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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

 

 

 

In the Gospel of Matthew 19:26 we read that “with God all things are possible”.  This reminder is especially meaningful this month as we celebrate the feast of Apostles Simon and Jude (October 28).  Many Catholics have a strong devotion to St. Jude, often called the saint of the impossible.  St. Jude intercedes for us to God in our many needs…because his faith, like ours, trusts that God can do what we cannot do!  Scripture reminds us also that if our faith is the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of all seeds!) we can move mountains….I like to think of the “we” as God and I, working together in a “faith-filled” relationship. Having faith in one another is also important.  We need to believe in the people we meet each day, the people with whom we share our lives. A story is told of a ten-year-old boy who was working in a factory in Naples before present laws on child labor were put in place.  His mother was convinced he had a good singing voice, and by working in the factory he could earn enough to pay for music lessons.  His first music teacher, however, told him he did not have what it takes and that it would be a waste of money to pursue the idea.  His mother, a peasant woman, was not so easily discouraged. She encouraged her son, told him she believed in him and sacrificed to save money for his music lessons.  Her efforts bore fruit, and her son, Enrico Caruso, became one of the world’s greatest tenors.  Miracles happen for those who show God that they are serious about what they seek.  This week, believe in a miracle, trust in our good God, pray seriously for what some might think is so impossible…and then keep trusting!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paull Grech SND

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There is a story of a young woman who believes that God lives on top of a mountain at the ends of the earth.  She journeys to the mountain and begins the long climb to the top.  At the time she is beginning, God thinks “What can I do to show people on earth that I love them?”  God says, “I know, I will journey down the mountain and go to live among them.” Thus, when the young woman reaches the top of the mountain, God is not there.  She thinks, “God doesn’t live here!  Maybe God doesn’t even exist.”

Sometimes, we look for God in the wrong places.  We forget that God came down to live among us.  Jesus, God-made-man, shows us how to live in relationship with his Father.  An ancient Jewish saying tells us, “God dwells wherever we let him in.”  Where do I let God in?  Where do I look for God?  Where do I find God?

All of us have so much to be thankful for each day.  When we awake to a new day, when a friend is in touch with us, for the food we eat, for the water that flows into our homes,

for flowers, birds, trees, our health, for doctors close by who care for us: the list can go on and on.  Thanking God should be part of our daily lives.  It is also good to tell God about worries and concerns: about jobs, relationships, family, health, whatever comes to mind.  Sharing those thoughts with God will often help to lessen the burdens we carry.

Take time — lots of it — each day to talk to God in prayer. If you spend time with family members or friends, engage them in prayer with you, and listen to how they share their joys/concerns/thanks with God.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

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We know that we face many uncertainties in our world, but our faith assures us of a certainty from which we cannot hide.  God has called us into life, has breathed his Spirit within us, gifts us with individual talents, with family and friends…and promises us eternal life.  We celebrate all the ways in which God calls us and blesses us, and know that in recognizing his presence in all the events of our life we are being true to our baptismal consecration.

“May you be wise in choices and decisions!  May you be caring in all relationships and compassionate to those in need.  May you meet life’s adventures with a clear mind and a bold heart.  May your integrity be a gift to the world, and may the Spirit of God be with you always” (blessing by Pat Bergen, CSJ)

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Next week we will host our annual donor appreciation brunch and open house at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks, California. In the spirit of thanksgiving, Sister Mary Colette Theobald, who is currently serving in Uganda, wrote a letter of appreciation to our many spiritual and monetary supporters. Uganda 081

Dearest Benefactors,

I want to personally thank you for all the support you give to the Sisters of Notre Dame. I very personally see your spiritual and monetary contributions at work in the Uganda mission. The Sisters of Notre Dame have been in Uganda for 20 years.  The primary school began in 1998, formation for young sisters in 2002, the secondary school in 2003, nursery school in 2007 and a second community in 2009. Construction for a new nursery school for Buseesa has started. There are 12 Ugandan Sisters. Ten more are in the novitiate in Tanzania. Hundreds of young people have benefited from a strong Notre Dame education. Those who have completed their studies are beginning to return to their villages to uplift the standard of living of the people there. None of this would have been possible without you! Thank you, thank you! Webale muno! God bless you! Ruhanga asiimwe.

Thank you, too, for all the other ways you help and support the Sisters of Notre Dame: ministry projects, housing support and renovation, and support for our wonderful aged sisters who gave so much to serve God and His people. May God bless each and every one of you with all the graces and blessings you need at this time.

Please be assured of many prayers for yourself and your families from all of us in Uganda!

Lovingly and gratefully yours,

Sister Mary Colette, SND
Mpala, Uganda

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We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

 

 

You are already an important face in the congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame, and your ongoing support and encouragement helps the sisters continue their selfless ministries throughout Southern California and around the world. We’d like to invite you to use Giving Tuesday to consider giving to the Sisters of Notre Dame.

If you’re on our email list, you’re already looking forward to our annual Advent Reflection Series, which kicks off on Sunday, November 30th, the first day of Advent. The sisters have written heartfelt reflections to share with you throughout the Advent season. To join the list, just email cvieira@sndca.org. The Sisters of Notre Dame wish you a blessed Advent season full of thanksgiving and peace!

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At this time of the year, I am sure many of us can identify with this writer’s thoughts on winter and can appreciate how God fits into everything!

“IN THE PART OF THE WORLD where I live, at this time of year the daylight hours are very short. In fact, when I’m not traveling and find myself working from my office, the sun has set when I pull into my garage. Frankly, this isn’t my favorite time of year. I really enjoy being outdoors in the sunlight. … And yet I know that this time of year is a part of God’s intended purpose. These days are necessary to create balance in my life, a rhythm that moves beyond the frenetic activity of long daylight hours into a hibernating time of darkness. “Then God said, ‘Let there be light.’ … And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”

When God speaks, God’s voice balances the rhythm of our lives. Yes, the light is good. Times of activity and productivity form a vital part of making a life and a living. … However, the light is separate from the darkness. Just as music is a series of sounds and silence in rhythm, so our lives must be a series of light and darkness, activity and rest, work and sabbath.

Embrace this season of your life and God’s created daily work-and-rest rhythm. Such percussive movement is a part of our purpose and God’s plan. “

By Joey Faucette  -From The Upper Room Disciplines 2012: A Book of Daily Devotions.

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For the last two years I have been in the tiny town (called “God’s Square Mile” by the locals) of Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I know, what a time to be living at the Jersey Shore! Providentially, Ocean Grove was spared from much of the devastation wrought by hurricane Sandy. Neighbors in Belmar and Bradley Beach were not so fortunate and are now dealing with insurance companies, which, in some cases, can be as taxing as the hurricane itself. Some companies limit their coverage because a hurricane and other disasters are classified as “Acts of God.” I’ve been reflecting on this quite a bit today. Sickness and natural disasters cannot be willed by our loving God. The real “acts of God” are strangers opening their homes to the displaced, maintenance workers from Maine clearing debris in Atlantic City, employees of Pacific Gas and Electric restoring utilities in lower Manhattan, and elderly couple roasting hot dogs for the homeless, friends and strangers risking heir own safety to rescue others. Those are the real acts of God.

Today I saw a priest awaken early and drive out to our Provincial House to bring the sacramental presence of Christ to us. A nurse’s aid reassured an elderly sister fearful of falling. A friend brought me a second cup of coffee. A sister answering the telephone took the time to listen to a distraught caller asking for prayers. God is acting everywhere. Let’s not miss it!

– Sr. Mary Amy Hauck

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I am sure you have had the experience of hearing a song, once or many times over, and the refrain sticks in your mind….What is coming to my mind right now is a song refrain “because we love God, we do what we do….because we love God.”  The words seem rather simple, and yet there are layers of meaning here….if we were to sit down and identify “what we do”…each day, each week—and ask ourselves the question, “Am I doing this because I love God?” or, to put it another way, “Does what I do reflect my love for God?  –or does my love for something else…myself, my own interests, my prejudices, my fears…creep in?

So many times we cannot understand why Jesus calls us to do something difficult; we cannot explain why our Catholic tradition asks us to do or not to do something; we hesitate to make the sacrifice entailed in caring for others selflessly. When we experience these challenges, the phrase “Because we love God…” might ring in our ears and resound in our hearts…and help us do what we need to do. There may not be a logical, practical answer to the questions we have…but our love for our God who made us, calls us, blesses us might give us the courage we need to do what we know is right.  A little anecdote to illustrate:  In My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle is fed up with Freddy’s letters and his daily protestations of love.  In total frustration, she sings the song, “Show me.” In the song she says she’s sick of words…”if there’s any love burning in your heart,” she sings, “show me.” And so it is with our love for God…love is not love until it is put into action.  God bless your week—may it be filled with love!

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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Just before Easter, we got an unusual donation to our Vocations Office. A St. John’s Seminary student, Thanh-Tai Nguyen gave us a check for a portion of the sponsorship money he had raised by running his first marathon. Through generous donations from his friends, family, and the people of St. Hedwig’s and St. John’s, Thanh-Tai was able to raise over $1,200 in support of his run. After the marathon, he distributed the funds to Vocation Offices throughout Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. The Sisters of Notre Dame were privileged to receive one of the donations.

Thanh-Tai prayed for vocations during his run, and said of the experience, “This is my first marathon and I am very happy that I did it. I was exhausted but I ran with love and joy.”

Many thanks to Thanh-Tai and his supporters from all of us at the Sisters of Notre Dame. Congratulations on your first marathon, and we wish you many more happy years of running!

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Written by Sr. Lisa Megaffin, SND

Inspired by John 11:1-45

Yellow rose in garden of Notre Dame Center

Where are the roses of friendship in your life? How do they bring you closer to God?

The story of Lazarus and the words “Jesus wept” reveal God’s invitation to intimate friendship.

In John 15, Jesus indicates “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father, I have made known to you.”  This divine revelation includes familiarity, care, forgiveness, hope, delight and joy—all that describes authentic friendship. Through no effort on their part, the disciples experienced Jesus’ friendship and unconditional love. In turn, they must share this love.

Jesus’ tears cannot be exclusively associated with his grief over the death of Lazarus; they reveal his affection for every human person. Jesus weeps in his frustration that his offers of spiritual intimacy, unconditional love and friendship will be misunderstood and rejected.

Our resurrection is an ongoing spiritual event as we are inspired to abandon sin and to accept God’s friendship. God’s invitation to intimacy comes in many ways, including Scripture, the Sacraments and, I like to believe, the “sacramental of friendship.” As all-embracing as our relationships can be, each friendship reveals the very heart of God and helps to make the resurrection a real-life experience.

In God’s providence, this reading of the raising of Lazarus coincides with the end of my own treatments for cancer. Since last July, I have journeyed through diagnosis, chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. I will always be humbled and grateful for the graces of the “sacramental of friendship” from relatives, Sisters and Associates of Notre Dame, colleagues, medical care-givers, and friends. The Sisters of Notre Dame believe that “where one of us is, all of us are.” The spiritual reservoir of community and friendship has been a source of great strength for me in moments of anxiety and physical weakness. Words are inadequate to thank all who have journeyed with me; I ask God to give you special graces as my gratitude.

“If you believe, you will see the glory of God…” May the glory of God, as seen in the raising of Lazarus and in the graces of divine and human friendship, strengthen our confidence in His provident care.

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