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Sr. Rose Hoover
The Path of Mercy

 

In this mortal life
mercy and forgiveness are our path,
and always lead us to grace.
(Julian of Norwich, 1342 – c. 1416)

 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23:6)

 

 

How blessed we are to be walking on the path of divine mercy and forgiveness.  Let us open our hands and hearts both to receive mercy and to share it with others. Thus may the world more and more follow this path of blessing, instead of the road leading to war and violence.

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The Word Became Flesh

The Nativity, Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, ca. 1665–70

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
And we have seen his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth. . .

From his fullness we have all received,
grace upon grace.
(John 1: 14, 16)

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Image: The Nativity, Bartolomé Estebán Murillo, ca. 1665–70
Original in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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God Also Waits for Us


Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Ps 27:14)

 

 

Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

(Ps 27:14)

 

 

 

 

O God, that at all times you may find me
as you desire me
and where you would have me be,
that you may lay hold on me fully —
both by the Within and the Without of myself —
grant that I may never break this double thread of my life.


– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu

 

I have often prayed this beautiful prayer from The Divine Milieu. As lovely as the above translation is, however, there may be a more accurate way to render one phrase. The original French doesn’t quite ask God to find me “where you would have me be.” Rather, it begs that God may find me “there where you are waiting for me” (là où vous m’attendez).

Not only do we wait for God, but God is also waiting for us.

God may be waiting for us in a particular place or in a particular way of being to which we are called. But at the same time, God is already with us and near us, waiting for us in the closeness of our own hearts, waiting for us to say yes.  “Yes, my God, I do want to be one with you in your love. I want to share your life.”

We both wait and are waited for. We wait, we seek, we long for God, we take whatever steps toward God that we know to take. And there we find, paradoxically, that God has been waiting for us and longing for us. At the same time, God has been with us all along, for without the divine presence in us, we would not be able to long for God, nor would we be able to take even a single step toward God.

So we pray in Advent (and at other times, too), “Come, Lord Jesus.” And perhaps we hear God calling to us, “Come. I am waiting for you.”

Mon Dieu, pour que, à toute minute, vous me trouviez
tel que vous me désirez,
là où vous m’attendez,
c’est-à-dire pour que vous me saisissiez pleinement, — 
par le dedans et le dehors de moi-même, —
faites que je ne rompe jamais ce double fil de ma vie.


– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Le Milieu divin

 

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For Thanksgiving and Beyond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thank my God every time I remember you,
constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.
(Philippians 1:3-5)

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"That God May Be All in All" is is the theme of a retreat for women which I will be presenting at the Chicago Cenacle, November 2 - November 4, 2018.

What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 15 when he foresees that eventually God will be all in all? Does this have relevance only for the distant future? If not, what is the amazing call for us today?

Who are we that God desires us to live and love with the divine heart?

And what about the letter to the Ephesians, where Paul speaks of the One who already “fills all in all” (Eph 1)?  What does this suggest for each of us right now?

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For more information or to register click here.

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We do not pray alone.

Here are two quotations on the presence of the Holy Spirit when we pray, the first from Paul’s letter to the Romans:

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

(Romans 8:26)

The second is from Karl Rahner, on the beauty and dignity of our prayer:

The Spirit is a helper in our prayer… Because [the Spirit] helps, our prayer is a piece of the melody that rushes through the heavens, an aroma of incense that sweetly rises to the eternal altars of heaven before the triune God.  The Spirit of God prays in us.  That is the holiest consolation in our prayer.  The Spirit of God prays in us.  That is the most exalted dignity of our prayer.

The Need and the Blessing of Prayer,
trans. Bruce W. Gillette (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1997).

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Created Good

Robin on nest in Cenacle courtyard

God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.
(Genesis 1:31)

“It was very good.” All creatures are good and valued, including ourselves who are made, amazingly enough, in the divine image.

We are told that God’s “compassion is over all that he has made” (Psalm 145:9).  As we live and love from the life of the One in whose image we are made, we too have compassion for the creation God proclaimed good.

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Photo: Robin on nest in Cenacle courtyard, by Sr. Rose Hoover

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At the Foot of the Cross

Holy, mighty One,
have mercy on us.

Unnameable Other,
One with us,
Have mercy on us.

Unshakable Compassion,
Infinite Goodness,
have mercy on us.

Loving Silence,
Beauty, source of all loveliness,
All-Desirable One,
have mercy on us.

O Crucified One,
have mercy on us.

 

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"The Cross of Christ is the penetration of God into that unholy area where we would least expect him and, if the truth be known, where we least want him.  God has entered into the loneliness of our suffering and the self-hatred of our sin.  And he has not come as judgment but as acceptance.  The Cross is the communication of God’s care but it is not a message from the outside.  God loves us by receiving our lives into himself as we experience them — torn and broken.  The Cross is God loving us from the inside."

- John Shea, Stories of God  (Chicago: Thomas More Press, 1978), 222.

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Image: Christ on the Cross, by Hans Holbein the Younger, 1516

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God Revealed in Mercy

God’s being God is revealed in his mercy. Mercy is the expression of his divine essence.
Walter Kasper,
Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life

 

Eugène Burnand, 1900

Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, as we human beings tend to think.  God, we learn, expresses divine power not by getting even with us when we do wrong, but by forgiving us: “[You] manifest your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy” (Collect, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

What about us? How do we live out of the divine mercy poured out on us? How do we witness to the divine life dwelling in us?

Do you not know
that you are God’s temple
and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
(1 Cor 3:16).

One of the most important ways is to show mercy — to live out of the merciful love which we cannot claim to merit.  And we remind ourselves — in our weakness, in our reluctance to forgive — that we are always wrapped in the tender and merciful love of God.

Oh, Mercy! … Wherever I turn my thoughts, I find nothing but mercy.
(Catherine of Siena, Dialogues, 30)

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Art by Eugène Burnand, "Heimgefunden" (Home Found), 1900

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For more reflections on mercy, go to "Caught Up in God."

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Blessings in the New Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

– Minnie Louise Haskins, 1908

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