Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Trinity Sunday: Three Persons in the unity of the divinity
More than 800 years ago, St. Hildegard of Bingen received a series of illuminations including one regarding the Holy Trinity. Her drawing (below) depicts God as a circle, embracing all. Jesus appears blue, symbolizing compassion, with hands extended in a healing position. Binding all together is the Holy Spirit shown in the gold and silver cables woven together.
There is message of interconnectivity here between divinity and humanity. Reflect, if you will, on some of Hildegard's words:
- God is near. "God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God."
- Jesus incarnate. "The maternal love of the embracing God came" and became flesh.
- Holy Spirit unites. "The Holy Spirit streams through and ties together 'eternity' and 'equality' so that they are one. This is like someone tying a bundle together -- for there would be no bundle if it weren't tied together -- everything would fall apart."
Thursday, May 12, 2016
The Holy Spirit changes everything through love
by Sister Mary Kabat
This weekend we joyfully celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the founding day of the Church.
What can we say about the Holy Spirit? The Catholic Catechism offers us rich doctrinal teaching on the Holy Spirit, and the Scriptures for this beautiful feast offer us evidence of the Holy Spirit experienced by believers and unbelievers. In the Scripture readings, we hear that Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The Apostles see the Holy Spirit as visible tongues of fire. The people feel the courage of the Apostles and hear them proclaiming Jesus in words they can understand. St. Paul tells us that our spiritual gifts and God-given talents are the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the good of the Church and world.
In the catechism I found this description of the Holy Spirit: “The Holy Spirit is essentially Love. Love can change those we meet and change ourselves in each encounter. Because of the Holy Spirit our whole being, mind, heart, soul and body can be permeated with Love. (U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults, Chapter 9, p. 103)
The Holy Spirit, the Love of God, has the power to unite us, to be our common language, and to bless us with every good gift for the Church and all God’s children.
For this, let us pray, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”
Thursday, May 05, 2016
The gift of change: Holy Spirit is possible, in part, because of Jesus' Ascension
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. Jesus is departing from His disciples, and yet it is a day of joy and anticipation. Why?
Consider this scenario: I have ministered in a parish for many years; more recently, I have discerned the Lord's calling to leave this parish. I have been focused on one type of service and am now is being invited by different people to serve in several places throughout the diocese, engaging in a variety of ministries. As I embark on this new venture, I feel my creative energies flowing.
Now analogies do limp, but there is still a relationship between this situation and Jesus’ ascension. The historical Jesus lived in one country, Israel. He made a great impact on those whom He personally met. As Risen Lord He would return to the Father and send His Spirit upon the whole world. That Spirit would know no bounds. The Spirit would breathe upon the little community gathered in Jerusalem and empower the disciples to carry the Good News of Jesus to the ends of the earth. The Ascension always points to Pentecost.
One questions remains: How far “to the ends of the earth” have we been called to proclaim the Gospel?
Thursday, April 28, 2016
The main thing: 'Whoever loves me will keep my word'
by Sister Paulette Hupfauf
In the early Church, just as in our time, there was confusion about what is required to be a Catholic (Christian). Paul, Barnabas and the apostles were working with diverse people from Antioch, Syria and Cilicia of Gentile origin. It was a time of transition. What were they to teach when Jesus was no longer with them?
The Gospel of John says, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them. ... If you love me, keep my commandments. ... Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."
So as the Entrance Antiphon says, "Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard." May our lives proclaim a joyful sound as we keep the commandments.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Let go and grow: Change can be a catalyst in our faith life
by Sister Jane Riha
The beauty of Spring in Wisconsin is slowly emerging. We are in a time of transition and transformation. With hopeful hearts we look forward to the colors, new life, and the warmth of sunshine. Transition is a normal part of our personal lives. Some transitions may seem easier because they are preceded by discernment and specific decisions. Other transitions in our life come upon us suddenly. We may be taken by surprise due to the death of a loved one, a divorce, choices made by children, and so on.
I came across this reflection on ” Letting Go”, author unknown. The following are some excerpts from it. Wherever we may find ourselves at this point of life, there may be some inspiration here.
To “let go” does not mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.
To “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.
To “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live the future.
To “let go” is to fear less and love more.
May the Risen Lord fill your hearts with joy, peace, and love!
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Faith helps us tune into the Good Shepherd's mission for us
by Sister Laura Zelten
“My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.” (John 10:27-30)
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Sunday’s Gospel presents to us one of the deepest mysteries of the human spirit: Faith. We follow Jesus because we believe He is the Son of God, that He is the Good Shepherd. The image of the shepherd conveys to us that Jesus cares for His flock and safeguards it from harm. In return, the flock is loyal or faithful to the shepherd. The sheep trust the shepherd.
We know Jesus loves us and wants us to know eternal life with God. Are we listening to His voice? Are we answering His call?
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Infinite. Immeasurable. Unending. That's Christ's love for us.
Three times Peter denies Jesus before Jesus is crucified. Three times the Risen Christ asks Peter, “Do you love me?” to which Peter says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."
- Even though his dear friend denies Him, Jesus forgives Peter and continues to entrust him with sharing the Good News. Do I have faith in Christ’s capacity to forgive me?
- When I have been forgiven by others, have I forgiven myself, too? Whom should I forgive?
- Each day, how do I answer Christ’s question, “Do you love me?”
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Our work is with the Doubting Thomases of today
by Sister Agnes Fischer
“We have seen the Lord!”
That’s what the disciples said but Thomas did not believe them. So how can we get people today to believe, people who believe only what they see and touch?
Do the “Little Toms” in our own home see and hear us praying and sharing our faith with them? Does the “Thomas Family” next door know us as friendly and caring neighbors? For the “Widow Thomas” down the street, is her sidewalk shoveled, her lawn mowed, her windows washed? Does she have a ride to church or to the store or doctor? “Thomas” the paper boy, the mail carrier, the janitor: Do we know them by name and have a friendly word for them?
All of these, much more than Thomas the Apostle, want and need to see and touch Jesus in us.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Do you hear what I hear? Jesus invites us to love Him & others
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
Easter of itself is very good news for people of faith. Do we hear it and experience it as it was proclaimed and experienced by the witnesses of the Easter event centuries ago at the tomb, along the walk to Emmaus, at the breaking of the bread, in the upper room, in the surprise breakfast on the shore?
Is our Easter a celebration of a faith-filled journey through Lent, with possibly a few slips along the way? Is there a need for the Lord to ask us, “Do you love me”? “Feed my sheep."
The world is filled with sheep needing to be fed. How will we be messengers and providers of “good news” to those in need? Good news can come in the form of a simple smile, a bowl of soup, an encouraging note sent, a visit made.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the holy anthems rise ... Let our hearts and voices sing out! We’ve got 50 days to celebrate the Easter Season!!
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Endless love: Jesus shows us how to love God, friend, stranger & enemy
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Throughout his life Jesus opened his arms and heart in compassion, forgiveness, healing and love. He embraced life to the fullest and walked a path of surrender to God. Even as Jesus walked his final journey he continued to open his heart to those who surrounded him – Simon, who helped carry his cross; the women of Jerusalem, who mourned for him; the criminals hanging on the crosses on either side of him; those who stood by him at the foot of the cross. He never stopped thinking about and caring for others.
Upon the cross, those loving, caring arms surrendered totally to God – embracing all of life, all of our fears, all of our sins, and all of our hearts. We know that Jesus’ death was not the end but the beginning of new life giving all of us a glimpse of the glory awaiting us.
Darkness becomes light; pain is gone; joy is beyond measure.
- How will you share in the journey of Jesus during this Holy Week?
- Who helps you carry your cross? Who needs your help?