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An Evening Prayer
O God,
in whom we live and move
and have our being,

O Love,
who embraced our sorrows
and took away our sins on the cross,

we have come to you today,
sometimes trusting,
sometimes fearful,

sometimes falling,
sometimes rejoicing.

O God, O Love,
as we spend these evening hours,
draw us to your loving heart,

where our fears may be quieted
and our tears wiped away,

and where we, with your Son Jesus Christ
may embrace the sorrows of the world
and answer your call to forgive,
in your most merciful heart.

Amen.
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It's about Love

The season of Lent is about love.

We might be eager to reach the more obvious celebration of Easter, but we can well say that Lent — indeed the whole liturgical year — is about love, because the deepest meaning of our lives is God's love for us.

"And I saw full surely that before God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be. And in this love He hath done all His works; and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning: in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end."

- Julian of Norwich, "Love Was Our Lord's Meaning,"
Revelations of Divine Love

__________

Check out our new Cenacle Publication:

Rose Hoover, "That God May Be All in All: Christian Life and Sacred Paradox."

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New Cenacle Publication

That God May Be All in All: Christian Life and Sacred Paradox is the title of my new book, recently published.

We might truly wonder about this mysterious Biblical phrase: "that God may be all in all" (from 1 Corinthians 15). What does it mean for God to be all in all? Is this a promise only for the end of time, or does it contain a call to us now?

How are we to let ourselves be transformed in the God who is Unknown, yet at the same time is our most intimate Knowing? And what about the wondrous mystery that the God who is supremely Other longs for us to share the divine life in Christ?

I invite you to take a look on Amazon.com, which will let you view samples of the book.  Just click on the picture of the cover, and you will be taken there.


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Peaceable Kingdom

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
(Isaiah 11:6-9 NRSV)

Buddy and Ada holding paws

 

 

 

 

Buddy and Ada Holding Paws
– Photo by John Hoover

 

Isaiah’s beautifully poetic prophecy concerning the reign of the Messianic king foresees a world where all creatures live together in peace. But we might well ask: Is this age of peace, of harmony, of love among God’s creatures solely the responsibility of the Messiah? Do we human beings have no role to play in bringing about the peace and love described here?  Are we just to carry on business as usual—making war, damaging the environment on which we depend, hurting ourselves and others in multiple ways—in the conviction that there is nothing we can do now to bring about that time when there will be no more hurting or destroying?

On the contrary, if we are to live in the Spirit of Christ, if indeed it is true that we ourselves are called to “become participants of the divine nature” (1 Peter 1:4), then the peace that Christ brings must in some way be present in our relationships with each other and with God’s creation.

So we might ask: What small step can I take now to witness to that future when there will be no hurting or destroying in God’s creation? How can I allow God to work through me to hasten, even in a very limited way, the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”?

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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)

_____

[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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"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?

__________

For more information or to register click here.

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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.

__________

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

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Questions Worth Pondering

As young children who felt Lent needed to be made interesting – and not just like a punishment— my classmates:

• went to the priest who gave the biggest, darkest cross of ashes;

• did not eat candy but did save every bite that came their way;

• went to the Stations ceremony during school rather than after;

• and competed to win the “I gave the most” alms contest.

 
The Church still calls us to Lenten prayer, fasting, and almsgiving — but not to win contests or prove how good we are.

So we ask ourselves:
Why then are we invited to these practices? What do they give us? How do they make us more aware of the Christ who redeems us and whose love is shot through our lives?

These are indeed questions for pondering.

 

I will sprinkle clean water upon you,
and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses,
and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
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.
I will put my spirit within you…
(Ezekiel 36:25-27a)

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