Wednesday, December 24, 2008
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the whole world is in movement. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to be counted in the census, reminding us that the world today is also traveling toward its definitive encounter with God. The journey of the Holy Family toward the moment in which God enters the world from the womb of Mary, in the Person of Jesus Christ, for all human eyes to see, reminds us that we too are moving on our own journey through this life, in company with millions of others, to our own definitive encounter with God.
Mary and Joseph found no comfort, no welcome, no shelter, no understanding from the world on this journey. They followed and were supported by heavenly inspirations and light, the presence of angels, and their own profound faith in God’s never-changing goodness and His ever-present Providence. This was their strength and consolation.
We also should not expect too much help from the world on this journey. The world has no space for God. No time. No real interest. It offers only distraction and a kind of movement which keeps the human heart in confusion, apprehension and vague unhappiness. The world is full of activity which often has no ultimate meaning. This activity spends the precious moments allotted to us to find our way home to Our Heavenly Father.
God enters our world in the fullness of time because He can no longer wait to be with us in Person. But Christmas also comes because mankind, in the persons of Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men, seek God as well; because the intense, hidden longing of their souls has not been misinterpreted to them by the false prophets of the world. Their interior has not been cluttered with distraction. It is unfettered by illusion. God is their inner life and moves them in a mutual, eager longing, in silence, in poverty, in simplicity, in penetrating light and redeeming love. Mary and Joseph “walk the
way of perfection” to Bethlehem because they know God and are the friends of God. They call us to follow this way with them, a way which holds difficulty, discomfort, the contempt of the world, but which brings us to be the friends of God, as the psalmist says: “He who walks the way of perfection shall be my friend.” -Ps 101 Jesus silently stirs our hearts and beckons us to the embrace of true friendship with Himself, promising to make known to us all that He has heard from the Father. –Jn 15:15 This happens in God’s way, in His time and by His choosing. And it brings us the most precious gift of all, God Himself as a tiny baby depending on us to love Him, to care for Him and nurture His life in ourselves and in others.
In Bethlehem, two longings meet: the longing of God and the longing of man. Two longings answer each other and fulfill each other. May our poor and lowly souls this Christmas be still as the stable in Bethlehem at midnight, ever ready to receive our Lord in humble awe, in mutual longing. May we be the ones to be wrapped tightly with the gifts of Christmas peace, light, love and joy. And may that Divine love which becomes incarnate in Bethlehem, radiate outward to all mankind through our oneness with the Holy Family in this sublime mystery. May this Christmas find us and those we love and hold dear, numbered in the heavenly census, as citizens traveling joyfully forward to our celestial Fatherland.
United with all of you in the joy and light of the greatest gift of the Most Holy Trinity this Christmas: our Savior and Beloved.
Sr. Anne Marie Walsh
Society of Our Lady
Friday, December 19, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
For the feast of Christ the King we went out to one of the farthest parishes in his diocese of the closing Mass of the youth jamboree. There were about 600 young people from one parish that had spent the week taking part in this jamboree. Mass was outside with the kids sitting on benches under the trees. Before the Mass the Bishop had me speak to them about vocations and Our Lady's Society. The parish priest translated for me. It was quite something....almost a moment out of a movie.
The picture of the little kids is from that Mass. They stayed right with me for the 3 hour Mass and posed over and over again for photos. I wanted to scoop them up and bring them home but I resisted the temptation and watched them walk away with their mothers!
Even though I ran away all the way to Africa, I still could not escape formation. The Bishop asked me to give the 3 young women some teachings to get them ready to come into formation. Try as I might to get away from formation, I run right into it. After the teachings Sr Rejoice took me all around town to meet her family, friends and to see everything there was to see. We went to the primary school which over 1,000 students attend. The classes range in size from 40-60 students. The younger grades have no desks, books or pencils. We came in after lunch during their nap time and there were 60 little kindergarten kids curled up on the cement floor. Unfortunately for the teacher nap time was over when I walked in! The little kids are awe struck by white skin. It didn't matter where I went the little kids wanted to touch me, have their picture taken or wave at me. It was so very cute.
One of the highlights of my time in Damongo was probably going to see Sr Rejoice's family the first time. We drove over in the Bishop's SUV and Sr. Rejoice's dad, James, saw us coming and ran (literally) out to meet us. Here was this tall, super-thin, dignified man running full speed to arrive at the car as his daugther opened the door. She jumped out and he threw his arms around her, practically lifting her off her feet and hugged and kissed her over and over again. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. What a blessing to see a father loving his daughter.
Another highlight would be going to St. Ann's Girls Secondary School....that's where the "Where's Waldo?" photo was taken. This is the girls' boarding school that Bishop Philip started and where he originally wanted Our Lady's Sisters to serve. There are over 100 girls attending the school now. As we walked in to speak to them, they stood up and sang a song of welcome that just about raised the roof. Between their voices and the drums we processed to the front of the room. We spoke to them about vocations and the call to holiness. I have never seen 100 high school girls as well behaved as these girls were....respectful, quiet and attentive....amazing! After we answered some questions they once again stood up and now sang a song of thanks as we marched out.
The last highlight would be going to Mass at a parish in Accra on the first Sunday of Advent. Accra is a pretty big city with lots of parishes and people. There had to be 600-700 people at the Mass we attended. Sr. Rejoice and I were asked to help distribute Holy Communion and what an honor it was. If that Mass was the only reason why He brought me all the way to Ghana that would have been enough. As I gave Holy Communion to probably 250 people all I could do was thank Him for letting me do what I have always wanted to do. I gave the people of Africa Jesus. But more importantly the people of Africa gave me Jesus.
Friday, December 12, 2008
May Our Lady of Guadalupe intercede for women all over the world.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Visit www.fightfoca.com to learn more and sign the petition to help stop this horrid legislation.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I am usually not a big fan of animated movies but I really like the story of this one as I think many of us can relate to "Po" a big, fat panda with big dreams but much fear inside.
Po dreams of becoming a brave Kung Fu warrior but because all he sees are his faults and failings, he spends his days working in his dad's noodle shop, all the while languishing for something more. Something happens one day that changes his life (I won't tell you the whole story in case you haven't seen it) but Po has to look within himself and see what is really inside.
I think a lot of us are like that, we look at ourselves with all our limitations, faults, struggles and failings and we say, "me? become a saint? that's impossible." So we spend our days hoping for something more but never daring to give our lives completely over to God and His divine plan for us. We keep looking for some "secret ingredient" that will make us loveable, "perfect", more talented, etc. And we say, "if only I could..." or "if only that hadn't happened to me I would...".
We don't realize that all we have to do is be open to God and give ourselves to Him and He will lead us along this path. We don't realize that we are already loveable because Love Himself created us in Love and for Love. We don't realize that God's plans for us are far beyond our wildest dreams and more than we could ever hope for. We don't have to compare ourselves to other people or compete with them. We just need to go within and find the Trinity who dwells within us all.
"Nothing is impossible with God." Nothing! Now, that's Good News!
Friday, November 07, 2008
Blessings and greetings from the northern border of
Thank you, first of all, for reading my recent emails and watching those pro-life videos that were clear and sometimes gruesome.
At first glance, it seems that
Thomas Jefferson said that for a democracy to function, the voting populace needs to be virtuous. If an American ignores abortion, Iraq, Iran, ecology, education and the host of questions that need to be factored in to decide how to vote, and he simply votes for the candidate who will do him the most good economically, then that American is not being virtuous. Politics is about the common good. Who voted Tuesday for the common good with a well-informed conscience did a virtuous thing.
So are you depressed at the outcome of the election? Disappointed with folks in your own parish who voted for the man who was backed by the abortion lobby in his presidential run? Are you angry?
Don’t be. Let us decide to trust God.
Who knows what good He plans to draw from what was a patent national blunder? We cannot read the mind of God or predict how this turn of events is part of his
We can, however, see the glass half full:
1. We have, in the
2. Not only is Obama an African-American, he is an African whose grandmother lives in
3. Miraculously, miraculously, miraculously on Tuesday in the great State of
4. The Democrats do have a better immigration policy than the Republicans. Our documented and undocumented Mexican brothers and sisters may suffer less prejudice having a Democrat in the White House. This Democrat also happens to belong to a racial minority. Perhaps having a black man in the White House will help calm the fear and misunderstanding that breeds prejudice against the Mexican people in the
5. President-elect Barack Hussein Obama was raised in
6. We still live in a country where there is a rule of law and checks and balances. My father, a retired judge, opines that although the Freedom of Choice Act that Senator Obama promises to sign as his first presidential act does indeed threaten to wipe out all abortion restrictions in state and federal law, it may soon be found unconstitutional in the courts.
7. We have some gracious and noble losers in Senator McCain and George Bush that speak well of this civilization.
8. And the final good news on the second day after the election: Jesus is still Lord! The tomb is still empty! Love is still more powerful than hatred. Prayer is still more powerful than abortionist knives. Satan is still a mere creature. God is still all-powerful!
We prayed a novena before the election. Let us continue to be patriotic Christians. Pray for wisdom and strength for our president-elect. God give Barack Obama wisdom and strength. Amen.
Yours with Our Lady in the Most Holy Trinity,
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Pope's message to President-Elect Obama
Certain Bishops from around the country
Other Catholic leaders
I was listening yesterday to Catholic talk radio and people were calling in, lamenting the election results and feeling frustrated and down, considering that the US just elected an open and ardent pro-abortion president and few people seem to really notice or care. And though the hosts of the show validated the feelings of these callers, they made a couple of good points that I would like to share with you (not that you asked, it's just my unsolicited advice!)
First of all, the hosts were saying that change begins within ourselves. All of the exterior conflict we see in the world is just a manifestation of the conflict within the heart of individuals. Yes, we complain about a lack of peace and death in our world, and rightfully so, however, how many of us look within ourselves and our own families and address the lack of peace and 'death' so to speak? Are we open to see the ways that we are not pro-life? Do we make concessions for ourselves for our anger, resentment, coldness and grudges we have? Because these things certainly do not bring life to ourselves, others and our country.
Another thing the hosts were saying is that God respects our free-will. So often we pray for things and we make Novenas with good intentions but perhaps we are not open to the will of God, for we think our way is the best way. And of course we should pray for what we believe is good, true and beautiful but in the end we must say the same words that Jesus said if we really want to authentically pray, "Lord, not my will but Yours be done." God's ways are so far above our ways that in His mercy He allows certain things to happen, things that seem to be horrible from our perspective, so that greater outcomes can be made manifest. God always ordains things with salvation in mind and all of know that many times we do not turn to God until we hit rock bottom or are really suffering, humans are curious like that.
In the end, God is in control of the universe, no president is. We are all just mortals. God is sovereign and is above all and loves all and He knows why He does what He does and His motives are always love. Would that we were motivated by such purity.
I also found this explanation of Samson, from the Old Testament, fascinating. As we all know, the famous story of Samson and Delilah revolves around a sacred young man who makes a terrible mistake, he gives away his secret and is destroyed by a manipulative woman. However, I was listening to someone explain it and I'll paraphrase it here. Maybe you have heard this before.
Samson's hair symbolized his fidelity to God. Samson's folly of telling Delilah about this secret promptly resulted in her shaving his head. When she did this, Samson's power was gone because he had been unfaithful to God. He tried to escape from the Philistines but they captured him, gouged out his eyes and led him away in chains.
This is an important lesson for us (and, no, it's not about your hair!). When we are unfaithful to God, we become blind (eyes gouged out) and enslaved (led away in chains). We can see this in ourselves, if we really look, and we can see a collective blindness and slavery also in the US. We have pushed God out of our schools and our government, we abort our helpless unborn children (this year the deathtoll from abortion will reach 50 MILLION since the passing of Roe vs. Wade), and we have turned our backs on morality. No wonder we have so many problems.
But all is not lost. Samson's hair began to grow back as soon as it was shaved, which is a sign that he repented of being unfaithful to God. We, too, can convert and repent. But we can't wait for others to do this, we must start first, here and now, within ourselves. We repent and strive for conversion everyday and this small act changes the world. No man is an island, there is no such thing as a private sin.
So if we are dissatisifed with the state of the world, let us not lament, complain and move away. Let's get involved. Let's stand up and promote the sacredness of life, let's frequent the sacraments and offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us, let's become who we were born to be, let's become saints. Let's change the world, one soul at a time, and let it begin with me.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Consoling Grace and Consoling Communities are websites that help people just like you who have lost a loved one or have a loved one in hospice care. Founded by Eileen Geller as a ministry of consolation to those who are grieving or who have questions about end of life care, these two websites provide information, help and an online community of support.
There are many resources such as questions and answers, printable documents on what to ask your doctor when faced with illness and simple words to say to those who are grieving that will really help.
I hope you find these sites as helpful as I do.
http://www.catholicvote.com/ Excellent Video on the Homepage of this site, see it!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
One thing Fr. Emmerich Vogt, O.P. always mentions in his talks on the 12-steps is that God wills what is universally good but so often we don't really believe it. Or perhaps we believe it in theory but not in the reality of our lives and so therefore many of us live as practical atheists. And I think I have to agree.
It seems to me that if we really believed that God wills what is universally good, meaning that we are all included in that, then we couldn't help but be open to all the ways that God leads us, guides us and showers us with gifts. It's a mystery really, how we so often want to sit on the throne of our own lives and relegate God to the backseat when we all know what happens when we try to control everything and everyone around us- we experience utter frustration, resentment and sorrow.
Yet, as we allow God more and more in our lives and give Him control, something amazing happens-that peace which we have been looking for all along by trying to control things and people around us descends upon us, that peace which only Jesus can give and the world cannot take away. But we can't receive this peace of Christ as long we are trying to take over! I think this is peace St. Paul speaks of when he says that he willingly boasts of his weakness that the power of Christ be made manifest in him. St. Paul finds that hidden truth, that hidden enigma of giving our small wills to God and having God give us everything in return.
Where can we begin and continue on this journey? A great place to start is that of making acts of thanksgiving. A grateful heart is capable of receiving many blessings!
This beautiful site contains not only testimonies of regular people and their journeys back to the Catholic Church but also video clips, questions and answers and more. It's excellent.
Check it out!!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
It's so amazingly true and timely that the Holy Father speaks of these things. I am convinced more and more that the mercy of God is truly the answer to our problems, trials and struggles. It is only His mercy that heals and binds up all of our wounds, that forgives us our sins and allows us to forgive one another. It's the answer to bitterness, hurt, indifference and confusion. And it's freely offered. God IS love and mercy and as we are made in the image and likeness of Him, we too are called to be love and mercy in relationship with ourselves, those around us and to the entire world.
What a needed mission this is! Come Holy Spirit, Come and transform us, Come and renew the face of the earth!
This also is great address from the Way of the Cross at World Youth DayI love this part of it: "All through the Gospels, it was those who had taken wrong turnings who were particularly loved by Jesus, because once they recognized their mistake, they were all the more open to His healing message. ... It was those who were willing to rebuild their lives who were most ready to listen to Jesus and become His disciples."
Monday, June 23, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
|16-June-2008 -- Catholic News Agency|
Heroic Polish Athlete Dies to Save Life of Unborn Child
Rome, Jun 16, 2008 (CNA).- Thousands of Poles lined up to say their final goodbyes to Agata Mroz, a young volleyball star who died on June 4 after postponing a bone marrow transplant in order to allow her daughter to be born.
At the age of 17, Agata was diagnosed with leukemia. She battled the disease and ended up becoming one of the top athletes in Poland, winning the European Volleyball Championship twice with her country’s team. She joined the professional volleyball team CAV in Murcia, Spain, where she also led the team to title wins.
Her struggle against leukemia forced her to take a sabbatical year during which she received many blood transfusions. Thousands of Poles donated blood for her cause. On June 9, 2007, she married Jacek Olszewski. She was too weak to travel away for a honeymoon but soon afterwards she became pregnant. A few weeks later, doctors discovered her cancer had progressed. She decided to postpone a bone marrow transplant until after the baby’s birth, set for April 4.
Agata told the Polish daily Dziennik that she never regretted her pregnancy. “The news I was going to be a mother made me feel fortunate. I was so happy because I would know what it was like to be a mother and I would give my husband something good from myself,” she said.
Agata underwent the transplant after the birth but she contracted a deadly infection. Her funeral Mass was celebrated in the same church that she was married in one year earlier to the day. She was remembered for her heroism and her decision to confront her illness.
Bishop Marian Florczyk of Kielce presided at the Mass and said Agata gave Poland a witness of “love, motherhood, the desire to give life and the heroic love for an unborn child.”
Friday, May 02, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Until then, here is an article about the Holy Father meeting with the Youth and Religious in New York.
We love you Pope Benedict XVI!
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
One of our friends, a young priest suffering from Stage 4 cancer, shared some very interesting insights with us the other day. From his own experience he was sharing that "God protect me" is not the highest form of prayer. He has found in his own suffering that "Lord, may Your will be done in my life" is the highest form of prayer. He shared that we really are in the hand of God, that we might think we are young and healthy, etc. but our lives are really in the hand of God. From this priests' suffering many blessings are flowing. Just being in his presence is powerful, as if you can feel the grace coming from him. It was deeply moving.
Let us keep looking for the good in our lives and all the ways that God blesses us, especially in this Easter Season, every day.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
So here's to friends! God bless all of you.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
The Resurrection of Jesus is truly the Good News. It's the News that tells us we don't have to remain in the darkness of sin, that suffering is redemptive, that a new day always dawns and eternal life with Jesus is a gift for all.
Jesus didn't promise that following Him wouldn't be difficult, but He did promise us that He would be with us always even until the end of time. We see in Him our sufferings and struggles and His victory over sin and death is truly a victory that has a profound effect on our day to day lives, if only we let it.
May the Light of this Easter encourage you to continue on your path of oneness with Jesus, knowing that He is with you and gives you His peace.
Happy Easter! :)
Monday, February 18, 2008
“Do not fear what may happen tomorrow.
The same loving God who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and everyday. God will either shield you from suffering or will give you the unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.”
St. Francis de Sales
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Is there someone in your life that you really struggle to get along with? Someone that you talk about a lot or gossip about? Those situations can be tough. We turn negative and blame these people for robbing us of our happiness, self-esteem and "virtue." Or perhaps certain people get on our nerves and we say to ourselves, "That person is negative, all she does is complain and gossip."
I would say, let us look at ourselves. People, for the most part, are incapable of robbing us of our happiness and self-worth. Oh, we can allow them to take that from us, but they can't take it from us unless we are willing to give it away. When I find that I am being very negative and complaining a lot, what I really need to do is step back, go somewhere by myself and start asking some questions. I ask myself, "Am I jealous of that person?" "Am I disappointed with myself, do I have unrealistic expectations about myself and others?" "Am I angry or hurt inside about something but won't admit it?"
I think that gossip and negativity is often the result of buried anger. It's more acceptable to behave this way than have the guts to go to that person and speak to them face-to-face. Or perhaps we still have a lot of unresolved anger from our past that continually comes out as complaining, gossip and negativity. Perhaps we think that by denying anger it will go away. However, it does not. It comes out whether we like it or not! We need a positive and constructive way to let out our anger and frustration- where we can be angry and sin not.
People can be a mirror of ourselves. Many times the things that irritate us so are the very things that we ourselves do to others. God loves us so much that He sends people to heal us. That's what Lent is all about. God is literally dying to heal us.
A priest from a parish near here was quoted as saying, "Prayer is just opening yourself up to the One who pursues you." God seeks us! God wants to heal us and be in an intimate relationship with us! All we need to do is seek to be open and honest. Just as a relationship between people is difficult without honesty, so it is with God. When we are honest with God, ourselves and others, God takes all that is broken within us and returns to us His love, grace and peace.
I don't know about you, but I think that's the best deal ever!
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
God bless you!
Read Pope Benedict's Lenten Message for 2008 here
Monday, January 28, 2008
" Life and love co-exist, these are two inseparable realities. Out of His love comes our life, our God lives and loves. Love is giving and receiving. There is often a lack of definition of love- people confuse love with attraction, possession or using. But love is giving and receiving.
Jesus' life-giving act is an act of perfect love. Jesus reunites us with God through His love and through God's love we receive life and become reunited with God once again.
To be united we must give. The opposite of love is selfishness, where we don't give but keep on asking.
How do we have life to its fullness? By living and loving. We can keep on "doing" because we love. Love must be our motivation to keep on living and living is our motivation to love. It is here that we find happiness, in spite of pain and struggles we still find fulfillment.
This is what God wants by His grace, that we become fully alive. The disciples said, "Were not our hearts burning...?" We can't live a life of love alone, it requires communion and in that we see the importance of community. In our community we grow in living and loving. We find here the meaning of life. We grow when we come to know ourselves as God knows us..."
more to follow
Monday, January 21, 2008
He says, "There is dulling routine going in today's society, even in religious life. Jesus says, 'I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly.' Things becoming boring when they are not rooted in Christ, who is Life. Because of this boredom, people are being led by evil just to do something. People are searching for the meaning of life. They are searching and saying "what is the meaning of my life?" To enjoy life to the fullest, it must be rooted in Christ. Our God is a God of life, He sent Jesus to be a source of new life.
Many times we become imprisoned and blinded by the pain and suffering in our present lives, we often get so disturbed that we lose hope and stop growing and we feel that there will be no hope in the future. But there still is a future that awaits us and it includes living our lives to the fullest. Our God is a God of love, and love and life go hand in hand."
more to follow...
Thursday, January 17, 2008
I think it would be difficult for people in the world today to say, if they really reflected upon it, that life is the same as it always has been. Yes, humans throughout the centuries have always had the same basic struggles and so therefore many of the same problems that we face today in 2008.
However, it seems to me, that people seem to be sensing that a decisive time is upon us. Somehow it seems like the things that are happening are very serious in the world and in no other time has Our Blessed Mother appeared so often, as she appearing in various parts of the world, even to this day. Her message is one of conversion, prayer, going to Confession, receiving the Eucharist worthily and offering sacrifices and penances for others still mired in the darkness. Hmm....not something that will be on CNN anytime soon.
As Lent approaches, the Season of Conversion, we might ask ourselves, "Am I converting or conforming?" Our Superior, Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, was just speaking on this very topic and I found it really fascinating.
We all know the appropriate ways to act and "appear holy." We can go to Sunday Mass or daily Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist and appear faithful, yet within our hearts, routine has replaced love. In a marriage and in religious life, the same thing can happen, on the surface it might be "just fine" but underneath resentments, bitterness, tiredness, and loneliness have taken their throne within us.
Jesus came that we might have life, that we might turn away from the sin in our lives and turn toward Him and who He is calling us to be. Honesty (which is humility, living in the Truth) is foundational in this process.
Lent allows us a look within, to see where we are conforming, appearing, wall-building, resenting and sets us free. Jesus calls us to convert everyday, to turn everyday toward Him and to have life everyday and always.
So perhaps before the next time we judge someone or criticize them, we might look within and see how we can help that person. Can we offer up this suffering for them? can we pray for them? Those things are truly love in action.
Let us allow ourselves to be converted, so we might have Life, and have it to the full.
If you are looking for a good book to read about the Mass, you might be interested in a little book entitled, If Your Mind Wanders At Mass. It contains short reflections on the Mass as a whole, how is shapes our entire life and examines each part of the Mass and explains it. It's simple and contains wonderful insights.
We would gladly accept a visit from the beloved Holy Father here in Seattle! :)
in the meantime, they will be in my prayers....
Full text here