As one season ends and the time approaches for looking at the oncoming
season with an eager heart, I find myself looking into my clothes closet.Gratefully it’s become a “game I play” as I
look at various items hanging there looking at me while I’m looking at them.
It’s become a light-hearted ritual for me to talk to each item and ask, “Are
you still for me or are you hankering for a swap-shop-home?Have I worn you very often this season?” If
my answer is, only very few times, I have a variety of comments I might make to
the item.An example might be, “You are
so lovely. I’m shocked that I only wore you a few times. You pretty thing, you definitely deserve to
be worn much oftener during this season next year. Someone, who would wear you
much oftener, should delight in wearing you next year at this time.Then I can lightheartedly fold it up for the
Today I read this quote from St. John of the Cross it made me think of
the advantage this game gives me for letting go of things I no longer need.
"The soul that is attached to
anything, however much good there may be in it, will not arrive at the liberty
of divine union. For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate
thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for,
until the cord be broken, the bird cannot fly."
I continue to pray for eyes and a heart that can enjoy letting more
I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never
enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
When I look at this picture that a friend of mine sent me of
her great-niece, all I can do is smile. Here is a young child absolutely at
peace and filled with joy over the simplicity of water coming out of a
fountain. She is a picture of innocence and clearly she has no care at all in
the world as to what is going on around her, she is not worried about how she
looks in her bathing suit, who is looking at her, where she has to be or what
time it is for that matter. She is just so completely in love with that very
moment. Children are so open and free and interested in all that comes their
way. They desire to learn and be without hesitation, fear or discrimination.
They love everyone and everything without a second thought. And they quickly
forgive us when we lose our temper. What a great example for all of us. God
calls us all to “become like little children” and to bear patiently with our
Unfortunately as we get older we start to question our faith
which causes us doubt. Doubt can lead to fear and fear to anger. Anger causes
hatred and can lead to violence. We have concerns about money, health and
family issues.All of this can slow us
down and lead us away from our relationship with God. Children come to their
parents trusting them to completely take care of them, protect them and provide
for them. Parents correct when they are wrong and still love and cherish them.
God wants that for us too because we are God’s children.
One of the first things our parents teach us is how to say
thank you! Let us be grateful each day for the many gifts we have received.
For today, let go of all your worries. Live with child like wonder and excitement, love and joy, without fear
or hesitation and always willing to forgive. Love the moment you are in and be
Pope Francis can’t be beat!Recently, he traveled to Krakow, Poland, to participate in the World
Youth Gathering, with upwards of one million people.It was a Sunday when he addressed the
gathering and the Gospel was that of Zaccheus (Lk 19: 1-10).We remember, of course, this Roman tax
collector of ill repute who exploited the people; he is a persona non gratain our
minds. He was short of stature, full of unprofessed shame and yet he wanted to
see Jesus and so climbed a tree in order to get a glimpse of Jesus as hepassed by.But to his utter amazement, Jesus saw Zaccheus, called him down from his
lofty heights and asked if he could come to his home.
That can happen to you, too, Pope Francis said to the
youth. It can happen all of a sudden, in
a moment, or gradually, when two hearts somehow meet one another.
But Zaccheus had to overcome some obstacles in meeting Jesus,
just as any of us—young or older—need to assess and overcome our own personal
obstacles.There are three such
obstacles which Pope Francis addressed with reference to Zaccheus and to most
of us.First, smallness of stature.How many of us don’t feel worthy to approach Jesus or do not realize how
much Jesus loves and counts on us for who we are i.e. precious and beloved
children of God.That is our real
stature.He waits for us to come to Him
The second obstacle to overcome in our
meeting Jesus is the paralysis of shame.
Zaccheus was a public figure, a man of power.He knew that in climbing a tree he’d become the laughingstock to all.
Yet as Pope Francis said, “Zaccheus mastered his shame because the attraction
of Jesus was more powerful.” The Holy Father‘s advice to the youth was: “Don’t
be afraid to say YES to Jesus with all your hearts. . . and say a firm NO to
the narcotic of success at any cost and to the sedative of worrying onlyabout yourself and your own comfort.”
The third obstacle
that Zaccheus had to overcome in his coming to Jesus was the grumbling of the
crowd, the criticism and judgment of the
crowd wondering why Jesus wanted to dine in Zaccheus’ house.To the youth, Pope Francis said “People may
judge you to be a dreamer because you believe in a new humanity, one that
rejects hatred between people, one that refuses to see borders as barriers.
Don’t be discouraged. With a smile and open arms, proclaim hope, be a blessing
for our one human family which here you represent so beautifully!”
Jesus wants to stay at our homes too, dwell in our daily lives
of studies, friendships, hopes and dreams. “Take all of these to Him in
prayer.Don’t forget the encounter you
have had with God here these days.He
wanted you to be here and has come to meet you.Now walk with Him, talk with Him.” And Jesus would surely say: “Be My
beloved son and daughter—whether young or older, rich or poor, popular or
living in the shadows, Catholic or of another religion. I am calling YOU.We can be great friends and do great things
Thank you, our dearly beloved Pope Francis!You can’t be beat!
The presider’s chair was bathed in sunlight as I walked through the Sacred Heart chapel on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I was so struck by its beauty that it stopped me in my tracks. I then walked around the chair, continuing to be captured by its beauty in the afternoon sun. At one point I looked up, trying to find the window that was letting in the beam of sun and bringing this chair to life. As I snapped a few pictures of the presider’s chair, now bathed in sunlight, I pondered the significance of this chair at our Eucharist celebrations. The sunlight became Sonlight for me at that moment. The light of God is what I was observing. My eyes were drawn to the altar, as if Christ’s eyes, sitting in the chair, were also drawn to the altar. With my eyes being drawn to the altar, I was reminded of all the Eucharist celebrations that take place in this sacred space. For it is here where I witness the bread and wine being transformed into the body and blood of Christ. It is here where I receive spiritual nourishment. The sunlight/Sonlight is forever transforming me in my commitment in this Benedictine community of women, as together we seek God in our daily lives. If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sometime ago, I had a
dream in which I was one of a huge multitude of people.All of us had just been in a serious accident
. . .but the surprising thing was that no one was afraid; rather, we were all
smiling, talking animatedly, and helping one another . . .whether cleaning
another’s wounds, giving water or meds to another or walking together along a
very long path.No one seemed to need
rest . . . but rather instinctively knew that, as we walked or limped, we were to leave no one behind!Apparently , all of us knew where we were
going, i.e., to our Father’s House where we would surely see friends, members
of our families, even those who made us suffer while on earth . . . Then I
thinking of my dream, I realized it was expressing, for me, some
thoughts on planting, watering and harvesting (of all unusual themes!)Quite literally, WE are the “crop”, the fruit
of another’s labors in the family, the church, our society!I thought of the JOY on the faces of all in
my dream; no one was sad!Were they so
joyful because they were helping another?Welcoming another on the road?Allowing another to serve? Making sure no one would be left behind? Even
more surprising to me was that everyone walked, fully confident that they were
going HOME to the welcoming embrace of their Father and other family members.
I know that this dream expresses what I deeply desire—that we stand in awe of a God who dependsupon us
to bind up one another’s wounds or remind another of our undeserved privilege
in being part of God’s family.It also
expresses some of what I feel led to do:
be a bridge of understanding and forgiveness, especially among the marginalized
members of our society! How many more years will be given me?I don’t know.My friend, Fr. Rick Thomas gives an answer: “God speaks through
circumstances.When God makes something
possible, God wants you to do it; and when God makes it impossible, God wants
you to quit.”
Have we reflected sufficiently on the circumstances of this
day? What will I/you do so as to leave
no onebehind?With the Psalmist we can be sure that “goodness
and kindness will follow us all the days of our lives. . .”
This blog is maintained by a group of Sisters at Saint Benedict's Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota. We try to post weekly and often succeed at that.
The opinions on this blog belong to individual writers and do not reflect any official position of the monastery. Please feel free to comment on any of the entries-- comments are moderated, but we'll publish any reasonable comment.