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Monday, February 28, 2022

A Full Last Day of February

 Today, after Mass, we have a farewell reception for our Community Director, and then I have a zoom at 10:00 and we have a reunion at 3:30 with, I think, our new Community Director who was our Provincial until last August. She has a great deal of experience, and we are blessed to have her.

Here is a quote that I like: "Prayer can be a rhythm that helps us make sense in times of senselessness, not offering solutions, but speaking to and from the mystery of humanity.

Prayer is rhythm. Prayer is comfort. Prayer is disappointment. Prayer is words and shape and art around desperation and delight and disappointment and desire." Padraig O'Tauma {author and past leader of Corrymeela, Northern Ireland's oldest peace and reconciliation organization.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 This is the last Sunday before Lent. We ask in the Collect that the whole course of our world may be directed by the Lord's peaceful rule and that the Church may rejoice, untroubled in her devotion.

This is a prayer that is urgently needed in our troubled world.

The first reading is from the Book of Sirach 27:4-7

Our faults appear when we speak.  "The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one's speech disclose the bent of one's mind. Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then that people are tested."

Responsorial Psalm: "Lord, it is good to give thanks to you."

The second reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 15: 54-58

The Gospel is Luke 6: 39-45

It is time to begin to think of the season of Lent. The Church gives us six weeks to prepare for Easter. We are invited to follow Jesus as He shows us how much He loves us. 

Saturday, February 26, 2022

"Just keep showing up"


"Just keep showing up" is very good advice. Sometimes prayer is easy; sometimes prayer is difficult. All of us go through ups and downs in prayer, but what is important is to keep showing up. It is not about what we are doing, but what God is doing in us and with us when we show up. Be there and know that God is there. We may not feel anything; we may be full of distractions; we may be crying out for help and God does not seem to hear. Do not fool yourself. God is always present and He knows why He allows us to feel that He may be absent. Trust me. God is never absent and some of those agonizing prayer periods may be full of grace for us and for others. Let God be God and just show up and be grateful for the prayer periods when all is consolation. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Showing Up

What I think is most important for prayer is that we make ourselves show up! No matter what your definition of prayer is, you need to show up to pray. Make yourself available. I always remember what Thomas Merton said: "How does an apple ripen? It just sits in the sun!"

Matthew Kelly asks us to think about being available to God. How available are you to God? Are you ready to surrender and make yourself completely available to Him? You can make up your own prayer of surrender to God. You will not regret this complete surrender. Then, God takes over and loves you with an infinite love. God just waits for you as He longs to show us His love. Make a date with God today!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Just Pray

 Sometimes people spend time telling me why they are not praying: no time, it seems that God is not present, they do not see any results, etc. The thing is that pray is always possible. You do not need to feel God's presence. Just start talking to God and see what happens. Sometimes, after you have been talking, you need to be silent and listen. God responds in different ways, but remember that His first language is silence!

Matthew Kelly says that we need to begin the conversation with God. Ask God what He wants. Now that I am 90 years old, I know that God just wants to love me. I just sit there and let Him love me. Of course, that means that I am open to His love and not off daydreaming or planning what I need to do after prayer, etc. Just be there and let God love you!

Today is my sister's birthday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

"I Heard God Laugh"

 Some months ago, I bought a book by Matthew Kelly called I Heard God Laugh: A Practical Guide to Life's Essential Daily Habit. Maybe someone even gave it to me, but it has been sitting on my bookshelf and it was published in 2020 and I have a first edition. Now, I have read the book and would love to share some of it, but I need to be careful of the copyright. However, I know the author wants everyone to benefit by what he calls the "Prayer Process". It has seven points and it might be helpful to all of us to see how Matthew Kelly prays and wants others to pray. He begins with gratitude. Just begin by thanking God for what you are most grateful today. You do not need to spend a great deal of time on any of these points, but just say to God what comes to mind.

After thanking, be aware of when you might not have been your best self during the past twenty-four hours. Talk to God about this.

Then think of significant moments in your day and explore what God might be saying to you in the event or an interaction.

After that, ask God to forgive you and give you a deep, abiding peace.

Then, you might talk to God about something God might help you change in your life.

Then, you may want to pray for others.

End with an Our Father.

For me, Kelly is really giving us a way to make the Ignatian Examen. What I like about Kelly's chapter on "Life's Essential Habit" is that he is teaching us to pray in a way that is easy and possible for all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Life among the Stars

 In one of my guided images, I found myself wandering around among the stars in the universe. It was a thrilling experience; I felt the vastness of the sky, the multitude of stars the brilliance of each, etc. I was given a new understanding of part of the universe that I have never studied. 

Take some time to fly into the night sky and visit the stars! I think that God has given each of us a star.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Today is a Holiday honoring two Presidents

 I am realizing more of the greatness of many of our presidents because I am reading the book, The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels by Jon Meacham. I have not had time to read much yet, but I am really liking what I am reading. Meacham wants us to understand what is happening in present day America by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear.

What we need to do together is unite to overcome the intolerance and greed that is dividing our country. We need to pray much and continue to fight for voting rights for all. I think it would be good if anyone running for important office such as President, Governor, Congressman, should only be allowed to spend a certain amount as it seems to give more power to those who are rich or who cultivate the rich. I hate the money spent on lobbying when we could be helping those right here in the United States who are living in poverty. We have families who struggle to feed their children in a land where people can spend thousands of dollars betting on a game! Something is wrong, but we have come through many bad times, and I have hope for the future if we can just elect people who really do want to work for the common good of all.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

 The Collect for today's Liturgy: "Grant we pray, almighty God, that, always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you."

Who among us can say that we are "always pondering spiritual things?

The first reading is from the first book of Samuel 26

Responsorial Psalm 103: "The Lord is kind and merciful."

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name...."

The second reading is from the first Letter of Paul to the Corinthians: 15:45-49

The Gospel is Luke: 6: 27-38

Jesus is telling us that we must love everyone, even our enemies. We are to do good to those who hate us. We are to love our enemies and our reward will be great and we will be "children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

And then Jesus tells us to "Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you..."

It is a Gospel to pray over this Sunday!

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Finding a Place for Prayer

 This is a picture of the Oakwood chapel taken, I think, from my chair which is in the front row just to the left of the edge of this picture. I find that I pray best when I am sitting in my chair in the Chapel. I can also pray in many other places, but there is something special about praying in front of the Presence of Our Lord in the tabernacle. 

Some people find it easy to pray out walking. I find the ocean is most helpful for me of all the outdoor places where I have prayed. I think the important thing is to find what is most helpful for you. God is waiting for you everywhere. We are the ones who are so easily distracted. I also find that my room is conducive to prayer, as long as I have cleared my desk. Disorder for me is a distraction. 

Friday, February 18, 2022

Reading Scripture

 We are fortunate to have weekday Masses by the Dominicans and then have Jesuits on the weekends. One of our Dominican priests really knows Scripture and can connect the Old and New Testament passages with great ease. He inspires me to read more Scripture. God has given us many ways to know Him and we can find God by not only reading Scripture, but by His Presence in others, in nature, in the entire universe. However, I have the Word of God sitting on my bookshelf and need to open it daily. We should all be reading a bit of the New and the Old Testament to deepen our interior life. We find time for other things.

I love to read but must confess that I have not kept my resolution to read some Scripture each day; I do prepare the reading for Mass, and we have the Psalms and other readings in our night prayer here at Westwood, but it is not the same as prayerful reading of a Gospel or One of the Letters of Paul just to see what God is saying to me today. Maybe this will be a good Lenten Resolution.

March opens with Mardi Gras and it is also one of our Sisters 104th birthday. she is still very active and very holy. I met her outside yesterday and she showed me that we have nine new rose bushes. She is so alive and now can drive herself around in an electric chair. She is still able to come to everything and we are so blessed to have her.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

My grandfather

 Today was the birthday of my maternal grandfather, the only grandfather I ever knew as my dad's father died when he was only fourteen. My maternal grandfather was really only a few years older than my dad. 

For some reason, we always called him Pops. He was Scotch-Irish; John McLaughlin was his name. His grandparents had come from Ireland in the early 1850's and married after the Civil War, I think, when his grandfather fought as a Colonel and then was able to buy Madden Hill in Iowa. He established a lovely home there and entertained lavishly. One of his daughters was my great grandmother. She married a McLaughlin and they set up a very profitable grocery business in Chicago. I believe they were the first to deliver food to home in carriages all over Chicago. Why am I writing all this today? I just think that I never really had the chance to thank my grandfather and let him know how much he influenced me in his quiet way. He was an artist; he had a lovely voice and could sing many Irish songs.

He was always dressed in a suit and tie and very seldom was seen without his suit coat, even in summer. I guess he fit the definition of a "gentleman of the old school." I am sure I have written about him before, but this morning the homily was a great deal about the priest's grandmother and perhaps that is why I am writing about Pops. He died while I was in Chile.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Love is calling us

 I am still into hearts. Hearts make us think of love and love is what is most important in our lives. I keep going back to what my mother always told me, "Love others and they will love you." She certainly did love others and was loved in return.

Then, there is one of my favorite quotes from John of the Cross: "Put love where there is no love, and you will find love."

That is so true, and our world would be a better place is we could all do that.

We are all called to love. We need to find ways of expressing that love in our daily life.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

A Day Late

 I cannot imagine how I missed sending all my blog readers wishes for a very happy Valentine's Day! I guess I was so busy trying to make valentines for all of the staff here that I thought I had scheduled my blog ahead for several days and now realize that I only managed up to Sunday, the 13th.

I celebrated by having a lovely meeting with some of my spirituality group. We met in the parlor in person instead of on zoom. I have permission to see them in person as a group once a month. One brought delicious cakes with "I love you" on top and, since we did not eat them immediately, I had a little party in Westwood and still have cake left over to share this evening.

The dentist many of us go to during the year always brings each of us a rose; three of the girls from Sacred Heart Prep brought us little bags of candy kisses and wrote notes to each of us. As you can see, we are spoiled.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Jesus is giving us the Beatitudes in today's Gospel, Luke: 6: 17, 20-26

Luke tells us that "Jesus came down with the Twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes towards his disciples he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. 

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. . . "

Then come the woes - Woe to you who are rich for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."

I think we need just to take time to sit with this Gospel and try to see what Jesus might be saying to each of us now.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Let us spend the day with Our Lady

 Mary is our mother and watches over each of us. I firmly believe this. When she sees we need her, she comes. Sometimes she comes to comfort us, sometimes it is to advise us, sometimes it is to help us, etc. but she always ends by telling me the same thing she told the servants in John's Gospel: "Do whatever Jesus tells you."

Let us pray to Mary for the Pope and Bishops of the entire world that they may have the courage to listen to the voice of the people and further God's Kingdom by allowing the synod to make the changes so necessary for our Church today. Jesus welcomed all. We must do the same. 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Our Lady of Lourdes

 Many people have gone on a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Many have gone and been cured. It is a holy place where one can see the faith of the people. I am sure it is faith that cures people. Jesus told us that if we had faith we could move mountains. 

I went to Lourdes after giving a thirty-day retreat in Spain to priests, from Malaysia and India, a Christain Brother from the Philippines and a Religious Sister from a monastery in the United States.  The bus ride was beautiful, and we arrived for the night before eve of Pentecost. It was not easy to find a bed, but we found a woman who would rent another sister and myself her one vacant room. We found the town full, but Lourdes was still a prayerful experience with a wonderful Mass that night with people from all over the world. There was a candlelight procession, and I really had a deep sense of Church. Then, I arrived in Rome on Pentecost Sunday and that also was a great grace. 

Our Lady has answered many requests and miracles are still happening in Lourdes as the people go to Mary with such faith.

Perhaps we should all be praying to Our Lady of Lourdes to end the pandemic.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Invite God to sit with you today

 I love this picture as I often have the image of sitting and contemplating the ocean with Jesus sitting beside me. Sometimes we just sit in silence; sometimes Jesus asks me what I am thinking about,

 and we begin a conversation. There are so many ways to pray. 

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.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Prayer for this moment

 Today I am sharing a prayer that was composed by the Society of the Sacred Heart and it is one that I may have shared before, but I think it is worth copying again.

I also want you to know that we are enjoying being able to leave our rooms and eat together. It is a joy to be able to go to the Chapel again.

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Apostolic Courage

 Today is the 62nd anniversary of my final profession in the Society of the Sacred Heart. The name given to our group was "Apostolic Courage" and, although most of us have died, I still have three very active Sisters in the United States living in amazing ways this apostolic courage. 

Now here is something from the day in the Guided Imagery Retreat where the daily morning paper was on "Compassion for Suffering" - It is the shortest of the quotes and 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."

Actually, God is always with us; maybe we just recognize God easily when we feel His presence, but He is just as present when we are feeling He is hiding. He is holding us close. 

Monday, February 7, 2022

 We are now out of our rooms for dining, and we are able to go to the Chapel. That is good for so many. I was growing to love the solitude, but it is time to go back to our normal lives. I think we need the interaction with others in order to be able to stimulate our minds. I think we begin to get confused about what day it is when each day has been the same in our rooms. I keep a Journal so I usually know the day and the date and manage to be on the zooms I have scheduled. I had volunteered to lead some group in the United Kingdom during Lent in Ignatian Spirituality. I was accepted, but then realized that there is an 8-hour difference in time. I had to write and say that I had second thoughts and would just pray for the groups. However, it does give us an idea for Lent. We will be having the Busy Persons' Retreat for faculty and staff in March, and I am hoping we have a good group for that. I suspect it will be mostly by zoom.

Now, we begin a new week; we are all feeling free to be able to walk around with our masks on and maybe go to the library, the Chapel, and even begin our night prayer in Westwood. I have a zoom set up for everyday this week with one group or another.

I hope all my readers are staying healthy and happy in spite of cold weather. You are all in my prayer.

Tomorrow I will share a bit more from the papers given us in the Guided Imagery Retreat on the different aspects of compassion.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Collect: "Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace. they may be defended always by your protection."

First Reading from Isaiah 6: 2-8 At the end of this reading, Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord asking, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?'
'Here I am', I said, 'send me!'"

Responsorial Psalm: "In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord."

Second Reading is from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians 15: 1-11 and is worth reading so pay attention.

Gospel Acclamation: "Come after me and I will make you fishers of men." Mt 4:19

Gospel is from Luke 5:1-11 It is the story of the first miraculous catch of fish and then the calling of Peter and Andrew and James and John. "When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Preparing for Valentine's Day

 Since I arrived in Chile on February 14, 1960, straight from Rome, this day has been special to me. I like to make Valentines and am doing so here in my room. I am sending hearts to everyone as a heart is a symbol of love. I see a heart and think of the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus for each of us.

We are created to need God. We have an infinite capacity for God. I read that in Iain  Matthew's "The Impact of God" but I know that it is true from my own experience. 

There is so much to pray for in our world today. Perhaps the Lockdown here was to give all of us more time for prayer. 

Friday, February 4, 2022

Keeping your Journal

 It is the First Friday of February and I wonder if we are keeping New Year's Resolutions. If we made good ones, we probably have broken them many times. However, keeping a Journal helps us to make progress and not forget what we promised God and ourselves to do or change in this New Year. I do keep a Journal and try to write what I am grateful for each day and also note the things I want to do and do not do. 

I am excited about the process of synodality in all parts of the world. The Pope is giving us this time to really prepare the synod by reaching out to people of all ages. He wants to have all of us praying and then discussing and discerning what the Church needs today. I think it is thrilling and hope to get my students, my friends, etc. all interested. Some parishes are very active; others have not done much. I am trying to get my Westwood community to send me their thoughts so I can write up what we want to tell the bishops. The Pope wants the bishops of the entire world to really listen to the people. So, let us begin to discuss, pray, and discern about the changes we see needed in the Church.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

God helps us always

Oakwood gets a Lockdown News delivered each day and the second page is often good news of some sort. Actually, what I am copying here are some ways we can be open to God's renewing presence while we are languishing: (I have condensed and omitted some of the text.)

Spend time in prayer even if you don't feel like it...the time amount is less important. What is most important is intentionally making yourself available to God.

Pray for others.

Do things that spark your God-given passion using your spiritual gifts.

Discern with God what small short-range goals you can make in simplifying your life.

Be gentle with yourself.... God loves you unconditionally.

Remember that God is with you no matter what . God is our refuge and strength...

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Third Guided Imagery

 I am going to condense this a bit, but share the essential. Remember, I am just letting the music take me in my imagination wherever it takes me.

"I am walking on a pather that goes through trees and then there is a cliff overlooking the ocean. I turn a bend in the path and see a bench. Someone is sitting on the bench. I come closer and it is Jesus who motions me to sit beside Him. We both sit in silence looking at the ocean.

Then, Jesus tells me He loves the world and the people in it. He reassures me about my prayer. He often comes back, but we do not see Him. Then the music takes Jesus up to heaven. I continue my walk along the cliff...the music takes me up into the sky and I see a multitude of people and angels, too. I can see my parents and they see me. There are lots of relatives around them and friends. I do not see our nuns, but there are so many people. Then I see a Visitation Sister who taught me and then a large group of our Sisters. But I am below on the cloud. I want my mother to join me, but my angel comes. I want my parents to know how grateful I am. My mother tells me, "Love others and they will love you."

Then my angel takes me flying on the cloud back to Oakwood and we land on the football field. some of the Junior School are there running around the track. I love children. I walk back to Westwood and go to the living room, but no one is there. The music takes me to the Chapel.

Our Lady comes and sits next to me. She holds my hand. She tells me that she loves me....

Then God comes in a direst way, invading my entire body with His love - it is intense, real, and wonderful. I am His and He is mine. God tells me that I belong to Him, and He takes possession of me. His Love fills me. I in God; God in me - I belong to God and He is loving me, and this is heavenly! He in me and I in Him - united. I feel totally surrendered to whatever God wants. I want the music to go away now as God is filling me with His love...Mary is still holding my hand. I do not want to move.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Dialogue with My Wisdom Figure

 Today I thought I would share what I wrote after my Guided Imagery on the Feast of the Epiphany. This is a dialogue with my Wisdom Figure. I have found it helpful in the past to dialogue with Jesus or a saint, but this is the first time I have talked with my Wisdom Figure in a dialogue.

Me: Who are you? I have not seen you in any Guided Imagery before.

WF: No, you usually do not see me, but I am present in your life to help you discern when you need to make decisions. I work with your Guardian Angel.

Me: I am happy to have you in my life, but you said little in my Guided Imagery - "Just sit and enjoy the fire." and then, later, you put your arm around me and said, "Let God love you." I think you tell me that often and I hope I am doing it.'

WF: God is always loving you. But you get distracted by daily chores and reading, etc. I am in you to remind you to allow God to love you. That is why He made you!

Me: So, you are in me. Why did you appear in my GIM?

WF: I thought you needed me to sit on the couch with you. I wanted you to stay and contemplate the fire of God's love.

Me: Did you make me reject the music?

WF: I would never make you do anything - that is not my role. I help you to keep your goals, especially the first two and I suggested that you just sit and enjoy the fire. I made the cabin attractive to help you want to just sit there with me and let God love you.

Me: I am grateful and hope you continue to make your presence felt in my life. I need the affection, too.I hope to keep meeting you in the cabin.

Note: My first two goals (I have had the same six for several years) are: To give priority to the interior life and to give joy to Jesus and to others.