Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Honoring the Angels ...and, no, not the baseball team!

...Today is the Feast of the Archangels ~ Michael, Gabriel and Raphael ~ and I just can't let the day go without a short post ....
"Let us join the angels of the Lord in their unending praise!
...Michael is honored by the Church as its special protector. Gabriel is best known as the angel of the annunciation to Mary and Zechariah. Raphael healed the blindness of Tobit... ~ from the Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise book - September 29
I get amused sometimes at our society in today's world - over the past couple of years, I've noticed that book stores and 'new age' people have made this big fuss over the "new" concept of angels. I just have to chuckle over all this because in our Catholic tradition, as well as the ancient tradition of our Jewish brothers and sisters, angels have always been so much a part of our belief! And this week, we celebrate two great Angel feast days - the Archangels today and on Saturday, the feast of the Guardian Angels. Angels also have a warm place in the Franciscan tradition stemming from Francis' tender affection and honor to these heavenly beings who have helped us to know God's great care and love for us. Pope Benedict in his writing of these two "angel" days said: "...these two celebrations move us to think of the provident care with which God looks after each human person ..."
So, noting that and with the Franciscan family today and on OCT. 2 nd we remember and pray ...
Francis had a great devotion to the messengers of God; open our ears to hear them and our eyes to see them in our everyday lives.
And hopefully we are not tiring out our Guardian Angels as in the picture of a statue I tumbled upon a few years ago:) angel saying, "Oh no, not in trouble again!?!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

...So Great a Love ...

Happy Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis!

Today is the feast of the great Jesuit, St. Robert Bellarmine, but as a true blue Franciscan ~ follower of St. Francis, I also want to highlight this day as the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi!

In my Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise prayer book (published by The Franciscan Federation, Third Order Regular of the Sisters and Brothers of the United States), the office of the day is introduced with this explanation of the day ...
"Francis had a burning love for the Crucified and never ceased to preach this devotion. In 1224, two years before his death, as he was lost in deep contemplation on Mount La Verna, the marks of Christ's passion were imprinted on his body."
I just couldn't let the day go by without a brief entry, especially since I have this beautiful water colored image to share. A young woman that has become my friend drew and painted this picture and gave me the framed artwork. I love it! (... and technology is so great that I was able to scan it to share.)
Anyway ... in many ways it can be hard for me to comprehend the deep prayer and contemplation that was so very much a part of St.Francis that this awesome gift of the stigmata became his... whew ... So great a love Francis had for Jesus, the crucified Christ!
I don't know what more I can write at this point, so I close with a prayer used in this morning's office.
"O God, in your servant Francis you have given the world a true disciple of Jesus. Help us (help me) who follow Francis to witness faithfully to the living Gospel and bring to the world compassion and joy."
Blessings on your weekend! I am off to Spokane, WA next week for a gathering and meetings with others who minister in vocation and formation work in various Congregations ~ should be good to get together and share!
Pace E Bene!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Criss-Crossing Through God's Country

I am aware that I am long overdue for a new post... Where do the days - hmmm, the weeks, go!?! Many beginnings have been written in my head over the past two weeks, so today I must get to it! It is a good day to write as it is the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross ~ one of my favorite feast days! The picture of the cross I am including here was taken on my recent vacation (more about that later) to the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, to be with two of our Sisters that minister at St. Stephens Indian Mission. The cross is painted on the ceiling of the main mission church. So, today being this feast, I share with you a Franciscan prayer that is almost always said at the beginning of Lauds and Vespers in my local community. I am sure other Franciscans pray it often as well.
We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all churches throughout the whole world and we bless You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world. (from the Testament [5] of St. Francis)

So, as I mentioned, I was on vacation ... from August 27th - Sept. 3. Plans for this trip happened kind of fast. On August 31st there was a special ceremony at the Indian Mission that I was asked to come for. For 118 years our Sisters have ministered at St. Stephens Indian Mission along side the Jesuit priests. After 126 years of ministry on the Reservation the Jesuits had to make the decision to leave because of other community demands, and to turn the Mission over to the Diocese of Cheyenne.
Although it wasn't the vacation I had planned on, I am certainly glad I was able to go ... to be present to/with our Sisters who live there ... and to the Jesuits, to meet the new priests of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, and to share in this ceremony and transition time with the Shoshone and Arapaho people. The OSFs had a nice showing of Sisters with 4 of us able to travel in for the event, so there was some enjoyable community time too! St. Stephens was my first "mission experience" when I went there as a Candidate my first year in Community. It is a wonderful place with beautiful people! You can read more about the event as the Bishop of Wyoming, Bishop Etienne, writes in his blog about St. Stephen Indian Mission The Bishop has also included quite a number of great pictures, so just click on the link above :) I was glad to meet the Bishop and enjoyed reading his account of Aug.31st ...
It was a fun trip, although a LOT of driving was involved, traveling from Oregon to Washington State, into Idaho and Montana and finally into Wyoming. We did travel though some beautiful country as well as some wide open spaces! God truly speaks to my heart in all the diverse beauty of the landscape! Als
o, I had a fun traveling companion who joined me - Sr. Dolores Herbeck, a Sister living in Tacoma who is from Wyoming and lived many years on the Mission as she worked in Riverton as the Catholic grade school Principal. We definitely had some adventures and lots of good talks about life, community, the countryside and the spiritual-side.... However, even though we spent a day in Yellowstone National Park with several other Sisters, I still did not see a moose! Oh, that elusive moose ...
Thought you might enjoy a few more pictures ...

Including a pose of the Franciscans after a few busy days!