On the Way

By Mary Flick, CSJ

Today’s readings are full of encouragement for us on our own journey of faith, of life. In the first reading, Peter gives his first major address after the disciples have received the Spirit. He looks back in their Jewish faith history and finds in the writings of David a foretelling of the resurrection of Christ. Peter continues his instruction in the second reading, to all of us, “during the time of your sojourning,” reminding all that “your faith and hope are in God.”

We Easter wanderers find ourselves “on the way” as we listen to the Gospel today. The journey to Emmaus is the story of Every Christian’s sojourn. The road is full of conversations and debates, questions and disappointments and disbelief. Even though God walks among us, we often are unable to recognize God in the ordinariness of our lives. And when confronted by suffering and loss, we, like Cleopas, leave the place but not the experience of pain. We, too, give up hope. Astounded by what seems impossible – that Jesus “was alive” – we, like these disciples, do not always remain in community to find out for ourselves. Overcome by grief, we, with the two, have headed for home.

But Jesus keeps their stride, though they do not recognize him. Despite their pace on the road, the disciples are “slow of heart” to believe what their faith has always taught. The Stranger is familiar with their collective story and, beginning with Moses, unpacks their story of faith. The Teacher is going farther than the two were ready to go – both in their understanding and on the road. But there is something warm and attractive in his teaching; the two insist that their Companion “stay with us.”

Gathered at table, the Invited Guest repeats a ritual they have seen before: on the hillside when the 5,000 were fed. It is the same ritual that Jesus had used at the Passover meal just days earlier. He took the bread, blessed, broke and gave it to them. In the brokenness of the bread and of life, they know the fullness of Christ. They who were slow of heart now find their “hearts burning within.” Having experienced His presence, they return to the community, who confirms what they now know: “The Lord has truly been raised.”

“On the way” – on the Christian way of life – Jesus, who is The Way, is made known in the breaking of bread. Of this we are all witnesses. It is our Easter sureity.

Ser Religiosa

Yoli, csj

Hoy en día vivimos en un tiempo con muchos cambios, con un tinte volátil, de compromisos cortos y de opciones más individuales, pero no solo eso, sino también en una sociedad con muchas propuestas interesantes de vida, de oportunidades, de alcanzar metas y conquistar otras; Por ello, vale la pena reflexionar en este contexto mi opción por la vida religiosa.

Considero que mi vida es una vida CONSAGRADA, una experiencia de fe. Es el milagro de haber descubierto el don de la VOCACIÒN como un regalo; es decir, encontrar el “tesoro escondido” y dar una respuesta de gratitud y alegría.

Y, en este proceso de respuesta es darme cuenta que no estoy sola, sino que Jesús, el gran Maestro, va conmigo, acompaña mi peregrinaje, ilumina mis caminos y me bendice con la confianza y alegría para ser una mujer fecunda desde lo más pequeño y sencillo.

Siento que vivir el regalo de la vocación como hermana de San José es vivir la experiencia de la transformación a una vida más plena, más humana en relación con todos mis hermanos/as y con todo lo que nos rodea porque vivimos nuestro carisma y misión en una dinámica de unidad y reconciliación con Dios y con el querido prójimo de quien no nos separamos. Esta es la alegría de hacer visible el Reino de Dios en el lugar donde me encuentro.

También, el regalo de mi vocación a la vida religiosa es un regalo compartido, por ello, vivo compartiendo la vida con otras hermanas quienes me ayudan, me acompañan, me sostienen y son la fortaleza y mi alegría de cada día para hacer el camino más pleno y vivificante porque juntas danzamos el don de la VOCACION como la llamada a la VIDA y a una vida en plenitud.


Easter Changes Everything

Easter Changes Everything

Christ is Risen! The Chapel at Nazareth Living Center on Easter Sunday 2017.

Today as I celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ I am thinking about how it changed the world for the better. A major change in understanding occurred on the role of Jesus and why he came. He was no longer just seen as another major prophet, but for believers became the Savior they had been waiting on. It gave us a new outlook on death too, as 1 Corinthians 15:55 states “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

As I look at the state of affairs around the world today it is easy to be discouraged and even worse if I only focused on all of the bad happening it could lead to becoming so desperate that I lose hope. However the Resurrection changed everything. Jesus gave us that eternal hope that can only come from God. Jesus was and is with us in our suffering. He did not ever say there will be no more suffering on earth. If we believe in the Resurrection, which I do, and if we have a personal relationship with God, which I also personally do, then I place my trust in the fact that God is with me through it all. God is with me when I feel defeated or too when I feel ecstatic and am experiencing that ‘winning at life’ feeling. Jesus knows what we are going through because he went through all of it when he was alive for some thirty-three years. What he also knows is a little beyond our complete understanding, which is what it is like after life on Earth. He also knew what it is to be completely one with God. Even if we do not fully understand it we can still learn a lot from Jesus about how to live. His life lessons are paramount to all believers.

How does Easter affect my discernment and finding my vocation? First off it lets me know that I am a beloved of God and Jesus. God does not want me or any of us to be miserable in our life callings.  The Resurrection lets me know that I am worthy of love and mercy and that I am forgiven. This understanding leads to self-confidence and helps me realize who I am and whose I am. Jesus modeled how to live life to the fullest and how to have a strong relationship with God. In my personal relationship with God I seek and am able to listen to where I am being called. I trust God with all of my heart. I listen deeply. I eventually am able to let go of what I need to. I am able to recognize that each vocation lifestyle has a profound value.  I am then able to move forward in discernment and let my heart be moved in love. There is an inner peace and knowing that comes about and you just know the next step you need to make.  Listen to God and your heart and everything else will fall into place.

May the Joy and Love of Easter fill your heart! Blessings on the journey fellow Pilgrim!

~Sister Clare Bass

Maintaining a Prayer Life Amidst a Busy World

“Maintaining a Prayer Life Amidst a Busy World”–this was the theme for a retreat I co-lead this past weekend for alumnae of Fontbonne University (my alma mater, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph).  When one of the sisters first asked me, I had to laugh, as taking time to plan and lead the retreat would indeed make maintaining a prayer life amidst the busyness of my already busy world even that much more difficult.  But, I said yes, which I am too oft apt to do, and, I think the retreat went well.

Here are a few takeaways from the content of the retreat:

1.)  Prayer is conversation with God.  Sometimes that conversation uses words, and sometimes not.

2.)  Prayer can happen anywhere.  As Ignatius says, “Find God in all things.”  St. Francis said, “Pray all ways.”

When I look at points one and two, I am a little easier on myself when my formal, sit down, sit still prayer isn’t quite what I would want it to be.

3.)  One of the best prayers I say is the setting of the day’s intention when I first wake up.  As a sister, this entails renewing my vows.  When I commit to a way of being from the minute my feet hit the floor, it is almost always a pretty good day.

4.)  Tools such as  websites/apps “Pray as You Go, “Bible Gateway, and “Insight Timer,” (just to name a few), can help prayer happen anywhere when you might have just a few minutes to spare.

5.)  An examination of consciousness, a.k.a. the Examen, is a great tool for the end of the day and maybe even the middle.

Regardless of how busy life gets, the running, on-going conversation with God is a must for me.  Without it, ministry becomes work, I lose compassion and focus, and what I need to be my best me disappears.