Monday, February 1, 2016

Missionaries of Mercy

During this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy our Holy Father will give a special homily one Saturday a month during the year.  I read the homily for this past Saturday and said to myself, I want to do this - to be like this.  So I am sharing it with you.

Dear brothers and sisters,

We enter day after day into living the Holy Year of Mercy. With his grace, the Lord guides our steps as we pass through the Holy Door, and he comes to meet us to remain with us always, despite our shortcomings and contradictions. Let us never tire of feeling the need for his forgiveness, because when we are weak, his closeness makes us strong and allows us to live our faith with greater joy.

Today I wish to speak to you about the close relationship between mercy and mission. As St. John Paul II reminded us: “The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy … and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s mercy (Dives in misericordia, 13). As Christians, we are responsible for being missionaries of the Gospel. When we receive the good news, or when we experience a beautiful moment, it’s natural that we feel the need to share it with others. We feel within ourselves that we cannot hold back the joy that was given to us: we want to share it. The joy aroused in us is such that it drives us to communicate it.

And it should be the  same when we encounter the Lord: the joy of this encounter, of his mercy, [should drive us ] to share the Lord’s mercy. Indeed, the concrete sign that we have truly encountered Jesus is the joy we experience in sharing it with others. And this is not to “proselytize,” this is to give a gift: I give you what gives me joy. In reading the Gospel we see that this was the experience of the first disciples: after their first encounter with Jesus, Andrew went directly to tell his brother Peter ( cf. John 1:40-42), and Phillip did the same thing with Nathaniel (cf. John 1:45-46). To encounter Jesus is to experience his love. This love transforms us and makes us capable of sharing to others the power that he gives us.

Somehow we could say that from the day of our baptism, a new name is given to each of us, in addition to the one our mother and father give us, and this name is “Christopher.” We are all “Christophers.” What does it mean? “Christ-bearers.” And it is the name of our attitude, an attitude of being bearers of the joy of Christ, of the mercy of Christ. Every Christian is a “Christopher” (i.e., a bearer of Christ)!

The mercy we receive from the Father has not been given to us as a private consolation but makes us instruments so that others may also receive the same gift. There is a wonderful interplay between mercy and mission. To live mercy makes us missionaries of mercy, and to be missionaries enables us to grow more and more in the mercy of God. Therefore, let us take our Christian lives seriously, and let us strive to live like believers, because this is the only way the Gospel can touch the hearts of people and open them to receive the grace of love, to receive the great mercy of God, that welcomes everyone.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thoughts about mercy

During this Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy our Holy Father strongly encourages us to practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  If you don't remember them, here they are:  

Corporal works of mercy
  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbour the harbourless (homeless)
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.
The spiritual works of mercy are:
  • To instruct the ignorant;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.
On the Aletei news web site I found this wonderful article concerning the corporal work of mercy - to bury the dead.  I thought you might like to see it. It really touched my heart.  Here is the link:

Most of us are not able to carry out this work of mercy in this way but we can pray for those we know who have died, especially those who had no family.  Maybe we could pray in a generic way: "Lord for those who have recently died alone. You, Lord, know who they are.   Have mercy on them. Grant them eternal rest."  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

It is a New Year

Now that the Christmas season is over, we are liturgically back in Ordinary Time.  If we are good Christians we know that there is no ordinary time with the Lord.   However we often need to remind ourselves that if our spiritual senses are working properly, we should be able to experience God every day in some way.  That is very often not very easy.  I am not much for making New Year's Resolutions but this year, with the guidance of my Superior, I am trying to take brief breaks during the day in order to savor the joy of being alive!  

I just finished some work time on the computer (database entries, FACEBOOK posts etc.) so I STOPPED.  And I just now had a 15-minute break  with Bishop Barron.  His YouTube videos offer me an opportunity to  pause, to catch my breath, to exhale and be quiet, to listen, to take in.  Here is a link to the homily I just listened to today.

Many of you probably have very busy schedules but it is spiritually healthy to take some spiritual breaks during the day, even for 5-10-15 minutes in the midst of the busyness.  This video will give you some idea how to do that.  Don't let life get away from you in this New Year.  Take control even if you feel out of control.  God loves you - loves me - very much.  Give him a few minutes each day to love you.  The good life grows on love.  

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Divine Power is love!

Here is Bishop Robert Barron's message for Christmas.  I don't think he will mind if I share it with you today.
In the Gospel of Luke, we discover the Annunciation to Mary. Here is what the angel Gabriel says to the Virgin: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33).

No first-century Israelite would have missed the meaning here: this child shall be the fulfillment of the promise made to King David. He will be the king of the world, the one who would bring unity and peace to the nations.

The angel confirms this to the shepherds in the fields: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord: (Luke 2:11). Saviour is Soter in Greek, which means “healer.” This was rendered in Latin as Salvator, Saviour in English. In old myths and legends, the true king would bring healing to his country, just as a wicked king would make the whole country sick.

Further, this healer is “Christ and Lord.” Christos means anointed, and this has a clear Davidic overtone, for David had been anointed king by the prophet Samuel, and all of his successors had been anointed. This baby will be the point of ordering for the entire world; he'll be the ruler and governor, the one who sets the tone.

And this is further emphasized by calling him “Lord”—Kyrios in Greek,Dominus in Latin. He is the one who should dominate us, rule over every aspect of us. 

With the angel’s next words, everything is turned upside down: “And this shall be the sign to you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The new David, Christ the Lord, the Dominus, the center and orderer of all things, the emperor of the universe…is a baby? And a baby wrapped up so it can’t move? And lying where? In the grubby place where the animals eat?

Here is all of the poetry and all of the drama of Christmas. Indeed, the divine power is made manifest in weakness, for the divine power is nothing other than love, giving oneself away, being bound to the other, becoming food for those around you.

Finally, alongside the single angel there appeared an entire army of angels. We should not get sentimental about these angels. These aren't cute, chubby babies playing harps. They represent the army of heaven, which is more powerful than all of the armies of earth. The Prince of Peace has an army that is more powerful than anything that is in the world.

There are the glad tidings of Christmas. A new king has come, bringing with him an army of heavenly messengers, and he intends to bring peace and unity to the nations.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

My Christmas prayer

A very blessed Christmas to you.  May the beloved Christ Child reveal Himself to you during this holy Christmas season and touch your heart with the knowledge that He loves you very much!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Nurturing Mother

Today is one of my favorite feast days - the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Her appearance to Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531 is a story of loving tenderness bestowed by our Heavenly Mother.  Here is a story of the apparition told by a 16th century author.  Each year when I read it my heart is deeply touched by Mary's motherly love.

From a report by Don Antonio Valeriano, a Native American author of the sixteenth century
The Voice of the Turtledove has been heard in our land 
At daybreak one Saturday morning in 1531, on the very first days of the month of December, an Indian named Juan Diego was going from the village where he lived to Tlatelolco in order to take part in divine worship and listen to God’s commandments. When he came near the hill called Tepeyac, dawn had already come, and Juan Diego heard someone calling him from the very top of the hill: “Juanito, Juan Dieguito.”
He went up the hill and caught sight of a lady of unearthly grandeur whose clothing was as radiant as the sun. She said to him in words both gentle and courteous: “Juanito, the humblest of my children, know and understand that I am the ever virgin Mary, Mother of the true God through whom all things live. It is my ardent desire that a church be erected here so that in it I can show and bestow my love, compassion, help, and protection to all who inhabit this land and to those others who love me, that they might call upon and confide in me. Go to the Bishop of Mexico to make known to him what I greatly desire. Go and put all your efforts into this.”
When Juan Diego arrived in the presence of the Bishop, Fray Juan de Zumarraga, a Franciscan, the latter did not seem to believe Juan Diego and answered: “Come another time, and I will listen at leisure.”
Juan Diego returned to the hilltop where the Heavenly Lady was waiting, and he said to her: “My Lady, my maiden, I presented your message to the Bishop, but it seemed that he did not think it was the truth. For this reason I beg you to entrust your message to someone more illustrious who might convey it in order that they may believe it, for I am only an insignificant man.”
She answered him: “Humblest of my sons, I ask that tomorrow you again go to see the Bishop and tell him that I, the ever virgin holy Mary, Mother of God, am the one who personally sent you.”
But on the following day, Sunday, the Bishop again did not believe Juan Diego and told him that some sign was necessary so that he could believe that it was the Heavenly Lady herself who sent him. And then he dismissed Juan Diego.
On Monday Juan Diego did not return. His uncle, Juan Bernardino, became very ill, and at night asked Juan to go to Tlatelolco at daybreak to call a priest to hear his confession.
Juan Diego set out on Tuesday, but he went around the hill and passed on the other side, toward the east, so as to arrive quickly in Mexico City and to avoid being detained by the Heavenly Lady. But she came out to meet him on that side of the hill and said to him: “Listen and understand, my humblest son. There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, in my care? Do not let your uncle’s illness distress you. It is certain that he has already been cured. Go up to the hilltop, my son, where you will find flowers of various kinds. Cut them, and bring them into my presence.”
When Juan Diego reached the peak, he was astonished that so many Castilian roses had burst forth at a time when the frost was severe. He carried the roses in the folds of his tilma (mantle) to the Heavenly Lady. She said to him: “My son, this is the proof and the sign which you will bring to the Bishop so that he will see my will in it. You are my ambassador, very worthy of trust.”
Juan Diego set out on his way, now content and sure of succeeding. On arriving in the Bishop’s presence, he told him: “My lord, I did what you asked. The Heavenly Lady complied with your request and fulfilled it. She sent me to the hilltop to cut some Castilian roses and told me to bring them to you in person. And this I am doing, so that you can see in them the sign you seek in order to carry out her will. Here they are; receive them.”
He immediately opened up his white mantle, and as all the different Castilian roses scattered to the ground, there was drawn on the cloak and suddenly appeared the precious image of the ever virgin Mary, Mother of God, in the same manner as it is today and is kept in her shrine of Tepeyac.
The whole city was stirred and came to see and admire her venerable image and to offer prayers to her; and following the command which the same Heavenly Lady gave to Juan Bernardino when she restored him to health, they called her by the name that she herself had used: “the ever virgin holy Mary of Guadalupe.
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Friday, December 4, 2015

Merciful Like the Father

Seeing the great need for mercy and healing in the world, Pope Francis called for the Year of Mercy—a special period, also known as a Holy Year or Jubilee Year, for the Catholic Church. It is a time for the Church across the world to take approximately a year to focus on forgiveness and healing in a special way.

 Pope Francis has asked us as individuals and as a Church “to be a witness of mercy” by reflecting on and practicing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Beginning Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the Holy Year of Mercy will focus on studying and reflecting on mercy, receiving mercy, and being merciful towards others.

How wonderful that the Year of Mercy begins at the start of the grace-filled season of Advent.  In preparation for the Year of Mercy our summer retreat this year was based on the theme of God's mercy.  Father took his reflections from our Holy Father's proclamation of the year:  See  (  

 Also the Sisters have begun a Scripture Study on the same theme.  I have put together some excerpts from my notes and I hope to share them here throughout the year.  If you are interested, you might check out a wonderful book to use during the year.  See:

MAGNIFICAT has a marvelous companion booklet for the year.  It contains one short daily reading for each day of the year. It also comes on Kindle.