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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

 

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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

 

As we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family this weekend, we take time to think about what makes a family HOLY…one of the key elements is knowing our priorities…”God is first, others are second, I am third.”

We might also look at the priorities as even more detailed…”God is first, my family is second, others come next, and then myself.”  What place does my family take in my life?  A story might illustrate this… a woman records:

“When I was twelve, Dad promised to take me with him on a business trip to San Francisco. I was so excited! After Dad’s meetings, we planned to go to Chinatown for dinner, see a movie, take a ride on a trolley car, then go back to our hotel room for hot fudge sundaes from room service. I was dying with anticipation.  The day finally arrived. The hours dragged by as I waited at the hotel. Finally, at 6:30 p.m., Dad returned with a dear friend and influential business acquaintance. My heart sank as this man said, ‘I’m so delighted to have you here, Stephen. Tonight, Lois and I would like to take you to the wharf for a seafood dinner, and then you must see the view from our house.’ I could see my hopes and plans going down the drain.  I will never forget the feeling I had when Dad said, ‘Gosh, Bill, I’d love to, but this is a special time with my daughter. We’ve already got it planned to the minute.’  We did absolutely everything we had planned. I don’t think any young girl ever loved her father as much as I loved mine that night.”

How committed are we to keeping our family as a priority?  Can I forego other possibilities because my family is important to me?  Let us ask the Holy Family to help us in our efforts to BE family to one another!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

Christmas blessings

 Often in the last few weeks, I have heard the song “I’ll be home for Christmas.”  For me the song has always conjured up images of childhood Christmases, welcoming relatives seen only occasionally, college students returning home for break, and the heartbreaking knowledge that some will be home “only in [their] dreams.”  This year, however, I have made it a point to meditate on some of the secular Christmas songs to seek a deeper meaning—because I believe that God speaks to us in many ways, even in those things that are not necessarily religious in intention.  SO…. “I’ll be home for Christmas” has taken on a new meaning for me.  I ask myself, “Will I truly be home for Christ? Will I be home when he knocks at the door of my heart?  Will Jesus be able to find a home in me?  Can I say these words and really mean them, making them a kind of prayer, assuring my Jesus that I am ready to open my door? Or will he simply find a cluttered chaos obstructing the path between us?” 

 

Can the Jesus of my faith really “count on me”?  to be the best I can be, to welcome his coming not just on this one day of the year, but every day?  Will my home/my heart be filled with “love light beams” that mirror the love and light that comes to us with the Incarnation?

 

As we celebrate the best Gift of all, we might think about “what I really want for Christmas,” why we really “deck the halls” and “tell of Yuletide treasure” (and what is the real treasure?).  When we sing about the “good tidings we bring to you and your kin” could we not think a bit more about what those good tidings?  And for all of us “kids from one to 92” (or more), when we look at our Christmas trees, perhaps we can consider the symbolism of the evergreen branches as the sign that a little baby is the source of our LIFE and HOPE and JOY and PEACE….

 

Merry Christmas! May your hearts sing with joy during this holy season!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND

 

 

As we continue our Advent journey, we wait for the coming of Jesus…we sometimes may feel that Christ is very much absent from our world, but it is our role as followers of Christ to SEEK and thus to FIND him!  “There once was a sculptor working hard with his hammer and chisel on a large block of marble.  A little boy who was watching him say nothing more than large and small pieces of stones falling away left and right.  He had no idea what was happening.  But when the boy returned to the studio a few weeks later, he saw to his great surprise a large, powerful lion sitting in the place where the marble had stood.  With great excitement, the boy ran to the sculptor and said, ‘Sir, tell me, how did you know there was a lion in the marble?’” (H. Nouwen, Clowning in Rome, p. 87)

Am I able to see the “lion” in the marble, the image of Christ in the people who cross my path? Am I able to see the image of Jesus in myself?  Once I recognize the image in myself, am I willing to make it visible in my world, by living as Jesus would?

This is one of our challenges during this time of preparation for Christmas…if Jesus is to be BORN in our hearts and in our world today, WE must give birth to him! We are called to celebrate our faith in him by BEING who we say we are…followers of our Jesus Christ who healed the sick, cared for the poor, forgave the sinner, welcomed the stranger, carried out his Father’s will!

We have recently celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; let us ask for her intercession so that we, like Mary, may always be able to sing the praises of God and do his holy will in our lives!

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND