Monday, September 3, 2018

God's Call


On this Labor Day, the last day of summer vacation, let us take a moment to remember all those who labor.  There are many people in our lives who labor and work for the betterment of our world.  I came across the following statement about some of our early laborers and thought it would be good to share.

Jacob cheated, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul committed murder, Gideon was insecure, Miriam gossiped, Martha worried, Thomas doubted, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was moody, Moses stuttered, Zacchaeus was short, Abraham was old, and Lazarus was dead ... God doesn't call the qualified; He qualifies the called. We all know we are not perfect but God is still working in us to help us to be better laborers. 

As we enjoy this day let us not mourn the passing of summer rather let us rejoice in the call we have received by our loving God to be people of faith, hope and love.  

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Care for Creation


Today we commemorate the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.  In his message, Pope Francis, writes, “The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individuals and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal commitment to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which He has entrusted to our care, and to implore His help for the protection of creation as well as His pardon for the sins committed against our world in which we live.”  Today begins a six week celebration of creation.  As we honor our earth this day may we all take the time and effort necessary to make a difference by showering our earth with care and respect.  We need to heed the call to care for our earth in new and intentional ways.  Remember our earth is God’s gift to us to treat with love, care and respect.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Starfish Story


For the last two days I have seen this story pop up when I was on line.  As I reflected on the story of the starfish it seemed good to share it.

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
                                                     — Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

For me this is a story of perseverance.   Perseverance against great odds and against the criticism of others is at the very heart of our lives.  The understanding that we hold in our hands the power to change a life, a mind, or a circumstance today – right now – is a powerful insight and motivator. The idealism of youth is a powerful force for leading change in the world. Often it is our youth who put into action values that we have instilled in them – but have failed to act on ourselves. We have seen this many times in our youth as they march for various causes and are willing to work for justice and solidarity.  May we have the courage to make a difference this day and every day.  

Pat Schfini, OSU

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Senator John McCain


Tonight our nation mourns the loss of Senator John McCain.  Yesterday it was announced that he had made the heart wrenching decision to discontinue all medical treatment for brain cancer.  He decided to enjoy his remaining days surrounded by his family.  A former POW, a lifelong political servant, and a loving family man, John McCain was a unique patriot and chose to live his life at the service of others.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and apparently a rather strong temper for which he often apologized.  His cancer which was very aggressive was the same cancer that Beau Bidan died from.  Brain cancer has claimed yet another victim.  John McCain was a man who frequently visited the Vietnam War Memorial honoring those who did not survive.  These visits shaped his politics and how he viewed things.  During the next few days we will hear many tributes to this man who was a friend, a dedicated family man, a mentor and a genuinely wise man.  Let us take time over these days to pray for him and his family as they prepare to lay him to rest.  Eternal rest grant into him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.  Amen

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, August 24, 2018

An Attitude of Gratitude


I was reflecting this morning about life and the question, “What am I grateful for?” came to me.  At first I resisted but then I began to answer it.  Right now I am grateful for many things – my religious community, my family, my friends, my health and my happiness.  This week I celebrated both my birthday and my anniversary of religious profession.  Both days were relatively quiet yet I spent them with friends who are very important to me.  As I probed the question a little bit more I realized that I have much to be grateful for.  In a world where there is so much pain and suffering I have been blessed with tremendous happiness.  This doesn’t mean that I haven’t had any sad moments along my life’s journey it means that in comparison with others I have been spared.  Perhaps it is all in the perspective with which we look at things that colors our response.  I often wonder it we were to look at life with an attitude of gratitude rather than what’s in it for me attitude would we be happier?  Perhaps today is a good day to embrace a life that centers on an attitude of gratitude.  It we allow our hearts to be grateful than perhaps we will find ourselves just a little more happier and able to enjoy life a lot more.  

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Celebrating God's Abundant Love


Today I celebrate my thirty first anniversary of religious profession.  It is hard to believe that so many years have passed since I made my first profession as an Ursuline Sister.  I have so many memories of that special day and it is certainly a day for me to give thanks to God for the endless love I have experienced.  In some ways it was like yesterday that I said my initial “yes” to continuing to allow my relationship to grow.  So much has changed since that beautiful August morning.  Many of the people who were there are now in Heaven.  Our Church has seen its share of shame and disgrace during these years.  Yet what drew me to enter continues to sustain me today – God’s love and serving God’s people. 

When I made my first profession my invitation quoted Psalm 27, “One thing, I ask, this alone I seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord all my days.”  The years have flown by but the sentiment remains the same I have found my treasure and nothing will change that reality.  As our Church goes through the abuse crisis I remind myself that the Church is the People of God not the buildings and hierarchy.  My desire is to serve the People of God and I pray that I may have the fortitude to persevere during this difficult times.  St. Angela, told her followers to beware of the pestilent times and seek good in all you do.  With Jesus and Angela’s help I pray for the grace to continue to follow my heart’s desire and serve with joy and gratitude for all the good God has done in me.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught.  He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat.  So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.   People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.  They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.  When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.  Mark: 6:30-34

Today we celebrate the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.  Our Gospel today tells us to take time away from the busyness of our lives to spend time with Jesus.  Jesus asks them to come away but many people came too because they were curious.  The disciples had shared how busy they were that they didn’t even have time to eat lunch.  In this story the disciples were very busy and didn’t have time for what they really wanted to spend time with Jesus.  We all need to take some time to retreat and reflect rather than get caught up in our distractions.  It is important to remember to “rest a while” and let the peace of Jesus fill our lives and hearts.

Pat Schifini, OSU