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I doubt that Pope Francis realized, as he stood on that balcony on March 13, 2013, what an impact he would have on a world so in need of a visionary leader!  Pope Francis exemplifies what it means to be Christian, committed to Jesus, in whose name we have been baptized—and he tells us that “We Catholics must pray with each other and other Christians.  Pray that the Lord gift us unity!  Unity among ourselves!  How will we ever have unity among Christians if we are not capable of having it among us Catholics…? …How much damage divisions among Christians, being partisan, narrow interests causes to the Church!  Divisions among us, but also divisions among the communities: evangelical Christians, orthodox Christians, Catholic Christians, but why divided?  We must try to bring about unity.”  During this week of Christian unity, let us pray for this intention.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul greco SND

 

The young son of a Baptist minister was in church one morning when he saw for the first time the rite of baptism by immersion.  He was greatly intrigued and the next morning proceeded to baptize his three cats in the bathtub.  The first kitten bore it well, and so did the young cat, but the old family cat rebelled.  It struggles, clawed and tore at him until it finally got away.  The little boy caught the cat again and tried a second time, but the cat continued to resist.  Finally the child dropped the cat on the floor in disgust and said, “Fine, be an atheist!”  The point is simple…while we are invited to be members of Christ’s body in baptism, no one is to be forced “kicking and screaming”!

 

Jesus gives us the example in today’s Gospel of being open to the graces of Baptism.  Catechumens all over the world (and in our parish!) are preparing for the gift of Baptism at Easter Vigil.  Each of us is called to live out the graces of baptism, welcoming God each day into our lives, and witnessing what it means to be Christian.  Because of our baptism, our thinking should be centered on Jesus and our focus should be on living the way he taught us by word and example: with kindness and compassion, with honesty and integrity, prayerfully and generously.  When we do so, the graces of our Baptism will be living and active!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

may your new year be blessed!

 10 Commandments.

Someone has written these beautiful words.

They are like the ten commandments to follow in life all the time.

1] Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout.

 

2] So a Car’s WINDSHIELD is so large & the Rear view Mirror is so small? Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE. So, Look Ahead and Move on.

 

3] Friendship is like a BOOK. It takes few seconds to burn, but it takes years to write.

 

4] All things in life are temporary. If going well, enjoy it, they will not last forever. If going wrong, don’t worry, they can’t last long either.

 

5] Old Friends are Gold! New Friends are Diamond! If you get a Diamond, don’t forget the Gold! Because to hold a Diamond, you always need a Base of Gold!

 

6] Often when we lose hope and think this is the end, GOD smiles from above and says, “Relax, sweetheart, it’s just a bend, not the end!

 

7] When GOD solves your problems, you have faith in HIS abilities; when GOD doesn’t solve your problems HE has faith in your abilities.

 

8] A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!”

 

9] When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them, and sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

 

10] WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES, it takes away today’s PEACE.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

With the New Year 2020 just around the corner, many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. If we are like a lot of people, that’s about where it stops.  We think about what would be good for us to “resolve” but know that our will power may leave something to be desired.  There is something however that we can do without a lot of effort!  (and yes, I have a story to illustrate!)

 

Bob Evans, who was blind since birth, had an operation at the age of fifty, in which his eyesight was made functional and he could see for the first time.  His reaction was, of course, understandably extraordinary. His whole world was changed beyond belief.  In a newspaper interview he shared some of his excitement.  “I can’t wait to get up in the morning to see what I can see.  It is the most amazing thing in the world. You could never know just how wonderful everything looks.”

 

So what does this story have to do with New Year’s resolutions?  Can we resolve to wake up each morning with excitement, open to whatever our God gives us?  Can we look on life with “new eyes”, eyes that look for the good, the joyful?  In a new year, can we be new people, people of hope, people of compassion, people of gratitude?

 

May 2020 be filled with many new blessings for you and yours!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

It is always a temptation at this time of the year to want to choose the best, for ourselves, our children, all those we love.  We put off making decisions in hopes something better will come along.  In itself, this is not a bad thing, but sometimes not being decisive can have a negative impact on our lives.

 

A story might illustrate:  A farmer gave a poor boy a basket and said, “You may pick the best ears of corn in a given row in my field.  There is only one condition.  You must choose as you walk along and not go back once you pass an ear of corn.”  The boy began to walk.  He was wide-eyed at the big ears he saw as he walked along the long row.  But a bigger ear always appeared just ahead of him.  So he kept walking down the row.  Suddenly the boy was horrified.  He had come to the end of the row without having put a single ear of corn in his basket.

 

As the day of the Lord’s birth approaches, may we choose (decisively!) what is good for us and for those we love.  May we keep our priorities straight, not holding out for what might be coming, but choosing to do the good as it comes into our lives.  We will then find ourselves enriched by the good we do instead of waiting for the good we might do tomorrow!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

In this time of Advent we are caught up in a spirit of waiting.  We often forget that while we wait for the Birth of Jesus in our hearts and world, God is also waiting for us….to discover Him in creation, to find him anew in one another, to meet him in prayer. A story might help to demonstrate this:

 

Once there was a young man who wanted to find God, so he went into a beautiful cathedral.  He thought that in this atmosphere he might experience God.  Filled with feelings of God’s closeness, he put his head down on the back of the pew in front of him.

 

A few minutes later he felt a tapping on his shoulder.  Looking up, he saw an old woman.  “Are you hungry?” she asked.  “I could give you a few dollars to get something to eat.”  Realizing the risk the woman had taken and the simple love that prompted her offer, the man thanked her and said that he was all right.  A few minutes later he left the church, knowing that he had found God in more than one way.

 

In this Advent season, let us follow the examples given in this little story:

  • When we seek God we will find Him.
  • When we reach out to others and offer to help another in need, we are acting as Jesus would.
  • When we recognize the presence of God in each other, we realize how very blessed we are.

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

 

 

Two friends were walking through the desert.  During some point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other one in the face.  The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand: TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.  They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a swim.  The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.  After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone: TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.

 

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone.  Why?”  The other friend replied, “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away.  But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”  Learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your benefits in stone. 

 

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.  We are much happier people if we do not value the things in our life but rather value the people in our life!  As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, Advent gives us a wonderful opportunity to forgive the hurts in our life and to celebrate our blessings!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND