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Posts Tagged ‘Sr. Marie Paul Grech’

After Jesus returned to heaven, he and the Archangel Gabriel were talking.  Even in heaven Jesus bore the marks of the crucifixion.  Gabriel commented on the pain Jesus must have suffered and asked,

‘Do people know and appreciate how you love them and what you did for them?’  Jesus replied,

‘Oh no, not yet, right now only a few people in Palestine know.’  Gabriel was perplexed.

‘Then what have you done to let everyone know about your love?’  Jesus answered,

‘I have asked Peter, Andrew, James, John and a few more friends to tell others about me.  Those who are told will tell others about me, and yet others still until the last man and woman in the farthest corner of the world will have heard the story of how I gave my life because I love them so much.’  Gabriel frowned and looked skeptical.

‘Yes, but what if Peter and the others grow weary?  What if people who come after them forget?  Surely, you have made other plans?’  Jesus said,

‘Gabriel, I haven’t made any other plans.  I’m counting on them.’”

OK, that’s quite a responsibility!  Jesus is counting on us, each of us—to preach his Gospel, to let others know of his love for each of us.  So, what am I doing about it?

-Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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Half empty? Half full? What do you see when you look at the sky…? At a stranger on the street?  At your children? At your elderly parent? At your backyard? What do you see?  Do you see what is wrong or what is right? Do you see what needs “fixin’”? or what has potential…?

A friend of mine shared a picture taken by her granddaughter….a picture of wispy clouds…where some of us may see only clouds….she saw angels…and so did I!  Did her vision plant the idea in my head?  I really don’t know, and it doesn’t matter because I did see the angels! It is much like other things in life.  If we have the Spirit’s guidance planting ideas in our heads, we do see things differently. Are we able somehow to look at a friend and not be conscious of his/her faults but to see through them to the innermost heart? Will we be able to look at our child (even if he/she is in a naughty mood) and see the beautiful gift from God who lightens our life? Will we look at a weed-laden yard and see the possibilities? Can we walk with an elderly friend and experience the wisdom — and forget the slow steps?

So many things make a lasting impression on us….what we see, what we hear, what we hear about…opinions shape our thinking, our prejudices (yes, we all have them!), our ways of responding to people, situations, uncertainties. We are bombarded from all sides….and we seem to never be able to “get away.” We get emails, phone calls, text messages, snail mail. To whom are we most open? Who influences us most? Are we guided by the bold headlines in the newspaper, the news flashes we receive as text messages, the consumerism of advertising? Sometimes we are just not sure where we are going, in which direction we find our real peace. What role does our God play in our personal and family decision-making? Do I pray in a spirit of openness to whatever God’s answer may be? Do I believe that God always answers prayer…even when the answer is NO or NOT YET? Who is my compass….?  Where is my true north?

During these “lazy,  hazy days” of summer, may I be open to the Spirit so that I may be open to the good things God has in store for me!

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech

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Screen shot 2013-04-30 at 10.06.09 AMAs we welcome the month of May we look to Mary–we recognize that she gives us the example of how to put our gifts at the service of others:

First we see her as a young woman, using her gift of a listening heart as she hears the call of God to give of herself so that God’s love for humankind could be expressed in a remarkable way.  We then see her as a mother-to-be who could rightly have been focused on herself and her unborn child, sharing instead her gift of helpfulness as she hurries to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

We see her later, giving her gift of compassion as she notices the potential embarrassment at the wedding feast; and we see her gift of motherly insight as she tells the waiters to do whatever her son would tell them.  Throughout her son’s public life, we see her quietly living her gift of self-sacrifice, willingly letting go of her son, empowering him to go about his father’s business.

At the cross, she again shares one of her gifts–the gift of quiet suffering but she doesn’t stop there– from the foot of the cross she makes yet another commitment to give of herself–as our mother.  Mary wasn’t given every gift possible–we don’t hear that she was a good artist, or math scholar, or even a good housekeeper.  What we hear about are the gifts of the heart–one or more of her gifts may be ours as well–or we may have different ones–it doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that the gifts we have, we share.  Whatever light God has put into our hearts, we let shine.  Whatever it is that makes us “tick”, we know who our creator is–and we thank him for the gifts he has given us.

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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Screen shot 2013-04-16 at 10.08.53 AM“Spring sale!”…  “half-price”… “discounted for limited time only” … “buy one, get one free”…..this kind of advertising catches our eye, lures us in, sometimes even makes us buy what we don’t even need—just because it is on sale!

What catches our eye in our faith? Would it be a miracle right in front of us? Would it be a dynamic speaker? Could it be a moving musical performance?

Or can it be as simple, and as powerful as the words in Scripture?  In our life of faith we don’t need to wait for the sales to take advantage of the “good deals.” Jesus has given us everything we need—and HE paid the price! Our life with God is FREE!  We can access our God with a few quiet minutes in prayer. We can build a relationship with His Son simply by receiving Eucharist (another free gift!) and we can share in the wisdom of the Spirit just by asking for His help. If we go through our day, conscious of the many “freebies” God gives us, perhaps we will become more and more grateful for all the good things God does for us!

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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There was once a woman who had a dream. In her dream she was disappointed, disillusioned and depressed. She wanted a good world, a peaceful world, and she wanted to be a good person. But the newspaper and television showed her how far we were from such a reality. So she decided to go shopping. She went to the mall and wandered into a new store – where the person behind the counter looked strangely like Jesus. Gathering up her courage she went up to the counter and asked, “Are you Jesus?” “Well, yes, I am,” the man answered. “Do you work here?” “Actually,” Jesus responded, “I own the store. You are free to wander up and down the aisles, see what it is I sell, and then make a list of what you want. When you are finished, come back here, and we’ll see what we can do for you.”

So, the woman did just that. And what she saw thrilled her. There was peace on earth, no more war, no hunger or poverty, peace in families, no more drugs, harmony, clean air. She wrote furiously and finally approached the counter, handing a long list to Jesus. He skimmed the paper, and then smiling at her said, “No problem.” Reaching under the counter, he grabbed some packets and laid them out on the counter. Confused, she asked, “What are these?” Jesus replied: “These are seed packets. You see, this is a catalogue store.” Surprised the woman blurted out, “You mean I don’t get the finished product?” “No,” Jesus gently responded. “This is a place of dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I give you the seeds. Then you plant the seeds. You go home and nurture them and help them to grow and someone else reaps the benefits.” And then she woke up.

Lent is a time for planting seeds…seeds of kindness, of forgiveness, of patience, of compassion, and on, and on, and on. There is no limit to the goodness we have the power to plant during this holy season! Each day allows us the opportunities to dream, to plant, to nurture all the goodness we want to see in our world. Like the old song says, “Let there be peace [or joy, or gratitude, or love…] on earth…and let it begin with me!”

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

(Story by Rev. Andrew Barakos)

 

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Screen shot 2013-02-06 at 11.27.41 AMThere was a university professor who went searching for the meaning of life. After several years and many miles, he came to the hut of a particularly holy hermit and asked to be enlightened. The holy man invited his visitor into his humble dwelling and began to serve him tea. He filled the pilgrim’s cup and then kept on pouring so that the teas was soon dripping onto the floor. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself. “Stop! It is full. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” said the hermit, “you are full of your own opinions, preconceptions, and ideas. How can I teach you unless you first empty your cup?”

This week we look forward to the beginning of Lent. The phrase “look forward to” may not exactly express what most of us feel about Lent…but it should! Lent gives us an opportunity to act on the hermit’s evaluation of the professor….Like the professor, we too are filled to the brim with “opinions, preconceptions, and ideas.” We need to empty ourselves of all that stands in the way of hearing what our God has to teach us during this time of Lent. Instead of trying to figure out what to “give up” during Lent, how about considering where we can “give in” by working at eliminating our personal biases, admitting that we don’t have all the answers, acknowledging that only God is perfect.  Emptying ourselves, humbling ourselves before God, praying for guidance, refraining from judging others—all of these actions can lead us to greater inner peace. If who I am and what I think seem to be more important than who God is, my priorities are skewed.  When God looks at me, who does He see?  During Lent, each of us is being called to greater holiness. I can take the first step by acknowledging how, in word and action, I can be “full of myself.” Then I can lay myself at the foot of the cross and beg to be emptied of everything that makes me less than who God calls me to be. Finally, I can ask for the grace of receptivity…as I read His Word in Scripture, sit in quiet prayer, and respond to those He sends to me.

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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 “This is what Yahweh asks of you—only this—

to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Beautiful, simple, direct words—words that we as educators can easily say “yes” to.  We want to dedicate ourselves not only to acting justly, but to helping others to do what is right and to love what is good.  Even as we say “yes”, we know that there is still a deeper question:  “What does it mean to act justly in the daily situations of our life?”

Caught up in constant activity, demands, change, noise, our homes and places of work often are places where justice is overlooked in the urgency of “getting things done.”  We may forget to give each person the special time needed to meet his/her needs. Doing justice is giving what rightfully belongs to someone.  As the people of God, we need to give all those we meet the attention they deserve, the help they need.  We need to treat each other with a respect that is genuine and sincere.

What does it mean to love tenderly?  If we act justly, we are well on the way to loving tenderly.  Loving is the natural follow-up to justice.  It entails giving MORE than is required.  Most people, especially at this time of year, are feeling pressured and harried.  We may be counting down the shopping days much as children do, waiting for Christmas.  Instead we are called to open our eyes to each person in need.  We are called to love tenderly by helping out a friend who is stressed, by reaching out to another who is sad, by showing interest in someone who is not ordinarily a chosen companion.

What does it mean to walk humbly with our God?  None of us is perfect; all of us need God.  We are called to acknowledge our weaknesses and limitations, to be aware that we do not have all the answers, and that we are in need of each other’s gifts and talents, prayers and support.

In this time of Advent, we wait.  We wait for many things, but most importantly we wait for a renewed awareness of God’s life active in our own.  We wait for the simplicity of a child to be reborn in us.  We wait to receive the gift of generosity shown by gentle shepherds and faith-filled wise men.  We wait for the goodness and provident care of God to be revealed in our daily lives.

We pray for all of our needs and intentions through Mary’s intercession.  She teaches us above all what it means to act justly, to love tenderly, to walk humbly and to wait patiently. . .

Sr. Marie Paul Grech

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We are very familiar with the concept of waiting when it comes to Advent…we know we are supposed to be anticipating the birth of Jesus and preparing for his re-birth in our lives…but what if we turned that around…what if we looked at advent as a time of Jesus waiting for me…waiting for me to give up my preoccupations, my worries, my unnecessary anxieties…

Jesus is a patient wait-er…or is it waitor?  Jesus as servant longs to be servant to me…waiting to fulfill my every need…if I would only allow him to be that in m life….or is it that I need to be in such control that the thought of Jesus waiting upon me seems so foreign.  Allowing Jesus to wait on me…would be to admit that I am in need or something I cannot provide for myself…I open myself up in vulnerability to the infant vulnerable one….I open my door to the One waiting at my door…knocking, eager to be invited into my crowded life….can the call to advent be really a call to simply be…to revel in the knowledge that my God is waiting for me to recognize his presence, to accept his love for me, to say yes to the miracle of rebirth, to speak his name with courage, to tell his story, to follow in true discipleship.

God is waiting for me to become as simple as the shepherds, as wise as the magi, as brave as Joseph, as open as Mary…God gives me this time each year to become the best I can be….and waits year after year for me to wake up and see the star…and then to follow it…

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech

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An old bumper sticker reads:  “Stop the world, I want to get off!”

It echoes the feelings of many people when faced with all the anxieties, troubles, bad news, and exploitation of the poor and vulnerable.  In our life of faith, however, we know that our God is still in control.  In a spirit of hope, we trust that God will take care of us.  In our commitment to love one another, we know that we are God’s voice, and hands, and heart in our sometimes frightening world.  While there are many needs in our global society, there are also many in my neighborhood, in my parish, among my friends and acquaintances.

During these days of November, as we prepare for Thanksgiving, how can I show that I am really grateful for the many gifts God has given me?  How can I try to alleviate the pain and worry that another person in my little world experiences?  Thanksgiving is a time for us to say thank you to those I may not really “see”—my co-worker, the person who bags my groceries, the salesperson, the people who cross my path in a hundred ways each week!  What am I doing to share my appreciation for them?

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech

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“There are three types of people in this world:  those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.  We all have a choice.  You can decide which type of person you want to be.” (Mary Kay Ash)

Pope Benedict has put out a call for us to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN in our life of faith!  Our Year of Faith is here and it is time for us to re-energize your faith!  Show that you are one in solidarity within our universal Church!  Celebrate the Year of Faith with Catholics around the world!

How can you do this?

First, enrich your spiritual life by accessing the many resources online.  You may want to start with the USCCB (U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops) website….you will find speakers, videos, and many other resources on a variety of topics.

Second, MAKE THINGS HAPPEN by educating yourself, being inspired by the good work being done in our world, and bringing others to share your experience of faith!

In writing about the Year of Faith, Bernadette Snyder writes, “ Most of us have probably shared lots of stories about everyday life, but [what about] sharing stories of faith with and for others—to pass on to children, to possibly inspire others or be inspired by others?  Maybe not, but NOW is the time.”  It would be wonderful if families, couples, faith sharing groups, and so on, would take the time to share stories of faith. Hearing someone else’s story might remind us of our own journey in faith and might help us appreciate the gift of faith that has been given to us!

Some questions to inspire sharing faith stories:

  • How has the way you saw God as a child changed and/or remained the same through the years?
  • Did a particular person in your childhood have any impact on your own faith?
  • How has success, failure, illness or death played a role in your life of faith?
  • When have you felt closest to God in your life?

Prayer:  Dear Lord, something as simple as sharing a faith story with others may not change the world, but help us to know when and where to tell our stories so that others may be encouraged or inspired.

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech

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