27 April 2010

We Follow Because We are Known

Today's familiar Gospel, an echo from Sunday's Good Shepherd reading, reminds us of the Lord's tender care for us ... but it also reminds us of a deeper truth: why we do follow this divine herdsman.

My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me. How many of us have been in a supermarket and heard a child yell, "MOM!" While every maternal ear in the store perks up, only one stomach drops. It may have come from three aisles away but the resounding cry for "MOM" is recognized. A mother knows her child's voice when she hears it -- even as far away as the cereal aisle may be from the frozen food section.

We cannot love what we do not know. If we believe that the Lord knew us before we were knit together in our mother's womb then we can ponder with awe how much more sensitively the Lord can know us and how much more tenderly he can love us. This Good Shepherd who calls out to us, whose voice we hear, is one who knows us and loves us deeply. Just as the well-trained ear of a mother knows her offspring's cry of distress, how much more sensitively will the ear of the Lord's heart be listening to the cry of his children in distress.

We are known by this Good Shepherd; we are loved. My very self you knew ... when I was being formed in secret (Ps. 139). It's no wonder we follow.

"As a holy shepherd he feeds me, his dear sheep, amidst the lilies of his perfections, in which I take pleasure; and I, his dear sheep, feed him with the milk of my affections, by which I strive to please him."

St. Francis de Sales

23 April 2010


We sent out a dynamic duo, Sister Mary Roberta and Sister Jacqueline, to represent our community at the Benedictine College Vocation Fair this week. Hallmark Benedictine hospitality marked their stay from delightful transportation service to and from the airport by their ever-helpful campus ministry angel and lovely accommodations at St. Benedict's Guesthouse. The kindness of the hosts was rivaled only by the attentiveness and interest of the students with whom they interacted.

Above, Sister Jacqueline spoke as part of a vocation panel which followed the 9am-2pm vocation fair. For more pictures from their exciting trip, visit our Facebook page here.

" Let every one then, having once found out God's holy will touching his vocation, keep to it holily and lovingly, practising therein its proper exercises, according to the order of discretion and with the zeal of perfection."
St. Francis de Sales

19 April 2010

Vigil Video 2010

After two weeks -- and some very alliterative problems (computer-codex-complications) we have a two-minute highlight video from our Easter Vigil Mass. "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken" was sung during the sprinkling rite after the renewal of our baptismal promises. Our faithful Father Heet, OSFS, made sure that Sister Mary Videocamera got enough holy water for her AND all the viewers of the soon-to be video! Do enjoy a short visit to the summit of our Sacred Triduum.

15 April 2010

Movie Night Moved!

Our April movie night and all-night Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament is moved from this coming Friday until Friday 30 April. This month's movie will be "Ocean of Mercy" -- an apt theme for the Easter Season -- and will be accompanied (as always) by some yummy pizza and fixin's thanks to our Sister Mary Roberta and Sister Anne Francis, the bringers of the cart-of-goodies!

This film chronicles the lives of St. Faustina, St. Maximilian Kolbe and the Venerable Pope John Paul II. It includes rare footage of the trio as well a fascinating explanation of how closely linked were the lives of these three followers of Christ -- even though they never met one another. Movie starts at 7.15pm and Adoration continues until 7am in the chapel. Be sure to RSVP on FB or to our email account so we can be sure that we have ample pizza and goodies for all!

11 April 2010

Thomas Takes a Thumping

Poor St. Thomas the Apostle will take a beating in many a homily today as the often-dubbed "Doubting Thomas" Gospel is read on this Divine Mercy Sunday. We might do well to consider a time when we have uttered a similar cry of disbelief. Perhaps we can recall saying, "I won't believe it until I see it." St. Thomas' reaction is quite normal and, in fact, very human. It is the humanity of his statement which makes room for Jesus' mercy. Jesus not only appears to Thomas but he comes to him in the precise manner in which Thomas needed to see him in order to believe it was really the Lord Himself. Jesus met Thomas in his doubt, in his weakness, in his humanity and he met him with tenderness; he invited Thomas to touch his wounds. Even after his victory on the cross, the Lord continues to heal his followers by his most sacred wounds. Those of us who seek to follow the Lord today are no exception. Christ comes to us in our brokenness, with all our faults and failings and he offers us the gift of his mercy -- and He does this in a special way in the sacrament of confession.

As we celebrate this Octave day of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday, let us, with Thomas exclaim with gratitude: My Lord and my God!

"But in order that the sweetness of his mercy might be adorned with the beauty of his justice, he determined to save man by way of a rigorous redemption. And as this could not properly be done but by his Son."
St. Francis de Sales

07 April 2010

Hearts on Fire

"Were not our hearts burning within us when he spoke to us?" At some point we've all felt a tug, a burning, a feeling much deeper than the quotidian joys and sorrows which await us each day. It's usually something connected with our deepest sense of who we are and who we know we were created to be. Former Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, spoke at our commencement exercises a few years back and she described how she felt when she walked past a Russian history class that was overflowing with students; she described how it changed her life and she talked about the challenges of switching her major from music to political science. She described the experience as following her passion -- something which she encouraged our graduates to do as they leave us.

How many married couples can pin-point a moment when they had a *sense* that they would like to spend the rest of their life with this particular person. It's usually not a logical conclusion or the result of a mathematical equation. Most of us in religious life, similarly, can speak about a moment when we had a deep sense of the Lord calling us to this or that particular community, a feeling which cannot be rivaled by the outcome of a vocation-match placement test or a personality index.

Like the disciples, we do not always recognize the significance of our "burning hearts" in the moment when we're set ablaze. Sometimes it is only after the fact that we realize just how important a particular experience was for us. Perhaps, as we begin our Easter journey, we can recall with gratitude those times when the Lord has set our hearts on fire with His love. Sometimes it is helpful to revisit scripture passages or spiritual writings which may have served to "fan the flame" in our hearts.

03 April 2010

Holy Week Highlights

As we have done in the past we try to provide our readers with a little window into our celebration of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum. Here we share some snippets from Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Preparations and celebrations show the time and care that go into making the liturgies of Holy Week prayerful and solemn; our sisters and visiting retreatants all lend a hand where it is needed to be sure that everyone has sufficient time to pray amid the busyness of these days.
The music in the video is the Litany of the Passion which we use as the opening hymn for Night Prayer on Holy Thursday. The video ends with the "crossing of the buns" for supper on Good Friday. They were not crossed quite as amply as they were last year, but they were consumed just as readily!
A blessed Easter to all our readers.!