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Sr. Rose Hoover

"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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    On the Mystery of the Incarnation

    It's when we face for a moment
    the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
    the taint in our own selves, that awe
    cracks the mind's shell and enters the heart:
    not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
    to no innocent form
    but to this creature vainly sure
    it and no other is god-like, God
    (out of compassion for our ugly
    failure to evolve) entrusts,
    as guest, as brother,
    the Word.

    — Denise Levertov, The Stream and the Sapphire


Nassau Book of Hours, circa 1467-80, BrugesWhat a mystery the Incarnation offers us. We are so wonderfully loved that God longs never to be separated from us, in spite of the worst we can do – and too often choose to do. Unworthy though we are, yet God becomes one of us.

And so, because God becomes and remains human, “all theology,” as Karl Rahner says, “is eternally anthropology.” And a corollary to this is that we must not devalue ourselves or other people, because we “would then be thinking little of God” (Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith).

The incarnation also reveals to us our call and our hope as human beings. “By the mystery of this water and wine,” prays the priest during the Preparation of the Gifts at Mass, “may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”

God becomes one of us, so that we “may become participants of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).  The gift of the Incarnation is the gift beyond all gifts.

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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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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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