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Friday, March 5, 2021

First Friday of March

 I always love the First Fridays.

Here is a quote that appeared in our Oakwood Daily News: "Gratefulness is an extraordinary potent answer to many of our deep and far-reaching questions, inviting us to heed its invitation to live gratefully in the fullness of the moment that is here for us now."

I am trying to practice living in the present moment as I am seriously trying to remember to discern and be docile to the Holy Spirit. And that means being grateful - grateful for each moment of life, and very grateful for the daily graces showered on us.

I love the fact that Sister Be Mardel is now 103 years old and still so alert and spreading holiness around her. 

I also ask prayers for all those for whom I have promised to pray for and all in need today.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

What have you learned lately?

Pictures often help me to pray. I am sure you know my love of water as I use so many ocean scenes, waterfalls, etc. One of the fun suggestions that we had recently was to make a very short video of something that we have done or learned to do since everyone has been sheltering in place. I am not making a video, but did think that one of the things I have enjoyed and it is new for me is doing the crossword puzzles that appear on the back of our Oakwood Daily News. They must be easy ones as I can do them, but I find I really do look forward to this when I return to my desk after our noon meal when the daily news is distributed.

I also enjoy coloring but must confess that I am usually waiting to color when I have nothing more pressing to do and that does not seem to happen very much. I wonder what you have found to do during this time. Some explore new recipes, learn to bake or knit or sew. I think it has been a fruitful time for many, unless they are living in cramped quarters, worried about money, and having to try to help their children with distance learning. I am sure that many need our prayer as this sheltering in place seems to be the normal for many more weeks, but some of us have also found it a fruitful time. Certainly here at Oakwood the solitude has been conducive to prayer.

Spring is coming

 Our patio is full of Joniquils and Tulips, a sure sign that Spring is coming to California or at least to Oakwood. We do not have many tulips blooming yet, but I do think all the joniquils are in bloom. The trees are just beginning to bud. I am trying to connect the season of Lent with Spring.

I am learning to praise God as I walk in the patio. I guess I have time now to be more contemplative and just stop and enjoy the new life that is springing up in our patio. I am ashamed that I do not know the names of so many of our plants and trees, but I am enjoying seeing new life emerging.

I wonder if our souls are also sprouting new life and if we are taking time to enjoy what is coming forth? Maybe I can name some of the seeds that are now blooming in my soul. I know I recognize trust, gratitude, hope, and love. I also see some weeds that need to be pulled. How is the garden of your soul?

What needs to be uprooted or pruned? What needs a bit more care? Lent is a time to take care of the interior garden of our soul.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Why Pray?

 There are many reasons why people pray. I pray because God has given me the desire to be in a deep relationship with Him. He wants to love me and needs me to be still and let Him. I also pray so that I can deepen my relationship with Jesus who is always with me. I know that God enjoys my taking time to thank Him for so many gifts and graces. 

Why do you pray? When do you pray? How do you pray? These are questions to ponder as Lent is a time to examine how we are responding to God. God gives us the desire to pray and then waits for us.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

A Prayer for Today

 Someone sent me this prayer in a note last Saturday. I do not know where the prayer originated, but want to share it with you 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 your goodness in all of creation.

Direct all that is in 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 or poverty, honor nor dishonor, long life nor short life.

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

Monday, March 1, 2021

Monday of the Second Week of Lent

 I am late posting today. I just had a zoom with my Spirituality Group and we are all reading James Martin's new book, Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone.  It is good to go back and think about the different ways we pray and this is a book that is easy to read but full of wisdom.

We had Mass yesterday so now I am missing it today more than ever. I was looking at the Collect and this is what we are asking in the Mass for today:

O God, who have taught us to chasten our bodies for the healing of our souls, enable us, we pray, to abstain from all sins, and strengthen our hearts to carry out your loving commands.

I guess I like the part where we ask God to strengthen our hearts so that we can always do what pleases Him. I just changed the wording to fit the way I would pray that today and am praying it. 

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Second Sunday of Lent

This Second Sunday of Lent has the Gospel of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Just as Jesus invited Peter, James and John to go up the mountain to pray with Him, He is inviting each of us today. The most important thing about this Gospel seems to me to be the words of God the Father saying: "This is my beloved Son. Listen to him." If we really listen to Jesus, our lives, our world, would be different.

Collect: "O God, who have commanded us to listen to your beloved Son, be pleased, we pray, to nourish us inwardly by your word, that, with spiriutal sight made pure, we may rejoice to behold your glory.

The first reading is from Genesis 22 and is the story of God putting Abraham to the test by asking him to sacrifice his son. Fortunately, it was only a test, but I cannot imagine how Abraham felt!

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

First Reading is from Paul's letter to the Romans: 8: 31b-34. "If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over forus all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him?...

Let us listen to God today. We are having a Mass and that is really good as it has been a month without Mass.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Our Guardian Angels

 Today I have been thinking about our angels and how they work to keep us holy and healthy as well as free from all danger. I wonder how they feel with the pandemic taking so many lives. I am sure they are working overtime - not that they ever stop working, but it must give them consolation to be the one with the dying person to lead him or her to eternal life. I guess this is just because I feel the need to thank my angel and all the angels who have been guarding us. I firmly believe that my angel is always with me.

Today was our first out of quarantine and we did enjoy talking to each other. I received two gifts this morning. One was from a cousin who now lives in North Carolina but the box was from Georgia and contained "bear claw" made with dark chocolate and white chocolate, handmade Southern Candies. I assure you that I was grateful to get this wonderful gift, but it lasted all of ten minutes after I opened it. I was delighted to have something to give the staff and so began to pass out the bear claws with real joy, but I saved one white and one dark to eat on Sunday. 

After that gift, I was surprised to find another from one of my Seniors who has just returned from Costa Rica and she brought me a darling little frog sitting on a log in a glass bubble that has lovely green sparkles when you shake it. I guess Costa Rica has no snow so invented this; also in the gift bag were two tiny bags of candy. One has dark chocolate almonds and so I have an unexpected treat. Then, one of my Sisters who lives alone in what I call the "compound" came over and brought me two advocados. She had also given me two last week so I took them to supper and they were a treat as they got passed around with the cheese pizza that was our Friday night supper this week. I enjoy mashing up an avocado and eating it on crackers or on toast. Dee is keeping me supplied! I am writing this on Friday night and need to get to sleep earlier tonight now that I have given up my detective stories until after Easter - this only means the ones on my Ipad as I still might read the ones I sometimes find in my mailbox left there by an avid reader who lives in the Gatehouse.

Friday, February 26, 2021

We are again out of Quarantine

 It means a great deal to be able to see others and talk at a distance and be able to go to the dining rooms.

We are all happy about this and will even have Mass this Sunday. I am late posting as I thought I had scheduled ahead. I am praying for everyone as there are still too many deaths. Our high school students are going to be returning to school on March first but I think only some each day so that all will get a chance to have some classes on campus and then some at home. It is confusing but they are very good at figuring out their schedules and I suspect all will be well.

I have decided that I need to give up my detective stories for the rest of Lent. They were a great escape during this quarantine, but I do not need them now and will concentrate on spiritual reading. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Continuation of the Praise Song for the Pandemic


This is, as I wrote yesterday, a work in progress by Christine Valters Paintner and I do not know who sent it to me, but this is the second part.

Blessed are the ministers and therapists of every kind, bringing words of comfort.

Blessed are the ones whose jobs are lost, who have no savings, who feel fear of the unknown grnawing.

Blessed are those in grief especially who mourn alone; and blessed are those who have passed into the Great Night.

Praise for the police and firefighters, paramedics, and all who work to keep us safe, praise for all the workers and caregivers of every kind.

Praise for the sound of notifications, messages from friends reaching across the distances, give thanks for laughter and kindness.

Praise be our four-footed companions, with no forethought or anxiety, responding only in love.

Praise for the seas and rivers, and forests and stones who teach us to endure.

Give thanks for your ancestors, for the wars and plagues they endured and survived, their resistence is in your bones, your blood.

Blessed is the water that flows over our hands and the soap that helps keep them clean, each time a baptism.

Praise every moment of stillness and silence, so new voices can be heard, praise the chance at slowness.

Praise be the birds who continue to sing the sky awake each day; praise for the primrose poking yellow petals from dark earth.

Blessed is the air clearing overhead so one day we can breathe deeply again.

Ane when this has passed, may we say that love spread more quickly that any virus ever could, may we say this was not just an ending but also a place to begin.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Praising all helpers in the Pandemic

 I have been wanting to praise all those who are helping us to get through this time and then someone sent me this "Praise Song for the Pandemic;A work in Progress by Christine Valters Paintner" and it just seems to be what we would want to say so I am copying it here so we can really not only praise these people, but continue to pray for them.

Praise for the nurses and doctors. every medical staff bent over flesh to offer care, for lives saved and lives lose, for showing up either way.

Praise for the farmes, tilling soil, planting seeds so food can grow, and act of hope if there ever was one.

Praise for the janitors and garbage collectors, the grocery store clerks, and the truck drivers barreling through long quiet nights.

Give thanks for bus drivers, delivery persons, postal workers, and all those keeping an eye on water, gas, and electricity.

Blessings on our leaders, making hard choices for the common good, offering words of assurance.

Celebrate the scientists, working away to understand the thing that plagues us, to find an antidote, and all medicine makers.

Praise be the journalists keeping us informed.

Praise be the teachers, finding new ways to educate children from afat, and blessings on parents holding it together for them.

Blessed are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, all those who worry for their health, and praise for those who stay at home to protect them.

Blessed are the domestic violence victims, on lock down with abusers, and the homeless and refugees.

Praise for the poets and artists, the singers and storytellers, all those who nourish with words and sound and color.

To be continued tomorrow as there is still more to praise and bless!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

"Look to Him that you may be radiant with joy'

 The Responsorial Psalm held my attention today. This is the verse from Psalm 34 that I prayed over: 

"Look to him that you may be radiant with joy, and our faces may not blush with shame.

When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him."

Sometimes a line from Scripture will jump out at us and that is what happened when I read

"Look to him that you may be radiant with joy"

God wants us to be joyful even in the midst of a pandemic. How is this possible?

I leave each of us to work that out for yourself, with the help of the Holy Spirit. I do think that finding God in pray makes me joyful.

Monday, February 22, 2021

So many are suffering from the cold, the snow and ice

 Here I am in California and imagining what others are going through when I read the weather reports. I think our community on the school grounds in Houston has a real fireplace in the living room. I hope they are not freezing and maybe even have electricity by now. I am writing ahead but know that Texas has not had electricity in many parts and now the news is that people are to boil their water, but if they have an electric stove they cannot do that. I hope that all this suffering is making the country aware of the need for ecological reform before we destroy our planet. 

To go back to Lent, I mostly have thoughts this morning from reading James Martin's book on prayer. I am discussing the first two chapters on a zoom tomorrow and have these two thoughts to share: There is no one way to pray and God often makes prayer easy for a beginner. Now, I am so convinced that God made us so He can love us that it makes sense for God to give us a desire for prayer as it is in prayer that we form a relationship with God and allow Him to love us. 

Just take some time today to sit with God and receive His Love!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

First Sunday of Lent

 Mark's Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent is short but very important. Jesus must have told his disciples about being tempted in the desert. 

"The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.                                                  After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel." Mark 1:12-15

I think this gives us plenty to reflect upon today. May our forty days of Lent help us to proclaim the Kingdom of God. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Reading during Lent

 Although I would not choose to be in quarantine, it certainly does give me time for reading. I bought two books to read besides the two that I need to read. They arrived just in time. I had read part of James Martin's new book: Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone and decided it was a book I wanted to buy. In my cart at Amazon I had other books and decided on one by Brian d. McLaren called We Make the Road by Walking: A Year-long Quest for Spiritual Formation, Reoriantation, and Activation.  It has readings for every week in the year and lends itself to discussion, I think. I really have not had time to look it over but I think I shall give it a try. 

I mostly am trying to discern how the Lord wants me to spend these days of solitude. I am trying to be docile to the Holy Spirit's inspirations. I love the quiet, the time to color, the time to pray, to read, to write to friends - this is what is filling my days. I have so much to be grateful for and have good friends to stay in contact with while I can do so. I have learned how to host Zooms and love this way of communicating.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Lent is a time of renewal

 We are given six weels to prepare for Easter to enter into the joy of the Risen Lord. First, we walk with Him and stay with Him even in His agony and death; Jesus gave His life for us to show us how much He loves each of us. I think sometimes we need just to be with Him in prayer -no words are necessary. Just be with Him in silence. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Lent has begun with record cold

 I cannot imagine the cold that some parts are feeling now, and some are without electricity and that may mean they have no heat, no way of cooking, etc. I feel for them as no one can go out to warm up in a restaurant. Here, at Oakwood, we are having meals brought to out rooms as we will be in quarantine until all have tested negative for two weeks. I really do not mind and find solitude helpful for prayer and for Lent. These are a precious forty days and we do not want to waste them.

I never used to like Lent. I could not wait until Easter came. That changed somewhere along the years. I remember one Lent spending my afternoon prayer with Jesus in the Agony of the Garden. I could not go on and really felt that this is when Jesus suffered the most. And now I seem to find the line from Mark 14 "they all left him and fled" staying with me. I read once that suffering alone is the greatest suffering and it must have been so heartbreaking for Jesus to have all his friends leave him.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday

 "Rend your heart and not your clothing" -Joel 2:13

In Lent 2021: To Live Anew, Joan Chittister has two reflection questions for us to ponder  today:

What 'doors of your heart' do you need to open this Lent to live a fuller, holier life?

And then think about this: Are there "worlds" you may have allowed to go sterile in your life? What might they be? Think about our relationships, our family, friends, physical health, time, too, for rest and relaxation - that is another "world" plus our own spiritual worlds. We need to examine with the light of the Holy Spirit how God is asking us to grow during this Lenten season. It is just six weeks, so we need to begin now!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Shrove Tuesday

 It is really cold in much of the Midwest and it is hard to believe that Ash Wednesday is tomorrow.

Since we are in quarantine, I think nothing will happen here, although maybe a pastoral minister will appear and drop ashes on our heads going frrom room to room. I doubt it, but one never knows.

We are having a King's cake and that will be fun. In the meantime, I am giving serious thought to Lent and how the Lord might want me to spend it. I read something this morning that spoke of choosing a word for the year; it triggered my memory and I went back in my Journal and there was my word for the year: docility. So, I am planning to try to practice docility to the Holy Spirit and plan my solitary days with discernment and docility to the Holy Spirit. I am also going to return to a practice that has been so helpful in the past: never go to bed without having done something for someone and thanking for the opportunity. Sometimes it only means an email, but I think ever act of love raises the level of love in the universe.

Have a happy Shrove Tuesday!

Monday, February 15, 2021

My Guided Imagery


Last Wednesday I was able to have another Guided Imagery by Zoom with a group and several guides. It is not the same as having an individual Guided Imagery, but it still can be powerful. This one took me down into the depths of the Heart of Jesus. I was reminded of a phrase from a lettter that our Mother General wrote in preparation for the bicentennial of the Society of the Sacred Heart. She wrote the letter in November and I entered for the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 1950. The phrase that has never left me is "the solitude of His Heart is a crushing reality". I think my call to Religious Life came from the desire to be united to Jesus for all those who do not think of Him, pray to Him, thank Him, etc. It was a great shock to find out that being a Religious did not mean immediate union with Jesus.

In my guided imagery last week, Jesus, my Good Shepherd came and I was able to go with Him into the depths of His Heart. It is hard to write about now, but it was a deep experience of His Love and left me with a renewed desire to stay with Him in His solitude. 

Since we are back in quarantine since before breakfast last Friday, I am having plenty of solitude and hope I am able to spend the time with Jesus. I am again taking time to color in my Psalms Coloring Book, a great present. It is a contemplative thing to do and I really enjoy it  once I have made up my mind that I need not do anything else. I guess I think of it as an indulgence, but I know it is very helpful and I enjoy it, once I begin coloring.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am trying to think of Sunday and Valentine's Day together. The Collect says: "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."

I love the Gospel. It is Mark 1: 40-45 where the leper comes to Jesus and says: "If you wish, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretches out his hand, touches him, and says, "I do will it. Be made clean." And the leprosy left him. I wonder if we have that kind of faith today?

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Sunday is Valentine's Day !


It is time to say "I love you"!

We are back in quarantine so cannot leave our rooms. We were tested on Wednesday and it seems that someone was positive so Friday morning breakfast was in our rooms with cardboard and plastic utinsils. All activities have been cancelled for the next week so we just stay in our rooms. I think we can walk in the patio when no one else is out. I am grateful for zoom.

Friday, February 12, 2021

How courageous am I spiritually?

 I am not sure why I wrote that title after selecting this picture. The Lord does ask us to have faith and we can move mountains. At present I am very concerned for my sister-in-law, Anita, who is very ill and back in the hospital. I believe it is a serious blood cancer and please do pray for her. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Two years ago the school rebuilt the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes directly across from the entrance to Oakwood. It is visible from the large window of the Chapel and I like to begin a walk outside with a visit to the grotto. It is beautifully landscaped and the original stones were used to rebuild this lovely grotto.

I went to Lourdes on the weekend of Pentecost after having given the 30-day retreat to some priests from Malaysia and India and a Brother from the Philippines and a Sister - all in the Institute of Religious Formation. I had made that same retreat in Manresa, Spain three years before and now I had the opportunity to give it to others and spend more time in the cave where Ignatius wrote the Exercises. We were a busload driving through the mountains from Spain to France and arrived in Lourdes just before the weekend and another Sister and I were fortunate to find a room in a house near the shrine.

What impressed me most and I can still remember how it thrilled me (I am seldom thrilled so this is a special memory)was the Mass in multiple languages and filled with worshippers from all over the world. It was a real Pentecostal experience. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Perfect book to read during Lent

 It is just a week before Ash Wednesday and time to start thinking of what God wants us to do during Lent this year. I am going to suggest that we all read James Martin's new book, Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone. I have been going through it quickly and will order my own copy today as it is a book that can help us improve our relationship with God. James Martin, SJ, says:"The most common way God draws you closer is by placing within you the desire to be closer, the desire that drove you to think about prayer. Stange as it sounds, your readingof these lines at this moment is a sign of God's call."

Father Martin is an excellent spiritual director and I believe that all of us can learn from this latest book of his how to improve our relationship with God and how to be aware of how God is calling each of us.

I am having a Guided Imagery by Zoom this morning and my reflection group this afternoon and the rest of the week is also full so I am going to just put something short on my blog each day, but I will always post a picture as I know some like the picture and a picture does help us to slow down and maybe even leads us into prayer. This home reminds me that God has prepared a home for each of us and waits for us there with all the lights on to welcome us!

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Next Week is Shrove Tuesday

 It seems as if Christmas was just a week or so ago and now we are just a week from Shrove Tuesday and then Ash Wednesday. I cannot imagine how New Orleans will manage to celebrate the Shrove days as the virus continues to shut down so many things like parades, balls, and parties. As I now live with someone from New Orleans, I think we need to celebrate. I also plan to ask the kitchen for brownies for Westwood for Valentine's Day next Sunday. 

Maybe we should be thinking about what we will do for Lent. Joan Chittister has some reflections for this Lent and she tells us that "Lent is about becoming, doing and changing whatever it is that is blocking the fullness of life in us right now. Lent is a summons to live anew." 

What is blocking the fullness of life in me now? And what am I going to do about it?

Monday, February 8, 2021

 This Alaskan glacier is beautiful to look at but I just read about the glacier that slid down and has killed so many and it is because of global warmning. We must act and act now. Let us pray for this today.

We had a great Super Bowl party just for Westwood yesterday and the community enjoyed being together and the kitchen sent over everything I asked for so now I am wondering if I can ask for brownies for Valentine's Day next Sunday. We are praying together every night, but only four of us still present after the Super Bowl! 

Have a good week and stay cheerful; it is important to see the good and be grateful!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

First Reading from the Book of Job 7:14, 6-7 Poor Job, he thinks he will not see happiness again.

Responsorial Psalm: Praise the Lord who heals the brokenhearted. 

Praise the Lord, for he is good; sing praise to our God, for he is gracious; the Lord rebuilds Jerusalem; the dispersed of Israel he gathers.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He tells the number of the stars; he calls each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; to his wisdom there is no limit. The Lord sustains the lowly, the wicked he casts to the ground. 

The Second Reading is from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians: 9:16-19, 22-23

Paul explains that he has an obligation to preach the Gospel. He also will say that he has made himself "a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. "To the weak, I become weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the Gospel, so that I too may have a share in it."

The Gospel is Mark 1:29-39  It tells us that Jesus went into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They told him about her and Jesus approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. "Then the fever left her and she waited on them."

When it was evening, the whole village gathered at the door bringing all who were ill or possessed by demons. He cured many but it must have been quite a scene and may have lasted until late. Still, Mark  tells us that Jesus "rising very early before dawn, left and went out to a deserted place, where he prayed. When he is found and told that everyone is looking for him, he said, "Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come." 

Saturday, February 6, 2021

The ocean always speaks to me

 I look at a picture of the ocean and I am drawn to God. Here, I also have thses majestic cliffs and the water is calm. God has made our world so beautiful; we need to take time to enjoy the beauty, even if it is through pictures.

I hope to write my Valentines today. February is flying past and it will be Valentine's Day and then Lent. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

First Friday

 Today is the First Friday of February, a day that is special for all who have devotion to the Heart of Christ. I look forward to my hour of adoration each day, but it is always special on First Friday even if we do not have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament during this time of not getting together.

It is Super Bowl Sunday and I am looking forward to the little party I am preparing for our Westwood Community - we are only six and will be wearing our masks and staying six feet apart. Since the six of us are together each night for prayer, I think we are safe meeting in our living room for the game. I think a couple will only be there for part of the time as only a couple of us are real football fans and I have not watched much football this year. 

I am late posting today as there is so much to read on my email. Congress seemed to vote all last night. I cannot imagine being alert all that time. I guess they were glad to get home after the final vote at 5:30 this morning. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Winter Memories

 Winter is still with us and many people have suffered from the recent snow storms. I was hoping to go to Tahoe in February, but this year we cannot go out so this picture brings the snow to me without having to feel the cold, scrape the ice off the windshield, and drive through snow on icy roads. I do not miss that part of winter and feel for those who need to go out in the snow and shovel their walks and even dig their cars out of drifts. I remember one Christmas Eve when we wanted to go to Midnight Mass even if it had been snowing and was bitter cold. Two of us went out to scrape the ice and snow off the car only to find that it would not start! Fortunately, at that time the Provincial House was just up the street and we were able to borrow a car that would start. We made it to Mass on time!

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Today I am just sharing one of my favorite poems

 As swimmers dare

to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
free fall, and float
into Creator Spirit's deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

~ Denise Levertov from "The Avowal

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord

 The Gospel is from Luke 2: 22-40 and tells us the story of how Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to the temple when the days of their purifictation had been completed according to the law of Moses. There was a man named Simeon who was waiting to see what the Holy Spirit had revealed to him. He came into the temple and he took Jesus into his arms and blessed God saying: "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 glory for your people Israel." Mary and Joseph were amazed; Simeon blessed them and 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 the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Then, there was also Anna, a prophetess who was advanced in years and she came forward and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph had much to ponder as they made their way back to their own town of Nazareth. Luke tells us that "the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him."

Monday, February 1, 2021

One of my favorite Gospel scenes

 Today I have my Spirituality Grouop on Zoom and we will each be sharing a favorite Gospel secene from the first ten Chapters from Mark's Gospel. We read all of the Gospel and picked out adjectives to describe Jesus last week. This week we are choosing to pray with two or three passages from Mark and then share one. I love the scene where Jesus, after praying alone on the mountain, comes walking on the water to his apostles who are having a hard time trying to go against the wind. Jesus tells them. "Fear not; It is I." And the storm ceases. That has always been a favorite passage, but this time I think I will be sharing the scene of the Transfiguration.

Mark has Jesus inviting James, John, and Peter to go up the mountain with him. Luke will tell us that Jesus invited them to go up to pray. While they are there, Jesus is transfigured before them and they see Moses and Elijah there conversing with Jesus. The garments of Jesus are a dazzling white. Then they hear the voice from the clouds saying: "This is my beloved Son; listen to him."

I think God keeps saying that to me, to each of us. "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." 

As we begin this new month no doubt some are looking forward to the "Super Bowl", some to Valentine's Day and some to Lent and many of us will still be trying to keep track of what is happening in the government.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 The Collect for today is short: "Grant us, Lord our God, that we may honor you with all our mind, and love everyone in truth of heart." It is brief but powerful and worth praying for this grace all week.

The first reading is from the Book of Deuteronomy: 18: 15-20.

The Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 95:1-2, 6-9.

"If today you her his voice, harden not your hearts."

"Let us come joyfully to the Lord; let us acclaim the rock of our salvation.

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us joyfully sing psalms to him.

Come, let us bow down in worship; let us kneel before the Lord who made us.

For he is our God, and we are the people he shepherds, the flock he guides.

Oh, that today you would hear his voice;..."

The second reading is from Paul's First Letter to 5 the Corinthians 7:32-35. Paul wants us to be free from anxieties. He seems to believe that the unmarried are only anxious about the things of the Lord.

The Gospel is Mark 1:1-28.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Picking up my Journal again

 What really got me back to writing in my Journal again? I just decided to write out my conversation with Jesus about my life right now and off I went. I do remember in the past taking time to write a letter to Jesus, but this was just writing out a dialogue with Him. Since I do most of the talking, it is not a very balanced dialoge, but when Jesus does say something, it is worth listening!! Try it and see if it works for you.

This week is full of Zooms! We began with a long one full of the work our Province is doing on important things like racism, community organization, etc.; on Monday I always have two Zoom meetings: one at 10:00 with my Spirituality Group of Mothers and one at 3:00 with two of my three senior. I had set up a Zoom for Spiritual Direction for Tuesday morning, have a Zoom on Wednesday with a friend just so I will not forget how to set up Zoom meetings, and then Thursday morning with the  Philippine Region. On Friday, I have my third Senior for a Zoom meeting in the afternoon. I am just letting you know that I do keep busy. I am going to see the movie "Nine to Five" here on Friday morning. We have been having movies every weekday morning in the Gathering Room for ten people, all wearing masks, of course.

I am now on a second reading of Maria Cimperman, RSCJs book, Reigious Life for Our World: Creating Communities of Hope. If you are a Religious and reading this blog, I hope you will get this book and read it. I am hoping a few more out here will read it and then we can have some discussion about it. I need to really go slowly this time and pray over the chapters. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Some further ideas about Journaling

 The basic rule for keeping a Journal is that there are no rules! Whatever way you want to keep your Journal is a good way. You are unique and your Journal should be whatever you want it to be. 

Be open to experimentation in your journal. Maybe ask God to show you how to use your Journal. If you are faithful to keeping it, it will probably take on a life of its own. My daily entries are usually a mix of what I have done or need to do, gratitude for whatever happened that day that I want to thank for, and sometime a relection on my prayer or something that I have read. I never write more than a page and often it is less than a page.

I do believe that keeping a Journal helps us to live a more reflective life. God has a plan for each of us.  Our Journals help us to know what God wants. We need to be honest in our Journals. But we also need to enjoy keeping a Journal. Maybe my taking time off this January will help me to deepen my entries now that I am back to writing. I know that I do not need to write every single day, but it is a habit that I have had for so long that I want to return to daily journaling.

I try to get my students to Journal and they say it is helpful for them, too.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Keeping a Journal

 I am one who has kept a Journal for years. I usually write everyday but lately I just have been writing a review of the week. This happened because I finished one Journal and thought I would wait to start the next since it was almost the date of my Guided Imagery. For some reason, I have not returned to daily journaling. So, I went back to a book I have on How to Keep a Spiritual Journal by ronald Klug. 

Here are two questions that may get me started again if I take my new Journal to the Chapel today:

1. What changes would I most like to see in my life? (Even as I copy that question I know I would prefer to think of all the things I am grateful for in my life!)

2.If you knew you had only one year to live, what would you do with that time?

I am not sure that these questions are really going to get me going again, but sometimes I just write a note to Jesus to tell Him what I am thinking? Or tell Him what someone needs, or just thank Him for so many good things that are happening, or ask Him what He wants me to do tomorrow, etc.

Now, I hope I have motivated myself to begin again and perhaps you also will keep journaling as it is a big help and can lead to real spiritual growth if you try to make it more of a prayer journal. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Pondering and Treasuring

 Every year a dear friend of mine in Miami writes an ephiphany poem; this year she discovered that she was using the same title so this poem is "Pondering and Treasuring (2)

Weary from challenge and ever "breaking news"

from crisis and grief in this year's past...

Let's pause a bit --deep inside,

where silence prevails, but memories last.

Like Mary, we can ponder adn mull over things,

examine perspectives, shift our gaze,

in the midst of uncertainty, loss and fear,

we can see the light also, in so may ways.

Like her, we can treasure the things that are good--

our families, our friends, the whole medical scene,

grocery store and InstaCart persons,

scientists working nonstop to make a vaccine.

We can hole and treasure the light in the dark,

the skies and the waters, pets, flowers...a tree,

Zoom visits, Face Time, and You Tube events,

loved faces as we click on a screen we can see.

In a year that has turned things upside down, 

in the dark, we can know that we're still richly blessed,

and ponder and treasure how closely we're held,

and in spite of the times, feel an ultimate Yes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How Good to have the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

 We do have these gifts but need to pray that they increase in each of us and especially I am praying for our new President, the Vice-President, Congress, and all who are in government positions may really feel an infusion of all seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This blog has made a serious effort not to discuss politics, but this is a moment when we need to pray that those who govern our country will really focus on the common good.  I was going to ask all of us to pray today for the gift of wisdom, but then thought it is better to pray for an increase of all seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. We can also pray for the fruits of the Spirit to be manifested in our lives. With the many deaths surrounding us, we need to pray to keep the gift of joy. I think peace, joy, and gratitude are essential for each of us to cultivate during this pandemic. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Feast of St. Paul's Conversion

 Paul was a good Jew and persecuted the followers of Jesus because he was zealous for God and felt that these Jews who were folloing the teachings of Jesus were not being faithful Jews. It took a great light from the sky and a voice that said, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" Paul asks who is speaking with him and he hears Jesus say: "I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting." Paul asks what is he to do and Jesus tells him: "Get up and go into Damascus and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do." Since Paul could not see because of the brightness of the light, he was led by hand into Damascus. 

This is a dramatic conversion story and Paul will become the Apostle who will convert so many to follow Christ. I love to go back and read the Acts of the Apostles to follow both Peter and Paul as they went about teaching others and converting them to also be followers of Christ.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

 I know I did this but must have forgotten to save it so I will write again and this time concentrate on how Jesus first begins to call his disciples. He was just passing by the Sea of Galilee when he saw Simon and his brother, Andrew. They were casting their nets into the sea. I guess he waited, according to this picture, until they had come ashore. Then he just said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." I do not know that they understood what Jesus was saying, but they abandoned their nets and followed him.

Then Jesus walked a little farther and swa James and John in a boat mending their nets. Jesus called them andthey left their fater Zebedee in the boat and they followed Jesus. 

It is really worth reflecting on the call of these first four Apostles. They did not hesitate to leave all to follow Jesus. Jesus continues to call each of us. Are we ready to leave our own things, our concerns, our plans and follow wherever Jesus is calling each of us right now? 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Jonah resisted his calling

 Tomorrow we will be reading about how Johah was told by God to travel to Nineveh. Instead, Jonah boarded a ship going in the opposite direction. As the story goes, a great storm arose and the sailors could not manage in the rough seas. Jonah accepts the fact that he is the cause of this terrible storm and so deserves to perish that the others may live. The sailors then throw him overboard and he is swallowed by a whale. After three days, the whale throws him up on the shore. Now this may just be a story, but the First Reading tomorrow will tell us that Jonah went to Nineveh, according to the Lord's bidding. He begins to announce that the city will be destroyed in forty days. He had only begun to walk through the city when the people believed God and proclaimed a fast, When God saw that they had repented, God did not carry out his threats. 

The reading ends with this fact that the people changed God's plan. Was Jonah happy? No. I suggest you go back and read the entire story in the book of Jonah.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Forming a habit of feeding my soul

 To continue with thoughts from I heard God Laugh, Matthew Kelly talks about how we are body, soul, will, and intellect. He asks how we are intentionally feeding our soul? According to Kelly, feeding your soul is the missing piece of the puzzle. He suggests that the best place to start is with daily prayer. He tells us that nothing will change our life so completely as learning how to really pray. "In prayer we lern how to love and be loved, because we discover that we have been loved, are loved, and will continually be loved by God. 

I think anyone who has been reading this blog knows how important I think it is to just let God love us. He made us to love us and when we let Him love us, His love overflows to others, too.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

God sees you and all your potential

As I told you, I am going to be sharing a few ideas that seem important from the book, I Heard God Laugh. Matthew Kelly says: "You are not what has happened to you. You are not what you have accomplished. Your are not even who you are today or who you have become so far. You are also who and what you are still capable of becoming. You are your realized and unrealized potential. God sees you and all of your potential, and he aches to see you embrace your best, truest, highest self. He yearns to help you and to accompany you io that quest."

Kelly tells us that the best is yet to come.

Kelly believes that we see things we are not satisfied with in our lives, God is speaking to us thruough that dissatisfaction. He is issuing an invitation to us, if we are willing to try something new.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

I Heard God Laugh

 I Heard God Laugh is the title of a little book by Matthew Kelly. On the cover it says that this book is "a practical guide to life's essential daily habit".  Prayer is life's essential habit and this little book is attracting me because of its title. Now, I will copy something from the back cover of the book (I hope it is obvious that I just picked up this book because I love the title and have not read it).

This is from the back cover: "Is your life working? Most of us are trying to put together the jigsaw puzzle we call life without a very important piece. Over time this becomes incredibly frustrating. In this extraordinary book, Matthew Kelly powerfully demonstrates that we cannot live the life we have imagined, or experience the joy we yearn for, unless we learn to tend the soul. From there, with his classic style of practical wisdom, he teaches us how to remedy this problem.....

If I find time to check out this book, I will add more.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sometimes what we plan is not what God plans

 In the first Tablet of 2021, I read this quote that I think worth passing on today, It is from Edith Stein who took the name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

"Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God's all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me....

"When night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God's hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him - really rest- and start the next day with new life."

This is helping me so I hope it also is a help for you.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

 Sometime we just look forward to a holiday without really thinking of why we have this day free. I think that one of the great problems facing us today in our country is white supremacy. We can talk about racism but until we acknowledge that each of us live in a culture that has catered to white supremacy., we will continue to be racist. We grow up with it. Until we change, we are not going to have unity. We want to be a democracy, but we find it hard to accept everyone - we are all human beings and God loves each of us so let us act as brothers and sisters.

This is the weekend that the "Quad Area" meets each year and I really miss it. St. Louis, New Orleans, Grand Coteau, and Houston will be meeting by zoom this year and there are always RSCJs and Associates who join - we used to go from Miami and I always found the meeting life-giving as we tried to share in about 3 to 5 minutes what was most important in our life during the past year. I am sure this year will have people sharing on their experience of what is happening in our country and the experience of being rather isolated during this pandemic. We have all discovered Zoom and I feel our lives will never be the same. We are communicating with all the countries in the Philippine Region and beyond. I think we have discovered anew the value of silence and solitude. We also have grieved over the way people have been treated in our own country, especially I hope we have really learned that black lives do matter!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

 I am late again but I did listen to a great homily on today's readings by Bishop Barron. You can find him on YouTube, but Helen McLaughlin sends me his sermons from Scotland! He gives a great homily so I suggest you check him out.

The reading for today are from the first book of Samuel, 3:3-19; Psalm 40; First letter to the Corinthians, 6:13-20; and the Gospel is John 1:35-42.

Today we have God calling Samuel who is living in the temple but does not recognize the voice of God. Finally, after the third time when he runs to tell the high priest, he is sent back to bed with the message of being open to God, ready to listen.

In the Gospel, Jesus calls Peter. Do use these reading for prayer. I am due elsewhere so much stop.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Follow Me

 Today we have Jesus calling Matthew in the day's Gospel, Mark2:13-17

Jesus was passing by and he saw Levi sitting at the customs post. Jesus said, "Follow me." 

Mark tells us that he got up and followed Jesus. That is the kind of response Jesus looks for from us, too. Sometimes it is an inspiration of the Holy Spirit that is sort of like the call to follow Jesus. Am I listening? Am I able to hear His call? And, most importantly, can I leave all and follow Him? He does not stop calling us.