Reflection for Oct. 11, 2015

posted on: Monday, October 05, 2015 by: renaebauer

With our sights set on heaven let us listen to Jesus' words

A man who observes God's Commandments asks Jesus if he, the man, will inherit God's Kingdom. Jesus tells him and us that the treasures of this world are not the treasures of heaven.

Reflective questions:

  1. Do I know and practice the Ten Commandments?
  2. Have I generously shared with others what God has entrusted to me?



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Reflection for Oct. 4, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 by: renaebauer

Pope: St. Francis helps us hear & see God's goodness through nature

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by Sister Rose Jochmann

Sunday, Oct. 4, is a special day for us Franciscans.  It is the Feast of our community's patron, St. Francis of Assisi. Appropriately, this Sunday's first reading is from the Book of Genesis which states, "the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air ..." St. Francis had a great love and care for all creation. He saw creation as God's gift to us.

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, recognizes St. Francis' love and care for creation in his recent encyclical letter, Laudato Si. The first line of this letter is "Praise to you, my Lord" which is taken from St. Francis' Canticle of Creatures.  Pope Francis dedicates a section of chapter 1 to St. Francis of Assisi.  He states, "Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness." In his letter, Pope Francis challenges us in many ways including saving natural resources, evaluating whether we are compulsive consumers, and learning how climate change affects the poor.

Reflection questions:
  1. How can I show a greater concern and respect for God's gift of earth and all creation?
  2. In what ways can I reuse rather than buy new and "throw away" the old?
  3. Am I planning to read Pope Francis' letter, Laudato Si, found at your local bookstore, on Amazon, etc.  NOTE:  it is very easy to read!



Reflection for Sept. 27, 2015

posted on: Thursday, September 24, 2015 by: renaebauer

Our lives are an opportunity to say 'thank you' for God's goodness

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by Sister Francis Bangert

"Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets. Would that the Lord might bestow his spirit on them all!" (Nm 11:29)

From the time of Moses in the Old Testament to the time of James and Mark in the New Testament, we hear the timeless message.  Avoid thoughts, words and actions that flow from a heart that is jealous, intolerant, unjust, arrogant and greedy, blocking the work of the Spirit. Be like the Holy One who, though just, also pours out loving kindness on those "who have their heart in the right place."

Reflection questions:
  1. In my family/home, in my workplace or school, in my social life, how do I build walls that create suspicion, separation and fear?
  2. How do I intentionally search for ways that reach out, pardon, include and understand the other?
  3. Am I as eager to forgive and show loving kindness to the other as the Spirit of Love does for me?
"For the love of God is broader than the measures of our mind
And the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind
If our love were but more simple we should take him at his word
And our lives would be thanksgiving for the goodness of our Lord."
("There's a Wideness in God's Mercy," verse 2)



Reflection for Sept. 20, 2015

posted on: Thursday, September 17, 2015 by: renaebauer

'The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace' -- James 3:18

Sept. 21 is International Day of Peace. The word "peace" appears in the Bible approximately 250 times. In the New Testament, Jesus gives us peace and sends us forth in peace time and again.

Reflective questions:

  1. How do I give peace in home and neighborhood?
  2. How do I support peace on a global level?




Reflection for Sept. 13, 2015

posted on: Thursday, September 10, 2015 by: renaebauer

Authentic discipleship is to surrender what is valued here for what is valued by God

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by Sister Annette Koss

Mark is writing to his Christian community about the true Messiah and what it means to be a servant disciple. Messiahs were common and often political against Rome and the wealthy Jewish class that supported Rome. So, Jesus raised the question, "Who do you say that I am?"

Jesus lived in a climate of political unrest and social disharmony. He walked headlong into situations of confrontation. What was different is that Jesus chose the path of a non-violent servant. By being powerless, a new power emerged from within -- that of non-violent resistance. By taking this posture of non-violence, Jesus maintained his spiritual power and ransomed future victims from the same violence. To gain one's self is to put one's self at risk to interrupt the flow of violence.

This is a threshold moment in Mark's Gospel. The disciples slowly acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and the true identity of Jesus is slowly revealed. Jesus is not a political messiah but a non-violent servant who reveals what it means to be a disciple.

In the remainder of the Gospel, Mark defines the way of discipleship -- to deny oneself, to take up the cross, and follow Jesus.

Reflection questions:
  1. Who is Jesus for me?
  2. How do I follow?



Reflection for Sept. 6, 2015

posted on: Thursday, September 03, 2015 by: renaebauer

How can we better respond to Jesus' blessings in our lives?

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by Sister Agnes Fischer

Sunday's Gospel tells us that Jesus opened the ears and loosened the tongue of the deaf mute. We pray:

  • Lord, loosen our tongues ...
  • In defense of someone we hear being defamed or being blamed for something they did not do
  • To speak a word of forgiveness when we have been offended
  • To pronounce the magic words "pardon me" when we have offended
  • To speak words of gratitude and praise to our children and/or employees
  • ... and open our ears ...
  • To the trusting voices of children
  • To the silent complaints of our immigrant families
  • To the call for help of the hungry and homeless
  • To the clamor for justice of the oppressed
  • To the hopeful voices of those looking for work
  • To the Word of God proclaimed in our church and whispered in the street

You who make the deaf hear and the mute speak, hear our prayer.



Reflection for Aug. 30, 2015

posted on: Thursday, August 27, 2015 by: renaebauer

4 R's of back-to-school plan: Reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic & religion

Gaze upon the passage from Psalms in the picture below. Then consider one or both reflective questions.

Reflective questions:

  1. In the past year how have I grown in faith? What is one concrete way I can deepen my faith in the coming year?
  2. How do I share our Great Teacher's lessons with others?




Reflection for Aug. 23, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 by: renaebauer

How do you answer Jesus' question: 'Do you also want to leave?'

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by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach

Sunday's first reading from Joshua and the Gospel from John have a common theme. They are both about serving the Lord.

Joshua tells the Tribes at Sheckem to "decide today whom you will serve. ... As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." We all know that serving the Lord is important. Growing up in a German family, our attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments were vital. As for our family, "we will serve the Lord together."

When I grew older and attended the Convent, the Gospel of John was read, taken apart, discussed and more thoroughly explained. We were taught how the Word of the Lord was to be deep in our hearts and lived with truth and enthusiasm. Sometimes, like the disciples, I complained about how hard it was to live the Word of the Lord but making the effort has enriched my life.

Some of Jesus' followers left Him because of their lack of belief. Jesus gave them a choice, "Do you also want to leave?"  Peter, who was the spokesperson, answered Him. "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the Words of Eternal Life. We have come to believe and are convinced you are the Holy One of God."

This weekend, as you hear the readings proclaimed, consider the depth of your faith in Christ. Is your faith strong enough to wholeheartedly accept the Words of Eternal Life and commit to them in your life? Picture the Lord asking you, "Do you also want to leave?" Is your response, "Lord, to whom shall we go?" He is our God and our All and we will cling faithfully to Him.

I will remember you each in my prayers this week as you reflect on the powerful readings of this Sunday.  Blessings be yours.



Reflection for Aug. 16, 2015

posted on: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 by: renaebauer

Jesus: 'Whoever eats this bread will live forever'

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by Sister Jacqueline Capelle

Jesus told the crowds, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

What is the "flesh" that comes to the world? It is a gift from God, given to us in bread and wine. But they are more than symbols. When consecrated they are the Real Presence of Jesus, our sustenance for everlasting life -- the heart of our Catholic faith.

Reflection question:

Being fed by the Real Presence, how are you called to share Jesus with others?






Reflection for Aug. 9, 2015

posted on: Thursday, August 06, 2015 by: renaebauer

Prayer, community life and ministry all begin with love

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"So be imitators of God -- and live in love." (Ephesians 5:1)

by Sister Elise Cholewinski
Golden Jubilarian

One of the highlights of the summer for our Sisters is the celebration of Jubilee Day.  As we participate in this joyous occasion, we are invited once again to consider the meaning of the commitment we have made. St. Paul says it very well in Sunday's second reading: religious life is a life of love.

A Sister in her 90s enters the convent chapel in the evening and kneels on the floor before the tabernacle. She spends the last few minutes of her day in communion with her Beloved.  Religious life involves a deep, intimate, personal love of Jesus Christ. Personal prayer is at the heart of a Sister's daily routine.

A Sister attends her mother's funeral two weeks before Christmas. She spends several days at the convent during the holiday season, praying, visiting, sharing meals with the Sisters, and repeating her story yet one more time. As she drives home to her mission, she tells herself, "I feel so loved."  Religious life is about sharing joys and dreams, burdens and pain, with a group of women who inspire and encourage, befriend and support each other.  Being bonded with her Community, a Sister is assured that she never has to walk the journey alone.

A Sister returns home after school and announces that although she has reached the retirement age, her parish will do anything to keep her there. She has made such an impact on the children and their families that the administrator will create a new position for her. A Sister serves in many ways, through education, healing, and related ministries, but her presence goes far beyond the particular work that she does. She is remembered primarily for the love she has shown.

Prayer, community life, ministry -- these are the pillars of religious life and they are all dimensions of that one commitment to love. Jesus is the center of that one dedication. As a Sister moves into the future, her only goal is to fall more deeply in love. Why? Because she knows that God has first loved her with an everlasting love.


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