Sunday, October 14, 2007

Of mercy, healing and Grace

Today's readings are extremely difficult. This morning, as I prayed, I thought how easy it was for me to focus on the silliness of Naaman not wanting to follow the instructions given by Elisha....or thinking, "well, he ONLY wanted to worship God AFTER he was healed, or maybe to focus on the ungratefulness of the nine other lepers.
But as I reflected on the scriptures I thought of the fact that the healing of both Naaman and the tenth leper were more than just physical. They were healed in body AND heart. Naaman requested two mule-loads of earth to build an altar for the living God and the Samaritan, another foreigner, believed in Jesus and his faith saved him.
I think of Naaman and his wanting to pay back Elisha, wanting to do something for God's servant and Elisha's strong refusal. God's gift of healing is pure grace, it can not be earned. In her autobiography, Jeanne Chezard de Matel wrote: "With great charity, You let me understand that my sins were forgiven, that You had washed them away in Your Blood. In my zeal, I wanted to be treated rigorously for the faults You had taken away which served to humble me, but Your love preferred to make me holy." Jeanne Chezard de Matel, Autobiography 1, Pages 30-31
Again, God's healing love is pure grace, it can not be earned. This is a story about faith. The second reading says that "God remains faithful because he cannot deny himself" (2Timothy 2:13)
This is a beautiful statement. I believe the Liturgy of the hours says somewhere that God is never outdone in generosity. "God can not deny himself", the thought is so overwhelming!
God said to Jeanne: "I prefer mercy to sacrifice...Since in My goodness, I have chosen to delight in you, you would make me suffer...if your heart were to reject My caresses...With humble gratitude, then, accept My graces, and allow me to love you and to pur out the torretns of My goodness upon you." Jeanne Chezard de Matel, Autobiography 1, pages 30-31
So, then, the call for me is to allow God to love me, to allow God to heal me and not to wallow in misery as I know well how to. The call is for a grateful heart who knows that God's graces can never be repaid and to say with St. Paul:
"Always thank God...because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." (1 Corinthians 1:4)
Praised be the Incarnate Word!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

St. Ripper pray for us!

These last days in the novitiate we have been having crocheting lessons during recreation from Sr. Mary Ann and Sr. Mary Beth. Both of these Sisters are highly skilled at many crafts. This crafting session was mmmmm, rather interesting. Sr. Mary Beth succeeded at teaching a left handed person how to right hand crochet. The evening included questions like:

Sr. Helga: "Who is the Patron Saint of Seamstresses?"

Sr. Mary Beth: "St. Ripper, of course!"

Crocheting requires some concentration, especially when you are learning. I keep on thinking of something Sr. Mary Beth told me: "The stitches tell a lot about how you're feeling." Which is absolutely true, either too tight, too tangled, too loose, too wrong, too right. Same happens with quilting.

I wonder what the stitches tell about me, my life, my prayer. Sometimes I wonder where all of this will take me. Sometimes I wonder if I match the thread of this wonderful afghan of religious life.

The other day I found this granny hexagon afghan in one of the rooms in the novitiate and fell in love with it. It has become a friend during meditation. If you notice, it has all kinds of odds and ends of yarn and yet, it fits together as if God had designed it. The colors blend together and the dark colors make others stand out or accentuate them. Did you notice the baby yarn carefully guarded by other darker and brighter colors? All of them play a part in this beautiful design. The contrast makes it wonderful, attractive, beautiful. And I think this resembles our community, when you meet a Sister of the Incarnate have met one Sister of the Incarnate Word.

We have Sisters in all sizes, shapes, colors, languages and backgrounds, yet, we are one in heart and in our love for the Incarnate Word, one in faithfulness to our charism, one in being the human face of God in four continents. Together we resemble an afghan, like Joseph's cloak of many colors.

Praised be the Incarnate Word!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I always wanted to do this

Free Widgets

Glittery texts by

On Sunday, September 30, Sister Louise Marie Jones, Incarnate Word Sister of Victoria, Texas made her First Profession of Vows. The ceremony was truly beautiful! The entrance song was Veni Creator Spiritus in three voices, I think. Then her superior said a few words to Sister Louise Marie and to the assembly, after the Liturgy of the Word, Sister Louise Marie continued with the rite of Religious Profession.

These Sisters have the same profession formula that we have, except that their Bishop examines the candidates for profession during the Rite of First profession. After the examination, Sr. Louise Marie consecrated herself to God through the vows of Consecrated Chastity, Evangelical Poverty and Religious Obedience for one year. Then, she proceeded to sing Psalm 16 which is a song expressing the spirit of self-giving and joy.

One special thing about this ceramony was that Sister's daughter sang with the choir and also sang a beautiful meditation song. I was very touched and so was Sister and the rest of the assembly.

We then went on to the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the recessional song was a Hymn to Mother Jeanne de Matel. I transcribe the words.
The flow'rs have appeared in our land.
Arise my love and come!
The winter is over and the rain is past,
my dove from the cleft of the rock.

You heard the call of the Incarnate Word, Dear mother Jeanne de Matel.
You gave Him all you had to give, and ever more and more.

Watch over us, your sons and daughters, as you have always done.
That we may spread His love and peace, till all His sheep are one.

May the Incarnate Word bless her as she continues to hear the call of the Incarnate Word and may He hold her close and she continues to give her joyful yes.

Praised be the Incarnate Word!