Wednesday, March 29, 2017

God's gifts

God gives His children special gifts each day because He loves us.  Look around and see beginning buds, robins, puppies, good food, friends, family and many other things.  Today, He gave us the gift of sunshine and don't we feel better because of it?  These past few days have been gloomy and rainy and our spirits sink to our toes whereas today, the sunshine brings us hope that the days will be brighter and warmer and friendlier.  Let us thank Him for this special gift.


Enjoy!
KM Donohue, OSU

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lent, Take Two

It is hard to believe that we are half way through the Lenten season.  Is it time to revisit our promises or is it time to come up with some new ones to finish the season out.   Either way there is still time to do what we have the power to do.  When I was praying this morning, I came across this little reflection from the prayer guide The Word Among Us.   It seems so appropriate to this day.


“The more space you give God to work, the more refreshed, invigorated, and restored you will feel. So, as you enter into the second half of Lent, let the Lord nourish you. Sit quietly, pondering his word. In prayer, recall all he has done for you already, and praise him for all he still wants to do. Cherish the gift of the Eucharist. Or maybe share God’s blessings with someone in your home. Whatever you do, make it a point to balance out the things you do for God with how much you let him restore you.”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Seeing With the HeartThis morning when I was reading over the first reading from today's Mass, a line in the reading struck me quite strongly... See if it resonates with you too? "Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart." Take a few minutes to reflect on this statement and ask the Lord to help you to see with the heart not looking just at appearance. Perhaps you will be begin to see with God's eyes. Blessings on each of you for the coming week.

This morning when I was reading over the first reading from today's Mass, a line in the reading struck me quite strongly... See if it resonates with you too?


"Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart."  Take a few minutes to reflect on this statement and ask the Lord to help you to see with the heart not looking just at appearance. Perhaps you will be begin to see with God's eyes. Blessings on each of you for the coming week.
KM Donohue, OSU

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Annunciation

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation.  It seems a little odd to have it during the heart of the Lenten Season.  The image of the young Mary being visited by the Angel Gabriel who was sent by God.  Gabriel’s message was probably the last thing Mary ever expected to be hearing.  Yet she responds with great maturity and even greater faith.
Mary did not hesitate to articulate the simple word “yes.”  She knew that all would be okay because she was responding to God’s invitation and that God would never fail her.  We often are faced with responding “yes” or “no” in many different situations.  How easy is it to respond positively when we are uncertain of the outcome?  How often to I say yes to sharing my time and talents with others?  How would I respond if an angel of God were to visit me? 

These are good questions for this Lenten season.  Perhaps it is a good invitation for each of us to reflect on our responses when we are asked to do things.  Let us try and respond with the eyes of faith as Mary did.  Her simple “yes” changed the world forever.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 24, 2017

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero, Archbishop of El Salvador was assassinated on March 24, 1980 after he pleaded with government officials to stop the repression of the Salvadoran people.  As we remember Oscar Romero today let us take some time to reflect on his prayer:  It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.  The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.  We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.  No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith.  No confession brings perfection.  No set of goals and objectives includes everything.  This is what we are about.  We plant the seeds that one day will grow.  We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.  We lay foundations that will need further development.  We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.  This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.  It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.  We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.  We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.  We are prophets of a future not our own.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Listening Heart

Today is a good day to think about praying for a listening heart.  To have a listening heart is to be attuned to the voice of God as He does His work in us.  It is to be attuned to His will as His Spirit is guiding us to live a good life-one which is pleasing to Him.

We can also enhance the gift of listening in our everyday lives as we become more aware of how we respond to our parents and teachers and how we hear what they are saying to us.  Our friends also need us to listen to them.  We all know how much better we feel if we think someone is truly listening to what we are saying.


Listening closely to what is being said to us helps us to examine what is happening in our lives and, in addition, helps us to grow both in our faith lives and our social lives.

KM Donohue, OSU

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Global Change

Today at my school we celebrated our 4th Global Symposium: “Fashioning Global Change” let us reflect on the words of Dorothy Day.  May we bring to life her spirit of compassion and justice for all each day.


“What we would like to do is change the world--make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute--the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words--we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend.”  ― Dorothy Day

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Spring

Yesterday we celebrated the first day of Spring!  There is something so refreshing to having longer days of sunlight even though the early morning hours are still dark.  I always find this to be a special time of year when there is new life blossoming all around us.  Seeing the return of the robins and even the Canadian geese signal a time of rebirth and renewal.  Each one of us is invited to live these spring days with hearts full of anticipation and challenge.  We are anticipating the warmer weather and the beauty of the sunny days ahead while at the same time we are continuing the challenge of the Lenten days.  As we move through the days ahead let us remember that our God always desires the best for us and that we God’s beloved children.  Let us rejoice in the reality that we are wonderfully made by our God who loves us beyond measure.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Woman at the Well

Today’s Gospel is one of my favorite as it is the beautiful story of Jesus and the Woman at the Well (John 4: 4 – 42).  It is a story of a woman who goes to the common well early in the morning as she is shunned by society.  She goes to the well when she knows that no one will be around.  One morning she is surprised to meet Jesus there.

Jesus does not judge her as so many other people have.  He reaches out to her in compassion and mercy.  I am sure that she had an experience that changed her life forever.  The woman had a difficult life and I am quite certain that she would have preferred to be alone.  Jesus did not force, accuse or judge her he spoke to her and gently challenged her to change her ways.  We, too, are called not to be judgmental to reach out to others with compassion.  Jesus gives us the model of how we should act in every situation we need to simply follow the model.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Prodigal Son

The story of The Prodigal Son is one parable that we all can relate to in so many different ways.  Each one of us can relate to f the characters in the story at various moments in our lives.  We have all had our share of making bad decisions and coming back to our families, friends and our God to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.  The younger son certainly experienced this in a most dramatic way.  Having squandered his money he returned home planning on begging for forgiveness and found himself welcomed home with wide open arms.
We can also identify with other sibling.  Having worked, obeyed and done “everything right” we are faced with accepting one who has not.  This is a difficult reality even in the best of situations.  We are called to be open, to forgive and to show compassion.  Sometimes it is easier to just hold a grudge.

Finally, we can relate to the parent who forgives and welcomes back the repentant child.  This is where we can see the merciful love of God in action.  We all need to remember the importance of offering forgiveness, welcoming back one who has harmed us just as our God is always there to welcome us home with open arms.
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 17, 2017

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's Day, the patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York.  It is said he went about the countryside converting the early Irish and used the shamrock to symbolize the Trinity-3 in 1. Throughout the centuries, the Irish have been known for their strong faith and have suffered very much for that faith.  So often today, St. Patrick's Day is seen as a day for drinking and partying-- definitely not the image presented by Patrick as he walked the hills and fields of early Ireland preaching of Jesus.

50 years ago today, four young women professed their first vows as Ursuline Sisters.  Each of those young women stood on the shoulders of Irish ancestors and gave thanks for the faith handed down through the generations.  Now, 50 years later, we still give thanks for our gift of faith and pray that those who stand on our shoulders will receive that same gift.


Happy St. Patrick's Day to all and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mindfulness

In today's Gospel, Jesus instructs us to look at our relationships with others and, if there is one relationship that is out of kilter, to heal it before approaching the altar.  I wonder how many of us think about this saying of Jesus before bringing ourselves to the altar.  I can truthfully say that is not my focus when I am in church or in the chapel.  But maybe I can ask the Lord to help me to be more mindful of others and to put my house in order before I go and ask Him to forgive me for my sins.  If I want to be forgiven, I must be willing to do the same for others. 


Have a wonderful weekend and be kind to each other in a world that doesn't always value kindness.

KM Donohue, OSU

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-10). Jesus teaches us that if we live according to the Beatitudes, we will live a happy Christian life. The Beatitudes fulfill God’s promises made to Abraham and his descendants and describe the rewards that will be ours as loyal followers of Christ.

Pope Francis has underlined how the Beatitudes are a Christian’s “identity card” that “identify us as followers of Jesus.”  As well as the eight Beatitudes Pope Francis also proposed 6 more to “recognize and respond to new situations with fresh energy.”

Pope Francis has explained that holiness is not so much about “great deeds and extraordinary events” but rather “daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism.” Holiness, he said, “consists in the love of God and the love of our brothers and sisters — something that makes a person deeply happy, as the saints showed.


“That is why we call the saints blessed,” the Pope said. “The Beatitudes are their path, their goal, their native land. The Beatitudes are the way of life that the Lord teaches us, so that we can follow in his footsteps.”  Let us live the Beatitudes in our daily lives.

Pat Schifini, OSU


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Follow Me

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.  He said to him, "Follow me."  And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.  Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them.  The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"  Jesus said to them in reply, "Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.  I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."  (Luke 5: 27 – 32)


In today’s gospel, Jesus calls Matthew/Levi to follow.  His response seems to be rather quick leaving all behind and following.  During this Lenten season we too are called to leave all and follow Jesus.  We are called to examine our lives and renew our relationship with Jesus.  Jesus came and ate with sinners, the poor and the outcast and we are called to do the same.  We all sin and turn away from God’s love for us but we are always welcomed back.  Jesus called a very unlikely person to be one of his Apostles.  Matthew/Levi responded out of love and we are invited to do the same.  Perhaps this Lent is a wonderful time to do just that – respond out of love and not the sense of duty.  As we journey these days of Lent let us take some time not just to “give something up” – let us take the time to “do something more.”  It can be as simple as a kind word or doing something nice for someone.  We all need to let Jesus guide our lives during this special season.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Choose Life

H​ow deeply can​ we yield to what God wants to do with us, in us, through us​?  Today’s Lenten readings remind us to choose life that we may live and to take up our cross and follow.  The reading from Deuteronomy always causes me to reflect on the notion of life.  We are besieged by so many distractions that we don’t always have the opportunity to spend time on what is truly important our relationship with our God.  During Lent, we are invited to take some time to look at our lives and how we are living them.  We are called to go beyond ourselves and reach out in love and compassion.  As we pick up our daily crosses we are challenged to recall that it is not the physical cross that Jesus carried that we are asked to carry it is the seemingly small inconveniences that are the heaviest.


May this Lenten season be filled with many blessings and good things for each one of us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Letting Go

Fifty years ago today, March l, my parents were informed that my 20 year old brother, a United States Marine, had been killed in Vietnam.  The world stopped while we waited for his remains to come home, for the wake and funeral to take place, and eventually for life, forever changed, to resume again. This new life called for an immense conversion for us as we adjusted and dealt with the anti-war movement so prevalent in the country.  And it was a time of letting go of the old ways.  Today, as we begin Lent with Ash Wednesday, we are aware of the dying and rising we are asked to embrace.  We resist the letting go, perhaps of things we consider precious, but the letting go will allow us to change and adjust to new ways of living which will eventually lead us to deeper faith and fuller life.


May we embrace the opportunity to grow during this time of Lent that is being offered to us.  May you receive many blessings during these days.

KM Donohue, OSU