Unless the Lord builds a house, they labor in vain who build it.

– Psalm 127:1

This singular verse from the Old Testament psalmist is striking in its simplicity, its message clear and direct. Without the Divine at our center, we toil in vain, but with God we prosper. Any work we do, any service we render, any project we undertake is blessed when founded and grounded in God.

The words take on special significance in light of our recent groundbreaking ceremony for Merici Crossings, the new residence of the Ursuline Sisters. The structure, which will serve as our home, our spiritual center and a place of ministry, is the work of many hands, under the care of a Provident God, our Master Builder. It will rise from a sacred foundation centuries in the making, and bear the hand and heart prints of all who have companioned us on the way.

Angela Merici followed a divine call and in 1535 established the company of Ursulines in Brescia, Italy. From that initial foundation the community grew and spread through Europe and beyond, aided throughout by wise and prudent leaders and generous supporters, each leaving a mark on the enterprise.

That effort has continued since our 1850 founding in Cleveland, and continues today as we build for our future. Through each sister who has given assent to the Merici Crossings project, through trusted advisors who counsel and walk with us, through the design and construction personnel who will fashion our home, and finally through our families and friends whose generosity and faith in us will help make it a reality. Through each and all of these, the Lord continues to shape our Ursuline life and future, on a sure and sacred foundation.

May this same Provident God, the Master Builder of all, continue to abide within each of us, that our lives and our labors may be ever blessed and fruitful, and our futures bright with hope and promise. – Susan Bremer, OSU



(Last week)

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the father and the Father is in me.” John 14

The Divine indwelling….abiding presence is like:

A mother becomes pregnant and in some mysterious way relates to her child for nine months. We call this love. The child is born and becomes the center of the mother’s life. The mother’s center is now in the child so to speak.

Perhaps this is the way God dwells in the earth….the center of God’s Spirit dwells….lives in…abides within us, and at the core of all that is. So our center, our essence, can also be in the Divine presence….heart to heart…core to core…essence to essence.

What if the United States lived this way and related to the rest of the earth this way? 

                                                                                          Just pondering….Sr. Mary Joan



(Last week)

A Memorial Day Reflection

As we enter the day of remembering our veterans, living and deceased, we especially pray for those who grieve our brave men and women who gave the last ounce of their very breath, for others. We offer this beautiful reflection by Edward Hayer for their comfort and peace:

As I took leave from this earth, my last breath did not say “goodbye,” for love is timeless.

I leave my thoughts, my laughter, and my dreams to you whom I have treasured beyond gold. I give you what no thief can steal:

The memories of our times together
The tender, love-filled moments
The successes we have shared
The hard times that drew us closer
And the roads we walked side by side

I also leave you a solemn promise that now that I am finally at rest in God, I will continue to be present to you whenever and wherever you call upon me. Whenever you are in need, I will come to you.

All I take with me as I leave is your love and millions of memories. So I enter new life richly blessed. Do not fear or grieve at my departure, for in the Tree of Life our roots are forever intertwined.





Feast of the Holy Trinity

If we were in any library or in any bookstore, we find many books considered to be mysteries. The same is true if we looked through the TV Guide. Many of the TV shows are in the category of mystery. In both the books, and the TV show, we usually find the mystery to be solved by the end of the book, or by the end of the TV show. Real life is not always like this. There are many mysteries in our lives that we have no answer for. Why do some people have certain health problems, and yet some of their friends and family members who are older are healthy and active? Why is there cancer or Alzheimer’s disease in our world? These are mysteries that we have no answer to, and we sometimes become frustrated, when we continually want an answer.

On June 11th, we will celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. When we read the gospels, we find Jesus calling God his Father. Jesus spoke about the Father, and promised to send us the Holy Spirit. Here we find three persons, and yet we have one God. How can this be? Well we call this a mystery. We can’t know how this is possible; we can only accept it on faith. Being able to embrace mystery, can have a significant impact, on effective and happy living. Always wanting certainty, often leads to unhappiness.

It’s much more realistic for all of us, to accept the fact that there things and persons that we will never understand. They will always remain mysteries. In spite of knowing that some things remain mysterious, we should never stop trying, to learn more about our Creator God, about Jesus, and about the Holy Spirit as well as continually learning to know ourselves better. Instead of trying to explain, or control people and situations around us, we can love them, just as they are, and leave it at that. Humans, have more need for faith, than for all the facts or answers.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our deeds, that is, all our thought, words and actions, each day were done because of our deep, intimate relationship with our Triune God? There would be no mystery as to why we act the way we do. It would be clear that God is the center of our lives.

~Sr. Maureen McCarthy, OSU



Just to be is a blessing

As the loveliness of spring surrounds us, we are reminded of what Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “Just to be is a blessing. Just to be is holy”.

We know when we are so busy that we forget what we are doing, that it is time to slow down. According to Simone Weil, a French philosopher of the early twentieth century, attention is the way to help us do this. Her understanding of attention is not what we may remember from our early school days, when the teacher asked us to “pay attention”. Then we sat up straight and tensed our muscles. True attention, on the other hand, requires us to suspend our thought and to be open and receptive to take in what is before us – be it a rainbow, a sunset, or a friend. We can look at anything that is, and see its truth, goodness and beauty.

Attending to the truth in everyday life situations may challenge us to act courageously on behalf of that truth – especially when it is not popular. At the same time, the more attentive and aware we are, the greater impact we can have on our world through our actions and service.

Acknowledging the goodness of what is, we realize how we are all linked to one another and to the entire universe, as we long for God – the ultimate source of goodness. Attention to the good, compels us to share with our sisters and brothers who are victims of oppression and injustice in our communities, our country, and throughout the world. Such attention to goodness can move us to work for peace and justice.

What is, as beautiful, manifests order, harmony, and creativity. When we are open to the beauty of something or someone –a star-studded sky, a poem, or God –our vision is expanded and we feel connected to the whole universe. This appreciation of beauty can only enhance our everyday living and relationships with each other and God.

As we anticipate the slower-paced days of summer, let us try to balance our life between doing and being, realizing anew each day that “just to be is a blessing”.

                                                                                ~Sister Ann Kelly


(Last week)

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day -- a bonanza for florists, jewelers, chocolatiers and greeting card companies. A day when restaurants require a reservation and back yard chefs present their finest offerings. A day when memory mixes with gratitude often seasoned with laughter and sometimes with tears. It’s all good. But what is the very best way to thank our mothers? Isn’t it to truly listen and learn and live the lessons they have given us? For that matter, it seems that the best way to show appreciation to all the fine women whose lives and wisdom have nurtured and guided us is to take them at their word and follow their advice.

My own mother

  • Why are you fretting? Didn’t God say that He takes care of the flowers of the field and the birds of the air? Don’t you think He can take care of you too?

Helen Keller

Saint Angela Merici

  • Build community wherever you go.

Sister Thea Bowman

Rosa Parks

  • You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.

Mother Teresa

  • I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.
  • The beginning of prayer is silence. If we really want to pray we must first learn to listen, for in the silence of the heart God speaks.

Edwina Gateley

  • The deeper we enter into the journey, the bigger God becomes—until we reach the stage where we no longer have any names or definitions for God. God is. We can only stand in awe before God’s amazing love… God’s love is far beyond our comprehension. We cannot even begin to sound the depth and breadth of this love for each single one of us and for all of creation. It is a love that takes precedence over all else, and must be fundamental to our call as Christians. This, I believe, was the message of Jesus and one which, clearly, we seem to be having a hard time embracing.

Those words of wisdom are still valid.

During this week preceding Mother’s Day, consider the legacy from your own mother and the other fine women who have touched your life. Thank them if you can – in prayer or in person but most especially by modeling what you learned from them. The next generation looks to you to be their mothers, their wisdom figures.

(My suggestion to any men who may be reading this reflection: on Father’s Day start your own list.)

                                                                                    ~Sister Janet Moore




(Last week)

On the Way: An Easter Season Reflection

“Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 13:32, Walk to Emmaus)

Post-Resurrection Gospels certainly abound with lots of activity. Don’t they? It seems to me that participants in Easter narratives are often on the way somewhere. For example, “on the way disciples” are moving to and from the empty tomb. Others are walking on the way between Jerusalem and Emmaus. And, for all of their outward displays of walking, running, bending and jumping into the sea, their inner movements are just as stunning; fear and joy, grief and peace, doubt and belief.

So it is with us, and our developing Christian faith. We are all on the way, no matter the age, but when we encounter “Christ, The Way” and He speaks to us and opens the Scriptures for us, our hearts are freed to burn within.

The Risen One walks daily with each of us on our own Emmaus journeys and on the way transforms us, inside and out. During this Easter season may we appreciate anew the growth that meeting Christ on the way offers to us, and to our world.

                                                                                       ~Sister Joanne Buckman





(Last week)













WORD(S) FOR THE DAY

 

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving.

-Kahlil Gibran

  

Gratitude and Kindness are two of love’s most magnetic expressions which draw to us 

the highest and best life has to offer.

-Doc Childre

 Grateful living brings in place of greed: sharing;

in place of oppression; respect;

in place of violence; peace.

-Br. David Steindl-Rast

 Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.

All things break and all things can be mended not with time but with intention.

 So go intentionally, extraordinarily, unconditionally.

The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.

-LR Kost




“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

As we journey through this Holy Week, we are called to reflect on God’s gift to us in Jesus. God’s love was so great, God became one of us and suffered the fate that so many still endure: judgment, condemnation, pain, and death. Yet, being one of us in every way was not enough; God proved love beyond all measure by raising Jesus from death into new life, making him the first fruits of God’s promise of resurrection.

Christ is still with us, still one of us, yet fills all creation with his risen glory. As we pray through this week, let’s remember that no matter what happens in our lives—to us or to those we love—we are never alone. The one who has loved us has planted the glory of Christ in our hearts, and walks with us through all of life’s journey.
                                                                            ~Sister Elaine Berkopec



(Last week)

New Life Emerges

In a recent LCWR publication (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) we read:

“There is a mystery that occurs when our hearts are broken. Our place of most devastating loss can become a place of profound transformation, enabling our hearts to become larger than we ever imagined. Grief becomes a threshold, a passage that opens us to greater reserves of love, hope, and grace than we could summon on our own. Because it works with the most raw and elemental forces within us, grief is chaotic and wild. This makes it a perfect place for the work of the Spirit. This is where creation happens, new life emerges, and love finds its most transforming path.”

 What a beautiful reflection for the season of Lent where we meet Mary and Martha, grieving over the death of their brother Lazarus and, even more starkly, where we stand at the foot of the cross with Mary, agonizing as she watches her son die.

We experience grief in our lives regularly. A brother-in-law faces a cancer diagnosis, a sibling takes her own life, a mother slips away into dementia, a godchild pleads guilty to felony charges. But life does not end there, even though it sometimes feels as though that is exactly what is happening. If we allow ourselves to be the “perfect place for the work of the Spirit,” new life emerges – painfully, slowly and maybe even a bit grudgingly. But life will not be denied. Compassion grows, patience deepens, new forms of gratitude spring up.

In spite of winter storm Stella that pounded the earth in March, the flowers will bloom. So can we.

                                                                   ~Sister Laura Bregar





(Last week)

Lent: A Journey into the Mystery of Love

These Lenten days provide us with special opportunities for reflection. The disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving in which we engage enhance our awareness of God – the God who dwells within us and within those around us. Even more, this sacred season invites us into the very mystery of God’s love for us, the unimaginable love of God demonstrated in the self-emptying gift of Jesus. 

As we reflect on the life and death of Jesus we discover that even in his sufferings he taught us how to live.  The Way of the Cross, the traditional Lenten devotion recalling the last hours of Jesus’ life, offers striking lessons in humility, compassion, and love.  We see Jesus modeling humility in accepting Simon’s assistance in carrying the cross and allowing Veronica to wipe his face. We see Jesus ignoring social and cultural boundaries in accepting the tears of the women of Jerusalem even as he endeavors to comfort them. Finally, in his last moments, he extends compassion to the repentant thief and promises him a place in paradise. A teacher till the end, Jesus gives up his life for the salvation of the world. 

Even as we ponder Jesus’ life and death and all they teach us, we can’t help but examine our own lives and service. How do we measure up as humble, compassionate and loving disciples? Where do we acknowledge our weakness and allow others to help us? Where do we see need and reach out to assist others? Where do we step out in faith to engage a stranger? How easily do we extend forgiveness? How do we allow our hearts to be changed by these encounters? 

Lent offers us sacred time and space to reflect on the amazing love of God, to learn from Jesus’ example of service, and to offer ourselves as instruments extending that same love to others. 

May our Lenten journey draw us ever more deeply into the mystery of God’s love and to the Easter glory that awaits us as members of God’s family. – Susan Bremer, OSU






(Last week)

 
The Second Year at the Pepper Pike Motherhouse (2600 Lander Road)
 
In the fall of 1959, 23 strong dug deep into dirt every Saturday afternoon; they planted rock and blossoms on the side of an incline on the South Side of A.
 
A rock garden, they called it, seemingly a lesson in futility but really it was a chance to meet each other on our knees close to the earth and close to each other.
 
We were postulants, the first year of our lives as a possible Ursuline.
 
Now the rock garden is all grass and so much more, for it is the back yard of our new home soon to be built. Those of us who planted are closer to being planted or are already in the earth. But we who wait for our new home are ever hopeful to welcome a new generation to come and journey with us, and maybe even plant a garden.

~Sr. Miriam Fidelis


Last week

A Way to Pray

A reflective prayer that can be prayed while exercising, working, waiting, sitting or anytime at all.
Begin by reflecting on what little we know about the universe
stars, black holes, galaxies and whatever….
After reflecting say: With all of it I give thanks, honor, glory and praise.

Then reflect on what we know about earth
Mountains, hills, caverns, sands of the seashore, rocks,
canyons, dirt, wastelands, plains…..
In union with mother earth,
I give praise, honor, glory and thanks.

Consider the air that we breathe in union with all the other creatures on the earth, all the birds of the air, little and big…
With all flying birds I give thanks, honor, glory and praise…

Think of the waters, streams, oceans, ponds, puddles
For all the waters and all the fish enjoying the water
I give thank, honor, glory and praise….

Imagine all the living things on the earth, forests, plant life,
Farmers crops, herbs, large and small life filled beauty ….
In union with all life, I give praise, honor, glory, and thanks..

Reflect on all the 4 legged animals, big and little ones, wild and tame
ones, maybe your personal ones….
With all the 4 legged I give thanks, honor, glory, and praise…

Then the 2 legged ones, my brothers and sisters across the face of the earth, those who are suffering, the sick, sorrowful, dying and birthing ones, those who are lost and forgotten, the immigrants….
With all my earth family I give thank, honor, glory, and praise…

Consider the Church across and world and our Holy Father, the ordained, the LCWR, the suffering Church, the struggling in the Church,
United with holy Mother Church I give thanks, glory, praise
and thanksgiving…

Gradually let your prayer become local, to your home, your workplace, your
relationships….Make it up as you go along, maybe add petitions such as,
Pour your Spirit on those working for peace…
Move people to rescue animals in need…
Enliven with your Spirit those who are engaged in healing the earth….

This is a starting point to praying always. Make up and add whatever.
So much prayer is needed today….

                                          ~Just praying, Sr. Mary Joan


February 27, 2017

The last Sunday of Ordinary Time before Lent reminds us of God’s boundless care for us and all of creation. As God feeds the birds and clothes the wildflowers, so too does God provide for all our needs.

These encouraging Scriptures precede Ask Wednesday which calls us to repentance and a deepening of our relationship with God and each other. A specific area of repentance to consider is how we are harming earth and each other. In his encyclical Laudate Si, Pope Francis highlights the enormous problems we are now facing regarding environmental degradation and social inequality. Likewise, based on his experience as a former lay missioner in Brazil, Dave Kane challenges us to acknowledge our guilt and repent:

As a human family we have become unaware of, and insensitive to, how our actions and       lifestyles contribute to the destruction of both God’s creation and human dignity. We fail to acknowledge how we are active participants in a system that strangles all forms of life with toxins and pollution while forcing hundreds of millions of people to go to bed hungry.

It is crucial that we remember that everything we buy and use is made of something extracted from earth and processed by human workers. Our consumption directly implies the destruction and removal of parts of earth’s bounty….

Our constant search for cheaper products pushes corporate leaders to search for places where they can pay the lowest wages and pollute most freely in order to lower costs. We often blame corporate CEO’s for these rapacious actions without recognizing that they are responding to our own demands. We are all a fundamental part in this process.

The concept of repentance is not an easy one for many people We like to focus on the positive, on the promise of the Easter Resurrection, instead of dwelling on Ash Wednesday’s call for repentance or the suffering of Good Friday. But in order to truly resurrect into a new way of living and acting, we first need to acknowledge our failings and the part we play in the human and environmental suffering we see around us.

This Ash Wednesday, let’s stay in the uncomfortable space of repentance….What changes can we make in our lives to help restore humanity and earth?

How do I spend my money? Does my money support life or death? Does my investment fund chase the largest profits with the most destructive businesses or does it sustain healthy livelihoods and ecologically responsible business practices? How do I use my time? Do I spend more time contributing to the planet’s human and ecological wounds or to healing them? How can I change my actions and lifestyle to be more in tune with God’s plan for the world?

A Maryknoll Liturgical Year (A), eds. Judy Coode & Kathy McNeely (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2013) 65-66.
                                                                               Submitted by : Sister Ann Kelly



(Last week)

The first readings for the Masses each day this week are usually taken from the Book of Sirach, a book that contains wise advice on any number of subjects. One of those subjects is friendship. In the 6th chapter the author comments, “ Let your acquaintances be many, but one in a thousand your confidant. When you gain a friend, first test him, and be not too ready to trust him. For one sort is a friend when it suits him, but he will not be with you in time of distress. … A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth.” (We understand that there was no consideration of gender equality at the time in which the book was written, so we will forgive the author for omitting women from his discourse.) Friendship is a topic that knows no boundaries of time, place or culture. It is a subject addressed by many thoughtful writers.

"I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light."
 Helen Keller

 "A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow."
― William Shakespeare

 "Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." 
― Aristotle

"However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship".
Albert Einstein

"The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship".
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you have read thus far wondering how well or if your friend(s) measure up to these high standards, I now suggest that you reread all the same passages to consider how well you measure up. Are you the type of friend that you wish to have?

I do not call you servants any longer… I have called you friends. … As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Abide in my love. ...I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15:9, 11, 15)

Try sitting with the lines from John’s Gospel. No effort. Just sit. Ponder. Hear the words deep within you. Absorb their meaning. The gift of friendship is being offered. Will you allow yourself to receive it?

~Sister Janet Moore



(Last week)

The Seeds of Violence

Our world today is rife with violence. We hear of wars, murder on our city streets, domestic violence and bullying of children and adults. But violence resides unseen as well as what we see in the daily news. Violence sometimes is present in our own thoughts, words and actions - although not as obvious as public violence.

There are times in our own lives when we may be judgmental about the words and actions of another person. There may be times when we criticize others or we complain about something another person said or did. We may harbor prejudices about people who are of another ethnic group, racially different or have faith beliefs different from our own. These may never be thought of in the same way we think of the radical violence that surrounds us today, but these thoughts words and actions do not reflect the words and actions of Jesus.

If we say we are Christians we must know the Jesus of the gospels. We must imitate the Jesus who welcomed everyone, including sinners. Jesus saw the needs of others but never asked about their background before he healed them of their maladies. Jesus is the essence of what a loving, compassionate person must be in our world today.

We can make a difference in our small portion of the world if we act as Jesus did.

Are there any seeds of violence residing in your heart and mind today? 

                                                      ~Sister Maureen McCarthy, OSU



(Last week)

This week's web reflection (2- 7 -17)

“Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” (Luke 12:6-7)

 The Notice of God

 During a recent conversation, someone said to me: “Thank you for seeing me.” At first, I was taken back by the comment, but upon reflection realized that it spoke volumes about relationships today, and the importance of “seeing others” as central to our Christian witness.

Various gospel stories portray blind persons asking Jesus for sight. In each case it seems to me that the healing miracles begin with Christ “seeing” the one in need. Luke 12:6-7 reminds us that nothing escapes the notice of God. Every person and every sparrow is seen and valued by God with attention given to the smallest of details. Ought we not to emulate such divine delicacy?

Today, let’s try together to “see” someone, “notice” something, and then be amazed that miracles do happen…one glance at a time!
                                                                                Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU




(last week)


Strengthen Us to Answer with Brave Hearts

 God of Grace, as you did with Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert Kennedy, Jr, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Oscar Romero, Dorothy Kazel, OSU and so many others, strengthen us to answer with brave hearts your call to help shape a world not of death and oppression but of life and hope.

God of Power, strengthen us to help shape a country where our children will be free of the burdens of racism and sexism, fear and exploitation, violence and indifference, greed and pollution; where all people work with dignity, are rewarded fairly, and respected fully; where labor, rest, play, and worship are in blessed, graceful balance.

God of Glory, strengthen us to help shape a society where the value of families is reflected in decent homes, good schools, safe neighborhoods, mutually earned trust, glad gatherings, respected differences; where older persons are not for-gotten, trivialized, marginalized or brutalized, but honored for their experience, cherished for their gifts, sought for their wisdom.

God of Mercy, strengthen us to help shape a nation where diversity is a source of enrichment, compassion is common, life’s poetry realized, suffering lightened through sharing, justice attended, joy pervasive, hope lived, the hum of the universe heard, and together with you and with each other we build what is beautiful, true, and worthy of your generosity to us, and echo of your kingdom.

With the passion of the prophets and in the insistent spirit of Jesus,

we say, Amen! Amen!

 Loder, Theodore W. “Prayers of Petition.” 

My Heart in My Mouth Prayers for Our Lives. 

Wipf & Stock Pub, 2013


(Last Week)

CONSCIOUS AWARNESS

ARE WE CONNECTED TO A UNIFIED FIELD OR ENERGY?

When a certain number of people come together and choose in a moment of time to create a precise emotion in their hearts, that emotion literally can influence the very fields that sustain life on Earth.

These fields are now implicated in everything from the immune response of humans, throughout the planet, climate, weather patterns, cycles of war, in peace, our abilities to solve problems, our cognitive activities.

All of these as different as they sound from one another are linked to our relationship to the magnetic fields of the earth.

So what makes this so beautiful is that every human on the planet is linked to the field, but not every human on the planet has to be consciously aware of their relationship to benefit from what a relatively few number of people come to understand.

And the bottom line is this, that we can choose to feel feelings that create what we call coherence in our bodies. Coherence is the language, the quality of the language between our heart and our brain.

Certain kinds of heart based experiences, such as appreciation, gratitude, forgiveness, care, compassion, those are the ancient understandings that have always been taught in the truest traditions of our past and now our own science is finding those same traditions are documenting this very real effect within our hearts.

When we can feel those feelings in our bodies, they’re mirrored in the field and everyone benefits from the experience of relatively few.

Gregg Braden

All we have to do is our own inner work, to practice love, compassion, gratitude and to be consciously aware that when we do fall out of alignment with our true self, we can let go gracefully of our ego and fears to find our balance again.

We are all well aware, from experiences of giving and receiving, that our energy can effect ourselves and others in a positive or negative way.

I hope that this video and the work of Gregg Braden can light up this world with love so everyone can feel it.

http://www.consciousawareness.info/gregg-braden




(Last week)

Let Peace Begin Here

These days of conflict, confusion, violence, and darkness are times that call us to be witnesses of peace—the peace for which our hearts and our world long so deeply. Praying the Peace Mantra, given to us by the Peace Mantra Foundation, may be a good way to foster peace within and around us.

Find a quiet place, settle into a comfortable chair, and breathe deeply several slow breaths. Then, continue to breathe, repeating a line below with each inhalation:

Peace in my Heart
Peace in this Place
Peace in our Land
And throughout the World
Peace

the peace mantra - summer 2008

Collective prayer created by the seven founding members of The Peace Mantra Foundation, West Cornwall, UK.

The simple structure of the mantra allows one to substitute another word or quality for 'peace.' In other words, 'Love in my Heart,' 'Love in this Place,' 'Healing in my Heart,' 'Joy,' 'Compassion' ... whatever feels right is perfect to use.

Found at www.worldprayers.org




(Last week)

Rise Up in Splendor!

Rise up in splendor! Be radiant! Your heart shall throb and overflow!

Christmas celebrates shockingly new life in Christ, God come to us, conforming ourselves to become Christ for others. Simple words to type and read but astoundingly mysterious to comprehend.

Christmas often enough does not look like the latest Hallmark movie or American Greetings card. It looks more like a dirty stable, exhaustion from labor, fear of what is to come. And yet, and yet… Christmas offers us hope even amidst the stench of animals in a stable – or the stink of terror or injustice or even death.

We need to choose. Will we be like Herod and seek to kill what is good and holy because we know fear? Or will we be like the wise ones who trusted God and found another way around the evil and sin to new life?

“Those whose eyes are always cast to the ground will never see the stars.” Raise your eyes. See the splendor. Let your heart throb and overflow, in compassion for those who suffer and in joy for the great gift that is Jesus Christ.

                                                                           ~Sister Laura Bregar




Last week

Periwinkle Sky

Deep midnight skies
Yielding to aurora's touch
Break gently silently
Into soft hues
Readying earth
For day's warm glows.
Periwinkle sky births hope!

Periwinkle clouds
Usher in dawn’s rose-gold morn
Off’ring light’s life energy
To slumbering souls
Presenting new day
Where dreams may come true.
Rose-gold morn refreshes joy!

Rose-gold morn resounds
For Angels herald graces
Gilded by holy repose
Day's prism refracts dreams
Proclaiming God's gifts,
Transforming night's myst'ries.
Day illumines Jesus' Way!

Jesus lights the Way
Greets anew pilgrim souls
Invites each to grasp His Hand.
As soul journeys forth
Believing Angels' songs
She lives hope, loves joy.
For He has pierced periwinkle sky!

Lord Jesus, I praise You. You
sent periwinkle prophets who announced
the coming of Your New Day and then
You came creating at your birth the rose-
gold morn that ushered in your New
Day of Salvation. I am humbled by
my faith and know more than ever
that I am undeserving…but still You
gift me with your patient love. I bow
down in gratitude. Amen
                                              ~Sister Irene Charette 




The Joy of Christmas Continues

The joy of Christmas cannot be contained in a single day. It lingers in the echo of carols and in Luke’s proclamation of Jesus’ birth. The essence of our celebration is Jesus, God’s gift of love and grace poured upon the earth and upon all humanity in limitless supply. Jesus is the gift we celebrate, the gift we share and the gift we await.

We celebrate his coming into our world more than 2000 years ago. We remember how God’s own son came and comes still to restore harmony to a broken and fragmented world, and to heal whatever keeps love from shining through all people. And we look to the day when Jesus will return in glory to complete the work of salvation.

In the account of Jesus’ birth, Luke recounts the angel’s words: I come to proclaim good news to you, tidings of great joy! Who among us couldn’t use some good news, some glad tidings? With wars raging, the economy and jobs floundering and violence erupting on our streets, good news is hard to come by. But the celebration of Jesus’ birth reminds us that we are not alone, that God is with us in our struggles.

In the crib of Bethlehem, Jesus radiates what the world needs today, what we need today: gentleness, light, hope and peace: Gentleness as an antidote to violence; Light to offset the shadows that darken these days in our history, Hope to heal those who feel abandoned or who find no meaning in their lives, and Peace to transform each fearful, anxious heart.

 These are God’s gifts to us through Jesus. This is the good news of Christmas, the good news that echoes through each day, each year, from one generation to the next.

Jesus tells us elsewhere in the Gospel, “What you have received as gift, give as gift.” It follows, then, that if we have been recipients of gentleness, light, hope and peace, that we are called to extend these same gifts to others. We have limitless opportunities to allow God’s love to radiate through us, to be sources of grace and blessing for others. And who knows, maybe it will be contagious; maybe our efforts at gentleness, light, hope and peace will start an epidemic that can effect change in our small communities and in the world itself! That would be good news indeed!

 Through Jesus, grace came down at Christmas; through us that grace continues to flow. Yes, that is good news. Let us continue to proclaim it with our lives this Christmas, as the Son of God is brought to birth in all of us again and again and again.

                                                                                  – Susan Bremer, OSU






(Last week)

A One Hundred Year Anniversary

On East 35th Street, near downtown Cleveland, lives a small community called Little Brothers and Sisters of the Eucharist. They have transformed the neighborhood through their ministry of presence. Blessed Charles de Foucauld is the inspiration of this Eucharistic community. Charles lived among the Juareg in the Sahara in Algeria in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. He wished for followers but had none who stayed. He lived as a neighbor among the neighbors in the Presence of the Eucharist. It was there in Northern Africa that he was martyred on December 1, 1916.

In my early years in ministry I would often gather with the Fraternity of the Little Brothers and Sisters of the Eucharist for Mass on Thursdays. Their influence still touches my heart, especially in a prayer I learned there. Though I’m not able to get away on Thursdays from St. Angela Merici’s for Mass, I still say their prayer everyday:
                                                                                                  ~Sister Miriam Fidelis

"Father, I abandon myself into your hands. Do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you; I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures—I wish no more than this Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul: I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen."

Charles de Foucauld

                                                                                         


(Last Week)

Periwinkle Sky

Deep midnight skies
Yielding to aurora's touch
Break gently silently
Into soft hues
Readying earth
For day's warm glows.
Periwinkle sky births hope!

Periwinkle clouds
Usher in dawn’s rose-gold morn
Off’ring light’s life energy
To slumbering souls
Presenting new day
Where dreams may come true.
Rose-gold morn refreshes joy!

Rose-gold morn resounds
For Angels herald graces
Gilded by holy repose
Day's prism refracts dreams
Proclaiming God's gifts,
Transforming night's myst'ries.
Day illumines Jesus' Way!

Jesus lights the Way
Greets anew pilgrim souls
Invites each to grasp His Hand.
As soul journeys forth
Believing Angels' songs
She lives hope, loves joy.
For He has pierced periwinkle sky!

Lord Jesus, I praise You. You
sent periwinkle prophets who announced
the coming of Your New Day and then
You came creating at your birth the rose-
gold morn that ushered in your New
Day of Salvation. I am humbled by
my faith and know more than ever
that I am undeserving…but still You
gift me with your patient love. I bow
down in gratitude. Amen
                                            ~Sister Irene Charette

                              

(Last Week)

The Second Sunday of Advent encourages us to continue to slow down and make time to deepen our relationship with God, as we acknowledge God’s love for us and its manifestation in the birth of Jesus.

Sunday’s readings call us to reflect on the meaning of peace in our lives. Isaiah predicts the coming of our Savior to establish a reign of justice and peace. We are charmed by his images of the wolf and the lamb living side by side and the baby playing unharmed by the cobra’s den. The psalm foretells of the reign of King Solomon when justice and profound peace will extend throughout the land.

In St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, we find the key to this harmony in the challenge to be not only accepting of one another, but also welcoming one another as Christ has done for us. Matthew’s Gospel, in which John the Baptist preaches repentance and care for each other by good works, expresses another pathway to peace.

In our own current war-torn world, we ask how can peace be possible? Peacemaker Thomas Merton, whose 48th anniversary of death occurs on December 10th offers further insights into being a maker of peace. In his earlier writings, Merton clearly articulated his belief in ending all war, dismantling nuclear arsenals and promoting global nonviolent conflict resolution. It was only later that he became aware of the more subtle ways we neglect to be peacemakers in our daily lives. Echoing the Dalai Lama, he said that to change the world and work for peace, we need to create peace within ourselves.

For Merton, the spiritual life is a journey of peace following the Gospel to the God of peace. He was convinced of our need to face our own inner violence and resentments, our hurts, anger, and our lack of forgiveness of those who have hurt us. God can transform these limitations into compassion, mercy and nonviolence. Merton recommends the practice of nonviolence in our personal prayer – to be in the presence of the God of peace to discern God’s will for us both individually and collectively. He believed that if we make this our daily practice, we will radiate peace personally and advocate for universal peace

Advent gives us a wonderful opportunity to pause as we deepen our awareness of our need for conversion and seek ways to spread peace to others. What specific actions can I take this week to be a peacemaker?

                                                                                      ~SisterAnn Kelly



(Last week)

Declutter your heart

It’s that time again – late November, early December -- when time seems to move faster and faster until it spins out of control in a rush of unfinished tasks and unsolvable situations.

This week …

Our world shudders with news of the latest natural disasters and inhuman cruelties;

Our country struggles to regain its equilibrium in the aftermath of a contentious campaign and election like no other;

Our neighborhood hunkers down with snowplows at the ready for the polar vortex that is predicted for the near future;

Our family having just devoured the last Thanksgiving leftovers and Black Friday sales are now asking, “What’s on the to do list for Christmas?”

Our children are being seduced by catchy TV commercials to convince Santa of their “need” for all the latest colorful and expensive toys;

Ours is a coarse age, a materialistic age, an anxious age, a hyperactive age, a distracted age

--- but it is not an age without hope.

Because this week …

This week also marks the beginning of Advent – an exceedingly countercultural season – that season of the church year when the world around us is rushing, fretting and consuming but we are invited to slow down and wait and empty ourselves -- to wait with simplicity, serenity, sincerity, silence and maybe also a song. We are called to get rid of the clutter in our hearts in order to make room for awareness of the divine presence. Jesus won’t be born on Christmas; he has already willingly entered our messy world. Yes, we joyfully commemorate that birth on Christmas, but the reality is that the divine is constantly with us but we are so often oblivious to it. Merton tells us “The presence of God is like walking out of a door into the fresh air. You don’t concentrate on the fresh air, you breathe it. And you don’t concentrate on the sunlight, you just enjoy it. It is all around.” It only takes a moment to appreciate it. This Advent, develop the habit of intentionally taking a silent moment of awareness several times each day. Slow down, take a deep breath, be still and wait. Declutter your heart. You may find in the quiet emptiness a growing awareness of God’s unconditional love for you and that would be the best present of all, and you won’t have to wait until Christmas to enjoy it.

                                                                                             ~Sister Janet Moore




Last Week

Gratitude

During November we are reminded to give thanks because of Thanksgiving Day. This is admirable but one day a year is not sufficient. Gratitude is something we should practice every day of our lives. We are surrounded by enormous examples of negativity in the world. Gratitude for the good and beautiful is a great antidote.

Just reflect on today. You are surrounded by God’s love. That is always a good start to a positive way of looking at your day and one for which we should give gratitude. Think about your loved ones - another reason to give thanks. Whether the sun is shining or snow is falling nature surrounds us and is reason for thanks. Positive examples for giving thanks are too numerous to list. All you need to do is be open to the experiences of each day.

There are benefits to being a person who is grateful. Gratitude contributes to our happiness and the following are a few other results of being a person who is grateful:

Report higher levels of positive emotions

Have greater life satisfaction

Experience greater vitality

Are more optimistic

Are healthier

Build stronger relationships

Handle adversity better

Experience lower levels of depression and stress.

Start today to increase your awareness of all the blessing you experience each day!

~Sister Maureen McCarthy



(Last week)

The Way of Love: Surrender and Gratitude

In her autobiography, Story of a Soul, Saint Therese of Lisieux identifies not great deeds, but surrender and gratitude as foundational to her relationship with God. She pictures the road to Divine Love like the child who rests securely in the arms of his/her Father.1

When I was young, my mother taught me how to swim. The back float was a particular challenge for me. After many failed attempts, mom suggested that I envision resting my head on a pillow. As I did so, she gently held me on top of the water, and the next thing I knew I was floating!

Relationships built on trust like these teach us about ongoing surrender, dismantling fear. They witness to the power of a steadfast presence that awakens our understanding of love and authentic freedom. God, who is love, invites us to rest in it through contemplation and then to give it away with grateful hearts. What a gift God offers us! What a gift we in turn can offer each other!

As Thanksgiving Day nears, let’s bring our THANKS to God who holds everyone and everything with love, and then ensure love’s ongoing expression by GIVING our own little acts of self-surrender to God, and each other. THANKSGIVING then will not only mark a day on our November calendar, but animate a lifetime of days and beyond.

1 Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul (Washington D.C: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1972) 188.

Be Still, Reflect, Pray

1. Who helped/helps form your understanding of authentic love? How do you pass it along?

2. Pray with 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13.

3. What is God asking you to surrender today?

4. How will I give thanks during this holiday season?

~Sister Joanne Buckman 



(Last Week)

In Honor of the Recent Canonization of Mother Teresa of Calcutta,
here are some beautiful excerpts from her letter to the 
Missionaries of Charity March 25, 1993 that will touch your heart.

My Dear Children …

“Jesus wants me to tell you again … how much love He has for each one of you – beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus – one to one – you and Jesus alone. You may spend time in chapel – but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love?  Do you really know the living Jesus – not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace. He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying ‘I thirst.’ in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person – not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say, “I love you” – impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe the air. If not, prayer is dead – meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him – speaking in the silence of your heart.

“Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes – to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more – He longs for you. He misses you when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you.  He loves you always, even when you don’t come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes – He is the one who always accepts you. My children, you don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe – you are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet – only open your heart to be loved by Him, as you are. He will do the rest.

“You all know in your mind that Jesus loves you – but in this letter Mother wants to touch your heart instead … if you remember anything from Mother’s letter, remember this – ‘I Thirst’ is something much deeper than Jesus just saying ‘I love you.’ Until you know deep inside that Jesus thirst for you – you can’t begin to know who He wants to be for you or who He wants you to be for Him.” 

 Mother Teresa of Calcutta



(Last Week)

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

God Is for Us
Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us. We don’t decide to “be loving”; rather, to love is to allow our deepest and truest nature to show itself.

The love in you – which is the Spirit in you – always somehow says yes (see Corinthians 1:19-20). Love is not something you do; love is Someone you are. It is your True Self. {1} Love is where you came from and love is where you’re going. It’s not something you can attain. It’s not something you can work up to, as much as something you allow yourself to fall into! It is the living presence of God within you, often called the Holy Spirit, or what some theologians name uncreated grace.

You can’t manufacture this by any right conduct. You can’t make God love you one ounce more that God already loves you right now. You can go to church every day for the rest of your life but God isn’t going to love any more than God already loves you right now.

You cannot make God love you any less, either – not an ounce less. You could do the most terrible thing and God wouldn’t love you any less. (You probably love yourself much less, however.)

You cannot change the Divine mind about you! The flow is constant and total toward your life. God is for you!

You can’t diminish God’s love for you. What you can do, however, is learn how to believe it, receive it, allow it, and celebrate it, accepting Trinity’s whirling invitation to join in the cosmic dance.

Catherine LaCugna ends her giant theological tome on Trinity with one simple sentence. It’s taken her two-and-a-half inches of book to get to this one line, and its simplicity might overwhelm you, but I can’t end in any better place than she does:

The very nature of God, therefore, is to seek out the deepest possible communion and friendship with every last creature on earth. {2}

That’s God’s job description. That’s what it’s all about. The only things that can keep you out of this divine dance are fear, doubt, or self-hatred. What would happen in your life – right now - if you accepted being fully accepted?

It would be a very safe universe.

You would have nothing to be afraid of.

God is for you.

God is leaping toward you!

God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own.

References:
{1} See Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013) for a thorough teaching on your True Self and how to access it.



Last week

Let us pray for peace:

Great God, who has told us
"Vengeance is mine,"
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.
We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace--not war--wherever we go.

For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.

And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.

This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen

prayer for world peace - sister joan chittister - benedictine sisters of erie




(Last week)

“Pray always without becoming weary.” Luke 18:1

 How can we pray ‘always’? When we hear the word ‘prayer,’ most of us instinctively think of formal prayers like the Lord’s Prayer. And we should, since formal prayers are integral to Christian spirituality. There is another way of thinking about prayer in Christian life, however. It is the effort to make our whole life into a prayer—that is, to pray always. This kind of prayer involves offering all that we are and have and do to the service of God, calling ourselves into the presence of God at various times during our day and making all our personal encounters and actions into a kind of prayer. This form of prayer means bringing all our successes and failures, joys and sorrows, and highs and lows to God in prayer. This habit of prayer, of course, needs to be complemented by formal prayers. But the combination of the two can add up to praying always.

-Daniel J. Harrington in America Magazine 10/15/07

A few months ago I had the privilege of attending the annual national meeting of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCWR). This dynamic group of women who have an amazing collective breadth of experience in international ministries was encouraged to remember that: “Times are urgent. Slow down.” Yes, war is confronting us all over the globe and we are heated up about global warming, not to mention grieving the deaths of those killed by gun violence and the Sisters who have been murdered in Mississippi and Haiti -- and every one of us is touched by the not-so-civil discourse leading up to the national election next month. It is hard to stop and take a breath when everything seems to compel us to action, to do everything we can to make the world a better place. Yet Luke reminds us in the Sunday gospel this week that there is a larger call, a call to be in the presence of God and to make every effort to BE the presence of God in the midst of the pain and chaos. If you and I can live in such a way that our deeper breathing, our more expansive loving and our more tender words can touch lives with God’s being, then we are truly BEING a better “place” in the world. I encourage and invite each of us to slow down, see and hear and touch God in the daily moments of our lives and then to bless others with our presence. God longs to touch Her people. Will we be the answer to someone’s prayer with our life today?

                                                   ~Sr. Laura Bregar




(Last week)

Through the saints God writes the Gospel

People of faith are still celebrating the canonization of Teresa of Calcutta, missionary of the poor. This small but mighty dynamo and the community she founded have left a mark on people throughout the world by seeking out and serving the “poorest of the poor” in the name of Jesus.

One individual interviewed for the canonization proceedings noted that Mother Teresa was a “pencil in the hand of God.” What a fitting image! There is nothing terribly glamorous about a pencil, a simple, ordinary object. But in the hand of God, such an implement can be transformed into an extraordinary instrument.

Not only Saint Teresa of Calcutta, but perhaps all the saints, particularly two we celebrate this week -- St. Therese of Lisieux (October 1) and St. Francis of Assisi (October 4) – can be celebrated as pencils in the hand of God. Through each of them God wrote for us a modern day gospel and provided a guide for all to emulate.

Our newest saint, Teresa, extended mercy to the poor and needy, to the very outcasts of society. In this year dedicated to mercy, we would do well to follow her example and reach out to those less fortunate than we.

In St. Therese, “the Little Flower,” we have an example of simplicity and holiness. In her short life, marked with loss, disappointment and sickness, she set her heart on doing what she could, however small, to please God. This gentle Carmelite reminds us that even the little things we do can help advance the kingdom of God.

Finally, we have Francis of Assisi, known for renouncing his privileged life for a life of poverty and also for his great love of creation. In both instances he demonstrated his belief that all are part of a larger “brotherhood” or family. He accorded all persons the same honor, respect and love, regardless of status or standing. So, too, with nature; the whole of creation – sun, moon, winds, water, and every manner of bird and animal – was family. His example calls us to similar regard and care for all persons and all of creation, no small thing in today’s world and society.

Teresa, Therese and Francis likely did not set out to be saints, but their love of God opened them to God’s working in and through their lives. Let us pray for the grace to open our hearts and hands in love and service that we, too, might become “pencils in the hand of God” through which God might continue to write a Gospel of love and mercy. – Susan Bremer, OSU




(Last week)

This summer Ursuline College hosted the annual Faith and Sharing Retreat with the theme: “Let Nothing Be Wasted”. These words, shared by Father Larry Gilleck, S.J., sparked my reflection.

“On a journey to an unfamiliar airport to be met by an unknown person, I stood, highly visible on the side of a well-traveled route.”

Father Larry wove this image into his tale to invite us all to “stay where you can be found---by God”.  Oh, did I mention, Father Larry is blind?

“About Hanging Out where you’ll be Found”

Stay in the gap
wherever that may be
In clear sight,
open,
venerable,
simply where God will find you:
In a garden perhaps
or on a Mountain,
or desert,
by the Crib
or ‘neath the cross.
In tears or laughter,
darkness or light,
sadness or joy.

For it is not so much that we seek God in all things, as God finds us in everything always
waiting,
willing,
present.

~Sister Miriam Fidelis





 Birth to Fullness

“Look at how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers.” Luke 6: 29-30

Birth from our mother’s womb.

We were carried in our mother’s womb for nine months…during that time mothers often talk to their children in the womb, telling them of their love, their lives, their hopes and dreams for their child. The child is comforted, safe, and happy but somehow knows there is more. It stirs, kicks and finally is ready for birth. Kicking and screaming the child is thrust out of the mother’s womb into the womb of the earth. What does a child experience during this time….fullness of life…greater life…birth into an unknown

reality?

Birth into a second womb – mother earth.

We know we are safe again in this marvelous place and we are content. The second womb is quite nice and full of excitement. Mother earth talks to us and reveals to us the vast beauty in her earthly womb. We are safe here, surrounded by Divine presence, revealed in every leaf, every creature, every flower, every mountain, every body of water, every herb and vegetable, every companion who journeys through this earth womb with us.

If we are awake, if we listen and see, if we ask and are open to the Divine energy, the Holy Spirit reveals in a thousand different ways a presence that is with us, revealing itself to us. This is really a womb of Divine love, full of energy and reflecting the Beloved as a mirror. We see beauty and life around us and before us. If we are attentive we hear and see the revelation of “something more” that is yet to come. We receive glimpses of something more. Our hearts are restless for a greater fullness of life.

Like children we often take advantage of the very goodness of it all. We use it and fail to respect this second womb. We get self absorbed in it. We experience different forms of idolatry even knowing that temporal things cannot carry ultimate reality. They crumble and we are lost. We become fearful, distrusting, sad, and disappointed. Hopefully we learn along the way that we are of the earth womb, and yet long for something more.

Birth into a third womb – the fullness of life.

Eventually, at some point again we are thrust out of this earthly womb into the fullness of Divine life, sometimes kicking and screaming again. Maybe we are already living in the kingdom, are “saved,” are walking the journey, seeking fullness, completion. We have tasted, have believed in the fullness of Divine life, the heartbeat of God at the center of the universe welcomes us and we realize we knew that love energy, that Divine life already in the womb of the earth, and in our mother’s womb. 

Consider the lilies…help me to trust. Just pondering….
                                                                                          ~Sister Mary Joan



(Last Week 9-11-16) 

As we observed the 15th anniversary of September 11th and remembered all those who died on that tragic day, the Scriptures for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time call us to forgiveness.

The Israelites betrayed their fealty to God and worshiped a golden calf, but when Moses pleaded, God in God’s mercy, forgave the people for their deception. Likewise, in his letter to Timothy, Paul praises God for God’s mercy in forgiving him for his former life persecuting Christians and in calling him to be a disciple to proclaim God’s goodness to the world. In both instances, those who were lost were found through God’s forgiveness.

The Gospel of Luke reflects on three parables about losses, and the joy that comes when the lost is found – whether a coin, a sheep or a prodigal son. The widow, the shepherd, and the father throw parties and invite others to share in their joy.

The prodigal son offers us much food for thought. When we forgive another person or ask for God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a burden that has weighed us down is lifted, and we experience joy like the prodigal’s father. Yet the older son resented his father’s forgiveness and refused to join the celebration of his brother’s return, thereby being burdened by resentment. Am I sometimes like that older son, withholding the act that could enable me to forgive?

In visit to Assisi in August, Pope Francis said: “Too many people are caught up in resentment and harbor hatred because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace”. Often when we have offended others, we expect their forgiveness, but then again, when others offend us, we demand justice rather than mercy.

Pope Francis maintains that “In this Holy Year of Mercy, it becomes clearer that the path of forgiveness can truly renew the church and the world….To offer today’s world the witness of mercy is a task from which none of us can feel exempt”. Let us take these words to heart and be agents of forgiveness in a world where hatred, violence and wars are all too common.

What specific ways can I continue to respond to this challenge in my daily life?

Ann Kelly, OSU



Last week (9-5-16)

Since 1894 Labor Day has been observed as a national holiday in the U.S. on the first Monday in September. It recognizes the dignity of work and the important contribution of American workers in every field of endeavor; it also gives the workers a well-earned day off from their labors. Over the years, besides the occasional parade, political gathering, evening fireworks, etc., Labor Day has evolved basically into a time for some traditional family R&R, maybe a cookout and for marking the end of summer. Respect for labor per se is no longer the focus.

This year, however, September 4, the day before Labor Day is going to be memorable for a distinctly different reason. The life and labor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta will receive considerable worldwide attention because she is to be canonized, i.e., declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be a saint. This amazing little woman who is well known by many is certainly the epitome of a dedicated worker. Her efforts on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable have earned her such recognitions as the Nehru Award, the Nobel Peace Prize, and the Pope John XXIII Peace Prize among many others. Fortunately we have record of many comments she has made (or is presumed to have made) about the nature of work. Therefore, on this Labor Day and the week that follows it, it might be worthwhile to consider what this saintly woman had to say about work. Perhaps her wise words can cast new light on the view we have of our own work and its worth, how and why we do it, with whom and for whom we labor.

There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in - that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.

In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East — especially in India — I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving — it is not in the result of loving.

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls.

I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?’

Work without love is slavery.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

                                                   ~Sister Janet Moore


(Last Week)

During two Sundays in August the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland celebrated Golden and Diamond Jubilees. On August 7th, nine Ursulines were honored for fifty years of committed Ursuline life and dedicated service to the People of God. The following Sunday, six sisters celebrated sixty years of being faithful witnesses to their community and those they served. These were significant signs of commitment to the greater Cleveland community and to all who were present to share in the events.

What’s important to remember is that these committed women religious chose religious life as their way of living out their baptismal commitment to their Church and God. They were not the only ones to do this. Every baptized Christian is called to the same commitment whether that occurs through marriage, single life, priesthood or religious life. Every baptized person is to live this commitment by following the life and example of Jesus, nourishing a spiritual life through liturgy, spiritual reading and prayer, and reaching out to brothers and sisters in need.

It is not easy in our time and society to model what it means to be a committed Christian. We are bombarded with racial, religious, gender and ethnic bias and downright hatred that seems to be all around us. Do we ever stand up for what we believe when we experience this negativity?

We are in the midst of a nasty presidential campaign. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has obtained thousands of signatures asking that regardless of our political stance that we use civil discourse in our words. Those of us who are committed a loving and compassionate God should be models for every person with whom we have contact.

Do you have reason to celebrate your 25, 50, or 90 year commitment to your baptismal responsibility and your relationship with the Christ? May every day and every year of your life be a cause to celebrate that commitment!

                                                                                 ~Sister Maureen McCarthy




(Last week)

When Israel was a child I loved him…It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew them with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks. Yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer. (Hosea 11: 1, 4)

Living with Tenderness

At a recent gathering, I sat behind a young couple and their toddler. The parents worked as a team in response to the constant needs of the little girl. With back and forth movements their care resembled a well-choreographed dance, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.

Moments earlier I had heard on the news about another act of mass violence, and I came to this shared prayer experience seeking a word of hope. And, the word did not delay; in fact, it was acted out in front of me! Over and over again as these young adults raised their daughter to their cheeks, tenderness was gently proclaimed.

Between sips of water and healthy snacks, both mother and father held her close, gently stroking her blonde tresses, and kissing her. Stooping down, and rising up again, they communicated to their daughter and to each other, another way of being in the world.

The prophet Hosea uses such a parental image to describe the relationship of God with Israel. His description assures us that God acts with tenderness, with “bands of love” toward his people. The Holy One, who created every community and every person in each of them, draws and fosters like a father, stoops and feeds like a mother.

Confronted daily with the relentless violence that overwhelms our senses and pierces our hearts, let’s seek to mirror the actions of our Divine Healer who still touches our world through the tenderness we show to each other.

Be Still, Reflect, Pray

1. Describe your favorite image of human tenderness. How did you react?

2. Have you experienced the tenderness of God recently? How? Where?

3. Pray for children, young parents and all families.




(Last week)

Child of God’s Womb

 “Child of God’s womb,
my child within,
tell me what God is like;
I’m beginning to forget.”

 “Come deep inside 
where mysteries dwell,
and who God is
I’ll surely tell.

 God sang of life 
one autumn morn;
God drew a breath
and I was born. 

God looked at me
with two kind eyes.
God is tender;
God is wise.

God’s warm caress
Supports my head.
I tug God’s breast
and I am fed.

God hears my prayer,
my cry, my plea.
God looks with love
and answers me.

God understands
my doubt, my fear.
I hold so tight,
God’s heart I hear.

God presses me
against one cheek.
In whispers soft
I hear God speak.

 God smiles and laughs
and sings a song.
With joy, with love,
I’m swept along.

God gentles me
with fond embrace,
and leans so low,
I touch God’s face.

 God smooths my hair.
God strokes my arm.
I sleep secure;
I’m safe from harm.”

 “Oh, sweet, sweet child,
this image gained,
I will not soon
forget again.

 I see the God
you’ve shown to me,
and know at last
that God is she.”

                                                        ~S. Julianne McCauley, OSU

 





(Last week)

                           

From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

pale blue dot - carl sagan

Excerpt from Carl Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space named after the photograph of the earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft on February 14, 1990. Seen from about 6 billion kilometers, the Earth appears as a tiny dot within the darkness of deep space.




Last Week

“Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.” (Luke 11)

Mother, Sophia, Creator,
One who nourishes and sustains us,
One who dwells within us as close as our breath and heartbeat,
One who surrounds all of the universe in your loving embrace…
Holy are you in your many names,
in your many faces -- and our many faces,
in the oneness that is your being,
in the multiplicity of your manifestation…
May your dream and reality of all abiding in your presence
for all eternity become real in us.
Grace us with gratitude for the many gifts that are ours,
enough for the day, enough for the other, enough.

May the conviction that you are mercy
invite us to extend loving kindness to all.
Always and ever draw us to yourself
that our choices and decisions
may direct us in the way of holiness,
wholeness,
goodness.




(Last week)

Co-Creators

 

“Breathe on me, O Spirit of God!”
I do breathe on you, my love!”

 Be attentive, O my soul!
My heart’s rhythmic beat
Soothes you, beckons you
To pierce time’s unknown limits.

 My creative soul, now tranquil
Warmed within heart’s heat
Radiates Word’s light
Erases fears, heals wounds.

 Co-creating, heart and soul
Humbly walk Truth’s Path.
Transformed into peace
We breathe out Word’s awesome Joy.

 “Breathe on me O Spirit of God!
Heart and should together with You,
Now co-create sacred peace!”
“I shall continue to breathe on you, my love!”

 Prayer:  Heavenly Father, Divine Son, Holy Spirit, I beg You to continue to dwell in me. Enable me to co-create with You a spirit of peace wherever I go and whatever I do today.  My heart bursts for love of You!  Help me to walk humbly the path of Truth and to breathe out Your awesome Joy.  I ask this through Your sufferings, death and resurrection, Jesus.  Amen.
                                                                                        irene charette, osu



(Last Week)

Finding God in the Midst of Life’s Trials, Tragedies

An Old Testament passage recounts a story about the prophet Elijah who, fleeing from those who want to kill him, searches for God in order that God might protect him.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountain and crushing rocks – but the Lord 
was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake – but the Lord was not in 
the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was fire – but the Lord was not in the fire. 
After the fire, there was a tiny whispering sound. [It was here, in the whisper of a breeze 
that Elijah discovered the Lord he sought.]  -- Kings 19:11-12

 This story, while perhaps unfamiliar, is one with which we have all identified at one time or another. It describes one person’s search for God in the midst of difficulty. Have we not encountered similar situations?

The recent mass shooting in Orlando and other such horrific attacks and tragedies shake us to the core. Likewise, serious illness, family problems, natural disasters or misfortune of any kind may prompt us to wonder where God is in the midst of it and why God isn’t intervening. Elijah found that the Lord was not present in the destructive wind, earthquake or fire. Similarly, we must remind ourselves that God plays no part in floods or other natural disasters; neither does God send illness or violence or misfortune. Such occurrences are part of the nature of the created world and the effects of a free will that allows each person to make choices for his or her life.

While not responsible for the difficulties we find in life, God is ever-present to us in the midst of our trials. Elijah found the Lord in the gentle whisper of a breeze that directed him to a place of safety. Disaster victims no doubt discover God in the outstretched hands of individuals – often strangers – offering help and assistance and financial support.

The presence of God is available to the seriously ill through family and friends who visit, send cards and offer prayerful support, and through the medical personnel who treat them with tenderness and compassion. Likewise, to those families coping with problems, God is present in the very love and courage required to heal and transform relationships.

While our God is all-powerful and almighty, our God is also a God of quiet and gentle presence. God is not to blame for the ills that befall us. Many are simply part of the process of nature and its cycles; others are often the result of poor choices or of evil that co-exists with goodness in our world. God does not cause these events and situations, but God can definitely be counted upon to provide comfort and assistance in the midst of the very worst that life sometimes sends our way.

Let us pray for those afflicted in any way, that in the midst of difficulty, they may experience the gentle, comforting presence of God. – Susan Bremer, OSU



(Last week)

A  Springtime reflective story…..

   Once upon a time there was a Father who liked to watch the butterflies in the field behind his home.  There were many wildflowers and the butterflies would fly from flower to flower.  He had a son, and when the son was old enough, Father and son would walk over to the field to view the butterflies.

   One day the body noticed that a butterfly hurt another butterfly and chased him off a flower. The boy was upset.  Things got worse and worse and the butterflies fought over the flowers.  One day a butterfly killed another little butterfly.  The boy was more upset and gave the situation much thought.  When things were getting really worse and worse among the butterflies the boy decided and said to his Father, “I am going to the shape-changer and ask her to change me into a butterfly so I can dwell in their midst and help them to just be butterflies.”   The Father protested and refused to hear of such a thing.

Boys will be boys and finally he was able to go to the shape-changer.  Again he was refused.  She said, “Why would a human being want to become a bug?” 

   The boy persisted and so he woke up on day, a butterfly among the butterflies.

   It was hard.  He woke early in the morning and began teaching the butterflies how

they should be – just butterflies.  He showed them the field of flowers and taught them

to go to another flower rather than fight.  Some listened but most of the butterflies

ignored him and continued fighting.  The boy butterfly went off in the evening to talk

to his Father.  He stayed with a few of the butterflies who understood what he was trying to do.

   One day a butterfly killed another butterfly. The boy butterfly touched the dead one and it came to life again.  Now, they feared him because of his power.   The council of butterflies spoke against the boy and things got very tense, bitter, nasty and violent.

The boy butterfly continued to talk to his Father and then went to stay with the few that understood him.

    We know how it went.  In their tiny tiny world, they falsified a case against the boy butterfly, took him to court, tried him in their little bitty judgments, and sure enough

finally executed him.

     The shape-changer doesn’t have any power over spirit so the Spirit of the boy was set free and began to flow invisibly through the lives of the little butterflies, urging them to

Just be butterflies, helping them to just be who they were born to be, nothing more, encouraging them to seek other flowers instead of violating one another.  

     Are you one of the few that understood….that understand?  

                                                                                                        Just pondering

                                                                                                            Sister Mary Joan

                                                               


(Last week)


“Crossing the Threshold”
Many times today I will cross over a threshold.
I need to remember that my life is, in fact
a continuous series of thresholds:
from one moment to the next,
from one thought to the next,
from one action to the next.

Help me appreciate how awesome this is.
How many are the chances to be really alive . . .
to be aware of the enormous dimension we live within.

On the threshold the entire past, and the endless future
rush to meet one another.
We find You there and, we are found by You.
Help me cross into the present moment-
Into wonder, into Your grace:
that “now-place,” where we are all unfolding as Your Life - moment by moment.

(adapted from Being Home by Gunilla Norris)


 

 

(Last week)

In many churches during the past several months, Christians have celebrated the retelling of the Paschal mystery that is central to our faith: Christ’s total gift of self in the events leading to his crucifixion, Easter resurrection joy, the Ascension to his Father, and the powerful presence of the Spirit at Pentecost. For many of us the liturgical celebrations of these events in our faith heritage, although very familiar, never fail to gift us with renewed awareness of God’s unconditional love for us . And yet those feast days are now behind us for this year and we enter into “ordinary time.” So now what? Now what will anchor our faith life? What is being asked of us now? What is being offered to us today?
Pope Francis in a homily delivered in Washington D.C. September 23, 2015, suggests that Jesus himself gives us the answer. “The joy of the gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away. “ He then eloquently describes the way Jesus took life as he saw it, embraced all people the way he found them, exacting no preconditions to his generosity, excluding no one. “Go out and in my name embrace life as it is and not as you think it should be. … Go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out and proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father….Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person’s life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts….Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God’s merciful anointing.”
Could mission be the answer to my question, “So now what?” If sometimes you find yourself asking the same question, could this by your answer too?
~Sister Janet Moore


 

 

(Last week)

The Easter season ended with two great feasts – the Solemnity of the Ascension when Jesus squarely places his mission into the hands of his disciples. And the second was the feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon those disciples giving them the power to witness to all they learned and experienced while they were with Jesus.
Christ told the disciples they were to go out and bear witness to his mission and change their world, and he promised to give them the power to do it. We, as the present day disciples of the Christ, face some very serious and difficult challenges in our own world today. Christ commands us to speak out against all kinds of injustice, even if we’re misunderstood or criticized for our stance. We’re commanded to lay down our lives for our neighbors. We may not be called to do this literally, but we are called to help others – the poor, the marginalized, the sick, the homeless, the trafficked, the sinner and the stranger – even if it costs us dearly to do so. We’re commanded to forgive our enemies whether they be friends, neighbors or family members we just don’t get along with anymore, or even the members of Isis. We may well say, “What!” We can’t do all of this. It’s beyond our ability to do this. But, and this is an important but, we can’t forget that Christ gives us the power of the Spirit to accomplish all that Christ asks of us. Because of this we need to regularly pray and reflect on all the graces, talents and other gifts that we’ve received. We need to pray and reflect on all the needs we see around us. And then we are to respond to them in whatever way we are capable of doing.
Even though we celebrate Christ being raised up in glory and are grateful for the Spirit we received at baptism, we can’t forget that Christ remains with us until the end of time and is inseparable from the activity of the Spirit, as well as the mission of the Church. Christ’s spiritual body is here right now -present within us, present around us, and present through us.
~Sr. Maureen McCarthy



 

(Last Week) 

Community: Woven with Spirit
Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

Reflecting on the values of our world, unity and oneness appear wanting and elusive, at best. Even given that technological advances connect multiple devises and span vast distances, I suspect there remains a shared human longing for expressions of authentic community. We are after all unique persons seeking wholeness, and social persons facing the challenges of belonging in church and society.

The New Testament reminds us that we are not alone. Post-resurrection narratives, for example, image the disciples locked behind closed doors; knotted by negative patterns of fear, discouragement and shame. Their encounters with the Risen Christ near the empty tomb, on the Emmaus Road and along the beach, retell stories fraught with opposites; death and life, fear and courage, joy and grief. Shaped by paradox, these early followers struggle to open themselves up to new ways of being and of being together.

What changed for them, or more precisely, what changed them into the bold witnesses of early Christianity? We learn in the Acts of the Apostles that the disciples trust in the promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit. As believers they wait and gather to pray, preparing themselves to receive the Advocate, the Helper.

The Spirit comes with wind and fire, signaling change and transformation. Differences, even in language, find common threads of understanding. Diverse gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord, work within and among persons to weave together a community of firm faith, purpose, and unity.

Anticipating Pentecost 2016, we remember once again the bonds of Spirit that bring us together as Christians. In the days ahead, let’s vigil and pray that this same Spirit may once again untie the knots that bind us, and recreate with new strands the wholeness and authentic community for which we hope. Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

Be Still and Reflect

1. How will I vigil in preparation for Pentecost Sunday this year?
2. What does community mean to me? What does it look like, feel like?
3. Who inspires the sense of authentic community for you? Pray in thanksgiving.


 

 

(Last week)

Pentecost will be celebrated on Sunday, May 15th, this year. Preparation for the apostles consisted of waiting in the upper room, without Jesus’ presence following the Ascension, in prayer and reflection anticipating the Advocate who would come. It would do us well to spend the following days in prayer and reflection also as we anticipate the coming of the Spirit in our own lives.

Richard Rohr, OFM tells us: “I am convinced that rediscovering the power, gift and meaning of the Holy Spirit is the key to recovery of the contemplative mind and heart. … I offer you an old-style Catholic litany to teach the mystery experientially – which is how the Spirit teaches! Instead of a verbal response to each title, I recommend that you take a calm breath in and out while reciting each sacred name. These are metaphors to help describe the Holy Mystery Within, and to begin the constant and conscious breathing called prayer. …”

As you pray this litany each day, it would also be wise to pause when a particular name grabs your attention and speaks to your heart. Instead of finishing the litany spend time asking yourself why that title is important today and how it relates to what is happening in your life right now. Close your reflection with a prayer of your own to the Spirit addressed with the title you chose.

LITANY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT


Pure Gift of God
Indwelling Presence
Promise of the Father
Life of Jesus
Pledge and Guarantee
Eternal Praise
Defense Attorney
Inner Anointing
Reminder of the Mystery
Homing Devise
Knower of All Things
Stable Witness
Implanted Pacemaker
Overcomer of the Gap
Always Already Awareness
Compassionate Observer
Magnetic Center
God Compass
Inner Breath
Divine DINA
Mutual Yearning Place

Given Glory
Hidden Love of God
Choiceless Awareness
Implanted Hope
Seething Desire
Fired of Life and Love
Sacred Peacemaker
Non-Violence of God
Seal of the Incarnation
First Fruit of Everything
Planted Law
Father & Mother of Orphans
Truth Speaker
God’s Secret Plan
Great Bridge Builder
Warmer of Hearts
Space Between Everything
Flowing Stream
Wind of Change
Descended Dove
Cloud of Unknowing

Uncreated Grace
Filled Emptiness
Through-Seer
Deepest Level of our Longing
Attentive Heart
Sacred Wounding
Holy Healing
Softener of our Spirit
Will of God
Great Compassion
Generosity of the Creator
Inherent Victory
The One Sadness
Our Shared Joy
God’s Tears
God’s Happiness
The Welcoming Within
Eternal Lasting Covenant
Contract Written on our Hearts
Jealous Lover
Desiring of God

You who pray in us, through us, with us, for us, and in spite of us.
Amen! Alleluia!
Submitted by Sister Julianne McCauley for May 2nd, 2016



 

 

 

(Last week)

What better way to ponder the love of our Good Shepherd than to pause and reflect on Psalm 23.
Say each phrase slowly and out loud. When a word strikes you, stay with it. What does it mean? What is the Lord saying to me personally in this Psalm? How can I respond to God’s loving word this day?
Continue to read the Psalm in the same way, to the end, once or twice more. God’s word is living and active.

We only need to pause and listen.
The LORD is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul.

He guides me along right paths
for the sake of his name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.

You set a table before me
in front of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORD
for endless days.


 

 

Last week

Come, Follow Me

John’s Gospel takes us full circle. In the first chapter, after the magnificent prologue and the baptism of Jesus, we hear Jesus say to his new disciples, “Come and see.” This week in the final chapter we hear him invite them once again, “Follow me.” The message hasn’t changed much, has it? But the disciples have been irrevocably changed in the meantime. With a clearer understanding of the call, the disciples embark on a new life, filled with both the pain of the cross and the joy of the Resurrection. Perhaps in this Easter season we might reflect on our own annual Lenten journey as a microcosm of our life’s faith journey. Let’s ask ourselves if we are more ready to embrace the sufferings and deaths that come our way, in small ways and in more threatening ways. Let’s take some time to recall our baptismal commitments and wonder if we are more excited than ever to share the new life we encounter, every day in fresh beginnings and at the end of our lives when we are invited to never-ending love and joy in the presence of God. The brilliance of the Resurrection outshines all fear and death. Rise from the waters of the baptismal font with hope and enthusiasm and share your Easter “Alleluia!” boldly. Christ is, indeed, risen from the dead! Follow unreservedly.

~Sister Laura Bregar


 

 

Last week 

Truth Seeds

"Let us sell this dreamer!"
Twenty pieces of silver
They received and his cloak
Their real prize years later
Forgiving redemption
For non-dreamer brothers
Joy for father Israel.

"I must sell this Dreamer!"
Thirty pieces of silver
He received and despair
As he set in motion
Jesus' salvific act
For us non-dreamer souls
New hope for sinners all.

Joseph, Jacob's beloved son
Spoke truth esteemed probity
Revered his father and his faith
Drew upon himself hatred
Jealous brothers craving
Power not familial ties
Heaped grief upon Israel.

Jesus, Divine Son of God
Unveiled laws of Mercy
Relieved pain dispelled evil
Drew upon Himself hatred
Stony eyeless hearts craving
Power not Christ's message
Seeded the earth with His Blood.

"I have risen!"

"My truth seeds will flourish
My forgiveness redeems
Rely on My Presence
My life-giving Sacraments
Let not your hearts harden
Find your rest in Me
I will never turn you away."

irene charette
March, 2016

 

 

(Last Week)

Living in Easter Joy

Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

Our prayerful commemoration of Christ’s passion and death has given way to a celebration of his rising. How easily we move from sadness to joy, at least in the liturgical realm. Even as we recall the somber events of Good Friday, we know it is merely a remembrance. We know how the story ends; we know that Resurrection will follow for Jesus the crucified.

It would be wonderful if we could just as easily anticipate joy in the midst of the sorrows and challenges of each day, or if we could muster hope in the face of our current climate of violence, fear and negativity. But how? How do we as Christians reconcile such societal and political ills with the Easter message of peace, love and new life? How do we stem the tide of evil, social sickness and violence that threatens our very lives? If any good is to come from such ungodly acts, it must begin in us, in our hearts. We must look within ourselves and identify the seeds of violence that dwell there — in the words we speak; the racist, sexist or prejudicial attitudes we hold, and in our hearts that often refuse forgiveness or seek revenge. Before we can entertain any hope of ridding our streets or homes or government of violence, before we can even begin to pray for deliverance from violence, we must root out any traces of violence in ourselves.

Jesus taught the way of non-violence, the way of compassion and mercy. He instructed us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors (Mt. 5:44). It is a considerable challenge, yet that is our call. That is the way of the Gospel and the example set before us. Jesus endured indignity, insult and extreme violence, yet before dying he prayed that God would forgive his killers. Can we do the same? To do anything less would serve only to perpetuate the very cycle of violence we seek to break.

If there is to be any hope of a turn-around, it must come from us and from all people who believe in love and goodness and resurrection. In this Year of Mercy, in these Easter days, let us seek to be courageous and hopeful in our small but determined efforts to make our world a place of peace and new life. Let us endeavor to move ourselves and our brothers and sisters from Good Friday death and sadness to Easter life and joy.
– Susan Bremer, OSU


 

 


(Last week)

The special prayer either before or after the Monday evening meal is a selection from Psalm 21, in which we see through the eyes of David the picture of Christ suffering for us on the Cross.

Prayer:

Psalm 21:1-12

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, far from my prayer, from the words of my cry? O my God, I cry out by day, and you answer not; by night, and there is no relief for me. Yet you are enthroned in the holy place, O glory of Israel! In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and they escaped; in you they trusted, and they were not put to shame. But I am a worm, not a man; the scorn of men, despised by the people. All who see me scoff at me; they mock me with parted lips, they wag their heads: "He relied on the Lord; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, if he loves him." You have been my guide since I was first formed, my security at my mother's breast. To you I was committed at birth, from my mother's womb you are my God. Be not far from me, for I am in distress; be near, for I have no one to help me.

Prayer Source: Lent and Holy Week in the Home by Emerson and Arlene Hynes, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1977


(Last week)

Mary Magdelyn: A Midrash 

As a child I was deeply loved. My Father was wealthy because he was both a weaver and a merchant. In those days that spoke of affluence. We were a happy family. I learned about love from my parents. They connected even their thoughts so that one often finished the thought that the other started. Then, my Father and I noticed that my mother was missing some of her thoughts. Gradually it got worse and worse until she died and my Father relied more and more on me as he lost heart for living.
Gradually, I began to detect the same disease in myself, so I probably inherited it from my mother. My Father died and I was getting worse and worse, until, like all other sick people I became an outcast like the lepers. I watched how the men looked at me so I rubbed dirt in my hair and let my clothing get dirty. I lived in fear, at the edges of life.

I had heard of the prophet, Jesus and, from a distance, one day, saw him for the first time. He was dirty too. His feet were scabbed and torn. I stayed away in fear but I was there when he cured the woman with the blood issue. Later, she actually came over to me. She seemed so free…and happy. She came right up to me and told me to not be afraid but to go to Jesus. She took my hand and together we went. I was trembling
In fear of being rejected by him, for he surely knew I was the great sinner and my illness was a result. They said I had seven devils, that’s fullness of sin.
The crowd had dispersed and Jesus looked into me. I saw the joy of an everlasting sunrise in his eyes, and the pain of everlasting sorrow deep within him. He simply touched me and I felt an immense healing, deeper than just my body. He knew me by name. The woman Jesus had also healed took me in and cleaned me up. We followed his disciples with Mary, his mother. I began to teach her how to weave and together we made her Son a new garment, without seams. I often washed his feet in the evening as we sat by what little water we could find. My whole life changed, for I was deeply in love with Him.
Then, there was that day when Simon held a bash for all his cronies. They invited Jesus because Simon wanted to show off. I watched from the sidelines as I was accustomed to do, and saw how they insulted him by not showing the respect of washing his feel. They all had their hair bound tight around their heads in their turbans, just like their closed minds and ideas. I let my hair fall down my back and I rushed in and bathed his feet myself and used my hair to dry them. Let me tell you, Jesus and Simon had words. I was afraid of nothing.
Those final days I cannot speak about. They were too full of pain. I remained with his mother through it all. She never spoke, just endured it all in silence.
I went early in the morning to bring spices to the tomb, as we buried him quickly because of the Sabbath. When I saw the empty tomb I was frantic. I was screaming, “Were have you taken him?” “Where have you laid him?” In my desperation I approached even the gardener. That’s when he said, “Mary.” It was a great revelation that I suddenly knew. He was now laid in my heart.

…just pondering
Sister Mary Joan




“Did you like to dance?”

That question was asked of Pope Francis by a little girl who wrote him a letter! Acknowledging his delight in dancing as a youth, the Pope replied, “…to dance is to experience joy and happiness…people who can’t experience joy in their hearts are always serious.” As a fatherly warning, the Holy Father encouraged the children to always dance “so that you aren’t too serious when you grow up!”

Is that what happened? Did we “grown up folks” forget how to dance? Are we “too serious”?

There is a distinction, as well as a relationship, between joy and happiness. Generally, happiness is a feeling and feelings can be temporary and delightful, whereas joy is an attitude of the heart, a gracious and generous gift of the Spirit. Because joy is truly grace-requested and grace-received, it has the ability to transcend what is temporary, even in times of turmoil and loss. Joy in the heart, then, is closely allied to faith.

What is the personal challenge? Henri Nouwen wrote, “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” Interestingly, Nouwen implies that this choice needs to be a spiritual practice; perhaps an insert into our morning prayer!

On the other hand, a further implication of his statement might suggest that pessimism, negativity, cynicism, etc., are also choices we make.

Do we craft our own personalities?

In his letter to Philemon, Paul expresses the impact Philemon had on him. “I find great joy and comfort in your love, because through you the hearts of people have been refreshed.” (1:7)

The “hearts of people” all over the world, as well as those at our backdoor, need to be refreshed, revived, filled with hope, and assured that God never abandons. God is in the world and God’s world is good! Like Philemon, each member of the Body of Christ is called to “refresh the hearts of the people” – clearly, this is best accomplished by living in a spirit of joy!

Transformation is a constant, so, try dancing! Pope Francis claims it will keep us from getting too serious! --Donna Marie Bradesca, OSU


 

 

 


Prayer: (Use for silent reflection)

God of openness, of life and resurrection,
Come into this season of my life and bless me.
Look around the tight, dead spaces of my heart,
That still refuses to give you an entrance.

Bring your gentle but firm love,
Begin to lift the layers of resistance
That hang on tightly deep inside of me.

Open, one by one, those places in my life
Where I refuse to be overcome by surprise.
Open, one by one, those parts of my heart
Where I fight the entrance of real growth.
Open, one by one, those aspects of my spirit
Where my security struggles with truth.

Keep me open to the different and the strange,
Help me to accept the unusual and also the ordinary.

God of Resurrection, God of the living,
Untomb and uncover all that needs to live in me.
Take me to people, and events, and situation
And stretch me into much greater openness.

Open me, for it is only then that I will grow and change.

Open me, for it is only then that I will be transformed.

Open me, for it is only then that I will know how it is

To be in the moment of rising from the dead.

Amen


    

Last week

The gospel for the second Sunday of Lent (Luke 9:28-36) is Luke’s version of one of my favorite Bible stories, the Transfiguration. The narrative evokes many images, engages my imagination, touches a number of emotions, speaks countless messages: Jesus’ invitation to three of his apostles to come apart with him, the difficult ascent up a rocky mountainside to a secluded spot, the urge of physical fatigue and the need for sleep competing with the well-intentioned but feeble desire to join the master in prayer, the confusion and amazement and excitement at the unparalleled vision of Moses, Elijah and a radiant Jesus, the overwhelming desire to stop time in its tracks and hold the moment, the Voice that says “This is my chosen Son; listen to him,” the disappearance of the glorified vision leaving the apostles with “Jesus alone,” the descent and return to the ordinariness of life but now with a searing depth of awareness they never experienced before, sensitivity to others’ pain and struggles and the danger that was imminent.

Today the phrase that is speaking to me is “Listen to him.” How can I listen if my life is sliced and diced with a prolonged static of noisy distractions and constant activity? How can I listen if I don’t leave openings in my day for silence to settle in? When can I carve out moments for mental and physical quiet? Where can I go to get away at least briefly from my misguided tendencies to busyness? Why do I think that I always have to be accomplishing some task and, therefore, have no freedom to withdraw for a few minutes simply to stop and “listen”? How will I ever handle the concerns and questions and challenges that rob me of peace if I don’t go to the source and “listen” for guidance and strength? Prayer does not have to imply my speaking to God. Prayer -- Lenten prayer – often requires only that I give God the chance to speak to me. I must “listen to him.”
~Sister Janet Moore OSU


 

 

(Last week) 

Lent is a good time to go deep within to your very core to honestly reflect on your relationship with God and others. Take some quiet time to reflect on the message of this prayer and how it fits your own life.

A Lenten Prayer
Loving God, help me to realize that Lent is a time
when You call me to a journey of transformation and growth.

But it is not a journey I take alone; it is very much a communal journey.
I never journey alone, no matter how lonely I may feel.
If I can experience my journey in communion with others,
I will feel support and caring that goes to the depths of my being.
I will know that You are with me,
calling me to a deeper relationship with my family, friends,
and, above all,
with You the God of my life.

Give me the courage and faith I need
to fast from anything that limits my love for you
and the people who are important to me.

I pray for a change of heart,
a heart that is full of love and concern for others.
Amen.

This is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly; setting free the oppressed; breaking every yoke, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, not turning your back on your own. Then your light will break forth like the dawn. (Isaiah 58:6-7)


 

 

 

(Last Week)

Crossing Over: The Lenten Experience
Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

In 1996, my environmental studies took me to Ghana, West Africa. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to visit a tropical rainforest near Cape Coast with two companions.

The tree canopy of the nature preserve was connected by seven suspension bridges that provided access to the forest below. Eager to explore the natural beauty of the site, the three of us approached the first bridge. Our driver took one look at the sagging stretch of rope ahead, and without hesitation decided to turn back. Moved by a sense of adventure, however, the two of us continued to cross one bridge at a time, negotiating six bridges in due course.

Looking ahead, we could see that the seventh and final bridge, far longer than any that went before, extended over a massive canyon. My travelling partner agreed to cross first, and did so without incident. Following, I inched my way gingerly over each wooden slat until near the center I found myself frozen in place overwhelmed by the rocky drop. On the other side, my friend offered three instructions that led me to safety; “Keep your eyes on me.” “Don’t look down.” “Put one foot in front of the other.”

Perhaps these directions offer guidance for our Lenten crossing from Ash Wednesday to Easter as we recall that each week invites us to grow our Christian faith through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

“Keep your eyes on me,” reminds us to focus our gaze on Jesus Christ through prayer as we listen to the One who companions us, and precedes us to the other side of any experience that freezes us in place.

“Don’t look down,” asks us instead to look around and give alms, to notice the need right in front of us, and respond.

“Put one foot in front of the other,” encourages us to fast from behaviors that may impede our moving forward, anything that slows our “crossing over” to new, abundant life.

So, don’t turn back! Whether the splendor of a tropical rainforest or an empty tomb calls you forward, we journey with a Divine Companion who goes ahead of us, and ensures our safe passage.

Be Still and Reflect

1. How can my prayer help me to keep my eyes on Christ this Lent?
2. What or who needs my attention in the weeks ahead? How will I respond?
3. Does any behavior hold me back in life? What step can I take?


 

 

(Last week)

The Season of Lent will soon be upon us with Ash Wednesday being celebrated on February 10th. We are called to journey in faith together marking our days with more frequent prayer, perhaps an additional Mass each week, personal sacrifices, spiritual and corporal works of mercy, and charitable giving. We intentionally savor spending sacred time with our God. Choosing a good, spiritual book with depth, wisdom and insight might be a way to feed our thoughts and help us slow down. One such book I have used and would recommend is entitled Prayer by Joyce Rupp. (Orbis Books, 2007, 128p, paperback.)
The poem below is an excerpt from the book for your inspiration. Sister Julianne, OSU

Keeping the Vigil of Mystery
by Joyce Rupp

Begin again, and again, and again,
deliberately, with intention,
each day opening the heart’s door,
seeking to unite with the divine companion,
eager to abide with us.

Stop squirming.
Release clinging.
Let go of the binding chains to self-willed ways.

Begin again, and again, and again,
with ardent faith and endless vigil.
Never give up on praying.

Countless are the paths leading to the heart’s home
where Ancient Love anticipates us,
waiting, always waiting,
while our restless heart turns inward,
as we listen for the whisper of remembrance,
the taste of an Eternal One
here, yet, far,
the fragrance of the divine breath,
for a few delicious moments,
touching our soul.

 

 

 

 

(Last week)

This week we celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., a man of God who had a dream that this nation would have as its hallmarks equality and justice for all.
Dr. King’s dream has yet to be realized. Let us join our prayers with his for a better world:
“O God, we thank you for the fact that you have inspired men and women in all nations and in all cultures. We call you different names: some call you Allah; some call you Elohim; some call you Jehovah; some call you Brahma; some call you the Unmoved Mover. But we know that these are all names for one and the same God. Grant that we will follow you and become so committed to your way and your kingdom that we will be able to establish in our lives and in this world a brother and sisterhood, that we will be able to establish here a kingdom of understanding, where men and women will live together as brothers and sisters and respect the dignity and worth of every human being. In the name and spirit of Jesus. Amen.”
~Sister Elaine Berkopec

 

 

 

(Last Week)

It’s All About “Firsts”

First teeth, first words, first steps……Baby Grayson, our newest family member born days after Christmas, has all of these in front of him. Harper, preparing to be born in a couple weeks, still has her first glimpse of daylight, first arms holding her, first kisses from Mom and Dad…….

We are in our first weeks of the New Year, the first week in Ordinary Time in the liturgical year, first joys and sorrows of 2016, first hopes and fears. Can we embrace all of this with the wonder of newborns and children? Can we rise out of the baptismal waters with Jesus into a new life of grace upon grace? Sometimes we feel old, experienced, even jaded with the passing of the years. But each day, each signing of the cross, each Eucharist can renew us if we are ready and open. And then there is the miracle that occurs – we are not even asking or expecting and grace bursts upon us. We are loved, forgiven, touched. We know that God’s favor rests on us, like it did on Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus at the Jordan. God continues to bless, to love, to give us “firsts.” Experience a first this week: a first rain drop or snowflake, a first glimpse of the sun or stars, a first opportunity to serve, to receive, to be favored.

~Sister Laura Bregar

 

(Last Week) 

Encounters

Ragged, shivering, lonely
Child shepherd, loyal Gavriel
Peers into threatening shadows
Counting his priceless charges,
Lest one wander into danger.
His small herd, his delight each day,
Feeds and clothes his remnant family.

On a sudden, shocking light!
Angel choirs emerge from gilded rays.
Clouds reverberate glowing song.
His heart transfixed beats new hope
Where births trust in Yahweh’s promise.
A tug, a call, sheep he gathered.
Together they run, pay homage!

Thirty years pass….

En route, He receives a plea
“Teacher, come! Our daughter’s near death.”
“Master!“ “She has died.”
“No, she sleeps.”
Familiar light bathes his heart.
“It is He whom I reverenced!”
“He is the One Who gave me hope!”
“I know You, Lord. Grant her new life.”
“Child, talitha kum. Be well.”

irene charette, december 2015

 

 

(Last Week)

Called to be God-bearers

The packages stacked beneath the tree just a few days ago have been torn open leaving behind a trail of pine needles and ribbons. The figure of the infant Jesus, missing throughout Advent from the family crèche, is finally in place. Christmas, it seems, is over.

Yet a glance through the liturgical calendar shows that the story of the nativity is far from over. We celebrated the Holy Family yesterday and still await the feasts of the Epiphany and the Baptism of the Lord. Each of these advances the story of Jesus. Each offers us opportunity for reflection.

Another key feast within the Christmas season is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, which we celebrate January 1. The feast highlights Mary’s privileged state as mother of God.

In Advent we awaited the coming of Emmanuel, God-with-us. It follows, then, that we also acclaim Mary as the mother of God. In Mary we discover the very first disciple, the original God-bearer or, as the Greeks call her, Theotokos. Mary enjoyed her own season of advent, nine months preparing for and awaiting the birth of her son, whose advent into time and history changed humankind forever.

By virtue of her fiat, her yes to God’s call, Mary enjoyed a special relationship with Jesus. She was the first to hold him, the first to hear him speak. And she was the first to suffer the anguish of his pain. We celebrate Mary as the mother of Jesus and accord her a special place of honor because of her faith and trust in God. At the same time we recognize in her a model of discipleship that we would do well to imitate.

We, like Mary, are called to bring forth the savior to the still waiting world. We are challenged by the Gospel and by Mary herself to respond to God’s invitation to be “God-bearers” in our world. We are called to be instruments of peace and love, and messengers of the Gospel.

As we carry this image of Mary with us throughout the Christmas season and the new year, let us hold fast to what it means to be disciples and God-bearers, and let us pray that we might live as Mary did, steadfastly committed to God’s will and ever open to God’s action in our lives. – Susan Bremer, OSU

 


 

last week

 The Knight
Once upon a time…
There was a Knight who was favored by a King. This Knight was filled with integrity, with joy, with justice, and he had a gentle heart. The King greatly admired him and wanted to show him how much he respected him so the King called the knight to himself and told him of a wonderful gift the King was giving him. It was a magnificent castle that took many generations to build. So the Knight got on his golden horse and traveled to a new land where his castle was. He saw it from a distance and it was truly a great structure, surrounded by great defenses. It was simply suburb in its magnificence. So off he went to take ownership of his Castle.

When the Knight arrived he got off his horse and walked around it only to stumble on a branch coming out of the ground. He bent to pull it up and discovered that rich, red, delicious wine came from the ground where he pulled it out. He pondered….

The workers came to make any improvements the Knight might want. Instead, the Knight told them to tear it down! All were flabbergasted and dumbfounded at such a request. The wanted their pay so the work began.
Relatives came. Neighbors came. Crowds came. All were flabbergasted at what the Knight had ordered. They began to ridicule him and deride him for tearing such a magnificent castle down. Everyone was
astounded and often asked the Knight why he was doing such a terrible thing. His answer was always the same. “I don’t really know, but I have a intuition, a hunch about this.” He continued to ponder and put up with all the insults, ridicule, and laughter from those closest to him.

At last they were ready to raise the last floor and were told to do so.
They found a rich, deep, huge, wine cellar under the castle. This was even greater that he anticipated. The Knight quietly began passing out the delicious wine to everyone’s delight. The funny thing was, that the more wine he passed out, the more seemed to appear. Now, he was no longer a Knight. He was just a wine “passer outer.”

Have you found the wine yet?  Just pondering….

 

 


Last week:

 An Advent Thought…

The word “WAITING” echoes a familiar ring in this Advent Season as we prayerfully prepare for remembering the Coming of the Lord. The Church calls us to set aside time for reflection, for contemplating the great Gift of Jesus the Christ. We are summoned to break free from the nonessential
and focus on the real value of life – our relationship with the Lord and with one another.

As Americans, we should be used to “waiting.” We wait in the checkout line; we wait in the doctor’s office; we wait for the return phone call, a child to come home, etc., but “waiting” is not our favorite pastime. It often renders us annoyed, impatient, and anxious to move on to the next task. There is much to be done in our busy lives and we are irritated when unavoidable delays displace our schedules.

Today, in our midst, there are others who wait for a chance at life.

Perhaps this Advent Season, we might ponder in our prayer, other brothers and sisters who are compelled to “wait” for a hand of mercy extended to them as they scramble out of makeshift boats and make their way to refugee camps, or line up at border crossings or worse. A glimpse of men, women, and children desperately struggling to survive fills our TV news, newspapers and publications.

No gaily decorated sweater or tickets to a play, or a Macy’s gift card will satisfy their longing. They are waiting for people who call themselves His Disciples; men and women who open their hearts and hands to provide help, who remember them in daily prayer, and who use their voices to demand justice and freedom from oppressive governments and self-serving politicians. They are hoping for people of mercy.

Jesus the Christ came to offer salvation to all. We will sing Hymns of Welcome to Jesus on Christmas morning. Would that we could sing the same to other brothers and sisters who are suffering. -- Donna Marie Bradesca, OSU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Last week)

Mister Eckert wrote that if the only prayer we said was one of Thanks, that would be sufficient. Let us pause to give thanks for the Giver of all Gifts!

Let us Pray -
Thank You, Thank You, Generous God!
Thank You, thank You, thank You, generous God!
You have injected life with joy, thus we know laughter.
You have dabbed creation with color, thus we enjoy beauty.
You have whistled a divine tune into the rhythm of life, thus we hear music.
You have filled our minds with questions, thus we appreciate mystery.
You have entered our hearts with compassion, thus we experience faith.
Thank You, God, Thank You. Thank You!

- C. Welton Gaddy


 

 

 

 

(Last Week)

Have you ever had a tune run through your head repeatedly? It is like gum on your shoe, an annoying presence that sticks no matter how much you try to get rid of it. It might be a perfectly respectable tune, but its insistent replaying gets old very quickly. If it is a song, you wonder why the melody and lyrics of this particular song have decided to move in with you and take up residence in your brain. Am I the only one who has experienced this phenomenon?
The thought occurred to me that possibly such a pesky phenomenon might be turned into an intentional positive practice. What if the melody were an old familiar friend, the lyrics meaningful when dusted off and genuinely considered anew, and the motivation one of openness to what the Spirit may be sharing with me? What if that recurring bit of song became a mantra? Could its repetition be a gift of awareness of God’s loving presence? Instead of responding with annoyance, maybe – just maybe – I’m being invited to contemplation, to gratitude.
With Thanksgiving approaching, I have been reminded of some traditional hymns that have been around for generations. And when I really consider the messages they contain, I can see why they deserve to go on for years to come. Try singing/humming one of these as your mantra (silently or aloud); with each repetition it just might reveal yet another layer of meaning, another grace, another cause to be grateful.
And if you choose to sing out loud, don’t worry about the way your voice sounds. After all, your voice is a gift from God too.

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy pow’r throughout the universe displayed

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Now thank we all our God With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done, In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms, Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be.
With God as our Father, we are family…

Sister Janet Moore

 

 

 


Last week

Remembering Amid Sunflowers
In his book, The Great Remembering, land conservationist Peter Forbes recalls childhood memories at the Danbury State Fair. Among them he describes an awe-inspiring experience of passing through a door into a building filled with flowers!

This past September, I was reminded of his story as I walked into a sunflower field, at least a million strong. Dedicated to Maria and children who had died of brain cancer, the colorful landscape welcomed guests of all ages to remember.

I entered one of the mowed paths that guided the way, and found myself reflecting on the untimely deaths of the children pictured near the edges. Captivated by the openness of blue sky, eye to eye with the intensity of yellow, I became aware that in remembering these beautiful little ones, they lived still.

This was not a sad place, but a transformative one. Amid the sunflowers, companions in my own life, now deceased, were “present” again. Their lives, our shared encounters, taught me about belonging; a way of being and being together that images what our Ursuline foundress, Angela Merici, called bonds of charity.

During these autumn days, let’s be grateful for the living bonds of charity offered us through families and friends over the years. Through them, or perhaps because of them, we pass through open doors of meaning that are awe-inspiring, indeed! We have only to remember.

Be Still and Reflect
Who in my life do I remember with gratitude? Why?
What do bonds of charity look like in my life, in our world?
How does natural beauty teach me and inspire me?

~Sr. Joanne Buckman, OSU

 



 

 

stretches. There is enough: enough time, enough energy, enough of all that is needed. A great tenderness for myself and the world opens up inside me, and I know I belong to this time, to these people, to this Earth, and to something that is both within and larger than all of it, something that sustains and holds us all.

I do not want to be anywhere else. I am filled with commitment and compassion for myself and for the world.
By Oriah Mountain Dreamer

May we bring Compassion and Presence to ourselves and to all we encounter this day.

Submitted by Ann Winters, OSU

 

 

 

 

(Last week)

In the Sunday Gospel this week, Jesus teaches us what it means to be first. We’ve heard it 


 

 

 (Last Week)

All you angels and saints, sing God's majesty.
All creatures of the earth, praise the Lord our God.
All you peoples of the earth, bow down in worship.

Today, as I enter into a new month, I take time
to worship in union with the Angels;
to thank along with the saints;
to weep as one who has gravely sinned;
to prostrate in humble supplication.
O Angels and Saints, my companions on this journey of life,
my needs overwhelm me, but I do not lose faith.
For hope cultivates my heart and turns up the
rich soil of my deep love for God.
And so, with a renewed spirit of acceptance, I cry AMEN.

Heavenly Father, Jesus, my Redeemer, O Holy Spirit,
be my Guide and Consoler.
O Holy Trinity, draw me ever more deeply into Your loving embrace.


 

 

 

(last week) 

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and earth proclaims God’s handiwork. – Psalm 19

The seasonal cycle continues to spin and we find ourselves in the first full week of autumn. Already the trees are offering a hint of the display to come. This time of year seems to invite reflection on the majesty of God as shown in the beauties of creation. The earth golden and rich with harvest and the trees adorned with vibrant color and splendor sing of God’s creative genius!

The glory of the Lord is indeed all about us. How can we gaze upon this dazzling display and not be moved by its splendor? How can we stand before such beauty and not sing praise to the Creator? Truly the array of color bespeaks a God who embodies beauty and majesty and who longs to share such handiwork with us.

Scripture is full of references to creation as the reflection of God. The Book of Wisdom, for example, tells us that from the greatness and beauty of created things, their original author is seen (13.5). The author questions how people so wise and knowledgeable about the mysteries of fire and air and stars can be so slow to recognize the God who fashioned them.

In his letter to the Ephesian community, St. Paul reminds us that we too are part of the handiwork of God, fashioned in Christ to lead a life of good works (2.10). Like the leaves whose splendor leads us to praise our Creator, our lives in their glorious display of loving acts should lead others to God. Others ought to be able to see in us the very God who made us.

As we appreciate the season of fall for the beauty it provides, we celebrate it as well as the season of the harvest. Crops sown in spring bring forth fruit and provide nourishment, reminding us yet again of God’s care in providing for our needs. As Psalm 67 reminds us, the earth has yielded its fruit; God, our God, has blessed us.

As we enjoy the beauty of this season and partake in the fruits of its harvest, let us be mindful of the God who fashioned it all, the same God we seek to make known through our lives. Let us remember those who hunger for bread or for God. May we do our part in responding to their needs by volunteering some time, by making a donation to a hunger center or homeless shelter, or simply by holding them in prayer. May we extend the love of God through our efforts.

Autumn is indeed a season of love, of fruitful yield, and of faith. May we see in its beauty the hand of God ... and give thanks. – Susan Bremer, OSU

 

 

 

 

(Last week)
Mary, the New Eve

Readings
Genesis Chapter I

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters.
In six days God separated the darkness from light, earth from water. He created vegetation and all living things. He called it all good. After the six days, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, the day of completion, of fullness, of joy. Such is the story of the heavens and the earth at their creation.

John’s Gospel, Chapter 2
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he and his disciples were at a wedding in Cana in Galilee. Mary was there and saw that the wine ran short. She said to her Son, “They have no wine.” Jesus said, “ Woman, how does you concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” She said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now there were six water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding about twenty to thirty gallons of water, so they filled them up. The water was transformed into wine and taken to the headwaiter.

Reflection
Always, in scripture look at what is given.
What are the big symbols and what can they mean?

At the very beginning of the Gospel we have a wedding feast with wedding wine - symbol of life itself filled with zest and joy due to the power and presence of wine.

Wine can be the symbol of the Holy Spirit

We have a crisis – the wine is running out.

Wine failure means the wedding ends. Life is devoid of joy, deep Spirit joy. There is no dance, no music. Life has no zest without the outpouring of the Spirit (wine). Everyone goes home to their life of repetition.

Mary, the new Eve and our mother, intercedes, telling Jesus that ‘His Hour” is the minute the wine is about to run out.

We have six water jars filled with water, symbols of the first creation. Water is also the symbol of purification.

The changing of water to wine is quiet and gentle. The Spirit
pervades all of life quietly and gently with deeper joy through purification.

Jesus told the servants to take the new wine to the chief steward because he is the one to end or continue the wedding feast.

Because of Mary, the wedding can continue. Human life can celebrate and rejoice in union with the Spirit flowing through it.

Mary knows that we can’t run out of wine, the presence of the Holy Spirit, she intercedes so life can be fruitful in the Spirit.

When purification takes place the wedding Spirit, the wine flows.

Mary allows the Spirit to flow through her to transform and bring real joy to life. The Messianic wedding now has wine and the marriage of life can continue.

Jesus, the good wine, keeps the marriage going ever into a deeper level of Spirit.
…just pondering

Sister Mary Joan

 

 

 

Last week...

Yearning for civility in word and action

Recently I welcomed a new grandniece and grandnephew with another to make his appearance in October – the wondrous gift of new life and the joy it brings!

Perhaps with a hope that appears naive, I yearn for a world which will treat these newborns tenderly so they will experience lavish kindness, support and compassion to help them grow and develop into what God intended each of them to be. To attain fullness of life, one needs to experience the love of God, and also the love of neighbor – a love expressed both in word and in action.

Recently our country has suffered a barrage of incivility in spoken word. Perhaps most prominent in our current memory is a political polarization fraught with nasty debates, negative campaigning, and personal attacks. One might suspect we have substituted serious and honest dialogue for entertainment.

In 2011, the University of Arizona established a Presidential Institute - The National Institute for Civil Discourse - a nonpartisan center for advocacy, research and policy as regards civil discourse reflected in the First Amendment. Really? Is a Presidential Institute the mechanism needed to teach civility with grace?

But beyond the political scene, social media in its various forms contributes to a disrespect of others with little regard for human dignity. Witness TV reality shows, shouting matches, vulgarities and profanities, bullying, texting, etc., and the effect such word has on the human spirit, ordinary conversation, and even family banter.

For sure, vigorous discussion, multiple viewpoints, and thoughtful positions are healthy in any organization, committee, or family which seeks to grow and develop beyond its current self. It is less a question of “the what” and more a question of “the how.” This is hardly new. The Old and New Testament is peppered with examples of differing political and familial perspectives. Jesus often found Himself in the middle of the fray between the Law and its spirit!

The power for change lies in each of us. It might be helpful to recall the methodology of Paul as a model for civil discourse. In Ephesians 4:15, Paul writes, “Speak the truth in love.” And again he reminds us in v. 25, “Therefore putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” We are bound together in the Body of Christ.

Hopefully, Paul would forgive a liberal paraphrase of I Corinthians 13:4-7 as applied to conversations with one another… ”be patient and not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, never seeking our own interests, not quick tempered, never brooding over injuries (real or imagined), and never rejoicing over the wrongs of another, but rejoicing over what is true.”

Word has power. A word can destroy or it can transform. As disciples of Jesus, we are agents of transformation. Of Jesus, Luke wrote in 4:22, “And all spoke highly of him, and were amazed at
the gracious words that came from his mouth.” May our words be always gracious. --

Donna Marie Bradesca, O.S.U.

 

 

(Last week)

Namaste!


Put your palms together in front of your heart as in prayer. Bow gently. Utter the word “Namaste.”

You have just offered an age old greeting that over the years has spread far beyond its Sanskrit roots in India. Namaste means “The Spirit in me recognizes and reverences the Spirit in you.” If the greeting is offered with focused intentionality, it can be a profound expression of respect for the individual, acknowledgment of the sacred in one’s self and in the other, and appreciation for the connectedness of all that is. Namaste!

Now imagine, what if…?

What if the greeting Namaste were used by both parties whenever one entered the presence of a revered elder or wisdom figure?

What if Namaste were used when persons experiencing tension in their relationship met to try to work out their differences?

What if Namaste were spoken in unison by members of a group gathered to share prayer?

What if Namaste preceded a sincere apology or the offer of forgiveness?

What if we human beings paused a moment before beginning any form of discourse to acknowledge that as human beings we all belong to God’s family… We are all beloved… We are all connected... We all have dignity… The divine spark that exists in me perceives and respects the divine spark in you? What if…?

Namaste!
Sister Janet Moore, OSU

 

 

 

(Last week)

May You Always Have . . .

Enough happiness . . . to keep you sweet
Enough trials to . . . keep you strong –

Enough sorrows . . . to keep you human
Enough hope to . . . keep you happy –

Enough failure . . . to keep you humble
Enough success to . . . keep you eager –

Enough friends . . . give you comfort
Enough wealth . . . to meet your needs –

Enough enthusiasm . . . to look forward
Enough faith . . . to banish depression –

Enough determination . . . to make each day

A better day than yesterday.

-Anonymous -

 

 

 

 

 (Last Week)

Are We Complainers?

The recent daily liturgical readings from the Hebrew Scriptures show the Israelites complaining to Moses time and time again. They complain about having to eat manna when they ate garlic and herbs when they were slaves in Egypt. They complain about the difficulties of entering the land of milk and honey because of the powerful residents there. They forget all the wonders God provided for them in their journey toward the Promised Land.

Are we like those Israelites? Do we complain about what is happening in our daily lives? Just reflect on your thoughts about the weather this summer. We had rain and complain that we needed sun. We get sunny days and complain about the heat that finally arrived. We have the heat and complain that we need rain to water our gardens. If we are really honest, those of us who live in Cleveland can truly say we live in the best location in the nation. Wild fires in the west, floods in the south, tornadoes in the middle states – what do we have to complain about?

Complaining about the weather is one thing, but what are the other areas of our lives that are the source of complaints? With prayer and honest reflection we will realize that God is always present. We will realize that even the hard times and painful experiences are part and parcel of human living but they don’t last forever.

Take some time today to reflect on your blessings that you experience on a regular basis. Thank God for being with you. Thank God for those blessing. Don’t be a complainer. Resolve to see the positive in your lives!

Maureen McCarthy, OSU

 

 

 

 

(Last week)
“And if, according to times and circumstances, the need arises to make new rules or do something differently, do it prudently and with good advice.”

(Last Legacy, Saint Angela Merici)

 

Angela Merici as Life Coach

Life is about adjustments.  Anyone who has listened to a Sports Analyst understands this.  No matter what the sport, both individual players and entire teams are constantly making adjustments in order to improve their ability to play, and to win.   

A baseball pitcher, for example, might slightly change a grip on the baseball, or a batter, experiment with his/her batting stance.  Sometimes the changes are physical ones, sometimes mental ones.  The adjustments may appear minor, but the cumulative impacts on the player and the overall team can be significant when taken together.  And, always, coaches work with players, one-on-one, to suggest appropriate measures for improvement.

Saint Angela Merici was a coach, a Life Coach of sorts, who inspired Ursuline living.  Her personal life experiences paired with 16th century social unrest and rampant human need shaped her.  Moved by Spirit-led prayer, God freed her to make daily physical, mental and spiritual adjustments in herself, thus inviting a “dynamic adaptability” in her new-found Company.  

Angela’s holistic growth, holiness, formed her into a Life Coach for others.  Her method of one-on-one presence to each person animated her witness and service.  And, her writings encourage and support individuals on their life journeys today.     

When things change, when circumstances change, when needs change, when health changes, when schedules change, when resources change, Angela reminds us both individually and communally to make adjustments.  Her ability to do so in Italian society, transformed her and everything around her!

Be Still and Reflect

What can I do differently today with good advice?

What small Spirit-led adjustment can I make in my life right now? 

Who serves as a Life Coach for me, and how?  For whom do I serve as a Life Coach, and how?

      

                                                                                              ~Sister Joanne Buckman 

 

 

(Last Week)

 

 

 

Last Week

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus is moved with compassion for the crowd, to the point that he puts aside his own exhaustion and focuses on the needs of the people who were like “sheep without a shepherd.” God is also our Providence and calls us to give of ourselves to God and to those in need.

Let us pray to put ourselves into the hands of God so that we also may serve.

My God, I am yours for time and eternity.
Teach me to cast myself entirely
into the arms of your loving Providence
with a lively, unlimited confidence in your compassionate, tender pity.
Grant, O most merciful Redeemer,
That whatever you ordain or permit may be acceptable to me.
Take from my heart all painful anxiety;
let nothing sadden me but sin,
nothing delight me but the hope
of coming to the possession of You
my God and my all,
in your everlasting kingdom.

Amen.

suscipe of Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy - 1778-1841

 

 

(Last week)

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”

            -from Amos 7: 12-15

 

Jesus instructed them to take nothing for the journey
but a walking stick—
no food, no sack, no money in their belts.
They were, however, to wear sandals
but not a second tunic...

…The Twelve drove out many demons,
and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

            -from Mark 6:7-13, this week’s Sunday readings

 

When I read these words, they sent me back to a church bulletin article I read in June, written by the pastor of a parish in the city of Cleveland.  Fr. Doug was seeking people to join at a model called The Open Table to sit with young people who are aging out of the foster system and need a network of support.  My first thought was that I have little money to offer and am not as actively engaged in the parish as I once was, so who was I to consider answering the call?  But the Spirit stirred in my heart, and I e-mailed a response that I wanted to participate.  Since that time I have learned a little more about The Open Table concept.  I watched a video featuring Jon Kator, the founder, in which he reminded us that it is not enough to give a blanket and a soup can.  We need community and transformation, all of us, not just those in poverty.  He ended with, “so they [the poor] can enrich our lives.”  Isn’t that what happened to Amos and the Twelve?  They had little or nothing to offer but they responded to God’s call anyway.  And their lives were forever changed.  So, I am looking forward to a place at the table, and I invite all of us to continue the journey, anointing and being anointed.  As my friend Doug said in ending his bulletin article, “God will provide, maybe. Maybe for sure.”  God is providing you and me.  Will we go and be transformed?

 

-Laura Bregar, OSU

 

See theOpenTable.org and blessedtrinitycleveland.org for more inspiration

 

 

Last week: 

 

Prayer to the Precious Blood of Jesus

 

Prostrate at the foot of your Cross, Jesus. I beg You for the privilege on receiving
the outpouring of Your Precious Blood upon my heart and into my soul.
Your most Blessed Mother has generously invited me to be in her company
here at the Cross, unworthy as I am.  So too have Mary Magdalene and Mary of Clopas,
Your humble and devoted disciples. I stare in admiration at John, Your beloved
follower who would preach for all time your message of love by his eloquent Gospel.
This sacred circle of adorers have made room for me! Jesus, may I show gratitude
for their welcome by accepting the gift of Your Precious Blood in a spirit of repentance
accompanied by a resolve to do good and avoid all that might make me an unworthy
messenger of Your Word. I, your humble servant, lay myself open to whatever You,
by Your Precious Blood, call forth from the depths of my being.

 

Most Precious Blood of Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner!

 

 

 

(6-22-15)

A Prayer of Blessings

 

May God bless us in our searching questions,

                for questions are the pathway to wisdom, 

                and the way to the future.

 

May God bless us with gifts and talents,

                for these gifts and talents are God’s presents to the world,

                and will enable us to take the world to the future.

 

May God bless us in our thoughts and reflections,

                for these thoughts and reflections are the seeds of our plans.

                Our plans need nourishment in order for us to bring life to the future.

 

May God bless us in our vision,

                for this is the inspiration that fires our hope and reflection,

                and our belief in the future.

 

May God bless us in our decisions,

                for these are the steps we take to say “Yes” to faith in life,

                and the confidence in the future.

 

May God bless us today in all ways, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier

 

 


Co-Creators

 

Breathe on me, O Spirit of God!

I do breathe on you, my love!

 

Be attentive, O my soul!

My hearts rhythmic beat

Soothes you, beckons you

To pierce times unknown limits.

 

My creative soul, now tranquil

Warmed within hearts heat

Radiates Words light

Erases fears, heals wounds.

 

Co-creating, heart and soul

Humbly walk Truths Path.

Transformed into peace

We breathe out Words awesome Joy.

 

Breathe on me O Spirit of God!

Heart and should together with You,

Now co-create sacred peace!

I shall continue to breathe on you, my love!

 

 

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, Divine Son, Holy Spirit, I beg You to continue to dwell in me.  Enable me to co-create with You a spirit of peace wherever I go and whatever I do today.  My heart bursts for love of You!  Help me to walk humbly the path of Truth and to breathe out Your awesome Joy.  I ask this through Your sufferings, death and resurrection, Jesus.  Amen.