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Meditation: Easter (March 27, 2016)
March 24, 2016 8:02 AM


 

“We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our name.”

This very meaningful phrase was brought to the attention of many of us Hospital Sisters of St. Francis years ago by a good friend, Father Michael Noonan, SCJ. The message proclaims the death of the Lenten Season and the arrival of a glorious period of celebration—because Christ indeed is risen.

Reflection:
When we see the sun begin to rise, it is Easter.
When we notice a quaint bud peeking through the dark soil, it is Easter.
When we embrace and are embraced with love, it is Easter.
When we walk with the lonely, it is Easter.
When we break bread with others, especially the hungry, it is Easter.
When we heal what we are able to heal and accept what we cannot, it is Easter.
When we build a bridge and not a barrier, it is Easter.
When we believe the unbelievable, it is Easter.

The reality of the Easter Season has come alive and it has no end because Christ now lives with us anew and we are with Him. “We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our name.”


Posted By Sister Chaminade Kelley, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: Fifth Sunday of Lent (March 13, 2016)
March 9, 2016 1:37 PM

“Even now says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful.” (Joel 2:12-13)

In the midst of our busy lives, let us take advantage of this sacred time in Lent to step away from the ordinary and enter into the desert of our soul to reflect on our relationship with God. In the desert, consider these questions: Do we really believe that God makes a way where there is no way? Do we trust in God? Why do we sometimes refuse to give God the time and the space to show us the path He has set before us?

Perhaps this is the time we need to slow down and look more carefully at our lives. We are in need of healing and as we pray and listen intently, we will hear God’s voice speaking as we better understand our inadequacies, anxieties, and doubts. Because we have a God of mercy, we will be blessed with serenity, love, and peace. Furthermore, God reminds us of His abundant love that He gave us His only Son whose death on the cross is the ultimate gift of love.

In these final weeks of Lent, may our desert experience bring us closer to our God as we have a renewed sense of faith and trust.


Posted By Sister Helen Marie Plummer, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 6, 2016)
March 2, 2016 10:12 AM

We are half way through Lent and the Church celebrates by changing the color to pink on this Sunday’s liturgy. It is also a good time to reflect on the Church’s invitation to fast in order to do penance in reparation for our sins. Before Vatican II (pre 1962), Lenten fasting was an obligation which was one full meal a day and two other smaller meals together to equal less than a full meal with only liquids between meals. Sundays were not included.

Growing up, the norm was to give up candy and make sacrifices. By doing this type of penance, I felt it would help me be holier. I am not sure I became any holier, but I do believe it helped me learn to keep commitments, even when I wanted to break them.

Fasting is voluntarily avoiding something that is good. It is primarily a spiritual discipline designed to tame the body so that we can concentrate on higher things. With this in mind, I have reflected on Isaiah 58:8 “This, rather, is the fasting I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own.”

This year, we are encouraged to fast during Lent and I invite you to consider the following ways: say positive words in affirming someone instead of using negative words, remember to praise God in all that happens instead of dwelling on the crosses we are given to endure, be compassionate instead of critical, lend a listening ear instead of avoiding something difficult, and lift people’s hearts to love God instead of choosing to walk away. May we be inspired by St. Francis of Assisi who said: “ We are the minstrels of the Lord whose work it is to lift up people’s hearts and move them to spiritual gladness.”


Posted By Sister Marilyn McCormick, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: Third Sunday of Lent (February 28, 2016)
February 24, 2016 7:46 AM


 

Contemplating suffering invites us to give meaning to it not only as a burden but also as a blessing: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21). As we journey through these 40 days of Lent, our journey is not alone. We walk with Christ in His suffering and pray that we are able to see our human suffering as a sharing in His Passion and Death. Furthermore, we will soon realize that our suffering pales in comparison to what Christ endured.

Our suffering comes in many forms such as physical pain, emotional distress, spiritual dryness and societal anguish—it can dominate our energy. Suffering can also be witnessed in the world around us: the sufferings of the hungry, the abused, the lonely, the homeless and the sick. While we may not always find relief or find ways to help others, we can choose to be mindful of Christ’s suffering and seek prayer as a way to find peace of mind. St. Paul wrote, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are abundant for us, so also our consolation.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)

In a Franciscan spirit, may we follow in Christ’s footsteps as we accept the suffering that we have before us. May our acceptance bring strength, humility, and peace—all while deepening our awareness of God’s unconditional love.

 


Posted By Sister Christa Ann Struewing, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: Second Sunday of Lent (February 21, 2016)
February 18, 2016 8:56 AM


 

Purple is the color most associated with Lent for two significant reasons. Historically, purple is the color worn by royalty and Scripture states that “They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, ‘Hail, King of the Jews’ and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.” (Mark 15:17-19). Furthermore, the Roman Catholic liturgy has traditionally incorporated purple throughout Lent as the symbol of penance – the hope to turn away from sin during Lent.

With this in mind, I find that seeing purple during Lent is a reminder that we must acknowledge our failings and that we have sinned. Despite this, we are loved by a God who forgives us and loves us.

These weeks of Lent offer us the opportunity to clothe ourselves symbolically in purple as we focus on how we can live our Christian faith, turn away from sin, and follow the invitation of Pope Francis to “fast from indifference toward others…and feast on love.”

It is never easy to admit we have done something wrong, committed a sin, and yet God invites us to ask for forgiveness. By asking we must be sorry for the right reason: we want to do the right thing, say the right thing, and be an example of Christian love to everyone we meet.

The journey through the 40 days of Lent, shaded in the various tones of purple as we ponder ourselves, will eventually lead us to the beautiful shades of white in the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter.


Posted By Sister Jonette Devlin, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: First Sunday of Lent (February 14, 2016)
February 11, 2016 9:14 AM


 

We have just entered the season of Lent, a time that can be filled with grace if we approach it with an open heart and a willingness to enter into the experiences it offers. For many of us, Lent traditionally takes on a negative air as we remember the sense of loss in limiting or totally giving up candy, soda, television, or our hand-held electronic devices for 40 days. While these practices are admirable, for most people, they do not do what the underlying message of Lent is about – to bring us closer to the Lord.

This Lent, how about choosing a penance that can be life-giving? What if you did something extra, rather than giving something up? Perhaps you could write a note to someone who needs cheering up, visit a nursing home, volunteer to assist with an activity at your parish, or serve a meal at a shelter. On a more personal level, perhaps Lent could be the time you choose to forgive someone who may have hurt you. Other things you might consider doing for yourself:  spend time each day reading from the Bible or other spiritual or inspirational book; make time for a few minutes of silence each day to allow the Lord to speak to your heart; find at least one thing to be grateful for each day. By choosing a penance that is life-giving, you not only become a better person, but you also deepen your relationship with the Lord.

Whatever form your Lenten penance takes this year, may it deepen your experience of Easter joy.

 


Posted By Sister Janice Schneider, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies
Meditation: Ash Wednesday (February 10, 2016)
February 8, 2016 7:41 AM

Today is the first day of a 40 day journey which starts by having ashes in the form of a cross marked on our foreheads. Wearing ashes is an ancient tradition which has been preserved by the Church.

We recognize our fellow travelers by the ashes they wear today. By wearing them, we are proclaiming that we take to heart our call to deepen our sense of sorrow for our misdeeds and discover simple truths about who we are in the eyes of God and those in our family, work place and social relationships.

Marking our foreheads with ashes can be a very humbling experience as it announces to everyone our neediness for their forgiveness when we have acted contrary to the teachings of Christ in the Gospels. Ashes proclaim that we need insight and a change of heart so as to be a follower of Jesus in our world today.

Furthermore, ashes are a reminder of our physical death and awaken our feelings if we allow ourselves to ponder the last event in our earthly life. As followers of Christ, we have the sure knowledge of the resurrection to eternal life in Him.

May we wear our ashes today in a spirit of gratitude. When we wash them off our forehead this evening, may the message they proclaim remain in our heart for the journey toward Easter.



Posted By Sister Ann Mathieu, OSF
Posted in Lent Meditation | 0 Replies

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