June 4, 2021
O Eucharistic heart of Jesus,
In you I find hope and freedom, truth and belonging, forgiveness and healing, friendship and mercy and life!
In your Eucharistic heart, O Jesus Christ, I experience the greatest love. You make me worthy of love, you make me capable of loving others as you have loved me.
O Jesus, in the Eucharist you rescue me from despair by attaching me to yourself, the Source of all Life. Without you I can do nothing (John 15:5).
May 5, 2021
The stillness of humility...
Be still. Comforting words that we find in Psalm 46. â€śBe still and know that I am God.â€ťÂ
For me, these words conjure up quiet moments in a sacred space or beautiful place in nature. To do â€śbe stillâ€ť I could imagine calming myself down and enjoying a heart at peace, a world at peace, relationships at peaceâ€¦Â
Which they are not.Â
Our world is anything but in peace. Being a fallen human being not every one of my relationships is at peace. And when I try to be quiet my heart struggles to find inner rest, and my mind takes off like wild stallions.Â
Be still. Our hearts are rocked at times with reactive emotions and deep storms of fear and resentment. Our minds filled with useless, cynical, and angry thoughts that like gnats destroy our peace. I can hold my Fatherâ€™s hand and bow to what I cannot change, determined nonetheless to care compassionately and see others with Godâ€™s eyes, confident that I need not prove, finish, or amount to anything to be his beloved daughter.
April 28, 2021
In his unpublished manuscriptÂ The Wound of Existence,Â James Moran talks about the game we adults play, the game of â€śhappy ever endings,â€ť overcoming every challenge, â€śblastingâ€ť through every obstacle. We find our consolations in the crutches of ego, predictable order and reliable control, measurements, outcomes, neat and tidy boxes where we label everything to keep it safe.
We are all in this game that is stretched out on the surface of reality and only by remaining on the surface, contrary to every heartâ€™s call to the deep, can we stay in the game.
But lifeâ€™s purpose isnâ€™t fulfilled by games of childâ€™s play. It is that uncontrollable twist of our lifeâ€™s story that brings shipwreck to the games, casts our hearts into the nothingness of a future that we cannot control, and ultimately puts us into the arms of God. These twists and turns of our life can be dramatic or simple, but they are there to free us from illusion and deepen our joy in life.....
April 21, 2021
There are times when we have to deal with big questions. And then there are times when big questions sear deeply into our identity, shake our consciousness, tear our hearts with guilt. They toss us about with fear, doubt, and loneliness. The big questions seem to be dealing with us. We might stay up at night wondering where we fit in Godâ€™s plan. Questions haunt us:Â Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? How will I go on from here?
When weâ€™re haunted by these big questions, we are like the apostles after Calvaryâ€™s sorrow and the collapse of their hope, when rumors suddenly swirled around that some of them had seen Jesus alive. How they must have longed to see once again the face of their Beloved Master, and yet also perhaps felt their hearts shrink in the uncertainty of what his eyes would say to them.
The forty days of Easter before the Ascension are like an educative process. After the resurrection, Jesus doesnâ€™t engage the apostles on the level ofÂ emotion. He becomes their guide through the complexities of their hearts and the events that left them fearing what Godâ€™s plan might be. To them, Jesus asserts the authority and gentle power of his presence:Â Do not be afraid. It is I.
April 14, 2021
The joy of Easter is the joy of the Gospel, the Good News that breaks open our lives with the possibility of mercy and hope.
That life could be more than we could ever have dreamed, that our days could be other than what we believe weâ€™ve deserved.
Resurrection joy this year has been a time of real grace for me.
I like to imagine the apostles after the Resurrection. The Gospel stories leave us with a sense of breathless wonder and excited disbelief. Slowly, though, ever so slowly do our minds change and our hearts reshape their hopes. There must have been such gentleness about the gradual realization that Someone had changed everything about what they thought would be their future. Even Jesus thoughtfully came again and again in different places, in different ways, to help his incredulous followers take in sips the ultimate Reality of his Resurrection and continuous presence in and among them.
Slowly is the perfect word to describe this Easter for me. Slowly has my heart warmed to the fact that I am different than who I thought I was. Broken then, still broken now, but loved forever.
March 16, 2021
As we come near the end of the pandemic we realize this St Patrick's Day that it was around this day last year that lockdown's began here in the United States. This great saint can teach us much about hospitality and protection as we emerge from isolation.
February 22, 2021
Today I invited both Sr Julia Mary and Jeannette de Beauvoir for a conversation about Lent... Lent in a pandemic, doing penance when we feel like we've been doing penance all year, should we make resolutions for Lenten practice or is there something better, what are some secrets for a fruitful and grace-filled Lent. I hope you join us!
February 15, 2021
Here we are in our second pandemic Lent. Maybe we feel that we have been in Lent all through these twelve virus-riddled months. Maybe weâ€™re dreading a season of greater penance when weâ€™re longing to get loose from restrictions as they are somewhat lifted. Maybe weâ€™re just numb and Lent isnâ€™t registering at all. Weâ€™re just too tired to face it. Or perhaps the familiar rituals and practices of Lent offer comfort when we are so in need of something or Someone who understands and can do something. about whatâ€™s happening to us.
I stood beside the leper in Markâ€™s Gospel who dared to approach Jesus and tell him confidently: â€śIf you will, you can cure me!â€ť Lepers by regulation, as we saw above, were to remain outside the camp so as not to infect others. This leper, however, risked everything by approaching Jesus who no doubt was surrounded by a crowd of people. In the two lines of the Gospel story it seems like it was an ordinary run-of-the-mill request. Leper shows up and makes his request. To his request, Jesus responds, â€śI do will it, be cured.â€ť End of story. Can you imagine, though, the drama as people realized a leper was standing â€śinside the community spaceâ€ť right next to them. The leper was a threat to their health and survival. And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper. Jesus didnâ€™t run. He didnâ€™t tell him to leave because he was a danger to him. He didnâ€™t even call attention to how he was breaking the regulations. Instead he heard only the request. He saw only the leperâ€™s heart. He was moved only by his most compassionate love that brought him to earth to save and heal a wounded race.
February 1, 2021
These past two weeks I have spent from 3 to 5 hours most evenings or early mornings sitting beside a dear sister-friend who was making her last great ascent. That final walk. The ultimate journey. The loving return.
Each breath of hers was precious and on that last night before she died God helped me to realize that in the end, really, that is all we haveâ€¦our breathâ€¦our current breath. We are not promised our next breath. We already have kissed the last breath goodbye. We cannot cling to it, as we cannot hold onto the past.
And even that breath is a gift. A gift of total gratuitously glorious love from a divine Lover who is supporting us in his arms even as we breath.
On that last ascent, it will not matter what we have created or achieved or known or acquired. The fact that I have written a book, or started a company, or sold an astounding number of widgets, or even loved will not be mine as a monument to me..
I will have only this breath that is a gift to me right now at this moment.
January 25, 2021
The years of midlife. Transitions. Endings. Wanderings. Grieving.
But also new beginnings. Surprises. Unexpected redirection. Unsuspected rewrites to your accepted narrative for the â€śyouâ€ť that youâ€™ve grown comfortable with.
This is the first in a series on the middle years in which we are looking at our midlife transitions, our ultimate yesses to our vocations in the light of the women and men who at midlife responded to God's gift and call. Today we're talking about Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist.
December 28, 2020
This yearâ€™s Christmas season is not laden with the expectations of extended family celebrations, festive Christmas meals, and open doors to visitors come to share the joy of the days of rest and peace that fill the Christmas season.
Pandemic loss and grief weigh upon these Christmas days and bring shadows to our hearts.
Maybe we feel empty. Like the world has stopped. Worry for the future seeps into the celebration of God-with-us who was born among usâ€¦. Andâ€¦where is he for me? Now?
Your heartâ€™s cry, whatever it may be, let it blend with the wail of the Infant King that midnight at his birth.
Sr Kathryn Hermes, FSP, author ofÂ Surviving Depression: A Catholic ApproachÂ andÂ Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments
December 21, 2020
As we journey into the new year Iâ€™ve been thinking a lot about St Joseph. He is a â€śstarâ€ť in the Christmas narrative, leading Mary to Bethlehem for the census. He protected her on that blessed night when the Savior of the world was born in a stable in the midnight dark. Â Joseph stands out again as he saves the day, whisking Mary and Jesus off to Egypt and safely out of the clutches of Herod, who attempted to kill the baby.
Perhaps from the perspective of our eternal reward weâ€™ll see how we too were the amazing actors in a moment of historyâ€”large or smallâ€”upon which the future of others rested.
But as Joseph trudged away from Nazareth I think he wasnâ€™t imagining himself in any saintly celebrity status.
He was leaving his plans, his preparations for the Messiahâ€™s birth, his workshop and place in Nazareth as the village carpenter. He was leaving behind his family, his support, his home, his synagogue. He left everything he had known, built, and shared for so many years of his life: the self he knew, the role he played in the community, his place in the larger family.
He walked into silence, mystery, gloryâ€¦
December 2, 2020
This is probably a more difficult Advent than most, a time when we long for the joys of Christmas, even for our own emotional equilibrium. Today we talk about how God stoops to us in our weakness with an amazing love that changes everything.
November 18, 2020
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. I've been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of Christ within me, how I surrender to the power of the King, how I turn my life over entirely to the reign of the Kingdom. As we close this year, it is a perfect liturgical Feast to prepare us for Advent and Christmas. Both an end and a beginning.
October 14, 2020
When we nourish ourselves on the Word of God we gradually are able to see an unexpected, unearned future: new life, a new heart, a new future, a new relationship with God. The word of the Lord became a part of Ezekielâ€™s being when the prophet was told at his calling, "Eat the Scroll," and it can become a part of our being as well. When we regularly digest Godâ€™s word, options become available to us that we couldnâ€™t anticipate.
September 30, 2020
In the Gospels Jesus often asks seemingly useless questions. He asks a blind man, â€śDo you want to see?â€ť He asks a leper, â€śWhat do you want me to do for you?â€ť He asks a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years and is sitting by the side of the sheep pool, â€śDo you want to be made well?â€ť What answer was Jesus expecting?
If we are suffering with anxiety or depression, or just trying to to survive these last months of 2020, the attempt to just survive can contract our personal universe to a â€śsafeâ€ť size. Our thinking patterns can become caught in overcontrolled ruts. We lose flexibility in favor of the fight/flight/freeze mechanism that leads to hypervigilance and shutdown.
Jesus invites us to see in new ways.
September 16, 2020
Today I share a dream that I had so long ago, but which has directed my life ever since. It points in the direction of loss and worship. Right now we are experiencing so much uncertainty and fear and isolation. May this biblical invitation to worship be a blessing for you.
August 15, 2020
These days of pandemic and lockdown are creating a new pandemic of mental health issues. In this podcast I address some ways in which Jesus helps us free us from the stick, heavy, and negative thinking that is part of the difficult days we are living. We'll talk about why it's hard to get rid of these thoughts, what Jesus knows that we forget and how he helps us get free from these sticky thoughts, ways to intentionally focus on the freeing power of truth, and more.
July 29, 2020
Jeannette and I talk today about an experience at prayer and selection of my journal:
I am acting:
within what breaks, I am vast Abyss
within the falling, I am depthless Depth
in the emptying, I am the Silence
Shed your mindâ€™s unconscious gossip and still your Heart
Touch your forehead to the earth
Â Â â€¦My carpet
Â Â Â Â Â Â a floral carpet Crimson Red
Â Â Â Â Â Â on which you bumble and tumble
in My Glory.
â€śWho could have thought my shrivelâ€™d heart
Could have recoverâ€™d greennesse?
George Herbert, The Flower
July 28, 2020
Iâ€™m almost 57. Fifty seven years of people, situations, issues, reaction, desires, disappointment, dreams, lovesâ€¦.This year on my birthday, Iâ€™m making the resolution to â€śnot look back.â€ť
To not look back at disappointment.
To not look back at rejection.
To not look back at loss.
Of course, looking back is important to do at times. I actually began to rediscover parts of my life during the imposed solitude of the pandemic that I hadnâ€™t taken the time to integrate precisely because I hadnâ€™t looked back. I needed to take the time to â€śconnect the psychological-emotional-spiritual dotsâ€ť between what I had experienced and lived through and what I was still carrying today in my heart and mind.
Making the connections is important. By making connections we can surrender to God what he has helped us recognize. We can let it go. We can understand it more deeply, even recognize where we may have been mistaken in our perception of what happened....