Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Been A While!

I am sorry it's been such a long time since I've posted something.
Please know that I receive every comment that you submit and readily respond when I can.
Please also remember to include your email address in the body of your comment so I can respond to you!

Below is a small reflection by our SOLT member Sr. Anne Marie Walsh on the courage to be a missionary in whatever place we find ourselves.

Courageous Love

The meme on the left came off a page of Fr. Richard Heilman. I would like to reiterate something I posted once already, a thought of Pope Francis. The field of mission is the human person, not a foreign location. I'm amazed at how many people have to go to a foreign mission to see the "poor" for the first time. Anyone who cannot see that this country, (especially after watching the whole election cycle at this time) is mission territory is either incredibly oblivious to the state of souls here, or, is blinded by their own pride. Our country has ceased to be a light for the nations precisely because we are now so spiritually impoverished we are in need of those who will be light in this present darkness. I am not speaking from ignorance. I have been to countries all over the world in my work, and seen great material poverty. But in my own country, which I love, and which so many disparage, there is a need for courageous, loving people who are willing to lay down their lives to fight for the souls here whom Jesus also died forLet's not break our arms patting ourselves on the back for all the good we do for the poor out there, when members of our own household are perishing. This isn't a competition. Every soul, no matter the country it's found in, is priceless!Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT 











Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Love and Mercy Conference

Want to attend an awesome conference this summer? Check out our SOLT Love and Mercy Conference on July 8th and 9th at Our Lady of Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, TX!

The evening and following day will feature great SOLT speakers and reflections on love and mercy in both English and Spanish.

See the flyer below for more details! Hope to see you there!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Project Light Films

Want to help out a good cause? Check out www.projectlightfilms.com and see their beautiful new film project ministering to teens.

People are doing great things in the Church and in the world!

You can donate to help create the film by visiting the website.

Here is the promo video for the project:






Thursday, April 07, 2016

The Vigil Project

I love finding new and beautiful things that people are doing. Check out The Vigil Project for some beautiful music and just plain beauty itself.

I am embedding a video featuring the song "Were You There" (I know it's Easter but it's just so lovely) and it gives you a taste of what they are up to!

You can find more awesomeness (and some Easter hymns) at www.thevigilproject.com


WERE YOU THERE // feat. Andrea Thomas - #VIGIL from 4PM Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Passing of Our SOLT Founder, Fr. James Flanagan

Our beloved SOLT Founder, Fr. James Flanagan, passed away this Holy Thursday morning surrounded by members of our community. He was 91.
We are incredibly grateful for the gift of his life, his vocation, his witness of holiness and his fidelity to God. May he rest in peace.

Read more about Fr. Flanagan and his passing from our SOLT website.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Contact Information

Hello dear readers-
Thank you for all of your questions and speaking invitations! Please remember to leave your email address in the body of your comment or else I will not be able to respond to you personally.

To the person who just shared with me their story and asked a personal discernment question, please leave me another comment with your email address!

Thanks! My prayers are with all of you in these last days of Lent.

Peace-
Sr. Miriam


Monday, March 07, 2016

Peyton Manning and the Path to Maturity

(AP Photo)
NFL great Peyton Manning announced his retirement today. During a press conference, the 39- year-old quarterback tearfully expressed his gratitude to the many people who contributed over the years to his life and career. He thanked friends, family, fans and even foes whom he encountered in his 18 seasons in the NFL. He laughed, cried, reminisced and spoke with hope for the future.

As I watched Peyton say goodbye to professional football, I was thinking of how highly people regard him as a person. Sure, he is a stellar athlete who will most likely be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Yes, he holds numerous MVP awards. I think, however, people see in him something more. They see a hardworking, sincere person who is devoted, not just to winning football games, but to God and his family as well. He is embroiled in no scandal, no off-field antics. He has not forgotten where he came from and I think we will likely see him in some leadership position in the future.

In a sports world dominated by brash, braggadocio attitudes and bad behavior, Peyton offers something different. He didn't win every football game nor triumph in every season but he never gave up. Even when he was benched earlier this season, an unhappy Peyton didn't badmouth his replacement or the head coach. He just kept trying. He kept showing up to practice. He kept going.

Commitment to excellence, be it excellence in love or excellence in sports, is not an easy task. Excellence requires sacrifice, suffering and continued formation. It requires starting over, admitting when we are wrong and beginning again. This process forms the human person and builds character and maturity.

We see this so clearly in the lives of the Saints. Their lives are examined in area of "heroic virtue." This kind of virtue isn't a one time choice but a life of pursing God and love of neighbor. This life culminates in bearing the effulgence of God. They radiate wisdom, love, peace, mercy and joy and it is so incredibly captivating. Saints aren't perfect but they immerse themselves in the mercy and love of God. They continue to let God pour out his love upon them and offer it to others in return.

True excellence and true love require maturity. It takes years of practice and much trial and triumph to develop habits and then a life of virtue.

Peyton mentioned today that he had "finished his football race." And he has. All things on this earth pass away but the maturity he has developed hopefully never will. He is a great example of someone whose good character and persistence has paid off for something better. That something better isn't money or fame or MVP trophies. It is the noble pursuit of the good and the willingness to sacrifice to get there.

You don't have to be a Broncos fan to recognize that. :)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mother/Daughter Retreat

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Several of you have asked me when I will be leading another Mother/Daughter retreat and I am happy to announce that the next one will be April 29th-May 1st at our lovely retreat center in Corpus Christi, TX.

For more information, see the flyer below. To register for the retreat, click here


Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Hope For Freedom

I love this tweet posted yesterday by Pope Francis. 

I think one of our greatest fears and sorrows is the belief that we will be forever marked by our past- by what we have done or what has been done to us. Perhaps we fear that "victim", "loser" or "rejected" is our deepest identity. We spend so much of our lives coping and trying to compensate for what we fear might be true. 

Lent reveals the truth. And in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we find that our deepest identity, our deepest calling and yearning, is actually one of relationship- being sons and daughters of God. When we embrace the courage to face our sin and brokenness and receive ongoing mercy, our lives are transformed. 

This is the Good News- that Jesus became man; that God took on flesh. He assumed all to redeem all. 

His life, death and resurrection changes everything. 

We need not remain prisoners of the past. 

We rise to our true identity in the glorious freedom of the children of God!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Know Yourself: A Lenten Journey, Part 1

I Don't Know What I Don't Know...

Every driver knows that one of the worst places you can find yourself is in the "blindspot" of another driver. You know, that little space in the line of sight between the coverage of the rear view or side mirror and the actual car next to us.

I think we've all had the experience of checking our mirrors and then changing lanes, only to hear the mad blast of a horn as a car speeds by that was previously unseen to us. As our heart races over the near collision, we practically break our necks double checking the next 12 lane changes.

And then sometimes the collision does happen. We "could have sworn there was no car next to us" but the accident happens and the problems and trauma ensue. 

One of my friends noted that this is true in our personal lives as well. How many times have we "run into or over" others simply because we didn't "see them." It's the boss who regularly becomes angry and screams at his employees because "that's just how he is." It's the meddling mother-in-law who can't get through a conversation without saying something cutting or judgmental, who is just "trying to be helpful." It's the spouse who is more concerned with themselves than the marriage or family. Often no one wants to confront these issues and so the problem continues on and on. The self-awareness is minimal and the pain it causes others pours forth.

Many times our blindspots come not from an area of malice but simply from a lack of self-awareness. We don't know ourselves or our story well enough to understand what it might be like to interact with ourselves on a daily basis. I am often personally convicted when I complain about others because people have to live with me as well! They have to work, interact and relate to me- a broken, fragile person just the same.

But there is also another aspect to blindspots- we often do not see ourselves as we truly are in our deep belovedness to God. As St. Paul writes in the context of speaking about authentic love,"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12) We all long to see face to face. Our deepest desires involve loving and being loved, knowing and being known. This is an ache for eternity. When we see God face to face, we will finally see, know and love in fullness.

Until then, we undergo this process of revelation; of knowing only parts and pieces as we move toward the whole. It is beautiful and sorrowful, wounding and life-giving. It is the path of true love- to behold ourselves and others as a unique, precious and unrepeatable creation of God Himself.

So, perhaps this Lent we could ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our blindspots-that He would reveal the areas we regularly "run over" and miss people because we just don't see them.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to speak to our true identity, our true belovedness, and live in that reality rather than relating to ourselves and others from our masks, woundedness, and skewed vision.

We often don't know what we don't know.

Let us ask to see clearly, all the way around.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Choosing Conversion

If you've ever been to a 12-Step meeting, you know that at some point the group or someone in the group will usually pray or reference the "Serenity Prayer." 

That well-known prayer is found on wall hangings, plaques, dishes, prayer cards, etc. and the text usually reads, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." 

Would that we all lived that short prayer! Imagine how different our daily lives would be? 

And yet, there is more. 

That short excerpt is actually part of a longer prayer which continues:

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.


There is so much packed into that prayer which perhaps will revisit another time but what I want to ponder here is the invitation the prayer offers to conversion, one day and one moment at a time. 

Lately I have been so convicted of the moment-to-moment grace that God gives and reception of mercy and conversion therein. In a celebrity and sound-bite culture, we attach importance only to "big" events with audacious happenings. We are "outraged", freak out, feed on the adrenaline rush it provides but nothing really changes. 

We often live in "The Land of If-Only" where our minds play the game of, "If only I was...then I would be happy." "If only the people ( I work with, have in my family, see everyday) would change, then I would be better." "If only the Church would...then I would be holier." And it goes on and on while we miss the daily reality of grace leading to serenity and conversion. 

One of my favorite passages from a wonderful book by C.S. Lewis titled The Problem of Pain reads, "We are, not metaphorically, but in very truth, a Divine work of art; something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character." 

God fashions and refines us daily. As a great masterpiece, the Artist takes much care and diligence in perfecting the work of art. And that happens one day at a time, one moment at a time. 

What part of the masterpiece is God working on in your life right now? Is it forgiveness? Letting go of perceived control? Is He trying to flood you with joy or speak to you the beautiful theology of your body? 

Like any other pursuit, conversion takes time and diligence. Our life is a series of triumphs and failures, victories and defeats. It all fashions the masterpiece. 

So let's let the Artist do His work. 

The 8th Corporeal Work of Mercy...

I posted this on Twitter yesterday and couldn't help but post it here as well!

Bringing a little mercy for all the coffee lovers during this Year of Mercy!

God bless you :)




Thursday, January 07, 2016

Vibrant Living in a New Year

Wishing all of you readers a blessed and hope-filled New Year. We may deeply encounter Jesus in a new way this year.

He is "the face of the Father's mercy" as Pope Francis so aptly wrote in his letter of introduction to the Year of Mercy. This is not merely a warm sentiment or personal feeling. Jesus pierces time and space to become one of us, to assume our sin and brokenness and set us free. This is Good News, indeed.

Christ is our strong foundation and the Light of the World.

He is our hope, our shield, our refuge. 

May this Year of Mercy be one of tenderness, truth and deep encounter with Christ and others. If we want the world to change, we must be willing to continually encounter Christ and bring Him to others. We must willing to release our "grasp" on the offenses of the past; the hatred, resentment and indifference. It takes a lot of energy to carry resentment and close our hearts to God and others.

We must lay down our sin and choose greatness. Choose the better part. Choose life with Him. 

Pope Francis writes: "We are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us. Pardoning offenses becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully."

Wow. Yes, indeed. 

I have probably shared this story in a previous post but I remember being part of a wonderful 12 Step group a few years ago wherein a woman in the group was having a hard time staying sober. She came to a meeting one day and said, "I realize I have been asking myself the wrong question. This whole time I have been asking, 'What is the minimum amount I have to do to stay sober?' when the real question I need to ask is, 'How free do I want to be?'" 

I have never forgotten that woman nor the question she posed. I have asked myself that same question many times over the years. There is so much more work to be done- more freedom, more forgiveness, a more vibrant life. 

And isn't that what we all desire anyway? 

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Facing Our Immortality in Light of Christmas

A power blogpost featured below written by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

Facing Our Immortality in Light of Christmas

Anyone who has ever received an unexpected diagnosis of cancer or some other serious disease knows the power of the experience to suddenly and radically change the inner world in which we normally live. Anyone who has lost a loved one especially without warning, experiences the same thing. Perception, understanding, the hierarchy of what we have up to then considered important suffers a seismic shock and shifts the plates of our current existence into a completely changed landscape which can seem foreign and strange and certainly frightening in many ways.

Having been through this myself several times, and watching those around me, I've come to realize that the shock comes not so much from facing our own mortality as it does from not having faced our immortality. That's the real problem. To say we now are brought to a place where we have to face our own mortality is actually to stand before an untruth and feel forced to embrace it. Our whole being revolts against it and all the classic stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and resignation follow. 

And with good reason. We are not mortal, and the light of Christmas announces that definitively. Jesus doesn't come into our darkness to commiserate with us. He comes into our world to rescue us from the fetters of our darkness, including the weight of our own corruptible bodies, so that time, (however much we have), in its proper place, can launch us safely and happily into eternity. 

It is true that death is a kind of limit, the line past which nothing more can be done in this world in our present state. But it is not the end. We are immortal, and it really is not necessary to defend this belief because anyone truly in touch with themselves knows deep in their being that something infinite, something eternal abides in their very substance. And this something is personal. It is not an energy or a memory or a force. It is of the substance of who we are, how we know ourselves, and how we are known. It is our very person, and it is never lost by trial or suffering or disease or death. The person does not die. The body gives way for a time. But we do not die. 

Because our body is corruptible in this fallen world, we shed it in dying, in order to be completely healed and made ready for immortal bodies which we will receive, at the end of time. And like anyone who goes through the decline of their own bodies in aging, sickness, losing parts here and there, I've come to understand that it is in keeping with God's plans to hold fast to the promise of eternal life and the glorified body rather than trying to hold on to our present existence, attempting by our own might to make our bodies immortal as though we can somehow transfigure them under our own power. Sickness quickly disabuses us of the illusion that we have the capacity to do this. But it doesn't take away from us the desire to be completely restored, whole and transcendent. 

The other darknesses we hold onto in our lives are also often rooted in this failure to embrace our immortality. At Christmas Jesus comes to us, “to a people who walk in darkness” to show us a great light. To those of us living in a land of gloom, His light shines.” Is 9:1 This is a light that comes from eternity and causes joy and great rejoicing. It doesn’t matter if I live in the gloom of a corruptible body which I am losing piece by piece or in the decay of old age. It doesn’t matter if my darkness is the bondage of alcoholism or weariness, doubt, indifference, fear, wounds, worldly aspirations, pride, unforgiveness, bitterness, depression, a hard heart. This is a light that actively seeks out every darkness in order to dispel it and banish it forever. It is the light of the promise of immortality which we are created for and which Jesus comes to restore to us if we can just let go of our mortal clingings.

I cannot tell you exactly why I am no longer afraid to die. It is not imminent at the moment that I know of. I have, as I said, faced my own death before. The first conscious time was full of all the shock and fear that is normal for anyone who receives an indefinite diagnosis and is told they may die. “If the disease is anywhere else in your body then all bets are off.” That is the way it was put to me. All the human emotions and questions coursed through me at that time, leaving me sleepless and isolated within myself, knowing no one else could really stand with me in the place I had suddenly found myself. 

The most frightening realization had to do with time. Time, always seemed without limit. There seemed to be plenty of it. Without measure. Now it was quantifiable. There was only so much left. How is it I was not used to thinking of time here as something limited and then gone forever. To manage time now seemed overwhelming. A great number of things which had always seemed possible, now had to be definitively rejected. They would not, could not be done any longer. My mother, as she was dying, recognized this watching a slide show of Hawaii. She said matter-of-factly and somewhat sadly: “I guess I will never get to see Hawaii.” And we in our denial said: “Well, let’s see. Maybe.” The fact was she never got to see Hawaii. And she knew it.

My fear in relationship to time had very much to do with its ending for me. ​I was frightened by my lack of preparedness for what would come next, for what would come as soon as the measurement of things in this world was no longer the reality I lived in. The most unsettling thing was the thought of suddenly standing before God, Face to face, and not knowing what I could possibly say to Him, fearing He would be so utterly disappointed with me for having done nothing, really nothing of any importance for Him! My fantasies of accomplishing great things were suddenly wasted hours of vainglorious daydreaming, all dissipation, nothing of substance to present, because I had only been thinking of myself. And nothing of the accomplishments or achievements I held within me amounted to much in this different light of eternity. They didn’t have much meaning there, as far as I could tell, not because they were without value, but because I would have done them for myself and now I, as I knew it, was coming to an end. The prospect of death has a funny way of de-centering you from yourself, causing you to step outside yourself, making you realize at a deeper level than you have ever been aware of before that you are not the nexus for meaning in life. Our egoism runs much deeper than we think. 

I did not come to a reorientation in my awareness until, in the peace of an evening sky in which the Father’s presence was written large, I, as small as a child, touched by His majestic power, was lifted out of myself, above myself, into another embrace of reality that made my whole life different…….In an instant, there was peace in living or dying. It didn’t matter which it would be. I would be held in this love and nothing, not even death, was frightening in that love. Whatever happened would come from that love; and in that love I was always/already held. 

Time was no longer the same issue because I now knew with my very being that,

“… when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that we are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So we are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” Galatians 4:4-7 

This is what His love for me, and for you, is really about. This Gift is always being offered. Christmas is always present. Our deepest regret at the end of time will not be what we did or didn't do. It will be how deeply we underestimated and misunderstood the infinite goodness and love and mercy and tenderness of our God. Christmas lights up this incredible love of God.

Jesus came, says the Liturgy of the Hours in Evening prayer I of Christmas, to "bring joy to all peoples with the promise of unending life.." In the fullness of time, He came to break the boundaries of time by giving the hope of heavenly birth to each of us. He did not cling to His time here. He was born to die for us that we could live with Him for all eternity. And Mary, most of all, knew this bittersweet mystery from the time She said: Fiat!.  

The old catechism tells us we were created “to know, love and serve God in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” But, it does not tell us what was in God’s Heart as He created us. Christmas does. Our older Brother Jesus, the First Born of all creation, comes to rescue us, to bring us back into the Family, our Family, the Father’s Family. We were created because God wanted us to be a part of His Family, and that’s where we belong. Christmas is that promise of rescue finally made Incarnate, finally come to us in the Flesh that is the Way to our true home.

May your Christmas be filled with the sweetness of God’s love made present in the light of the smile of the tiny Christ Child. And may that smile be ever present to you all the days of your life to lead you to your everlasting homeland!

Sr. Anne Marie, SOLT. 12/24/2015