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A young man was walking with an older, more seasoned friend in the garden one day.  Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older man for some advice.  The older man walked up to a rose bush and handed the younger man a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing any petals.  The younger man looked in disbelief at his friend and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life.  But because of his great respect for the older man, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact.  It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do….

Noticing the younger man’s inability to unfold the rosebud without tearing it, the older man began to recite the following poem…………

It is only a tiny rosebud, 
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands, they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom,
To unfold this life of mine?
So I’ll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day;
I will look to God for guidance,
In each step along the way. 
The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as HE unfolds the rose.

Remember to let go and let God unfold your life.

-Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

Dear God,

Thank you for our Mothers! You have given mothers hearts of unending, inexhaustible love, from the time she awakens at her baby’s first cries to the time she falls asleep after her last child finally comes home! Thank you for our mothers who care for us when we struggle, comfort us when we suffer, and celebrate with us when we succeed. Thank you for their hugs, their encouragement, and their faithful love.  Whether now living or deceased, our mothers have been a treasure in our lives…and we thank you for the goodness you have shown us through them.  And if for some reason, one mother or another has not had the strength to respond to your graces, we pray for them too…that you may touch their heart with newfound understanding of your unconditional love for them.

Thank you, Father, for Mary, our heavenly Mother, who supported your Son in his hopes and dreams, stayed by his side in his devastating death, and rejoiced with him in his triumphant Resurrection! She will not rest until all of us, her children, are safely home forever. Through her intercession, please protect and bless our mothers with your strength, your joy, and your undying love.

In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss
at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
~Honoré de Balzac

-Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me—oracle of the LORD—and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you—oracle of the LORD—and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you. (Jeremiah 29:11 ff)

Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd;

there is nothing I lack

In green pastures he makes me lie down;

to still waters he leads me;

he restores my soul.

He guides me along right paths

for the sake of his name.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

your rod and your staff comfort me.

You set a table before me

in front of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

Indeed, goodness and mercy will pursue me

all the days of my life;

I will dwell in the house of the LORD for endless days.

  • Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

God, your thoughts are not my thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)
What you have planned for me is beyond all I can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:19-20)
Yet you have also promised to reveal it to me through your Spirit. (1 Corinthians 2:8-10)
So I open my heart, mind, and life to more of you-
to whatever you have for me.

Where there is ongoing fear in my life,
please replace it with faith.
Where there is a desire to hold back,
give me the strength to move forward.
Where there is a desert,
lead me into the Promised Land you have prepared for me.

I embrace that my part is to pray, plan, and most of all seek you.
And yours is to get me where you want me to go. (Proverbs 16:9 and 19:21)
Wherever that is, that’s where I want to be too. Because there’s no better place in this world or the next than with you. (Psalm 84:10)
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth (especially my little corner of it) as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
In Your name, Amen.

-Excerpt by Holley Gerth, from her new devotional Opening Your Door To Your God-Sized Dreams.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart

and try to love the questions themselves,

like locked rooms and like books that are

now written in a very foreign tongue.

Do not now seek the answers,

which cannot be given you

because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is, to live everything.

Live the questions now.

Perhaps you will then gradually,

without noticing it,

live along some distant day into the answer.”


― Rainer Maria Rilke

This has truly been an unprecedented Lent—and God continues to ask much of us!  Our trust in the Risen Lord, however, is strong and calls us to be unwavering!  Let us be “together” in new ways—in renewing our baptismal commitment, in our compassionate love for the poor and lonely, and in our global concern for others.  Know that you are held in the prayers and love of the Sisters of Notre Dame, despite “social distance”—and that we are truly “safe at home” in the heart of Jesus!

-Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

“A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated, or being perfect.  It is about being real, being humble, being strong, and being able to share ourselves and to touch the lives of others.  It is only then that we could have a full, happy and contented life.”

I am writing this blog entry very close to the end of March, wondering how much longer we will be social distancing and “hunkering down” as a friend of mine humorously quipped.  The quotation with which I begin this entry highlights our challenge during this time:  to be real, humble, strong—and to share ourselves and touch others—in the reality of our daily living.  Our “reality” at NDC finds us 22 strong, trying to share the best of ourselves in these interesting days.  We are especially prayerfully strong, praying for all our friends, families and benefactors—especially as we watch Mass online.

Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

We are quickly approaching the Holiest of Weeks—and it seems that the recent days of Lent have been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic (or maybe the pandemic has caused us to be more Lent-minded!)  As we approach Palm Sunday, let us imagine ourselves in the crowd around Jesus without worrying about social distancing!  On this day, we anticipate the victory of Jesus culminating in the Resurrection, only a week away!  Let us lay at his feet our palm branches, along with our worries and concerns!

Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

A little late…this should have been posted on Friday, but here it is Tuesday—another day of “stay at home, stay healthy, stay safe” for so very many of us….Time just got away from me.  WE have been challenged in ways we would never have imagined, but we believe God is with us.  Perhaps one of the benefits is that we will hopefully never take for granted so many of the things that we have to forego right now:  going to Mass in person, going shopping for the fun of it, visiting friends and family, making plans for vacation outside of our own backyard!  Let us be thankful for what we DO have! And pray for those in greater need than ourselves!

Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

 

I recently 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.”

 

As we welcome new members to our Catholic tradition at the Easter Vigil, April 11, let us remember that we have been called and chosen to BE JESUS in our larger world, and in our smaller world…our parish community.  We are called to be disciples, followers of Jesus, who by our words and example continue to make Jesus known in our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our families and in all our interpersonal relationships.

 

Written by: Sr. Marie Paul Grech SND