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"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.
We don't know what's around the corner in our lives, but we do know God will be there.
In today's first reading, Ezekiel 1:2-5, 24-28C, we get a glimpse of God's glory. Won't it be amazing to see this for ourselves one day?
Today's society misunderstands what #humility is. Catholic Podcaster Tony Agnesi gives a beautiful definition of what it is -- and is not -- and suggests, "Let's Practice Humility."
The bell in our Motherhouse courtyard originally hung in this bell tower in Gengenbach. It was called the "Poor Sinners Bell" (“Arme Suender Gloecklein”) because it tolled to implore prayers for those being led to execution. It tolled from July 1847 to January 19, 1854, when trial by jury was moved to Offenburg. The bell no longer served its purpose and was purchased by Fr. Berger for his religious community at Tretenhof. In 1876, he gave it to the Sisters to bring with them when they were exiled because of the Kulturkampf and emigrated to America.
The bell is one of our treasures!
We remember Sr. Lorita's kind and gentle spirit. May we daily ask for God's grace to follow her example of joyful humility.
Listen to the "It's a Nun's Life" podcast with General Community Leader Joyce Shanabarger: http://anunslife.org/podcasts/ask-sister/as183-apr-08-2016-OSF-FrankfortIL-MRT
Find beauty in unexpected places!
Fr. James Martin gives sage advice in this week's America magazine: Don't be a jerk. http://americamagazine.org/issue/dont-be-jerk. See others as God sees them.
Christ is risen! Alleluia! Easter is such an important feast that we celebrate it for eight days! We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, conquerer over death. In the gospel of Luke (24:34) we read: The Lord has indeed risen, alleluia. ALLELUIA!
This dramatic event has captured the imagination of artists and writers, composers, and poets for centuries on end. May it capture your own heart today. The daffodils are trumpeting the good news! The birds are all singing this song! May your heart skip a beat captured by the joy that death is not the end of the story. No, new life awaits us all. Happy Easter today!!
It is with great sadness that I must tell you that our Sr. Rosenkranz was visited by Sr. Death last night. She will be celebrating the high holy days and our 150 the anniversary with all the saints.
You are welcome to share your memories of Sr. Josephine by adding a comment to this post.
How can we be “light” for others, as God calls us to be? God has “grasped us by the hand” and guides us along the way. - Isaiah 42:1-7
Sunday begins Holy Week. So different than any other week of the year. It celebrates and commemorates the last days of Jesus life on earth and his first steps as the Christ. This is a huge transformation. But Lent gives us glimmers of that light and conversion in our own lives. Before we enter next week, maybe take a bit of time and give thanks for the graced moments when God has broken in these past Lenten days and touched your heart through a helping hand, a new learning, a touch of someone who really loves you, a spring robin...any glimmer of light. For all light, good and beautiful, is a reflection of our creator God who is drawing you to His merciful heart.
Be a peacemaker today! Find ways to show acceptance, empathy and kindness to strangers, coworkers and family. Which challenges you most?
Walk into Catholic churches and you will see those distinct depictions of the "Stations of the Cross." These come out of the Franciscan tradition. It was a pious practice originating around the 15th century for meditating on the last 24 hours of Jesus' life. Of the 14-15 stations, three depict Jesus falling to the ground under the heavy weight of the cross. Yet, followers of Jesus believe that after each time he fell, he stood up again and moved forward in his desire to fulfill the will of His Father by being faithful to the end.
As Lent continues to challenge us, keep your gaze fixed upon the destination or goal rather than upon self. Keep your balance like those tightrope walkers looking ahead. But if you stumble and fall, someone will be there to help you up to make it to the end. Blessings of peace today, to keep on keeping on!!
Lent gives us a good reason to count our blessings. To thank God for the talents that we have been given. But these talents are not to be kept to ourselves. Today take a moment to reflect on how we can use them to make the world a better place. Not to share our talents with other is a waste of a talent. As we share our talents we grow along with others.
Try to do something beyond your usual generosity today. What's in your heart?
Praising God is prayer, too. How many of your prayers each day praise God? How will you praise Him today?
Now is a time to look forward and prepare for new growth in our personal faith journey. We have been doing this by letting go of some of our bad habits but also now to think about forming a new habit. This may be a good time then to gather those things that we longer use or have out grown and give them the needy BEFORE we look for our new Easter outfit. Spring Break is a perfect time in the spirit of Lent of becoming less cluttered.
Feeling humbled as you journey through Lent?
Remember God’s words in Hosea 14:9: "I have humbled him, but I will prosper him... Because of me you bear fruit!"
To become more Christ-like, we must first realize and admit we have faults and failings that require change. Through prayer and Scripture reading since Lent began, you may at this point be coming to accept some difficult truths about just what those changes need to be and what that means for your daily life. But don't be discouraged! That is just the first step.
Now ask Him to help you take the next step by helping you to turn away from old habits, thoughts and actions. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!
We wake each morning, pausing to ask for the graces we desire for the day. Throughout each day, the background of our thoughts and feelings is more and more taken up with what this journey means for our personal change of heart, the renewal of our baptismal commitment, and our growing desire to act in solidarity with the poor. We go to bed each evening after pausing to give thanks for the gifts of the day.
"Come back to me with all your heart" is the first line of the refrain of a Lenten hymn, "Hosea". You can listen to John Michael Talbot singing the entire hymn at the following link:
The robin families have returned and begun building their nests. Coming soon will be little ones like you see in this photo from years past. What a gift to witness new life emerging from the cold and barren winter landscape! As we move through Lent, each observing it in our own way, we hope you are feeling your new life in Christ come alive, touching others' lives with the joy of mercy that He promises.
"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
On February 29th, we get the opportunity to celebrate an extra day. It is Leap Day! Every four years we add one more day to our Gregorian calendar to make up for lost time. Reflect on that—you have been given an extra day. Imagine you had an extra day on the weekend or an extra day of vacation or an extra day to get that issue fixed? It would be a gift.
In essence, you are being given a gift of time.
What will you do with this 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds? During Lent, give thought to provide some of that time to God, who has given life and time to us. Remember, the purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Consider using your extra day to focus on one of those lofty goals.
"To look at the Crucifix and then to look at our own hearts; to test by the cross the quality of our love--if we do that honestly and unflinchingly we don't need any other self-examination." Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941) English Catholic Author
The mother of James and John asks Jesus to make her sons powerful and prestigious in Jesus' new kingdom. The rest of the disciples get very angry at James and John for what seems like a selfish request. Interestingly, Jesus does not rebuke the request, but instead gently explains what it really means to be great. Oftentimes we may feel like we shouldn't pray for something because we think it's selfish. Jesus longs for us to reveal everything in our hearts to him. He receives everything we communicate to him in prayer in the same loving way a loving parent listens to his or her young child.
Why not connect today with your parents or an elder who looked out for you, thank them and share with them? You might start with our God, whom Jesus called "Abba" or "Daddy," and talk about your aspirations to be great! God is already waiting and poised to listen to your heart's desires.
It can be difficult to balance all that we have to do. What are your priorities? List them and then keep track of how you actually use your time each day for the next week. Are there inconsistencies with what you believe is important and how you really spend your time? This Lent, reflect on where you spend your time and then make time for the things that are truly important.
Tired of living life without clear direction or purpose?
We have so many distractions that take us away from living a life with Christ. Feeling empty, we try to fill that void with too many activities or irrelevant events or things, and we wander aimlessly, further from God.
Lent is a wonderful time to return to God and focus our lives on Jesus and His will for us. Change your lifestyle and let God change your heart.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
It gives us pause to think how hard it is to give up that which we love so dearly. It speaks to us of sacrifice. It challenges us to think about our own values and what we really need. So this year, I choose not to just give up a food or drink or something about me. No this year, I will give something to make a difference in someone else’s life, each day. This year… Give to make a difference.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Take a moment to think those you have not forgiven. Consider the amazing act of forgiveness that God showed us by sending his Son to die on the cross for us, and look for a way in your heart to forgive those who have treated you poorly, even if they are not sorry. Go further by finally forgiving yourself for past sins you still hold in your heart.
"In the silence of prayer we discover that we are loved and known - by name - by the One who is love." (Living Faith)
The goal of fasting is to train our will. We say "no" to small things every day so that we may freely choose to say "yes" or "no" to larger things when the time comes. Just as athletes train their bodies, so we train our spirit.
The season of Lent is a time to help us become free from everything that latches us to this fleeting earthly reality and distracts us from our goal: eternity. Nevertheless, our Lenten journey does not end when the 40 days are over and we have broken our bad habits, strengthened our self-control and enriched our prayer life. Having acquired freedom from that which binds us, we now have freedom for that which is good, true, beautiful, and pure—ultimately, we acquire the freedom to choose God. So consider today what you are working for in the long run as you fast from somethingthroughout the 40 days of Lent.
Isaiah the prophet suggests that this is the fasting God desires: "releasing those bound unjustly, setting free the oppressed, sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own." O loving and merciful God, help us to be your mercy in action long after the VaLENTine's weekend just past, reaching out with a heart full of love.