Thursday, March 28, 2013
Gaze upon Christ, contemplate Christ, consider Christ, imitate
Today is Holy Thursday and we begin the Paschal
Triduum. A triduum is a three-day period of prayer, usually in
preparation for an important feast or in celebration of that feast.
This Triduum recalls the suffering, dying and rising of Christ
beginning Holy Thursday evening and concluding Easter Sunday.
The days are like a seamless garment of prayer. We begin with
the washing of feet and end with Mary Magdalene running to the
disciples announcing, "Jesus has risen." I love the fact that
I can take these holy days as a mini-retreat. They flow into each
other and the symbols are so strong. We use ordinary water, fire,
incense, a pitcher and towel, the cross and music to celebrate this
My prayer this Triduum is that, like St. Clare, each of us can
take time to gaze upon Christ, contemplate Christ, consider Christ
and imitate Christ, and live every day in the spirit of the
Resurrection. May we together grow during this time as Easter
Friday, March 15, 2013
Holy Father's simplicity, service to poor resonate with us
Sister Laura Zelten
As Franciscan women religious we rejoice with the rest of the
Church and world on the election of Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario
Bergoglio as our new Pope. As religious, we recognize that his
humility, simplicity, and commitment to the poor exemplify the
virtues of consecrated religious life.
We offer Pope Francis our prayerful best wishes and support as
he begins his papacy at a most historical time. We also pray for
the entire Church, that we all remain faithful to the mission of
the gospel given to us by Jesus Christ. May God bless and
strengthen our new Holy Father, Pope Francis.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
by Sister Laura Zelten
Returning to our hearts is often difficult for us. It's
too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if Lent is a time
to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength and solace
It is interesting that this year Valentine's Day is the second
day of Lent. For many of us, the word "Lent" connotes drab
days, giving up things and a long, long time waiting for
spring. Lent means many things, a time for repentance, a time
for sacrifice, a time for preparing for Easter.
We often overlook another meaning -- the idea that Lent is an
invitation to reconcile with God and with each other. Lent
calls us to look into our hearts and see what is there and act from
what we see. Lent is a season of the heart.
The Lenten scriptures, both the Hebrew Prophets and the New
Testament, are our guides for the Lenten journey. They make a
powerful point, one that our culture and society often
forgets: It is the heart that matters. What is in our
heart deeply influences our vision, our hearing and our
On Ash Wednesday Christians everywhere are called to remember,
repent and return. Through the symbol of ashes, we are asked
to remember that we are of the earth, created by another, and will
not walk the earth forever. We are asked to repent, to look
at ourselves, to recognize what keeps us apart from God, and to
return to the one who has created us.
Repentance, remembering, returning to God -- all of these begin
in our hearts. None of these is an intellectual
exercise. Returning to our hearts is often difficult for
us. It's too easy to get our hearts broken. But what if
Lent is a time to return to our hearts and find comfort, strength
and solace there? What if Lent is a time to return to our
souls and find our calling and our source of life? Is that
what happened to Jesus when he was in the desert for 40 days?
Can that happen to us during this season of Lent? Do we hear
God calling, "Come back to me with all your heart!"
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Magi story tells how faith draws you and me
to Our Savior
by Sister Laura Zelten
is one of my favorite Christmas symbols. We see stars on top
of Christmas trees, hung on houses and present in Nativity
The star in today's Gospel points the way to Jesus. The
story of the magi directs our attention to stargazers who looked
beyond themselves to the heavens. They found reason -- or better,
encouragement -- to leave their comfort zone to discover the Source
of all life and light. They encourage us to continue our
search for the One who draws us toward God. The magi read the
astral signs, recognized the true identity of the child, and
understood the message in a dream that told them to return home by
another route. Their openness brought them to the child, and
they did not go away disappointed.
The Feast of the Epiphany expresses God's will that all creation
come to know the God revealed in Jesus Christ, who continues to
shine forth in light and love. The promise of the feast is
that all of us are capable of absorbing and reflecting this light
so that the whole earth may walk from darkness into light.
- Do you see yourself at a reflector of God's light, as someone
with the desire to provide an epiphany for others?
- What helps you recognize the light of God in others?
Monday, October 29, 2012
Year of Faith is an invitation to open our
hearts and grow in God's love
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by Sister Laura Zelten
"The 'door of faith' (Acts14:27) is always
open for us, ushering us into the life of communion with God and
offering entry into his Church."
With these words Pope Benedict XVI welcomes us to the Year of
Faith. The words from his letter "
Porta Fidei" in which he announced this season of
Doors are such an important part of our lives. Do you
remember the last door you opened? We go through our day
without even thinking about the movement of passing through the
space of our sometimes they even open automatically for us.
If we think of it, never does a day go by that we don't pass
through a doorway.
As we celebrate the Year of Faith the one door I think about
opening is the door of my heart. Am I open to allowing Jesus
to enter into my heart during this special time in the
Church. The Year of Faith gives us an opportunity to open our
lives and celebrate the gift of Jesus.
God is with us in all of life. Our purpose for opening the
door of our heart is to help us know who we are so we can live more
joyfully, serve others and know the love of Christ.
- What kind of door is the door of your heart?
- Is the door of your heart open to spiritual growth?
- Whose doors (hearts) are you invited to enter?
- Have you shut your door (heart) to anyone else?
Thursday, September 27, 2012
By Sister Laura Zelten
I was riding past a church recently and saw on its sign, "God
does not take a vacation." I thought about what if God did
take a vacation and how horrible it would be not to be in contact
with God. When I think of what goes on in the world in a
week, what if God was away in a remote location and not responding
to the needs of the world? What would the world be
like? My first feeling was I really don't want to know.
My next thought was, do I take a vacation from God in the summer?
Do I let my faith life slide into a more relaxed mode during
the summer months? For example, am I inclined to skip attending
church services, forgo helping those in need or less likely to be
patient or forgiving with my family or friends as I could be?
Now think about how our lives change as we transition from the
summer months to the winter months. One of the biggest
indicators of the change in season is back-to-school
preparations. You are probably feeling excited about the new
school year and maybe a little sad that summer is over. But it is
one thing for certain: A time for new beginnings. For many families
it means returning to a routine after months of a more relaxed
summer schedule. There are now set times for waking up,
after-school activities, dinner, homework and bedtime.
There is a rich association with new beginnings and the start of
a new school year. It can also be a time when we can start fresh
with God. We can put in check our relationship with our
Creator. During the fall season I can consider be more
mindful of attending church services. I can consider a new outreach
project with which to become involved. I can practice being
more aware of the needs around me in my family and community.
Remember, God does not take a vacation so maybe we can add God to
our lives in a more intentional manner as we look forward to the
new academic year.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
|Our chapel doors lead to our holy water font where we renew our
baptism each day.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Second
Vatican Council (Oct. 11, 1962 to Dec. 8, 1965) we are reminded
that, by baptism, each of us is called -- each receives a
"vocation." Vocation means a call. Vatican II reminds
us that all are called to holiness. We are invited to respond
by loving and serving God and others in ways unique as each
person. Your vocation is "the place where your deep
gladness meets the world's deep need." (Frederick
Buechner). We all have choices in living out our Christian
How do we discover God's call in life?
Remember the scene in the Gospel where the rich young man asks
Jesus, "Master what is the greatest commandment of all?" Now here
is a young man who was really asking the right questions. He
was asking: What is the most important thing for you to do
with your life?
- What is the one thing that will give your life meaning and
- What is the one thing worth sacrificing everything else
Jesus' answer is very simple: "You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, mind, and soul and you shall love
your neighbor as yourself." The most important task in life
is to learn to love. That is what a Christian Vocation is all
Monday, August 13, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
August is not only the beginning of the new academic year it is
also the beginning of football season on all levels. On my daily
morning walk I see the Green Bay Preble Hornet teams hard at
practice. The Packers started their preseason at San Diego and the
poor grade school Falcon football players at St. Philip Parish got
caught in a drenching down poor last Thursday.
I think there are lessons in football we can apply to our
- First, we all start with an unblemished 0-0 record. At
the beginning of any project we start as a winner with hopes of
finishing well. The test of time proves how and when we
- Secondly, we all have hopes of a winning season. On any
new adventure we start out with the end in mind. How we get
to the end is all about the journey ahead and what twists and turns
we encounter on the way.
- Thirdly, team building is important. A new year brings
new skills and new personalities. In life, who are our
companions and how do we help each other accomplish our
goal? Can we be open to learning new skills and new
ways of doing things? Yes, it is a new school year and
a new football season, how am I being a team player?
Friday, August 3, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
Watching the Olympic Games this week has been wonderful. I
marvel at all the strength, talent and dedication of the
athletes. I can't imagine the hours of practice they put in
to achieve the level of perfection it takes to compete with the
world's best. Conversely, watching the level of agony when
they don't make it to the gold is painful. How crushing it
must be after all the time and energy they put in and to lose by
1/100 of a second.
So how do you measure 1/100 of a second? To me it sounds
like a blink of the eye and yet if you lose by it, it could be an
eternity. Does God measure us in 1/100's of a second?
No, I have come to the conclusion that God gives us all a gold
medal if we put forth our best effort with the best
intentions. So as I watch the Olympic Games I am happy for
those who win and congratulate all the athletes on their hard work
and effort. But, I am also encouraged as St. Timothy says, "I
have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the
faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the
Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to
me, but to all who have longed for his appearance." (2 Tim.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
by Sister Laura Zelten
As I was driving across town this week I counted all the
vegetable stands on the street corners. To be exact there
were seven going from the west to east. Each one had a
variety of fruits and veggies. The stands were so beautiful
with all the different colors, textures and sizes. I
reflected first on the Canticle of Creatures from St. Francis of
Assisi and with him said, "Praise be you, my Lord."
Francis was at one with the earth and God's love. He was
able to see the presence of God in the smallest of creatures, which
led me to ask, "During this summer season do I take time to
appreciate even the spiders and ants I find on my walls or walks?"
Secondly, I reflected on the gifts these fruits and veggies
require, from the work of the farmer, the nutrients of the earth,
the seed itself, the rain (when it falls) and the sun. We
need all of these to produce the fruits of the earth. We also
need trust in God. When we plant that first seed we have hope that
it will grow and give.
What are the seeds that I need to sow in order to share God's
presence in the world? Do I trust that God calls me daily to share
my gifts with others? I love this time of year; it has so
many lessons for life.