Sunday, July 14, 2024

Prayer for Peace

 

Last evening during a scheduled rally in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump was injured in what has been called an assassination attempt. Today let us hold our world in prayer and pray for peace in these turbulent times.

A Prayer for World Peace

We pray for the power to be gentle; the strength to be forgiving; the patience to be understanding; and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding on to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred.

We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world emancipated from violence, a new world where fear shall no longer lead persons to commit injustice, nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy to the task of making peace, praying always for the inspiration and the power to fulfill the destiny for which we and all humans were created.

- Author Unknown




Sunday, July 7, 2024

4th of July Weekend

On Thursday we celebrated the 248th Anniversary of independence from Great Britian. It is a day filled with family barbecues, parades, and outstanding firework displays. As we mark the end of the 4th of July long weekend let us continue to pray for our nation.  May we always hold to the ideals set forth by our forefathers and foremothers.  May God continue to bless the USA.

God, source of all freedom,

this day is bright with the memory of those
who declared life and liberty are your gift to every human being.

Help us to continue a good work begun long ago.

Make our vision clear and our will strong:
that only in human solidarity will we find liberty,
and justice only in the honor that belongs to every life on earth.

Turn our hearts toward the family of nations:
to understand the ways of others, to offer friendship,
and to find safety only in the common good of all.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

– from Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers



Sunday, June 30, 2024

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we celebrate the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time and the last day of June. It is hard to phathom that the year is half over. In today's Gospel we hear the familiar story of Jairus' daughter who was ill and Jesus went to be with them. On the way Jesus encountered the woman with the hemmorage who touched Jesus' cloak and was healed. The woman approached Jesus and told Him the truth and she was cured of her affliction.  Jesus continued on and when he reached the house of the official He went inside and took the child's hand and told her to rise. She was healed because of their faith. 

When someone dies we often turn to God and then to our loved ones and those who give us support. We go to those who give us comfort and support. We all have a go to list -- the people we go to first when we need support. For me I generally turn to God first and then to my sister who is always there for me. She has always been my greatest supporter and I know that she is always there for me. Although physically she is about two hours away I always say that she would be here in an hour or less if I needed her. She always takes my call even if it is to say, "everything okay, I will call you right back." And that she does she always calls right back. 

As we reflect on our readings today let us remember that it is our faith that brings us to wholeness and happiness. Faith, the belief in what we hope for and the assurance about what we do not see. Or from Hebrews 11:1 "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Let us live today in faith.



Sunday, June 23, 2024

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we celebrate the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary TIme in the midst of a heat wave. Temperatures are soring and storms are raging in different parts of our country. Everyone is asking when will it end.

In our Gospel today we hear the familiar story of the disciples in a boat with Jesus. Jesus is asleep in the stern when a squall comes upon them. The disciples wake Jesus and ask "do you not care that we are perishing?" At that point Jesus wakes up and commands the sea to be quiet. The disciples are amazed and are in awe of Jesus.

St. Teresa of Avila was going on a journey and prayed for a safe and successful journey. She encountered many calamaties along the way. Teresa asked Jesus why it was so difficult and Jesus' response was, "Teresa don't you know this is how I treat my friends." Her response was "No wonder you have so few of them."

Life is difficult and we face many challenges along the way. It is our faith that pulls us through the difficult moments. We are called to take time to be present with Jesus in all things not just the good or the not so good.  The call is ongoing. We are invited to come to Jesus at all times not just in the difficult ones or when we need something. "Come as you are, that's how I want you," is Jesus' invitation to us.  We do not have to have everything in perfect order. Jesus just want us to come and be at peace with Him.




Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father's Day Prayer

 

As we celebrate Father’s Day today we pray:

God our father, we give you thanks and praise for fathers young and old.

We pray for young fathers, newly embracing their vocation; may they find courage and perseverance to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.

We pray for our own fathers around the world whose children are lost or suffering; may they know that the god of compassion walks with them in their sorrow.

We pray for men who are not fathers but still mentor and guide us with fatherly love and advice.

We remember fathers, grandfather, and great grandfathers who are no longer with us but who live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love. Amen

Source: The Catholic Telegraph






Sunday, June 2, 2024

Jubilee


Today we celebrated some 425 years of religious profession shared among seven of our sisters. We had six present with us and one who had died earlier this year.  Their ministries include: all forms of education, missionary work in Indonesia, Thailand, community leadership and much more.  Each one has shared her gifts and talents with God's people and she has lived faithfully to her commitment as an Ursuline Sisters.  We honor and celebrate:

70 Years

Mildred Haipt

Carole Marie Keaney

Marie-Celine Miranda

Dolores Yanshak (RIP)

60 Years

Mary Alice Duggan

Eileen Finnerty

25 Years

Jean Maire Humphries



Sunday, May 26, 2024

Trinity Sunday of Laudato Si Week

 

Today we mark the last day of Laudato Si Week. For the last week our Ursuline JPIC team have provided daily reflections on Laudato Si. May we always care for all creation.

Trinity Sunday of Laudato Si' Week

 

"Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love, teach us to contemplate you in the beauty of the universe,

for all things speak of you.

Awaken our praise and thankfulness for every being

that you have made. Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined

to everything that is."

LS, A Christian Prayer in Union with Creation

 

“It is communion that makes things ‘be’; nothing exists without it,

not even God.” John Zizioulas

Reflection and Commitment Sunday

 

Today we reach the last day of Laudato Si'

Week, but we don't want the activities

carried out during these days to be

forgotten. Today is rather a time to reflect

on the changes we have made and to

commit ourselves to sustaining them.

For we know that personal changes

in our lifestyle become cultural changes.

Let's continue to build

a more sustainable future together!

For more details, visit: laudatosiweek.org

 


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Laudato SI Week May 19 - 26, 2024

 

Laudato Si Week (May 19-26, 2024)

Let's Celebrate Seeds of Hope

 

The 2023 Apostolic Exhortation Laudate Deum amplified the urgent call of Laudato Si’ to ecological conversion, to a “pilgrimage of reconciliation with the world that is our home.” The theme of Laudato Si’ Week 2024, Seeds of Hope, calls to mind the words of Meister Eckhart, "What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action."

We invite you to a daily period of contemplative prayer during Laudato Si’ Week 2024, to a daily planting of the seeds of hope in the soil of contemplation. If you can, pray outside. Begin your prayer by becoming aware of your place in the communion of Creation. Press your feet into the ground. Become conscious of your breathing. Feel the sun or breeze on your skin. Listen for the voices of other creatures.

When you feel centered, read the day’s quotes from Laudato Si’ or Laudate Deum and from the other authors. How do they relate to each other? Pick a word or phrase that calls to you. Let that word draw you into silence. Let the seed of hope sink into the soil of contemplation. What are you called to reap in the harvest of action?

(These reflections for Laudato Si Week are courtesy of Office of Peace, Justice and the Integrity of Creation, Sisters of Charity of New York Office of Peace, Justice and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth)

Pentecost Sunday, May 19

 

“Hence, “the creatures of this world no longer appear to us under merely natural guise because the risen One is mysteriously holding them to himself and directing them towards fullness as their end. The very flowers of the field and the birds which his human eyes contemplated and admired are now imbued with his radiant presence”. If “the universe unfolds in God, who fills it completely… there is a mystical meaning to be found in a leaf, in a mountain trail, in a dewdrop, in a poor person’s face”. The world sings of an infinite Love: how can we fail to care for it?” LD 65

“God is God as Spirit-Sophia, the mobile, pure, people-loving Spirit who pervades every wretched corner, wailing at the waste, releasing power that enables fresh starts. Her energy quickens the earth to life, her beauty shines in the stars, her strength breaks forth in every fragment of shalom and renewal…. From generation to generation, she enters into holy souls, and not so holy ones, to make them friends of God and prophets, thereby making human beings allies of God’s redeeming purpose. What we can say is this: Sophia-God dwells in the world at its center and at its edges, an active vitality crying out in labor, birthing the new creation. Fire, wind, water, and the color purple are her signs.”  Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ



Sunday, May 12, 2024

Mother's Day Prayer

 

A Prayer in Gratitude for Our Mothers

Good and Gentle God,
we pray in gratitude for our mothers and for all the women of theory who have joined with you in the wonder of bringing forth new life. You who became human through a woman, grant to all mothers the courage they need to face the uncertain future that life with children always brings.
Give them the strength to live and to be loved in return, not perfectly, but humanly.
Give them the faithful support of husband, family and friends as they care for the physical and spiritual growth of their children.
Give them joy and delight in their children to sustain them through the trials of motherhood. Most of all, give them the wisdom to turn to you for help when they need it most. Amen.

  • Author Unknown


Sunday, May 5, 2024

Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

Jesus said to his disciples: "As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

"I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. 
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another." (John 15: 9-17)

In today’s Gospel we see that faith in Christ is Christ gift to us. The key today is not simply following the commandments, turning around to see if Jesus is watching. It is more that that. John Shea once said, “if people grasp and understand themselves as link in the love chain from the Father to Jesus, from Jesus to them, and from them to one another, they will be moved from being anxious." Our society today is full of anxiety as we witness wars, dissension, racial conflicts, political storms, and a lack of compassion. This does not have to be a way of life; we can resist that because it's anti- resurrection. Being separated from others, from the form of always making sure that I come first, and that we can only think about everyone else or we're following our own bliss and not having a sense of the common good is preferred. We are invited to remember that the Risen Christ opened his arms wide and always desires that we remain in Him always.

May Christ dwell in our hearts through faith, that rooted and grounded in love, we may have the strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.



Sunday, April 28, 2024

Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

Today’s Gospel always reminds me of a song I learned many years ago.  The song’s title was “Go Ye, Go Ye Into the World.” The lyrics as I remember them are:

Go ye, go ye into the world, and make disciples of all the nations.
Go ye, go ye into the world, and I will be with you there!

Go ye, go ye into the world, and take the gospel to all the people.
Go ye, go ye into the world, and I will be with you there!

Go ye, go ye into the world, and tell the story to all believers.
Go ye, go ye into the world, and I will be with you there!

Go ye now and tell the story to all believers.
Go ye now, and I will be with you there!

For me this song summarizes today’s Gospel reading. Jesus says, It was not you who chose me but I who chose you, appointed you to go out and bear fruit that will remain.” This call is one we are invited to embrace daily. Sometimes life’s burdens get in the way and our faith falters. It is during these times that we are invited to dig deep within and allow the Holy Spirit to empower us, to strengthen us, and allow our faith to be expanded.  All of us are called to be disciples of Jesus who strive to live that great commandment that Jesus called us to.  May we always remind each other just how expansive the risen Christ really is and how much He desires that we remain in Him always.

 


Sunday, April 21, 2024

Good Shepherd Sunday

 

Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

This Sunday we are reminded once again that our Lord’s love for each one of us is truly great and we are blessed. Our Lord and Good Shepherd is truly the One that we should be rejoicing about because by His love, He has shown us the sure path to eternal life.

That was why He, as our Good Shepherd, chose to come into our midst, so that we will not end up being lost forever. He has called us all by name, calling on all of us to embrace His love, mercy, and forgiveness. Our Lord and Good Shepherd wanted to show us that we are truly precious to Him. Through Him, we have been brought to the assurance of this new life and existence, reconciliation, and reunion with God.

This Sunday, we also celebrate Vocation Sunday, as we remember and especially pray for all those people who had answered God’s call to be priests, religious brothers, and sisters. However, we must not forget that each one of us as Christians also have our own unique vocations in life. Vocation in the Church is not just the vocation to priesthood or religious life only, as people who build up faithful Christian families, as well as all those who also give themselves into consecrated life to God, all in the service of God. Each one of these vocations are truly important, and we are hence reminded that as Christians we must be active in always living our Christian faith and life.

As Christians, we too should also be good role models and inspirations for one another, that we can truly live our lives and faith being just like Our Lord, the Good Shepherd. As Christians, we should help one another to come ever closer to God, and hence, we should live our lives worthily and in accordance with God’s will.  We should be the beacons of Christ’s light, hope, and truth to the whole world, in all of our actions and deeds, so that more and more people may come to believe in God through us. Let us all go forth in faith, and commit ourselves wholeheartedly to serve the Lord, now and always.



Sunday, April 14, 2024

Third Sunday of Easter

 

Life is full of interruptions. It is full of beginnings and endings, successes, and failures. Jesus interrupts the life of the disciples today when He appeared and said, “Peace be with you!” In today's Gospel, the risen Jesus appears to His eleven disciples. He does not appear as a Platonic soul, a ghost, or a hallucination. Instead, He can be touched and seen, has flesh and bones, and can consume baked fish. Jesus appears and the disciples are once again changed.

Have you ever felt Jesus’ presence? Have you ever heard His voice speaking to your heart? Have you ever been changed because of an encounter with Jesus? Just as Jesus spoke the words of peace to His disciples, He does the same for us each and every day. Jesus desires for us to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread. Each day Jesus invites us to be people of peace, people of hope, people of love.

As we begin our day, we are busy focusing on many different ordinary tasks. Jesus invites us to refocus or thinking and embrace the gift that He promises us each day. Peace is what Jesus continually brings to us. God loved us so much that He sent His Son to bring us peace.

Right now, our world is anything but peaceful.  Let us listen to Jesus and embrace His invitation to start each day in peace. Let it infuse our hearts, our families, our homes, our workplaces. May we embrace Jesus’ invitation of peace and allow it to embody all that we do.



Sunday, April 7, 2024

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

How many times have we said, “I will believe it when I see it!” Our gospel today reminds us of this statement as Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to the disciples. Upon his return they tell him of Jesus’ appearance. Thomas is not able to believe at this time the truth of Jesus’ visit to the disciples. He needs to see and touch Jesus to have his faith restored.

Today’s gospel provides us with three images -- it is Easter Sunday night when Jesus comes into the midst of his friends offers them peace, forgiveness, divine mercy. The second is a week later when Jesus appears again and offers them peace and enables Thomas to believe. The third image is the divine mercy that Jesus gave the disciples after they had betrayed and denied Him.

The gospel author states that he, “Wrote it all down in hope that you would believe Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.”

Let us continue to live in the light and hope of this Easter Season. May we hear Jesus say to us, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”




Sunday, March 31, 2024

Easter Blessings

 This morning I went to the sunrise service with Sr. Jeannie at a local park in New Rochelle.  It was a most moving and beautiful service. The Easter Sunrise Service is sponsored by the Inter-Religious Coalition of New Rochelle and all are welcome. Being at the service this morning reminded me of the women who went early in the morning to anoint Jesus' body properly.  The were astounded to discover that he indeed wasn't there and had risen as he promised. In our prayer this morning we prayed for all the faithful that they may know the love of their God and respond out of  that profound love for all.






When I was praying after the service I came across this Happy Easter call from Pope Francis. May we live in the light of this resurrection message always.  Happy and Blessed Easter to all.




Sunday, March 24, 2024

Palm Sunday

 

Palm Sunday commemorates when Jesus entered Jerusalem and was greeted by people waving palm branches. This event serves as a reminder for Christians to welcome Jesus into their hearts and be ready to follow Him.

Palm Sunday occurs on the Sunday before Easter. This celebration celebrates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, mentioned in each of the four Gospels. Jesus entered the city knowing He would be tried and crucified and welcomed His fate to rise from the grave and save us from sin! Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, the remembrance of Jesus' last days.

Holy Week stands at the head of our calendar, the holiest week of the entire liturgical year. Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday and continues until Easter Sunday. It celebrates the Paschal Mystery, the passion and death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and his victorious resurrection, his triumph over sin and death and his glorification by his Father. As we enter into this holiest week of the year may we take time to reflect on the scriptures of each of the days.  May we prepare our hearts to welcome the risen Christ on Easter.



Sunday, March 17, 2024

 

Today we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick’s Breastplate is one of the great hymns of the church, sung especially for Saint Patrick’s Day. It is an Old Irish prayer of protection called a lorica, and the text is attributed to St. Patrick or his followers in early Celtic monasticism. Literally, lorica is the Latin term for body armor, thus the title “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate.” Cecil Alexander translated the prayer into an English hymn in 1889, and since then, it has also been known by its first line: “I bind unto myself today.”

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.
I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.
I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.
I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.
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 every man 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.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.



Sunday, March 10, 2024

An Incredible Story

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to the movies.  I went to see Cabrini with one of our sisters. It was a truly moving experience. I remember as a young child learning about her life and visiting her body in the shrine. The timing of the release of the film was on International Women's Day and at the very beginning of National Catholic Sisters Week.

Her story is one that many immigrants faced in her day and still face today. Arriving in New York City in 1889, Italian immigrant Francesca Cabrini is greeted by disease, crime and impoverished children. She soon sets off on a daring mission to convince the mayor to secure housing and health care for society's most vulnerable. With broken English and poor health, Cabrini uses her entrepreneurial mind to build an empire of hope unlike anything the world has ever seen. 

Cabrini had a tenacity that was unyielding.  She stood up to Church authorities, hostile civil authorities and anyone who stood in her way. Born prematurely, Cabrini suffered from compromised lungs and was always frail. Her health never thwarted her determination to help others.  She was the voice of the voiceless and challenged authorities to help her.  Facing obstacles was a reflection of her strong will.  Nothing would stand in the way of her achieving her goal of serving. Her dream was to go to the east but she was sent to the west.  She made the best of the situation and helped many to survive.

If you have the opportunity and the desire for an uplifting yet challenging film go see Cabrini - you won't be disappointed.




Sunday, March 3, 2024

Transforming Grace

 

The LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) have been encouraging their membership to participate in a program of Transforming Grace.  Each week they provide a reflection for the journey.

Fasting from Words that Divide

This week, try fasting from spoken and unspoken words that divide. Be attentive to words which create ‘Either | Or’ instead of ‘Both | And’ thinking. Notice the way you think and speak of those who are “other.”

Lenten Fasting for Feast of Transforming Grace



Fast from Words that Divide

Feast on words that invite

Fast from ‘Either | Or’ thinking

Feast on ‘Both | And’ living

Fast from convincing certitude

Feast on space for uncertainty

Fast from anger

Feast on space for serenity

Fast from algorithms

Feast on discernment

Fast from fear

Feast on being willing to speak

Fast from isolation

Feast on connection.

 





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.