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Monday, January 30, 2023

Sister Helen Rosenthal died on January 19, 2023.  Her funeral will be Saturday, February 4, 2023.  Sister Helen loved doing this blog connecting with all of you and spreading God's love through the blog.  If you would like to write a sentence or two about what the blog meant to you, please do so.  We hope that if you do write something you would be willing to have it read at her funeral as part of our celebration of her life.  If you do not wish to have what you write read aloud, please indicate that wish.

Thank you.

God bless you.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart

Friday, January 13, 2023

Sometime we travel in the dark

 Jan Richardson in Circle of Grace has "A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark". I will just copy the last verse for you to reflect on today. Jan has spoken of different darks and says that it is not "for me to reckon whether you should linger or you should leave."

"But this is what I can ask for you:

That in the darkness there be a blessing.

That in the shadows there be a welcome.

That in the night you be encompassed

by the Love that knows your name."

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Making space for grace

 I have received a new prayer service from my friend, Connie Popp. She begins this one with a quote from Blaine Pascal: "In difficult times, carry something beautiful in your heart."

Then Connie speaks of what could be a more important commitment in this new year than that of making space for grace? Carving our little moments of time to become the recipient of grace. One way to define grace, according to Connie, is grace as "unmerited divine assistance" which implies that it comes from some place "other" than where we are right now, at this very moment. But Connie says this is an "erroneous assumption because grace resides within all of us, at all times, consistently accessible whenever needed, even in the most horrendous situations."

I am pondering this tonight and offer it for your reflection!

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

The Anxiety of So Many

 Refugees are fleeing for their lives. They have only what they can carry with them and often have not time to gather any possessions. They go in fear; they are hoping to find shelter. They often do not know the language. I pray for them every night at our community prayer. I am ashamed of the way we treat the people at our borders. We cannot take everyone, but we could certainly do a better job of treating those who are applying. Many have a relative or friend who could help them get settled if we would let them in and help them to get their green cards so they can work. 

I did not mean to start on that, but our treatment of refugees and migrant workers needs to improve.

In the meantime, let us return to the Holy Family who were refugees and had to adapt to a foreign land and culture. Caring for an infant in new surroundings must have been a challenge for Mary and Joseph. Let us pray to them for the plight of the refugees in all parts of our world.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Holy Family

 Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are a holy family; they are also the first Christian refugees. They had to flee their own country because of the threat of violence. Joseph was warned in a dream. The boy babies that Herod ordered killed were torn from their parents and became the "Holy Innocents" but imagine what their parents were feeling at the loss of their infant sons. 

Why did Joseph act on what was told him in a dream? He was a man of faith and obeyed without questioning. He took Mary and Jesus and fled into Egypt. It was a long and arduous journey with an infant. He had to travel light and must have had many unsettling thoughts about what was going to happen to them when they arrived in Egypt. He did not know the language and how would he find work to support his family? Let us try to imagine what that time in Egypt must have been for Mary and Joseph.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Flight into Egypt

 How scary to have a dream and know that you are to take Mary and the Child and flee to Egypt! Joseph again obeys and, fearing that Herod will seek to harm Jesus, immediately arises from his sleep, wakes Mary and takes her and the Infant Jesus away. This is a marvelous example of faith!

I think of all the refugees who flee for their lives. Jesus is a refugee. Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt to stay there. Perhaps he is able to use the gifts of the Magi to find a dwelling and again seek work as a carpenter. It cannot be easy. I think the story of the night flight into Egypt is to make us realize what is happening at our own borders. We are turning away people who are fleeing for their lives. I pray for the refugees everywhere, but especially for those who manage to get to our border, full of hope, and then we refuse to allow them to enter. Many come because they have a friend here, but we still are not welcoming and we need to try to do more to welcome the stranger. We have a huge country with many resources and so we need to give shelter to those who are fleeing from violence. I know it is difficult to deal with so many begging to come in, but we need to do more to help as many as possible. The mystery of the Flight into Egypt calls us to see how we can do more for those in need.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Feast of the Epiphany

 We are all called to seek Jesus. He is found now in many ways. Am I conscious of Jesus in me, in others, and how do I seek and respond to His Presence. I receive Him each morning in the Eucharist and have the opportunity to give Hm to many of my sisters who wait to receive Holy Communion at their places because of age or infirmity. I know that I have the entire Trinity somehow in me, even when I am not aware of God's presence. This Feast is one of discovery. The three magi had no idea where they were going, but they had the faith to follow the star and they found Jesus. Let us do the same.

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Eve of the Epiphany


The three wisemen followed the star. Imagine what that meant for each of them. They left their homes and families and all that was familiar. They set out to follow a star and had no idea where the star would lead them. However, they believed that this star marked the birth of a new King and they came to do homage and brought gifts with them. Were these three friends before following the star? Did they even come from the same country? We know little about them, but we can imagine that all three were seeking to follow the star because they were open to the inspiration that called them to let go of all their daily cares and occupations and follow this new star that was to lead them to a newborn king. 

Sometimes was have an inspiration in prayer or even out of prayer. It seems to come from the Holy Spirit, but we are free to act on it or to continue with our own daily routine. How often do I find myself ignoring the suggestions that come to go do something. I am afraid that I do not have the spirit of the magi who were willing to leave all and follow the star. I can think of many excuses, and do, and then the opportunity to help someone passes. I need to pray to be open and flexible and not to fear but have the courage to follow the inspiration that is like a star in the sky.

Friday, January 6, 2023

First Friday of January

 January 6 used to be the feast of the Epiphany when we celebrated the coming of the Magi. Now the feast is celebrated on Sunday so we can spend more time thinking of how those first days and nights were for Mary and Joseph who were grateful to have found a place to stay for the birth of Jesus and for those first days when the Infant mostly slept. The shepherds came and adored and Mary kept all that they told her in her heart. Perhaps Joseph was able to find better shelter for Mary and Jesus so that they were in a house when the star led the Magi to the new-born King. I am sure that Mary remembered those early days, feeding her Son when He cried, rocking Him in her arms, perhaps singing softly to Him.

Anyone who has a new baby around at Christmas time is able to imagine the care that Mary and Joseph gave to Jesus. A baby is so helpless, but also needing love. Let us ask Mary to let us hold the Infant during these days and keep Him close to our hearts.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Jesus continues to call us today

 Jesus calls Andrew and Peter to follow Him. He has met Andrew and John when they followed Him and wanted to know where he lived, He just told them to come and see and they went and spent the rest of the day with Jesus. Afterwards Andrew told Peter about Jesus and surely John told his brother, James, of the hours spent with Jesus. They were ready to leave all and follow Jesus. Then Jesus calls Philip and Philip found Nathanael and so Jesus began to select the twelve that would follow Him and learn from Him. It seems strange to be thinking of Jesus as a grown man when I am still contemplating Him as a helpless infant in need of everything. 

Jesus is still calling others to follow Him. His call is not just to leave all and go away with Him, but it is a vocation for life. How is Jesus calling each of us today? What is He asking of us? Are we listening?

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Jesus came as a vulnerable, helpless infant

 I love to think of Mary and Joseph with their newborn child. They were there for him at every moment and Jesus changed their lives. He seems such a helpless infant in need of everything. He cries when he is hungry or wants attention just as all babies do. He cannot even turn over by himself so must rely on his parents for everything! He is so vulnerable and will spend years learning to walk, talk, and then grow to be able to care for himself. Yet, we celebrate Jesus' infancy to realize how great the love of God is that the Trinity sent the Second Person to become incarnate and walk among us to show us how much God loves us. Let us be filled with gratitude!

One of my joys in this New Year comes from a note one of my male students of four years ago just wrote to me. He will be graduating from college this year and told me that my suggesting that he keep a gratitude log has been a tremendous help to him all four years. I do think that if we concentrate on all we are grateful for each day, we will be happy and make friends and overcome all obstacles. I just want others to try keeping a gratitude log and see the difference it makes in their lives.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The Holy Name of Jesus

 This picture is one for Friday's feast of the Epiphany when the wisemen who followed the star arrived to worship the new born king and found the Infant Jesus. However, they would bring the Infant Jesus gifts fit for a king as Matthew tells us in his gospel. I do not really know the history of this feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, but many of us here are now reading and praying over an article that appeared in the New York Times on December 23 on "Why Jesus Loved Friendship" as a guest essay under "Opinion" by Peter Wehner. Our celebrant mentioned it yesterday and it is worth praying over. Jesus said that he did not call us servants but friends. God wants to be in a relationship with us that is defined by "mutual affection, intimacy and self-revelation. Jesus really treated all he met as friends; and look at the ones he chose to be his special friends: some were fishermen, one was a tax collector, one would deny him three times and one would betray him, but Jesus loved each and called them His friends.

I think friends are a gift from God and I love the idea of having Jesus as my best friend. He is always available, always ready to listen, always ready to forgive, to encourage, and to love me. He wants us to treat him as an intimate friend and spend time with him, as we do with our friends. Try staying with Jesus today and listening to what He might be trying to tell you. Tell Him your desires for the New Year.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Monday of the first week of the new year

 Since I now live in California, I am happy I do not need to drive in the snow. Snow is beautiful, but can also be deadly and the north and midwest certainly have had a recent experience of how disastrous a blizzard can be! 

We have had quite a bit of rain and needed it badly. Now I am thinking of the children returning to school this week. Our schedule is full of new activities for the new year. Now, I am writing this tonight after spending New Year's Day with Our Lady. I am asking her to take care of all of us in this new year and to give me something spiritual to say tonight. I can only think of the homily this morning and the advice to be friends with Jesus, Mary, and all those we live with and see each day. Friendship is a gift and we need to cultivate it. I love Pope Francis' idea of the culture of the encounter and we are to cultivate it. It is one of my goals as I renew the same six that I have had for several years now. I just need to live them!

Remember, if you made a new year's resolution and break it, it means you need it and it is a good one so take courage and do not give up!

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Feast of Mary, the Mother of God

 We begin the New Year with the Feast of Mary, Mother of God. This is explained by saying that Mary is the Mother of Jesus; Jesus is God. Therefore, Mary is the mother of God.

Mary must have been startled when the shepherds showed up and wanted to see the newborn infant. They told her how the angels came to announce the birth of the Jesus. Mary kept all that they said in her heart.

Today, we begin a new year under the patronage of Mary. She is the mother of God, but also our mother and she watches over us. Let us take time to be with her and with her Son, Jesus, today.