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

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

God's immeasurable gift

Peace be with you!  In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that He has given us His peace. (John 14:27-31A)  We don’t live in a very peaceful time – there are so many pressures, so much noise!  But Jesus says that the peace He gives us is not the kind of peace that the world gives.  His peace is an interior peace that is with us even in the midst of turmoil.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” He says.

This is the month of May, the month when we traditionally honor our Blessed Mother.  She was a woman filled with the peace of the Lord.  Her Son was the source of her peace.  Her Son can be the source of our peace as well.  At Mass the priest prays that the peace of the Lord would be with us and as we turn to those around us we pray for the gift of peace for them as well.  Let us pray for a deepening of the gift and grace of peace for ourselves and for one another. 

“Dearest Blessed Mother, open my heart to receive the peace of the Lord.  Let it remain with me as I go through this day.  Ask Jesus to fill me with joy and enable me to be a bearer of peace to my family and to all those I meet today.”

 (Instead of saying “have a good day” to others why not try saying “Peace be with you”!)

Sunday, May 3, 2015

How does your garden grow?

This week the weather has been nice enough to get out into the garden.  We have a laurel hedge that is looking pretty weather-beaten and from googling the internet I think the laurels have a fungus.  We need to prune the dead and/or spotted leaves and expose the shrubs to the light.  It is a tedious job but well worth it. 

I was thinking of all this as I prayed with the Gospel
today (Jn 15:1-8).  In it Jesus tells us that He is the vine and God the Father is the vine grower.  Because of our Baptism we are connected to the Lord – we are the branches.  In order for us to bear good fruit sometimes we need to be pruned, we need to get rid of our sin.  When we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and receive Jesus in the Eucharist, God’s life flows into us and through us because then our branch is spiritually healthy. 

What touched me most about the Gospel is that Jesus tells us that just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can we bear good fruit unless we remain in Him. As I read the Gospel I had this thought: sometimes I don’t feel as if I am bearing good fruit.  Sometimes I feel like the laurel, not looking very good (mostly to myself).  But, I know I am remaining in the Lord; I know that I am attached to the Vine so how can I not bear good fruit?!  Sometimes as women we have a poor self image. How can we not be beautiful if we stay connected to the Vine – to the Lord - to His love?    So, if you are feeling a little down about yourself today, check to see if you are connected to Jesus.  Is His life - His love-  flowing into you?  If not, perhaps you could try a little spiritual gardening.