Thursday, March 31, 2016

Walking by the Water

When I was out walking I had the opportunity to walk by the water and I found myself reflecting on the post Easter Scripture readings.  It was a rather profound experience as I gazed out on the water.  The water was quite serene and there was a rather gentle breeze.  As I looked at the water I found myself wondering, “Is this what the disciples felt after Jesus’ death?”  Gentle breezes and peace is what I experienced.  After Jesus’ death the disciples were in a state of mourning and despair.  They did not realize that Jesus was still very much present to them.  We all need to remember that Jesus is always with us and wants to walk with us and talk with us.  It is not just in the great moments that we feel his presence it is in the daily and routine events.  As we continue the journey to Pentecost let us remember to feel Jesus’ presence and experience His abundant love in every moment of every day.  Let us keep on keeping on with hearts full of love and hope.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Road to Emmaus

What a glorious time of year this is!!  It is spring time – flowers are peeking their heads through the ground (and today is a bit brisk).  The daylight is longer and even the smell of the air is invigorating.  New life is all around us – inviting us to hopeful.  But even more than the flowers and the bright sunshine, we called to new life because we are Easter people.  We have seen the real hope in our lives, in our very beings.  The readings for today are full of that hope and life.  As we bathe in the light of this weekend and the wonders of Easter, I truly believe the best is yet to be. 

Today’s Gospel is the familiar story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  I love the story of meeting on the road to Emmaus.  The idea of meeting Jesus and not having “open eyes” is so telling of our everyday lives.  How often have we met “Jesus” and we just didn’t know it.  There are numerous email stories circulating about such situations and only later when their “eyes are open” do the characters in the story realize they have indeed encountered Jesus. We are bombarded with so many things in our lives; it is so easy to walk with “unopened eyes,” to not see what is the most important around us.  We must learn to recognize when “our hearts burn within us.”  When the Holy Spirit makes its presence known to us through that burn it is essential that we embrace it and jump and praise God  . . . the best is yet to be!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Living the Joy of Easter

Why do we celebrate Easter for 50 days?  As we look back on our faith tradition we see that our ancestors found great symbolic meaning in these 50 days of Easter.   Think about the fact that 50 days is seven weeks — a week of weeks plus one day. That extra day symbolizes the day of resurrection, the day that symbolized eternity.

While 50 days of unmitigated joy seems hard for us to sustain today, with all the sadness in our world, the season still has meaning. It’s the time when we are meant to experience what it means when we say Christ is risen.  It is the season when we hear and ponder the story of the beginnings of our Church, the gifts of the Spirit, and the meaning and mission of discipleship, on what joining in the Eucharist commits us to be and do. For no matter how glorious this 50-day taste of the heavenly banquet is meant to be, God eventually calls us out of the celebration and reminds us to move on and live what we’ve celebrated in all the moments of our lives.   Let us relish the Easter joy in all we do during the 50 days ahead!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pope Francis' Easter Message

Yesterday Pope Francis shared his Easter Message with the world!  Let us remember the call to love that is so sorely needed in our world as we reflect on his words.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, a Happy and Holy Easter!

The Church throughout the world echoes the angel’s message to the women: “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised… Come, see the place where he lay” (Mt 28:5-6).

This is the culmination of the Gospel; it is the Good News par excellence: Jesus, who was crucified, is risen! This event is the basis of our faith and our hope. If Christ were not raised, Christianity would lose its very meaning; the whole mission of the Church would lose its impulse, for this is the point from which it first set out and continues to set out ever anew. The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.

That is why we tell everyone: “Come and see!” In every human situation, marked by frailty, sin and death, the Good News is no mere matter of words, but a testimony to unconditional and faithful love: it is about leaving ourselves behind and encountering others, being close to those crushed by life’s troubles, sharing with the needy, standing at the side of the sick, elderly and the outcast… “Come and see!” Love is more powerful, love gives life, love makes hope blossom in the wilderness.

With this joyful certainty in our hearts, today we turn to you, risen Lord!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” Psalm 11 

On this day we celebrate the reality that Jesus conquered death and has risen.  We have followed Jesus these days in faith and hope.  Our world and planet are suffering but the Easter message is that we are an Easter People!  God so loved the world that  He sent His Son to be one with us.  Jesus lived our human life, knew our pain and sorrow and died our human death.  The power of the love of God transforms our human sorrows and pain into joy and consolation.  God is still with us, living in our Easter World with us – and promises never to leave us.  God brought new life, rising in Jesus from death to new life for all people.  We are an Easter People and on this Easter Day let us pray for a world where the love of God is made real through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!  

I have just returned from the Sunrise Service with Sr. Jeannie and while the sun did not come out as brilliantly as we hoped it came with a certain radiance.  The Light of Christ has indeed been enkindled in our hearts and minds.  May the spirit of hope be renewed in our world!  

Have a happy and blessed Easter!

Sr. Pat Schifini, OSU & Sr. Jeannie Humphries, OSU

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is the day to spend time reflecting on the powerful reality of Jesus’ death.

There is no liturgy on Holy Saturday until the Easter Vigil.  It is important to keep this day holy and let our “sense” of the mystery of Jesus’ death shape our reflection as we long to celebrate the Easter gift of Jesus alive, for us and with us.  On Holy Saturday, the Church waits at the Lord's tomb in prayer, meditating on his Passion and Death and on his Descent into Hell, and awaiting his Resurrection.  Let us celebrate this night as we enkindle the new Easter fire with hearts full of hope and love!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Good Friday is the day on which Christians around the world commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We read in the gospels that Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot on the night of the Last Supper.  He is brought before both religious and civil leaders and was ultimately condemned to death on a cross.  As we listen to the story of the passion of Jesus as told by John the Evangelist it can be simply overwhelming. It is almost too much to take in at once. The passion of Jesus is a gripping drama that reaches down inside of us and evokes our deepest and strongest emotions. It almost defies words of commentary or explanation.  As we participate in the service of this day let us be reminded that Jesus was helped by Simon to carry his cross and we are called to do the same for each other as we face the daily crosses in our lives.  Let us remember that Jesus is always with us and wants to help us as we navigate the journey of life.

Pat Schifini, OSU


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday

Holy Thursday is the commemoration of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ, when he established the Eucharist prior to his arrest and crucifixion. Jesus celebrated the Last Supper as a Passover feast. Jesus would fulfill His role as the Christian victim of the Passover for all to be saved by His final sacrifice.  The Last Supper was the final meal Jesus shared with his Disciples in Jerusalem. During the meal, Jesus predicts his betrayal.  As Jesus washed the feet of His disciples we too are called to serve one another in the same way.  The Ursuline motto of Serviam -- I will serve -- is lived out in this reality -- that we are always willing to serve.  Let us always follow Jesus’ model of love and service for all as we celebrate the great Thanksgiving -- the Eucharist.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Being Kind to Others

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
                                                                                                            ― R.J. Palacio, Wonder

Being kind to others is something that we are taught from our earliest years.  A virtue first instilled in us by our parents it has been nurtured in every aspect of our lives.  We have the ability to be kind to others but often times it comes down to choosing to be kind.  For some people it is a daily choice and for others it comes very naturally.  This day and every day let being kind to others become a virtue that we continue to live out in all we do.  Let us choose to perform acts of kindness rather than harbor grudges towards others.  In a world so in need of kindness and compassion let us be the change we wish to see in all we do and say so that we can build a world filled with compassion and peace.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Forgiveness, by definition, is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and is able to let go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.  Why do we find it so hard to forgive?  Is it the fear of letting go of past hurts?  Is it the fear of change?  Is it the inability to allow ourselves to do the “right thing”?  Whatever the question, the reality is that forgiveness is hard work at times.

St. Matthew in his Gospel writes, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  Matthew 6: 14 – 15.  Matthew tells us of the importance of forgiveness so that we too may also experience forgiveness from the God who loves us beyond all measure.

Mahatma Gandhi writes, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”   Let us be strong during this time when our world is in need of much forgiveness!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, March 21, 2016

Open Mind Open Heart

I read an article by Igor Ovsannykov where he wrote, “Try to open your mind, see things from a different perspective, help out others, be thankful for what you have, stop being materialistic, make the best of every situation, kill sadness, think positive, do what makes you happy, reach for your goal, stop feeling sorry for yourself, be happy for others success, cut jealousy, conquer greed and be your best self.”  I believe that this gives us much to reflect on.  As we take time this week to quiet ourselves as we celebrate Holy Week perhaps it is a good time for us to look at our lives as well.  Reflecting on what Jesus modeled and suffered during the days leading up to his crucifixion gives us pause for thought. 

As the Dalai Lama XIV said, “An open heart is an open mind.” Let us open our minds and hearts during this Holy Week so that we too may rise in a new way this Easter.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday 2016

Palm Sunday is the final Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Holy Week, and commemorates the triumphant arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified.  On Palm Sunday the faithful carry palm branches to reenact Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus entered Jerusalem in a triumphant manner and the people praised his arrival and did him homage. This showed the tremendous respect that the people had for Jesus.  On Palm Sunday the liturgy offers a panoramic view of the mysteries that we will contemplate during Holy Week or Paschal Triduum: the institution of the Eucharist, the passion and death of the Lord, and the prediction of His Resurrection. May this Holy Week be filled with many blessings and much peace!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Created in the Image and Likeness of God

"God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”  Genesis 1: 26 - 27

The Bible proclaims that human beings are made in God’s image and likeness. God’s presence in the Bible is that of eternal love.  And this God of love is a sublime artist who creates the world in love as a masterpiece of beauty and nobility.  In creating man and woman in his image and likeness, he invites them to an intimate personal relationship with himself and offers them the incredible privilege of being co-creators with him.  We are each invited to have an individual and personal relationship with God.  This relationship grows throughout our life time and we are called to share that relationship with all those we encounter.  What an awesome reality to be made in the image and likeness of God!  May this reality continue to give each one of us great hope and the certitude that we are indeed loved by God for who we are.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 18, 2016

Corporal Works of Mercy

The Corporal Works of Mercy are found in the teachings of Jesus and give us a model for how we should treat all others, as if they were Christ in disguise.  They are acts of charity which we help our neighbors in their needs. They respond to the basic needs of humanity as we journey together through this life.  As we take a moment to reflect on these PICK ONE!  PICK TWO OR THREE.  Imagine our hungry, lonely, war- torn world if EVERY PERSON did just one work?   Ponder these in your heart.  But most importantly listen to the whisper of the Holy Spirit for a human need will be before your eyes and pray that you would be so moved as to reach out and comfort, raise up those bowed down.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York.  As we celebrate this day with many different traditions, parades and great food let us remember that St. Patrick sought to bring Christianity to Ireland.  He had a difficult life and turned  his life around when he embraced the faith.  Here is part of his famous Lorica to reflect on:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Compassion for Others

When I think about Compassion for Others I find myself recalling personal encounters with other people.  In our daily lives we often have interactions that at times can be unnerving at times.  We find ourselves trying to do our daily jobs and at times others come into our horizons with an opposite goal than ours.  When a student or colleague stops me and says do you have a minute?  I often cringe and try to take a deep breath and attempt to respond.  So often I worry that I am not able to respond as the person would want me to.  I find at these times that I need to be very attentive to those little interactions and what they mean to the other person involved.  The world is so much bigger than me and my needs.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to show compassion for others and pray that each person is able to experience the feeling of succeeding with showing compassion.  May we always look at others with eyes of compassion and hearts full of love.

“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” 
― Andrew BoydDaily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Thomas Merton, in his book, Thoughts on Solitude wrote, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”  This quote has always resonated with me and I know that I need to remember it more often.  So often in our daily living the pace is rather frenetic and we do not have time to focus on what is important.  Contemplation has been described as "taking a long loving glance at the real."  I believe that the Lenten season can provide us with the time and space to look at our lives through the lens of contemplation. May these days of solitude be filled with much peace for all of us.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, March 14, 2016

Love and Tenderness

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolutions.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

Kahlil Gibran’s quote gives us much to reflect on.  When we think about tenderness and love we often imagine a mother holding a new born child.  The tenderness and love which the mother shows her child is a true reflection of how we should treat one another.  Being tender and loving does not mean one is weak by any stretch of the imagination.  I believe it means the polar opposite.  Showing tenderness, love and compassion is what we are called to do as Christians.

The beautiful prayer by St. Teresa of Avila, “Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks Compassion on this world, Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.  Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body.  Christ has no body now but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours, Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world.  Christ has no body now on earth but yours” models for us what we are truly called to.  We are called to be Christ for one another – to treat one another with love and tenderness.  Let us remember this reality as we continue the daily journey of life.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pope Francis' 3rd Anniversary

Today marks the third anniversary of the election of Pope Francis.  I remember watching the election on the Smart Board in my classroom.  It was a thrilling experience.  He marked his third anniversary as pope by reinforcing his message of mercy-over-morals.  This is a message that he has been emphasizing in particular during his Holy Year of Mercy.
At his noontime blessing in St. Peter's Square he gave away 40,000 copies of the Gospel of St. Luke and told the crowd the Biblical story of the adulterous women whom Jesus fused to condemn.  Pope Francis said: "This woman represents all of us, adulterers before God, traitors of his trust. And her experience represents the will of God for all of us: Not our condemnation, but our salvation through Jesus."
The past three years have gone by very quickly and Francis has done so much for all people.  The Year of Mercy he began in December is so important for our world today.  We all need to practice mercy in all that we do.  I have been very impressed by his Five Finger Prayer where he invites us to pray using the fingers on your hand, start with the thumb and pray these intentions in this order:
1.) The thumb is closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a "Sweet Obligation."

2.) The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers. 

3.) The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God's guidance. 

4.) The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even though it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers. 
5.) And finally we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way. 
May we always remember to pray and show mercy!
Pat Schifini, OSU

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pay it Foward

“Sail beyond the horizon; fly higher than you ever thought possible; magnify your existence by helping others; be kind to people and animals of all shapes and sizes; be true to what you value most; shine your light on the world; and be the person you were born to be.”                                                                                                                           Blake Beattie
I often find myself thinking about the movie Pay It Forward and the story of a young boy who did three good deeds for others in need.  In return all he wanted was that they pass on the good deed to three other people and keep the cycle going.  As I walked back to work after a Starbucks run I met two of my colleagues on their way.  For some reason I reached into my pocket and pulled out the gift card that I had just used and said, "I am not sure what is left on it so enjoy whatever it has."  The two of them were so surprised and said that I didn't have to give them my card and I assured them that it was perfectly fine.  As I continued my walk back to work I recalled the movie and thought that this was not only a wonderful idea but also a great Lenten practice.  One good deed might not seem like much, but if everyone did something good for someone else, then the cycle of generosity and kindness can spark us to become better people.  Isn't that what Lent is really all about -- helping us to become better people by prayer, sacrifice and almsgiving.  Perhaps when Lent ends we can continue the practice of Pay It Forward!
Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Spiritual Works of Mercy

When I was in elementary school, I remember my dad sitting at the dining room table with me at night listening to my Catechism questions.  This was in the days of the Baltimore Catechism.  One of the things we had to memorize was the Spiritual Works of Mercy.  I have to admit that I haven't thought about them under this title for years but when I reviewed them this morning, I thought, "of course."
In living out our life as followers of Jesus, we are asked to show by example our faith means to us and to share that with others, especially those who doubt their faith.  We are asked not to judge or criticize others, to reach out to those who are marginalized.
We are asked to pray for the sick and the dying and for those who mourn losses in their lives.  None of these works of mercy take a lot of time and can be done as we go about our daily lives here at school. Have you got a minute this Lent to reach out to someone else?

KM Donohue, OSU

Thursday, March 10, 2016

National Catholic Sisters Week

This week we celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week.  National Catholic Sisters Week is an annual celebration that takes place from March 8–14. Created to honor women religious, it is a series of events that instruct, enlighten, and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women. It’s our chance to recognize all they have done for us.  

When I thought about my first introduction to women religious I was brought back to many happy memories.  I recalled the happy memories of the sisters who taught me in elementary school, high school and college.  Each sister who taught me shared who she was and taught me more than academics.   The women who modeled faith for me helped me to grow to who I am today.  If it weren’t for these women I am not sure I would be the confident, caring, faith filled and capable woman I am today.  I thank God for these role models and pray that I can be a model for my students’ today.  As we celebrate National Catholic Sisters Week perhaps it is a good time to recall those sisters who have impacted our lives and thank God for the gift they have been.  May there be many women who will follow the call and embrace religious life.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Today we celebrated the first of two days of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at my school.  It was a day when I was so aware of God’s abundance love for us.  Our students embraced the Sacrament with openness and total respect.  Many commented on how much better they felt after receiving the Sacrament.  I was happy for them and so grateful on so many levels.  One of the major difficulties is finding priests to hear their confessions.  I realized how very blessed I am that so many friends were willing to come and help out.  As I reflected on this day I realized that no matter how crazy life can get it is so important to remember the blessings of each day and of good friends.  I am truly blessed in my ministry!

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


Compassion is often defined as a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering; a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.

Henri J.M. Nouwen once said, “Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.”

We are called to embrace our humanity and to reach out to others.  Sometimes this is not easy as we are too busy trying to be all things to all people.  We need to remember to take time for ourselves as we seek to help others.  In reality we cannot live this life alone nor do we.  We live this life in the gentle arms of God who loves us beyond anything we can ask for or imagine.  As we continue the journey of Lent let us relish in this truth that God made us because he thought we might enjoy it! 

Pat Schifini, OSU

Monday, March 7, 2016

Tender Mercy

Perhaps one of the best examples of tender mercy is the father in yesterday's gospel story of the Prodigal Son.  This son thought he knew better than his dad and couldn't wait to get his inheritance from his father.  Graciously, the father did not interfere and gave him all that he was due.  The son soon found out that the experience of living out in the world was not as wonderful as he thought it would be.  And so, he decided to return home.  That was a huge concession for him-to admit he was wrong.  But his father, showed him nothing but mercy, tender mercy, and welcomed him home with great joy and threw him a huge party.

We all know what mercy is but to extend mercy to tender mercy is extraordinary.
It is the look on a parent's face when caressing a child or an elderly parent.
Can we show that tender mercy, that extraordinary mercy, to those we met each day?

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Pope Francis said that Lent is the perfect time to let go of selfish and indifferent attitudes, returning to God with the help of prayer, penance and acts of charity.  “Lent is a beneficial time of pruning from falsity, from worldliness, from indifference: to not think that everything is ok if I am ok; to understand that what counts is not approval, the pursuit of success or consensus, but purity of heart and life,” the Pope said.  It’s a time to rediscover one’s Christian identity, “which is love that serves, not selfishness that uses,” he said.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of our faith tradition. Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, forgave those who sought healing. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ.  We are made new again.  In today’s Gospel we hear the familiar story of the “Prodigal Son.”  The younger son takes his inheritance, squanders it and returns home seeking his father’s forgiveness.  He took stock of his circumstances and made the decision to express sorrow and seek forgiveness.  This is what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is all about.  We all know that we are sinners and have our shortcomings.  It is through this Sacrament that we are washed clean and restored to God’s love.  Let us embrace the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this Year of Mercy with open minds and hearts to receive Jesus’ loving and tender care.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Friday, March 4, 2016

Love of Neighbor

Jesus gave us the great commandment to, “Love one another as I have loved you.”  We live in a world where people struggle to love and feel unloved.  It is important for us to remember Jesus’ call to love.  As we love others we are also living out Jesus’ call to love others.  Jesus loved and cared for all those he met.  He cared for women, children, widows, orphans, the underprivileged, the sick, the rich and the poor.  Jesus had no favorites he loved everyone equally.  We are called to do the same.  As disciples of Jesus we are called to love and care for our neighbors.  During this Lenten season it is good for us to look at our relationships and ask the question, “Have I been as loving as I could be? Have I treated all people with the same respect that I desire from them?”  Let us live the remainder of this Lenten season remembering and living out Jesus’ great commandment!

Pat Schifini

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Letting Go of Past Hurts

“Isn’t it time you got over that?”- How many of us have been asked that or perhaps we’ve been the one to exclaim it in frustration with a friend or family member who just can’t seem to move on from a difficult situation. Anger is a normal and common human emotion. Yet, in some cases we hold onto that anger for a long time. The truth is, under all of that anger, we are deeply hurt. Perhaps it was what someone said to us, or maybe what they did to us, either way, we can’t seem to move past it. We think we are punishing that other person by keeping our distance but really, we are really hurting ourselves. I remember so clearly when my grandmother taught us the importance of forgiveness and moving forward.  She always told us to let go of being angry as it was too great a burden.

Letting go is a process that one needs to engage in for peace of mind.  It requires conscious effort and prayer.  Lent is the perfect time to practice “letting go.”  Our faith encourages us to place our trust and hope in our God who loves us more than anything.  As we let go of the things that burden us we will experience how incredibly more light we will feel.  Take time this Lent to “Let Go and Let God!”

Pat Schifini, OSU

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

“Honest is the best policy.”  This is a phrase that we have heard since we were children. It is one that has been shared with countless generations.  Seemingly a simple phrase it carries with it many complexities.  Deep down everyone does try to live by this virtue.  At times it is easy and at times it is a great struggle. 

Honesty provides the foundation for relationships and one in which the value of integrity is built upon.  People are often willing to sacrifice their integrity to make certain gains and are willing to hurt others by what they say.  Honesty is not an easy characteristic to uphold, especially in our modern world where technology distracts us from our true values and beliefs.

During this Lenten Season let us reflect on the presence of God in our lives.  The God of truth, love and compassion is always with us.  We need to make the extra effort to allow our God to fill us with love and compassion. Our God desires and honest response from each one of us.  Let us bring our honest selves to our God and allow God to fill all those spaces that are empty so that we can go out to all the world and share that reality with all people.

Pat Schifini, OSU

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Merciful Love

"Grace" and "mercy" are words that most people are familiar with in a general sense. Through literature, movies and popular culture, we have formed vaguely religious ideas in our minds about the meanings of these words. When considering the religious significance of words, however, it's important to be careful and precise. The meaning of a word in a particular religion may be very different from its meaning in popular culture, and definitions of words can even vary among different religious traditions.

I have always found these two words very intriguing.  The magnitude of these words has become more prominent today.  Many people see mercy as interwoven with forgiveness.  We live in a world where grace and mercy are  sorely needed on many levels.  We need to reach out to others and be willing to offer mercy. 

Pope Francis has declared this year to be a Holy Year of Mercy!  Let us follow Francis’ invitation and see mercy in all that we do.

Pat Schifini, OSU