Weekly Reflections

Reflection for Aug. 9, 2015

Thursday, August 6, 2015

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.



Reflection for Nov. 2, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

For National Vocation Awareness Week, may we all listen to God's call


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by Sister Laura Zelten

A young woman recently stated how clear the invitation to follow God is in Sacred Scripture. When I asked her what she meant, she said, "Samuel was awakened in the middle of the night, Paul was knocked down and blinded on the road, and Mary had an angel come to her. For them it seems so clear and direct. Why isn't it that way for me?"

I smiled in agreement.  Sometimes the invitation to follow Jesus can seem nebulous or inaudible. But maybe the people of Scripture were listening intently and were open to God's call no matter how it came.

To hear God we might be well served to silence the noise around us. It is so easy for us to fill our days and nights with activities. Connecting with the spiritual means a daily commitment to quality prayer time. God does speak to us through Scripture, Eucharist, nature, and the people and events in our lives. Can we be like the people of Scripture and listen closely for God?  Through prayerful discernment we discover that God wants only what is good for us -- what brings wholeness and leads to holiness.




Reflection for Feb. 2, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who helps you recognize the Messiah?


by Sister Laura Zelten

What appeared as a normal day at the temple was extraordinary. Luke's text tells of Mary and Joseph's purification even though the Law only required purification of the woman after childbirth. Mary and Joseph needed to share the experience, to grasp the magnitude of the proclamations made about their son. In essence, their purification was a symbolic cleansing for their earthly responsibility of raising the Messiah.

In the temple, Mary and Joseph met two people, Simeon and Anna, representatives of humanity through whom all generations would acknowledge the Messiah. What was different about them? Simeon was righteous and devout, a godly man. Anna, a prophetess, fasted and prayed day and night in the temple. They recognized the Messiah in their midst.

Today, as we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life, we remember all vowed Sisters, Brothers and Priests who have taught us about Jesus. We give thanks to God for their willingness and sacrifice to be signs of hope for us. We pray that God will continue to bless them and will grace the Church with more men and women who will continue to serve God and God's people.



Reflection of Feb. 5, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Zelten_Laura_Sister2012-100pxby Sister Laura Zelten

When I think of the line "for the sake of the Gospel" I think of people who have given their lives to Christ -- Francis and Clare of Assisi, Norbert, Francis Xavier, Our Blessed Mother, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, Maria Goretti and the list goes on. The Saints were people who heard the call to be on mission and were not afraid to give their lives totally to God.

In today's New Testament Readings from Corinthians and Mark's Gospel, we hear of two men who are "on a mission."  For St. Paul, his mission is to be a "slave to all" in order that he "might win over as many people as possible" to the Gospel message.  Jesus' message was to accomplish what he was sent to do, mainly "... to go on the villages that I may preach there also."  This mission gave both men a sense of meaning and purpose in what they were about and an identity as to who they were in relationship to those whose lives they touched.  Jesus states clearly, "for this purpose I have come ... to preach and drive out demons throughout the whole of Galilee."  For Paul, it was his purpose in life to "become all things to all, to save at least some."

This Sunday, the Church recognizes and expresses gratitude for those who have consecrated their lives to God. World Day for Consecrated Life is the occasion to promote this life choice as one of the ways to live out our baptismal commitment.

Consecrated life, rooted deeply in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a special gift of God.  Some women and men are called by God to live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.  By devoting themselves to God with undivided hearts, women and men embrace God's radical call, leaving all things behind and daring to put themselves totally at the service of God and God's people.

Reflection Questions:

  1. In my baptismal call how am I on mission?
  2. In what ways have I been inspired by the lives of men and women religious?


Reflection for Jan. 15, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kabat_Mary_Sister_2009_100pxby Sister Mary Kabat

We have come to the close of National Vocation Awareness Week (Jan. 9 to 14), but our Scripture readings continue the spirit of the week.  We see the young Samuel peacefully asleep when God calls to him.  We watch him leap up and run eagerly to Eli, "Here I am."  Here I am, ready and willing to do whatever you ask of me.

We have "Samuel" times in life when we feel eager to give ourselves fully to someone or something and anticipate the good that will come to our lives …college, a job, marriage, a child… In all the experiences of life God is calling us to grow, mature and speak our "Here I am" more fully, truly and deeply.

But our God knows that we also become "more" by becoming "less."   In the Gospel John the Baptist reveals Jesus as the Lamb of God to his disciples and then lets them go to follow him.  That day John's "Here I am" was to embrace his diminishment.

We have "John" times in life when we are called to say "Here I am" to an illness, a job loss, the death of a loved one, and other challenges human life brings us.  In those moments God is calling us to embrace those experiences with trust and belief that they also are opportunities for us to become more fully the person God is ever calling us to be.

Sister Laura Zelten, our Vocation Director, closed her National Vocation Awareness letter to us with these words:  "Let us pray that each of us, in our full response to God's call may, like Jesus, (like Samuel, like John) hear God say, 'You are my beloved with whom I am well pleased.'"


Reflection for Jan. 8, 2012

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our Motherhouse Chapel doors lead to the baptismal font where we renew our belief in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
"You are my Beloved with whom I am well pleased."  -- Mark 1:11

by Sister Laura Zelten

January 9-14 is National Vocation Awareness Week, which begins with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.  This feast is the bridge between Christmas and Ordinary Time in the Church.  I always find this time difficult.  We no longer see the glitter of the Christmas decorations, the Christmas cookies and candy are almost gone and the seasonal music has stopped.  There seems to be a let down feeling in the air.  Anticipation is gone and everything is packed away.

So how are we to celebrate the Baptism of our Lord?  It is a day to remember Jesus' call to mission but also a day for us to remember our call as baptized Catholic Christians.  We are called  to proclaim the Good News with our lives.

During National Vocation Awareness week we are asked to pray for vocations:  that all people will open their hearts to God's call and respond freely and fully.  Let's do that.  During this next week, let each of us promise to pray that people will live their lives as God calls them.  In particular, let us ask God to open the hearts of many men and women so they may hear the happiness to which they are called through service to the Church as vowed religious, deacons and priests.  Let us pray that each of us, in our full response to God's call may, like Jesus, hear God say: "You are my Beloved with whom I am well pleased."