Weekly Reflections

Reflection for May 20, 2018

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fire of love

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Pentecost Sunday celebrates the enduring presence of the Spirit of Truth

by Sister Agnes Fischer

If I had a friend who was at the same time a wise lawyer, doctor, psychologist, marriage counselor, computer expert and economist I would be extremely fortunate. Well, today each of us is that fortunate.

On Pentecost, we not only remember the coming of the Holy Spirit but also celebrate the Holy Spirit's enduring presence. The Greek word for Holy Spirit is "Paraclete," which means "one who is at your side":

  • to console us in our sadness
  • to counsel us in our doubts
  • to animate us when we are discouraged
  • to strengthen us in our struggles
  • to teach us to love

It is this same friend whom we ask in Sunday's alleluia to "fill the hearts of the faithful with the fires of your love."


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Comments:

CommentBubbleI love what you have done here, Sr. Agnes, as you have made the Spirit-of-God-within-us VERY REAL for us. That is so needed today: to see the Holy Spirit at work in very real, genuinely caring and truth-filled ways. There are no lies in God; there is no deceit in Christ; there are no un-truths in the Holy Spirit. (Jn.14:17; Jn.15:26) The Holy Spirit is the leader and guide into ALL truth.

I am so happy to hear all of this because as we get to know the Holy Spirit more and more, as is so necessary for our Times, we come to more and more discern what is truly right and good and just, and what is deceptive and scheming. When we speak up for what is right and good and just and healing for others, we, too, are being "Advocates-of-God's-Truth-and-Peace-and-Justice." Just as the Holy Spirit is named, "Advocate," (Jn.14:26; Jn.15:26; Jn.16:7) so, too, do we, with the Spirit-living-in-us, become advocates for the rights and fullness-of-life-well-being-potential-promise-peace for others.

The Holy Spirit is, indeed, and in deed, our Advocate and Truth-teller in each and all of these: !! :+)

to console us in our sadness
to counsel us in our doubts
to animate us when we are discouraged
to strengthen us in our struggles
to teach us to love

"A Very Rich, Enflamed, Enflaming Feast of Pentecost for each and all!"

+ Bless +
Linda

CommentBubbleAg, love your reflection! Thanks for adding to my perspective that the Holy Spirit is that all encompassing friend who stands by our side though it all. Laura

CommentBubbleThank you, Sister Aggie, for the reminder what our friend the Holy Spirit does for us. -- Bert

CommentBubbleThanks, Aggie, for reminding us that the Holy Spirit is always there for us in so many ways. You have also provided us with a beautiful refresher on what it means to be a friend. I am blessed to have called you my friend for the last 70 years, which makes me a very lucky lady indeed!! -- Bette

 

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Reflection for May 13, 2018

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

In the world but not of this world

Jesus prays for our protection which is found in knowing Him

In Sunday’s Gospel we will hear Jesus ask God to protect believers from evil. The believers – like Jesus - do not belong to this world. In the daily reflection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Father Greg Friedman, OFM, says the supreme protection against evil is truth, specifically the Word of God.

Reflection questions:
  1. Jesus says we do not belong to this world.  Do I find comfort or discomfort in this message?
  2. In the order of my life where does the truth of salvation fall? First? Second?
  3. How do I celebrate the truth?

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Comments:

CommentBubble"Here I am, LORD. Infuse me. Use me -- to your honor and glory. Amen." -- Linda

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Reflection for May 6, 2018

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Two kinds of hunger

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The Bread of Life: A love given generously, to be shared generously

by Sister Rose Jochmann

This Sunday’s readings from St. John have a lot of references to love.

“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; Everyone who loves is begotten of God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8).
“Jesus said to his disciples: 'As the Father loves me, so I also love you.  Remain in my love. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.' ” (John 15:9,12-13)

St. Teresa of Calcutta gives us another insight into today’s readings. She once said, “Everywhere today, hunger is not only for a piece of bread, but hunger for God, hunger for love.”  We have opportunities daily to satisfy the hunger for God and for love:

  • Take time to listen and to provide an understanding word
  • Treat each person with respect
  • Offer prayer and support for those suffering loss

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Comments:

CommentBubbleA beautifully woven tapestry of loving thoughts, indeed, to which I add: "And in all your 'welcome's,' let your spirit and body speak: 'Well, Come!'" :+) Linda

CommentBubbleThank you Sister for the reminders of daily opportunities to spread God's love! Michael in Texas

 

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Reflection for April 29, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

A place in God's heart

How will you honor and strengthen your connection to our Creator today?

We share a connection and it’s greater than a telephone, a television or a computer. It is Jesus Christ.

The focus of Sunday’s readings reminds us of our dependence on God. First we hear from Acts how the Holy Spirit (through us, not because of us) builds the Church, followed by John’s letter which states that God is greater than our hearts and God knows everything. Finally, we hear the vine and branches metaphor in the Gospel. When we are with Jesus we bear fruit.

Reflection questions:
  1. How is my connection to Jesus?
  2. What kind of fruit am I bearing? How am I sharing the harvest of my faith?
  3. If I have injured my relationship with God, how can it be mended?

Vine and branches


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Comments:

CommentBubbleBefore I went to the reflection link, my very first thought upon seeing the bunch of grapes was how that bunch of grapes, the beautifully ripened fruit of the vine, must be 1) picked from the vine (separated, removed - as in 'death -' as was JESUS dying, then dead, on the cross); 2) crushed and squeezed, with everything of its 'life' being drained from itself, from its original property; 3) made into, turned into, transformed into a "new" property - wine. -- Linda

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Reflection for April 22, 2018

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Whether shepherd or sheep

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For Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus expresses his concern for us; in turn, we model his love to others

by Sister Laura Zelten

In today’s Gospel from John, Jesus tells us: “I am the good shepherd: a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep ... I know my own and my own know me ... they listen to my voice ...” Through this reading we learn about the qualities of a good shepherd and of a good flock.

The good shepherd takes care of his flock. He is patient with them; he loves them and never harms them; he is available to them at all times; and is ready to make sacrifices for them. A good flock listens to its shepherd; obeys his instructions; and follows him with confidence. In other words, there must be trust between a shepherd and the flock. 

As we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, we are reminded that each of us is a shepherd in one way or another. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, models for us the qualities needed to lead:

  • Sacrifice -- He sacrificed everything to save us, his flock;
  • Patience -- He always bears with our weaknesses;
  • Love -- There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13);
  • Availability -- He is always close to us: “Whoever shall call upon the name of Jesus shall be saved" (Rom 10:13). He is the way, the truth and the life.

Along with Good Shepherd Sunday our Universal Church marks World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We pray that men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord's call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes. May they be open to leading as Jesus the Good Shepherd leads.


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Comments:

CommentBubble"I know my own.." I am known and loved by God ...
"... my own know me ..." I know and love God in return ...
"... listen to my voice ...” JESUS'  Voice is the voice-of-my-heart; it is the voice that speaks truth, loves tenderly yet 'tough-ly' as in strong, empowering, inspiring, courageously bold, insight-fully wise. JESUS is both whisper and roar; sometimes he roars with laughter. JESUS is both the sorrow - and the Joy - of my heart. -- Linda

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Reflection for April 15, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Pope Benedict XVI: 'Mercy is the very name of God'

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Through Jesus, you and I are forgiven as we reflect on and amend our ways

by Sister Ann Rehrauer 

On this third Sunday of Easter, the message of Scriptures could not be clearer:  Our God is rich in mercy, and Jesus Christ crucified and risen, is our Advocate with the Father. 

The Gospel account describes one of the Risen Lord’s appearances to the disciples as he helped them understand the Scriptures: “... it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead ... that repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Following his command, the early Church preached a Gospel of repentance and forgiveness through Jesus.  Repentance includes both an admission of our need for forgiveness and a commitment to a conversion of life so that, as the apostle John says, we keep God’s commandments.

The Church has continued to preach this Gospel of mercy, even to our day through Pope Francis, and his predecessors Pope Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II.

In his second encyclical, Rich in Mercy, Saint John Paul II calls God’s mercy, "the greatest of the attributes and perfections of God" (Dives in Misericordia, 13).

Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “Mercy is the very name of God, the Face with which he revealed himself in the Old Covenant and fully in Jesus Christ, the incarnation of creative and redemptive Love.”  Benedict ends by praying that all the Church says and does will manifest the mercy God feels for all of us.

Today, as we live the reality of Jesus’ Resurrection, we pray that we and our world, so broken and in such pain, might experience the mercy of God and live in a way that witnesses to this great gift.


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Comments:

CommentBubbleDear Sr Ann, Thank you for the beautiful thoughts on God’s mercy. We would be lost without it. -- Irene Whatley

CommentBubbleSt. Anne's Episcopal Church, De Pere, holds a "Healing Mass" every Wednesday @ 9 a.m. I discovered this beautiful treasure just last year. I share with you a portion of the prayers I find so rich and meaningful:
"L: Restore to wholeness whatever is broken by human sin - in our lives, in our nation, and in our world.
R: HEAR US, O LORD OF LIFE.
L:  You are the Lord who does wonders.
R:  YOU HAVE DECLARED YOUR POWER AMONG THE PEOPLES.
L:  With you, O Lord, is the well of life.
R: AND IN YOUR LIGHT, WE SEE LIGHT.
L: Hear us, O Lord of Life.
R: HEAL US, AND MAKE US WHOLE."

Before the anointing takes place, we all pray: "God of all mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, opposing your will in our lives. We have denied your goodness in each other, in ourselves, and in the world you have created. We repent of the evil that enslaves us, the evil we have done, and the evil done on our behalf. Forgive, restore, and strengthen us through our Savior Jesus Christ, that we may abide in your love and serve only your will. Amen."  -- Linda

CommentBubbleAt a time when the world needs God’s mercy more than ever, your reflection on the Resurrection gives hope. Thank you! -- Michelle B

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Reflection for April 8, 2018

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Touch His side and believe

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Because of Thomas, we hear Jesus proclaim to him and us, 'blessed are those who believe'

by Sister Margaret Mary Halbach

Today is an important day for our Community.  We are commemorating Founders' Day during our 150th celebration year.  The Scriptures for this weekend are appropriate in my reflection on Community.  

The first reading on this Second Sunday of Easter is from the Acts of the Apostles. It speaks of the Apostles and their beginning of the Church and how they lived what Christ taught them: "The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.  With great power the Apostles bore witness to the Resurrection of the Lord, and great favor was accorded to them all." (4:32-33)

As I reflect on that statement I realize that, as each Sister lives in the spirit of Community, we can be and do more in Community than we can be or do alone. This thought has become a great part of our Sisters’ spiritualty.  We give witness to the love of Jesus Christ, lived in Community. We possess all things in common and then share all in a joyful attitude.

In the Gospel (John 20:19-31) Thomas the Apostle comes to the fore after not being present with the others when Jesus came to the Upper Room to reveal Himself. In a way Thomas is representative of all of us. We were not present in the Upper Room yet we are to have faith and believe.  Jesus challenged Thomas to put a hand into His side "and to not be unbelieving but believe. ... Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed."

We are challenged, too. We are called to touch not only Jesus' wounds but all those we meet in our wounded world.  Try to spend time today praying over the following thought: Who needs our gentle touch in their wounds? How can we help reveal Jesus?

Be not afraid. He is with us.


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Comments:

CommentBubbleHappy Founders' Day and blessings for many more years!!! - Claire

CommentBubbleThank you, Sisters, for your gentle healing touch over these 150 years of service.  Celebrate Jesus' endless goodness witnessed through you in endless ways!  Thank you for building a loving community.-Ellen

CommentBubbleThe experience of living in community is rich, indeed, but notice how the Gospel (John 20: 19-31) goes on to tell of the very first 'fearful' community of believers. Two weeks in a row, Jesus comes to his followers, who have locked themselves in, barred the door, out of fear.  Both times Jesus enters, appears with a message, a pronouncement of "Peace," dispelling their fears to move outward. Jesus appears, and 'breathes new life upon them and within them.'  Not just once, but twice. Not only does Jesus gift the believers with "Shalom," but he extends his very own wounded-ness to them, that they, too, will come to recognize their own wounds, and the ways they have wounded others, including Jesus.  This is metanoia - conversion - repentance and healing at work - just what disciples need to be authentic preachers of 'new life' and to become wounded healers, themselves, in the Example of "the Wounded Healer," Jesus. Your celebration is on Mercy Sunday. How fitting for these times! The psalm, too, so rich .... as each and every believing household and disciple-ed community can sing out, "The Mercy of God endures forever!" -- Linda

CommentBubbleI pray for the blessing of God to be with each of the Sisters as they commemorate & celebrate the 150th Founders Day! - Michael V

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Reflection for April 1, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

So much more than an Easter bonnet

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Among your garments include the joy, light and peace of our Risen Lord

by Sister Jane Riha

Are you wearing your new Easter clothes on Sunday?  It is common for people to don something new on Easter.  Those from a certain era will remember this portion of a song, “In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it ..."  We don’t wear bonnets nowadays but we might wear a special decorative hat.

The garments that persons of all ages are called to wear during this Easter Season are garments that are full of light, joy and peace.  Christ, our Risen Lord, the Light of the World, is in our midst.  The Gospel of John tells us about three persons, witnesses to an empty tomb.  Mary of Magdala came in the early morning when it was still dark.  Surprised she runs to tell Peter and “the other disciple” whom we believe was John.  They go into the tomb together and then this beautiful phrase follows: "He saw and he believed."  This "other disciple" believed.  He did not just look but he saw the significance of what had taken place.  White burial garments were left behind because the Risen Jesus was robed in light and glory.

All three -- Mary of Magdala, Peter and John -- were faithful disciples. I believe they all "saw and believed."  I invite you to enter into this Gospel and place yourself there.  Pray the Gospel and wait for the Risen Lord to reveal His presence to you. The garments of joy, light and peace will reveal themselves.  Most of all may these garments remain deep within your heart.  You are ready now to go out as a disciple and share the Good News of the Gospel.


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Reflection for March 25, 2018

Thursday, March 22, 2018

From joy to hatred

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On Palm Sunday we hear the people's proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah deteriorate into calling for his death

by Sister Lynne Marie Simonich

Imagine the excitement of welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem as the people waved palm branches and sang “Hosanna! (meaning  “save now”).  The crowds shouted out their belief that Jesus was “the one” who was coming to save them.  Their joy could not be contained.

Now imagine the change in tone as we listen to the proclamation of the Passion of the Lord.  “Hosanna” is replaced with “Crucify him”!  The crowds shouted their disbelief in Jesus as the Messiah.  Their hatred could not be contained.

As Jesus heard and felt the change from adoration and joy to anger and disbelief, he also underwent unbelievable physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.  Many of those who supported him as he entered Jerusalem suddenly deserted him.  Many of those who had followed him hid out of fear.  Imagine how he felt.

Reflection questions:
  1. What does the suffering and death of Jesus mean to you?
  2. Jesus’ journey to Calvary begins on Palm Sunday and continues through this most solemn week – Holy Week.  Will you journey with him?

 

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Reflection for March 18, 2018

Thursday, March 15, 2018

A journey of the heart

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Just as a seed gives way to fruit, we live more fully in Jesus when we say 'no' to ourselves and 'yes' to Him

by Sister Carolyn Zahringer

The Responsorial Psalm for this Sunday revisits the refrain and verses of Psalm 51 proclaimed on Ash Wednesday.  There is value in revisiting a Psalm of invitation five weeks into Lent.

Lent is a journey of the heart for each believer who experiences Lent with a measure of seriousness.  This year we began our Lenten journey on Valentine’s Day -- what a coincidence!

Our journey of faith begins at baptism and lasts a lifetime. This journey will challenge us and cause us to die to ourselves. Jesus says in Sunday's Gospel, “Amen, Amen I say to you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single grain. But if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn.12:24).  “Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there also will my servant be” (Jn12:26).

As part of the new evangelization efforts in our diocese, each of us is asked to share the Good News wherever we go. To where will the journey lead us as we approach Holy Week?  Palm Sunday falls on the Feast of the Annunciation. What will we “hear” being announced? How will we share it?

 

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