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Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve

 We are having a quiet day of prayer this year until after the Mass which will be at 4:00 PM.

I relish time to look back over the past year with Jesus and see it from His eyes. It is a time to reflect on what we have done and not done and, more importantly, to take time to be with Jesus and ask Him what He wants for this New Year. 

Here, I believe we are going to have a time where we can share our New Year resolutions, but I think I want the day of silence and solitary prayer.

"Here is the third verse of Illia Delio's "Christmas Prayer":

As we celebrate your birth, O God, help us to know that it is our birth as well.

Help us to know that without us, You have no place to dwell, to call 'home'.

Without us, You cannot come to birth, and if You cannot be born in us, then what do we live for?"

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Praying with the Infant Jesus

 I have always loved praying with an image of the Infant Jesus. He is so little, so vulnerable, so utterly helpless and He choose to come into our world the way all of us come. We depend on others for all our needs during the first years of life. 

Now that I am 90 and living in a community with many who are older than I am, I realize that often we are called to accept a new time of vulnerability, of neediness. The Christmas season is a time to accept our limitations.

Here is the second verse of Illia Delio's "Christmas Prayer":

"Dispel our fears, O God, and awaken the hope that lies within us,

for Justice, for peace, for unity, for a sustainable earth,

Knowing that with You, all things are possible, and that living in You 

    All fear surrenders to joy."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Jesus came so helpless

 This year the Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated on Sunday, January 2, 2022! I will be beginning my Guided Imagery Retreat in the Dominican Vacation House in Santa Cruz. I will not be taking my laptop so I may be having a week's vacation from this blog. Today, and for the rest of the week, I am going to share a verse from "A Christmas Prayer" by Illia Delio, OSF. By sharing just a verse at a time, we can pray over it as it is a call for us to reflect and pray.

"O God, during this Christmas season, help us see Your light

    -radiating in the tiniest grain of sand,

In the fungi that grows eneath our fee, in the wildflowers and trees,

    - and in every living creature.

For You are love, and love is the energy that ignites and enkindles.

To live in Your love is to realize that dakness is simply differing degrees of light,

And light pervades our universe."

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Feast of the Holy Innocents

 We cannot forget that when Jesus was born, it was Herod's fear that caused the massacre of the Holy Innocents. God did send an angel to tell Joseph to take the child and Mary and flee into Egypt. I am sorry God did not stop the soldiers from obeying Herod and killing all the male infants. 

Even today, mothers are being separated from their children. What we are doing to refugees at our own borders seems cruel and heartless. We need to pray for all those who are fleeing home because of fear, lack of safety, hunger, etc. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

 This feast is the Sunday after Christmas and the Entrance Antiphon is "The shepherds went in haste, and found Mary and Joseph and the Infant lying in a manger."

I think I am going to stay right there as the Gospel has Jesus lost and found in the Temple. I need to stay with the Infant Jesus and be there with Mary and Joseph.


Saturday, December 25, 2021


 Let us rejoice for Christ, our Savior, is born.....

Why does the Christmas creche arouse such wonder and move s so deeply? Pope Francis say that it is because "it shows God's tender love: the Creator of the universe lowered himself to take up our littleness. The gift of life, in all its mstery, becomes all the more wondrous as we realize that the Son of Mary is the source and sustenance of all life. In Jesus, the Father has given us a brother who comes to seek us out whenever we are confused or lost, a loyal friend ever at our side...."

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve

 Let us spend the day full of desire for the coming of the Lord again into our hearts that we have been preparing to receive Him ...He is desiring to come to each of us and we are desiring him. Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay. 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Eve of Christmas Eve

 Since we have our "midnight Mass at 4:00 on Christmas Eve, we will have the Oakwood veilee at 2:30 and it is being prepared by our community director. Since there are nine of us who pray together each night in Westwood, we have decided to have our own veilee and each of us will bring something to share. Mine will be Pope Francis' Admirabile Signum, On the Meaning of the Nativity Scene, but only a bit of this Apostolic Letter issued in 2019.

I have something taken from Genevieve Glen's reflection a few years ago and will share it now as it is definitely before Christmas, but it may be about the first trip Mary made into the hill country. After the Angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, had conceived in her old age, Mary set out in haste to visit her. It may have been ninety miles and Mary would have been on foot or on a donkey. She has a betrothed husband, but Mary is now carrying a child that is not his. She cannot give any explanation that others would understand. What does she have to praise God for? Yet she gives us "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."

She praises God for his love for her but then praises God for all the good He will do for others through her Son...Let us spend some time with Mary, thanking her and asking her to help us to prepare for her Son's birthday. Maybe Mary will help me to know what Jesus would like me to give Him for his birthday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Advent Silence and Stillness

 "Silence and stillness are infinitely simple disciplines. They are also infinitely difficult, especially in the context of our bombarded twenty-first century minds. Habitual stillness and silence require deeper and deeper livels of surrender on our part. To let go of all agendas and settle into a deep silence is perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do. It requires trust that silence and stillness are indeed God's first language, and when we meed God on God's terms amazing things happen. What happens will not be by our design...." (Amos Smith)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Four Days to Christmas

 We have our Midnight Mass at 4:00 on Christmas Eve. That is only three days away. I actually have managed to slow down and just take time to be. I have a tiny Infant Jesus and intend to unpack this and do a bit of decorating before Christmas Eve, but I am in no hurry. We will have a "Veilee" at 2:30 on Christmas Eve. My Westwood community has decided to have our own Veilee on Thursday night and we will each bring something to share. I have not decided what to share, but I have this from Christine Rodgers, Christmas 2018:

"The world remains broken, yet in every crack, every fissure- God is there, pouring light, pouring love. Grace goes it mysterious Way. Why would three kings come if not for the Light- the Love- the beautiful Way of Grace."

"We observed his star at its rising and have come to pay homage." Matther 2:2

Monday, December 20, 2021

Better Late then Never!

 I am aware that I have missed writing the last two days. I have had trouble with my laptop. Now, I hope everything will not disappear before I get this blog published.

We are in the last week of Advent and need to slow down and breathe. It is easy for me to say this, but I am sure many of my readers are trying to buy all they need for Christmas dinner, still wrapping some presents or trying to mail last minute cards, etc. We plan ahead, but there are always the unexpected details that feel they could overwhelm us. Take a deep breath, take several, and just stop for a minute and think of what is really necessary to prepare for Christmas.

I am concerned about the lack of preparation still in many parishes in the United States for the synods that will really listen to all about the needs of the Church.

"The Synod then offers us the opportunity to become a listening Church, to break out of our routine and pause from our pastoral concerns in order to stop and listen.  To listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer…  Finally, it offers us the opportunity to become a Church of closeness.  Let us keep going back to God’s own “style”, which is closeness, compassion and tender love.  God has always operated that way.  If we do not become this Church of closeness with attitudes of compassion and tender love, we will not be the Lord’s Church".
(Pope Francis, 9 October 2021)

Friday, December 17, 2021

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 Today we begin the O Antiphons. The first is "O Wisdom of our God most high, guiding creatures with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge."

It is good to take time with each of the O Antiphons to try to understand what God might be trying to say to each of us. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021


 Is your heart filled with hope? Hope in Jesus come from more that just a belief that He was once a baby in a manger. This hope in Him is something deep within that secures you throught the storms of life.

We are invited to come before Him and confidently ask for help.

When we put our faith and hope in Jesus, it not only gives us help, strength, and power for where we are today, but it also give us hope for the life after death.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Keeping a Spiritual Journal

Today I made my first vows in the Society of the Sacred Heart 69 years ago! Time goes by so quickly when I look back over these 69 years as an RSCJ. I think I was too busy the first years to even keep a journal, but since my year in Rome, I have usually been faithful about keeping some sort of a Journal. I threw all away several times, but have not yet thrown away most of the ones I have written during my time here at Oakwood. I suspect I need to get rid of them soon as I really seldom go back to read them.

Since I began a new Journal on the First Sunday of Advent, I have been very faithful to write each day and in my best penmanship. I am not sure how long that will last but I also have returned to a book by Ronald Klug with the title, How to Keep a Spiritual Journal: A Guide to Journal Keeping  for Inner Growth and Personal Discovery. 

I love how he tells us at the very beginning to relax with our journal and enjoy it. It should never be a burden. 
People ask me what I write each day. It depends on the day. Sometimes I am recording what I have done, or something that struck me and I just write it down. When I seem to have nothing to say, I often just write a letter to Jesus expressing my feelings and my love for Jesus. Some days I just write about the things I am grateful for and that is always helpful. I hope you will try keeping a Journal if you have not done so in the past. You do not need to write every day, but keep it handy and you will find it helps to try to express in writing what is going on inside of us.

Feast of St. John of the Cross

 Today we celebrate the feast of St. John of the Cross. I love his poetry, but the book to read, if you really want to learn a bit about John and his teachings on prayer, is Iain Matthew's The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross.

Here is a quote that I love because it reminds me of what my mother always told me: "Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love." My mother used to say: "Love others and they will love you."

John's poetry is worth spending time with and has helped me to pray. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Advent Reflection on Joy

 Today I want to share one of my favorite quotes from Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ:

"The quality of our joy depends on the spring from which it is drawn. Where do we seek our joy? How does it come and go?.....To be a joy-bearer and a joy-giver says everything. It means that one is faithfully living for God and that nothing else counts, and if we give joy to others, we are doing God's work."

And we need to only be grateful to be able to give joy to others and be full of joy ourselves!


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday of the Third Week of Advent, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

 I took the habit and officially became a novice in the Society of the Sacred Heart 71 years ago today.

It is both a feast of Our Lady, the birthday of St. Madeleine Sophie, and the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. We are to rejoice in the Lord. 

I am rejoicing because I just had a wonderful week with my friend, Patrick. We spent the first days in retreat but prayer together and shared and had our meals together but mostly kept silence as there were three or four Sisters there making their retreats. Advent is a great time to take off and have a some days of quiet prayer. I was, of course, praying much for my sister-in-law, Anita, as she was finishing the month with the trial drug and the doctors said there was no hope and suggested hospice. The very day the month trial ended, Thursday, Anita was baptized and went to God in her sleep less than three hours later. We consider that a miracle. I know she is in heaven, but we have had the Mass offered for her here. I feel for my brother, but we are all happy that Anita is with God.

There is so much to pray for and so many have died, been killed by accidents, tornadoes, etc. that it is good to be able to rejoice today for the Lord is coming and only the Lord can solve the problems of both the Church and the World. Perhaps Christmas will change the hearts of some of our members of Congress to act for the common good and not for political party interests.

Let us be joy-bearers today and always!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Desire for God increases during Advent

 I come home from Villa Maria del Mar today. I have been writing my blops ahead as I am not taking my laptop with me. I am just going to be for four days!

Advent is a time of desire and longing for God however He comes to us during this time. We can find Him more easily, I think, in silence. Try to take some time each day just to be still.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

"Fear not, I will help you."

 "Fear not, I will help you," These words are found in the reading from Isaiah today, 41: 13-20

God is telling Israel that no matter what, He will not forsake them. Let us trust the Lord and pray that He will fix all that is wrong with both our Church and our politicians. We need to act for the common good and be open to change unjust structures.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

A Special Feast of Our Lady

 What I wrote for this feast was published by mistake on December 4 so I am trying again. I think it is just a day to celebrate Our Lady and her purity. She is the patroness of the United States. We need her to help the Bishops to learn to listen to all the members of the Church and to go out and listen to what those who are not in our Churches. The synod is a time to listen to all and then discern what changes need to be made to serve our world today. Let us ask Our Lady to help us!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Please pray for Advent peace

 I am so fortunate to be able to have four nights in the retreat house right on the ocean and in the second week of Advent. The first week was rushed as I was doing Christmas cards. This is going to be my quiet week and I really look forward to it. I pray that all will be able to find some quiet time just to be and feel the peace of Advent as we prepare for the coming of Jesus again into our hearts and into our lives.

Monday, December 6, 2021

God is always needing to be born

 A friend sent me a beautiful Christmas card that she designed and painted herself. It is really beautiful and she does have on the back 2021 so perhaps she has more creative, gorgeous cards. She has something on the front of the card that I am going to copy here:

"What good is it to me that Mary gave birth to the child of God fourteen hunderd years ago, if I do not also give Birth to God's child in my time and my culture? We are all meant to be Mothers of God. God is always needing to be born."

Inspiration from Meister Eckhart, Mystic, 1260--1328

I am away at my favorite sacred place: the retreat house in Santa Cruz. I am staying there for four nights so I may not have a blog posted every single day this week. 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Second Sunday of Advent

I love the Entrance Antiphon for today: "O people of Sion, behold, the Lord will come to save the nations, and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard in the joy of your heart."

Collect: "Almighty and merciful God, mah no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company."

First Reading from the Prophet Baruch 5;1-9

Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy."

Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Philippians that begins telling us that he prays always with joy in his every prayer for all of them... and he prays that their love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,...

Gospel is Luke 3: 4-6 and is on John the Baptist and how he went throughout the whole region of the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Feasr of the Immaculate Conception for December 8

 This is a feast to honor Mary. I have always loved this feast. As a child, we had a holiday and my aunt and godmother would take me downtown to have lunch at a hotel and then shop for gifts for other children that her boss needed to remember. I think my aunt also told my mother what I seemed to like most among all the toys, dolls, games, and books. It was when I was at the Academy of the Sacred Heart that I really began to enter into the celebration of this feast in honor or Mary. We had a special practice every year during a novena before the feast and then we had the famous Lily Procession. If we had been faithful during the novena, we were allowed to present a lily to Our Lady. It was a very solemn procession as we were all in our white uniforms and white veils and we said, as we presented our lily to the statue of Our Lady: "O Mary, conceived without sin, I give thee the lily of my heart; be thou its guardian forever."

Friday, December 3, 2021

Feast of St. Francis Xavier and First Friday


Francis Xavier was one of the original six companions of Ignatius who took vows in the Society of Jesus and became the first "Jesuits". In 1541 Francis left to become a great missionary for Asia. He worked tirelessly and by 1549 landed in Japan. He stayed there for two years, long enough to implant a small Christian community and then set sail for China. He was taken off the ship when he became ill and died on an island at the age of forty-six. He baptized whole villages and now is the patron saint of foreign missions.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Advent, a Time of Discernment

 Today I am going to again quote from Juliet Mousseau's book as I think what she says about discernment is so important.

"It must be noted, too, that discernment is about choosing between two good things. When we talk about obedience to God and to the needs of the world, it's clear that the needs are abundant and the path of Jesus is wide and diverse. Obedience may offer us many options, all of them good, and all of them consistent with our own gifts. Discernment then comes into the equation, through which we ask God for guidance in our prayer, that the path that is most right at this moment be shown to us. Obedience, then, calls us to commit our lives wholly to that choice, to live it to its fullest until it is clear that some other need is calling us in a different direction."

When I was in the Institute for Religious Formation, Father John Futrell, S.J., stressed the fact that a good discernment may change because we have new information. 

I am glad that Juliet is one of our delegates to the Special Chapter which is ending today after spending three weeks discerning how we, the Society of the Sacred Heart, will organize ourselves and share resources.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

New Year's Day

 We begin a New Year full of hope for the world and for each of us to experience the love of God which He so desires to pour into our hearts.

Here is more of Illia Delio's Christmas Prayer to ponder:

"Help us to see that, like You, we are undergoing the pangs of new birth,

    - like You, we are not finished,

Our work together, You and I, O God, is to become whole and complete,

    -You in me and I in You.

Christmas is the feast of the whole person, the whole creation, the whole cosmos

Celebrating the wonders of new birth.

The universe is Theotokos, God-bearing, 

Everything alive is seeking You, longing for You

What is God calling you to do?

 Yesterday I published two blogs on the same date; that is what happens when I try to hurry. I am really trying to get ahead with blogs this week as I will be away next week at Villa Maria and will not be writing blogs. 

I am reading a book by one of our young Religious, Juliet Mousseau. The title is Prophetic Witnesses to Joy: A Theology of the Vowed Life. It has certainly made me realize how important discernment is in our daily life. Listening to the Holy Spirit who helps us discern and confirm the discernments has given me new light on the vow of obedience. 

Here is a quote that is for all of us: "How do we know what God calls us to? We know by listening to our hearts, by listening to the spirit work in us, by listening to those who know us, and by hearing the cries of the world around us."