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Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Year's Eve

 I am back writing for New Year's Eve after a five-day vacation from my blog. We had time as a community this morning to share what was most important in our year. Each had only three minutes to share, but I think less than half wanted to share. Tomorrow we can have a quiet day of retreat, if we want, or there is also the regular Saturday afternoon movie. I am opting for a day of prayer.

We were given four questions to use if they help us and I like them for they help us to have some good conversations over meals. I am copying the four questions for you here:

1. What is your best memory or moment of 2022?

2, What was your favorite New Years' Eve Memory from your life?

3. What is your wish for the New Year?

4. What do you personally hope to accomplish in 2023?

I wish you all a joyful New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Christmas Day

 Merry Christmas and please know that I am taking the week off to enter more fully into the joy of the Christmas Season. I will be posting again by New Year's Eve! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Lighting the Christ Candle

 Some Advent wreaths have a Christ Candle to be lit on Christmas Eve. We have our "Midnight" Mass at 4:00 PM followed by a light supper and then Mass again at 10:30 in the morning. We will have a Community Christmas Gathering at 2:00 and Exposition at 3:30 on Christmas Day. 

I wish you all a very happy, holy, and merry Christmas full of His love, peace and joy!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve

Today is the last day of Advent and the O Antiphons: "O King of all nations and keystone of the Church; come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!" Sorry, that was yesterday's O Antiphon and today is "O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of the Law; come to save us, Lord, our God!"

The Communion Antiphon speaks to me as it is one of the passages from the book of Revelation 3:20, that I often return to in prayer so I copy it here for you to pray with today:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door to me, I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me."

Let us spend the day opening our hearts to the Lord who comes to us tomorrow night as a helpless Infant wanting to love us and to be loved!

And what are the gifts I am giving the Infant Jesus on His birthday?

Thursday, December 22, 2022


 It is wonderful to be around young children before Christmas. They have great expectations. Some may even have written long lists to Santa and fully expect presents around the decorated Christmas tree as well as finding an Infant Jesus in the crib on Christmas morning. Until I was ten and had the gift of a real baby brother born on Christmas morning, our Christmas tree had appeared fully decorated. That year, the first in a very large three-story house. my mother wanted a tree decorated early. It was as tall as the ceiling and placed in front or the french doors in the middle of our huge living room. That year, I got to help decorate the tree and found out that many of the ornaments came from my Dad's childhood. His mother and five sisters usually all showed up on Christmas eve to decorate the tree and leave piles of presents under the tree. 

Now, for the past seven decades or more, my expectation, my desires kindled during Advent, are for the coming of Christ into our world. He is our Hope, our Joy, and fulfills all our desires because He loves us and cares about each of us. He wants what is best for us and, being God, it is within His Power to help us choose even what we desire. Christmas is about Jesus, coming because God loves us, and we need Him!

It is still possible to make a list of the spiritual gifts I would like for others as well as for myselt!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

First Day of Winter


This is the longest day and one of the coldest days of the year. We are having more cold days than ever, or so it seems to me. So much of the country is having bad weather, not just cold, but snow and ice, blizzards, and tornadoes. I am not complaining but do think I should perhaps begin to use my heater!

The title of today's reflection in my "Giving Us This Day" is "Lean into the Yearning". Advent is a time of yearning. We long for the birth of our Savior who comes to remind us each Christmas that He is always with us, always loving us. We are the ones who forget His Presence in our lives and so we need the reminder each year at Christmas. God chose to be one of us; both fully human and divine. He comes as a helpless baby, vulnerable, needy, seeking to love us and be loved in return. Let us try to let our desire, our yearning, for love, for peace, for joy spring forth for Christ is coming and coming soon!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

"O Key of David,..."

 Today the O Antiphon is "O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven; come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and lead you captive people into freedom." 

God is a giver of gifts. For Mary and Elizabeth, God gave each the joy of bringing forth new life. For each of us this Christmas, God gives us the gift of grace, of time, of opportunity, of gratitude, of joy, and, especially in these last days of Advent, the gift of hope and expectation.

What specific gifts have I received from God this Advent? Take time to name them and thank God for them. 

What gifts have I given to God? What might God be asking of me this Christmas?

Monday, December 19, 2022


 In his book of Advent Meditations, Robert Morneau talks about genealogies as we are nearing the birth of Christ. He says: "Genealogies are about genes, those microscopic 'things' that carry our history into every inch of our being. Jesus' genealogy (and his genes) contained some interesting ancestry. There was Abraham's faith; David's adultery and murder and repentant psalms; Solomon's wisdom and political intrigue. As we near the Nativity of the Lord, we are reminded from whence our Messiah came, and we are invited to ponder our own genealogy all the way back to our God who has planted the genes of grace in our souls."

Morneau also suggests that we ponder how we celebrate the people and things God has given me. He also suggests that we list and then delight in our personal genealogy. Something that I am going to do today.

My friend Patrick left this morning; we had a wonderful week together and I love praying with him in silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We went to San Francisco to visit the Museum of the Legion of Honor on Friday. It was a perfect time as there were only a few people visiting that day and no one was in the huge lunchroom with us. Yesterday we went to the wonderful new library in Atherton and I did get a library card this time and am checking out books to read or reread during the Christmas holiday.

Happy Fourth Week of Advent! Let us say often, "Come, Lord Jesus, and do not delay." He loves to be invited to enter our hearts as we try to slow down and realize what Advent really means.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Fourth Sunday of Advent

 This is the last week of Advent so all the candles are lit.

I love the Entrance Antiphon: "Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior."

In the Collect, we ask the Lord to pour forth His grace into our hearts..."

The first reading is from the Prophet Isaiah 7:10-14 It ends telling us that the "Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name himhe second  Emmanuel."

Responsorial Psalm: "Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory."

The second reading is from the Letter of Paul to the Romans: 1:1-7

The Gospel is from Matthew 1:18-24 where Joseph is told in a dream not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife for it is through the Holy Spirit that the child has been conceived . . . "

Saturday, December 17, 2022

The O Antiphons begin today

 The seven O Antiphons bring Advent to a close. Today we have: "O Wisdom of our God most high, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge."

We certainly need to invoke the title of Wisdom for our God today when we are in such need of God and we know God does continue to guide creation with power and love. We need to pray for the Wisdom of God to enlighten us and work for the good of all.

Friday, December 16, 2022

An Unexpected Problem

 I am sorry that I could not get into my blog until late last night. Actually, it was some sort of security issue with Google and I could not get it fixed without help as I set up this blog over thirty years ago. I think all is well now and I did have Monday to Wednesday in retreat at Villa Maria del Mar in order to prepare for the renewal of my vows which I made seventy years ago on December 15, 1952! It was a beautiful day beginning with the Mass of Renovation. Our usual Dominican priest has COVID so our Jesuit friend came and all was beautiful. Then my Senior student was able to come to the Mass as well as four of my spirituality group and my friend Patrick from Miami is with me all week so we had a little party after the Mass.

 Patrick took me to dinner in a new Italian restaurant in Menlo Park and we came back to watch some of the 49ers football game in Westwood with some of my community. It was a lovely day and I am most grateful for every moment of today and for the 70 years in the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Now it is almost time for the O Antiphons which means that Christmas is almost here so I am filled with the desire Mary must have felt to have her baby come into the world. Jesus comes to each of us and how grateful I am for the gift of His Presence in the Eucharist. Let us spend these last days of Advent asking Jesus to come and fill us with His Love.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Feast of St. Nicholas

 Today is the Feast of St. Nicholas who was a bishop in the fourth century, but is much loved as he is associated with our giving of gifts at Christmas. He is also the patron of Russia and Greece and we should really ask him to bring about peace. 

In some of the places where I have lived, it you left your shoes outside your door at night, St. Nicholas would come and leave something good in your shoes. Perhaps this is why he is confused with Santa.

I wonder if Westwood wants to leave at least one shoe out on the eve of the feast. I could be St. Nick this year. 

Let us spend the day praying for peace!

Monday, December 5, 2022

Waiting for God

As we begin this second week of Advent our hearts are full of desire for the coming of the Lord. It is also time to prepare our hearts to receive Him. Let us declutter our hearts and say often, "Come, Lord Jesus, come and do not delay."

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Second Sunday of Advent

 I can hardly believe that it is the Second Sunday of Advent. I am trying to slow down and have more time for prayer, but we seem to have some extra events planned for every week. I am again dipping into Gobert Morneau's "Fathoming Bethlehem: Advent Meditations" but mostly I am trying to stay with Mary and imagine how these last weeks before the birth of Jesus were for her. She was certainly conscious of His Presence (I think most babies make their presence known during the weeks before birth by moving around and even kicking). I think any mother spends those last weeks before giving birth very aware of the presence of her baby. She is praying consciously or not for the birth of a healthy baby. And Mary knew that her baby was unique.

I did look at the Sunday readings, I love the Collect which asks that "no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company."

The First Reading is from Isaiah 11: 1-10 and has the beautiful passage of "a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,..." Here we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit which we all receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation.  This reading also tells us how peaceful all will be. It is worth meditating on today.

Responsorial Psalm: "Justice shall fourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever."

The Second Reading is from Paul's letter to the Romans: 15:4-9. Paul asks, "May the God of encouragement and endurance grant you to thini in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may, with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And then Paul tells them to "Welcome one another, then as  Christ welcomed you...'

The Gospel is Luke: 3: 1-12 and speaks of John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of eaven is at hand!" We are called to prepare the way of the Lord. That is what we are doing with this beautiful season of Advent. 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Feast of St. Francis Xavier

 Today we celebrate one of the first great Jesuit missionaries. He baptized thousands and was untiring in preaching and converting pagans. Many missionaries have been inspired by his zeal.

Now, as we move to the end of the first week in Advent, I must confess that I am loving the idea of staying with Mary during these last weeks before the birth of Jesus. I am also trying to imagine what being in the womb of Mary would be like for Jesus as it nears the time of birth. I have had a good week and sent all my Christmas cards to be mailed yesterday so I can concentrate on Advent. I also wrote notes for my eight students, but will wait to mail them until they will be home for the holidays.

I think we have many activities in Advent so one must look for ways to be more contemplative.

Friday, December 2, 2022

First Friday of December

 Advent means that Mary is carrying Jesus and, from what I hear from other mothers, the last weeks of pregnacy are not too comfortable as the baby now is moving around and growing heavier. However, that means that Mary is conscious of the life within her and is loving her unborn child with a growing desire to be able to birth her child and hold him in her arms. 

I will never forget the joy I had when my baby brother, George, was born very early on Christmas morning. My Dad arrived home from the hospital just in time to turn on the Christmas tree lights and tell us that the best present was not under the tree but with my mother but we had a baby brother. I was so happy and I think I grew up that Christmas and my Dad wanted a nap before going back to the hospitql so he put me in charge of notifying everyone and our wonderful cook asked me what time I wanted dinner to be served!! I was only ten years old, but took over the planning of the meals and ordering of groceries for the next two weeks. I think I relive this Christmas every year. The only present I remember from that year is my baby brother.

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.