

Prayer for Help (From the Liturgy of the Maronite Rite)

Let your intercession be with us, O Mother Most Pure, and come to us in our needs, as is our wont. We are exiles on this earth, without end ever before our eyes and even now many of us perish. Help us by your prayers, O Merciful Mother. Be always our advocate lest we are lost through our own ill will. Blessed and most holy one, plead for us before God that He may be gracious to us through your asking. Amen.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Be Still and Listen


 Someone is coming to visit me to talk about spiritual books I think she may want to read. This had me reaching for a few books on my shelves and one is titled, Be Still and Listen: Experience the Presence of God in Your Life by Amos Smith. It was published in 2018. I have a bookmark about two-thirds of the way into the book and I suspect that I put it back on my shelf because of other books needing to be read and forgot about this one. I do not think I reveiwed it, so will give you a short description taken from the back cover. 

"Part One, "Entering the Desert", introduces principles of awareness, deep listening and contemplation as essential for hearing what Scripture has to say. Part Two details the importance of mystery and struggle in the process of healing from past or present wounds. Part Three explores the 'undivided heart' that's possible when we come to know God in silence and stillness."

I am hoping to read Part Three soon, but at present I am reading three other spiritual books, all three are interesting but I seem to have less time for reading. This is no doubt my own fault and I am trying to make more time. Good spiritual reading also prepares us to find God at a deeper level.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

We all need a place of rest


 Richard Rohr often speaks of having a place of refuge, a place to go when we are feeling swamped by problems, sad news, overload that suddenly seems overwhelming, and all the things that threaten our interior peace. Sometimes we find that our refuge is a spot we can picture; maybe it is a memory; or maybe it is even a Gospel scene that restores our innter calm. I probably have several places of rest and one that seems strange as it is in the midst of the storm. I can feel the waves tossing the boat and then Jesus comes and says, "Fear not; it is I." And just to hear His words calms me. "Don't be aftaid; it is I."

Someone asked me when I began to keep a journal. I really do not remember, but I know I was keeping a daily journal in Chile before I was made head of the school. Then, I did not have time to write, but I do know I took time on Sundah to write something about the week. I know I have been keeping some sort of a journal for at least fifty-five years. I sometimes miss a day or even a week, but then I am back to jotting something - my journals are just for me so I mix up what I do with thoughts from prayer. I also think that because I alwayhs begin  with "Dearest Lord Jesus'....it is sort of a letter pouring out my thought and feelings. Sometimes I only write what I am grateful for that day; other times I will have a dialogue with the Lord. I just know that it is helpful for me to keep a journal and when I am not finding time to write, I need to examine what is going on in my interior life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows


 The Collect for today's feast is important for what we ask:

"O God, who willed that, when your Son was lifted high on the Cross, his Mother should stand close by and share his suffering, grant the your Church, participating with the Virgin Mary in the Passion of Christ, may merit a share in his Resurrection. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever."

John's Gospel (19-27) tells us: "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."

Mary is our mother and is very close to each of us. She watches over us and is the one who tells her Divine Son what we have need of and then tells us to do whatever Jesus tells us.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross


 This is a feast celebrating the fact that God's Only Begotten Son saved us and the Entrance Antiphon tells us: "We should golry in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered."

I like the reading for today's liturgy and hope you have time to read them. I will just copy here the second paragraph of the Gospel from John 3: 13-17

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved by him."

Monday, September 13, 2021

The Sun Always Rises


 Sometimes the news is so bad that we need to remember that God is in charge of the world and the entire universe and the sun rises each morning, even when we cannot see it. Autumn is coming but, out here in California we do not see many trees turning color; there is one in our patio whose leaves are red with the first cool day. Our apple tree just had a great crop of green apples and our numerous squirrels and our rabbits have feasted on many. Some of the bunnies escaped from the school's animal compound and three have been seen in our patio. One is a small black one; the others are white with black ears, and one has a black mouth and the other has a black eye. It is fun to watch them and they seem happy to be free.

I want to share a quote from Teilhard de Chardin's Divine Milieu that I prayed over today:

"God does not offer Himself to our finite beings as a thing all complete and ready to be embraced. For us, He is eternal discovery and eternal growth. The more we think we understand Him, the more he reveals himself as otherwise. The more we think we hold him, the further He withdraws, drawing us into the depths of himself." (I found and copied this quote from Richard Rohr's "Universal Christ", page 78 - sometimes the quote has a capital H and sometimes a small h).

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time


 

The Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday: "Give peace, O Lord, to those who wait for you, that your prophets be found true. Hear the prayers of your servant, and of your people Israel." Cf. Sirach 36:18

Collect: Look upon us, O God, Creator and ruler of all things, and, that we may feel the workings of your mercy, grant that we may serve you with all our heart.

First Reading is Isaiah 50: 5-9a

"The Lord God opens mh ear that I may hear; and I have not rebelled, have not turned back....."

Responsorial Psalm: "I will walk before the Lord, in the land of the living." 

Second Reading is from the Letter of Saint James 2:14-18

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?...."

Gospel is Mark 8: 27-35 "Jesus and his disciples set out for the village of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that I am?' ....and then Jesus asks them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter said in reply, "You are the Christ."

There is much more to today's Gospel, but I am always stopped by the question that I believe Jesus keeps asking each of us today - "But you, who do you say that I am?"Today!



Saturday, September 11, 2021

Powerful Prayers in Time of Crisis


 


Does it help to try to be peaceful on this anniversary that brings each of us such terrible memories? I am going to just look for a prayer from Jan Connell's book, Christ Through Mary: Powerful Prayers in a Time of Crisis. I have told you about the book and the thought of using some of the prayers on Saturdays and now I have Jan's permission to do so.

This is a prayer of St. Augustine found on p. 11"

O Blessed Mary, who can return to you sufficient thanks, or adequately celebrate your praises, for having by your consent succored a ruined world? 

What praise can human weakness offer to you, which by your means has found the port of salvation?

Holy Mary! succor the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the mournful, pray for the peo-ple, intercede for consecrated souls, pray for devoted souls and let everyone experience your intercession who celebrates you. Amen.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Refection needs clear, calm water


 We all need to take time to reflect on our lives, our decisions, our choices; we cannot do this well unless we are calm and our minds and hearts clear and prepared to listen to God. Discernment is a way of learning to listen to God. 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

God gives us different calls




 I love this picture, but we need water so badly in California that I fear this little stream has dried up since I took the photo. The West needs water and the East has had too much and will get more, I think, as it is hurricane season still.

I thought that my reflection group in Miami would be meeting in person this year, but they will still meet on zoom and that is a joy for me as I enjoy being with them and find zoom a good way for me to communicate.

I am thinking of the grace of a vocation - any calling is a grace; it does not need to be to religious life. Some calls are clear: a person who has always desired to be a doctor or a nurse; the one who knows that she or he will find a way to paint or sculpture because the artistic temperamnent is strong from youth; then there are those who want only to get married and have a family - that is a vocation, too. I just do not know why we insist on talking about vocation only as a calling to religious life. I feel that whatever we are called to do is important and is our way of pleasing God who is the one who calls us.

God is faithful and continues to call us and we must continue to discern His calls. I think that being in a retirement community is a call for me to become more contemplative. I have more time for prayer and the silence and solitude, so helpful to contemplation, is possible just by staying in my room. I am aware that the many activities here are an aid for many, but I am limiting myself to a weekly book club meeting, the community reunion every Monday, and sometimes the Saturday afternoon movie. However, I do spend time reading and playing Words with Friends on my I-pad. I think writing this blog has been a grace for me and has made me more reflective. I need to wait for the Holy Spirit to inspire me. Today, I am just jotting down what has come into my head. It is not very inspiring!


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The Nativity of Our Lady



 
Today we celebrate Our Lady's birthday. I chose the picture of Mater as I love Our Lady and like to think of her enjoying the fact that we have chosen a date for the entire Church to celebrate her birthday. I am thinking what gift would she like to have me offer her today?

We continue to be tested weekly. One of my friends who lives in a retirement home in Dallas has COVID and is on an ventilator so please pray for her. Her son wrote and requested prayers; she not only read my blog each day, but often sent me good feedback. I also pray for her husband who counts on her.

We had a beutiful sharing for one of our nuns this morning; her funeral will be on Thursday. We always share our memories of the person who has died and it is amazing to see how each has had a real influence on our community. Some will have stories from having lived with the person years ago. 


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Creative Writing


 What do you see? Sometimes a stange picture is enough to awaken our imaginations. Our new Life Enrichment Director has begun a small writing group. Threre were only six of us present yesterday and only two of us had been present for the first session that spoke of writing our memoirs. Yesterday we heard of different ways to be creative in writing when we felt we could not write or were stuck. Then we were given ten minutes to write about a room - any room. Afterwards, we read what we had each written and I found that the best part of the exercise. Each one had chosen a different kind of room and it was fascinating to hear the different ways they approached describing their "room" - one had chosen the beach! I chose the living room in the large home we lived in from sixth grade to when I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart just after my 19th birthday. I loved that room and all the family gatherings. In ten minutes I did not finish my description but have been remembering how we were allowed to toast marshmellows in the fireplace, how the Christmas tree was always placed in front of the French doors, how the firplace was flanked by two built in bookcases; the one on the left was mine and the one on the right was my father's. 

Today I thought of how God was present in that living room with all of us. I think I am going to enjoy this creative writing. I suggest that you try it, too. I actually have an autobiography that I wrote because of the interest of my community but that was in 2003 so I guess I should be adding the important things I remember from these last years.

Monday, September 6, 2021


 Work is a blessing! It is also a gift to be able to take a holiday and rest from work. When I say work is a blessing, I am thinking of the ability to work, to earn a living; I cannot understand why we are refusing to insist that workers receive a living wage. We are supposed to be a wealthy country, but we cannot provide jobs with fair salaries for all those who seek work. Let us pray today for just wages for all. 

Labor Day is really a day of rest for so many and even the school children enjoy having a holiday so close to the start of classes. I remember when schools actually only began after Labor Day!

Many will be spending this holiday cleaning up after the hurricane and the storms. Let us pray for them also and for those who have lost their lives and for those who morn them.

Let us also think of Jesus working as a carpenter in Nazareth, having learned from Joseph. I had a great uncle who gave up his job to come back to St. Louis to be near me when I was still too little to remember. He kept his tools locked up and away from children, but he could do anything that was needed around the house or yard, fix bikes, wagons, and other toys. He came three times a week to help my mother by first caring for me, then for my sister, and finally for my brothers; he would arrive around three and stay until after dinner, helping with the dishes, listening to the radio with my father, and he was just a wonderful part of our family. He lived in a hotel but managed on his Spanish-American War pension. He was a holy man and utterly selfless. 

I am sure we all know many who do all kinds of work and work with joy. Let us pray for them, too, today!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


 Today's Liturgy is very consoling
. We begin in the Collect: O God,by whom we are redeemed and receive adoption, look graciously upon your sons and daughters, that those who believe in Christ may receive true freedom and an everlasting inheritance."

The first reading is from the Book of Isaiah, 35: 4-7a and is worth praying over so I am going to copy it.

"Thus says the Lord: Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water."

The responsorial psalm is "Praise the Lord, my soul!

The first reading is from the Letter of James, 2: 1-5 and tells us to show no partiality and then asks: Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?"

The Gospel is Mark 7:31-37 where Jesus cures the deaf man.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a holiday where we celebrate the gift of being able to work. Let us pray for all those who are still looking for work, for those who are discouraged because they have not been able to find work or to earn enough to care for their families. 

Saturday, September 4, 2021

So much to pray for


 I am sure we are all finding that our list of people, places, and events to pray for is growing daily. I am following the fire that has advanced nearer to Lake Tahoe. I read that it may be years before the lake regains its lovely deep blue color because of the age and debris from the fire which is still only about 23% controlled. All the homes around south Tahoe have been evacuated.

I pray for the firefighters who are toiling day and night to control fires in different parts and states.

I pray for all those who have lost their homes in the earthquake in Hati, for all those who have died in the earthquake, hurricanes, and from Covid-19.

I pray for all the sick and suffering and for the caregivers, nurses and doctors.

I pray for those who have been left without power in and around New Orleans; having lived through many hurricanes in Miami, I know what it means to lose power for days in tropical weather. I have also lived through earthquakes in Chile without water and electricity. My own memories make my prayer deeper, I think. I also pray especially for my sister-in-law, Anita, who has been fighting leukemia and for my brother, John who has been  spending his days visiting Anita in the hospital.

I am sure each of you have many other intentions - other countries we need to pray for, in fact our own country and the entire world need our prayer. We must continue to pray for governments to work for climate change, ways to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless, to help those places who do not have water, to welcome the thousands of refugees and aid them as it must be devastating to lose not only your home but also your country. I guess the list of what we need to pray for is much longer as I have not even mentioned the Church and I do pray daily for the Holy Father, the Bishops who need to act together and really begin synods in all the parishes. Some countries have begun to work for synodality but I have not heard what the Bishops in the United States are doing and it is September!

Well, I did not intend to write all this but I guess I am rather overwhelmed and glad that I can say to God, "Here is your world and it needs Your help" and then just keep asking knowing that God hears every prayer.

Friday, September 3, 2021

First Friday




 Time seems to disappear and we need to remind ourselves that we have all the time there is! We are expecting one of our Sisters to arrive today and complete the Westwood Community as we will be eight now, but we still have a guest room (very small room) here and there is space in Rosewood for guests. The problem is that we are not allowed yet to invite guests to stay. I think we may be having a visit from an  RSCJ in September and then we have another funeral on September 9th so we may be more open for that. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Now, this morning I heard another bit of wisdom from the Dominican, Father Xavier. He said that recollection is about "having a sense of God's loving life and light" - the sunlight is always there but we do not always realize it. No matter what, dawn will come and God is in all. I cannot quote him exactly but the idea is that God is always with us and we can turn to Him.

I love First Friday and find that I often go back in memory to even childhood - I do not remember what we did to make First Friday special at the Academy of the Visitation, but my two years in 7th and 8th grade at our parrochial school are remembered because the day started with the entire school at Mass in the Church and then we had hot cocoa and doughnuts in the basement of the Church before going to class. When I was at the Academy of the Sacred Heart for my four years of high school, we had Mass in the morning and then a special Benediction in the afternoon. When I was in Chile, I taught the high school to sing in English, "When the battle rages fiercest..." and we had an honor guard and banner and processed into the Chapel. I think we did that when I was in high school but I made it a bit more in Chile. The students had to work to win the honor of wearing the red sashes and walking behind the banner of the Sacred Heart. (It is years since I have thought of this!)

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Courageous Joy


 

I thought I was getting another picture but this laughing face turned up so maybe the Holy Spirit wanted me to add another book that I bought and have on my bookshelf but have not begun to read it. The title is Courageous Joy: Delight in God Through Every Season by Mary Carver and is "An (in)courage Bible Study published in 2021 by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  It seems that there are other titles in this series: Courageous Simplicity; Couraageous Kindness, etc.

The contents have been arranged into six weeks and each has questions and room to answer them. Here are the titles for the six weeks: What is Joy?; Joy in the Lord; Joy in Who God Made You to Be; Joy in the Good Times; Joy in the Bad Times; Joy in Community.

I am saving this as I have much to read now, but I think I will enjoy working through this book later.

I think that we find joy when we are living in gratitude for all that we have been given. I do spend time thanking God for His many gifts each day; I hope you do the same. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

A thought to remember


 The Dominican priest, Father Xavier, celebrates Mass with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yesterday he said that "the only place God cannot be without our permission is in our hearts." I have been thinking about that as I certainly want to be sure that God always has permission to enter my heart. As a Religious of the Society of the Sacred Heart, I often find myself in God's Heart. 

Today we begin a new month. Let us take time just to sit on the bench in this picture and contemplate the ocean. Sometimes we are so busy that we forget that we need time to just be. 

All of our nuns have left New Orleans. I feel sorry for those who have lost homes again and some have even lost their lives in the hurricane. Having lived through several big ones in Miami, I feel united to those who cannot leave and are living without power. I also am concerned that the children are going to miss several weeks of school. Let us pray for our world that has such need.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Wring cards, reading books


 I am a firm believer of sending cards to people for many different occasions. I thought these first lines from a Dayspring introduction to their cards worth sharing with you today:

"Care that is felt, and then expressed, is like fruit from the vine that delights the heart, nourishes the spirit, and brings needed strength to the soul. Sending a greeting card that expresses the thoughts of your heart for a friend or loved one is a tangible way of showing your care. When you sign your name to a card you are saying, “Here is what is in my heart for you. Please receive it as something I truly want you to know and hear.” When you send a card you are really sending a little part of yourself.

Express God's Heart

A Christian card not only gives you the opportunity of expressing your heart, it also gives you the wonderful opportunity of expressing God’s heart. It tells the receiver that you care, and that God cares too."

I am behind in writing and I often just send note, not cards. And, of course, there are many good electronic cards, but I find that many of those I want to keep in touch with do not use email and so I do try to write notes or send cards every month or at least every two or three months. Time seems to pass quickly here at Oakwood. We finish breakfast, go to Mass and it is almost time for our main meal at 11:30 AM! Then supper is at 5:00 so my work day is quite short. I do have time for at least two hours of prayer each day and a couple of short walks, evening prayer with our Westwood community each night and, of course, I find time to read. There is a pile of good books by my chair now: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson; The World Is My Home by James Michener; Walking with Ignatius by Arturo Sosa, S.J., The Meal the Reconnects: Eucharistic Eating and the Global Food Crisis by Mary McGann, RSCJ (only a few pages left to read); Backpacking with the Saints: Wilderness Hiking as Spiritual Practice by Beldon C. Lane; Christ Through Mary: Powerful Prayers in a Time of Crisis by Janice T. Connell and I am also rereading Maria Cimperman, RSCJs book Religious Life for Our World: Creating Communities of Hope. 

I also have a few books on my bookshelves that I bought and have not yet had time to read!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Twenty=Second Sunday in Ordinary Tme


 In the Collect for this Sunday's Mass we ask God, the giver of every good gift, to put into our hearts the love of His name so "that by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nuture in us what is good and,  by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nutured."

It is good to think that Catholics all over the world are praying for the same thing at each Sunday's Mass.

The first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy: 4: 1-2, 6-8

Moses tells the people that they are a great nation and asks: "For what nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him?"

The Responsonial Psalm: "The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord."

The second reading is from the Letter of Saint James and tell us that "All good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, whith whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change....Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls. Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." 

The Gospel is fromMark: 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23. This is the gospel where the Pharisees question Jesus because the discples eat with unclean hands. They are always looking for a way to trap Jesus, but Jesus uses the opportunity to tell them that "Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come our from within are what defile."

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Inspire us to honor the dignity of each person...


 I think I may have saved this to share on my blog, but I just found it again and want to use it today as I think it is a good prayer.

Unseen companion of our life,

Give us faith and eager expectancy

As we continue to face uncertainty.

Help us to hold our fear of the unknown

In the assurance that You are with us.

Teach us to wrest treasures from anxiety.

Encourage us to approach each day with

Faith, wisdom and compassion.

We pray for those who suffer and all who care for them.

Inspire us to honor the human dignity of each person and

May our presence be a source of healing and encouragement.

We ask all of this confident in your Spirit. Amen.

 

Created by the Society of the Sacred Heart, USC Province

A good friend and author, Jan Connell, has just sent me her newest book: Christ Throgh Mary: Powerful Prayers in a Time of Crisis. Jan has done a tremendous amount of research to find prayers to Mary and I will be sharing some next week with you.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Let us recognize God's presence in our lives


 God is present. He is alwas with us. When we take time to look back over our day or make the Ignatian Examen, we begin to be more aware of God's presence and the many gifts He is giving us each day. The grateful recognition of God's presence in our lives is the fruit of the Examen; then we can see how God may be calling us to respond. The examen is a form of discernment as we are finding God in our daily life and gradually becoming aware of His desires for each of us.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Picture is better than words


 Today I suggest that you just take a quiet moment to be with God contemplating this scene. 

Our world is in such need of God; He can do anything but perhaps He waits for our prayer and our willingness to really work for change. Take time to pray today and ask God what He wants you to do to better our world. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Late posting


 Yesterday I was busy both morning and afternoon with meetings and going out for my final visit about my new hearing aids. It is good to have them and to know how to change the four programs by using my App which I now need to learn to carry with me. I am happy with these new hearing aids and very grateful to the Society for making it possible to get them and a small mike that can pin on the person who is giving us a talk or even can be used in a restaurant. I wear my hearing aids from morning to night and find that some of my sisters do not do so. They have hearing aids and are not using them!

My reflection on Walking with Ignatius continues. I underlined a couple of passages on p. 139. It sys: "The Pope often mentions understanding life as a continual process of transformation, with ups and downs, times that are slow and plodding, and others that are steep learning curves."

The idea is that we can all change - God is merciful. "Experiencing mercy is the basis for improving ourselves because it is the expression of the love that forgives all. Only the one who loves, forgives. Mercy is the highest expression of the radical love through which the Lord relates to human beings."

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

What if God spoke to you?


The title for Chapter 6 in Walking with Ignatius is "Sharing the Way to God" and it begins with two questions: "What if God spoke to you?" and "What would he say to you?"

With these two questions, the new Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus were introduced. The first one aims to show the path of God via the Spiritual Exercises and discernment. It then goes on to say why this UAP comes first. It speaks of God's continual dialogue with human beings and history. "God speaks to those who want to begin a dialogue with Him...If you allow God to speak to you, you realize that he has something important to tell you."

I have found that I often begin a letter to Jesus and then wait until I hear Jesus trying to tell me something. Maybe it is jjust using my imagination, but usually I find that God works through my imagination often to tell me something. Today, take time to think about what God might be saying to you!

Monday, August 23, 2021


 Here we have a picture of a built on top of a rock. I am not sure how this was possible and do not see any easy access. However, I think I would have loved to spend some time in a little house with a tremendous view of the ocean around me. I think the person who lived there must have been a holy hermit. 

To go  back to my retreat, I did continue to pray over my Goals. The third one is "Strengthen the bonds of community" and I think I really do try to do that here, both in Westwood and in the larger Community of Oakwood. I am not one who goes around visiting others in their rooms, but I do try to be friendly with all and sit with different people at meals, take part in reunions, parties, etc. However, it was also good to revisit this Goal in prayer and go through the list of people here to see if I am being called to do more. What happened in prayer is that I thought of other "communities" that I feel I also belong to and need to consider if I am helping or hindering growth.

I am convinced that discernment is a way of life for me and I need to pray and discern more even about small things in my daily life. I also hope to help communities to discern together. I remember doing this in Chile and I still think it is important.

Sometimes we go through all the steps of the discernment process and then forget that the last one, having the discernment confirmed, is essential. 

The children are back but we have not seen any here yet. I did have a good visit with a college student who was my senior here for weekly visits two years ago and we have been keeping in touch.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time


I think the Collect is worth praying over for this Sunday:

"O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single prupose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found."

The first reading is from the Book of Joshua 24 and the people tell him that they will serve the Lord for he is our God.

The Responsorial Psalm is "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord" with verses from Ps 34 and worth praying over to feel joy.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 5:21-32

The Gospel is John 6:60-69
 Many were leaving Jesus and so He asks the Twelve: "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."

Let us pray for our world so in need of prayer.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Walking with Ignatius


 I will continue to say something about my retreat tomorrow but I have just finished the book, Walking with Ignatius by Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, in conversation with Dario Menor. I have also begun this book again this morning and now I am marking it up as I think there are many sentences that I want to go back and pray over. I know I have mentioned this book when I first bought it, but now I am hoping that the three RSCJs from the United States/Canada Province have a chance to read it before the Special Chapter.The last Chapter speaks of sharing mission and lessons in dialogue and openness. The Prologue is by Sister Jolanta Kafka, RMI, the President of the International Union of Superiors General. She ends her Prologue saying, "As you begin reading, I leave you, as words of guidance, this prayer of St. Ignatius taken from the Spiritual Exercises. It is the best way to feel that you are in his presence as, led by his spirit, you wander through these pages.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.

All I have and call my own, You have given all to me, to you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

I also liked reading about the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Jesuits and how they shape the mission of reconciliation and justice. This book as the back cover says is "to point to the experience of St. Ignatius as an inspiration for the deep conversion process vital for any individual, group, or institution who longs to make the joyful news of the Gospel present in our time."

Now, being a compulsive reader, I will go back and pray over parts of this book. I have several books waiting to be read so will need to find more time for reading in the next weeks.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Today we had our first "Outing"


 One of the lovely things about Oakwood is the Thursday outing that may be only once a month or sometimes almost weekly. These "outings" usually are in our van that can accomodate two wheelchairs, and six other residents plus the driver and Life Enrichment Director. We have not had any sign-up sheets for outings for over a year so I was delighted to sign for a picnic near the water where we can watch the planes landing across the bay at the San Francisco airport. Unfortunately, the park is not open so we went instead to a rustic restaurant about an hour away but through lovely redwood groves and very winding roads. We elected to sit outside under the trees in front of a small waterfall. It was very relaxing and we had a good time and arrived home by 2:00 so it was just over three hours but it was enough and I actually found myself feeling sleepy; I do not take naps but did doze off in my chair, I think, for a few minutes.

I will continue to share my Goals tomorrow as I need to write some emails tonight. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sharing about my retreat


 It was a quiet, peaceful retreat. I was not sure what to take, but packed my copy of the Constitutions of the Society of the Sacred Heart, our formation booklet, the handouts from the Oakwood retreat two years ago, and my Journal. I used all of the above so the Holy Spirit inspired the packing. I also had the idea that it would be good to spend a day on each of my six Goals just to talk to God about each and how God sees me living them out in my daily life and what I might need to change or pay more attention to now that I have had these same Goals for more than six years and have adjusted them to fit my life here at Oakwood.

My first Goal, and the one I consider the most important, is "To give priority to the interior life" and I must say that our isolation has probably helped me with this Goal but I also see that I spend more time on my I-pad playing Words with Friends or reading British mysteries.

My second Goal is to give Joy to Jesus and to others. This one is special for me as I have been called to live in joy and give joy to others and I am happy when I can do this.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

"I feel the winds of God today"


 I promised to share after my wonderful week of retreat at Villa Maria del Mar. I do have some pictures but need to remember how to get from my phone to computer to blog so that will be another day. This is a busy week! I like to come out of retreat with leisure but I found many things waiting for me here at Oakwood. That is why I did not write yesterday. 

The first thing I want to share is a poem, really the words put to an English Tune by Jessie Adams in 1906. It was saved between my Constitutions and the Supplement that I keep in the original case. I do not know where I got this, but it really spoke to me and so I want to share it with you.

I Feel the Winds of God Today

I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift

Though heavy oft with drenching spray, and torn with many a rift

If hope but light the water's crest and God my bark will use

I'll seek the seas at God's behest, and brave another cruise.

It is the wind of God that dries my vain regretful tears

Until with braver thoughts shall rise, the purer, brighter years

If cast on shores of selfish ease or pleasure I should be

God let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I'll put back to sea

If ever I forget Thy love and how that love is shown

Lift high the blood red flag above, it bears Thy name alone

Great pilot of my onward way, Thow wilt not let me drift

I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift.



Monday, August 16, 2021

Home again!



 
I will be back home today and back to writing tomorrow. Stay tuned as I will share something of this wonderful week at Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz. 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

This Sunday is the Feast of Our Lady's Asumption into Heaven


 What I wrote for this Feast was published by mistake on August 5th. I am still in retreat. You can go back to August 5th or just realize that we do have Mary as a Heavenly Mother, Queen of Angels, too.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

Eve of the Feast of the Asumption of Our Lady into Heaven


 Theologians say that it was fitting that God would take Mary to Heaven after her death as she is the mother of Jesus Christ who is both God and man. That is why we also speak of Mary as the Mother of God. She is our Mother, too, and has a maternal love for each of us and watches over us.

I often here her say to me when I pray to her about some decision to be made: "Do wahtever my Son tells you to do." Those were her words at the wedding feast when she noticed that there was a need; she still notices what I need and tells me to go to Jesus and do whatever He tells me.

What I wrote for August 15th was published by mistake on August 5 so you may want to go find it tomorrow. I was in a hurry to schedule the week ahead as I will be in rertreat until the 16th!

Friday, August 13, 2021

God prepares a place for each of us


 This picture seems to me to be an invitation to walk through the arch and sit on the bench and just contemplate the wonderful creation around me and thank God for His many gifts.

I often talk about keeping a gratitude journal because I firmly believe that God likes to be thanked and when we are grateful, we are also joyful. Try it and see. St. Ignatius of Loyola really wants us to begin the daily Examens by recalling what we are grateful for during the day - both mid-day and evening. He said that if a Jesuit was not able to make meditation, he should not fail to make the examen. 

The Ignatian Examen has five points: Prayer to the Holy Spirit to see the day as God sees it; thanking for all the gifts received during the day; examining how I have responded to whatever has happened in my day; prayer for forgiveness for my lack of whatever ( forgetting to follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, or  some impatience, or any lack of love, etc.) and finally a resolution to do better tomorrow! It is a powerful prayer and helps us to see God's action in our daily life and helps us to respond with love and gratitude.

Thursday, August 12, 2021

How do you live in the present moment?


 I am writing this before my retreat, but I have such a desire to just sit and contemplate the ocean. Here is a word for the day taken from Gratefulness:

Since there is nothing but just this moment, the time-being is all the time there is.

DŌGEN

Let us strive to live in the present moment!

It is here and I am Here!  I get more done when I live in the present moment!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Life is a mystery and so is death


 Another little word from Gratefulness:

WORD FOR THE DAY

Things are far too serious for us to lose our sense of humor!

TERRY PATTI 

pLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR MY RETREAT. 😊

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Word for the Day


 Something to reflect on today from Gratefulness:

WORD FOR THE DAY

Clouds come and go in the sky, but the appearance and disappearance of the clouds don’t affect the sky. Your real nature is like the sky.

ANNAMALAI SWAMI

Monday, August 9, 2021

A week with God

 I am going into retreat today at Villa Maria del Mar. Please pray for me.

Here are some sayings that make us appreciate summer: They are from Jean Wise's "Healthy Spirituality.


Summer sabbath is the slowing down and savoring the beauty, refreshment, and renewal of summertime. For many of us summer means travel, camping, fresh fruit and vegetables, water activities, ice cream, family get-togethers, and backyard BBQs. Even in these times following pandemic rules and recommendations, people long for the refreshment of a change of pace.

Of course, I am writing this from Ohio, in the Northern Hemisphere. For those living south of the equator, please pardon my wandering through the warmth and sunshine.

I am heading out this week and returning midweek next week for a postponed from last year and alleluia we can go this year trip.  So I gathered some thoughtful and fun sayings about summer sabbath for your pondering and joy:

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter. Henry David Thoreau

When the sun is shining I can do anything; no mountain is too high, no trouble too difficult to overcome. Wilma Rudolph

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Marcus Tullius Cicero

Some of the best memories are made in flip flops.  Kellie Elmore


My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather. Terri Guillemets

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. John Lubbock

A life without love is like a year without summer. Swedish Proverb

Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world. Ada Louise Huxtable

If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back? Steven Wright

I am Summer, come to lure you away from your computer come dance on my fresh grass, dig your toes into my beaches. Oriana Green

God’s gifts are measureless, and there shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. Celia Thaxter



 

 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


I love the first reading from the first Book of Kings: 19:4-8

"Elijah went a day's journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death, saying: "This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers." He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him and ordered, "Get up and eat, or else the journey will be too long for you!" He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb."

The responsorial psalm is "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord"

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 4:30-5:2

Paul tells us "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption....and be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us ..."

The Gospel is from John  6:41-51

Agin we have Jesus telling us that He is "the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

Saturday, August 7, 2021

First Saturday


 Here is a word for today:

To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.

REBECCA SOLNIT

Friday, August 6, 2021

Feast of the Transfiguration


 The Gospel is from Mark:2-10: "Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them alon with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus...."

What a moment to contemplate! Then they hear a voice from a cloud saying: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him."

We are all called to listen to Jesus.

Today is also the First Friday of August and so we spend time listening to the Heart of Jesus who so loves us and our world and who wants us to love Him in return.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


 Two Entrance Antiphons are given for today's feast which is so unusual that I am copying both here:

"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothes with the sun, and the moon beneath her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." or

"Let us all rejoice in the Lord, as we celebrate the feast day in honor of the Virgin Mary, at whose Assumption the Angels rejoice and praise the Son of God."

In the Collect we ask that we may always be attentive to the things that are above, and that we may merit to share in Mary's glory.

This is the last day of my retreat so I am happy to have it end on Our Lady's Feast. I will come out tomorrow morning and be home to share some of my retreat beginning August 17 to post my blog.

This got published the day I wrote it and cannot be changed to August 15 - sorry about that.

Contemplating calm water


 When we calm our souls so they reflect God as this lake reflects the trees, we enter into a deep mystery and allow God to love us.

My posts are going to be brief, I think, for the first half of this month when many are still on vacation. I leave next Monday for a week of retreat with God at Villa Maria del Mar. Please pray for those precious days that I may be attentive to the Spirit and just spend the week with God.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Feast of St. John Vianney


 "Prayer is to our soul what rain is to the soil. Fertilize the soil ever so richly, it will remain barren unless fed by frequent rains."