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If today.....
Joan  »

I woke this morning with the words from Psalm 95 later quoted in Hebrews in my head - "If today you hear God's voice harden not your heart".  I have learned to pay attention to my "first thoughts" when I wake up.  They can often give me some sense of how my day might go  or what I need to pay attention to.  Perhaps my sleeping self knew I was to write a blog post about Listening and it was reminding me that the most important voice I need to listen to is God's.

It is sometimes hard for me to settle all the other voices in my head, and outside of my head, to hear God's voice.  But fortunately God is persistent and patient.  The voice of God comes to me in the people and situations I encounter each day. How I react is up to me. I pray for the ability to respond to the day and all it brings with the heart God desires for me - a compassionatet and loving heart.


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God Says Yes To Me

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Sometimes religion makes it seem like God is usually disappointed or even angry at us.  When this poet questioned God, she heard a different kind of answer.

Maybe God is more on our side than we think?

God Says Yes To Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

—Kaylin Haught

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Joan  »

As I move along in life I find my perspective on many things, naturally, has evolved.  One wonderful realization has been that grace is everywhere and available at all times.  It has been rather amazing to see would had been viewed as coincidences evolve into grace and grace carry me through, over or around the daily challenges of life.  As a believer in coincidence I didn't really question the serendipitous nature of life but grace seemed too complicated and fraught with theological baggage.  Yet I find my heart and mind opening to the amazing freedom and serenity of God's gift of grace.  Often  I find it is simply of matter of asking for help, guidance, or some indication as to how I am to move through the day.  The challenge of pausing to ask is still there BUT even that realization is a grace to me  - the little voice, the seemingly random person or sign that reminds me I am not "doing life" on my own.  I have a powerful companion on the road and I need only pause and allow God's grace to enter my mind, heart and body.  Is the openess to grace something we humans are born with and then often dismiss as we rationalize our lives?  If so, how can we expand our openness to this free gift of infinite love?

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Species of Genius

I know an old Trappist monk who sometimes uses an odd phrase in talking about people.  In conversation, he’ll refer to someone or other as “a species of genius.”  At first, I was amused and a little confused by the expression.  Eventually, I came to understand that he wasn’t necessarily talking about the person’s intelligence, but rather about the unique giftedness that the particular individual possessed.  If you or I were sitting with him, he would see each of us as a species of genius.

My monk friend recognizes that in every person there is a convergence of genetics, history, experience and temperament that make up the personal genius of that person.  It’s one reason that every life is so precious and irreplaceable.  Maybe this awareness is a Trappist thing – the fruit of their contemplation.  Thomas Merton once felt overwhelmed by the luminosity of everyone passing by him on a busy street corner in downtown Louisville.  Of the experience, he wrote, “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.”

We don’t need to be monastic, though, to get occasional epiphanies of how wondrous the people sharing the “L” car with us or sitting across the table from us are.  Maybe those moments are glimpses of heaven.  They say spirituality is matter of waking up to reality.  How would it change my relationships if I were to see others as the species of genius that they are?

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Joan  »


Once upon a time there was a person walking along a path in the woods.  Suddenly a bear appeared and started to run after them.  The person ran and ran until they fell off a cliff.  Fortunately there was a small tree sticking out from the side of the cliff and the person quickly grabbed it.  As they hung there they looked down and saw a deep drop below and looking up they saw no way to climb back up without a rope.  The person called out,  "Is there anyone up there?"  After a pause a voice replied - "This is God.  Let go and I'll catch you."  After a very long pause the person called out "Is there anyone else?"

This story elicits a laugh from all who hear it because we recognize ourselves so well.  I find myself recalling it at times of confusion and uncertainty about how I'll "survive" a challenging situation.  I tell myself I trust God and God's love and presence but...then I can find myself hesitating and looking about for something else.  I don't know what this person hanging off the cliff did but I do know when I am willing to push past that hesitation and let God catch me and hold me it proves to be the correct step.  The result is not always what I predicted but the hand of God is there and I am back on my feet on solid ground.

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Blessed Christmas Greetings
Joan  »
As we enter this special time of reflection we ponder the meaning of Jesus' arrival into our world, our lives, our hearts.  The Cenacle Sisters and Staff send their wishes to you and your family and your individual world for a holy and spirit filled time.
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Election Day Action
Joan  »

What action are most excellent?

To gladden the heart of a human being

To feed the hungry.

To help the afflicted.

To lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful.

To remove the wrongs of the injured.

That person is the most beloved of God who does most good to God's creatures.

The Prophet Muhammed


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Take a Moment
Joan  »
In this time of ever growing darkness and the settling of the earth into a slumber take a moment to reflect on the sparks of nature which surround us.  The colors and smells of this season fill my heart with immense serenity.  The earth is teaching me to pause and consider the blessings which have been ever present but not always noticed as I move throughout my day.  So take a walk or simply pause and look out a window to savor all the earth is giving us each moment of this Autumn time.
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The Feast of St. Francis
Joan  »
Today, October 4, is the Feast of St. Francis so take the time to appreciate all the blessings bestowed upon you.  The food provided by the earth. The warmth provided by the sun and the rain sent by the clouds.  The family and friends whom you love and who love you.  The grace of God which allows you to embrace each day and grow into God's love.  The wisdom of St. Francis is found in his embrace of "Lady Poverty".  Where in our lives can we reflect the message of St. Francis - his love of the earth and all the earth's creatures, his humility and his simplicity?
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The Dog Days
Joan  »

We can say that the "dog days of summer" are upon us with the heat of August in full blast. However, it is interesting to note that this expression, initially, had nothing to do with dogs laying about in the heat too tired to chase a ball or rabbit.   It refers to an astronomical event during Greek and Roman times when Sirius, the dog star, appeared to rise just before the sun in late July chasing the Rabbit constellation. They referred to these days as the hottest time of the year, a period that could bring fever, or even catastrophe.

With the movement of the skies since those days the actual "dog days" have moved to the winter months - so I suppose we could say the dog is huddled by the fireplace and has no interest in going outside. This little piece of trivia, though not trivial to the Greeks and Romans, reminds me to look above me at night to see even more of God's creation.

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