Daily reflections for prayer, growth in the spiritual life, and good prayer sources. This blog also has links to other websites. One feature is a list of spiritual books.
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Monday, March 29, 2021
Monday of Holy Week
My soul is thirsting for the Lord....I am taking some days off to enter into Holy Week - let us pray for one another and for our world. I will be back for Holy Thursday, I hope, but I am trying to listen to the Holy Spirit. I have made a resolution to spend much less time on the computer this week in order to have more time for prayer,
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week. The entrance Antiphon tells us:
"Six days before the Passover, when the Lord came into the city of Jerusalem, the children ran to meet him; in their hands they carried palm branches and with a loud voice cried out: Hosanna in the highest!"
We will have Mass with the blessing of the palms before Mass, but no procession from the patio into the Chapel this year, I think, because we are better separated by being at our chairs which are six feet from anyone else and we all wear our masks all during Mass.
I love the first reading from Isaiah 50:4-7: "The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; and i have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.
The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame."
Responsorial Psalm: "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
The second reading is from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians 2: 6-11.
Then we have the reading of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark. This is usually read in parts and really puts us into Holy Week.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Approaching Holy Week
This is really a 'holy' week and we begin with the liturgy of Palm Sunday and hear the first account of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Probably the passion narratives were the earliest written texts and probably they came from the way the early Christians in Jerusalem recalled the sequence of events and even visited the places where the events occurred.
I am still going up the mountain to pray, but I think I am also spending time with Jesus in the garden where He feels alone as He struggles to accept all that is to come; and then I see Judas coming to betray Jesus with a kiss and all his friends flee and leave Him alone. Let us try to stay with Him in this Holy Week that begins tomorrow and ends with Easter Sunday.
Friday, March 26, 2021
Today I am sharing a poem by Carol Bialock, RSCJ whose funeral we have not yet had because we are waiting so relatives can come and we can have a funeral Mass. She told me she was happy to have me use her poems in my blog and I have done so in the past. Now, I am sharing this one with you.
My way makes a trail in the water like the swan, my tiny velvet trail in time.
My way is my breath, that falls and rises, a simple aliveness, as of unseen air, the bottom line of life.
My way fits like skin, a comfortable casing for the bones, as a home has walls, as a temple hides its prize.
I kneel within the mystery of my self and breathe my thank you for what is.
Thursday, March 25, 2021
Feast of the Annunciation
This is such an important feast. The reflection given in "Give Us This Day" for this feast is by Kevin O'Brien, S.J., president of Santa Clara's University. He begins by sayine that "Annunciations occur more often than we think." He talks about a time before he was ordained when he was in Boston which was the epicenter of the sexual abuse scandals. He raised some doubts about his own vocation to a trusted Jesuit mentor. A few days later he received a letter from him saying: "The people of God need you. The Society of Jesus wants you. And we love you." This was an annunciation and soon his doubts faded. He said that he has used the same words in counseling another young Jesuit. He really believes that God is announcing good news to us. We must be attentive to the angels in our midst.
Wednesday, March 24, 2021
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Annunciation
I am alerting my readers now as I love this feast. I have missed two days of blogging and I think I just got involved in too many Zooms. Still, sometimes I feel that I need just to wait for the Holy Spirit to inspire me.
We are praying for vocations. Our Lady was quite young when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her. I asked the Westwood Community last night how old were they when they first heard the call to leave all and enter the Society of the Sacred Heart. Most of us were sure when we were still in high school, but one said she always knew she was to be a Sister even before she knew the Society. We had a great conversation about the different ways the Lord called each of us. It brought me back to the first stirrings of my own vocation. My problem is that I read Alcott's "Little Men" in fourth grade and loved it; I almost knew it by heart. I decided then and there that I would grow up like Jo, marry and have a school for boys as well as having a large family of boys at that time, but later I added girls to my imaginary family. Somehow, the Lord called me and gave me lots of children to care for and finally, when I began teaching at the University level, I had lots of young men to care for and I guess I never stopped having students to pray for and try to inspire.
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Fifth Sunday of Lent
The Collect for this Sunday is ""By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, you Son handed himself over to death."
I am not sure which readings will be chosen as there is a choice. So I just want to reflect that we are approaching the end of Lent and perhaps we need to stop and see if we are responding to what Jesus wants of each of us.
Saturday, March 20, 2021
Friday, March 19, 2021
Feast of St. Joseph
Thursday, March 18, 2021
Seven Ways of Praying
I am adapting this from something I read on Richard Rohr's daily posting. It is from The Seven Homecomings taught by Tibetan Buddhist Lama Rod Owens, You are to let this practice change to meet your needs.
1. The first homecoming is of the guide. Reflect on any being who has been a guide, a teacher, a mentor, an advisor, an elder for you. Invite them to gather around you in a circle and say welcome. Relax. Inhale. Exhale. Come home to being held by your guides.
2. The second homecoming is your wisdom tests. Reflect on any text that has helped you to deepen your wisdom. These texts can include any writings, books, teachings, Scriptures that have helped you to experience clarity, openness, love, and compassion...Say welcome to your texts. Inhale. Exhale. Come home to being held by your wisdom texts.
3. The third homecoming is community. Begin by reflecting about the communiteis, groups, and spaces where you experience love or the feeling of being accepted and supported in being happy. Where do you feel safe to love? Where are you being loved? Say welcome to your communities. Relax, Inhale. Exhale and come home to being held by your communities.
I shall save the others for tomorrow as you have plenty to ponder with these three.
Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Let us celebrate the faith of the Irish. I am so grateful for the wonderful two weeks I had in Ireland with my sister. She gave me this trip that began as a tour of the most scenic parts where we had the experience of staying in different "Beds and Breakfast" places. We then spent most of the last week visiting my RSCJ friend at our large and very ancient convent outside of Dublin, Mont Anville. From there we visited relatives in a little town near Dublin and found Lightholder Lane and the descendents of the Lightholders who are still living there on two adjacent farms. The boys married twin girls. They were so hospitable and we got to know many of the family plus we visited the graveyard where some had been buried and the site of the original land that dated back to the mid 18th century. Another sister who lived in Dublin drove us and she was so like my great Aunt Anna Lightholder that it was as though we had always known her. Some of the girls have kept in touch with my sister.
We did not have time to look up the Murphys,(my Dad's mother) nor the McLaughlins, (my mother's mother's family) but we did go to the other side of Ireland to visit a mystic. The nuns at the convent told my sister about her so she insisted that we go. I enjoyed the train ride as a young student sat across from us and told us interesting things about the countryside we were passing through. I guess I think of these things every time March 17th comes.
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Special Chapter Prayer Adapted for all
We have been reciting a special prayer for the Society of the Sacred Heart's Special Chapter to be held next November. I like it so much that I am adapting it here so you will have it to pray as we all need what it asks.
"Spirit, Creator, You make all things new. You go ahead of us on the way. Light up the way we look at things, make us able to see the ways you are acting in us, in others, and in the world,
Spirit of Discernment, guide us. Inspire our thoughts, our words, and the way we speak them. Guide our assemblies and our conversations in our common search to better serve you.
Spirit of Light, dwell in each of us so that your priorities become ours. May your inspiration enlighten us to act. Amen.
Monday, March 15, 2021
Daylight Saving Is Here With Longer Evenings
Although we will be getting up in the dark, it is nice to have light after supper. We are praying together every night in Westwood, the six of us who live there at this moment in time. I suspect we may get others as soon as travel is safe. It is nice to be together each evening for an evening prayer and time to reflect back on the day. I like to think of all the things I am grateful for and thank God for each.
We are having cold nights but lovely days and I sat outside for a visit with one of our sisters who lives in an apartment here on the grounds in what I call the compound as there are three single apartments and two community houses. We built the buildings but the land belongs to the school so now we are renting the buildings. There is also a laundry and it is very nice, but the houses which have four bedrooms and two baths are not fully occupied. You need to be independent and able to walk back and forth to live there. I am happy to be in Westwood and only need to cross the patio to be in the dining rooms and Chapel. I have a beautiful view from my window with a fountain in the patio where the birds and squirrels bathe and drink.
We have all the decorations up for St. Patrick's Day.
I had a Guided Imagery by Zoom last Saturday. I found myself at the foot of the Andes mountains in Chile and Jesus came and invited me to climb the mountain with him. He held me as we climbed and when we came to a plateau with a sort of rocky ledge on the mountain side, we sat down and Jesus told me again the same message I have been getting in prayer: "God just wants you to allow God to love you and then let that love flow through you to others." I really felt the love of God and it was a consoling and joyful moment and then I saw that there were many people in front of us. One group consisted of all those who have helped me to find God in my life and the rest of the people were those to whom God's love reached through me. I saw all my First Communicants, friends from years ago, colleagues, students, etc. Later, I went back to search for faces among the people who were "guides" for me and I could easily see and name about two dozen.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
Fourth Sunday of Lent
This is the joyful Sunday in Lent with the entrance antiphon telling us:
"Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her. Be joyful, all who were in mourning; exult and be satisfied at her consoling breast."
The Collect: "O God, who through your Word reconcile the human race to yourself in a wonderful way, grant, we pray, that with prompt devotion and eager faith the Christian people may hasten toward the solemn celebrations to come."
Different readings may be used so I am not sure which ones will be used.
Here is the prayer for after Communion for this Sunday:
"O God, who enlighten everyone who comes into this world, illuminate our hearts, we pray, with the splendor of your grace, that we may always ponder what is worthy and pleasing to your majesty and love you in all sincerity."
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Celebrate Who You Are
I love this that was sent to me once by my spiritual director and I might have shared it before, but it is worth copying again.
Celebrate Who You Are
For your unique life journey has not often been an easy one, yet look at how much you've grown, how much you've learned, how far you've traveled, how much love you have given, how much beauty you have created!
It is time to sing your strengths, revel in your triumphs, and rejoice in the magnificent human being that you have become.!
Friday, March 12, 2021
Questions to ask ourselves each morning
1. Have I surrendered this new day to God, and will I seek and obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit through its hours?
2. What have I specialty to thank God for this morning?
3. Is there any sin in my life for which I should seek Christ’s forgiveness and cleansing? Is there any apology or restitution to make?
4. For whom does God want me to pray this morning?
5. What bearing does this morning’s Bible passage have on my life, and what does He want me to do about it?
6. What does God want me to do today and how does he want me to do it?
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Breakfast with Jesus
I have always loved the scene in the Gospel where Jesus prepares breakfast for his disciples. They have been fishing and toiled all night without catching any fish. When Jesus calls from the shore to find out if they have caught any fish, they are tired and discouraged and tell him that they have not caught any fish. Then Jesus tells them to let down their nets again and the nets are filled with fish. John now recognizes Jesus and says, "It is the Lord!" Peter immediately jumps into the water as he cannot wait to get to the shore. There he finds a charcoal fire with fish and bread and soon the seven apostles are sitting around the fire with Jesus as he serves them breakfast.
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
Remember when I was using the book Life in the Psalms? I think I got as far as Psalm 46 in the book and then just stayed there, especially with verse 10 which is the one most people know:
Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exalted amoth the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.
Verses 7 and 11 are the same and may have been sung a hymn of praise to God. Here is the verse:
The Lord of Hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.
It is good to pray over this psalm.
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Only a picture to contemplate today!
Monday, March 8, 2021
Helkps for Prayer
Since I have been reading James Martin, S.J.'s Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone, I find it so helpful as it reminds me of so many ways to pray and to help others with prayer. This morning I read how his retreat director asked him to go back in memory to the house where he grew up, then go into his room and talk to Jesus about his memories, first in his bedroom, and then moving into other rooms. I had not done that for several years and found it very fruitful today and so pass it on to you. It is an easy way to just be with Jesus as you really let Jesus recall the memories as you relive being in the different rooms of your home.
Sunday, March 7, 2021
Third Sunday of Lent
If you get Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman, you are using the reading for Year A. Since I do not know what readings will be chosen, I will give the Collect for your attention this Sunday.
Collect: O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.
The mail problem with Collects is that they are read at the beginning of Mass and they are written in such a way that it is hard to grasp what we are really praying for during the Liturgy. Here we are asking that we may always be lifted up by God's mercy. Now that is worth praying for, but it gets lost in the reading of the prayer.
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Trip that sometimes happens
This is a poem written by Carol Bialock, RSCJ who. long before she died, gave me her poems and told me that I could use them in my blog. I have used some, but this one appeals to me today.
Trip to the Edge of the World
Going to the edge of the world
Is something I don't plan for,
I don't measure my strength
Or plot out the journey.
I just find myself there,
And hold tight to the hand that brought me,
Least I fall off.
The view is breathtaking.
I breathe deep.
All I can tell you is
There is no better place to be.
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?
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
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.