April 18, 2014

Doing the Father's Will

                As first year novices we spend quite a bit of time learning, reading, and praying about our three vows.  So far, I have focused more of my time outside class on the vows of poverty and chastity.  It has been a great blessing to deepen my understanding of God’s call for me to live in intimate union with Him – loving Him before all others and above all else, and seeing everything (and everyone) else as a gift from Him.  I have been able to recognize more His great love for me in the gift of my vocation and all the many gifts He gives me each day of my life. 
               That was a rather long introduction to the point of this post.  I am supposed to be writing about a Lenten grace.  When I was praying about how God was calling me to fast and pray this Lent, He seemed to be saying, “Okay, what are you waiting for?  It’s time to think about that third vow.”  So I resolved to focus on Obedience for this time of Lent.  It seemed simple enough to me – just do what my superiors asked, follow the order of the day, and be cheerful while doing it.  If I really wanted a challenge I could even make myself available to do things that my co-sisters asked, even though I didn’t really have to.  By doing all of this I could more closely imitate Christ in His obedience to the Father.
                The grace of this Lent has really turned out to be a much greater awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life.  He has guided me to a much deeper understanding of what it means that Christ was obedient even to death.  Through scripture reading, meditation, and daily Mass, the Holy Spirit has increased my love for and given me the grace to do the will of the Father.  Through our daily examination of conscience, He has helped me to see how He is really there, showing me God’s will at every moment.  If I follow His promptings, I will receive more grace and be open to Him even more.  He has led me to reflect on how these little daily obediences are how I grow closer to Christ in doing the will of the Father.  And all this has led me to ponder how much I am willing to give.  Am I really ready to give my whole being, my whole life, like Christ did?  That’s definitely something to continue to strive for, while knowing that the Holy Spirit will show me the way to do it, give me the grace to do it, and increase my love for doing it, moment by moment, and day by day.

April 17, 2014

The Eucharist - a Lenten grace received

At first when I started thinking of a Lenten grace to write about I could not think of anything.  After all, I have not had any visions, been healed of a disease or worked any miracles!  But then I thought about the greatest grace imaginable, the grace of falling deeper in love with the One Who has called me to be His.  This has been His gift to me this Lent; the gift of knowing in a deeper way that I am His and He is mine.  The gift of falling more in love with our Eucharistic God, Who even as I write this and you read this, is waiting for us, waiting to shower His love on us.  Not in some generic spring shower way, but a torrential downpour on each of our souls.  This Lent Jesus has let me experience, even if it was just a little, His presence in the Holy Eucharist.  His gift to me has been Himself and now I am trying to give Him in return what He is longing for:  my whole being.  I pray that all of us will come to see the immense gift of the Eucharist, to experience in an even deeper way the reality of our total dependence on the Eucharist and Jesus’ great longing to unite each of us totally with Himself for all eternity!  In the words of St. Peter Julian Eymard, “We have the Eucharist, what more could we want!”

April 16, 2014

His Face

Lent, a time of prayer, penance, and fasting, has been filled with many graces.  This Lent was busy with many different activities, but at the root of it has been Christ.  He has shown His Face in the people I have met and served.  He has spoken through my Sisters, visitors and the time spent in silence before the Blessed Sacrament with His peace.

                Graces can be so apparent and other times so hidden.  In this Lenten journey Christ has poured so many graces, too numerous to count or even share.  He has spoken through scripture to share that He comes for all of us.  Even in the difficult moments when we barely recognize ourselves, He is waiting for us, for me, for you at the well thirsting for your love.  He has shown us through the blind man that wonder of being able to see Christ and the world anew when we say yes daily in our little self denials.  The blind man showed us that really our stories and everything should simply be Christ.  Lent has given me insight of truly being present on the Way of the Cross.

April 15, 2014

If you knew the gift

These next few days some of the novices will share about a Lenten grace they have received.              
               What echoes in my mind this Passion Sunday is, “if you knew the gift” (John 4:10) which Jesus spoke to the woman at the well.  If I only knew the gift.  Like the woman I thought I could grasp what Jesus had in store, but I now find myself in awe.

                This Lent God has opened my heart to see, ever more than before, the depth of His spousal love for me, His abandonment to my yes.  In short, the Gift He wishes to offer, His very Heart, He offers to me, awaiting my response, the abandonment of my ways, my fears.  Then, upon consuming Him in the Eucharist, He may consume me so that we may become one flesh.  He has shown me His Gift, so that I can be completely given.

April 12, 2014

Holy Week - Are you ready?

May the peace of Christ descend upon you!

Can you believe it?  Can you believe that tomorrow we enter into the holiest of weeks?  Are you ready?

Perhaps you have been so busy that Lent has just “passed you by” and now it is Palm Sunday.  Perhaps you anticipate this week with great awe.  Perhaps you are fighting the temptation to think you just failed all of Lent with your resolutions, so why try now. 

I write at this time to encourage you to begin again.  Regardless of what your Lent experience has been thus far, Jesus is inviting you to accompany Him this week.  If you are discouraged, remember, resolutions not fulfilled remind us that we are indeed weak and need Jesus.  We need Him.  I need Him.  I need His grace to respond in charity.  I need His mercy so to give mercy to my neighbor, my Sister, my friend.  I need His love to restore my dignity.  Jesus invites you and me to be with Him these days.  He wants to show you and me the depth of His love.  It is a mystery.  A profound mystery.  Are you open?  Are you ready to receive and be overwhelmed by such a love as His?  Ask His Mother, your Mother, Mary to lead you to her Son.  Be not afraid to enter into the mystery of love this week. 

You are chosen by the Father, loved so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for love of you.  He wants you to be with Him.  Jesus wants to give you so much: everything!  He pours Himself out for you!  Ask for the grace you need to enter into this week.  Be surprised by the working of the Holy Spirit in your mind, heart and soul.  Allow yourself to surrender, to trust in a love that is beyond words.  Simply look and gaze upon the One who loves you.  Allow His gaze to rest upon you.  Let Jesus transform you and set you free.

Walk with Jesus through the crowds tomorrow as He rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.  Remain with Him as He anticipates what is to come.  Listen to Him as He speaks of Love on Holy Thursday and gives you the Bread of Life.  Console Jesus in His agony while saying yes to the Father’s cup given to Him to drink.  Walk with Him on the Way to Calvary.  With Mary, gaze upon Him hanging on the Cross.  Be silent as Jesus is taken down and placed in the tomb.  Persevere in waiting on Holy Saturday.  Rejoice with gratitude at the gift of Redemption on Easter morning at the empty tomb.  LOVE is Victorious!
There is much grace for YOU these days.  Now is the time.  Now is the time to respond!  Let us pray for each other.

April 11, 2014

A Diaper Change

When I was on homevisit several years ago I had a once in a lifetime experience.  I was in the kitchen and I heard my niece who was under two years old crying in the back room.  My sister comes to get me.  She tells me that my niece is requesting me to do something.  What?  Yep, she is crying because she wants ME to change her diaper.  She does not want her mom to do it or grandma, but me.  Now, how many of you have been chosen to change a dirty diaper?  My niece finally calmed down when I arrived on the scene to do what she wanted.  I do not know why she wanted me to do it, but I was the chosen one.

As we get ready to enter into Holy Week, do you know who you want to cleanse your soul?  Each one of us is in need of mercy.  Do you and I recognize the "dirt" in our heart?  I am in need of a Savior who will wash me clean.  Are you as adamant and determined as my niece in knowing Who you want to help you?  Go to Jesus these days.  Be not afraid to show Him your soul and be cleansed from sin so as to be at peace and be made new.

February 3, 2014

Welcome Cristina!

Praised be Jesus Christ!  Hi, my name is Cristina Lopez, and I am so grateful to have joined the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George this January!  I am 18 years old and just graduated from a Catholic High School this past June.  I have a younger brother and sister.  I am all the way from Vancouver, Canada but no, I am not used to this cold and snow.  I live in the warmest part of Canada, it’s true!

Ever since I was a little girl, around four years old, God blessed me with the desire to offer my life to Him as a sister.  I never denied Him and wanted to do His will.  For many years I asked Him where (which community), but He would not answer.  God has His own timing and is full of surprises.  In August, after I went to WYD, I heard about this community through the internet.  Through the Sisters’ simplicity in prayer and everyday life, the joy, love and peace of Christ radiated from them, and touched my heart.  God truly works in mysterious ways and has His own timing; I entered within 5 months!

St. Therese of Lisieux has always been my inspiration and guide.  Striving to be a saint, my goal, as a religious sister is to imitate her by always having child-like love and trust in the Lord, no matter what happens, and by doing everything big and small with joy and love in order to console the Heart of Jesus and make visible His merciful love.

I pray you may also have the door to your heart open for when Christ knocks and calls your name.