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I once 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.”  Let us remember that we have been called and chosen to BE JESUS in our larger world, and in our smaller world, in our circle of families and friends, in our neighborhoods, in our parish communities.  We are called to be disciples, followers of Jesus, who by our words and example continue to make Jesus known wherever we are!

 

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

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Here is a story for the week: “Jesus is the light of the world….let your light shine….

“The Quilt” (original source unknown)

As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with all the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles; an angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that is our life. But as my angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all. I glanced around me.

Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.  Finally, the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose; each, in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been. My angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life and laughter.

But there had also been trials of illness and wealth. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. Now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light.  An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

 

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image, the face of Christ. Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said, ‘Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles.  Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through until there was more of Me and less of you.’ May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing Christ to shine through!  God determines who walks into your life…it’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay and who you refuse to let go.’

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few years ago, a young Vietnamese Sister lived with my community while she took classes at a nearby university.  While she was taking graduate courses, she was also brushing up her English skills. Sister Mary loved to sing and quickly became fond of our American musicals.  One evening we enjoyed the musical Mary Poppins with her and she became fascinated by the wonderful word…supercalifragilisticexpialidocious…(go ahead, sing it!).  This word may be a challenge to spell (I am not even sure I spelled it correctly but you get the point!), but it brings a light-hearted warmth to my heart….life is good! Even super!  We printed out the word for Sister Mary and she put it up in her room.  Whenever she became frustrated in her studies, she would try to say it, and laughed! And how about us?  Can we enjoy life with all its surprises and find reasons to laugh even in the midst of troubles?  Can we look for what is good instead of focusing on what might not be so great in our life?  Can we find God in all the people we meet?

 

And this weekend we will be celebrating the SND Nun Run followed by Super Bowl Sunday!  What will you be doing this weekend?  If you like to walk or run, you may be supporting the Sisters.  If you are a Super Bowl enthusiast, you will likely spend time watching the game with family and friends, and if you are not into sports, you may be out and about, taking advantage of the many sales going on today.  What you do is never as important as with whom you do it and/or why you do it!  And so, on this SUPER day, let us treat all people with superlative respect and remember to live with gratitude for the superabundant blessings we have received from our good and gracious God.  Have a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day and enjoy whatever you do with the people you care about!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we forget why we do what we do—and how our relationship with Jesus can make our lives simpler and better.

A simple story might help to illustrate this:  “A seven-year-old was eating her cereal as her dad rushed by.  She grabbed his arm, gave him a kiss, and said, ‘You didn’t say “Good morning!”’  ‘Sorry, dear, I’ve been preoccupied thinking about my problems at work…’ She said, ‘Did you say your prayers this morning, Daddy?’ ‘No,’ he confessed.

She responded, ‘Come, this will take us only one minute.’  She took him by the hand, closed her eyes, and said in a soft voice,”’ Jesus said: don’t be afraid.  I am with you always.’  Then she added, ‘Just think about that, Daddy, and you’ll feel much better!’”

 

Lord of the wind and waves,

Calm our storm when we are afraid.

Lord of the loaves and fishes,

Be our food when we are hungry.

Lord of the lambs and flocks,

Seek us out when we are lost.

Lord of signs and wonders,

Show yourself when we have doubts.

Lord of the blind and lame,

Take our hand when we falter.

Lord of the fields and flowers,

Care for us when others don’t.

Lord of all that lives, be our God.

We are your people.

(Mark Link, SJ)

 

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you were told at work that God was calling,

would you ask the receptionist to take a message

or would you answer the call?

 

Once we have picked up the phone we can’t ignore what is said to us. God gave us each a purpose in life; it is our responsibility to fulfill that purpose. Using our talents–which He gave us– we must answer the call because He is counting on us!  Jesus called various people, in different walks of life, to follow him.  Some responded; some did not.  What about us?  Did we answer a long time ago…and haven’t thought about it since?  Do we continue to listen—or are we too busy?  What is God asking of me today?  Each of us makes Jesus visible NOW.  I am the living Eucharist.  I am the channel of his love.  How do I live out this task God has given me?

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life. How?

  1. Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
  2. Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
  3. Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for, without them, life is meaningless.
  4. Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live ALL the days of your life.
  5. Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
  6. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us each together.
  7. Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
  8. Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly, and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
  9. Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
  10. Don’t forget that a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
  11. Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
  12. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.”

(Written by the CEO of a large corporation)

 

 

“I am the new year. I am an unspoiled page in your book of time.

  • I am your next chance at the art of living. I am your opportunity to practice what you have learned about life during the last twelve months.
  • All that you sought and didn’t find is hidden in me, waiting for you to search it but with more determination.
  • All the good that you tried for and didn’t achieve is mine to grant when you have fewer conflicting desires.
  • All that you dreamed but didn’t dare to do, all that you hoped but did not will, all the faith that you claimed but did not have— these slumbers lightly, waiting to be awakened by a touch of a strong purpose.

 

I am your opportunity to renew your love for Him who said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND