Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Come to Me...

In today’s Gospel, Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.   For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  (Matthew 11: 28 – 30) I find this to be one of my favorite Gospels as it gives me so much comfort and hope.

In our world, there are many who are weary and burdened and have no one to share that burden with.  Each one of us can relate to these sentiments.  Jesus promises us true relief from our burdens if we go to him.  In our daily living, Jesus invites us to come and we need to make the decision to follow.  There is a certain commitment as we accept the invitation.  What does this response look like is it praying, studying the Bible, being present to others or doing random acts of kindness?

Let us take time during this Advent waiting to move closer to Jesus and accept his invitation to come.  He invites us as we are and helps us to grow into who he wants us to be.  Jesus’ invitation of love is for all and all we have to do is take the first step.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

St. Nicholas

Advent is the time when Christians prepare to greet Christ—who came as a babe in a manger, who comes into our lives each day, and who will come again at the end of time. During this time people focus on getting ready to receive Christ by preparing their hearts and lives to make room for Jesus.  It is a time to live as Jesus would have us live. It is a time of longing in preparation of the great celebration of Christmas.  The Advent days pass all to quickly as we are pulled in many directions. 

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas.  He truly is an Advent saint.

St. Nicholas became popular because he was a faithful follower of Jesus.  His life reflected the way each one of us is called to show God’s abundant love to others.  Growing up I recall this day as the day when we would receive a small treat or surprise. This modeled what St. Nicholas did so long ago when he left treats for children particularly those in need.  This Advent let us take our cue from St. Nicholas and remember that Christmas is a feast of love, hope, kindness and generosity.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent

Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare to celebrate Christmas when we commemorate the first coming of Christ at the Incarnation some 2,000 years ago.  As I prayed today I kept recalling the song “Prepare the Way of the Lord.  It is a simple mantra that says, “Prepare the way of the Lord, prepare the way of the Lord, and all people shall see the salvation of our God.”  This is a perfect mantra for this busy Advent season. 

As I continued praying I was struck by the power of this simple song and it brought me back to the essentials of Advent.  Perhaps it is in the busyness that we need to take time to pause and reflect on what are we doing to prepare for Christmas.  I am not referring to what we are doing materially I am referring to spiritually.  We need to take time to pause and prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  It may be as simple as just taking time to pray for someone in need or the needs of our world.  Let us embrace this season of Advent as a true opportunity to reflect more and be attentive to the God who loves us beyond all that we can imagine or hope for.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy New Year

When I was at Mass this morning the celebrant began with a most unusual greeting for the congregation assembled.  He walked up the aisle to the Advent wreath and simply said, “Happy New Year to everyone!”  I thought this a rather unusual way to begin the blessing of the Advent wreath but as he spoke it became clearer as to what this greeting really meant.  Today we truly began a new year, another Church year.

Last week we celebrated the Feast of Christ the King and the last Sunday of the outgoing Church year.  Today we celebrated the First Sunday of Advent and began the new Church year.  The term Advent comes from a Latin word adventus meaning “coming, arrival.”  During these weeks we will look again at the coming of Jesus at Christmastime and welcoming him into our lives in the here and now.

As we journey once again to the manger let us remember to reach out to all those in need, take time to pray more or just take some quiet time to be present to the Lord, and let us remember to always seek to improve our relations with the people around us.  May this new Church year be filled with many blessings and great joy for all.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, November 25, 2016

Happy Foundation Day

Today we celebrate the 481st anniversary of the Foundation of the Company of St. Ursula by Angela Merici. Angela was a woman who knew the needs of her time and responded. She was a woman of deep prayer, personal love of Jesus and was not afraid to take risks.  Angela continues to encourage her followers to do the same. The simple beginning in Brescia, Italy has blossomed into a worldwide institute. Happy Foundation Day to all Ursuline sisters, associates, companions, alums, students and colleagues. May St. Angela continue to watch over us all our days!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the United States!  It is a day to be grateful for all the blessings our God has bestowed upon us.  Gratitude is something we should express daily and truly is a lifelong attitude.
As we give thanks this day let us take time to think about the people, events and situations that cause us great joy.  Let us also look at the things which make us struggle and take the time to look at them through God’s eyes.  Thanksgiving is a good day to take some time to look at our lives and see the abundance of God’s grace in it.
God’s love for us is boundless and is always there for us.  We are called to share that love with others.  During this day of giving thanks I am grateful for all those who will serve others this day.  Many have collected food and distributed Thanksgiving dinners to the less fortunate.  It is these simple efforts that will change many lives today.
On this day let us give thanks for our families, our friends and all the good gifts we have received.  Let our hearts overflow with joy and happiness and remember that all things are possible because of the God who loves us unconditionally.  May this Thanksgiving Day be filled with many blessings, much happiness and tremendous love for you and yours.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, November 18, 2016


I read this reflection this morning in Daily Word and it really touched my heart.  As you read it may you feel your connection with our God ever deepening and ever growing.
Water is nature’s refreshment, providing nourishment for all life on the planet. Parched animals, plants, and ground hurriedly drink when it rains, finding renewed energy and strength. On hot days, animals seek refuge in pools of water. Oceans, rivers, and waterfalls refresh the human spirit as they inspire those who visit them.
The greatest source of refreshment for my soul is my connection with God. I release doubts or habits that limit my thinking and open my mind and heart to receive divine guidance.
Meditation invigorates my spirit with renewed energy and strength. Devoting time and energy to a relationship with God, I see inspiration in the world around me.
The water that I will give will become ... a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
John 4:14

Pat Schifini, OSU