Merriam-Webster Dictionary is "something or someone that gives joy to someone." Jesus is our Joy and our Savior! The season of Lent draws us closer to our Joy through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is good and fitting that amid the complexity of human emotion, we hold both sorrow and joy in our hearts all at once--sorrow for what we have done that separates us from our Joy, and gratitude for the mercy and forgiveness that is ours through what Jesus has done for us. As we prepare our hearts for our Joy at Easter with acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving, may our Joy be visible in us, sharing the hope and promise of our Savior through our countenance, our works, and our witness of all that it good! 


Lenten Joy?

in Lent

Entering the Triduum

We are entering into the most sacred days of our Church calendar. The Triduum encourages us to remember, to break bread, to wash feet, to tell stories, to experience great sadness and exultant joy. The emotions run high and deep. We walk with Jesus and we walk with each other. Mostly our hearts long for the silence that great sadness and exultant joy need in order to be fully integrated into our lives. It is the opportunity to spend time with the greatest transformation we will ever experience, from death to new life. It is the greatest transformation and one we witness every day of our lives should our eyes be open to see.

I pray you will find the silence you need this Holy Week and experience once more a touch of new life. 

Sr. Joyce Shanabarger

A Willingness to Be Transformed

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As we prepare to enter into this, the holiest of weeks, our hearts are full of all that has happened since we began this Lenten journey.  The commentary in a past Lenten missalette says: “Let us enter this week with hearts willing to be transformed again by a paschal love that has the power to lift us from the grave of sin and into the light and life that come only from God.”                     

“…hearts willing to be transformed again…”  Transformation is hard work.  All our prayers, fasting and almsgiving these past weeks have been to help open us up to our need and the world’s need for this paschal love.  We know it is God who first loved us, who calls us to open our hearts to that love and to let it transform us and others. How difficult it is to understand and believe in such a love! And yet, this week we celebrate the fact that God sent the Son to identify with each of us in an unbelievable act of love.           

Where I once celebrated weekday Eucharist, a blind man was also often present.  At communion time he needed someone’s assistance to come forward.  As I witnessed this and reflected upon it, I realized that this is what we are each called to do daily.  Our words and actions lead others closer to the love God offers and we also rely on others to reflect the love of God they hold, back to us, for us.                  

As we enter into this Holy Week and the graced time of General Chapter that will soon follow, let us rejoice in the love of our God and of those whom we call our sisters and brothers.

Blessings this Holy Week!

Growing Awareness as Holy Week Begins

I have been trying to be more aware of all that happens around me and within me. Both are challenging. I have been living a lot in the future. To live today, knowing it has value for what it holds and not just for what I can accomplish for tomorrow, is my growing awareness. It is today that I must enjoy the ride. If I do not radiate hope today, there will be none for tomorrow. If there is no incarnating or deepening or living with passion today, there will be none tomorrow. Being aware, aware, aware is the only guarantee of recognizing God’s dream today or tomorrow.

Awareness within is even more challenging as life swirls around me. If I look deep within, can I see hope in my own heart? Is there a great love for my calling or treasured relationships? Do I see myself as one that I encounter with passion each day? How real is the self-respect? Being aware, aware, aware is the only guarantee of recognizing a growing reflection of a loving God within my very self.

Please continue to journey with me as we walk toward Calvary knowing that there is an empty tomb just over the horizon.

Sr. Joyce Shanabarger