As young children we learn that God is everywhere. In fact, my little catechism from my French elementary school posed the question: Où est Dieu? The answer: Il est partout. (Where is God?/He is everywhere).
We were told that we could find God in ourselves, in others, in the world around us, in church, and particularly in the Eucharist. This is such a magnanimous concept, yet, one we believe in and attest to.
Sometimes we experience God in a truly remarkable way—one that touches the core of our very being. It is a true grace from God to be moved in such a way. It doesn’t happen always, but it does happen. A friend recently told me of an experience she had at a Youth Mass. She said she felt truly embraced by God and was moved to tears. Many things throughout the liturgy brought her to this place of spirituality and sensitivity. We are blessed when such a feeling occurs. Read the rest of this entry »
As I was heading for a vacation to the coast of New Hampshire, a friend of mine told me I should write a blog about lighthouses. I thought it might be too trite. You know, the beach theme is always focused on starfish, sand dollars and the intricacy of the various shells found scattered on the shoreline. There is nothing wrong with that! People spend hours scanning the beaches for just such memorabilia. However, if anything is still alive, I would hope that item would be thrown back into the sea. Just like the legend of the starfish. A young man was seen throwing star fish into the sea. An old man observed the ritual and asked the young man why he was doing that since there were so many starfish, and he couldn’t possibly make a difference. The young man replied, “Made a difference to that one!” Read the rest of this entry »
We are all experiencing a myriad of emotions following the horrific massacre in Orlando. We sense anger, bewilderment, pain, loss, frustration, emptiness and sorrow. Why did such a senseless act have to occur? We can look at and for many reasons. Yet, that doesn’t put a balm on our hurt and the hurt of our nation. The pain that some are experiencing is worse than others. For the parents, families, and friends of the slain victims, the pain must be nearly unbearable.
What we have to do now is for each of us to take our own action. To think about this incident with all of its ramifications and decide what we can do from this point on. This will involve some soul-searching and deep reflection. Does it mean we will be more tolerant? Does it mean we will be more accepting of diversity? Does it mean we will help with funding for those injured? Does it mean we will be pro-active in terms of specific legislation?
However this affects us, it should certainly motivate us to be more loving. For those of you who saw Lin-Manuel Miranda during the Tony Awards, you know he wrote an impassioned sonnet as an acceptance speech. It has come to be known as the “Love is Love” speech. Read the rest of this entry »
Are you a collector of quotations? A lover of quotations? A searcher of quotations? I wouldn’t say that I am a collector, but I do have a few quotations that are my favorites. I tend to pull them out at the right moment and use them when applicable. For example, when I was a teacher, I often liked to quote Einstein: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” As a service-learning proponent, I often quoted Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
For now, at this time, as I think about the feast of Corpus Christi, another Einstein quote comes to mind: “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” In the gospel for the feast of Corpus Christi, the story of one of the greatest miracles is recounted. Luke tells us that after a busy day of preaching and healing Jesus and his disciples are about to dismiss the crowds. However, Jesus tells his disciples to give the crowds some food. They reply with, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people.” We know what happens next. The crowds sit down in groups and the disciples feed them with what they have. “They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.” (Luke 9:17) Read the rest of this entry »
Some of you may recall a television quiz show that was on years ago called “Password. “ The premise of the show was to have one partner give clues for a word that would elicit the correct response (word) from the other partner. Only single words could be given. For example, if I said: hot/flame/red/heat, would you guess the word “fire?”
Fire conjures up many images. Fire can be a good thing or a bad thing. There is nothing better than to sit by a cozy fire on a cold night watching the flames dance in the fireplace and feeling the warmth of the embers. Or, imagine toasting marshmallows with a long stick over the open flame of your campfire. The resulting smores are worth the effort! Read the rest of this entry »
The other day I was caring for my five year old grand-daughters, Jane and Rose. They are in kindergarten in a parochial school. My daughter had asked me to help them go over a prayer that they had to say over the loudspeaker. It was a prayer for Good Shepherd Sunday. It struck me in its simplicity: “Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He is with us night and day. He knows each one of us. He shows us ways to love God and one another.”
When I attended Mass on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, I thought of this beautiful, little prayer. It reminded me of the unending support of Jesus as he guides us and watches over his flock. We sang in the responsorial from Psalm 100: “We are his people, the sheep of his flock.”
Not many of us have seen a shepherd in action. However, we know that a “good shepherd” will do anything to protect his flock from danger. So it is with the Lord. He offered himself as the paschal lamb to redeem us and give us new life. We hear in the Book of Revelation: “For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Read the rest of this entry »
“On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” (John 20:1) Such a discovery! The stone had been moved and where was the Lord?
There are so many depictions of this scene that can cause us to reflect and wonder on the joy of the resurrection. There is a radiant light emitting from the cavernous tomb. One can see the burial cloths left behind where Jesus lay. The huge boulder is resting beside the opening to the tomb. Mary of Magdala is bowed down with a sense of bewilderment and extreme sadness. What has become of the Lord? Who has taken him? What does the future hold for his disciples? Read the rest of this entry »
I was searching recently for a graphic to insert in a flyer for a Lenten book discussion group. So many of the images were inspiring! There were abstract crosses of numerous varieties; there were pictures of desert wastelands with tiny flowers emerging from rock crevices; and there were Lenten collages with crowns of thorns, palm branches and loaves of bread. What caught my attention, however, were the sayings that accompanied the graphics. I want to focus on three of these.
“Return to the Lord your God.” We hear this often when speaking of Lent, but what does it really mean to us? Do we really have to return? What if we have never left? We are all sinners and this is a time for us to change our ways. We need to return to the bosom of the God who loves us and rededicate ourselves to him. Read the rest of this entry »
I had the good fortune recently of spending some time in sunny Florida. There is nothing like sitting on the beach with the sun beating on you and feeling the warmth envelop you. I am not a true “sun-bather,” so this can only last for a while. I need to be doing something like walking the beach, reading or people gazing. I usually do all of the above.
As I was people gazing one day, a thought struck me. People were dotting the beach, children were playing and numerous individuals were collecting shells, which were strewn on the shoreline. Many of those people dotting the beach were looking at their cell phones. Why? What made them step out of the moment—step out of the beauty of nature to look at a technological device? It’s all about connecting. It’s that simple.
We all need to feel connected. We need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. With our cell phones we can connect to friends, we can connect to our Twitter followers or our FaceBook friends. We can be a part of a larger community. We can belong! Read the rest of this entry »
I recently had lunch with a dear friend of mine who happens to be a Sister of Mercy. Sister Joanne and I meet several times a year to catch up on each other’s news, talk about acquaintances and discuss the Church. We have a wonderful relationship that began when I was a freshman in college and when Joanne was my writing instructor. God has a unique way of putting special people in our lives.
Since we hadn’t gotten together at the holidays, Joanne had a belated Christmas gift for me. It was a Mercy candle—especially made for the Sisters of Mercy. I was so touched! Not only is this a beautiful candle but it sparked in me (no pun intended) the desire to be really aware of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. We hear so much about it, and we see its symbol in all of our churches. Even as I was driving home after my visit with Joanne, I passed several churches with huge banners outside with the words “Merciful Like the Father.” Read the rest of this entry »