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Storm Season

Sometimes, when we are battered by literal storms such as Harvey or Irma or the figurative storms of life, we feel like praying with Job:

    I cry to you and you do not answer me;
    I stand, and you merely look at me.

    You have turned cruel to me;
    with the might of your hand you persecute me.

    You lift me up on the wind, you make me ride on it,
    and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.

    (Job 30:20-22)

Other times, while still suffering, we may find it easier to trust in the fidelity of God:

    Be merciful to me, O God,
    be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;

    in the shadow of your wings
    I will take refuge,
    until the destroying storms pass by.

    (Psalm 57:1)

We can be confident that both prayers are treasured in the heart of God.

 

[Photo is my own.]

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Rejoice with us! The Cenacle is celebrating 125 years since our arrival in North America.

This is a picture of the first four Religious of the Cenacle to arrive in New York from France in 1892.

"It was not without emotion," wrote Mother Bachelard, "that we saw the shores of France fade from our view, but we bore within our hearts One, Who being All things and everywhere, annihilates distance and bestows the necessary strength for every sacrifice. Henceforth all our thoughts and efforts were to be turned toward that American land where He was awaiting us."

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Ordinary Time

What does it mean to be Ordinary?

Routine? Usual? Typical? The same as what has gone before? Is it dull, boring, without surprise? Does being ordinary make something labeled ordinary plain? Full or overly full of "the same old same old"?

But is that what the church means when it numbers weeks between Trinity Sunday and the First Sunday of Advent weeks in "Ordinary Time"?

During these weeks we listen to the Word of God found in the Sunday Gospels. Rooted in them we hear the call to make visible the Gospel path we hear and pray each Sunday. There is nothing dull, boring, or even routine about that.

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The Mass of Our Lady of the Cenacle has been prayed in various forms and translations over the years. In today’s world, where the tumult around us may draw us away from interior stillness and deafen us to the peaceful voice of God, and where the powers competing for our adoration may try to turn us away from the love of God, the following form of the collect seems especially timely. And of course we don’t have to wait for the Mass to pray it. It’s a good prayer in any season, whether we are together or in solitude.

O God,
who enriched the Blessed Virgin Mary
with the gifts of the Holy Spirit
as she prayed with the disciples
in the Cenacle,
grant, we beseech you,
that earnestly cultivating
interior silence of heart,
we may be able to prefer your love
to all else,
through Christ our Lord,
Amen.

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Come, Holy Spirit!

All these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,
together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus,
and with his brothers. (Acts 1:14)
 

In these days leading up to Pentecost, we remember the little group gathered in prayer in the first Cenacle: the Upper Room in Jerusalem. We too pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on ourselves and on our world, which sorely needs the peace and joy of the Spirit of Jesus.

Here you will find reflections on the beautiful Pentecost sequence. So we pray...

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Love Has the Last Word

In spite of all that may tend to discourage us, in spite of all we read in the newspaper or on social media, Goodness and Light are stronger than evil.

We need not fear, because we know that love has the last word.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
(John 1:5)

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A New Heart

“A new heart I will give you,
and a new spirit I will put within you;
and I will remove from your body the heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.”
(Ezekiel 36:26)

Photo by Rose Hoover, rc (with the kind help of NASA)It is never out of season to pray for the promised new heart. Lent, however, gives us a special opportunity to focus on God’s desire to transform our hearts into the heart of Jesus.  Thus may we “become participants of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). It is a breathtaking thought, but true: God invites us to share the divine life. This is our call.

It has been said that we become what we contemplate. So this Lenten season, we may ask for the grace of beholding the beauty of Christ in our daily lives, realizing of course, that our vision is limited and our attention will often stray. But each time we are distracted let us turn back, allowing the Spirit to transform us, for we read:

“All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.”  (2 Corinthians 3:18)

__________

By the way, if you are in the Chicago area, you might check out the Lenten Retreat I will be leading the weekend of March 10-12. The theme is: “Resting in the Heart of God.” You can find information here.

__________

The photo, "Christ the Heart of the Universe," is by Rose Hoover, rc, with the help of NASA's public domain space images.

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Center of Our Heart

 

“The more we draw near to God, the more we desire to draw near; the more we are united with God, the more we desire this union, because we understand more and more that God is the center of our heart and that God alone can fill them and make them happy.”

— Saint Therese Couderc,
Letter to Mother de Larochenégly, August 7, 1867

__________

The image is by Rose Hoover, rc, with the help of Apophysis software.

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We Remember

We Remember ... First Four Cenacle Sisters in North America

…four courageous women who landed in New York on July 17, 1892. They knew no English when they set sail, nor did they know where they would live when they landed. They knew simply that at the invitation of Archbishop Michael Corrigan of New York they were missioned to bring the Cenacle to New York and so the United States. The four—Mother Jenny Bachelard, Mother Christina de Grimaldi, Madam Marietta de Marschall, Sister Francoise Ellien—arrived with a keen sense of God’s providential care. 

We Celebrate ...

...this, our 125th Anniversary of presence, life and grace, that is, all God has done in our midst.  We celebrate what God has and is asking of us as we live the Cenacle mission in the North American Province.

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This month we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter “To All Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life,” quoted Benedict XVI, who said, “It is not by proselytizing that the Church grows, but by attraction” (Evangelii Gaudium).

What does this mean? Whether we are speaking of the Church as a whole or of religious life, this suggests that if people see our joy they will desire to join us. 

“Similarly,” Pope Francis adds, “the apostolic effectiveness of consecrated life does not depend on the efficiency of its methods. It depends on the eloquence of your lives, lives which radiate the joy and beauty of living the Gospel and following Christ to the full. . . . Radical evangelical living is not only for religious: it is demanded of everyone. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way.”

Let us pray that whatever our vocation, we may live fully and radiantly the lives to which we are called.

                                                

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