Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Feast of the Visitation!!!

Happy Feast Day!  This year our big feast day falls within the Novena for the Sacred Heart!  

To celebrate we had a beautiful Mass this morning, Adoration all day, fancy meals and dessert, and we will end the day with May crowning.  A few thoughts from Father Anthony's morning homily and then a reflection on the Magnificat from one sister (me) who is still a little bit of a nerd at heart.

Fr. Anthony spoke of seeing the Visitation as a virtual reality video we will get to watch/ participate in in Heaven.  And so we have the 4 main characters: Elizabeth and John as the supporting actors and Mary and Jesus as the main actress and actor.  We see in Elizabeth the filling of the Holy Spirit through Mary's greeting which causes her to fall to her knees in Adoration of the gift to have Mary and her Lord come to visit her.  John lets us see that "its ok to be emotional about religion"  as he jumps for joy from within the womb.  

Mary shows us her humility as she points up (or perhaps in) to her God!  Father liked to imagine the scene of a football player... all the crowds suddenly sheer because the touchdown has been scored and he falls to his knees and points up to God in thanksgiving for the gifts given to him.

Then Jesus.  A silent character at this point and yet the director of all the action.  Father shared his insight that we can learn how important is our role as cloistered nuns.  There Jesus is in the "cloister" of the womb, but from that womb, He directs, inspires, guides all the actions of the other characters.  And so too we, cloistered in our little monastery in the woods can direct, inspire, and guide a multitude of souls towards God!

And now for my own little "inspiration".  After a few discussions with my family about certain sections of the Magnificat, we decided to diagram the sentences to see what the most important aspects were.  I am not a professional so insights or correction are welcome!  Enjoy what we've come up with so far:

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Corpus Christi

"O Blessed host, in whom are contained all the sentiments of the most Sweet Heart of Jesus toward us, and especially poor sinners" -St. Faustina (Diary 356)

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May the grace and blessing of the Sacred Heart be with you;
The peace of the Sacred Heart encompass you;
The merits of the Sacred Heart plead for you;
The sorrows of the Sacred Heart console you;
The zeal of the Sacred Heart animate you;
The virtues of the Sacred Heart shine forth in every word and work,

And may the joys of the Beatific Vision be your Eternal Recompense!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Litany of the Sacred Heart

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ
   have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ
   graciously hear us
God the Father of Heaven, have
   mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the
   World,  have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, ...
Holy Trinity, One God, ...

Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, 
 have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mother,...
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God, 
Heart of Jesus, on Infinite Majesty,
Heart of Jesus, Sacred Temple of God,
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High,
Heart of Jesus, House of God and Gate of Heaven,
Heart of Jesus, burning furnace of charity,
Heart of Jesus, abode of justice and love,
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love,
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues,
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,
Heart of Jesus, in Whom the Father was well pleased,
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received,
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills,
Heart of Jesus, patient and most merciful,
Heart of Jesus, enriching all who invoke Thee,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, propiation for our sins,
Heart of Jesus, loaded down with opprobrium,
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our offenses,
Heart of Jesus, obedient unto death, 
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, victim for sin,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who trust in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints,
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us O Lord.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray
O Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy dearly beloved Son, and upon the praise and satisfaction He offers Thee in the name of sinners and for those who seek Thy Mercy; be Thou appeased, and grant us pardon in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chaplet of the Sacred Heart

In honor of our Novena I hope to share a few more prayers with you...

The Chaplet of the Sacred Heart.  

A priest who was giving us a class said that the invocation "Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation" is like reaching for your cell phone in an emergency... It may not be the help but it is the way to get help and so Mary is our cell phone to God's salvation!

Chaplet of the Sacred Heart

The small beads represent the thirty three years of the mortal life of our Lord. The first thirty recall to mind the years of His private life, and are divided into five groups of six; the three on the pendant recall the public life of the Savior.


After the Sign of the Cross:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever

On each large bead:
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.

On each small bead:
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be Thou my love!

At the end of each group of six:
Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation!

On the final 3 small beads:
Sweet Heart of Jesus, be Thou my love!

On the Sacred Heart Badge to conclude:
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised, glorified, loved and preserved throughout the world now and forever more.
May the Heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Novena to the Sacred Heart

Today begins the Novena to the Sacred Heart.  Please join us in prayer:

Lord Jesus!To Your Sacred Heart I confide... (intention)Only Look...Then do what Your Heart inspired...Let Your Heart decide...I count on It...I trust in It...I throw myself on Its Mercy...Lord Jesus!  You Will Not Fail Me!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. (3 times)
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for me

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, I give and consecrate to Thee, my actions and pains, my sufferings and my life, in order that my entire being may be devoted to honor, love and glorify Thy Sacred Heart. It is my sincere determination to be and to do all for Thy love.
I renounce with all my heart, all that may be displeasing to Thee. I choose Thee,
O Sacred Heart, for the only object of my love, the protector of my life, the pledge of my salvation, the remedy of my weakness and inconstancy, the repairer of my past defects, and my safe asylum at the hour of death.
Be then, O Heart of Goodness, my advocate near God the Father and save me from His just anger. O Heart of Love, in Thee I place all my confidence, I fear much from my own malice and weakness but I hope all from Thy goodness. Destroy in me all that displeases or resists Thee.

Let Thy pure love be so deeply impressed on my heart that I may never forget, or be separated from Thee. O Jesus, I implore Thee, by Thy goodness, to let my name be written in Thy Sacred Heart, that living and dying in quality of Thy slave, I may find all my glory and happiness in Thee. Amen. 
St. Margaret Mary

Monday, May 16, 2016

Visitation Humility

It has been a while since our last post and I thought I would share a little story of when I was just a candidate in discernment.

A week or two ago we were speaking of the mystery of the Visitation and the beauty and humility of Elizabeth.  Here she was, a woman of older years, wise, and and true follower of the law.  She had conceived and in humility went into silence and hidden-ness to adore this new life within her.

When her young cousin arrives one would expect that the "normal" response may be one of gratitude, but also one in which the older woman seeks to teach the younger.  Gratitude for coming when she was about the give birth (and to aid her in this process), but also a time to pass on knowledge of so many years lived in true faithfulness.  Instead Elizabeth sees that Mary has something to teach her!  Mary comes and Elizabeth, true to this listening attitude she has been in for 6 months now, hears the voice of the Lord speaking through her infant and she is in awe that Mary should come to her!  "Who am I?", she says.  In our discussion we spoke how this attitude can be seen here in our community as new members come and we are asked not only to form them in our spirit, but also be open to what gifts and insights they might have for us.

And now my little memory:
This photo is from google
(Not actually our own sisters) 
I was down in the laundry to pick up my bundle of clothes (or maybe switch it from washer to dryer I am not sure).  One of the older sisters was there taking out some sheets and I offered to assist her in folding them.  She smiled and as we folded the bed sheet quietly I tried to follow her lead as to which way to fold.  When she pulled out the fitted sheet I waiting for instructions as to how this one is to be folded, but instead she asked me how I fold them!  This is a sister who has folded sheets in the convent for almost 50 years and here she is asking me how to fold a fitted sheet! (And I know for sure her folded fitted sheets are quite beautiful)  I was quite humbled and needed some encouragement to actually be the "instruction-giver", but we folded it and she smiled and thanked me for teaching her this method.

I look at this little example as one of many but truly a gift of how we, as Sisters of the Visitation, can emulate that mystery of humility and love in the exchange between Elizabeth and Mary.  I am still one of the young ones but I pray that someday I will have the grace to ask some young girl in discernment how they might do something, imitating and living that gift given to me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mercy and the Scriptures

Last week, when Fr. Joe DiMauro, OSFS was with us, he shared a few insights on how the mercy of God has been understood through the scriptures.  Just as so many of the aspects of the Lord, our understanding of His Mercy slowly developed through the history of the Old Testament, and surely is still developing today!  Since I was at DeSales University when he was on the faculty there, I am hoping for a passing grade on this little overview.

We began, of course, with Genesis and the fall.  After the fall, as Adam and Eve realize their nakedness, they need to be clothed.  They were always naked, but this did not cause any difficulty or problem until they were tainted by sin.  This difficulty came as a punishment for sin, but God Himself sewed together clothing for Adam and Eve.  Imagine!  God fitted animal skins for them through His mercy to assist in lessening this punishment.  Likewise after Cain killed his brother, he complained the lord that the punishment given was too harsh and the Lord granted that he be given a mark which would preserve the life of Cain.  In these two examples, Father pointed out the understanding of God's mercy as a lessening of punishment.  An act deserves punishment, but this very punishment is lessened by the Lord's merciful Love.

And then we looked at the time of the prophets.  Here the prophets are sent and they speak of God's mercy as a way of saving them.  Saving them from their enemies and from their distresses, they plead with God for protection against their enemies.

From this understanding, we go much deeper as the Israelites enter into the exile.  In this period of trial, instead of seeing mercy as a lessening of this trial or a punishment for their abusers, the Israelites began to see that their relationship with God was deepening through this exile.  They noticed, being surrounded by people who worshiped many gods that in their seeming "poverty" of only having one God, they actually had more!  They had a God who actually cared for them and saw them as "good".  None of the other gods, worshiped by the Egyptians found the people to be "good".

Fast forward to the New Testament... now where is mercy?  Mercy is Jesus.  Mercy comes down to be with humanity by becoming a human.  So as the Jews were beginning to see that they had a God who saw them as "good", He came down to prove it even more bluntly by saying, "Not only do I see you as good, but as so good that I am willing, and even want to become one of you!"  And so, Jesus is Mercy Himself.

So how does this then apply to us today?  Father brought up a much quoted adage from St. Francis de Sales, "Love your abjections".  Basically this is loving what you are not good at.  Love your trials and struggles.  Most of us find this saying to be itself a source of struggle. I mean really, who want to love their weakness, brokenness, struggles, temptations, etc?  I certainly don't!  But what is Holy Father saying?  He is saying, look at the tough times and rough edges that you have and see how they draw you closer to God.  See how your relationship with God is growing in them, just as mine did with the Jews while they were in exile.

AND... we are good!  We can always pray and ask God to help us, even if we were to fall into the worst mortal sin imaginable, because God has become one of us and sees the goodness within us.  We simply ask Him to pull that goodness forward and hold us up so that we can be the holy men and women He created us to be.

My favorite point of Father's talk was that, "Its ok to have a bad day".  We all have them!  He spoke of his experience within a parish and that as families come out of church, perhaps struggling with one child who is not on their best behavior, the parents often say, "Its not his or her day today".  They understand!  Would they prefer if the child was better behaved... of course!  But, they know there will be days when that little one just has to act out and there may not be any seemingly good reason for it.  They love the child just the same.  And to a grandparent, even a "bad day" seems to be a wonderful gift!  Fr. DiMauro reminded us, God sees us all as grandchildren!  Imagine!  Even on our worst days, when we seem to do everything wrong and fall over and over again, God is gazing down with Loving, Merciful eyes!

So let's put a smile on our face, rejoice in the knowledge that we are loved by God, and spread some joyful mercy!