Sunday, February 25, 2024

Second Sunday of Lent

 

A friend of mine shared this quote of Pope Francis with me. As I reflected on it this week I found it to be rather challenging.

Pope Francis spoke again:

“Eat what you want at Easter, the sacrifice is not in the stomach, but in the heart.

They refrain from eating meat, but they do not talk to their brothers or relatives. 

They do not visit their parents or burden them with care.

They do not share their food with the needy.

They do not allow their children to see their father.

They do not forbid grandparents to see their grandchildren.

They criticize other people’s lives, beat their wives, etc.

A good roast or meat stew won’t make you a bad person.

Nor a fish fillet will make you a saint.

Better to try to have a deeper relationship with God through better treatment of others.

We are less superficial and more humble of heart.” 

Pope Francis

In today’s gospel we hear the familiar story of the Transfiguration.  We go to the mountain with Jesus, Peter, James, and John where they experience Jesus in a glorified state. Jesus is transfigured before them and the voice of God instructs them, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him. They have heard Jesus speak before, but have they fully understood what Jesus was saying? The Lenten journey is meant to waken us up to the reality that we have all we need in Jesus. Let us continue to walk the path of the death and resurrection of Jesus. May we always hear and understand Jesus’ call and invitations to us.




Sunday, February 18, 2024

First Sunday of Lent

 

The prayer below was written by Sr. Dorothea Gooud, an Australian Ursuline sister. As we journey through these forty days may we reflect and pray using it during this Lenten Season.

Enlighten, O Lord, the darkness of my heart,

the gateways to my spirit open wide;

My eyes, my ears, my pow’r to feel and love,

O Divine Majesty, pour in your radiant light

So strong, so clear that I would rather die

than lose that radiance shining from your Face.


Let me not betray the trust you place in me

Within that secret room which is my heart

I lay before you, Lord, my weakness and my sin

Blind, lame, bent down, I can’t look to you.

But night and day, at work and rest, I pray

My Healer, lay your gentle hand on me.

 

Your mercy is my hope; forgive me, Lord, restore

The crystal clearness of Baptismal grace

And thus I pray, O Lord, for those you give to me

With all in this vast world, Jesus, you died to save.

And by your passion, by your blood outpoured –

In pity grant us time for change of heart.

 

I give to you, my Lord, my only life and hope,

Your dear-bought treasures I have called my own.

Within, without, they are your gifts to me.

Oh cast your fire of love upon my dried-up heart.

Consume its dead wood like the wild bush fire,

Then touch to green new growth of love and peace.

 

How long I’ve made you wait for my poor service, Lord.

Life’s hurts are hard to bear when love is small.

Yet I can truly say my greatest sorrow, Lord,

Is watching human beings turn from love.

I’d gladly give my life to cure their blindness.

Take all I am and have! Blessed be your name!



Sunday, February 11, 2024

Ash Wednesday and Valentines Day

 

For the first time since 2018, Ash Wednesday and Valentine's Day fall on the same day. This year, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day coincide: a day about joy, love, and celebration alongside a day about sacrifice, remembering our mortality, and recalling our utter dependence on God. As we prepare to commemorate these two realities let us remember that it may be the perfect time to invite our loving God into all of our life experiences and remember that love heals. It may just be the perfect way for us to enter Lent, remembering God is the one love that was here at the beginning of our lives and will be here long after our inevitable end.

In his 2024 Lenten message, Pope Francis reminds us of a question that God asked Adam and Eve after they had eaten of the fruit, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9) God was looking for them not to judge them, but rather to enter into a dialogue. Notice that God made the first move to search out where Adam and Eve were hiding, and God reached out. Lent reminds us that God continues to reach out to us. He does not want any of us to be lost. He knows our limitations; thus, He comes to tell us that He understands us and loves us. That is what Lent is about. It is a time to respond to the call. Let us not allow our fears, our notion of unworthiness hide us from God. Lent invites us to open our ears and our hearts and listen to the voice of the Lover. And we can do that by practicing the three disciplines of Lent: Listen in prayer. Fast from the noises, activities, attitudes that inhibit us from hearing His voice. Give alms, which is to be good to others and to ourselves. In doing so, we rediscover that God absolutely loves us.

This year as we celebrate Valentine’s Day let us remember to invite God in for the joys as well as the sorrows, the excitements as well as the frustrations, and the healthy moments as well as the sick ones. Ash Wednesday and Lent are both encounters of love.  Let us allow our hearts to be filled with love and at the same time be open to the ultimate gift of love that our God continually showers us with.





Sunday, February 4, 2024

Bridges of Hope/Puentes De Esperanza

From Thursday, January 25th to Sunday, January 28th, Jeannie and Pat attended Bridges of Hope/Puentes De Esperanza sponsored by the Leadership Collaborative for women religious under 65.Jeannie participated in person in Chicago and Pat participated via Zoom. There were 150 women religious under the age of 65 gathered in person, with more than 100 others joining them virtually from 108 Congregations and 28 Countries, to discuss, discern and embrace the future of religious life. Discussion and prayer time was lively, deep and meaningful. Connections were strengthened and built as simultaneous translation was provided.

Some of the questions discussed were:


·What are you willing to challenge and be challenged about in this life? 

·Can we be fearless? What does that mean? What would it look like? 

·How can we live without anxiety and with hope in this in between time of what was and what     will be? 

·How you have been an agent of hope and a co-creator with God in your life/ministry?

Some of the shared thoughts were:


·Mission is what we are about-not just ourselves and our own ministries.

·A healthy balanced life of ministry, relationships, wellness activities, contemplation, reading,   recreation, and prayer are needed and desired. 

·We are proud to be women religious and enjoy the connections we have with one another.  

·Our willingness to be vulnerable is not a sign of weakness but an embrace of strength and authenticity.

·As Pope Francis, says ‘We will never be disillusioned or lose our way if we are guided by God”. 

They both enjoyed the gathering tremendously and look forward to continuing the connections made.




 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Hope

On Saturday we celebrate the Feast of St. Angela.  Angela founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535.  St. Angela was a woman of hope, and her words continue to encourage and support our efforts to “have hope and firm faith in God who will help us everything” (Prologue to the Counsels). Our January Heart to Heart selection was  an invitation to respond to the following questions: 

What are you hopeful for in the new year?

How might you nurture hope in yourself and others?

How/where do you find invitations to hope in your daily life?

Jeannie was one of the seven who responded to the invitation.  Her refelction is below:

A way I can nurture hope is by being more of a listening presence to hear people’s stories and then trying to acknowledge their pain and reaffirm the goodness in them. So many I know are being asked to make changes within their lives and I need to help them see that, no matter what, God is present. As I write this response, it is Epiphany Sunday, and I am struck by how the magi had to go home another way. What is the other way that I might be? How can I be creative when faced with challenges? How can I exist in the grey and uncertainty? I need to remember and remind others that no one is exempt from the human condition and experience of pain and disappointment, but how we deal, live life and treat others is what matters. I always think of hope as “Hold Onto Positive Energy” and “Hang On Peace Emerges,” and these are messages I find myself thinking and praying with each day and sharing with others.

—Jeannie Humphries, OSU



Sunday, January 14, 2024

Second Sunday in Ordinary TIme

In our first reading today, we hear the familiar story of Samuel in the Temple.  Samuel is in the Temple when he hears the word of God for the first time.  In Samuel’s time the word of God was scarce, and Eli helps him to listen to God. Eli in his wisdom tells Samuel to respond when he hears the voice of God with, “Speak Lord your servant is listening.”

In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites his first disciples to come and stay with him. John the Baptist introduces the disciples to Jesus, and they are invited to have their own experience of God. Much like Samuel they are invited to say, “Speak Lord your servant is listening.”  They are called to leave all and follow Jesus in uncharted ways.  They are called to leave all that was familiar and embrace what was not.  The disciples were challenged to have tremendous faith, courage, and trust in someone who they had just met.

One of my favorite songs is The Servant Song by Richard Gillard.

Will you let me be your servant let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey we are travelers on the road
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load

I will hold the Christ light for you in the nighttime of your fear
I will hold my hand out to you speak the peace you long to hear.

I will weep when you are weeping when you laugh, I'll laugh with you
I will share your joy and sorrow till we've seen this journey through

Will you let me be your servant let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace to let you be my servant too

May we have the grace, like the first disciples, to be servants of Jesus and all those we encounter on our life’s journey.



Sunday, January 7, 2024

Solemnity of the Epiphany

 

Today we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord.  This is the day long ago when the Magi followed the star to Bethlehem and found the child Jesus who had been born in a stable.    The hymn that is most famous for this day was written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. in 1857.    It recalls for us the events in Matthew’s gospel.

We Three Kings

We Three Kings of Orient are, Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, Moor and mountain, following yonder Star.

               

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night, Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Westward leading, Still proceeding, guide us to Thy perfect Light.

Born a King on Bethlehem, Gold I bring to crown Him again,
King forever, Ceasing never Over us all to reign.


Frankincense to offer have I, Incense owns a Deityty nigh:
Prayer and praising All men raising, Worship God on High.

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume Breathes a life of gathering gloom; —
Sorrowing, sighing, Bleeding, dying, Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

Glorious now behold Him arise, King, and God, and Sacrifice;
Heav’n sings Hallelujah. Hallelujah the earth replies.

The Magi were seekers.  May we always remember to be seekers of the truth and live lives focused on the gospel and following Jesus in all we do.