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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.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Going My Way

 This morning we are having the old movie, "Going My Way" at my request so I will be watching it with nine others from 9:30 to our dinner time at noon. (Actually, I am writing this blog on Thursday having just had a great zoom with RSCJs and others from all over as it was on the work of our International Education Committee. It was great to see the enthusiasm that our mission of education always generates.)

As I listened to all the excellent suggestions given, I kept thinking that what is most important in our mission of education is to give the students a sense of being loved unconditionally by God and I think we do that by loving each as she or he is and letting them know that they are loved.

I have had some great zooms this week and the time goes by so quickly. I wanted and need to write notes and hope to get to that this afternoon. We have not heard when we will get the vaccine yet, but I hope it is soon.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

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

 I was struck by both the First Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews and by Mark's Gospel when a leper comes to Jesus and kneeling down says, "If you wish, you can make me clean." Jesus was moved with compassion and immediately stretched out his hand, touched the leper and said, "I do will it. Be made clean." And the leprosy left him and he was made clean.

 We all need Jesus and need to ask for the gift of compassion. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us:

"Oh that today you would hear his voice. Harden not your hearts..." Then we are told to take care of our brothers and sister, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is sill 'today'. so that none of you grow hardened by the deceit of sin. We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end."

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Busy day and I thought ahead....

 This is late and this picture will say it all - I felt as if I had reached the top of a wave and now I am waiting for the boat to move - a special sort of feeling that is making me wonder what will be next. Some days are just full; we were tested again today, but no date yet for the vaccine. More tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A place of Prayer


Our Chapel at Oakwood is both a place of prayer and for prayer. We each have our own chair and mine is up front just to the left of the picture. Actually, the flowers on the left are usually just a couple of feet away from my chair. I usually pray in my room in the morning, but always have an hour of adoration in the Chapel in the afternoon. I usually spend most of the hour just being present to Jesus who is always present with me. I can click on my hearing aids and have complete silence. It is sinking into silence that is so life-giving for me; I am convinced that Jesus just wants me to sit there and let His Love penetrate my whole being.
On Saturday, I had a Guided Imagery Meditation with music on zoom with 16 wonderful, prayerful, women. Music was played after a relaxation exercise that left us somewhere beautiful with a rainbow.
I found myself in the rainbow and Jesus came and took me by the hand and invited me to climb the rainbow. I told Jesus that I could not do that as I do not have the energy anymore to climb anything. He just smiled and said that I did not need to climb; we would float up. Still holding me by the hand, we began to ascend. I was aware for the lovely colors of the rainbow and felt that there were many others present but I did not see them nor hear them. When we got to the end of the rainbow, we were able to look down upon the world. I could see the different countries clearly because of different colors. Then I found myself in the universe and the sky was lit by millions of stars and the moon. Jesus let me know that He cared for the entire universe, not just our world.

We are asked to write out what happened in the present tense and that is what is so powerful. I feel that the rainbow represents my life and that Jesus is with me every step of the way. There is no fear because he is holding my hand and I am floating with Him as we ascend. I cannot do this but Jesus makes all things possible.
I just thought you might like to read about my guided imagery as I am to work with it this week and then we have another sharing on Saturday.

Monday, January 11, 2021

 I know that we had the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus as a young man ready to begin his life of preaching, healing, and saving us, but I am still in the Christmas season and thinking how helpless and vulnerable Jesus is as an infant. He cannot talk; he cannot walk; as any baby, he cries, needs to be changed and fed. It is a great mystery and one that I love to contemplate for Jesus came to be like us in all things except sin. He comes out of love for us. 

Let us take time today to thank Jesus for coming to us then and now. He is present to each one of us and being human as well as divine, Jesus really understands us, loves us, and wants to be with us.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Baptism of the Lord

 Today's Feast celebrates the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. He has left home and gone to find John the Baptist who is preaching and baptizing in the Jordan river. It is an important moment in the life of Jesus. He had been living in a small town and fitting in so well that his friends and neighbors did not think he was different; he was the carpenter's son. But at the moment of his baptism, we read today in the Gospel of Mark 1:7-11 that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. "On coming out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, 'You are m beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

There is so much to reflect on today. It must have been painful for Jesus to leave his mother; tradition has always believed that Joseph had died so that made it harder for Jesus to leave home as he no doubt had been supporting her since he had learned carpentry from Joseph. Scholars think Jesus was at least thirty years old when he began his public life. He began with an act of humility, being baptized with the sinners who came to John from all over. I am not sure that Jesus had a clear idea of what His Father wanted Him to do, but it must have been a tremendous consolation to see the Spirit descending on Him and hear the Father saying: "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Where is God in my life right now?

 Bill Barry's third Chapter in his book, What Do I Want In Prayer, has the title "How and Where Has God Been in My Life?" I think the title of this Chapter is all we need for reflection today and that it will lead us to be able to articulate for ourselves where God is in my life right now.

Friday, January 8, 2021

 Before I continue with thoughts from Bill Barry, SJ, I want to share something sent to me. It is by Roy Lessin and worth reflecting on as we are still at the beginning of a new year. 

"Just think, you're here not by chance, but by God's blessing.

His hand formed you and made you the person you are.

He compares you to no one else-- you are one of a kind.

You lack nothing that His grace can't give you.

He has allowed you to be here at this time in history

to fulfill His special purpose for this generation."

I am more and more convinced that His special purpose for each of us it to let God love us and then pass His love on to others.

I read that it might be good to just take a word to keep in mind rather than make a resolution for the New Year. An amazingly long list of words was then given as suggestions. My word was not there but I think it came from the Holy Spirit when thinking of what kind of year God wants from me - the word  "Docility" jumped into my mind so I am now hoping and trying to have a year of docility to the Holy Spirit. 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Am I Angry with God?


We have been seeing a world in trouble; people everywhere are suffering. I suspect there is quite a bit of anger in many of us and this anger may be directed to God. After all, God could make things better. If we are angry with God, can we turn to Him and trust Him? Father Bill Barry suggests that we need to let God know how we feel and give Him a chance to respond. He suggests looking at Psalm 10 to see if it helps you to speak to God about the way you feel.
"Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor- let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord....

They think in their heart, "God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it."
Rise up, O Lord, O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed."

Sometimes the best thing we can do in prayer is tell God how angry we are with the rich getting richer and the poor, poorer. And so many dying now and leaving children without parents, and parents without children during this pandemic. Why is all this happening? And so we cry out to God and this is prayer. We need to express what we feel. We also need to listen to God who speaks to us in so many ways, if we are attentive and really wanting to listen to Him.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

God Really Cares for Each of Us

 Although the picture today might make you reach for a sweater, there is a certain peacefulness and quiet in just contemplating the snow by moonlight, and by being aware of the beauty of the moon and snow. Sink into quiet and then begin to talk to God and listen to Him. 

One of my favorite passages is from Isaiah 43: 1-5

"But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel; do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you.

Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.

I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life.

Do not fear, for I am with you."

God is speaking these words to each of us still today. God wants to deepen our relationship and this is the time to allow Him to do so by sitting with Him as one friend does with another.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A New Year full of Challenges

 As we begin this New Year we are aware of many challenges facing us and our world today. It is a call to prayer, Since I love Bill Barry and I am sure he would be happy from heaven to have me quote from one of his books, I think it will be enriching for all of us. I will try to summarize in my own words much of what Bill says in one of his books that I took from our Spiritual Library this morning; I almost felt the Holy Spirit pushing the book into my hands. Since I am trying to live this year in "Docility to the Holy Spirit, I will be using What Do I Want In Prayer  to just go back and really get in touch with our desires. Bill's books are all about deepening our relationship with God and speaking to Him and listening to Him as one friend does with another. When you have a friendship with someone, you really want to spend time with him or her just getting to know one another. That is what we are called to do with God. Jesus, who is both God and man, is fully human as well as divine; but this means that Jesus longs for us to stay with Him, to tell Him our hopes and fears, our sorrows and joys. Let us begin today to find some time alone to just be with Jesus. Sometimes we will just sit in silence, but we also need to talk about our frustrations both with the pandemic and with our political problems that influence so many. Let Jesus know how you feel, what bothers you, what you want to thank for and what gives you joy.

This is the best advice I can give for this new year so full of challenges.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

 I read a life of Elizabeth Ann Seton many years ago and have loved her ever since. She was a young girl, wealthy family and friends, had her own spirited horse, and had a wonderful wedding and was much in love with her husband. They had several children before her husband took her to Italy. I believe it was a business trip for him but she wanted the sea voyage to improve his health. It did not improve, his lungs were badly damaged and worsened in the quarantine they had to suffer when the boat arrived. Her husband died and Elizabeth was struck by the faith and goodness of his friends in Italy who were Catholics. Later, when home. Elizabeth decided to take instructions and become a Catholic even if it meant estrangement from her family. She ended up accepting an invitation from the Bishop of Baltimore to come and begin a school for children. Later, with other women who helped her, she founded her congregation. This is all from memory of that book I read so many years ago. She is worth looking up as she is the earliest canonized American saint. 

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Feast of the Epiphany

 I love this feast, but it was always on January 6 so seems to come too quickly. I like to think of these wise men seeing a star and leaving to follow it. It may just be a story told to make us realize a truth, but it is a call to all of us to leave all that we think important and go to look for Jesus. We do not have to go far as we know He is with us, but we can take Him the gift of ourselves and find Him always waiting for us.

Let us look at the Mass for this Feast. (We have heat again, but I also now have a little heater for my room and just remembered to turn it on- what a blessing hot water is and how grateful I am to have it!). 

The Collect: "O God, who on this day revealed your Only Begotten Son to the nations by the guidance of a star, grant in your mercy that we, who know you already by faith, may be brought to behold the beauty of your sublime glory.

First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah: 60:1-6

"Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory. Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance..."

Responsorial Psalm: "Lord, every nation on earth will adore you."

Second Reading from Paul's Letter to the Ephesians 3:2-6

The Gospel is from Matthew 2: 1-12 

It is a story that I have always loved and find that I can imagine following a star and finding Jesus.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

First Saturday of the New Year

 Much of the country is beginning the New Year with snow, ice, rain, and sleet. Here is California we have good weather but a gas leak has left us in Westwood and Rosewood without heat and no hot water. We are back to paper plates and plastic forks, etc. Fortunately, Oakwood does have heat.  Hopefully the pipe can be changed and we will again have hot water and heat!

I am thinking today of all the things, the ordinary, everyday things, that I so often take for granted. Let us be aware and grateful for all the gifts of each day.

Friday, January 1, 2021

 Today I was thinking of a poem by Jeanne Houlihan that I have used in the past in a Christmas letter, but I  think it is good to review this again for the New Year. She begins by saying what she really wants to give you is a star:

"Brilliance in a package, something you could keep in the pocket of your being.

Something you could take out in times of darkness, something that would never snuff out or tarnish, something you could hold in your hand, something for wonderment, something for pondering, something that would reminds you of what Christmas has always meant: God's Advent Light in the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God's for giving, and I must be content to give you words and wishes and packages without stars.

But I can wish you life as radiant as the star that announced the Christ Child's coming, and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood beneath its light.

And I can pass on to you the love that has been given to me, ignited countless times by others who have knelt in Bethlehem's light.

Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star.

May our New Year be filled with stars from God.