Feeds:
Posts
Comments

We are quickly approaching the Holiest of Weeks—and it seems that the recent days of Lent have been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic (or maybe the pandemic has caused us to be more Lent-minded!)  As we approach Palm Sunday, let us imagine ourselves in the crowd around Jesus without worrying about social distancing!  On this day, we anticipate the victory of Jesus culminating in the Resurrection, only a week away!  Let us lay at his feet our palm branches, along with our worries and concerns!

Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

A little late…this should have been posted on Friday, but here it is Tuesday—another day of “stay at home, stay healthy, stay safe” for so very many of us….Time just got away from me.  WE have been challenged in ways we would never have imagined, but we believe God is with us.  Perhaps one of the benefits is that we will hopefully never take for granted so many of the things that we have to forego right now:  going to Mass in person, going shopping for the fun of it, visiting friends and family, making plans for vacation outside of our own backyard!  Let us be thankful for what we DO have! And pray for those in greater need than ourselves!

Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

 

I recently read an amusing description of parishioners in a book by John Hillier; basically, he talks about us as wishbones, jawbones, funny bones, dry bones, and backbones.  I am sure you can figure out his four humorous definitions but my hope is that each of us is, or is trying to be,backbones… “the spiritually sound and faithful ones who support the mission of the Church and keep the Body of Christ standing.”

 

As we welcome new members to our Catholic tradition at the Easter Vigil, April 11, let us remember that we have been called and chosen to BE JESUS in our larger world, and in our smaller world…our parish community.  We are called to be disciples, followers of Jesus, who by our words and example continue to make Jesus known in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our families and in all our interpersonal relationships.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not really sure where I found this story, but when I re-discovered it in my “collection” I decided it would be appropriate during this time of change.  Here we are, close to mid-March, and we are playing a waiting game. We anticipate the coming of spring (although we have not had much of a winter); we look forward to the end of Lent and the coming of Easter; we live day-to-day, dealing with our personal challenges, our worries, our questions, our yet-to-be-fulfilled dreams. We may feel challenged by the very thought of change, or are excited about it!  We may feel a bit like the donkey in the following story…at first, overwhelmed, but finally, victorious over obstacles!

“One day a farmer’s donkey fell into a well. The farmer frantically thought what to do as the stricken animal cried out to be rescued. With no obvious solution, the farmer regretfully concluded that as the donkey was old, and as the well needed to be filled in anyway, he should give up the idea of rescuing the beast, and simply fill in the well. Hopefully, the poor animal would not suffer too much, he tried to persuade himself.

The farmer asked his neighbors to help, and before long they all began to shovel earth quickly into the well. When the donkey realized what was happening he wailed and struggled, but then, to everyone’s relief, the noise stopped.

After a while, the farmer looked down into the well and was astonished by what he saw. The donkey was still alive and progressing towards the top of the well. The donkey had discovered that by shaking off the dirt instead of letting it cover him, he could keep stepping on top of the earth as the level rose. Soon the donkey was able to step up over the edge of the well, and he happily trotted off.

Life tends to shovel dirt on top of each of us from time to time. The trick is to shake it off and take a step up.”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

“Aaron was a fisherman who lived on the banks of a river.  Walking home with his eyes half-closed one evening after a hard day’s toil, he was dreaming of what he would do when he became rich.  Suddenly his foot struck against a leather pouch filled with what appeared to be small stones.  Absentmindedly, he picked up the pouch and began throwing the pebbles into the water. ‘When I am rich, I will have a large house.” And he threw a stone.  Then he threw another stone, thinking ‘When I am rich, I will have servants and rich food.’ This went on until only one stone was left.  As Aaron held it in his hand, a ray of light caught it and made it sparkle.  He realized then that it was a valuable gem and that he had been throwing away the real riches in his hand while he dreamed idly of unreal riches in the future.”

 

When do we walk with our eyes half-closed?  Do we spend our waking moments wanting what we don’t have instead of appreciating the many gifts we do have?  As the days of Lent slip by, we still have time to go deep into our hearts and souls to unearth the gratitude we may have lost sight of.  We have time to remember those special people in our lives, people who have touched us by their kindness, who has challenged us to be the best we can be, who has loved us enough to forgive us and help us to grow. Let’s spend some time this week singing our gratitude songs!  Perhaps if you have a sacred space, you can place the names of those for whom you are grateful in that space….or you might write down your “riches” and place your list in a prominent place (on your refrigerator?).

 

In these remaining days of Lent, let us renew ourselves in our determination to grow in our relationship with our God who “so loved the world that he gave his only Son.”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

There was once a woman who had a dream. In her dream, she was disappointed, disillusioned and depressed. She wanted a good world, a peaceful world, and she wanted to be a good person. But the newspaper and television showed her how far we were from such a reality. So she decided to go shopping. She went to the mall and wandered into a new store – where the person behind the counter looked strangely like Jesus. Gathering up her courage she went up to the counter and asked, “Are you, Jesus?” “Well, yes, I am,” the man answered. “Do you work here?” “Actually,” Jesus responded, “I own the store. You are free to wander up and down the aisles, see what it is I sell, and then make a list of what you want. When you are finished, come back here, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”

So, the woman did just that. And what she saw thrilled her. There was peace on earth, no more war, no hunger or poverty, peace in families, no more drugs, harmony, clean air. She wrote furiously and finally approached the counter, handing a long list to Jesus. He skimmed the paper, and then smiling at her said, “No problem.” Reaching under the counter, he grabbed some packets and laid them out on the counter. Confused, she asked, “What are these?” Jesus replied: “These are seed packets. You see, this is a catalog store.” Surprised the woman blurted out, “You mean I don’t get the finished product?” “No,” Jesus gently responded. “This is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. Then you plant the seeds. You go home and nurture them and help them to grow and someone else reaps the benefits.” And then she woke up. (Rev. Andrew Barakos)

Lent is a time for planting seeds…seeds of kindness, of forgiveness, of patience, of compassion, and on, and on, and on.  There is no limit to the goodness we have the power to plant during this holy season!  Each day allows us the opportunities to dream, to plant, to nurture all the good we want to see in our world.  Like the old song says, “Let there be peace [or joy, or gratitude, or love…] on earth…and let it begin with me!”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

Three apprentice devils were preparing to come to the earth to finish their apprenticeship.  Satan, the Prince of Darkness, appeared before them and questioned them about their plans to tempt and ruin people.  The first said, “I will tell them that there is no God.”  Satan answered, “You will deceive only a few that way because deep down people sense that there must be a God.”  The second apprentice spoke, “I will tell the people that there is no hell.”  “You will fool only a few that way,” replied Satan, “because deep down people know that one day they will have to answer for their misdeeds.”  Finally, the third apprentice declared, “I will tell people that there is no hurry.”  With that, Satan laughed with delight. “Yes, with that you will ruin them by the millions.”

 

As we celebrate Lent this year, let us remember that procrastination in doing what is right can be an obstacle to true spiritual growth!  This is the time to really make a “new year’s” resolution…as we look into ourselves prayerfully and discover the truth within our hearts.  What keeps me away from my God?  Over what stones do I stumble on my way to holiness?  Could it be the stone of “I am too busy to pray”? or the stone of “I don’t like him/her because…”?  Could I be tripping over the stone of indifference to another’s pain or loneliness or need?  Am I burdened by the stone of unforgiveness, or personal comfort or selfishness? Whatever the stone may be, Lent gives us the chance to consciously work at being better people.  As individuals, each of us may want to pick up a stone to represent what we want to change in our life this Lent.  Put that stone in a special place, a place where you will see it often.  Each time you see the stone, say a prayer asking God for the grace to be strong in your efforts to overcome whatever it is that might be keeping you from being the best you can be.  Lent is NOT just a time for giving up….it is a time for GIVING, giving in, giving to, giving for, for-giving.  It is a time to be drawn into the holiness of God, a time to overcome the obstacles in our journey toward personal holiness.  AND each of us is called to be holy!  Satan may try to tell is there is no hurry—but we know that “sooner” is always better than “too late”!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND