Sunday, December 18, 2011

The present of God's presence

 Here's a link to Sacred Space: where I found this lovely quote:

We are entering the last week of Advent, a week commonly filled with frantic plans to be attended to before Christmas Day. St. Columcille can help us to find a quiet space amid all our busyness and to listen for God’s annunciation to us. ‘Sometimes in a lonely cell, in the presence of my God, I stand and listen. In the silence of my heart, I can hear God’s will when I listen. For I am but a servant, guided by my king when I listen.

Let's give ourselves this most precious gift of being present to God.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Be Good to Yourself

I'm home in my Cenacle (that's what we call our houses or apartments) today because I'm taking a couple of sick days to recuperate from oral surgery. I feel okay but I have to do the ice pack routine of 20 minutes on & 10 minutes off. So I had plans to be totally self indulgent and watch some daytime TV like "The View", "Dr. Oz" a little VH1 music video (boy! have videos changed from the 80's!).

But - we just received the gift of the DVD series Catholicism. This is a series created and hosted by Fr. Robert Barron.  He  is an  author, speaker, a theologian and a  Professor at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago.
I'm familiar with his website, Word On Fire ( I often listen to his homilies Sunday morning as he's a very good preacher.

Anyhow I watched one of the episodes called the "Mystery of God" In the dying words of Steve Jobs, "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow." For once I wish I had a bunch of money cause I'd go buy everyone of my family and friends this DVD series. Well I can't so I'm sending out a link to the TV schedule.

If you are Catholic or Christian be good to yourself and watch this series. Or at least part 3 on the Mystery of God.  I know you probably have not received good adult ed on your faith.
Watch Catholicism!  It's really captivating as well as educational.

I just watched the 52 minute episode 3 and forgot for that time span that I have a lot of pain and swelling from having oral surgery. Now I'm going to go ice my mouth and take 800 mg of Ibuprofen.

If you're not much of a believer watch this anyhow. It's wicked entertaining. If you don't believe at all watch it. Really know what it is you that you don't believe. 

If I should somehow win or be gifted with a lot of cash I will buy lots of copies and give them out to my family, friends, acquaintances and whoever I can.

Many people ask what Catholic Sisters do and the truth is we do a lot of different things but the underlying purpose is always about the love of God. Glorifying God and acting in ways that say God is love! And this is why I'm advertising this video.
God bless you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Politics and Faith

Recently the NY Times' Bill Keller wrote an article
Having read the article and his blog with the questions I find nothing objectionable about the questions nor the concept of asking candidates how 
their faith would effect their actions as a president. I do feel bad that Mr. Keller has lost his faith.
I too am concerned about some of the views of the candidates in question. 
Looking at Presidents up to the present I really don't know that their faith has impacted their presidential actions all that much, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter. Some would say that's a good thing because of separation of Church and State. Now I'm a Catholic sister so that's where I'm coming from but if your religious faith does not effect how you live every day. If it does not affect how you see the world and the choices you make then you're just playing games. 
I listen to some of the current crop of candidates and they pray, invoke God and talk about their faith but they seem to be cafeteria Christians and Mormons. Picking what they like and leaving out what is politically risky.

Through the years Christian presidents and other politicians have been able to ignore lots of the more inconvenient demands of Christianity. I think particularly of the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5 or Luke 6: 20 - 26 "Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours". Check out this video:

The 10 Commandments are pretty clear and we all struggle with them but with politicians it appears that number 8 is often ignored,

Just wondering are all the commandments suspended when you're running for office? Is it okay to let PACs make up stuff about your opponents that aren't true?
During the last campaign I recall John McCain softly correcting a women who
repeated one of the many slurs about Barack Obama. I thought wow! Integrity! 

I know all of us are hypocrites to some degree. I too have a plank in my eye when it comes to certain demands, but the point is you keep trying to grow and change and be more aware. So I'm praying for all our candidates that they may live up to the demands of both their faith and our constitution.
It would help if they read their books of faith, Bible or Book of Mormon and the Constitution thoroughly and don't skip the hard parts.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Family Blanket Time

Years ago I entered the Missionary Servants of the Blessed Trinity (MSBT) because I believed that God was calling me to be a sister and the MSBTs worked a lot with families and I wanted to do that in some way. Members of my family had really developed my faith and trust in God so I wanted to pass that on to other families. In the Trinita Family program we get to do just that and have fun in the process.
Everyday volunteers (and this week I'm a volunteer) get to meet with their family for the week in a daily hour long session called blanket time. A committee of parents and the sisters and staff of Trinita meet in the months before the summer family program and work out the theme and activities. So all we volunteers have to do is read the directions get the materials and the blanket and be ready when the bell rings. The point of this is to give the family a chance to talk to each other on a littler deeper level than usual.

Many of the families with whom I've worked don't seem to be able to fit in time as a family. Schedules today are tight what with work, after school activities, sports and commuting time.

I saw this statistic and I have to say it's scary. The number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: is 3.5 minutes. Minutes!!! Kids spend an average of 4 hours in front of the TV. So who is having more influence?

If I could give kids one thing  I'd give them the attention of their parents and caregivers.
In my work with school children I was surprised at how willing the kids were to meet with me. I worked in a school K through 8, junior high and high school as a social worker and all ages were very willing to leave class and go talk with me.
Now sometimes it may have been getting out of class, but I believe mostly it was to have the attention of an adult. So that's always my free advice to any parent. Don't worry so much about giving your kids the material stuff, Give them your time, give them you.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Holy Spirit Drives Out Our Fear

This weekend as we celebrate Pentecost we see how the great love of God in the Holy Spirit drives out the great fear the Apostles and disciples - they were staying behind locked doors out of fear.
Then the Holy Spirit pours out upon them tongues of fire and great gifts for mission.

I think the greatest gift was the part about driving out the fear. Fear for our lives, fear of the unknown, fear of making a fool of ourselves, fear of doing things in a way that's not up to our standard of perfection, fear of ____________? Whatever your favorite fear is.

I know the Holy Spirit has helped me so many times to shed my fear and do what I needed to do, to say what needed to be said, yes even to make myself understood in a second language, maybe not well but good enough.
With the Spirit help I have been able to do things like speak in front of large groups of people, travel on planes (which I hate to do cause I'm not in control!), get through graduate school, keep my mouth shut when I need to listen, hold my temper when everything in me wants to be violent, work in countless meetings, committees and groups to grapple with how to work together in mission.

The point is the mission, the mission which is God's mission to spread His love and Truth as made so very evident in Jesus Christ to all people.

So we pray for the gifts of the Spirit: wisdom,understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord - which enable us to show forth in our lives the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.

In 1913 our religious family, the Missionary Cenacle Family, began a perpetual novena to the Holy Spirit. To this day there are always two or three groups of our sisters, our lay groups, or brothers and priests praying the Novena. During the nine days before Pentacost Sunday we all pray the Novena.

We offer the Novena for the following intentions:

  • for the spread of devotion to the Most Blessed Trinity, in a particular way to the Holy Spirit
  • for the spread of the knowledge of and devotion to the mystery of the Incarnation and all the mysteries of our Lord Jesus
  • to exalt in the holy name of Jesus
  • to console the heart of Jesus
  • for priests
  • for the success of the Ecumenical movement and for the coming of the reign of God among all God's people.
Here's a link to the Novena prayers: Holy Spirit Novenas  Y en espaňol: 
Novenas al Espíritu Santo                                                                                                                                                                       


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Living Easter Every Day

Easter - the central most important Event in the Christian calendar. Why?  Its only because of the the death and Resurrection of Jesus that we are followers of Jesus the Christ. Without this event, life as a Christian would not be possible. 

As I go to Mass daily I get to experience a lot of homilies and I must say most are very good. Unfortunately the sermon I heard during the Easter Vigil this year was uncommonly poor. As I wondered why the priest could not just talk simply on the beautiful mystery that we were celebrating my mind moved back to a passage in Ronald Rohlheiser's book "The Holy Longing" on the Paschal Mystery. 

a process of transformation within which we are given both new life and new spirit. It begins with suffering and death, moves on to the reception of new life, spends some time grieving the old and adjusting to the new, and finally, only after the old life has been truly let go of, is a new spirit given for the life we are already living”.

Fr. Rohlheiser outlines Jesus' paschal journey in stages:
1.  Real death (Good Friday)
2.  Receiving new life (Easter)
3.  A time to grieve the old and readjust to the new life (the 50 days)
4.  A time to let go and let the old bless you (ascension)
5.  Receiving the new Spirit to go with the new life (Pentecost)

He then gives examples of people who have lived the paschal mystery in their lives. The idea is they go through a kind of death in their lives; an experience of loss of some kind that causes great pain. Within the grieving of the loss they receive a new life and eventually the spirit to live that new life.  

This makes clear the living presence of the Spirit as we go through the ups and downs of life. Our faith in the Risen Christ does not protect us from the painful things of life. It does not make us rich, handsome or smart. 
The gift of the presence of the Living Christ in our lives is all about presence and relationship. Through our relationship with Our Lord we have what we need to go through the many transitions of life, both the joyful and the sorrowful. And yes to get through the ordinary not so exciting times too. 

Dear Lord, please give us the grace to continue to live the Easter celebrations in our everyday lives. May we go through life open to recognize your Presence and ready to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Self Sacrifice

For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly.
Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. 
But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  
Romans 5: 6 - 8

We’ve been hearing about the self sacrificing workers in Japan like the Fukushima 50 (although there's lots more than 50; they work in shifts of 50) who for the sake of others  have stayed  at the dangerous Nuclear power plant in order to do what they can to avert a worse tragedy. 

It's so hard to let go of self interest and put the interests of others first. Some would scoff at that notion I know but for a follower of Jesus that's what it's about.
Lenten sacrifice means just that - not so much the giving up of food, candy, drink although that has its place too- but the giving up of self. For that much prayer is needed.