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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Advent thoughts


 My thoughts during these first days of Advent have been inspired by a conference of our Mother Foundress and a recent message from our General Council in Rome. First, I am really trying to identify  with the infant in the womb of Mary. This infant is the Son of God. This Infant is almost fully formed, but not quite ready to be born. Mary carried the Infant when she went with haste to visit her cousin, Elizabeth who was also with child. Both Mary and Elizabeth carried new life. They shared that life with others. "They nutured the gift that God gave to each of them and stood together walking into an unknown future with joy and pasion."

Let us spend time today with both Mary and Elizabeth. I am fascinated by the life that Mary carries to both Elizabeth and her unborn son, John. Mary is the first missionary and she is with us today as we prepare to honor her Son in this season of Advent which prepares us for the coming of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Lighting the Advent Wreath


 Every night before our evening prayer in Westwood we light our Advent wreath. Their is such a spirit of expectation during Advent. Christ is coming. but Christ is here with us and we are able to receive Him into our hearts each morning. I give Holy Communion to some who are not able to walk up the aisle during the morning Mass. I love giving Christ to my sisters and hope I can do this in other ways for those I meet during the day.

Robert Morneau defines prayer as "an act of intentionality by which we attune ourselves to that Someone hidden within our souls and who transcends all time and space." He also describes Advent as a "season of serious conversation and tender intimacy."

How am I spending this wonderful season of Advent? How am I going to spend each week, each day, in preparation for the coming of Jesus into our world again in a special way at Christmas?

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday Afternoon, First Week of Advent


 I had computer troubles so I am late in posting, I love Advent and have finished writing my annual letter and addressing about 62 Christmas cards so I can settle down and really enter Advent. I am using Robert Morneau's Advent Meditations and will be sharing some thoughts with you. He begins with a lovely poem from Jessica Powers. It begins "I live my Advent in the womb of Mary." She is speaking of the baby growing in the womb of Mary, but St. Madeleine Sophie suggests that we all spend Advent in the womb of Mary. 

Sunday, November 27, 2022

First Sunday of Advent


 Today we light the first candle on our Advent wreath. As we do this, we are praying for Jesus to come into our world and into our hearts in a deeper way.

Collect: "Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom."

The first reading is from Isaiah 2:1-5 and is a cry for peace.

Responsorial Psalm: "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord."

Second Reading is from Paul's Letter to the Romans; 13; 11-14

Paul tells us that the time is now for us to awake from sleep for our salvation is near.

Gospel is from Matthew: 24: 37-44 We must be prepared, "for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come."

Advent is really a time of joyful preparation for the coming of the Lord. Let us begin today to prepare our hearts to receive Him.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Eve of the First Sunday of Advent


 This year, since Christmas falls on a Sunday, we have four complete weeks of Advent. This is a wonderful season when we prepare again for Christ's coming into our hearts in a new and deeper way as we celebrate another Christmas. The Church gives us this season of Advent, a season of real joy as well as preparation.

Today we want to give time to reflect on what Jesus might be asking us to do during this Advent. Or, maybe He wants us to not do something - let us spend some time with Jesus today asking Him to show us how He wants each of us to live this Advent. Perhaps you know what He wants for Christmas from you and, the good news is that we have four full weeks to prepare for His coming into our hearts in a new and deeper way this Christmas.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Preparing for Advent


 This picture was taken at the Dominican Vacation House where I have often made the Guided Imagery Retreats. I love the ocean. 

Today I am praying for my brother as John was born on November 25, a year when it was also Thanksgiving Day. I know we all have given thanks for his birth and life. He is still grieving the loss of his wife so please pray for him.

Now, Advent begins on Sunday and we need to pray about what we might be called to do during Advent. We all want to spend these weeks before Christmas preparing for the coming of Our Lord into our world. He comes as a helpless baby who needs love and care. He comes again in a special way into our hearts each Christmas so let us prepare to receive Jesus this year by asking Him to show us how he wants us to spend Advent!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving


 Today, I give thanks that I am at home in Oakwood. I am thinking of so many who are fighting or serving in other countries, the thousands of refugees, those who are having to work today and cannot be with their families, and those who may be alone. Let us remember all in our prayer today and let us be grateful and joyful because we are able to celebrate Thanksgiving together this year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thinking about Thanksgiving


 I suspect that the turkeys are not as happy as we are about Thanksgiving. It has become a norm in the United States to have turkey on Thanksgiving. I suspect that I have told the story of my experience one year in Chile. I had been there ten years and was now head of the school and my Dad thought I should have turkey on Thanksgiving. He sent a check and said it was to be used for turkey, so the treasurer was told by my superior to please get turkey for the community. She called me on Wednesday morning and said she had been out to do the shopping and my turkey was in the van. I went out to bring it in and found two live turkeys!! I was really astonished when I saw them. I managed to get them into the kitchen and hoped the Sister cook would know what to do. She immediately took them out and killed them and hung them up and told me to come back later to pick the feathers off the bodies so she could cook them the next day. Other Sisters helped me to do this task and I wanted to stuff the turkeys myself so I went early the next morning to the kitchen only to find the turkeys were in the oven. The Sister assured me that she had taken care of stuffing the two turkeys. I envisioned dressing, but in Chile they just put an apple and an orange inside the turkey and cook it that way. I thought it made for delicious  moist turkey and we did have a great dinner. I also told my Dad that once was enough for that gift!

Let us thank God for such helps as wonderful boxes of stuffing found in our grocery stores. We did make the dressing from scratch when I was home and my Dad always asked to have celery included!

Make a list of things to thank for today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Growing in gratitude


 Thanksgiving is only two days from now and our hearts are overflowing with gratitude as we prepare to celebrate this holiday. Our students are off all week as many go away for Thanksgiving. Here, we invite all the RSCJs is the area for Mass and a great thanksgiving dinner. 

I think we all have much to be thankful for this year. We have survived COVID! We are excited about the synodality that is blooming in our church all over the world as we prepare for the first of two sessions of synods that will help us to change what needs to be changed and deepen our faith. I know that it is hard to be thankful when we think of war, refugees, the unfair treatment of migrant workers, blacks, and so many others. Still, God is present to each of us and He can do all things and He loves us and that is reason to give thanks.

Monday, November 21, 2022

The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


 Tradition has it that Our Lady was presented in the temple at a very early age. We used to have the "Little Mary" ceremony at school on November 21 when one of the little girls would be chosen to go to the statue of Our Lady and present her with flowers.

The feast is an important one for the Society of the Sacred Heart as it is the day we celebrate our founding in 1800.  I guess we are now clebrating our 222 birthday! As young nuns, we always had a triduum of prayer the three days before the feast and renewed our vows on the feast. Since we were very busy in the school, we met at night in the Superior's room to prepare the feast and sometimes we even had a talk in the Chapel by a priest for the entire community. We were replaced with the children during the talks. It made the feast stand out for me and I should mention it to our chef here to see if he is aware of it being a special birthday for us. He has learned how to make wonderful ice-cream cakes!

It is always nice to celebrate a feast of Our Lady. I would like to ask your prayers for my brother, John, whose wife died last December after a long struggle with luekemia. He is depressed and needs prayer.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

Feast of Christ the King


 On this last Sunday of the Liturgical Year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. It is an important feast and we ask that we might proclaim his praise as well as render service.

I love the Entrance Antiphon which is from Revelation 5: 12; 1:6
"How worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and divinity, and wisdom and strength and honor. To him belong glory and power for ever and ever."

The Collect is "Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant we pray, that the whole creation , set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise."

The first reading is from the second Book of Samuel 5:1-3

Reponsorial Psalm: "Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

The second reading is from Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1: 12-20

The Gospel is from Luke 23: 35-43

Christ is King of the Universe - but we still often forget this and this Sunday is a good time to renew out commitment to Christ.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Gratitude


 Thanksgiving is only five days from now and I hope we are all spending time in gratitude for all that we have been given. There is so much to thank for that we should make a litany of all that we are grateful for each day. I find that the more grateful I am, the happier I am as gratitude and joy seem to go together. Some people are naturally grateful, I think; others need to cultivate gratefulness.

I am grateful each morning that I wake up and can get up, take a hot shower, put on clean clothes and just sit in my comfortable chair and say: "Thank you, God, for another day." Then I am always grateful that I can walk over to the Oakwood dining room and have a delicious, hot breakfast served to me. I am grateful for the Sisters who join me as we usually sit at tables for four. Then there is time for prayer before our 9:00 Liturgy.  I am really grateful for this daily Mass and the opportunity to give Holy Communion to those of my sisters who cannot walk up to receive Communion from the priest. The day's schedule is read after Mass; although I do not participate in many of the varied activities, we are always able to join whatever is planned for the day. I usually spend the morning at my desk either on a zoom or answering email and letters or maybe just sitting in my chair and reading. We have our main meal at 11:30 and again I am grateful for our wonderful kitchen staff, the nurse assistants who serve us, the flowers on the tables, etc. We are spoiled! And so the day contiues with a walk with one, an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, sometimes a movie or just time to read before five o'clock supper followed by prayer in Westwood with all my community there plus two who join us. We usually have some good conversation together after prayer and then some watch television but I will go read but during prayer there is silent time to reflect on the day and that increases my gratitude.

I did not mean to write all this, but sometimes it helps to just go through an ordinary day and be grateful for all we have,

Friday, November 18, 2022

Feast of Saint Philippine Duchesne


 
I think this is the picture that I prayed in front of at Kenwood as a novice and so I still think of my "Mother Duchesne" as an older grandmother. She definitely was always seen as kind and motherly by all of us at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles. I was surprised to find out that many in the Eastern Province thought of her as very austere. Everyone knew her as a woman of prayer. She is a great pioneer and still seems very close to me. 



Thursday, November 17, 2022

St. Philippine Duchesne, honored by Saint Louis, Missouri


 My Senior student from last year is visiting in St. Louis and sent me this picture. This star to honor Philippine is actually on a sidewalk near my former home, but I have not seen it. St. Louis also has a mosaic of Philippine in the new Cathedral and a lovely bronze statue of her in the Cathedral garden.

St. Charles also has honored Philippine with a statue at the corner of the convent grounds. I will see if I can share some pictures today as the feast is tomorrow. This is the one in St. Charles that now is better landscaped but I took this on a visit when the statue was new. You can see the shrine and the school in the background. 



Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Thinking about Philippine Duchesne


 Saint Philippine Duchesne established the Society of the Sacred Heart in America when she opened the first school in St. Charles, Missouri in 1818. My grandmother graduated from there in 1900 and had an older sister and a younger sister also graduate from there. I was fortunate to also graduate from the Academy of the Sacred Heart in St. Charles in 1948. My sister started there the September after I graduated. I loved being a weekly boarder and fell in love with Mother Duchesne and believe she was very close to all of us. She was still buried in the little Chapel in front of the convent and, as I am sure I have mentioned often, I was one who went out every night to help close the shrine after we prayed to Philippine. 

I have been thinking of those cold nights when we braved the snow or rain to reach the shrine, often wrapped in the huge black shawls that were found on hooks in the little cupboard under the stairs. That was the only time we were every allowed to touch the shawls kept there, but I still remember the good feeling it gave us to be more like Philippine going out in the snow to pray at the shrine.

When I was at school, Philippine was called "Blessed" as she was not yet canonized, but we knew she was a saint. I felt that she was very close to me and had an interest in all I did. I still feel that way and love preparing for her feast. It was November 17th until she was canonized and now is November 18th so I celebrate both days!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

"Today I must stay at your house"


 I think Philippine Duchesne would love the readings again today as we are preparing for her feast on Friday. She would have loved thinking of the great desire Zacchaeus had to see Jesus. He was too short to see over the heads of the crowd so he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus. Jesus looked up and saw him and told him to come down quickly "for today I must stay at your house." I think Jesus sometimes says to me when I am still half asleep, "Get up quickly, for today I want to stay with you." I hope I respond as quickly and with joy as Zacchaeus did.

Then, there is part of the first reading from the Book of Revelation where Jesus says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me."

Let us hear God's voice today and open the door of our hearts. Jesus is always knocking to be invited in!

Monday, November 14, 2022

The blind man"s plea


 There was a blind man sitting by the roadside begging when he heard that Jesus of Nazareth is to pass by. He began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!" People tried to tell him to be silent, but he kept callin out all the more, "Son of David, have pity on me!" Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the beggar be brought to him. When he came, Jesus asked hime, "What do you want me to do for you?" He replied, "Lord, please let me see." Jesus told him that he had his sight back as his faith had saved him.

How is our faith? Are we able to see things as God sees them?

I am always struck by a line in the first reading for today. It is from the Book of Revelation where the Lord first praises the Church at Ephesus for their works, their labor, their endurance, etc. But then he tells them, "Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first."

Let us pray not to have lost the love we had at first. Love needs nourishing and we do this by spending time with the Lord in prayer. St. Philippine Duchesne would love us to prepare her feast this coming Friday by taking a extra time for prayer and really make prayer a priority this week.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time


 I took this picture of our Chapel last year but it is where I pray for an hour each afternoon and spend another time in the morning before and after our 9:00 Liturgy. I often think of Philippine Duchesne's devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She loved to make night vigils and I marvel that she could pray all night and work all day. Now, let us look at the Sunday Liturgy. We are getting to the end of the Church Liturgical year.

Collect: "Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good."

First Reading is from the Prophet Malachi 3: 19-20a

"For the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble and that day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays."

Responsorial Psalm: The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

The second reading is from Paul's Second Letter to the Thessalonians 3:7-12

The Gospel is from Luke: 21:5-19 

The Gospel is one of doom for the end will come and "nation rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky....."

Next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

The gift of a missionary vocation


 Thinking about Saint Philippine Duchesne and her great desire to go to America and convert the native Americans, I am in admiration that she was able to convince St. Madeleine Sophie to let her go so far away when the Society of the Sacred Heart had only been founded in 1800 and Philippine had only heard of it four years later. It took courage on the part of Sophie as well as Philippine. It was not an easy beginning as the house the Bishop had rented for them in St. Charles was not in good condition and had more doors than windows. It was too small but they made do and soon had many day students from St. Charles and they also had a small boarding school. It was not easy to travel from St. Louis to St. Charles as this was before a bridge was built to cross the Missouri river in front of the convent. The first year was so cold that the river froze. The Bishop realized that they could not stay in St. Charles and moved them to a farm he owned on the other side of the river, nearer to St. Louis. 

The point I am trying to make is that a missionary vocation is a gift and the hardships are part of it. I feel so blessed and grateful for being sent to Chile as a missionary. I left Rome after final profession and was sent directlyh to Chile without knowing the language and without returning to the States to say goodbye to my parents who had been counting the days until my return after my year in Rome.

I found that Philippine gave me courage so often when faced with difficulties and I still pray to her for her apostolic courage.

Friday, November 11, 2022

"I am where God wills me to be..."

 


We only have a week to prepare for St. Philippine Duchesne's feast. I love her prayer that I will copy again here and which I hope to pray each day until her feast. I am combining the prayer with great gratitude for all that Philippine has done for me since I began to know her as a thirteen-year old at the Academy of the Sacred Heart at St. Charles. I have shared how I went each evening after supper to help close up the shrine and how we would kneel around her tomb and pray before blowing out the green and amber vigil lights that had been burning all day. Here is the prayer:

"I am where God will me to be, and so I have found rest and security. God's wisdom governs me, God's power defends me, God's mercy encompasses me, God's joy sustains me, and all will go well with me."

Thursday, November 10, 2022

"My thoughts are not your thoughts...."


 Again, I am letting the prayer service sent by my friend, Connie, to inspire me today. She quotes the prophet Isaiah: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways...As high as the heavens are from the earth so are my thoughts about your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We go to prayer to let God love us, but also to try to understand the way God sees our world. We want to know the way God thinks, to know His ways, but we are finite creatures and God is infinite. Yet, Jesus tells us "Seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

Let us try to understand God's plan; His creation is what we are destroying and we need to stop the destruction before it causes more suffering to many countries and people all over the world!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Reflection suggestions


 My friend sent me some helps to perhaps trigger reflections on our way of living. I quote from Connie Popp-Miller's prayer service for November on Endings and Beginnings - we are ending our liturgical year and will be beginning a new one of November 27, the first Sunday of Advent.

To engage our thoughts in this process, Connie presents "a smattering of quips from a common source of wisdom - a gas station sign! Perhaps one will strike you as the quintessential statement summing up this past year or as the hopeful words needed to guide you into a new one.

"Gas station owner Alison Billett didn"t start the practice of posting quotes, but when she purchased the station almost 20 years ago from original owner dick Hutton, she inherited the message board and decided to continue using it. 'Having people come and tell me their stories and how the quote helped them in some small way is what motivates me to keep writing!' The gas station, located in Hutton Hyde Park, Gauteng, South Africa, has become a landmark!"

Here are some of the quotes: "In a world where you can be anything, be kind."

Don't do something permanently stupid because you are temporarity upset.

Be who you needed when you were younger.

When you forgive, you heal. When you let go, you grow.

Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.

It is better to walk alone that with a crowd going in the wrong direction.

When you make a commitment you build hope. When you keep it, you build trust.

The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.

Why do we only rest in peace? Whay don't we live in peace too? 

"Make your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." - Nelson Mandela

"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." - Will Rogers

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Looking Ahead

 


Today I go to the Eldercare Place in Mountain View for my Bible Group, get tested there and again when I arrive back as Oakwood gets tested every Tuesday. Then I go to the Book Group here so it is a busy afternoon and we are still practising the Korean folk song and dance for our talent show on November 16th. I love the fact that all of our night prayer group is willing to do this and we have been learning to pronounce the Korean for over two weeks now. We just need to get the four lines right and then they are repeated. Fortunately, we have our Korean Sister who is very optimistic and does not give up on us.

November is a special time and we have the feast of St. Philippine Duchesne on November 18th, the birthday of the Society on November 21, Thanksgiving, and my brother's birthday - John was born on Thanksgiving but it was November 25. Then, we have the beginning of the new Liturgical Year on the First Sunday of Advent, November 27 this year. I am trying to make my Journal last until then as I love beginning a new Journal with the new Liturgical Year. My journals only last about four months as I do try to write each day and there is so much to thank for and pray for each day plus keeping track of my letters as I seem to be corresponding with a larger group as the weeks go by. I find letters are important both for me to write and to receive. It is always nice to have a real letter in one's mailbox!

Since November 20 is the last Sunday of the Church's Liturgical Year, a dear friend who sends me her monthly prayer service suggested that we may find our thoughts turning to endings and beginnings, reflections and imaginings. What have I done well? Where have I disappointed myself? How can I do better? Those are the questions she poses. What are your questions for reflection? I usually include what I am most grateful for and what has given me joy? What joy have I given to God and to others?


Monday, November 7, 2022

Semi-Retreat Day


 Today my spirituality Group will come here as the weather forecast for Santa Cruz is cold and foggy.

We will meet in one of our new parlors and they will bring lunch and I will take care of drinks and dessert. I did invite them for the 9:00 Mass here, but suspect most will come at 10:00 and all will be gone before 3:00, our usual time when we go to Villa Maria in Santa Cruz. Each is going to bring her favorite Gospel story and share why it is important for her.

I am torn between two and no doubt will share both. The first is the night after Jesus has fed the multitude and sends His disciples off in the boat while he dismisses the crowds and goes up the mountain to pray. A storm comes and the wind is against the little boat and they are in danger so Jesus comes to them. They think they are seeing a ghost walking on the water towards them. Jesus tells them, "Fear not; It is I"  - now I have heard Jesus say the same to me. He has also called me to get our of the boat and come to Him. Peter did, but then took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. I think this Gospel story has taught me so much, but I also need to share the post-resurrection story of when the disciples went fishing with Peter and caught nothing all night. As day was breaking, someone calls to them from the shore and asks if they have caught any fish. He then tells them to cast the nets to the right side of the boat. They do it and the net is so full of fish that they cannot lift it into the boat. John says, "It is the Lord" and Peter jumps out of the boat and swims to the shore to be with Jesus. 

Jesus has prepared breakfast for his friends and has fish frying on a charcoal fire, but he tells them to bring some of the fish they have just caught. Peter rushes back to help and they count 153 fish! When I arrived in Chile straight from Rome without knowing a word of Spanish, I had a study hall with 153 middle-school children. It was bedlam! Somehow I survived, but these stories of being at sea really helped me. Then, of course, I love the fact that after breakfast was over, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him and he asks him three times. I had written on a blackboard in my office in Spanish Peter's final answer:

"Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you!"

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time


 Entrance Antiphon: "Let my prayer come into your presence. Incline your ear to my cry for help. O Lord."

Collect: "Almighty and merciful God, graciorsly keep from us all adversity, so that, unhindered in mind and body alike, we may pursue in freedom of heart that things that are yours."

First Reading is from the second Book of Maccabees: 7:1-2, 9-14

Responsorial Psalm: +Lord, when your glory appears, my joy will be full."

The Second Reading is from the second Letter of Paul to the Thessalonians: 2:16-3:5

Gospel is from Luke 20:27-38 The Sadducees who deny that there is a resurrection, try to trap Jesus.

"Jesus’ response to the Sadducees can offer us a few points for reflection. His emphasis on the God of the living gives us a way to think about Jesus’ resurrection and our own understanding of eternal life. Likewise, Jesus’ strategy might help us as we encounter people with differing views. Jesus models openness when he listens to the Sadducees’ views, and rather than being led into a contentious debate, he draws on shared traditions as foundations on which to have open dialogue." Taken from a commentary to help us see how Jesus manages to work with those of different beliefs. Pope Francis seems to have learned from Jesus how to deal with those who argue and do not want to hear the truth.




Saturday, November 5, 2022

First Saturday


 It is good to spend a day at the beginning of each month with Our Lady. I think she would be pleased because this week I have gone through all my clothes, packed away summer things and unpacked my sweaters and winter things. My poncho is now where I can reach it, but I have not yet put the blanket on my bed. I think I might unpack that tonight. I was able to give away many things and that makes me happy. I have too much still.

I have been thinking all day of the incident where Jesus asks the Samaritan woman for a drink. So much happens in that brief encounter to change her life, and the lives of others. I went to the Chapel and thought about the thirst Jesus still has to bring us to His Father. 

Friday, November 4, 2022

First Friday


 I received my devotion to making the First Fridays in grade school, first at the Academy of the Visitation and then at the parrochial school for seventh and eighth grade where we had breakfast in the Church basement and wonderful cinnamon sticks with hot cocoa. The things I remember about the friends I made during those years. Then, at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, I found delight in being one chosen to wear a red sash and make a "Communion of Reparation." I think I was mostly concerned with reparation for those who never thought of Jesus, never thanked Him, etc.

Now for the new book which I have just bought and think I will love. It is "Let This Be the Time: Spiritual Essentials for Life's Second Act." It is by Janet Schaeffler, OP and published by Twenty-Third Publications. I will let you know more when I have time to read and ponder it. I like what I have seen.

One of her stories reminded me of my Dad. He winced when getting into the car and rubbed his right knee. I asked, "Does it hurt?" He nodded and then I added, "It is probably old age!" My Dad said, "My left knee is the same age and is not hurting!"

Thursday, November 3, 2022

California needs more rain


 On the Feast of All Saints, we had some rain and are praying for a great deal more to end the draught. This is a beautiful state with gorgous trees that are hunderds of years old; they are threatened because of the lack of rain. Farmers are not planting as many crops now because of the lack of water. This means that food prices will increase and California is paying more for everything with the inflation. My student had to put over $80 for gas; another had to pay $100 to fill her car. I feel for our staff who need to drive to and from work as it is too expensive to live around us or even near. Rain will help and so will snow. 

I even read that the mighty Mississippi has become too shallow for many boats! And yet, so many do not realize or seem to realize the harm we are doing to our planet. 

Tomorrow I will be more cheerful and introduce you to a new book I have just received.

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

All Souls' Day


 Today we pray for all souls who have died. The prayer over the Offerings is "Look favorably on our offerings, O Lord, so that your departed servants may be taken up into glory with your Son, in whose great mystery of love we are all united."

The Gospel has Jesus telling the crowds: "Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day."

This is a consoling mommemoration of all the faithful departed. Indeed, I find the entire Liturgy to be consoling and assuring us that the Lord is our Shepherd and there is nothing we shall want.

I pray for all those who have died, especially those who have died during the past year. And those who are dying daily in war or from illness, etc. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Feast of All Saints


 Sometimes in my Guided Imagery retreats, I have been aware of the Saints in Heaven and even of the entire Communion of Saints and actually have seen my parents among them. The saints were not crowded together but all seemed so happy and they were spread out further than I could see.


Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween


 We are having a Murder Mystery Party this afternoon with a prize for the table that guesses the murderer! This should be fun and is a break from all our Haloween Costume Parades and Parties. Before Covid, we used to celebrate on a Saturday so the staff could bring their children and that was fun. 

It is important to remember that tomorrow is All Saints day and that is why we celebrate the all Hallow's Eve. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time


 Entrance Antiphon: "Forsake me not, O Lord, my God; be not far from me! Make haste and come to my help, O Lord, my starong salvation."

Collect: Almighty and merciful God, by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service, grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised."

First Reading from the Book of Wisdom: 11:22-12:2 This well worth reading and begins "Before the Lord the whole universe is a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew...."

Reponsorial Psalm: "I will praise your name forever, my king and my God." 

Second Reading is from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Thessalonians 1:11-2:2

Gospel is from Luke 19:1-10. 

I love this Gospel where Zacchaeus, wanting to see Jesus, climbs a sycamore tree. Jesus looks up and sees him and says, "Zaccheus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house." And we know that Zaccheus received him with joy. And he is converted because he immediately says that he will give away half of his possessions and if he has extorted anything from anyone he shall repay it four times over,



Saturday, October 29, 2022

In the secret place of the heart


 I was reading something on contemplation that I had kept and now no longer know where it is from or the author, but I am only sharing one paragraph today. It makes me slow down and contemplate the Heart of Christ.

"We recognise that activism and dispersion diminish the quality of our life. Instead we are called to stop, to choose silence and to open and let ourselves be opened to our inner depths where the Spirit of God allows us to feel, see and understand life and reality with God's heart. When we allow our bodies to be silent, our senses awaken and we are able to hear the voice of the Spirit within us. Then in the secret place of the the heart the Spirit gradually transforms our feelings and responses, and draws us into an intimate relationship with God. The Spirit attunes us to the heartbeat of our people to discover the presence and the love of God in everyday life. When we contemplate the heart of Christ we enter into the movement of the Spirit who develops in us a listening heart, bringing us closer to God's reality, with the desire to promote justice, peace and the care of creation."

Friday, October 28, 2022

Autumn Beauty

 


I miss the season on Autumn. We do have a Japanese Maple in our patio with red leaves, but I miss the many coloered leaves that fall and need to be raked. I miss the rainy days and the smell of the bonfires on cool, crisp days where the sun manages to peek through the trees and make the fallen leaves glow. 

It is nearly Halloween; I have sent cards and now look forward to our Murder Mystery Party on Halloween. I am delighted that we are not having our usual costume party, but hope the staff are still going to carve and create wonderful things with large pumpkins. I think the Feast of All Saints and then All Souls mean more to me now than Halloween, but I will never forget the Haloween Party my mother had me give for some of my friends in seventh grade. It was really fun and they were delighted to meet my mother and my baby brother. We decorated the entire third floor where we had a playroom in the front and plenty of room in the back for games and, I think we bobbed for apples in the bathtub!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

When God is most present


 This is another quote that I find worth sharing from the prayer service sent to me by my friend; this one is from Madeleine L'Engle.

"It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, then God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly."

I was struck by the sharing of my spirituality group last week, They went from God leading His people into the wilderness to sharing on the positive experience that the last two years of having to stay home or wear masks, etc. has been for each. I think we have all had to slow down and have had more time for prayer, for reading and for reflection.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

"In the remembrance of God, our hearts are comforted." Quaran


 I would like to continue with Joyce Rupp's "A Psalm of Compassion" that was sent to me in a prayer service. I used the first two verses in yesterday's blog and now will give the last three. I think it is good to reflect on and I love the last verse especially.

"You bid me come to you, to release my fears and allow you to anoint my worries with trust, to let you lead me to your resting place where I can listen to your calm, assuring voice.

No matter how dard the valley of tears, no matter how unending the turbulence, you are there with your embracing love. You are forever a reliant, caring presence.

You breathe your strength into my weakness, you promise to be a peaceful haven. You are the home where I can always dwell in your abiding goodness and compasion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A psalm of compassion


 Joyce Rupp has a lovely rendering of Psalm 23 as a Psalm of Compassion. I will quote only the beginning.

"Caring Shepherd and Guide of my soul, many things I want- for self and others;                                         Freedom from worry, healing from hurts, financial security, health of body and spirit, sturdy relationships, lasting happiness, an end of needless suffering and sorrow, a peaceful planet, where everyting thrives.

You assure me that I do not have to want; you will lead me to an inner core of peace and guide me to ways that restore my spirit. Suffering will serve as a profound teacher, a catalyst of empathy and understanding that unites all who sit at the table of life."

I am in admiration because I read Psalm 23 often and this opens new ideas about what may be found there.

Monday, October 24, 2022

The time for healing has come


 This is a quote from Nelson Mandela that was sent to me by a friend who creates prayer services that are very original and thought-provoking. This quote was used for an opening prayer and has stayed with me so I pass it on to you.

"The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The time to build is upon us...

We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination...

There is no easy road to freedom... None of us acting alone can achieve success.

We muct therefore act together, as a united people, for reconciliation...and for the birth of a new world."

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time


 The entrance antiphon is "Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek his face."

In the Collect we ask God to increase our faith, hope, and charity, and make us love what God commands.

The first reading is from the Book of Sirach 35:12-14, 15-18 in which we are told that "the prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay."

Responsorial Psalm is "The Lord hears the cry of the poor."

The second reading is from Paul's second Letter to Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18

The Gospel is Luke 18:9-14 and worth praying over as we need the humility of the publican.


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Each of us is "Somebody"


 I am copying this thought because I think it important for all of us to realize that we are "somebody" and precious in the eyes of God.

"Ruby Sales: The theology and pedagogy of somebodiness—that I might be enslaved, I might be small within the state, but I’m somebody, not only with God, but with each other, and about myself. And so the pedagogy and theology of somebodiness. I’m a child of God, and being a child of God, I’m essential, and no one has the right to limit, or the power to limit, my ability to be somebody. So I grew up in a society where that theology was so powerful. . . . The white view of Black children as being inferior never penetrated my being because I was surrounded with the possibility that I could live into my highest capacity and to love myself."

We all have the possibility to live into our highest capacity, to love and be loved. God made each of us so that God could love us! Let us rejoice and be glad! And be grateful for the power of love that makes each of us a great "somebody" full of potential!

Friday, October 21, 2022

A Blessing


 Connie Popp sent me this and it is by Jan Richardson in Circle of Grace - I like it enough to copy it here for you just the way I received it. I do not think I have shared it before and it is a blessing that stays with me and really helps when we think we are doing too much....

This blessing keeps nothing for itself. You can find it by following the path of what it has let go, of what it has learned it can live without.

Say this blessing our loud a few times and you will hear the hollow places within it, how it echoes in a way that gives your voice back to you as if you had never heard it before.

Yet this blessing would not be mistaken for any other, as if, in emptying, it had lost what makes it most itself. It simply desires to have room enough to welcome what comes.

Today, it's you.

So come and sit in this place made holy by its hollows. You think you have too much to do, too little time, too great a weight of responsibility that none but you can carry.

I tell you, lay it down. Just for a moment, if that's what you can manage at first. Five minutes.                  Lift up you voice- in laughter, in weeping, it does not matter - and let it ring against these spacious walls.

Do this until you can hear the spaces within your own breathing. Do this until you can feel the hollow in your heart where something is letting go, where something is making way.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Feast of Mater, a special title for Our Lady


 Every school of the Sacred Heart in all parts of the world has a statue, or picture of Mater. Many have a special chapel dedicated to Mater. The original Mater was painted by Pauline Perdrau, RSCJ in 1844 at the Trinita dei Monti, in Rome. Our former Mother General, Marie-Therese de Lescure, RSCJ composed a beautiful prayer to her and I am copying it here.

Mother, most admirable, guardian of the interior life, we ask you to loosen our grasp on visible things and help us to see the invisible which your eyes behold; the invisible life, the invisable action, the invisible love, all those realities of faith that are for us eternal values. When we get lost in the devouring activity of the visible and often not so important things, keep us in the light of the unseen and make us strong as though we beheld the invisible. Above and beyond accessory trifles that concern and carry us away, that burden our minds and hearts and distort our scale of values, give us, we ask you, a hunger and thirst for the essential: the wish of the Lord and the work of his love to which he has called each of us. Amen.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Mother Stuart's Prayer


 This is a prayer that I did not realize was from Mother Stuart but it is published in "A Treasury of Prayers", a little book that my mother used every morning,

"Keep us, O God, from all pettiness.

Let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off all self-seeking.

May we put away all pretense and meet each other face to face, without self pity and without prejudice.

May we never be hasty in judgment, and always be generous.

Let us always take time for all things and make us to grow calm, serene, and gentle.

Teach us to put into action our better impulses, to be straightforward and unafraid.

Grant that we may realize that it is the little things of life that create differences, that in the big things of life, we are as one.

And, O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind!

Friday, October 14, 2022

O simplicity


 It is after our evening prayer and my head is full of the funeral today, but I am too tired to write what I feel. I do have a good quote from Mother Stuart that I do not think I have shared. She said:

"Supernatural simplicity belongs to those who are not only one with themselves but one with God. It is more than the 'simple life,' it is the life of union.

God is simplicity itself - one act; the nearer we come to God, the less complicated we become."

I am going to be simple and take time away from this blog for the next four days; by then, I should have caught up on all the things waiting for me to do.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Take time to enjoy the beauty around us


 On Saturday I went to the beach for a picnic with two lovely women and enjoyed the day so much.

I came home very tired, but it is somethimes good just to get away for a day and do nothing except enjoy the scenery and the company. It was a bit chilly and cloudy, but I love the ocean in all of its moods. 

I have been thinking of how synodality is helping the Church. I really hope you have read the letter of Pope Francis on Formation for the Liturgy that he wrote for June 29 this year.

More tomorrow as I am catching up with myself this week. I had my Bible Group in Mountain View yesterday and will tell you about it tomorrow as it is quite an experience.

Today we are having a funeral for one of our Sisters who was 104 years old and lucid until the end. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

A picture is better than words





 You can choose the one you want to reflect on - my computer was so slow I thought I could not find a picture and then have several. More tomorrow.