Journey with us...

Journey with us...

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fifth Station: Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish


Fifth Station 

Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes
Heart of Jesus moved with pity to heal the physical wounds and needs of the people.

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

When he disembarked [from the boat] and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.… Takingthe five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds..- Mt 14:14, 19-21

Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.”The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?”Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.”He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground.Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over seven baskets full.Those who ate were four thousand men, not counting women and children.-Mt 15: 32-38

Reflection:
St. Matthew points to the Heart of Jesus twice as he recounts two different stories of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes.  “His Heart is moved with pity” In the Greek, this phrase means a deep, gut-wrenching emotion.  It comes from the very depths of His being.  What is it that moves His Heart so forcefully?  It is the sickness of the crowd, their wounds, their hunger.  It is their very human, physical needs.  He is made of flesh and blood just as they are and understands the needs of their frail human bodies.  His love is so deep that He seems to even feel and experience their hunger, weariness and pain.  His Heart cannot help but be moved with pity for them.  Look closely at the passage, there is no outside cry for help, no begging for food, no asking for a cure.  Jesus, from the movements of His Heart, is compelled to heal them and provide for their physical needs.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, come and heal our physical wounds



Friday, September 14, 2018

Fourth Station: Calling of the Apostles

Hangs within the enclosure near the library



Fourth Station 

Calling of the Apostles / souls
Heart of Jesus desires to be loved

-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “…Come, follow me.”-Mk 10:21

Reflection:

“Behold this Heart which has so loved men and yet is so little loved”. Jesus makes this lament to St. Margaret Mary as He first introduces His Sacred Heart for public devotion.  Is this not the same cry He makes to each apostle?  To each soul who is called as He says, “Come, Follow Me”?  This cry is so often rejected and spurned.  It is not fully embraced as we see when the disciples run away or deny Jesus.  Jesus’ Heart here pulses with intensity and love, desiring friends with whom He can share the treasures of His Sacred Heart.

Prayer:
Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, help us to respond to Your Loving invitations



Friday, September 7, 2018

Third Station: Temptation of Jesus

Third Station 

Temptation of Jesus in the Desert

Heart of Jesus desires to experience human temptation

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

…“It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. -Lk 4:1-13

Reflection:
The Sacred Heart is filled with a love which not only desires to comfort us to but to be able to empathize in the most intimate way. As God, He already knows the struggles and temptations of man. After 30 years of living among us He has seen men both resist and fall in the face of temptation.
His love desires to go further, to experience this temptation. He is led by the Holy Spirit, that person of the Trinity whose whole personhood is the love of the Father and the Son, into the desert to be tried and tempted by the Devil.  Look at His Heart as it receives these merciless blows. He responds with truth and with love, all the while feeling these painful blows upon His gentle Heart. When the blows cease and the Devil departs, His Heart is left still yearning for that union with men.  A union which will only draw these blows upon Himself once more with even greater intensity at the time of His Passion.

Prayer:

Oh Sacred Heart of Jesus, thank You for desiring to be united with us, even in our moments of temptation

Friday, August 31, 2018

Second Station: Birth of Jesus

This painting hangs in the Monastery of the Visitation Refectory
Pastel Painting by Sr. Angelica Shanklin


Second Station 

The Birth of Jesus
Heart of Jesus made visible in the child Jesus

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love


While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,and she gave birth to her firstborn son.She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.-Lk 2:6-20


Reflection:
The Love of God which beats in this tiny heart is now visible to the world as Jesus is born and adored by Mary and Joseph, and then by the shepherds. They see this tiny infant and yet they see and know the Love of God through the words of the angels and the amazing child they encounter with faith.  The Heart of Jesus, the Love of God, is now not only dwelling among us, hidden in the womb of Mary, but visible and present for all to see.

Prayer:

Oh Tiny Sacred Heart of Jesus, help us to recognize Your Loving Presence among us

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Stations of the Sacred Heart

Dear Friends,

I am excited to share with you  series of meditations which has been given approval by Bishop Mitchell Rozanski for public use.  These meditations are entitled the "Stations of the Sacred Heart".  Those who have already seen them have shared with me that they enjoy taking time with each station and so I will post one every Friday for the next 14 weeks.  We pray they will be a source of grace for you and ask your prayers as we seek to publish them in a printed format for public use.  When that format is available, we will be sure to let you know!



Journey with the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Scriptures to learn more fully the depth of the Love of God.  He desires to be loved and to find hearts ready and open to receive His Love. While every event in the life of Our Lord reveals some aspect of His Love, these 14 stations will serve as a clarifying lens to focus on the Sacred Heart.  As you pray and meditate with each station, try to focus on the Heart of Jesus to see, hear, feel, and understand what His Heart is experiencing in these moments.



First Station
Original image drawn by one of our sisters (c) Sisters of the Visitation



The Incarnation
Love of God is made flesh in the physical Heart of Jesus

We Adore you O Lord and we love You
-Because by Your Sacred Heart You have made manifest Your Love

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us… No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him -Jn 1:14, 18

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.”But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.… the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceiveda son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.-Lk 1:26-31,35-38

Reflection:
How can we see the love of God?  This mysterious love of total self-gift between the Father and the Son spirating into Holy Spirit?  This Love came to dwell among us as Jesus, but especially in His Sacred Heart.  It is here, at the Incarnation, as Mary says yes to the Angel’s question, that the Love of God, the Love of the Trinity, is made flesh in the tiny heart of Jesus being formed in the womb of Mary.  Take time to look at this Heart, hidden under the strong pulsations of the Immaculate Heart of His Mother.  Each tiny beat of this growing human organ expresses the fullness of Divine Love.


Prayer:
Oh Tiny Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach us the hidden power of Your Love

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Happy Feast of St. Jane de Chantal



Today we honor our Foundress, St Jane de Chantal.  While her life is not as well known as our Holy Father Francis de Sales, she was a woman of great love.  Living as wife, mother, widow, and religious, she is able to understand the crosses and joys of many states of life.

One of the most remarkable aspects of her holy life was her spiritual darkness which lasted for 42 years and was unknown to all except her spiritual directors (St. Francis de Sales and St. Vincent de Paul).  A few of her sisters also received hints of this darkness in her correspondence, but most found her to be a model of joy and peace.

Let us follow her today as we pray her Act of Abandonment:


0 sovereign goodness of the sovereign Providence of my God! 

I abandon myself forever to Thy arms. 
Whether gentle or severe, 
lead me henceforth whither Thou wilt; 
I will not regard the way through which Thou wilt have me pass, 
but keep my eyes fixed upon Thee,
my God, who guidest me. 
My soul finds no rest without the arms 
and the bosom of this heavenly Providence, 
my true Mother, my strength and my rampart. 



Therefore I resolve with Thy Divine assistance, 
0 my Saviour, 
to follow Thy desires and Thy ordinances, 
without regarding or examining why Thou dost this rather than that; 
but I will blindly follow Thee 
according to Thy Divine will, 
without seeking my own inclinations. 



Hence I am determined to leave all to Thee, 
taking no part therein save by keeping myself in peace in Thy arms, 
desiring nothing except as Thou incitest me to desire, 
to will, to wish. 
I offer Thee this desire, 0 my God, 
beseeching Thee to bless it; 
I undertake all it includes, 
relying on Thy goodness, 
liberality, and mercy, 
with entire confidence in Thee, 
distrust of myself, 
and knowledge of my infinite misery and infirmity. 



Amen!


Friday, March 16, 2018

Top 5 Ways to Sanctify the Snow

Need Help sanctifying that overabundance of snow?  We have a few suggestions:




#5 Pray for the elderly, especially religious




#4 Beg the Lord for more Priests 





#3 Pray for Sinners May they go to Confession and have souls white as snow!




#2 Call forth the 9 Choirs of Angels for some Spiritual Assistance





And the # 1 way to sanctify the snow...



Immerse all cold and hardened hearts into the Heart of Christ that they may be transformed into His! 



God be Praised!


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My God, My God, Why Have you Abandoned me?


In college, we often gathered in the Alacoque house to share spiritual reflections.  One of our Lenten favorites was to listen to the reading of the Passion.  When we came to the phrase, “Eloi Eloi Lama Sabachthani”, there was always a deeper silence, reverence and emphasis.  Something about it caught us, entranced us in this mystery.  Here was Jesus, Son of God, God Himself crying out to the Father, to God, that He was abandoned.  Many times we spoke of the deeper mystery behind this utterance of the Lord, but the question still remained, why?

When I scanned the titles of Lenten reading material, The Cry of Jesus on the Cross by Gerard Rosse caught my attention.  An entire book on this cry from our Lord.  While much of the book was admittedly over my head and very highly philosophical and theological, the last chapter caught my attention.  In this chapter, the author speaks of the richness of this phrase from the point of view of relationship.  The relationship of the Father with the Son and the Holy Spirit.  How is this relationship enlightened by this phrase?

 “Only on the cross is the being of God revealed to us at its deepest roots, i.e., this absolute freedom … to the point of death.” (quoting H. Shurmann p132)

This simple idea is well known to us and yet it is very hard to grasp and understand.  What does that mean?  On the Cross, His love revealed, this total gift of self, and the Father received this gift on our behalf.   The Father receives the total gift of the Son so why does Jesus have to feel abandoned?  Isn’t the act of dying enough? 

As I read further the deeper mystery began to become slightly clearer:  Not only is the Son “abandoned” but the Father shares in this abandonment.  By uttering this phrase and by the lack of response of the Father, those who look on may also presume that the Father has truly abandoned the Son.  What good father, seeing his child in danger, and, able to rescue him, allows the child to fall and to be injured?  Therefore, there is a reality that “the Father also abandons Himself through His silence (i.e., He exposes Himself to misunderstanding)”. (p131) So the Son feels abandoned and is left without help and the Father allows this help to be absent exposing Himself also to ridicule and abandonment through misunderstanding. 

But why?  What is the purpose for this double abandonment and this permitted misunderstanding.  For Jesus, we know He is called to die for our sins.  To offer Himself as a total gift to the Father in atonement for all the times we have failed to offer ourselves as total gift and the times we have failed to offer at all, even turning our backs and choosing to take instead of to give.  In order for this gift to be total and complete, it must be wholly free. 

When Jesus offers His body to be beaten and whipped, His reputation to be slandered and defiled, His friendships to be lost and broken, He still has that one solid relationship with which to hold on:  the relationship with the Father.  This too must be given so that there is a total emptying.  A total self-gift.  If this relationship were permitted to remain as one that is felt and experienced, then there would be something left to hang onto.  This bond with the Father is the strongest bond that Jesus has.  It is part of who He is… the Son.  If this were permitted to remain, then the suffering of Jesus and His offering, while done in total love would not be a complete gift, for there would be something for Jesus to hold onto, something pouring into Him and preventing that total out-pouring which He so desired to give.

Yes, He desires to give this.  God, in this act reveals the total self-gift which is the “deepest root” of His being.
“The extremes of abandonment to which this perfect servant of God is reduced reveal as its raison d’etre another abandonment, that of the Father who delivers Himself to us in the One whom He delivers to us” (p133)


Yes, here is the heart.  Jesus is given to us by the Father in the Incarnation, but we fail to understand just what this gift is.  Who this gift is.  Throughout His ministry, Jesus continues to try to help us, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father” (Jn 14:9) But we lack understanding and so in this final act, He show us.  Jesus seems to be saying:
 I give myself so fully, that I give even that intimate relationship with My Father as part of this outpouring, part of this gift of love, part of this total self-gift.  And this gift is for you!  It is My Father’s will not just that I come to be among you for a short time, not just that I heal the sick and cast our demons, but that the Father is poured out on you.  That my relationship, my total immersion in the Father can also be yours!  Yes, I freely choose this abandonment and the lack of feeling so that this gift can be given.  I abandon myself, my wants, needs, desires, feelings, love so that you, my children, my brothers and sisters, may have it.

The love of Jesus and the love of the Father have need of this abandonment so that the outpouring of the Father into us and the outpouring of the Son for us is complete and has no strings attached.  For no one can say, “Ah, but it was easy for Jesus to carry the cross and die because He was still in that state of love with the Father which makes all things easy.” No, Jesus offered Himself with such radical totality, that He offered also that intimate relationship with the Father for us.


In reflecting on this, the point began to hit home.  Those days when all seems to be gone.  You have no feeling, no desire, no love.  Can you still do what you are asked to do?  Can you still act in total gift to your family, your community, your God?  Or, do you hope for a word of encouragement, an act of kindness, a feeling of consolation?  This is where our love has the opportunity for free giving.  When nothing makes sense, there are no joys felt or experienced, yet we continue to go on and to give of ourselves.  In those moments we reflect the total giving which is the very relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.