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Jürgen Moltmann, in the last chapter of his book, Experiences of God,  writes:

"Finally, like the particular paths of the mystic and the martyr, everyday life in the world also has its secret mysticism and its quiet martyrdom. The soul does not only die with Christ and become `cruciform’ by means of spiritual exercises and in public martyrdom. It already takes the form of the cross in the pains of life and the sufferings of love. The history of the suffering, forsaken and crucified Christ is so open that the suffering, forsakenness and anxieties of every loving man or woman find a place in it and are accepted. If they find a place in it and are accepted, it is not in order to give them permanence, but in order to transform and heal them."

– Trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007)

Loving God,
may I welcome the healing power of the cross
in the sorrows and struggles of my everyday life,
through Jesus Christ who loves me
and died for me.
Amen.

 

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Rejoicing in Lent

What invites us -- even calls us -- to rejoice on this Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday?

  • Is it that this season of penance and penitence is more than half over?
  • Is it that we just like the pink vestments?

Let us hear the clarion call to joy and the rejoicing it awakens, for it is a rejoicing rooted in deep, light-filled, God-given mercy. This is a mercy that works reconciliation to God and to one another. It is a mercy that evokes gratitude -- and rejoicing.

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Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit.
Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything;
hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely;
and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

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The Path of Mercy

 

In this mortal life
mercy and forgiveness are our path,
and always lead us to grace.
(Julian of Norwich, 1342 – c. 1416)

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23:6)

 

 

How blessed we are to be walking on the path of divine mercy and forgiveness.  Let us open our hands and hearts both to receive mercy and to share it with others. Thus may the world more and more follow this path of blessing, instead of the road leading to war and violence.

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The Word Became Flesh

The Nativity, Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, ca. 1665–70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
And we have seen his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth. . .

From his fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace.
(John 1: 14, 16)

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Image: The Nativity, Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, ca. 1665–70
Original in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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God Also Waits for Us


Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Ps 27:14)

 

 

Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

(Ps 27:14)

 

 

 

 

O God, that at all times you may find me
as you desire me
and where you would have me be,
that you may lay hold on me fully —
both by the Within and the Without of myself —
grant that I may never break this double thread of my life.


– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

 

I have often prayed this beautiful prayer from The Divine Milieu. As lovely as the above translation is, however, there may be a more accurate way to render one phrase. The original French doesn’t quite ask God to find me “where you would have me be.” Rather, it begs that God may find me “there where you are waiting for me” (là où vous m’attendez).

Not only do we wait for God, but God is also waiting for us.

God may be waiting for us in a particular place or in a particular way of being to which we are called. But at the same time, God is already with us and near us, waiting for us in the closeness of our own hearts, waiting for us to say yes.  “Yes, my God, I do want to be one with you in your love. I want to share your life.”

We both wait and are waited for. We wait, we seek, we long for God, we take whatever steps toward God that we know to take. And there we find, paradoxically, that God has been waiting for us and longing for us. At the same time, God has been with us all along, for without the divine presence in us, we would not be able to long for God, nor would we be able to take even a single step toward God.

So we pray in Advent (and at other times, too), “Come, Lord Jesus.” And perhaps we hear God calling to us, “Come. I am waiting for you.”

Mon Dieu, pour que, à toute minute, vous me trouviez
tel que vous me désirez,
là où vous m’attendez,
c’est-à-dire pour que vous me saisissiez pleinement, — 
par le dedans et le dehors de moi-même, —
faites que je ne rompe jamais ce double fil de ma vie.


– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Le Milieu divin

 

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For Thanksgiving and Beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thank my God every time I remember you,
constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.
(Philippians 1:3-5)

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"That God May Be All in All" is is the theme of a retreat for women which I will be presenting at the Chicago Cenacle, November 2 - November 4, 2018.

What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 15 when he foresees that eventually God will be all in all? Does this have relevance only for the distant future? If not, what is the amazing call for us today?

Who are we that God desires us to live and love with the divine heart?

And what about the letter to the Ephesians, where Paul speaks of the One who already “fills all in all” (Eph 1)?  What does this suggest for each of us right now?

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For more information or to register click here.

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We do not pray alone.

Here are two quotations on the presence of the Holy Spirit when we pray, the first from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

(Romans 8:26)

The second is from Karl Rahner, on the beauty and dignity of our prayer:

The Spirit is a helper in our prayer… Because [the Spirit] helps, our prayer is a piece of the melody that rushes through the heavens, an aroma of incense that sweetly rises to the eternal altars of heaven before the triune God.  The Spirit of God prays in us.  That is the holiest consolation in our prayer.  The Spirit of God prays in us.  That is the most exalted dignity of our prayer.

The Need and the Blessing of Prayer,
trans. Bruce W. Gillette (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1997).

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Created Good

Robin on nest in Cenacle courtyard

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.
(Genesis 1:31)

“It was very good.” All creatures are good and valued, including ourselves who are made, amazingly enough, in the divine image.

We are told that God’s “compassion is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9).  As we live and love from the life of the One in whose image we are made, we too have compassion for the creation God proclaimed good.

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Photo: Robin on nest in Cenacle courtyard, by Sr. Rose Hoover

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Full of the unexpected, Easter makes love real and concrete. Perhaps no place are the lessons of love more tangibly present than in the Easter events.

After the Resurrection, those gathered in the Upper Room—the Cenacle—locked themselves into the room in which they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus. They did not expect him to walk through those locked doors and give them the gift of peace. They did not expect that, but they did experience it. Neither did any of them anticipate that when they did not know what else to do—and so did what they knew, i.e., go fishing—Jesus would walk over water, join them and cook their breakfast with the fish they caught.

Jesus taught Peter, who had denied Jesus, to recognize and claim his love and forgiveness. Indeed he taught Peter to say, “You (Jesus) know I love you.” Easter invites us too to realize the power of his love and learn to receive it. May we also recognize and receive his very personal love for each of us, and hear the call to share it.

Easter also teaches us to rejoice. It is a feast that celebrates life and joy. Imagine, for example, what Mary Magdalene must have felt when Jesus called her by name. In the recognition she experienced she knew the kind of freedom that does not need to hang on (see John 20). Freed from any clinging, then, she was freed to do as he asked. Joy awakens the inner freedom that loves because of the other’s joy.
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