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Sr. Rose Hoover
Vision of Goodness

In 1866, Saint Therese Couderc (whose feast day is September 26) had a vision of the goodness of all creation. She saw the word Goodness “written on all creatures, animate and inanimate.” (Read more of how she described her experience here.

But what does it mean to have a vision of goodness? Indeed, what does it mean to be granted any kind of vision, assuming that the vision is true?

I believe that a vision is often not so much seeing something new and strange that is placed before us. Rather I think it implies the gift of perceiving more truly: that is, seeing with God’s eyes and knowing with God’s heart. And what is seen may well be something that has been with us all along, as it was with our Mother Therese. How often she had seen those ordinary “creatures, animate and inanimate”! How often she had looked at the simple chair she used for a kneeler! But now she was seeing them more nearly as God sees them. They were all good, and more, they were good because God had imparted to them something of the divine goodness.

 

 

 

 

So a vision, in this sense, does not imply seeing something that had not been there before—and even less does it suggest seeing something that is not there at all. Instead it means seeing people or things more truly—it means sharing in a small way the divine vision.

We cannot make this kind of seeing happen. And we cannot see in whole the way God does. For now “we see in a mirror, dimly,” until that time of fulfillment when “we will see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). But even today we may pray fervently for the gift of seeing people and things as God sees them. And we may choose to look at each other and at creation more carefully and more generously, as we grow in the graced desire to live more and more in union with Jesus Christ, and therefore grow in perceiving more clearly in him.

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

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For more on vision: “Seeing with God’s Eyes

Photo: View through lenses is of Lake Alice on the University of Florida campus.

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A Simple Act of Kindness

The other day I was feeling downhearted about a number of things—including the illness of loved ones and the acts of horrific bigotry and violence in our country. I decided to go outside for some fresh air. Actually I didn’t feel much like going outside, but I knew that wallowing in my discouragement was not helpful.

As I returned from my brief walk, a tall, thin man wearing a baseball cap was coming down the steps of our house. Perhaps he was making a retreat or was with a group meeting here. Neither of us spoke, but he smiled and took off his hat as we passed.

That’s all. A simple act of kindness and courtesy. But what a difference it made to my spirit—especially, for some reason, the lifting of his hat.

A simple act of kindness, especially on a difficult day, can feel like the touch of God—and perhaps it is indeed that. After all, our human kindness, I believe, has its source in the divine kindness. The wellspring of all our human goodness is the love and good will of God toward us.

“We love because [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

We often don’t know the effect kindness can have on others. This may be particularly true when we show kindness when it has not been shown to us. But if we pay attention to the effect a simple act can have on us, we may be more inclined to show kindness ourselves. And if we take notice of the small kindnesses bestowed on us when we least expect them, we may also become more aware of Goodness at the heart of creation.

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift,
is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
(James 1:17)

For several examples  of kindness bestowed during my years at the Cenacle in Gainesville, Florida, see:  "Random Acts of Kindness"

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Come, Spirit of love and of peace!
Fill our hearts and the hearts of all your people,
that the world may no longer turn to violence and war,
but instead welcome your peace and your joy.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Amen.

 

"... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

(Galatians 5:22-23)

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[Pentecost painting located at the Cenacle in Ronkonkoma.]

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Jesus is risen!

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
...
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:1, 12-15)

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Jürgen Moltmann, in the last chapter of his book, Experiences of God,  writes:

"Finally, like the particular paths of the mystic and the martyr, everyday life in the world also has its secret mysticism and its quiet martyrdom. The soul does not only die with Christ and become `cruciform’ by means of spiritual exercises and in public martyrdom. It already takes the form of the cross in the pains of life and the sufferings of love. The history of the suffering, forsaken and crucified Christ is so open that the suffering, forsakenness and anxieties of every loving man or woman find a place in it and are accepted. If they find a place in it and are accepted, it is not in order to give them permanence, but in order to transform and heal them."

– Trans. Margaret Kohl (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007)

Loving God,
may I welcome the healing power of the cross
in the sorrows and struggles of my everyday life,
through Jesus Christ who loves me
and died for me.
Amen.

 

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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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