Thursday, August 28, 2014

Founders ~ They found ease in risk!

CSA will celebrate Founders Day September 3rd.  I am posting a reflection that I presented September 2011.

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her students while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. As she came upon one little girl working diligently, she asked what the child was drawing. The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.” The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.” Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.” (Author unknown)

In today’s Gospel, Luke is presenting us with a picture of what God looks like and how God acts.  He is doing it through the medium of story and through the textures and colors of the unique characters of Peter and his fishing companions.  Jesus climbs into Simon’s boat to catch Peter’s attention and spirit. This is a clue as to how God looks and acts!  God moves into our lives, our comfort zones, if you will, very subtly and mysteriously, and then invites us  to let go of our familiar ways, our predictable patterns, our safe places, our long held beliefs, attitudes, and points of view so that we are available to God’s on-going invitation to “Go deeper”!

Jesus has cast the net of call – this net is always about letting the Word “catch us” as we are, “just minding our own business.”  Peter was doing his usual thing, going out into the dark of night to fill his nets with fish for his family and village.  However, once he encountered Jesus, he would no longer be the same.  Jesus, the carpenter, tells Peter the fisherman to throw his nets over on the other side of his boat and to go deeper at a time when the water is warm, the sun is high in the sky, the fish have gone into the cool mud of the bottom waters, and the guys are just plain tired. 

 By letting himself be “caught” by Jesus, Peter instantly (through grace) lets go of his control and trusts in the invitation to go deeper, certainly a metaphor indicating that something in his own inner deepness will be transformed.  Within moments of the nets being lowered, they are filled to capacity, nearly causing the boats to capsize.  These men now stand in awe, for they have experienced scarcity transformed into abundance, control transformed into trust, confidence transformed into vulnerability, routine transformed into risk, and the ordinary transformed into the extraordinary.  We are told by Luke that they left everything they used to do and completely committed themselves to a new angling adventure!

Today, we gather to remember and celebrate three people who were “caught” by the net of call as well, and who manifested God’s love, mercy, generosity, and forgiveness: namely, Fr. Caspar Rehrl, Anne Marie Hazotte (Mother Agnes), and Fr. Francis Haas.

In the opening paragraph of Sr. Margaret Lorimer’s book, Ordinary Sisters, she writes: “The Sisters of St. Agnes count as their founders one woman and two men, but at no one time did the three plan or work together to form a religious community.”  Perhaps we could say today, that this one woman and two men are our own trinity of founders, who revealed what God is like by their response to the call, along with their gifts of faith, hope, creativity, courage, tenacity, inspiration, and their capacity to endure prolonged suffering and hardship.

If we review the writings that tell of the lives of these three unique individuals, we find that they  all had an inner passion, purpose, and desire to make a difference with their own lives and to give purpose to the lives of the peoples settled in the Wisconsin territory and beyond during the mid-19th century. 

Fr. Caspar Rehrl:
In her book, Fieldstones ’76, Sister Imogene Palen, describes Caspar Rehrl as “priest, missionary, trail blazer, builder of churches and schools, publisher, organizer of parishes, a holy man of God who was chosen to found the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes.”  Although Fr. Rehrl (according to Sr. Margaret’s writings) did not intend to found a traditional sisterhood, he did want the community to be recognized by the universal church. 
Thus, in 1858, he composed a rule of which he submitted to Bishop Henni of Milwaukee.  (Sr. M. writes) “The first rule Fr. Rehrl wrote visualized the sisters primarily as teachers in rural areas and as servants of the priests.  Their motherhouse should be located in the country, or at least on the outskirts of the village.  They should have the usual farm animals and gardens, but in addition, they should plant grapes and have honey bees, raise and manufacture flax, spin their own wool, and make their own dresses.  They should make candles and church vestments, clean the church, and wash the vestments and linen.  If the priest in a parish had no cook, the sisters should cook for him.” 

(First Rule) 7. Recreation
The Agnesians abhor mundane recreations or dancing but they can recreate by walking in the garden and fields, by singing, and by everything which pleases God.  They may have no musical instruments but such as can be used for divine services, as the organ or melodeon.  They may have sheep so that the Agnesians may be able watch the lambs.

In summary, Sr. Margaret writes, Bishop Henni did not find this rule satisfactory.

We also recall a story that speaks of how Fr. Rehrl’s vocation discernment techniques left much to be desired.  It is told that when he would visit his friends in the Barton farmlands, they would often ask if he needed anything.  One time when he was visiting Caspar Blum, Caspar asked him, “Father, what is it you need today, how much wheat and how much barely?”  The farmer was startled when Fr. Rehrl responded, “I need her,” pointing to the farmer’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Anna, who eventually did enter the community.
Fr. Rehrl died Sept. 3, 1881, and two days later was his funeral Mass, of which newspaper accounts estimated that 5,000 people had paid tribute to this Apostle to the Shores of Lake Winnebago.   Among the prayers that were expressed, it was often said that “he was holy.”

Fr. Francis Haas:
On reviewing the letters of Fr. Francis Haas to Mother Agnes, our Sr. Mary Monica Kutch writes:  “What do these letters tell us about Fr. Francis Haas?”  She summarizes her findings with the following list:
• His whole life was spiritually oriented in answer to his vocation to mission;
• He was dedicated to the establishment of the Congregation of St. Agnes as a papal institute, firmly, authentically Roman Catholic as he understood it in his day;
• He was “Franciscan” in ideals and practices, appreciative of the finer things of life, valuing cleanliness, healthful foods and the environment (including nature, education, and art), and he lived a life of simplicity;
• He was a man of regularity in habits, dependable, of great strength of character, appreciative, dedicated to the spread of the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Sacrament, and St. Agnes;
• His attitude toward the women whom he shepherded was typical of that of men of his day: 1) he was “Father” to his “children” the sisters, 2) he was protector and disciplinarian, and 3) he found women hard to understand;
• His sense of humor was evident to friends who enjoyed his company, and although circumstances brought a changed attitude toward Mother Agnes, his deep sense of friendship as co-founder of the Congregation never faltered.

In the history of the Capuchins of the Province of St. Joseph, Fr. Campion Baer writes of Francis:  “The suffering and trial of his final years had mellowed Francis. When he began the religious community (the Capuchins), his desire to introduce the order in all its purity and perfection had an influence on his conduct.  He was harsh at times even severe as a matter of principle and sense of duty.”  … However, he adds later: “As Francis came in contact with other provinces and saw how they observed religious life, he came to realize that governing with strict authority and law was not always the most fruitful way of maintaining religious observance.  Although strict, almost severe, Francis also was as tender as a mother.”

Mother Agnes:
Finally, in this deep story of call, we reflect upon Mother Agnes, who in 1863 came from Detroit to Barton at the age of 16.  Upon her arrival, Fr. Rehrl called her his “child of destiny,” and in July of 1864, after renewal of vows, she was elected Superior General, and was faithful to that leadership role until her death in 1905.  In Sr. Margaret’s book, she quotes Sr. Luisa Wolsiffer, who paints a picture for us of how God looked and was revealed through the life of Mother Agnes.

“Mother Agnes possessed a strength and nobility of character which commanded the love and esteem of the sisters.  In the government of the congregation, she manifested great wisdom and prudence, and met difficulties fearlessly and with courage.  She accomplished much by means of prayer; her devotion to the Holy Eucharist, our Blessed Mother and to St. Joseph was remarkable. . . Mother Agnes was charitable not only to members of her household, but also extended her charity beyond the precincts of the convent. She cared for orphans, assisted poor students for the priesthood, and cared for the destitute parents of the sisters.” 

So what is the Good News for us today? 

Let us ponder that . . .
• Call is the impulse to move ahead in a meaningful way – it is passion, purpose, desire, and choice all rolled into one.
• Call creates the urge to do something significant; it provides the inner drive that informs us that it is time to get on with it!
• Call takes us beyond the confines of what we thought we knew to regions of high risk and the unknown.
• Call lingers in the realm of the mysterious where God whispers to us again and again . . . “There is nothing to fear.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Story of the Seed by Francis Kong

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, 'It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. 'The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. 'I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.'

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot...

But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the boardroom. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. 'My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,' said the CEO. 'Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!'
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, 'The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!'

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, 'Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!' Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
'How could he be the new CEO?' the others said.

Then the CEO said, 'One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!'

Only the Seed

Once upon a time, a pilgrim set out on the long journey in search of peace, joy and love. The pilgrim walked for many weary miles, and time passed.

Gradually, the young, lively steps became slower and more labored. The pilgrim’s journey passed through landscapes that were not always happy ones. Through war. Through sickness. Through quarrels and rejections and separations. A land where, it is seemed, the more people possessed, the more warlike they became – the more they had to defend, the more they needed to attack each other. Longing for peace, they prepared for war. Longing for love, they surrounded themselves with walls of distrust and barriers of fear. Longing for life, they were walking deeper into death.

But one morning, the pilgrim came to a little cottage at the wayside. Something about this little cottage attracted the pilgrim. It was as though it was lit up from the inside. Full of curiosity, the pilgrim went inside. And inside the cottage was a little shop, and behind the counter stood a shopkeeper. It was hard to judge the age – hard even to say for sure whether it was a man or a woman. There was an air of timelessness about the place.

‘What would you like?’ asked the shopkeeper in a kindly voice.
‘What do you stock here?’ asked the pilgrim.
‘Oh, we have all the things here that you most long for,’ replied the shopkeeper. ‘Just tell me what you desire.’ The pilgrim hardly knew where to begin. So many desires came rushing to mind.
‘I want peace – in my own family, in my native land and in the whole world.
I want to make something good of my life.
I want those who are sick to be well again and those who are lonely to have friends.
I want those who are hungry to have enough to eat.
I want every child born on this planet today to have a chance be educated.
I want everyone on earth to live in freedom.
I want the world to be a kingdom of love.’

There was a pause, while the pilgrim reviewed this shopping list.
Gently, the shopkeeper broke in. ‘I’m sorry,’ came the quiet reply. ‘I should have explained. We don’t supply the fruits here. We only supply the seeds.’
 (Source unknown)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dancing Spirit!

Flame-dancing Spirit,
Sweep us off
Our feet and
Dance us through our days.
Surprise us with Your rhythms;
Dare us to try new steps,
Explore new patterns and new partnerships.
Release us from old routines
To swing in abandoned joy and fearful adventure.
And in the intervals,
Rest us in Your Still Centre.

Written by: Helen M. Luke ~ Printed in Lost in Wonder by Esther De Waal

Photos ~ Courtesy of Doris Klein, CSA

Sunday, August 24, 2014

St. Monica - a valiant woman!

St. Monica
Feast day August 27
Please refer to my earlier posting of August, 2013 for the reflections on
St. Monica – a valiant and remarkable woman.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Remembering all on Labor Day!

 God of the rough-worn hands, as we honor workers this day,
 let us not forget those whose work is without honor:
 those homemakers who watch over children and homes
 but are not recognized as workers because they are not paid;
 those who are forced out of jobs by corporate changes,
 those forced into early retirement,
 those who are denied employment because of their age;
 those who live far from home,
 struggling to save a bit of money to sent to their loved ones;
 those who must work illegally in order to survive;
 those who lose jobs because employers use undocumented labor.

 Christ of the aching back, you worked the rough wood,
 you walked the long and dusty roads,
 you know the bitter thirst of the poor.
 Let our thirst become a passion for justice.
 Help us to work toward transformation of economic policies
 that allow only a few nations to hoard the world's wealth,
 policies that pay women as only half a person or less,
 policies that do not recognize the worth of labor exactly without pay.

 Spirit of creative power, move among us this day.
 Heal the wounds we carry because of jobs we hate but must do,
 jobs we want but cannot have.
 Heal all those who labor to survive.
 Renew in us our sense of vocation.
 Help us discern your Presence in even the lowliest tasks we face. Amen 

(Chalice Worship, Colbert Cartwright & O.I. Harrison)

Litany of Labor:

Leader: Let us pray to the God of all creation, from whom comes life, work and purpose. Almighty God, when you lovingly formed us out of the dust of the earth, you breathed into us the breath of life and gave us work and purpose for living. We give you thanks, O God.

• For those who plow the field; for farmers and farm workers, for those who work with their hands and those who move the earth, for all who provide food for others.

• For those who tend the sick and those who seek new cures; for doctors and nurses, for scientists and technicians; for all who work to care for the sick.

• For those who design and create; for inventors and explorers, for artists and musicians; for those who write books and those who entertain; for all who open windows on their world through art and music.

• For those who work in offices and those who work in warehouses; for secretaries and receptionists, for stockers and bookkeepers; for those who market products and for those who move them; for all who serve others through administration.

• For those who inspire our minds and those who motivate us; for teachers and preachers, for public servants and religious servants; those who help the poor and those who work with our children; for all who encourage us to learn.

• For those whose labor is tidiness and cleanliness; for janitors and sanitary workers, for drycleaners and maids; for those who produce cleaning products and those who use them; for all those who add beauty and cleanliness to your world.

• For those who sail the waves and those who fly the skies; for captains and attendants, for astronauts and deep sea divers; for those who chart and those who navigate.

• For those who serve in the armed forces; for soldiers and airmen; sailors and marines; for all those who put themselves in harms way to protect others.

• You bless us all with skills and gifts for labor. You provide us opportunities to use them, for the benefit of others as well as ourselves and the growth of your Kingdom on earth. Guard and protect those who labor in the world.

• Send your special favor on the unemployed, the under-employed and the disabled, that they may find work that enriches their lives and provides for their families.

• Give health to the sick, hope to the bereaved.
• Keep us from laboring for ourselves alone.
• Make us loving and responsible in all that we do.

 (Adapted from: Author: Carolyn Moomaw Chilton)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Trust in the Slow
Work of God

By Teilhard de Chardin, sj

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are, quite naturally, impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.

We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown,

something new … and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability …..
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you,
your ideas mature gradually,
let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste.

 Don’t try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on
your own good will) will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually
forming within you will be.

Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in
suspense and incomplete.

Photo courtesy of  Doris Klein, CSA

Saturday, August 16, 2014

 Resent Somebody
The moment you begin resenting a person, you become a slave.
He/She controls your dreams, absorbs your digestion,
robs you of peace of mind and good will, and takes away the
pleasure of your work.

He/She ruins your religion and nullifies your prayers.
You cannot take a vacation with his/her going along.

He/She destroys your freedom of mind and hounds you wherever you go.
There is no way to escape the person you resent.
He/She is with you when you are awake; he/she invades your privacy
when you sleep.
He/She is close beside you when you eat, when you drive your car,
and when you are on the job.

You can never have efficiency nor happiness.
He/She influences even the tone of your voice.
He/she requires you to take medicine for indigestion,
headaches and loss of energy.
He/She even steals your last moment of consciousness before you go to sleep.

So, if you want to be a slave, harbor your resentments!


Life is . . .

Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take,
but by the number of moments
that take our breath away.

When Darkness Comes ~ Hum!!

Humming In The Darkness
Hope means to keep living
amid desperation
and to keep humming
in the darkness.
Hoping is knowing that there is love,
it is trust in tomorrow
it is falling asleep
and waking again
when the sun rises.
In the midst of a gale at sea,
it is to discover land.
In the eyes of another
it is to see that you are understood . . .
As long as there is still hope
There will also be prayer . . .
And you will be held
in God’s hands.      
Henri Nouwen ~ With Open Hands

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Feast of the Assumption - A Life of Fiat!

Allow me to begin with a poem entitled, Fiat by Bishop Bob Morneau based on Henry Ossawa Tanner’s painting, Annunciation

On her bed of doubt,
in wrinkled night garment,
she sat, glancing with fear
at a golden shaft of streaming light,
pondering perhaps, "Was this
but a sequel to a dream?"

The light too brief for disbelief,
yet its silence eased not her trembling.
Somehow she murmured a "yes"
and with that the light's love and life
pierced her heart
and lodged in her womb.

The room remained the same
- rug still need smoothing
- jug and paten awaiting using.
Now all was different
in a maiden's soft but firm fiat.

To reflect on today’s feast, we need to call to mind this moment of Mary’s Yes – her life was like a seamless garment of weavings of Fiat uttered again and again. . . from Annunciation to her Assumption.

Today, we gather to celebrate, to remember and to affirm our belief once again in the passing of Mary into God’s eternal loving embrace– body and soul. We gather to celebrate all that she had within her that enabled her to:
• trust in Mystery,
• walk in the holy darkness of questions,
• ponder her experiences in the light of faith,
• hope in God’s love amidst her joys and sorrows, losses and discoveries, deaths and risings,
• and live with courage as she responded moment by moment to the challenges and surprises that resulted from her murmured soft but firm “Yes”.

The Assumption of Mary into heaven is one of the oldest celebrated feasts of Mary, easily traced back to at least the 5th century, perhaps, according to some historians, celebrated as early as the third century. The event is not found in Scripture, and there were no witnesses – the feast came before its definition– it came from the belief of the people, the heart of the people.

It is written that in 1946 Pope Pius XII sent an encyclical letter to all the bishops of the world and asked them to confer with their people about the mystery of the Assumption becoming a dogma of the Church.  On the strength of their response and the testimony of history he declared the Assumption dogma in 1950.  (What a great process – “confer with their people.”  Maybe this should be considered once again.)

Most of what we know about Mary in Scripture comes from the Gospels of Luke and John. As a young Jewish girl, she grew into womanhood with an extraordinary faith.
Oftentimes she did not understand what God was asking of her, but she believed with all her heart that it could and would be done, and she acted accordingly. It was enough for her to be called to move within holy mystery and gently hold the tension of all that was being asked of her. She did not seek answers, or clarity or quick results – we are told that “she held all these things in her heart” and treasured them until their meaning was revealed a grace at a time! Truly a beautiful example of trust and love!

Mary was very much like the majority of women in the world today; she was a peasant from a village of about 1600 people.  She was poor, exploited by the rich; she had to pay taxes to Caesar, to Herod, and to the Temple.  She was persecuted. She was like many people in our world today, especially women in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who live in tiny villages and work 10 or more hours a day doing domestic chores – fetching water, gathering wood for fires, and preparing meals.

(I share with you some interesting and insightful findings on THE ROLE OF WOMEN AT THE TIME OF JESUS)
• Apart from their role as ritual mourners at funerals, Jewish women took no part in public life and were largely confined to the domestic scene.
 A woman was exempt from the commandments requiring attendance at public religious ceremonies, and duties such as studying the Law or Torah, making pilgrimage to Jerusalem and reading from the Law in the synagogue.                          
• Schools were for boys only, and women sat apart from men in the synagogue. Men did not speak to women in the streets. Women had to veil themselves when going outside, so that no one could recognize their face.
• In the Temple, women had access only to the Courts of the Gentiles and of Women.
• Yet a woman had her own religious obligations. She was expected to keep kosher - as the one who presided over the kitchen, it would be her particular responsibility to see that the food laws were obeyed. 
• She was to observe the Sabbath, to keep herself ritually clean and to perform significant domestic rituals.
• Within the household, a woman had much honor and many duties. She was responsible for grinding corn, baking and cooking. She did the washing, the spinning and the weaving, and she cared for the children.  She would wait upon her husband and his guests, and was expected to obey him and in some cases, wash the face and feet of her husband.
• In rural communities, the women helped in the fields and, among poorer classes, the wife assisted her husband in his trade and often sold his goods. In her own domain, a woman's religious and social status was high, but in the eyes of the Law she was inferior, being coupled with minors and slaves in the rabbinical writings.

One particular author, once a conservative Jew, now an Episcopalian priest, shares the following comment reflecting upon this feast . . . He writes:  “Well, of course, Jesus brought his mother into heaven.  What kind of son would he be if he didn’t?”  He further writes . . . “this feast is about the relationship between mother and son, and Mary’s role in salvation history.” 

He then provides an example of the relationship between mother and son in his commentary on the Gospel story, The Wedding at Cana… (Again, he writes from his own lived experience of a Jewish son and his relationship with his mother.)  He says, “Mary would chide Jesus, saying . . . 
‘The wine has run out. I thought I raised you better than that?  Hop to it, Jesus, and you servants, do what he tells you.’”

Mary not only witnesses to the action of God in her life, but she is a woman who was fully human, gifted with grace, truth, mercy, compassion, and faithfulness, on fire with the Spirit, generous in ministry, and centered in God.

These are but a few of the treasures that she possessed deep within her that enabled her to be a Jewish woman, wife, mother, sister, cousin, friend, disciple, prophet, and witness.

No doubt that after the Ascension of Jesus, Mary grew in age, grace and wisdom as well. She, too, was filled with the Pentecostal fire of the Spirit and would have received the same energy and power of the Spirit as the other disciples.
So how can this feast speak to us?

Let us ask boldly for all that she had within her that enabled her to be authentic, faithful, and trusting, so that we, too, will sing out our prophetic song of faithfulness and hope.

Let us ask boldly for all that she had within her to walk in Mystery, as we speak our firm Fiat for the transformation of the world, the Church and ourselves; for our story calls us to missionary zeal for nurturing the seed of faith and a pastoral concern for those whose faith life or human dignity is threatened.

I close with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley,
Who reflects upon this Gospel . . .

“Affirmed, loved and comforted,
You stayed with Elizabeth,
Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
of the older woman,
deepening in your own resolve
to nurture, hold
and mother God.

Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.
Your Yes dares us
to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
and to expect the breaking through of mystery
onto our bleak and level horizons.

The words you heard, Mary,
we will forever remember.
We will not be afraid,
for the life that you birthed
will not be extinguished
in our souls.

And the journey
you took in faithfulness,
we also take.
We the people, women and men, the midwives,
and the healers will also,
like you Mary,
Give birth to God
for our world.”

Monday, August 11, 2014

For the Peoples of West Africa - Let Us Pray!

God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful God,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.

God of healing,
Jesus healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable people who are ministering in this area
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and agents for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we lift our prayer. Amen
(Adapted from writings of Fr. Stephen Smuts)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Embraced by Grace!

As swimmers dare
To lie face to the sky
And water bears them,
As hawks rest upon air
And air sustains them,
So would I learn to attain
Freefall and float
Into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
Knowing no effort earns
That all surrounding grace.
Poet: Denise Levertov

A Prayer

O God, help us to feel you; Help us to know how precious we are to you, that we might become at least half so precious to ourselves. 

Move with us, according to your desire. Ease our hearts, melt our harsh edges so that we might sense how intimate you truly are.

Guide us, God in an ever more complete embrace of you, that we might bear more of your endless embrace of us, and thereby embrace ourselves.

Keep alive within us, O God, your most precious gift to us which is our burning, longing, wordless yearning for you. Grant to us the courage and the vulnerability and the dignity to claim our hunger for you in every moment, celebrating, in each instant the pain and delight of our longing.

Touch us beneath our will, opening us where we cannot open ourselves, healing us where we cannot heal ourselves.

And, in the vibrant mystery of your Spirit within us, accept our eternal gratitude for every act of goodness that comes to us from another, for every nourishing way that souls may touch each other, for every bit of love we share, and for the wonder, the tender laughing touching calling beautiful wonder.

Gerald May

Art ~ Courtesy of Doris Klein, CSA