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Monday, August 30, 2021

Wring cards, reading books

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

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

Express God's Heart

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

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

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

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Twenty=Second Sunday in Ordinary Tme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 28, 2021

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

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

Unseen companion of our life,

Give us faith and eager expectancy

As we continue to face uncertainty.

Help us to hold our fear of the unknown

In the assurance that You are with us.

Teach us to wrest treasures from anxiety.

Encourage us to approach each day with

Faith, wisdom and compassion.

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

Inspire us to honor the human dignity of each person and

May our presence be a source of healing and encouragement.

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


Created by the Society of the Sacred Heart, USC Province

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

Friday, August 27, 2021

Let us recognize God's presence in our lives

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

Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Picture is better than words

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

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

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Late posting

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

What if God spoke to you?

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

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

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

Monday, August 23, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Walking with Ignatius

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 20, 2021

Today we had our first "Outing"

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

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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Sharing about my retreat

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

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

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

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

"I feel the winds of God today"

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

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

I Feel the Winds of God Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 16, 2021

Home again!

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

Sunday, August 15, 2021

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

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

Saturday, August 14, 2021

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 13, 2021

God prepares a place for each of us

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

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

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

Thursday, August 12, 2021

How do you live in the present moment?

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

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


Let us strive to live in the present moment!

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

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Life is a mystery and so is death

 Another little word from Gratefulness:


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



Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Word for the Day

 Something to reflect on today from Gratefulness:


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


Monday, August 9, 2021

A week with God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather. Terri Guillemets

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

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

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

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

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

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



Sunday, August 8, 2021

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

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

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

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

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

The Gospel is from John  6:41-51

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

Saturday, August 7, 2021

First Saturday

 Here is a word for today:

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


Friday, August 6, 2021

Feast of the Transfiguration

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

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

We are all called to listen to Jesus.

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

Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contemplating calm water

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

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

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Feast of St. John Vianney

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

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Each person is a mission

 Today I am sharing a quote that someone gave me from Pope Frances that intrigues me. 

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

I do not know who gave it to me or where the original quotation was taken from, but I am wondering what aspect of the Gospel I am reflecting and embodying at this moment in my history. I know that I find myself sailing on a calm sea with Jesus and I am grateful that we are together and that He knows where He is taking me. I find that the solitude we have had because of  regulations for retirement communities to keep us safe, has given all of us here more time for prayer and reflection. I am so grateful that we have been spared and pray that we continue to be safe.

I will close with this quote that is so full of wisdom: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...the courage to change the things I can....and the wisdom to know the difference."

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary time

 Jesus tells us in today's Gospel (Jn 6:24-35): "I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

Jesus is promising us the true bread which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. We need to pray for those who have not yet found Jesus, but we need to also pray for all those who are suffering from real hunger and those who are hungry for justice, for a place to live, for safety for their children, etc. Let us pray with faith that Jesus will be "the bread of life" for all and may our prayer today help make the world a better place.