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Friday, April 30, 2021

Feast of Saints Philip and James


Last day of April

 Our roses are blooming and mingle now with our tulips, and other flowers that bloom in Spring. The graduation of our seniors is set for May 22 so I am really looking forward to my visits with my three seniors by zoom. We only have three weeks left, but I think that they will want to continue meeting, at least some weeks before they are off to college. 

This quote from Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk lends itself to further reflection. She says:

"The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega, it is God's brooding over the face of the waters; it is the blinded note of the ten thousand things, the whine of wings. You take a step in the right direction to pray to this silence...."

God is found in silence and this year of the pandemic has found many discovering the gift of silence.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The ocean always speaks to me of God

 I miss the ocean and hope to be in retreat in August right on the ocean. It is a guided imagery retreat being given at my favorite place, Villa Maria del Mar. I am really looking forward to it.

I wrote a blog for today and then erased it by mistake, but maybe it was not what God wanted me to say today. I am finding it difficult to put into words what I think the Spirit may be pushing me to say. I am falling back to the author of The Cloud of Unknowing. At one point he defines contemplation as "the awareness of God, knwn and loved at the core of one's being.

The author says to the one he is writing for: " Your whole life now must be one of longing, if you are to achieve perfection. And this longing must be in the depths of our will, put there by God, with your consent." 

I think we all have this longing for God. Let us cultivate it. God does not need our thoughts but just wants to love us! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sharing of Memories


Now that we are having the delayed funerals ever other week, we are also using the time together on Tuesdays after Mass to share memories of our departed sister. Yesterday we had a sharing for Barbara Carey who died shortly after her 100th birthday. She had a wonderful sense of humor and I miss her.

This sharing today is from the beginning of the Book of Privy Counsel by the author of The Cloud of Unknowing, still a favorite book. The author says: "Do not pray with words unless you feel you have to, and even then, if you do, do not bother about their being many or few.....See that nothing occupies your thoughts except an utter determination to reach out to god: no special thought about what he is, or how he works, but only that he is. Let him be himself, please, and nothing else. You are not to go probing into him with your smart and subtle ideas. That belief must be your foundation."

A liitle later, the author will also say: "you are not to think about yourself any more than you do about God, so that you are one with him in spirit...."

Being a theologian is not always a help for prayer!! Let us just rest in God's presence today.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

I have been using the prayer of memories. This began with my Guided Imagery about two weeks ago when I went flying with Jesus over all the places I have lived. Now, I am going back slowly with Jesus and remembering the graces of each place and thanking for the people and for the events that happened while I was living there. I did not realize how many places I have lived, but I am going back in my memory taking time to relive some important moments, to thank, and sometimes to ask pardon. It is an easy way to pray and makes me feel very grateful.

I have had so many zooms lately that I actually miss the solitude, but zooms are a great way for me to communicate. My three students are quite faithful to a weekly zoom plus an email to "check in" and I think we have made deep relationships and this has not been an easy year for our Seniors. Graduation is May 22 here and they are looking forward to finishing these last courses and examinations. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

"My soul longs for you, O God

 Today Psalm is Psalm 42: 2-4 and worth praying over so I am copying it here:

Responsorial is "Athirst is my soul for the living God."

"As the hind longs for the running wters, so my soul longs for you, O God.

Athirst is my soul for the God, the living God, when shall I go and behold the face of God?

Send forth your light and your fidelity; they shall lead me on

And bring me to your holy mountain, to your dwelling place.

Then will I go to the altar of God, the God of my gladness and joy;

Then will I give you thanks upon the harp, O God, my God!"

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Fourth Sunday of Easter

 Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and it is also the 25th of the month and a day we pray for vocations. I am sure Jesus is still calling young people to Religious life, but so much going on in their lives makes it more difficult to hear the quiet invitation of Jesus to join Him in His mission of saving souls and bringing all of creation into fulfillment. 

The Collect today: "Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."

The Gospel is one of my favorites, John 10:11-18

"Jesus said:/I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep....

I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep....

Then Jesus says that there will be one flock and one shepherd...we must continue to pray for this.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Consenting to God as God is

 I love the title of Thomas Keating's book: Consenting to God as God Is and find that it is a call to me in and out of prayer. Here are a couple of thoughts to share with you this morning. Keating says that it is precisely our weakness that interests God more than anything else. When we try just to be still and sit in God's presence, we begin to feel an great desire, and intense longing to be united to God. Try it and see.

Sometimes we forget that God does not need out thoughts or words; God waits for us to come to Him and allow Him to love us. We just need to fully surrender to His Love and Mercy.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Some thoughts from prayer

 We have tulips blooming in our patio - a real sign that Spring is here. I have been using Father Keating's book, Consenting to God as God is and I have found it helpful for prayer and want to share a few thoughts with you today. I have not yet read the third part which has the title: "Consenting to Transformation According to God's Terms" so I have that to look forward to, but I have underlined quite a bit in the second part which has the title: "Consenting to God in Self-Surrender". 

"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) = This is the place of surrender and the complete gift of ourselves to God. When we can reach this stillness, it is refreshing and Keating tells us that we come out of that space feeling energized, loved and at peace. I know this is true and it is one of the reasons that I began Centering Prayer groups years ago.

I do think it is necessary to take time to relax, sink into the presence of God and then just let go of all thoughts. That is easier said than done, but let them be like ships sailing down the river of your mind; do not let them dock! If a thought is important, it will return after you have had your time for just Centering on God. I have tried repeating a word, but what helps me more is to have an image and I just return to the image. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Using the prayer of memories

 Since my Guided Imagery last week, I am returning with Jesus to all the places I have lived. I added some placed where I might only have stayed a month, but nothing under a month is on my list as I have over thrity-five places and it is taking me a long time to go back with Jesus and look at my daily life in each of these places; I need to spend time, especially with the people I lived with and just being grateful for so many wonderful memories. I really think this is a good prayer for me now and so I am taking time to go back and let the memories flow as I walk around the house and hear the sounds, etc.

This past week has been a busy one and I know that I have neglected my blog. I am also taking time to just be still and do nothing. It is good to take time out and just relax and "Be still and know God" - He wants to make Himself known to us. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Third Sunday of Easter- another late because of a mix-up....

This was supposed to be published last Sunday but I did not realize I actually had it in the wrong month. I guess I am trying to do this too quickly as I have been busy!
 TIn today's Collect for the Mass we are asking that we may exult for ever, in renewed youthfulness of spirit, so that "rejoicing now in the restored glory of our adoption, we may look forward in confident hope to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection."

I love the Gospel which is Luke's version of the first appearance of Jesus to his disciples in the upper room where they are behind locked doors. (Luke 24:35-48) 

Jesus probably waited until the two disciples had returned from Emmaus so they could tell the others how he had walked with them and was made known to them in the breaking of the bread when they had invited Jesus to sup with them. While they were still speaking, Luke tells us that Jesus stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you." But they were terrified and so he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have." And he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

Then Luke tells us that Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures....

I guess I feel that the Risen Lord is still going around to show himself to us in many situations during these forty days after Easter. Let us not be afraid to meet Jesus in whatever way He comes to us, but let us enter into His joy! I am looking back over each day during our evening prayer in Westwood to see how Jesus has been present and to be grateful that He is still going around to console us - we need to pray for eyes to see, to recognize how He still comes to us.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Monday late posting

 from a conference of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat for the Feast of Pentecost

"I am sure that there is not a single one here who does not desire to receive the Holy Spirit; for that, it is necessary to be free from self-seeking.

The Spirit loves to act in persons who are entirely empty, who give themselves without reserve; obstacles impede the Spirit's action, but where the space is clear her operation soon begins to be felt. 

Persons so given to the Spirit no longer walk but fly; the greatest sacrifices no longer cost; suffering does not overwhelm them. Those who are totally given to the Holy Spirit find flowers among the thorns."

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Embracing Joy in His Presence

 Years ago my sister gave me a little book by Sarah Young with the title, "Jesus Calling" - I am sure I would have shared a bit with my readers on this blog. Then, since I have been at Oakwood, having a gift card for Barnes and Noble, I browsed the shelves and found a more recent book by Sarah Young: "Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence." It was published in 2016 and there is a copyright so I must be careful in quoting from this little book, but it does help to kindle joy and so I think I will be using some thoughts from it. 

During this Easter season I am convinced that Jesus wants to give us His Joy. We need only look at all the good things tht are happening in and around us every single day! Begin now to keep a gratitude Journal and you will be joyful! More on this tomorrow.

Spring is Really Here

 I am enjoying our patio full of roses, tulips, flags, and other lovely flowers that I confess to not knowing all the names of the many blooming bushes and trees. It has been a delight to watch the apple tree change from pure sticks to tiny buds and now it is in full bloom.

I missed writing my blog partly because we lost our internet connection on Wednesday and I was out much of Thursday and just did not get to the blog yesterday as there were over 65 emails to try to take care of plus time spent trying to just be present to all that is going on here. We are now beginning to have funerals for the eight who have died this year - but not one of us has had the virus. Age is what caused these deaths or complications due to old age. 

What I let God see and accept in me also becomes what I can then see and accept in myself, in my friends, and in everything else! This is “radical grace.” This is a quote from Richard Rohr.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Each of us has an unique purpose and call

 Today's reflection is taken from Becky Eldredge's The Inner Chapel. I have spoken about her book before, but she has a reflection in "Give Us This Day" that I want to share with you. I will just try to condense the thoughts that mean the most to me. First, I love the idea that each of us have a unique purpose and call. Each of us has a special way we relate to Jesus in prayer. Then she quotes from Pope Francis' Gaudete et Exsultate:

"Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel." 

Now, we are not yet canonized saints and may never have that official recognition, bu we do have a mission to reflect and embody a certain aspect of the Gospel.
My Westwood Community of six pray together every evening and we shared what aspect of the Gospel we were called to reflect and embody. It was a great sharing and we are going to contine doing some deeper sharing about how we see each other. 
I will share more on this tomorrow, I hope. It is always time to be somewhere else or so it seems to me!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Jesus still is with us

 The top picture is to remind us that Jesus came to His disciples that first Easter night and said to them: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When Jesus had said this, he breathed on the disciples and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit."

We know that we also have been given the Holy Spirit. First, in Baptism, and then in the Sacrament of Confirmation we are marked with an invisible sign that makes us both children of God and one who possesses the Spirit. We need to be attentive to the action of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. Jesus is still saying to us, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." It may only be to visit the lonely, write a note, send a word of comfort to someone, etc. Let the Spirit lead us today!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Feast of St. Teresa of Los Andes

 The last time that I visited Chile, I was able to go spend the day at the shrine of St. Teresa of Los Andes. She had been educated in our school, Maestranza, and one of the Sisters that I helped had been in her class. The two Religious who took me for the day's outing are now in heaven with Teresa, but I remember the day so well. I was most impressed by the many Chileans who were visiting her shrine and the many priests that were hearing confessions all day long. Teresa entered the Carmelite convent in Los Andes and found it to be "heaven on earth'. She died of typhus and. although not yet twenty, she was alowed to make her final vows on her deathbed. She was canonized in 1993. I also visited the Carmelite convent to see her room. Teresa said that "the true Carmelite, as I understand it, does not live. God is the one who lives in her." 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday of Divine Mercy

The Gospel for this Sunday has Jesus coming to his disciples who are locked up for fear of the Jews. Jesus comes and says, "Peace be with you." He then shows them his hands and his side. Then he said to them "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

Here we have the mercy of Jesus giving us the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And, of course, Jesus is showing His Divine Mercy to each of them. Thomas was not with them so then Jesus returns a week later when Thomas is with the others. Thomas had told the others that "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into his side, I will not believe." 

Jesus came again and stood in their midst and said, "Peace be to you." Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger into my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe. Thomas said, "My Lord and my God!" Something that many of us were taught to say at the moment of the consecration in the Mass.

Then Jesus said to him, "Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed." 


Saturday, April 10, 2021

Saturday after Easter

 The first Sunday after Easter now is dedicated to Jesus under the title Divine Mercy. Divine Mercy Sunday pushed Good Shepherd Sunday out of its place, but the Good Shepherd is certainly an image that conveys the Divine Mercy. 

The prayer for today's Liturgy asks that "we may always find delight in these paschal mysteries, so that the renewal constantly at work within us may be the cause of our unending joy."

I hope that our recalling and praying with the paschal mysteries is a constant renewal and gives us that unending joy. 

I desire to clear out my room but then do nothing and I need to tackle that extras that I do not need and am not using. I say this, but lack energy to do more than a little bit at a time. However, I am going to weed out many things today, I hope and pray. Our Oakwood Daily News told us that "Spring is in the Air" and it's the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning to see if there are things you would like to give away or donate. I do have clothes and books to give away and papers to throw away. Hopefully this afternoon will see a good start as I love having a neat room with nothing extra. I did wash my spread this morning and I am throwing away the huge stack of Oakwood Daily News.! Perhaps my musing over this spring cleaning will help my readers to also clear out and many things that collect without one knowing it. My prayer shelf is rather full, but everything there has a meaning for me so I will only dust it.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Friday within the Octave of Easter

 Today is my very favorite apparition. Jesus waits for his friends who have been fishing all night. As they have caught nothing, they are tired and discouraged, probably wet and hungry and cold. Jesus comes to them and first asks they if they have caught any fish. When they respond saying they have toiled all night and caught nothing, Jesus tells them to cast the net to the right of the boat. They do so and the net is so filled with fish that it is almost breaking. John recognizes the Risen Jesus on the shore so Peter leaps into the water to get to Jesus. Jesus has been busy preparing breakfast for his disciples. He serves them bread and fish and then He will ask Peter three times: "Do you love me?"

He asks each of us the same and tells us to feed His sheep.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Thursday within the octave of Easter

The Risen Jesus had a busy Sunday; I am sure He went to show Himself first of all to his mother.

Mary would not be startled as she had kept all his words and pondered them in her heart. It was a consoling visit.

Then Jesus showed himself to Mary Magdalene who at first did not recognize the Risen Jesus. She did as soon as He called her by name.

He also seems to have appeared to Peter, but we do not have details of that appearance.

Jesus also went to join the two of his disciples who are leaving Jerusalem for Emmaus but who seem to be discouraged and without hope as they know that Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried in a tomb. They did hear that the women had said that Jesus had risen, but they did not pay much attention to the tale of the women. When Jesus joins them, they do not recognize Him until He stays with them for supper and they know Him in the breaking of the bread.

Then Jesus goes to his chosen disciples who are in a locked room that Sunday night. Thomas is not with them. They are despondent and confused. They are pondering the stories of Jesus appearing during the day, but they find this beyond belief as their faith cannot make sense of what has happened and they do not seem to believe all that Jesus told them about how He was to suffer and die but would rise on the third day. They are afraid and so are gathered behind locked doors. The Risen Jesus appears in their midst and greets them with "Peace be with you." They thought they were seeing a ghost and are terrified. Jeus shows Him his hands and his feet and then asks them if they have anything to eat. They give him a piece of baked fish and he ate it in front of them. Then, Luke tells us, that He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. 

Let us stay with the Risen Jesus today and be attentive to the different ways we may experience His presence in our lives.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Easter Wednesday

 I love the Gospel for today. It is from Luke 24: 13-35.  Luke tells us that on that very first day of the week, two of the disciples of Jesus have left Jerusalem and are walking to Emmaus, a village about seven miles away. They are discouraged but continued to talk about all that had been happening to Jesus who was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death, a death by crucifixion. Jesus lets them talk and then he begins to explain the scriptures to them so they would understand that it was necessary that the Christ shoud suffer these things and enter into his glory. Then, as they approached the village, he gave the impression that he was going on, but they urged him, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over." So he went in with them...."

And they recognized him in the breaking of the bread. The Risen Christ then disappears and the two disciples, filled with new energy, rush back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples about how Jesus came and walked with them and their hearts were burning within them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Easter Tuesday

 Today we have John's Gospel where Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb. She turned from the tomb and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" 

Is Jesus asking me the same question about "whom am I looking for?" The fact is that Jesus is here with us, in us, and we only need to turn to Him to find Him. He waits for us.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Easter Monday

 Today we have Matthew's account, 28:8-15.

"Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me'."

Jesus come to us and tells us, too, "Do not be afraid." Perhaps we have had many fears during this past year and need to hear Jesus say to us again, "Do not be afraid!" 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter Sunday

 Happy Easter! This seems the only way I can send hugs of love and joy! Jesus is risen, Alleluia!

"This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it and be glad!"

The Lord is truly risen, alleluia. To him be glor and power for all the ages of eternity, alleluia, alleluia! 

The Collect for the Easter Sunday Mass is:

"O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity, grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord's Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life."

In the first reading, Peter will tell us that God raised Jesus on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us, the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.

What joy Jesus gave as He went about appearing to those who were missing Him and doubting. He still goes around during these forty days after Easter consoling many and giving His joy to all who seek Him. Let us look for the ways the Risen Jesus will be with us during this Easter season.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Holy Saturday

 This is a day of waiting. It was a day of sorrow for they could not understand what had happened. Mary was one who could still hope. She belived her Son's words and pondered them in her heart. I suggest we try to imitate Mary as she waited for her Son to return. 

This is copied from somewhere and I thought it interesting. I had never heard of this before. 

  1. I learned of another Holy Saturday tradition this year – the blessing of the Easter basket.  A typical Eastern European Easter basket would include a variety of symbolic foods, although families can personalize to their liking.

    • Bacon is a symbol of the abundance of God’s mercy.
    • Bread represents the staff of life given by God.
    • Butteris one of the dairy products included to celebrate the end of Lent and the richness of our salvation. The butter is often shaped into a lamb, which is symbolic of the Paschal Lamb.
    • Candles symbolize Jesus, the “light of the world,”
    • Colored eggs as well as uncolored hard-cooked eggs, indicate hope, new life, and Christ rising from his tomb.
    • Ham as well as other meats, symbolizes great joy and abundance in celebration of Christ’s resurrection.
    • Sausage links are symbolic of the chains of death that were broken when Jesus rose from the dead, as well as of God’s generosity.
    • Horseradish is a reminder of the bitterness and harshness of the Passion of Jesus, and the vinegar it is mixed with symbolizes the sour wine given to Jesus on the cross.
    • Salt is present to add zest to life and preserve us from corruption.
    • Sweets suggest the promise of eternal life 
We always had Easter eggs to hunt for out in the backyard and Easter baskets to find in the house. Ours always contained a solid chocolate Easter bunny and lots of chocolate marshmellow eggs, other chocolate eggs and jelly beans all on paper green grass with the entire basket wrapped in cellaphane. Now that I think about it, did my parents buy the baskets like that or did they fill them themselves? It was fun to hunt for our baskets and each had a name so we could not touch or tell if we found a basket that was not our own. Later, I would find a gift instead of a basket - at least I remember that one I had one of the boarders from Mexico come home from school with me for the holidays, we each got new fountain pens. Then, I began coloring the eggs and hiding them for my little brothers. My grandmother and one aunt always arrived to watch the boys hunting for their eggs. 

I am spending a good deal of time in prayer, but when I come to write I do not seem to have spiritual thoughts to share. Maybe I will now that Holy Week is ending. I love Easter and the entire season when Jesus went about giving joy to others.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday

I have no words. Just be with Jesus in His Passion and Death on the Cross. 


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Holy Thursday

 Today we stay with Jesus as He prepares for the "Last Supper" before His death and resurrection.

He knows He is going to suffer and die; He knows that His disciples are weak and need Him and so Jesus leaves us the wonderful gift of Himself in the Eucharist. We have all missed having Mass this year and especially have missed being able to receive the Eucharist. On this day, we stay with Jesus, thanking Him for leaving His Eucharistic Presence to help us. 

I can imagine what mixed feelings Jesus had as they gathered for this supper in an upper room. Jesus began by washing the feet of His friends. He showed them how to serve with love. Then, He gave them Himself in the Eucharist. We should never stop thanking for this gift.