Saturday, August 15, 2015

Queen assumed into Heaven

Twenty-one years ago I professed the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the first time.  Five years later I made a public profession of  these vows for life.  Today is the Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother and I treasure this date, because, like Mary, on my profession day I declared to the Lord that I was His handmaid and I asked Him to let His will be done in my life according to His word.  I haven't always lived with my will surrendered to God but each year on this feast I  have the opportunity to renew the gift of my life to Him.    

In November of 1950 Pope Pius XII declared that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a doctrine of our Catholic Faith.  However, for many years the Church had already accepted the fact that our Blessed Mother was assumed, body and soul into Heaven at the time of her death.  Here is an excerpt from the Apostolic Exhortation that Pope Pius wrote elaborating on this mystery:

"In their sermons and speeches on the feast day of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the holy fathers and the great doctors of the church were speaking of something that the faithful already knew and accepted: all they did was to bring it out into the open, to explain its meaning and substance in other terms. Above all, they made it most clear that this feast commemorated not merely the fact that the blessed Virgin Mary did not experience bodily decay, but also her triumph over death and her heavenly glory, following the example of her only Son, Jesus Christ.

  "Thus St John Damascene, who is the greatest exponent of this tradition, compares the bodily Assumption of the revered Mother of God with her other gifts and privileges:
 It was right that she who had kept her virginity unimpaired through the process of giving birth should have kept her body without decay through death. It was right that she who had given her Creator, as a child, a place at her breast should be given a place in the dwelling-place of her God. It was right that the bride espoused by the Father should dwell in the heavenly bridal chamber. It was right that she who had gazed on her Son on the cross, her heart pierced at that moment by the sword of sorrow that she had escaped at his birth, should now gaze on him seated with his Father. It was right that the Mother of God should possess what belongs to her Son and to be honoured by every creature as the God’s Mother and handmaid."

Friday, August 7, 2015

One Nation, Under God

On June 26 the Supreme Court handed down a decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.  The decision rocked the country and has left many people upset, saddened, confused, and even angry.   From the beginning of history marriage has been between one man and one woman and five un-elected Supreme Court Justices have changed the course of history with their majority opinion.

Wedding Feast at Cana
The Catholic Church has weighed in on the decision and I encourage you to read through some of these thoughtful statements that help to put the situation into clearer focus.  There is hope.  As followers of Jesus we have hope. St. Paul reminds us that “all things work together for the good for those who love God. (Rom 8:28) There are some dark days ahead for those of us who believe in the sacredness of marriage between one man and woman.  But God is in charge and He loves us – He loves ALL of his people.  Let us put our concerns before Him, trust Him and beg Him to shed His mercy upon our country.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Miracles and Mercy

It has been a busy few weeks.  I had the great joy of visiting with my sister and her husband in upstate New York, a visit which included a trip to Ohio to watch as my sister and her husband held their first grandchild for the first time!  And Michael is my first grand nephew!  Ever since I learned that my nephew and his wife were expecting I have been praying for them and for the new baby-on-the-way! My niece was so good to send pictures of the ultra-sound images taken during her pre-natal doctor visits. 

The miracle of life – new life!  As I held Michael and looked at his beautiful little face, his tiny fingers, and listened to his little whimpers as he slept, I was so grateful to God for the gift of this new little person. 

Following my family visit we entered into our annual retreat.  Father’s conferences were on the theme of God’s mercy with thoughts and material taken from Pope Francis’ proclamation for the forthcoming Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy set to begin on December 8.  I hope to share from my notes later but in the meantime here is a link to the Holy Father’s proclamation:

We have more than a year to read the document and pray and reflect on its contents!  Perhaps you can print it out a few pages at a time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

He has a big heart

Today is one of our Community feast days – the Solemn feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The Church uses many images to portray the various qualities of Jesus – The Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God etc.  But my favorite image is that of Jesus with His Sacred Heart visible on his breast.  Along with the Crucifix, for me the image of his Sacred Heart  is a tangible sign that He loves me, and with his arms outstretched, He calls me to come to Him, to be enfolded in His love, to be comforted and consoled in the depths of His merciful heart. 

No matter what is going on in my life,  Jesus is there beside me;  the image of His Sacred Heart reveals to me that He is with me, no matter what.  On the cross, He poured out His life for me and His love will never, ever leave me. 

St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to whom Jesus appeared and manifested His Sacred Heart, said 
The sacred heart of Christ is an inexhaustible fountain and its sole desire is to pour itself out into the hearts of the humble so as to free them and prepare them to lead lives according to his good pleasure...  ...Hope in His goodness and redouble your confidence in proportion as your troubles increase.”

Here is a link to a splendid article that will provide more thoughts for meditation on the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in you.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Source of our Life

This week we celebrate the solemnity of Corpus Christi – the Body of Christ.  The Church calls us to stop and reflect on the great mystery of the Eucharist, the bread and wine that become, at the Consecration of the Mass, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.   If only there was time in our busy schedules to meditate on the Truth that Jesus is really and truly present in the Eucharist and that we have the awesome privilege of receiving Him into our hearts every day of the week.

It is so sad that so many people identify themselves as Catholics but fail to go to Mass on Sunday, fail to receive Holy Communion.  It is because they do not understand, do not realize, what a great gift the Eucharist is.  How can we not be dumbstruck, speechless, as we approach the altar and meet the Lord Jesus Christ right there in front of us.  How can we get along in life without His Presence within us? 

As always, Father Robert Barron has a reflection on the mystery of Corpus Christi.  Here is a link to his homily for this feast.

Let us pray that God will deepen our faith, take away the obstacles that erode our faith, and allow us to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ is present in the Holy Eucharist. Let us ask the Lord to give us a great hunger to receive Him, an awareness that we cannot live our life fully without Him.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Joyful Saint

"Believe me, there are no more
powerful means  to obtain
God's grace than to employ
the intercession of the
Holy Virgin"
(St. Philip Neri)
This coming Tuesday, May 26, we celebrate the 500th birthday of St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of Joy!  Our Sisters are very much aware of St. Philip because we worship and serve in a parish staffed by priests of the Congregation of the Oratory which was founded by St. Philip.  The Oratorians have helped us get to know St. Philip; together parishioners pray a Novena prayer once a month before the relic of the beloved saint.  St. Philip had great devotion to our Blessed Mother whom we honor during this month of May. How special that he was born during Mary’s month! 

If you don’t already know St. Philip here are two links that will introduce you to the great saint.

Novena Prayer to St. Philip Neri

O holy St. Philip Neri, patron saint of joy, you who trusted Scripture's promise that the Lord is always at hand and that we need not have anxiety about anything, in your compassion heal our worries and sorrows and lift the burdens from our hearts. We come to you as one whose heart swells with abundant love for God and all creation. Bear us, we pray, especially in this need (make your request here). Keep us safe through your loving intercession, and may the joy of the Holy Spirit which filled your heart, St. Philip, transform our lives and bring us peace. Amen.
"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God mounts his throne to shouts of joy: a blare of trumpets for the Lord!

Men of Galilee, why are you standing there
looking at the sky?  
Today is the feast of hope!  It is one of the special feast days of our Community. Why hope?  Because today the Church celebrates the moment when Jesus, in his resurrected body, ascended into the realms of Heaven and is now "seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty".**  From there He intercedes for us with the Father.  For this reason we have great hope!

When they had gathered together they asked him: “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?  ”He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”  (Acts 1:1-11)


What is it today that you would like Jesus to tell the Father?  What is it that you need?  Jesus has the Father's ear.  And the Father loves us with a love that cannot be measured.  So, don't hesitate to ask. Jesus is seated by the Father's side and that gives us great hope! 

**Apostle's Creed