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Our schools will begin again soon and many others have either begun or are preparing to do so. The beginning of the school year is a beginning for all of us, even if we haven’t sat in a classroom for decades. The joys of learning are intended for all people of all ages!  We may not have to take tests in “reading, writing and arithmetic” but who among us gets through life without “tests” of one kind or another.  The days of “what do you want to be when you grow up” may be over (perhaps?!) but we still may have a place in our hearts where an unfulfilled dream may lurk.  It has been said that “Dreams come a size too big so that we can grow into them” (Josie Bissett).  Have we grown into our dreams? Are we still child-like enough to still have dreams? Are our dreams so big that they can encompass our loved ones, our children, friends, grandchildren, the stranger on the street?  What are God’s dreams for us?  In John 17, Jesus prays his dream to his Father:

 

I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.  Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

 

Jesus expresses his dream of unity…how can we this week foster an attitude of “communion” with God and with one another?  Is there someone in my life with whom I need reconciliation?  How can our reception of Eucharist and our participation in Mass extend throughout the entire week so that Jesus’ dream can be ours?

 

Let us also remember to pray for our school-age children, for their teachers, staff, administrators, all who guide and nurture these children of God!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

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Author Andrew Greeley wrote in his book “It’s Fun to Be Catholic” the following:

“In its best moments Catholicism is the happiest of the world religions.  It is permeated by the reverent joy of Christmas night, the exultant joy of Easter morn, the gentle joy of First Communion, the hopeful joy of a funeral mass, the confident joy of a May crowning.  Catholicism is shaped by the happiness of hymns like O Come Emmanuel, Adeste Fideles, the Exultet, andBring Flowers of the Rarest.”

What Do Catholics Like Best About Being Catholic?

  • The strong feeling of belonging to a wider family – “The Church”
  • The Sacraments – Baptism, First Holy Communion, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick
  • Devotion to Mary and praying the Rosary
  • Midnight Mass
  • Palm Sunday
  • Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday

What do YOU like best about being Catholic?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a great story:

 

“A ninety-two-year old, a poised and proud man, moved to an assisted living residence.  His wife of 70 years had recently passed away, making the move a good idea.   After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.  As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, an aide provided a description of his room, including the curtains that had been hung on his window.  “I love it!” he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year old just been presented with a new puppy.

 

“Mr. Jones, you haven’t seen the room; just wait!”  “That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” he replied.  “Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time.  Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how the furniture is arranged.  It’s how I arrange my mind.  I have already decided to love it.”

 

“It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up.  I have a choice.  I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work, or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do work. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I will focus on the new day and all the happy memories I have stored away for this time in my life.  Old age is like a bank account.  You withdraw from what you have put into it.  My advice would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories.  Be grateful to those who are a part of filling your memory bank.  I am still making deposits in it.”

 

Five simple rules to be happy:  1) free your heart from hatred.

2) free your mind from worries.

3) live simply.

4) give more.

5) expect less.

 

This week, no matter what our age, let’s make deposits into our bank account of happy memories to sustain us when we need them most!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

The end of July! Where is the summer going? Perhaps, like me, you might remember lazy days of summer, filled with swimming, games, carefree bike-riding, popsicles, and lots of time!

As I got older, my definitions of summer changed — although my memories have survived. Past and present and future…we jump back and forth, in and out.  The following poem might help all of us keep time (and its passing) in perspective.

 

 

 

Two Days We Should Not Worry
Author Unknown

There are two days in every week, about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday, with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed;
we cannot erase a single word we said.
Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow
with all its possible adversities, its burdens,
its large promise and its poor performance;
Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow’s sun will rise,
either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise.
Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow,
for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.
Any person can fight the battle of just one day.
It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities,
Yesterday and Tomorrow, that we break down.                                                                                                                          Let us, therefore,
Live but one day at a time.

And in all of this, the greatest consolation is that our God has assured us:  “I am with you always….”

 

Written by: Sr. marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

 

According to an old parable, three men were working hard cutting stone from large blocks of granite. When asked what they were doing, the first fellow said, “I’m making bricks.” The second said, “I’m creating a foundation for a large building.” The third person answered, “I’m building a cathedral.”

Isn’t attitude everything?  What we believe about what we do really makes a difference!

I believe that our good God probably believes in us more than we believe in ourselves.

In the novel The Shack by William Young, a telling statement is made:

If anything matters, then everything matters.”

This points to the reality that nothing we do (when we do it hand-in-hand with our God) is unimportant!

Dare to Dream

Believe in yourself and in your dream, though impossible things may seem.
Someday, somehow you’ll get through to the goal you have in view.

Mountains fall and seas divide before the one who, in his stride,

Takes a hard road day by day, sweeping obstacles away.

Believe in yourself and in your plan, say not – I cannot – but, I can.
The prizes of life we fail to win because we doubt the prizes within (author unknown).

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

 

 

“Sometimes I think about who I am and I figure I’m a jigsaw puzzle but all my pieces are not put together.  They are spread out; they are people.  Everyone who has touched me, whom I have touched, has a part of me, and I keep giving my pieces away.  And when I die, there will be nothing to bury but the box that opened itself up to people and gave its pieces away, and the pieces will continue to live in the hearts of all those who have shared my life and love (author unknown).”

 

I found this passage among some old papers I had stored away “for using some time.”  I read it over and over…and kept thinking that Jesus would have liked this image.  I especially like the idea that we are called to give our pieces away…a little at a time, over the course of our lifetime.  As we share who we are with the people that touch our lives, we become what we are meant to be…givers of love, enabling “connections” because puzzle pieces are not intended to stand alone!  And so, this week, let us think about how we can give generously of ourselves and, in doing so, connect with those with whom we share this gift called LIFE!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.

 

A long time ago, when I was still a teacher, I kept a box of crayons in my classroom to use when my high school students needed to have some “down time.”  A friend, a counselor, kept a cup of crayons on his desk for students to use as a relaxing tool when they came to talk.  Yet another friend, also a counselor, is an art therapist and has students draw pictures of how they are feeling.  And then some friends of mine gave me a gag-gift….a box of crayons and a coloring book!  Their instructions included the fact that I should give myself the time to ENJOY!

 

When is the last time you picked up a crayon and colored?  These days adult coloring books and pencils are quite popular.  If you have young children or grandchildren, this is a great way to share some fun….

 

And again recently (and this is the heart of my message today) I read the following quotation and it made me really think about my crayons:  “We could learn a lot from crayons:  some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to learn to live in the same box.”  Isn’t this just like us?  Have we “learned to live in the same box”, even though we may be very different?

What colors would you use to “paint” your life today?  Hopefully, you would include

the green of Jesus’ HOPE, the red of the Spirit’s LOVE, the yellow of CHEERFULNESS and the blue of God’s PEACE!  Whatever other colors you use, these primary colors will enhance your life!

 

Go ahead…pick up a crayon and enjoy the life God gives us each day!!!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech S.N.D.