Thursday, July 25, 2019

Convocation 2019

Today we await the arrival of the participants in the North American Ursuline Convocation entitled, “Angela’s Family:  Celebrating, Converging, Expanding.”  Ursuline Sisters, Ursuline Associates, Members of the Company and Colleagues will gather to explore and celebrate the special way of life that St. Angela has given to us.  We all know that God has blessed each one of us through the life and works of our beloved foundress.  St. Angela promised to, “Remain in our midst and encourage us to steadfastly continue the work we have begun.”  Surely Angela will be with us in St. Louis.

As we gather these days we will look at:  What does Angela’s charism mean to you personally?  How do you see Angela’s charism spreading in the next 10 years?  What would our planning process look like if Angela were sitting at this table with us?  These questions will be explored over the course of the next 4 days. 

When Angela’s family gathers together it is very much like a big family reunion.  Each time we gather there are new faces and a certain sadness about those who can no longer be with us.  The faces may have changed but the reality is we are still family we are there for one another and look forward to catching up with one another.  May these days of Convocation be richly blessed and may Angela be in our midst lending aid to our prayer.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Martha and Mary

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.  She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?  Tell her to help me."   The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.   Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."  Matthew 10:  38 – 42

In today’s Gospel we meet up with Martha and Mary, the sisters of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. This story always reminds me of the virtue of hospitality.  Mary sat at Jesus’ feet listening to every word He said.  Martha was busy with many things and was upset with her sister for not helping.  In this passage, Jesus tells Martha that Mary had chosen the better part.
As we live our daily lives how often do we take the stance of Mary?  How often do we respond like Martha?   

Living our lives calls for a certain balance between the reactions of Martha and the actions of Mary.  Our lives are often very busy and we need to take the time to respond like Mary.  We need to consciously set aside a certain amount of time to dedicate to our relationship with Jesus.  It is important to take time and allow Jesus to fill our hearts with His love.  Take time today to spend time with Jesus and have a conversation with Him.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Being Childlike

At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father.  No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."  Matthew 11: 25 – 27

There is something very special in this Gospel that always catches my attention -- that Jesus revealed to the “childlike.”  Jesus didn’t reveal to the wise and learned yet did so the childlike not the childish.  When I heard this reading at Mass this morning I thought of all the children I have known over the years and for those who are special in my life today.  Children are wonderful and we can learn so much from them if we pay attention.  I was in awe at a video of my six year old nephew climbing a pole and then jumping off the platform for his ride on the high ropes course.  As I thought about this image I thought about the fact that he had to trust those who were guiding him, overcome his fear of climbing 35 feet up in the air, and muster the courage it took to step off the platform.  Are these not the things that our loving God asks of us – trust, overcoming fear and courage in our daily living?  If we allow ourselves to respond to God with this childlike simplicity we will open ourselves to great things. 

Each one of us is called to love as Jesus did.  We are seeking God’s revelation in our daily lives.  Every day we are invited to show the great love that Jesus modeled.  By following the example of the childlike in our midst we are invited to grow closer to our loving God and share His great love with others.  Today let us not be afraid to climb the pole, step off the platform and enjoy the ride with God.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Today we honor the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. Hermits lived on Mount Carmel near the Fountain of Elijah in northern Israel in the 12th century. They had a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. By the 13th century they became known as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” They soon celebrated a special Mass and Office in honor of Mary. In 1726, it became a celebration of the universal Church under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. For centuries the Carmelites have seen themselves as specially related to Mary. Their great saints and theologians have promoted devotion to her and often championed the mystery of her Immaculate Conception.
As I prayed today I recalled fondly the numerous Mt. Carmel feasts that we went to as children.  There were games, some rides, gold fish and great food including pastries and Italian Ices.  I remember we would go to Mass and then participate in the procession of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s statue through the neighborhood.  It was a wonderful time for all.  One of my favorite memories was as an adult one time going to the feast and winning a gold fish who we named Arthur as we won it on Arthur Avenue.  By some miracle the fish lived for about 5 years and outgrew several tanks.
Being on retreat these days has given me the opportunity to pray for others and for our world in a bit of a different setting than the original hermits.  I am on an island off Mystic Connecticut called Enders Island.  The island is surrounded by beautiful views of the water and incredible flowers.  I enjoy coming here for my own spiritual renewal – a great place to recharge one’s inner battery and live in the Lord’s love.  Sometimes I wonder if this is why the hermits went to Carmel in the first place to recharge.  If you have never made a retreat I highly recommend taking some time away to reflect and pray.  Our loving God knows what your body, mind and spirit need and retreat is a time to embrace God’s love in a quiet and gentle way.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Love and Mercy

Today’s Gospel is the familiar story of the Good Samaritan.  It is a story that we have heard many times and yet it is one that is filled with tremendous meaning.  When I listen to this story I try to reflect on what am I doing to treat others with respect, how have I come to the aid of a neighbor, do I build people up or tear them down, and what more can I do to help others?  In our lives we have met people who have hurt us and we are at times hesitant to help or trust.  This is exactly what we are being called to do.  We have to be willing to bandage wounds of others, welcome the stranger in our midst and do all that we can to help meet the needs of others.  In our world today there are many who are suffering, who are marginalized and we need to be willing to put their needs in front of our own and do what we can.  Each of us is called to be Christ for one another.  In doing so we reach out as Jesus would and become that source of hope for others.  He will always lead us in the right way of doing things.  Are we willing to humble ourselves enough before Jesus to ask for divine assistance?  Are our hearts open enough to feel Jesus’ presence walking with and guiding us?  Let us make today the day where we open our hearts to extend love and mercy to others.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Team USA!

On Sunday, July 7, 2019, the United States Women’s Soccer Team pulled off an amazing feat, they defeated the Netherlands in the World Cup Final.  There had been tremendous hype going into the game and some questioned if they would be able to rise above the mounting pressure.  Added to this was the fact that the men also had their final game at the same time.  The women went in with the attitude of we have worked hard for this and will do our best.  It wasn’t until 2/3rd of the way through the match that the women scored and did so a few minutes later.  With a 2 – 0 lead it seemed that the women’s dream would come true.  This game was not won by a single individual but rather an all-out team effort.  The women had trained together and used their skill to win.  They played as a team, celebrated as a team and are now modeling what it means to be a team.  I believe that there is a message in this unique story.  These women had come together to show their pride in one another and more importantly their country.  Tomorrow they will have a parade in the Canyon of Heroes in NYC.   There will be a great celebration for a well-deserved effort.  May we celebrate with them and applaud their determination to work together and work together for a fabulous win.  Thank you ladies for making us proud!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Take Courage

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward, knelt down before him, and said, "My daughter has just died.  But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."  Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.  A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak.  She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."  Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, "Courage, daughter!  Your faith has saved you." And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official's house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion, he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."  And they ridiculed him.  When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.  And news of this spread throughout all that land.  Matthew 9: 18 – 26

Today’s Gospel shows us the importance of faith, trust and perseverance.  When Jesus receives the official he does so with compassion and concern.  As Jesus rose to go with the official a woman risks all to touch the tassel of His cloak.  Ultimately she does succeed and is cured.  Jesus tells her that her faith has saved her and that her courage has cured her.  Arriving at the official’s house, Jesus sees the commotion and tells everyone to “go away!”  He came in and took her small had and she arose.  Two cures in one short passage.  Neither one of these cures would have happened without the faith and courage displayed by the woman and the official.  Perhaps when we feel we have no more to give it is just Jesus inviting us to stretch ourselves a little more and trust that Jesus will be there to take care of everything. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

An Independence Day Prayer

I received this prayer in an email from Autom and thought it summed up what this day truly means so I share it with you.

Dear God our Father, we praise You for who You are – a God of love, who reveals to us that love is truth and freedom.  Thank You for our country, the United States of America, conceived in liberty, and for all those who have sacrificed that we might enjoy these freedoms.

Like a city on a mountaintop, help us to share our blessings with the world, and to allow the light of Your Holy Spirit within us to set others free in spirit, soul, and body.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

May this prayer instill in us what this day is truly about – truth and freedom.  As we celebrate this day let us remember the many who are not free and are not able to enjoy life, liberty and happiness.  May our loving God always bless the United States of America.