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As Jesus modeled for us true SERVICE by washing the feet of his apostles on that Holy Night, let us compassionately do some form of service this Holy Thursday.
THE RAISING OF LAZARUS As we begin Holy Week, let us look back at Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead and our part in that event. Lazarus had been dead for four days. At Jesus’ command, the stone was removed from his burial site. Jesus then “cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, Come out!’" The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, "Untie him and let him go.”(John 11:43-44) Note that Jesus did His p...art, the part that only He could do: he brought Lazarus back to life. Now He looks to those nearby to do their part: untie him and set Lazarus free. Jesus did not just dissolve the bands; He saved that job for the friends and relatives of Lazarus. Jesus wanted the bystanders to have a role in this miracle. Jesus was teaching the virtue of compassion. We are to do our part in setting people free; we are to work with Jesus in this process. Are there people in your life whom God is trying to bring to new life but who require your help to bring this to completion? Can you feel compassion for them and offer your help? And what about yourself? Is God offering you new life if you but seek the help of those nearby? Can you accept the compassionate help offered to you? Sometimes it is harder to receive compassion graciously than to give it. In these final days of Lent, may we be willing to let God do God’s part but also be willing to do our part in being compassionate to others.
Image Source: https://it.wikipedia.org/w…/Resurrezione_di_Lazzaro_(Giotto)
We have taken part in this Way of the Cross this LENT. Attentive to the words of the Gospel, we meditated on some of the thoughts and feelings present in the mind and heart of Jesus at that time of trial. We also considered some of our own challenging situations – for better or worse. By allowing them to resonate within us, we showed our desire to imitate the COMPASSION of our Lord Jesus Christ in his Passion.
On the morning of 2 March 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s Minist...er for Minorities, was killed by a group of armed men. In his spiritual testament he had written:
“I remember a Good Friday when I was only thirteen years old. I heard a sermon on the sacrifice of Jesus for our redemption and for the salvation of the world. And I thought of responding to that love by showing love for our brothers and sisters, placing myself at the service of Christians, especially the poor, the needy and the persecuted who live in this Islamic country.
“I want my life, my character and my actions to speak for me, and to say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. This is so strong a desire in me that I would consider it a privilege if Jesus should wish to accept the sacrifice of my life”.
In the light of this testimony, let us pray: Lord Jesus, you strengthen inwardly all who suffer persecution. May the fundamental right of religious freedom spread throughout the world. We thank you for all those who, like “angels”, give marvelous signs of your coming Kingdom. Like Francis let us heed the gospel call to "Pick up our cross and carry His most holy body" the body of Christ in those who cross our path this day.
In Matthew 22 (or Mark 12 or Luke 10) – in the midst of being “tested” by the Pharisees and Sadducees – Jesus lays out his core message beautifully and simply, saying: “The whole law and the prophets depend on” only two commandments: (1) “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” and (2) “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It is this second commandment to which we are called by our Franciscan value of compas...sion, and it can certainly be a challenge at times! Certainly, we can all think of times when it is particularly difficult to “love our neighbors” – especially those family members and friends who are particularly close to us and, yet, manage to let us down and/or disappoint us. But, I would argue that the bigger challenge that many of us face is to love ourselves. Or, as I. Or, as I recall from one priest’s homily: “Loving your neighbor as yourself could be pretty rough on our neighbors because many of us don’t love ourselves very much…or treat ourselves very well!” There, though, our value of compassion works hand-in-hand with our value of respect. For it is through the value of respect that we recognize the “Good” (the Divine, the “bonum,” the God) that is present not only others, but also in us. This, then, is the basis for the love to which compassion calls us.
My wish for you during Lent and all year long is that you acknowledge and love the God that is in you…and then share this love with others!
After Jesus had died on the cross, it was Joseph of Arimathea,..."himself awaiting the kingdom of God," who courageously came and asked for the body of Jesus to arrange for his burial. One can only imagine the many thoughts and emotions of Joseph at that time. Aren't we all awaiting the kingdom of God? How courageous are we? How often are we willing to put ourselves in this kind of danger to give compassion and do what moves us as justice? It is far easier to say what we would do than it is to act when the challenge has come.
Lord, give us courage to show compassion and love even when it is unpopular, difficult, or risky, just as Joseph of Arimathea did for Jesus.
"We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross You have redeemed the world."
Why is it that, at the time of someone's death, we often become so much more gentle, kind, compassionate and forgiving? If only we could concentrate on the good things about others while they are alive and express our love, NOW, while they are still here... while we still have time.
Each time you catch yourself complaining, stop and find something you can say you are thankful for in that same moment.
5th Sunday Gospel Reading: John 11:1-45
In the story of the Raising of Lazarus, we hear that Jesus is deeply moved upon seeing the grief of others, and Jesus also grieved. The gospel tells us that, “Jesus wept.” Still, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
What do you believe? Do you have F-A-I-T-H? The gospel tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” If you can’t prove it, can’t touch it, can’t see it, is it any less real?
This life presents us with many perspectives and challenges: good, bad, and indifferent. We do not always see things in their purest forms and sometimes the “wait” makes us restless and discouraged. Do you have F-A-I-T-H? Does your definition of faith require that you always maintain control? The scripture reminds us that our compassionate God does not always come as soon as we call upon Him, but He is ALWAYS on time! “Be still and know that I am God!”
I, Davezelenka [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
This Bible verse is such a comfort to me -- that when I am in so much pain or feeling so lost that I have no words to pray about it, the Holy Spirit sees and intercedes. The love He pours out over us! I rest in this.
God invites us every day to stop and rest awhile with Him. How often are we accepting His invitation?
Rest. Awhile. https://youtu.be/CXJ0yFI9RrQ
Spread the word that Lent is a season of hope!
How can we make our Lenten journey a time of grace, healing and transformation? Perhaps we can begin by reading or listening to the daily readings each morning: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/030117.cfm. This simple habit takes only minutes, but feeds us spiritually. To live the gospel, we must listen to it first. Then we can apply it to our everyday lives. Start your day with Jesus!
Join us for dinner, a show and dancing at St. Francis Woods, featuring Frankie J., Elvis Tribute Performer, www.frankiejelvis.com on February 11. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Show at 7:30 p.m., followed by dancing. $25 per person.
Call Gerry Guzaitis at 815.464.3882 to RSVP. Deadline to RSVP is Feb. 3!
St. Francis Woods Convent is looking for a CNA to work part-time, 3:00 p.m-9:00 p.m. in their Assisted Living Unit. Please call Karen Hannon, RN at 815.464.3860.
We hope this makes you smile, but also makes you think... Are you cultivating trust in God and all that He is doing in your life, even when things seem "out of control"? God is in control.
Dreaming of time away? You don't have to go far. Take a walk at St. Francis Woods where you can slow down and hear yourself think, hear nature all around you and, most importantly, hear God ever more clearly.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart are seeking applicants for the following positions in their assisted living center at 9201 W. St. Francis Road, Frankfort, IL:
Certified Nurse’s Aide to work any shift as needed
Registered Nurse to work one day shift every other week and to work as needed
Candidates may inquire and apply by calling Karen Hannon at 815.464.3860.
Each visit to Brazil where several of our Sisters live and minister is treasured. You can feel the warmth and joy in this image from a recent celebration. Another Sister in Brazil, Sr. Cipriana, wrote the prayer you see below.
In this photo, Sr. Leticia encourages and prays with a patient. Each of us can be the light of Christ to others. Whom have you met today who needs His light?
For Fraternitas tickets, call Gerry Guzaitis at 815.464.3882.
This is a sketch of St. Clare of Assisi by Associate Kathy Ellinger.
Pilgrims to St. Clare’s monastery in Assisi are shown a spot that tradition has called "the garden of St. Clare." One can imagine Clare tending her flowers, praising God, even humming the "Canticle of Creatures which St. Francis composed there." But there was another garden where Clare could be found—the garden of her heart. The Divine gardener cultivated her heart’s soil, which was nourished with St. Francis’ words. She often called herself "the little plant of Francis." She understood his vision of living the Gospel and spent her life sharing this dream with others. May we live and share this dream as well!
Today, let us reflectively pray the Blessing of St. Clare:
Always be lovers of God and your souls, and the souls of all your sisters and brothers; and always be eager to observe what you have promised the Lord. May the Lord be with you always, And wherever you are, may you be with the Lord. Amen.
Listen to this song when God is taking longer than you would like to answer your prayers.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you..." Jeremiah 1:5
Tucked away just outside the southeast door of Queen of Angels Chapel inside the Motherhouse is this peaceful area for prayer.