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Sunday, July 31, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Today is also the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola and I am sure the Jesuits are having big celebrations as it is also the closing of a year dedicated to renewing devotion to the Heart of Jesus.

"If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts." That is the responsorial psalm and seems to me to be a message for all of us.

The Gospel if from Luke 12: 13-21 and has the parable of the rich man whose land produced such a rich harvest that he had to build larger barns to store all his grain and other goods so that he could for many years just "rest, eat, drink, be merry." But God tells him that this very night lis life will be demanded of him. We are not to store up treasure for ourselves.

I had three Jesuit cousins and I knew about the Jesuits before I entered the Society of the Sacred Heart. However, I have worked with Jesuits giving directed retreats and made retreats with Jesuits and have come to love Ignatius and thank him for the gift he has given the Church, not only with the founding of the Society of Jesus, but for the Spiritual Exercises which have transformed so many through the centuries and still are having a tremendous influence. From Ignatius we have the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits. Let us honor Ignatius today in whatever way the Holy Spirit inspires us.

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Giving time and space for prayer

 We were given a handout during the retreat that does not indicate where it came from and, as it was given on the first day of the retreat when I was still in isolation, I do not know where it came from but the title is "Contemplation" and begins with "Today, as women rooted in the heart of Christ, we reaffirm our heritage of contemplation that springs from 'a compelling love written in our hearts by the Spirit.'

This urgent call challenges us to keep hope alive in a world of violence, fragmentation and woundedness that threatens the survival of our planet. The future of humanity depends on a spiritual rebirth....

Now here is the quote I really wanted to share with you today:

"The life of Madeleine Sophie, who wished to live always by the Spirit, of Philippine, "the woman who prayed always." and the lives of so many of our Sisters remind us that giving time and space to prayer will help us to be the heart of God in our world. From them we learn that contemplation is at the core or our spirituality and leads us to discover the depths of our humanity. Through all stages of our life our prayer invites us to the depths of God. The desire for interior life finds a home in us and draws us to abide in God."

I think this call to find time and space for prayer is for everyone. We need to be rooted in God.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Three Qualities essential for listening


Listening is something we all need to cultivate. 

I read this and thought I would share it with you as we all need to learn how to listen. It is taken from a quote in Richard Rohr's meditations and is from Kay Lindahl, The Sacred Art of Listening: Forty Reflections for Cultivating a Spiritual Practice (Woodstock, VT: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2002)

Three qualities that are essential to this deep listening context are silence, reflection, and presence. 

• Silence creates the space for listening to God. It provides time to explore our relationship to Source. The practice of being in this silence nurtures our capacity to listen to others. 

• Reflection gives us access to listening for our inner voice. The practice of taking a few breaths before responding to a situation, question, or comment gives time for your true wisdom to reveal itself. It’s a slowing down, waiting, practicing patience. 

• Presence is the awareness of listening to another, of connecting at the heart level. The practice of taking a mundane, ordinary activity and giving it your full attention, for example, washing your hands or brushing your teeth, trains your concentration and your ability to be in the present moment with another. . . . 

Heart communication happens when we slow down, when we quiet down, look, and listen. Stop to take a breath. Become fully present with the person we’re with. Listen with all of our being. At this point, communication can occur without words. Being present is a gift that fills our hearts and spirits. We are in communion.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Many occupations and only one thing really necessary

 I read this poem on Tuesday and thought I could share it with you today:

The desert fathers tell us we need silence, / so we can hear the speaking of our soul. / The mockingbird tells us to keep silent, / so we can hear her song. / The running brook tells us to keep quiet, / and listen as it babbles across the stones. / The rushing wind tells us to listen / as it makes the tree limbs dance. / A thousand stars say look and be quiet, / as they brighten the night. / The little baby says listen to my cooing, / in my world all is right.
—From the poem “Silence” by Gary T.  

I read this in Richard Rohr's daily meditation and it made me think that the one thing necessary is to be able to listen. We need to listen to the quiet voice within for that is how God speaks to us; we alwo need to listen to others and to the events in the world around us, but we will only know how to act when we can listen to the quiet, gentle voice within us as that is how the Holy Spirit moves us.

I am off to spend an hour listening to the Spirit in front of the Blessed Sacrament. It was a joy to have had all the Heads of School here for Mass on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Thought from the First Day of the Retreat

 We were asked to spend some time looking at our own life in the presence of God, knowing the our journey is a journey towards total union. "Hold your journey. Offer it, It is your landscape but it belongs to God. Be present today to the Presence."

As I was in isolation for the first day of retreat (a precaution to make sure we tested negative for three days after travel), I really did spend time going over my life and seeing how many times God gave me graces in prayer and how He has been working in my life. I found this very helpful and it became a big part of my retreat.

It is always good to go back over the graces of our life and see how God has been leading us.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Today is Special

 Our school here is hosting a meeting of all the Heads of Sacred Heart schools in the USC Province.  We will have them here at Oakwood for Mass with us and then have an opportunity to meet with them. Many of us have drawn the name of one of the new Heads of School to pray for this year and to stay in contact with as the year unfolds, especially to help them perhaps prepare for the special Society of the Sacred Heart feast days or just to be a positive presence during these first months as they begin as Heads of a new school. I am very happy to have the Head of Carrollton who is both an alum and was Head of the Middle School and so will know both faculty and children as she takes charge of the entire school. Miami is also to have a "President" - this is new and I suspect it will be a great help for public relations, fund-raising, etc.

Now, I am going to give the rest of the lyrics for John Butler's "Distant Land" as I only gave part yesterday.

"I hear a distant song: it fills the air. I hear it deep and strong, rise up in prayer: 'O Lord, we are many; help us to be one. Heal our divisions: let thy will be done.'

I know a time will come when war must cease: A time of truth and love, a time of peace.

The people cry, 'How long?' Till all our world can join the song of freedom, freedom.

I join a distant land and feel its glow. The hand i hoped was there: at last I know.

Swords into ploughshares; can it all be true? Friends out of strangers: start with me and you.

I see another time, another place where we can all be one, one human race.

The walls will melt away, we'll come together on the day of freedom, freedom."

Monday, July 25, 2022

Back from a month of vacation

 The month went very fast. I left for St. Louis on July 2 and had a quiet five days with my brother, John, in St. Louis before going to the Special Assembly in St. Charles from July 7-10. Then I had two nights in Scottsdale, Arizona, with my sister and brother-in-law and was able to be there for a birthday lunch at my niece's lovely home in Chandler; one of her four children was celebrating her birthday having just come home from Korea with a visit in Germany. Her sister was getting married on July 16th and all the family would be in Boise for the wedding. I returned here on July 12, but had to stay in isolation for two nights and so made the first day of the retreat in the Westwood guest room.

I loved the retreat as it was mostly on our spirituality, using the Constitutions and Chapter documents plus Letters from our Mother Generals and some Scripture. I need to go over it all and today will share the first part of  "Distant Land", as we were given the Lyrics and listened to the song by John Rutter.

"I see a distant land: it shines so clear. Sometimes it seems so far, sometimes so near.

Come, join together, take the dusty road; help one another; share the heavy load.

The journey may be long: no end in sight: There may be hills to climb, or giants to fight:

But is you'll take my hand, we'll walk together toward the land of freedom, freedome, freedom."

Perhaps I will give the rest tomorrow, but I think you can find the song on YouTube.

More tomorrow as I have many things to share.