Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Habits

This morning when I began my prayer time I was struck by a reflection I had read in Daily Word.  I share it with you as a call to who we are truly meant to be.  Let us live each day for the love of God shared with all people.


Aristotle taught, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” To be the best expression of the Christ that I can be, I revisit my behaviors and routines. Where needed, I replace unhealthy habits with life-affirming ones.
If I find that I regularly complain, I make a concerted effort to express gratitude. If I have lapsed into mindless routines, such as snacking or binge-watching television, I insert a new activity into that same time slot, such as walking, reading, praying, or meditating.
As I consciously replace ineffective habits with more constructive ones, I feel happier, more peaceful, and energetic—more like my true self—each day.
 “Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that they all may see your progress.”  1 Timothy 4: 15

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, August 15, 2016

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is a day that brings back so many childhood memories for me.  I remember as a young child the procession we would have with her statue where all the young girls put on their best white dress and wore a light blue cape over it, it was an honor to be chosen to be in the procession and everyone was present at it.  It was truly a neighborhood event.  Another tradition I remember was putting your feet in the ocean on this day.  As a child my family vacationed at the Jersey Shore and my grandmother always had us go into the water together on this day.  She even had us bring home ocean water a few times as we wouldn't be at the beach and she wanted to keep the tradition alive.  But what does this day really mean...

On August 15th each year, the Catholic Church remembers the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven.  Different traditions hold that the Virgin Mary left this earthly life between three and fifteen years after Christ’s death and Resurrection.  She was assumed into heaven, accounts say, as she reposed in eternal sleep – either in Jerusalem or in Ephesus, in modern day Turkey. (Vatican Radio, 2016)  As we honor Mary this day let us take time to live by her example and pray to her for our needs and the needs of our world.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vacation Time

One of the greatest gifts of the summer is when one takes some vacation time.  When I think of vacation I recall all those times of going away with my family and friends.  Each vacation time is the chance to just be and enjoy the moment.  For me it is a time of no plans or schedules just taking things as them come.  I love having the time to just be and not worry about accomplishing the many tasks that await.  One of my favorite vacation spots is going to the Jersey Shore.  I love to sit on the beach and look at the ocean.  It is a time of reflection and renewal of spirit.  The gift for me of being at the beach is the awesome sunrises and sunsets.  Each one a unique gift from our God of love.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Last night's gift:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Prayer for the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games

We are all very aware that the Olympic Games have begun in Rio.  I have an app on my phone called Bread4Today.  It is a great resource for daily prayer.  When I was praying today I opened it and there was the following prayer.  Let us hold one another gently in prayer each day.
Eternal God, Giver of joy and source of all strength, we pray for those who are involved in the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.
For the competitors training for the Games and their loved ones,
For the many thousands who will support them,
For the Churches and others who are organizing special events and who will welcome many from many nations.

In a world where many are rejected and abused, we pray for a spirit of tolerance and acceptance, of humility and respect and for the health and safety of all.  Amen
Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Being on retreat this week has been a real gift for me.  The Christian retreat can be defined in the most simplest of terms as a definite time (from a few hours in length to a month) spent away from one's normal life for the purpose of reconnecting, usually in prayer, with God. When I first began to look up the definition I was struck by the emphasis on running away from danger, etc.  My retreat has been anything but running away.  These days have been gifted with discovering God's ever deepening love and my deeper connection with God through prayer and reflection.  My favorite part of going on retreat is getting away from the busyness of life and having the time to just be.  The silence and solitude that I experienced these days has truly lifted my spirit and I feel re-energized and refreshed.  These days have gone by so quickly and the weather has been very nice.  I had the time to read two wonderful books these days:  When Breath Becomes AIR by Paul Kalanithi and The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis.  If you ever are looking for a good book to read I would highly recommend these.  May these days of retreat continue to live on in my everyday living.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Two of my favorite places to pray and reflect.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

When Breath Becomes Air

Today I did something I don't often do, I sat down to read a book and finished it in one afternoon.  I read the book, When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi.  I have  had the book for some time and I brought it on retreat with me this week.  The book is the story of Paul being diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the age of  thirty six.  Paul was an aspiring neurosurgeon in his last year of residency when he received the diagnose.  The book chronicles his transformation from a naive medical student to a medical patient, a new father and being able to confront his own mortality.  It was a engaging story of a life well lived for it showed the real life struggles of the patient and those who are caring for him.  Paul faced his death with the same courage he pursued his medical career with.  It is filled with many life lessons and many thoughts to reflect on.  I would recommend reading it but be prepared for the myriad of emotions that come as a result!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

World Youth Day 2016

While we are in the midst of the Democratic National Convention young people from around the world are gathering in Krakow Poland for World Youth Day.  World Youth Day is being held from July 25 – 31st .  The theme of this gathering is “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”  Using the fifth Beatitude from Matthew’s gospel, WYD focuses on celebrating God’s mercy during this Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis.  Young people from around the world will gather in Krakow, Poland to experience the culture and the global Church.  This pilgrimage of faith will be an opportunity for the youth to learn about others and experience prayer and worship together.  Krakow has given the world many saints including St. Faustina, St. Maximillian Kolbe and St. John Paull II.

Our Ursuline community in Poland is hosting some of the pilgrims.  Let us pray for all who are on this journey of faith and for all that we may practice mercy in all we do.  Perhaps it is a good time to pray again Pope Francis’ prayer for the Year of Mercy.

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father, and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him. Show us your face and we will be saved. Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money; the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things; made Peter weep after his betrayal, and assured Paradise to the repentant thief. Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman, “If you knew the gift of God!”

You are the visible face of the invisible Father, of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy: let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified. You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error: let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.

Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with His anointing, so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord, and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring  good news to the poor, proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.

We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

Pat Schifini, OSU