I’ve been mulling over a passage from prayer recently: Relieve the anguish of my heart, and set me free from my distress. Preserve my life and rescue me. Do not disappoint me; you are my refuge. (Psalm 25) Continue Reading
Today is the feast of Pentecost. What does that mean? As Father Karl Rahner wrote, “God is ours…he has given us His whole being without reserve; He has given us the clarity of His knowledge, the freedom of His love and the bliss of His Trinitarian life. He has given us Himself. And His name is Holy Spirit. He is ours … God is our God: that is the glad tidings of Pentecost.”
If God is ours and has given God’s whole being to us, what does it mean? What should we do?
We hear that God expects nothing in return, which is comforting but not an answer.
Think how much we expect from God. Should we not give back? Should we not live our lives as we are called? Continue Reading
My 84-year-old friend, Sister Rosemary Murphy, told me today that she had read my recent blogs and enjoyed them. So I asked her what I should write today to the women discerning their vocation. Her answer came out of today’s Gospel, when Jesus instructed his disciples how to pray. He said, Ask my Father for what you need and you shall receive it. Continue Reading
Mary sat at the feet of Jesus…to listen to Him speak. Luke 11: 38 – 42
This passage was what I found in my daily mediation book on Monday and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. The story of Mary and Martha is often the Gospel used for the Feast of St. Scholastica. I’ve realized it is a powerful model for discernment. Continue Reading
Turn away your face from my sins, blot out all my guilt. A clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit Psalm 51
When discerning about religious life it is essential to look at yourself and where you have been in your life. My last blog posed the question of who loved you immensely and in some way introduced you to the intimate love of God as reflected in Psalm 139. Today I look at Psalm 51, another passage I suggest for discerning about your personal history.
Psalm 51 is powerful because it recalls the loving, forgiving and nurturing God. Continue Reading
‘I know your resting and your rising…..” PS 139
This week I focused my prayer on one of the passages I offered for discerners in my earlier bog. PS 139 has always been a very favorite of mine. It is a very intimate prayer between Creator God and creation. It is a prayer of being known, cared about and cared for by a loving God. Continue Reading
Create in me a discerning heart, O God, and put a new spirit within me. (Psalm 51)
The discernment process is to help you come to some resolution regarding your call to religious life. As we begin a new Liturgical Year of Ordinary Time I thought it might be helpful to ‘walk through’ some key areas of discernment. The goal is to create a discerning heart. Continue Reading
Read Nancy’s wonderful discernment prayer comparing her life to autumn in “A Time to Plant,” below. Leaves must fall before new growth can begin, she says, and I agree! In our lives we must shed our old leaves in order to grow.
Discernment is a Paschal Mystery walk, where we pray to let go of what we cling to and learn to embrace what God sets before us. What is it in our lives that God is nudging us to change and to move beyond? These difficult inner movements require a listening heart, a trusting heart and an attentive heart. We must die to our desires and comforts in order for God to break through with God’s desires for us.
The Paschal Mystery – Jesus letting go of human life – went beyond the everyday to embrace God’s plan of resurrection and eternal life. Our discernment journey may ask the same of us – to let go of the familiar, the everyday – in order to embrace God’s plan for us. Not an easy journey but a transformative journey – where we are more deeply responding to God’s new life for us.
Stefanie posted two great prayers this week regarding discernment (in “A Time to Plant,” below). What struck me was each prayer referred to knowing your gifts and how best to use them in service of God and God’s People. That is the crux of discernment!
Here’s what I mean: While our Benedictine community has the gift of leading a rhythmic life of prayer and work, other communities are quite different. Many emphasize work more than living in community and sharing prayer. Some are cloistered and emphasize prayer over work. Our community values living together at the monastery, following a balanced life of prayer and work. Other communities allow Sisters to live wherever their jobs take them, often living alone or in small groups.
Do your gifts emphasize prayer, community and ministry? If so, visit our Benedictine community! If your gift is to do ministry without such an emphasis on life and prayer in community, an Apostolic community may be your match.
Know yourself, your gifts and how you are called to use them in your life. Try using Stefanie’s prayers as a guide to your reflection.
For over 20 year Be Not Afraid has been a popular song in funeral liturgies and at retreats. It expresses our human longing to be at peace even in the midst of extraordinary tension and uncomfortable experiences.
We use a similar Taize chant at the Monastery with the simple phrase, “Peace I leave you, Peace I give you, Be not afraid.” I find it a wonderful prayer and very engaging chant. In fact, we used it in today’s liturgy. Continue Reading