Showing posts from 2014

Paul and Pope Francis

  Today, once again, I am preaching for mid-day prayer... so here it is: Reading:  Ephesians   3:2-12 Responsorial Psalm:  You shall draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation. (Isaiah 12) As you might know,   I have been utterly captivated by the words of Pope Francis.   Today’s Psalm and the reading from Paul share two of the main themes Pope Francis has focused on:   to preach the gospel to everyone, and to show our joy as Christians.   For Francis, we preach in everything we do, not just by explicitly offering words of the salvation of Christ to those who do not yet know him.   We preach through the care we offer others, whether physical or emotional, through our actions of kindness to our families, communities, and to strangers, and through our open attitudes of joy and hope. We also preach in the more conventional sense, too, by sharing our insights with one another and teaching and learning in the classroom.   To practice what we sometimes call “intellect

Symbol of the Heart of Jesus

We had a big meeting of nuns a week ago, and we were asked to bring a small symbol of Jesus' heart with us.  I brought this red heart: (Actually, to be truthful, I brought both it and the cross because I changed my mind while packing.) The heart fits in my palm, and it has a lovely tinkly bell inside.  It makes a happy noise! But I didn't bring it because it sings, or because it's heart-shaped and pretty.  I brought it because of who gave it to me.  The heart was a gift from my very best friend, and it symbolizes Jesus' heart for me because she's the one person in my life who always knows how I feel by the sound of my voice.  We live far apart, so most of our communication is by cell phone.  And yet she always seems to know whether I'm really happy or just pretending to be. It makes me think of the appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection in the Gospel of John.  She goes to the empty tomb and sits weeping in sorrow for the loss o


I'm teaching a course tonight on the Trinity--that great mystery that is at the heart of Christianity and Christian life.  I'm a little nervous because it's hard to talk about something so big and so bound up in the unknown.  But Pseudo-Dionysius helps, with his hymn at the beginning of "The Mystical Theology." Trinity!!  Higher than any being, any divinity, any goodness! Guide of Christians  in the wisdom of heaven! Lead us up beyond unknowing and light, up to the farthest, highest peak of mystic scripture, where the mysteries of God's Word lie simple, absolute and unchangeable in the brilliant darkness of a hidden silence. Amid the deepest shadow they pour overwhelming light on what is most manifest. Amid the wholly unsensed and unseen they completely fill our sightless minds with treasures beyond all beauty. (This translation is from Colm Luibheid, published by Paulist Press in 1987.) The indentations of the translation I am looking at h

Preaching on the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine

I'm leading and preaching for mid-day prayer today, and I've chosen to use the first reading for the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, rather than tackle either of the mass readings today.  But really, I'm just talking about the saint himself.  Enjoy. Reading: Wisdom 7:7-10, 15-16             The passage from Wisdom an appropriate introduction to the life of St. Robert Bellarmine, whom the church celebrates today.   Bellarmine was a Jesuit and Cardinal who lived in the late 16 th and early 17 th century.   He was born shortly after Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, and the Council of Trent began when he was a child, ending during his philosophy studies in Rome.   His entire theological career was marked by the decisions made by the Council and by the theology of reformers such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Ulrich Zwingli.   In fact, his writings reveal that he read and knew their theology.             Before doing a little research, I knew only that B

A day of contrasts

Today we learned that one of our sisters from Australia was on board the plane that was shot down yesterday over Ukraine.  Her name was Phil (Philomene) Tiernan, and she was much loved by so many.  I had only met her about three weeks ago, and had lovely and meaningful conversations in a very short time.  She will be missed, that is certain.  Her presence on that plane makes the violence of our world more real and personal, too.  (Her story has been picked up by news sites, which include some lovely pictures:  try here , and here , and from our own website .) On a completely other note, today is the second anniversary of my first vows.  I know I'm in the right place, and that makes me totally content with life right now, and yet life can be a little sad, too.  So, today, as I give thanks for the Society of the Sacred Heart, my own little heart is tenderly holding my sisters and remembering the fragility of all that we have. 

Celebrating together a holy life

Life can get going so fast--lately, I've been feeling the need to slow down, to rest and pray, to just be.  On an academic schedule, that peacefulness is what summers are sometimes (definitely not always) about.  I am grateful to have the next four weeks to work on projects that can't get done in the midst of classes, to rest, and to be. I just got back from a wonderful trip to London, where we celebrated the life of one of our Superiors General, Janet Erskine Stuart, who died 100 years ago this year. While she is not formally canonized in the Catholic Church, her holiness and her writings on education and spirituality are an inspiration to many.  We heard people speak on so many facets of her life, and many of those talks will be made available on the RSCJ England/Wales province website . (I don't think those talks are up yet, but there's lots of good information on Janet Stuart's life there already.) What I take away most from that experience is the human

Pigs and Pigeons

It has been way too long since I've posted! Today I preached for our mid-day prayer service, an impossible gospel!  And so I would like to share my preaching here.  Today's gospel reading was Mark 5:1-20, the healing of the Gerasene demoniac, but I also talk about yesterday's gospel, the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.  Both readings can be found at the USCCB's website . -------------------------- The contrast between the Gospel reading from yesterday and that of today is striking.   Yesterday, the infant Jesus was brought to the temple by his parents to fulfill the sacrifice required by the Law.   There in the temple, they met Simeon and Anna, who recognized the greatness of the tiny, helpless infant. Today, we see the adult Jesus, a strong, miracle-worker, who casts out a legion of demons from a man who had been tormented for a very long time. Instead of being received by the local community with open arms and great praise, Jesus is met with fear an