posted on: Thursday, August 28, 2014 by: renaebauer
Paradise in our Father's house requires
dispensing of this world
by Renae Bauer
Self-preservation is instinctual, which is probably why Sunday's
readings are so challenging. They speak of losing everything
"here" in return for everything "there." Why does Jesus ask us to
sacrifice so much?
The full answer isn't necessarily ours to know. After saying,
"(W)hoever loses his life for my sake will find it," Jesus
explains, "For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his
Father's glory, and then he will repay all according to his
conduct." We are not to conform to this age; we are to prepare for
something more to come. Yet, none of us knows what exactly heaven
or eternal life is like.
Perhaps we'd be more willing to give up everything if we
understood exactly what we will receive in return. But that's not
going to happen, as far as I know. I'd like to believe that the
sweetness of eternal life is not ours to know today because our
minds can't comprehend how amazing it is. Even so, Scripture hints
at what heaven is like: Our Father's house (John 14:2); paradise (2
Cor. 12:4); and a dimension that is free of tears, pain and death
When, because of my faith, I feel "duped" or the "object of
laughter" (as described in Jeremiah) I need to remember another
passage from Jeremiah: "The Lord is with me, like a mighty
champion" (20:11). His aid alone makes all things possible.
posted on: Thursday, August 21, 2014 by: renaebauer
Time reveals and deepens the answer to 'Who
do you say that I am?'
by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach
Our Gospel for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time gives the
question of "Who do you say that I am?"
I remember reflecting on this question many times during my
annual retreat. Our answer grows in us as we grow older and have
various experiences. Everything we do and are is a result of
listening to the Lord in our lives and speaking His words in our
This year a very dear friend of ours celebrated her 75th jubilee
as a Sister in our Community. She has been a part of my life since
I entered. I asked her if she answers the question, "Who is Jesus?"
differently today than when she first entered. She said she answers
it the same but over the years it has deepened in her heart.
Experience gave her a greater perspective of the Lord being a close
part of her life's journey. She said she appreciates all the Lord
has done for her.
Peter answered the Lord by listening to the Spirit in his heart.
Peter proclaims Jesus as the "Messiah, the Son of the living God."
In return, Jesus makes Peter "the rock" or foundation on which the
Church continues to grow. May your answer to who Jesus is deepen in
your hearts and proclaim it wholeheartedly.
posted on: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by: renaebauer
Mom's persistence says volumes about her
faith in Jesus
by Sister Paulette Hupfauf
The scriptures this Sunday display differing aspects of Jesus'
Isaiah says, "Observe what is right, do what is just for my
salvation is about to come. Foreigners join themselves to the Lord…
will be acceptable on my altar, for my house shall be called a
house of prayer for all my people."
Then in Matthew we hear the story of Jesus and the Canaanite
woman (a foreigner) begging for healing for her daughter.
Initially, the disciples suggest to Jesus that he send her away. It
is the determination of the woman, who says, "Lord, help me."
Jesus says, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you
as you wish." Her daughter was healed.
What a great example the Canaanite woman is for us! She persists
as she has great faith that Jesus is kind and merciful. She does
not give up in adversity. When we have a need and ask Jesus in
prayer, we can follow her example and, with determination, persist.
Our God is a loving God!
posted on: Thursday, August 07, 2014 by: renaebauer
Keeping our eyes on the Lord helps us
navigate life's storms
by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich
Our Gospel for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time brings us to the
sea. Jesus invited Peter to walk on water to come to
him. Peter believed he would be able to do that and he
stepped out of the boat to join Jesus. As long as he looked
to Jesus, he walked on the water. When he focused on the
strong winds and the waves, he sank. He looked to Jesus for
help and Jesus' hand brought him to safety. He knew that
Jesus had the power to save him and he did just that.
We celebrate with our Jubilarians who, like Peter, took a risk
to follow the Lord. They left the security of their homes and
all that was familiar to them to step out and join Jesus.
In good times and not so good times, they have tried to keep
their focus on the Lord. In the storms of life and the calm
moments, they have given their all. They, like Peter, know
that Jesus has taken them by the hand through all the experiences
of their lives. They also know that Jesus continues to walk
with them as they journey through this life.
Let us thank our God for these women who have served God's
people and have given us all a wonderful example of faith,
dedication and selfless love!
posted on: Thursday, July 31, 2014 by: renaebauer
God's infinite mercy is woven throughout the
by Sister Carolyn Zahringer
Sunday's readings are wonderfully complementary. They invite,
respond, bless and surprise!
Isaiah's words invite us to come -- come heedfully to the Lord
and listen - so that we may have life. To what depth of life do
these words summon us?
The responsorial psalm states: "The hand of the Lord feeds
us; he answers all our needs." How does this happen in the everyday
moments of our lives?
In St. Paul's letter to the Romans, Paul tries to calm all
questions with his conviction ... "For I am convinced that ...
nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ
Jesus our Lord." How convinced are we of God's everlasting love for
The Gospel is Matthew's version of the feeding of the 5,000 (not
counting women and children). Jesus has been spiritually feeding
everyone with his teachings. The people gathered are physically
hungry. The disciples have five loaves and two fish
only. What is that for so many? They learn it is
enough when blessed and shared. The surprise twist
is they gather up 12 baskets of leftovers! What marvelous
"meal(s)" have we experienced recently?
posted on: Thursday, July 24, 2014 by: renaebauer
Longing for God can inspire pearls of
by Carla Schommer
St. Francis Convent Director
When the Lord told Solomon in a dream to ask Him for anything
and it will be given, Solomon did not ask for riches, or a long
life, or the life of his enemies. Solomon asked God for an
understanding heart. He asked God for the wisdom of an
understanding heart to judge God's people and to know right from
wrong. Solomon asked God for wisdom to govern God's people
Our faith teaches us that wisdom is one of the seven gifts of
the Holy Spirit (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1845). St.
Paul refers to wisdom as a virtue in his letter to the Corinthians
(1 Cor 12:8-10), and clarifies the difference between worldly
wisdom and Godly wisdom (1 Cor 1:17-31). Wisdom is the
ability to think and act using knowledge, experience,
understanding, common sense, and insight. It involves an
ability to control one's emotions and to understand people, things,
events and situations.
Looking at the events of the world, the discourse in government,
and even of our daily life, I wonder if any of us are asking for
the gift of wisdom as did Solomon? I wonder if what we often
want most is selfish and self-serving: possessions, security,
power, pleasure, comfort?
In our Gospel Jesus likens the kingdom to a merchant who sells
all he has in order to buy one really valuable pearl. What
would our world be like if the one really valuable pearl would be
the wisdom Solomon asks for? Perhaps we would understand our
enemies, have world peace based on justice for all, care for the
poor, be in communion with each other and learn to live in Christ
Jesus. For Christ gives us something far greater than the
wisdom God gave Solomon. For each of us open to Christ,
Christ gives us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and everlasting
life with the Lord.
posted on: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by: renaebauer
Seeds vs. weeds: Which one is thriving in
your faith garden?
by Sister Mary Kabat
Are there changes you wish to make in your life -- exercise
regularly, eat healthier, improve a relationship, take more time
for prayer, read a good book? We all know there are changes
that would be good for us and we wonder why we just don't do
them. There are also things we are doing that we know would
be better for us not to do. They aren't necessarily hard
changes; we just don't do them.
That comes to mind as I reflect on the Gospel of this
Sunday. Jesus gives us three parables. Each one gives
us the opportunity to identify with something in the story or to
let the lesson sink into our heart and change us.
I am staying with the parable of the man who sowed good seed in
his field only to discover weeds growing with the wheat. I
can identify. There is "good seed" in me, but there are
"weeds" as well. The parable says that it could do more harm
than good to pull out all the weeds as the good seed is
growing. However, I think I could pull one or two of my weeds
and put a good seed in their place. I have a few weeds in
mind. Do you?
posted on: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 by: renaebauer
Tender care of our hearts and minds allows
God's seeds to bear fruit
by Sister Agnes Fischer
In Sunday's Gospel, Jesus talks about seeds eaten by birds,
dried up by the sun, choked by thorns, and about seeds that produce
Watch out for the birds, the drying sun, the thorns ...
- With so many soap operas telling us that marriage triangles are
normal, how does our own fidelity to our vows bear fruit among our
extended family members?
- With so many commercials telling us what to buy, how is the
responsible use of our family resources an example to others?
- With so much violence in movies, TV and video games, how do we
teach our children to live in peace with themselves and those
- With so much acrimony among our elected officials, how do we
exercise our rights and duties as informed citizens?
- With so much mistrust of those different from us, what do we do
to welcome immigrants, people of other religions, sexual
orientation, color, ethnicity, etc. into our lives?
... so that the seeds of God's Word can take root and bear
posted on: Wednesday, July 02, 2014 by: renaebauer
The presence of Jesus in our lives shines
through to those around us
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
Over the past few years June has become one of my favorite
months. Classes and programs are finished, my office is in order,
and I can look forward to time away. Much of that time away
includes directing retreats and eventually making my own retreat. I
anticipate with joy spending time by the lake, renewing friendships
with other retreat directors, and praying in silence and solitude.
Those are such refreshing experiences.
During the last week of May my brother had very serious heart
surgery in Milwaukee. It occurred the day before I was scheduled to
begin my ministry at an individually directed retreat. The evening
prior to the surgery I withdrew from the retreat, trusting that
someone would be available to take my place.
I spent several days in June with my sister-in-law at the
hospital. We stood at my brother's bedside, assisting him and
encouraging him. She and I ate meals at nearby restaurants, spent
time walking around a shopping mall, slept next to each other in
lounge chairs in a small, windowless room in the ICU family center,
and engaged in some rather deep conversations as we traveled back
and forth to the city. From time to time she expressed sincere
gratitude for my simply being with her.
In this Sunday's Gospel Jesus invites us, "Come to me, all you
who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest."
Sometimes we follow that invitation by going off alone to be in His
Presence. At other times we hear the call to do just what He did,
to be His Presence, to invite another to be with us, and to become
a source of strength and peace for that person. That was the call I
heard this spring, and through my response I came to know a new,
refreshing kind of experience.
posted on: Thursday, June 26, 2014 by: renaebauer
Jesus: 'You shall be my witnesses ... to the
ends of the earth'
by Sister Sally Ann Brickner
This week our Catholic Church deviates
from the Sunday Scripture readings to commemorate the feast of
Saints Peter and Paul. As "disciples on the way," each of
them offered profound witness of evangelization, of living the "joy
of the Gospel." During the US Bishops'
Fortnight for Freedom: Freedom to Serve (June 21 to July 4) may
we reflect on the readings of this feast day to learn about the
examples of Saints Peter and Paul. Both chose to serve Jesus (and
accept death) over political power that was contrary to the
Witness of Prayer -- Unwavering trust in the
Lord sustained both Peter and Paul throughout every evil threat
whether it came from within the Jewish or gentile communities.
How deep is my relationship with Jesus? Is He my only
security and hope?
Witness of Discipleship -- Saints Peter and
Paul took up their crosses daily and followed Jesus just as He
asked His disciples to do. They were martyred because of their
belief in Jesus' teachings.
Do I take up my crosses joyfully each day in response
to Jesus' call to discipleship?
Witness as Missionaries -- Jesus sent his
disciples to "Go out to all the world and spread the Good News"
from Galilee to Jerusalem, and on to Rome. Every day Saints Peter
and Paul shared their personal relationship with Jesus and the
depth of His love for them and for all in the world.
Am I so filled with Jesus' love that it radiates out
Prayer, discipleship, and mission as exemplified by Saints Peter
and Paul show us what "freedom to serve" really is, even to the
point of giving our lives for others.