Saturday, February 17, 2018

Innocence and Wonder


Today I had the experience of watching total innocence and childhood wonder.  My friends had asked me to watch their three year old twin sons for a few hours.  It seemed best to take them for a car ride as they did not want to just stay home.  As we drove there was an unending series of questions from the back seat and then it got very quiet and I now had two sleeping passengers.  They slept for a good hour and when we arrived at our first location they woke up as quickly as they fell asleep.  We were going to have lunch at a diner.  They were so inquisitive at all the sights and sounds around them and asked more questions.  Once their food came they began to eat and were having a really nice time.  We then stopped at the store and the fun began – they wanted everything.  I purposely avoided the toy aisle as I am not good at saying “no” to them.  What was so nice was how sweet they were to others – saying hi and please and thank you.  I thought of all the events of this past week and was struck that they have no clue as to what has happened in our world.  Today was one of those days, slightly busy but full of grace which makes it all worth while.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Happy Feast of St. Angela

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Angela Merici.  Some 482 years ago St. Angela founded the Company of St. Ursula which later evolved into the Ursuline sisters.  Angela was a woman ahead of her time and was deeply committed to personal prayer, helping all people and being a reconciling presence.


St. Angela encourages us to be present to others by being women and men of wisdom and compassion, by being committed to the Ursuline motto of Serviam – I will serve and by being a reconciling presence for all people.  St. Angela promised her daughters to be united with them for all time.  In her promise to always be with us, Angela gives us the courage and strength to begin anew.  As we celebrate this day may we always follow Angela’s advice and be willing to be risk-takers and open to all we meet.  Happy Feast!

Pat Schifini, OSU


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

World Communications day 2018

On this, World Communications Day 2018, Pope Francis used a familiar prayer to conclude his message.  To read his message in its entirety you may visit www.vatican.va.  Here is the prayer for your reflection to counter “fake news.”

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication that does not build communion.

Help us to remove the venom from our judgements.

Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters.

You are faithful and trustworthy; may our words be seeds of goodness for the world:

where there is shouting, let us practice listening;

where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;

where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;

where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;

where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety;

where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions;

where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;

where there is hostility, let us bring respect;

where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.


Amen.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

What's in it for me?

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.  Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.  He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.  They too were in a boat mending their nets.  Then he called them.  So they left their father Zebedee in the boat along with the hired men and followed him.   Mark 1: 14 -20


When I read this Gospel this morning I was immediately drawn to a song that was written by a Cleveland Ursuline Sister.  The song is entitled, Do You Remember the Call and begins by asking the question, Do you remember the call, when did you hear your name out loud…?  It is a beautiful song and leads to reflection.  As we read today’s Gospel the disciples are called and respond.  None of them asked the all too familiar question – What’s in it for me?  They responded to Jesus’ invitation with utter simplicity and resolve.  They did not go home say goodbye to everyone they simply followed.  Whatever their motivation they simply wanted to follow Jesus and did not hesitate to when asked.  We, too, have been invited to accept Jesus’ invitation to follow and live out his message in our present reality.  As the disciples followed are we ready to simply follow or do we need to first figure out what’s in it for me?  Let us remember that the call is a daily invitation to live a life of faith, hope, and love.  What we receive in return far outweighs what we give up.  As we live this day (and every day) let us remember that we are called by a God of love to do the very same for others for “to love another person is to see the face of God.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  As we begin 2018 let us remember that today marks the 51st World Day of Peace.  Pope Francis’ theme for this year is:  Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace.  Pope Francis urges us to turn a "contemplative gaze" toward our migrant and refugee brothers and sisters and to respond to their plight.  Pope Francis encourages us to embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.  Let us heed his message as we pray a Prayer for the New Year

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the year that has just passed and the many blessings you have showered upon us in time.

We beg your pardon for our many failings and transgressions and we pray that the coming year may be a more fruitful one.

We earnestly pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit and we call upon our Lord Jesus Christ for his intercession, his guidance, and his light to shine our path into a new year filled with love, peace and hope.


May 2018 be filled with many blessings for all.  May our God of light, love and peace touch the hearts of those who are leading others and making decisions.  May we become a people of peace!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Feast of the Holy Family

O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.  We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  This is the prayer from the opening of today’s Feast of the Holy Family Liturgy.  As we reflect this day we may be making resolutions for the year to come.  Let us take a moment to pause and ponder the “Holy Family” for a few moments.  If you were to ask a room full of people to define the word family I strongly doubt that “Holy” would be included in any of the descriptions.  We would hear words like nuclear, dysfunctional, household, clan, etc.  Yet today we celebrate just that a “Holy Family” – Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  No other family claims that title in sacred Scripture.  There is very little written in Scripture about Jesus’ early life.  So as we prepare to welcome a New Year later let us take the time to pray for the grace to practice the virtues of family life, live with the bonds of charity and be filled with joy, hope, peace and love.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas is a Season

It is most heartwarming to hear people still wishing one another, “Merry Christmas!” as Christmas is not just a day it is a season.  Every year it saddens me when the radio stops playing Christmas music at midnight as if Christmas has ended and now we must move on to the next big event.  Most stores have removed their holiday displays and have replaced it with Valentine’s Day Decorations and candy.  We as a society tend to rush our lives away and often miss the importance of the day.  The Christmas season officially ends after the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord on January 8th this year, although there are some who hold out for the Feast of the Presentation on February 2nd.  As we celebrate these days before the New Year begins let us always remember the tremendous beauty of the Christmas Season and keep alive the spirit of Christmas as we begin to formulate our New Year’s resolutions!