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Wednesday, August 31, 2022

A New Venture

 This year I will be going to a daycare for the elderly to start a Bible group. One of my spirituality group works there as a social worker and asked me to do this. Fortunately, another of my spirituality group has offered to drive me and I have asked her to help me with this new group. We will be meeting the second Tuesday of each month. I am really happy to be able to do this. It is in Mountain View so a good half hour from Oakwood. I went yesterday with all the paperwork required and explored the facility. I will have a quiet room for the Bible group.

Now, I suspect I mentioned the book, The Monastic Heart: 50 Simple Practices for a Contemplative and Fulfilling Life by Joan Chittister, some weeks ago. It was published last year by Random House.

In her Introduction, Joan tells us that her book will invite reflection. She says, "To live a mature spiritual life requires that we choose the virtues that will ground our hearts, stretch our vision, and give new energy to our hopes." She also stresses that we can refuse to be drawn into the chaos of our world. Without going to a monastery, we can be contemplative in the midst of our hectic world.

I guess the book is a call to all of us to slow down and pray. Our world needs prayer, our prayer, my prayer. We are all responsible and need to find a rhythm in our own life that resembles the monastic life of prayer, work, rest and relaxation. I guess I am looking at this in my own life as I can get caught up in reading emails instead of writing to those I really want to be in contact with; I can find time to play Words with Friends or Scrabble on my I-pad and not exercise; I can read and do read each day and lose track of time. As you can see, I am examining my own life and invite each of you to do the same. God waits for us to be the center of our lives.

We are not alone

 Sometimes, we feel that we are alone; no one really understands my life at this moment. Have you ever felt that way? Happily, I know I have in the past, but that seems long ago. Still, I think we all have moments when we feel alone. I know that God is always with me, but sometimes He lets us feel as if no one is there to understand us. He waits for us to turn to Him, but He is always with us. I am convinced of this, but maybe the problem is that I forget to turn to Him.

Mother Stuart has a great quote that I will copy here for you today:

"Life is a solitude, and yet as our Lord said, 'I am not alone, for the Father is with me.' Though perhaps three-hundred and sixty-four days out of the year, we cannot feel it. But you know that beyond your own erratic guidance, and the plunging of the chariot, a hand has guided your life, and kept you safe through many a storm, beyond what you could do for yourself. And that same guidance will bring you into the port at last."

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Friendhip with Jesus

 The wonderful thing about having Jesus for one's best friend is that He is always present, ready to listen, to console us, to help us, etc. We have only to turn to Him. He waits for us to do this. Since Jesus is fully human as well as divine, I think He actually longs for us to turn to Him, to consult Him, to plan our day with Him, and, above all, as true friends do, just sit in silence together. I feel that Jesus left us the Eucharist so He can be with us. We can take Him to the sick, but we can also just sit with Him, present in a special way in the tabernacle of our Churches and Chapels. It is a great gift to just be with Him who waits for us to come so He can pour out His love on each of us.

Mother Stuart tells us that "we cannot exaggerate the faithfulness and forbearing nature of His friendship" and she adds, "I do not think He likes us to stand aloof and look askance at Him, as it we did not know what ground we stood upon with Him."

Monday, August 29, 2022

Trust in the Lord at all times

 Today I am sharing another quote from Mother Stuart as I think it is helpful for all of us to reflect on:

"Our Lord knows the brittle stuff we are made of, and is not surprised or disappointed in us if we break down time after times. The only thing that would disappoint Him, I think, is if we trusted Him less, or thought that he was weary of us because of our faults; and that disappointment, I hope, you will never give Him."

So. let us renew our trust in the Heart of Christ who loves us with an infinite love!

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The theme of today'a Liturgy is humility.

 The Collect is important. "God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nutured."

I love the first reading from the Book of Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

"My child, conduct your affairs with humility and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts. Humble yourself the more, the greater you are, and you will find favor with God. What is too sublime for you, seek not, into things beyond your strength search not. The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs, and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise. Water quenches a flaming fire, and alms atone for sins."

Responsorial Psalm: "God, in your goodness, you have made a home for the poor."

Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews: 12:18-19, 22-24a

Gospel is from Luke 14: 1, 7-14  "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, everyone who humbles himself will be exalted."

Saturday, August 27, 2022


 I suspect that I may have used this quote on joy from Mother Stuart before, but it is worth repeating:

?Joy is the song or psalm of the spirit under the pressure of happiness, and to give God the fullest and best service possible, we must train our spirit to sing that psalm continually."

How do I train my spirit to sing a song of joy? I know that I must "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative" and as that old song said, "Don't mix with mister inbetween!" 

Let us increase our awareness of the infinite love of God for each of us. He only wants to love us and that is a source of joy for each of us. I am loved. I am loved infinitely. I am loved by the Father, by the Son, and by the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

Friday, August 26, 2022

The present moment

 Spiritual writers are always asking us to live in the present moment. I know this is a grace to ask for as it is not easy. Mother Stuart says, "It is always here and now, there is always the present moment to do the very best we can with, and the future depends on the way these moments are spent."

I find it difficult to stay in the present. My mind rushes forward to whatever tasks I have planned for the day or I find myself going back over other actions in the past. I really try to stay in the present moment, but it is difficult for me. It helps to remember that I only have grace for this moment and I am called to live it fully; the past is past and the future does not exist, so we only have the present moment to live and love as God calls us. Let God love us and then let that love overflow to others.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Feast of St. Louis


One of the few buildings left from the World's Fair is the Art Museum and the statue of King Louis of France who was canonized and is the patron of St. Louis. To find this picture, I got involved in the entire history of the 1904 World's Fair. My grandfather was President of General Electric and so did all the lighting for the Fair. My Dad was six years old and often went with his father to the World Fair and his picture is in the Jefferson Memorial which was built with the money the World Fair earned for St. Louis. 

My Dad was born on August 25 so I think it was fascinating to read how the World Fair was held in St. Louis. This city at that time was the fifth largest in the United States. I lived near the cite of the Fair and could still enjoy Forest Park. We would go sledding on Art Hill and ice-skating on the lagoon in the winter. In the summer we could rent canoes or sit on the hillside and watch the colored fountains. I did not do much research on King Louis as I got carried away by the history of 1904! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Something to try

 I was sent an idea that I am passing on to you today. I think it is an aspect of "tonglen" which stresses seeing yourself in need of comfort and compassion. You place whatever is lonely, or grieving, or just confused, into your left hand and gently stroke it with your right hand, offering the compassion to make it better. Stroking the hurting part of you with tenderness and compassion acknowledges that you see in yourself something that is not as you wish it to be. 

This can be done with anything we see and do not want to there and do not know how to get rid of it. It is by embracing it that healing and compassion can be activated. Compassion is within us and we need to practice giving it to ourselves in order to be able to give it to others. 

I shared this with my Westwood Community at our evening prayer and told them they may see me in the Chapel stroking my left hand. I think this may be helpful and urge all to give it a try.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

We pray for rain

 A dear friend sent me a card with "A Caring, Cheerful Thought" on the back. It is from Someone Cares and is a Guidepost card so I am not copying more than a tiny bit. It is about a really rainy day when all had to stay in and suddenly a neighbor appears with a picnic. Now, I think that is a great idea and I quote: "There is nothing better than a picnic on a rainy day." This neighbor had brough jars of jam and peanut butter, fresh wheat bread, hard boiled eggs, grapes and brownies still warm from the oven. I think that all mothers should begin to think about picnics on rainy days, and I think age has nothing to do with a love of an indoor picnic. I might just pass this idea on to our chef, if and when we finally have some rain!

Please join me in praying for lots of rain and snow for California. We really need it and I am afraid that the beautiful trees here will not live without more rain this year. 

Now for a spiritual thought that I got from another fried and have sort of condensed and tried to make it something that may be helpful - I am trying it out myself. However, it will need to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 Today we ask in the Collect for the Mass of this Feast that God, "who made the Mother of your Son to be our Mother and Queen, graciously grant that, sustained by her intercession, we may attain in the heavenly kingdom the glory promised to your children."

I love this feast and often imagine heaven with Our Lady sitting next to her Divine Son and surrounded by the Communion of Saints and a multitude of angels.

Let us ask Mary to help us have peace in our world today!

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

 I always like to copy the Collect here as it is the prayer at the beginning of the Liturgy that the priest prays and tells us what we are asking for in this Liturgy. We often miss it as we are perhaps still getting settled. Here is today's Collect. The Sunday Collect is repeated during the week when there is not a special feast or commemeration 

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

The first reading is from the Book of Isaiah 66:18-21 and begins: "Thus says the Lord: I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; the shall come and see my glory."

Reponsorial Psalm: "Go out to all the world and tell the good news."

The Second Reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews 12:5-7,11-13

This second reading tells us that the Lord disciplines those he loves.

The Gospel is from Luke 13:22-30

"Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. When asked if only a few people will be saved, Jesus answered: "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Queenship of Our Lady which used to be celebrated on May 31, my birthday. August 22 was the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but is now celebrated on the day after the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

God loves with an everlasting love

 I am home again, but I want to schedule this before I leave in case I have not time to write as soon as I return. So, I am again sharing a quote from Henri Nouwen. He wanted us to know that we are not what we do. We are not what people say about us. Nouwn tells us that 

"I am here to remind you in the name of God that you are the Beloved Daughters and Sons of God, and that God says to you, ' I have called you from all eternity and you are engraved from all eternity into the palms of my hands. You are mine. You belong to me, and I love you with an everlasting love.'"

I had a lovely three days at Villa Maria del Mar and I am so grateful that my spirituality group gave me this wonderful birthday present. The day I arrived and the next day the ocean was a gorgeous blue, the sun was out and it was perfect weather. Wednesday was cloudy, but early morning was spectacular with a bank of very white clouds right down on the ocean but at a distance so it seemed as if there was a wall of snow across the way. The sun was trying to shine through the spaces in a cloudy sky, but by noon it was all rather grey. There must have been a large school of fish near the shore as we saw thousands of black gulls flying low, following the fish and some were diving into the water to catch one. I had never seen anything like this before and I have been going to this holy place for about thirty years now. It used to be subsidized for Sisters so I payed only $25 a day - that allowed me to fly from Miami each year for a directed retreat or a guided retreat; sometimes I made a private retreat and twice I have had 30 days there! You can see that it is a sacred spot for me.

Friday, August 19, 2022

We are all called to be holy


This is from Pope Francis from Gaudete et Exsultate: On the Call to Holiness in Today's World:

"To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a Religious. We are so often tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves...."

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Feast of St. Helen

 I am coming home on the Feast of St. Helen. Since I am writing this before my mini retreat, I can only hope and trust that I am renewed in body and spirit. I look forward to a new school year, meeting my Senior, being able to do new things, etc. 

Here is anothe quote from Mother Stuart: 

"Your life is a sacred journey. It is about change, growth, discovery, movement and transformation. It is continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul teaching you to see clearly and deeply, helping you to listen to your inturition."

This might take some days to reflect on is you take time to really look at the changes, the growth, the discoveries and movements in your life and how these have led to transformation.

Being 91, it may take me many days but reflecting on the past to learn from it is always fruitful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Let us trust God

 Mother Stuart tells us, "God has never found fault with anyone for trusting too much and expecting too much of Him."

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

 I always find God in the ocean. The ocean is always changing, yet it is still the ocean.

Here is a quote to ponder from Mother Stuart: 

"It is always here and now, there is always the present moment to do the best we can with, and the future depends on the way these moments are spent."

Learning to live in the present is a grace and it is worth asking for and striving to practice.

Monday, August 15, 2022

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 In the Collect for today's feast we ask: "Almighty ever-living God, who assumed the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Mother of your Son, body and soul into heavenly glory, grant, we pray, that, always attentive to the things that are above, we may merit to be sharers of her glory.

The Gospel is the story of the Visitation. I firmly believe that Mary visits us and brings us Jesus. Let us thank her today for her continual presence in our lives. We always need her maternal presence, love, and guidance.

I am off for three days of retreat on the ocean and ask prayers for these days of prayer and reflection.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Before I say something about the Sunday Liturgy, I want to tell you that I will be going to Villa Maria del Mar in Santa Cruz tomorrow for three nights, a birthday present from my spirituality group that I have been looking forward to and I intend to just be with the Lord and watch the ocean. I do not need to do anything, but I will take the retreat handouts with me. Our June retreat seems far away. I will be leaving you a quote for each day next week to ponder and I do ask your prayer. I will be gone from Monday to Thursday.

Now for the Liturgy of Sunday. I think I will start with the Responsorial Psalm which is a real cry:

"Lord, come to my aid!" Here are some of the verses from Psalm 40

"I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward me.

The Lord heard my cry. He drew me out of the pit of distruction out of the mud of the swamp; he set my feet upon a crag; he made firm my steps.

And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God..."

The first reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah 38:4-6, 8-10

This reading has Jeremiah thrown into the cistern where there was only mud and Jeremiah sank into the mud. However, God allowed Ebed-melech to speak to the King who then ordered that Jeremiah should be removed from the cistern before he should die.

The second reading is from the Letter to the Hebrews: 12:1-4

Paul urges us to keep running the race, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

The Gospel is from Luke 12: 49-53 and begins by Jesus saying: "I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Asumption of Mary; it is not a Holy Day of Obligation in 2022 because it is on a Monday this year.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

"The Lord is calling you"

 Today I want to share with you an old quote from Pope Francis from St. Peter's Square at the Angelus on the 6th of January, 2014. Actually, I found it in the Tablet for July 16, 2022 under the section that is one of my favorites as it is titled "The Living Spirit" and Liturgical Calendar. I find wonderful quotes as this one of Pope Francis is worth sharing with you today.

"I would like to say to those who feel far from God and from the Church- I would like to say respectfully- to all those who are fearful or indifferent: the Lord calls you too, he calls you to be part of his people, and he does so with deep respect and love! The Lord is calling you. The Lord is seeking you. The Lord is waiting for you. The Lord does not proselytise, he loves, and this love seeks you, waits for you, you who at this moment do not believe this or are far away. And this is the love of God."

That is the message we are all to take to others; this is what synodality is all about. We need to reach out to others and assure them that God is waiting for each of us to come to Him, just as we are. He loves us and is always calling us.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Do not give up

 Again, I am inspired by a quote from Mother Stuart to think about how easily I give up sometimes, but on the whole I think I have had great staying power given to me by the Holy Spirit and by my rather strenuous formation in the Society of the Sacred Heart. Here is the quote that seems to be a call to all of us today:

"Do not give up any high aspiration, aim at the very highest and the best, but understanding that to get thise is a life's work, not the work of a day, so never let failure cast down or disappoint you, but always begin again with great courage and especially great confidence."

I hear Father Varin saying to Madeleine Sophie, "Courage and confidence!"

Am I always aiming at the highest and the best today?

Thursday, August 11, 2022

We begin each day where we are

 Since I find Mother Stuart to be so full of wisdom and practical advice, I am continuing to share her quotes. This one is really calling us to live in the present.

"You begin every new day, just where you are, no matter where. It is always here and now."

That may be enough to reflect upon, but she does continue by saying "If really lived, our life has nothing to envy any other. But it must be so anchored in the land of faith and hope, so faithful in renunciation, so full of prayer and washed daily by contrition."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

How is our zeal?

 Another quote from Mother Stuart has me thinking about my own zeal. The name given to my Profession group is "Apostolic Courage" and there are few of us still alive but we are all conscious of the call given us to be women of apostolic courage. Now, I connect that with zeal for souls - zeal for God and for whatever God calls us to do. I am not sure that I can claim the zeal that Mother Stuart describes in this quote:

"Real zeal is courageous and invulnerable, because unselfish and self-forgetting. It can be put to any kind of work; it is indefatigable and never says 'too much'; it is persevering; it never gives in."

Something to examine myself on during these days when I procrastinate, just sit in my chair, and am lazy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Joy is the song of the spirit ...

 Mother Stuart said that "Joy is the song or psalm of the spirit under the pressure of happiness, and to give God the fullest and best service possible, we must train our spirit to sing that psalm continually."

I like that quote and I also read last week an article about how our mission is not just to go out to others, but to realize that it begins in our own communities. No matter who you live with nor how many, we need to give God's love to each, beginning with those with whom we live! It has made me realize that I often do not stop to say a little word to someone who would love to have me stop and greet her, or I forget to say thank you to a server in the dining room, or.....there are endless opportunities here to reach out to others and I miss many.  

Monday, August 8, 2022

Inspired to share

 The First Friday devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was inspired by the visions that St. Margaret Mary had, but it was promoted by the Jesuits and then by the entire Catholic Church. First Friday became a special day for Catholics and still is for many.

The Society of the Sacred Heart has also promoted this devotion. I was praying over the Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart that we say after Mass on the First Friday of every month. I rather absent-mindedly left the Chapel with a copy and then thought that perhaps I am to share what we say every month with you.

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Lord Jesus Christ, You promised to draw all things to Yourself

when you were lifted up from the earth.

This promise began to be fulfilled on the cross and has continued down the ages

revealing the power of Your Sacred Heart in drawing people to You by making Your love known.

God of Love, You know that our earnest wish is to glorify the Heart of your Son,

to love and to teach others to love that Heart so full of love and so little loved in return.

Mary, we ask you to present to your divine Son, this solemn offering and consecration of ourselves to the glorification of His Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, we pray that You pour out your Spirit on all assembled here and all members of this little Society. Amen.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary

 The Gospel Acclamation for this Sunday is "Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come."

The Gospel is from Luke 12:32-48 It tells us that we must be prepared. It also tells us not to be afraid any longer, "little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom."

So we are to gird our loins and light our lamps and "be like the servants who await their master's returnn from a wedding, ready to open when he comes and knocks."

I think so many of our friends and relatives have lost lives during the past year due to Covid or other illnesses or just old age that we need to heed the readings from this Sunday and be aware that where our treasure is, there also will be our heart. God is faithful and calls us to respond to his love for each one of us. His love is infinite so let us be faithful and prudent servants.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

 The Gospel for today's feast is from Luke 9:28b-36 and it is Luke who tells us that Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. It is while Jesus is praying that "his face changed in appearance and his clothig became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him."

Peter never forgot this moment and mentions it in his first Letter 1:16-19 which is the second reading for today's liturgy.Peter tells us how "we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, 'This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.' We ouselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain."

I love the Gospel for this Feast and it is one to pray over and to hear God's voice telling us how pleased God is with His beloved Son!

Friday, August 5, 2022

First Friday of August

 Yesterday I asked what is your favorite image of God and today I thought that mine is definitely influenced by the statue of the Sacred Heart at Kenwood. It is a carved wooden statue that has a beautiful face of Christ, He has His arms outstreached and there is an image of His Heart. I have this picture in most of my Journals, but not in the computer so I also thought that I often think of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. This image means a great deal to me because of a prayer experience I had many years ago when still a novice. I was so convinced of the love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus that I have never doubted that love and this has been one of the great graces of my life.

I think it is good to take time to relect on the images of God that speak to us and help us pray. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Images of God

I was inspired this morning to pick up James Martin's "In All Seasons For All Reasons" and I opened it first to "Eucharistic Adoration" and then to "Images of God". Both are important, one-page reflections.

I find that I have always believed that Jesus waits for me to come visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament. He has drawn me from the time I was little at the Convent of the Visitation. I suppose my image is that of one whose Heart longs for us to come and talk with Him or sit in silence. He is Love and wants only to love us. 

What is your favorite image of God?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

This is a quiet week

 I hope everyone is having a quiet week before the end of summer vacation, for those who do have summer vacation. I find that the days pass quickly and I do very little. Yesterday I did not even post a blog. I thought I had posted ahead and did not even look until this evening when I am posting for tomorrow. Today I am sharing some thoughts from Henri Nouwen's "From Here and Now" that I found in the July 23 issue of The Tablet.

"Joy is essential to the spiritual life. Whatever we may think of or say about God, when we are not joyful, out thoughts and words cannot bear fruit. Jesus reveals to us God's love so that his joy may become ours and our joy may become complete. Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing,- sickness, failure, emotional distress, opression, war, or even death- can take that love away. Joy is not the same as happiness. We can be unhappy about many things, bujt joy can still be there because it comes fro the knowledge of God's love for us. Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us."

I think this is worth reading over several times. Sometimes we may forget that joy is essential to the spiritual life and that we have to choose joy!

Monday, August 1, 2022

August and School!

 We begin a new month. School begins on August 15th this year and the teachers will all be here the week before for meetings and preparation. However, at Oakwood, we continue with our summer activities including summer socials - we will be celebrating all those who are in their 80s and then, finally, at the beginning of September, we will clebrate those who are ages 90 to 104!

One of the handouts given in our retreat was from Noel Davis and is on "Living and Celebrating the Glorious Ordinary". 

The joy of contentment is in doing well the ordinary of each new day.

"The ordinary is all miracle when we have the eyes to see and the heart to savour it. There is no need to spice it up to pursue it beyond the present moment.

Ecstacy waits at the heart of the ordinary. It's the gift of truly relating in the moment of being present to each other, eyes open to the revelation of their beauty and giftedness and the wonder of the life we share."

There is more, but that is enough to reflect on today. Happy August!