"Autumn Prayer"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

by Father Peter Jarret, CSC

God of all creation, 
You give us the gift of seasons to mark our journey through time.
The season of autumn, with its change of colors and falling leaves,
reminds us that sometimes things must die 
and fall away for new life to arise.
Such is the message of the cross—
that through death to self we find life in all its richness.
In those moments when we experience setbacks or failures,
help us to remember that you are with us always,
and that there is no failure or sin your love cannot heal.
Help us to trust in you and in your promise of new life.

Excerpted from The Notre Dame Book of Prayer, copyright ©2007 by University of Notre Dame Campus Ministry Office. Used with permission of the publisher, Ave Maria Press®, Inc., P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556, www.avemariapress.com.

Statement on climate change

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Earth and the life it sustains are precious gifts of God, now radically threatened by climate change and ecological exploitation. Safeguarding these sacred gifts for future generations is a moral responsibility integral to the mission of the family of Holy Cross.

Climate change is already destroying Earth’s life-support systems, and endangering human health and security. Those least responsible and most affected are poor people and nations. For people of faith, response to this crisis is not an option; it is a matter of justice and solidarity.

Therefore, we will work together to:

  • Foster an ethos of care for God’s creation in our members, colleagues, institutions, and those we serve.
  • Resist the culture of consumerism and foster models of development that respect the rights of the whole Earth community.
  • Reduce energy consumption, increase efficiency, and employ renewable technologies to achieve carbon neutrality in our congregations by 2050.
  • Ensure that ecological sustainability is integral to our congregational planning, decision-making, and practices.
  • Utilize our financial and human resources to support the development of an ecological economy.
  • Urge governments and industries to adopt policies that successfully mitigate climate change and reduce its impacts on those most vulnerable.
  • Promote interdependence, right relationship and commitment to the common good, countering a culture of individualism, greed, exclusion and exploitation.

The Family of Holy Cross,
          Marianites of Holy Cross
          Priests and Brothers of Holy Cross
          Sisters of Holy Cross
          Sisters of the Holy Cross

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Statement on Syrian Refugee Crisis

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

While meeting in Rome, Italy, the four councils of the Holy Cross Congregations developed a Family of Holy Cross Statement on the Syrian Refugee Crisis. Each councilor signed the statement during a prayer service on October 7. Left to right, Sister Kesta Occident, CSC, congregational animator, Sisters of Holy Cross; Sister M. Veronique (Wiedower), CSC, president, Sisters of the Holy Cross; Sister Ann Lacour, MSC, congregational leader, Marianites of Holy Cross; and Father Richard V. Warner, CSC, superior general, Congregation of Holy Cross

Family of Holy Cross Statement
on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

We, the leadership of the four Holy Cross congregations, meeting in Rome, Italy, are acutely aware of the plight of our Syrian sisters and brothers. We are shocked and saddened by the violence being perpetrated against innocent men, women, and children, and by the international community's failures to respond effectively to this ongoing tragedy. In anticipation of the Year of Mercy, 2016, we join with Pope Francis in proclaiming that, "The experience of mercy becomes visible in the witness of concrete signs as Jesus himself taught us."

We therefore come together in a spirit of unity to call on:
  • all parties involved in the conflict to facilitate unhindered access throughout Syria to humanitarian workers and relief supplies;
  • all governments to provide aid in the form of funds, personnel and expertise to neighboring countries that are hosting large numbers of refugees;
  • countries that have the capacity to accept refugees to increase the number they are accepting, simplify the resettlement process, and provide the full protections of international refugee and asylum law;
  • all nations to support the United Nations resolutions that address the violence in Syria and the need for humanitarian aid.
While recognizing the complexity of this situation, we do not accept that war is a solution. We call on the United Nations to work toward a peaceful resolution to this conflict and other major conflicts throughout the world. As Holy Cross religious we are inspired by the words and example of our founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, who called on us to "prepare the world for better times than our own." We stand together in solidarity with persons of good will who are moved by compassion and seek fullness of life for all of God's people.

Marianites of Holy Cross
Congregation of Holy Cross
Sisters of Holy Cross
Sisters of the Holy Cross

Rome, Italy, 7 October 2015

How is God calling you?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Each of us has a unique call — one only we can answer. Discovering our primary call from God isn’t easy and no one can do it for us. It takes hard work to find out the best way to live out our Christian lives.

We must listen to the many ways God calls us. We do this by taking time for quiet, reflective prayer.

We received the most important call of all when we were baptized. In that primary sacrament of our faith, we became members of Christ’s body, the Church. Every baptized person is called to help build the reign of God in this world. Through the sacrament of baptism we all share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ and in his mission of revealing God’s love to the world. Our challenge is to discern how God wants us to live this call.

Let us pray that we will strive to be holy, happy and healthy witnesses of God’s unquenchable love as we renew or strive to discover God’s particular call for our lives.

Faith guides our steps

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Our faith and hope in God gives us the strength we need to live meaningful lives despite the pain and suffering we see all around us. It is our relationship with God that enables us to live through hard times and difficult situations without becoming hopeless or giving in to despair. Knowing that God truly loves us and cares about our well-being is the source of our inner strength.

Living in God's presence

Monday, October 12, 2015

Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is in you and that you are an instrument of God’s love? Do you believe God is also in others and that no one has a monopoly on God’s presence?

There is a delightful little book called Practicing the Presence of God.  It contains the reflections of Brother Laurence, a simple monk who wrote how he strove continually to recognize Christ’s presence in all the people and events of each day of his life.  He tried to live each moment, no matter what he was doing, conscious of God’s active love for all of creation.  He experienced the Lord in everything and consciously lived in God’s presence.  During most of his waking hours he carried on a running conversation with God.

We should all desire to live more that way. If we did, our lives would be transformed. Our attitude toward others and the events of our lives cannot help but change if we recognize and remember that God is also in and with them.

If we are truly conscious of God’s loving presence in each person, no matter who he or she is, it cannot help but influence the way we live our lives and treat one another.

Listen to your distractions

Thursday, October 8, 2015

by Sister Margie Lavonis

When I first became a Sister of the Holy Cross it was the practice to meditate for an hour each day. To a 17-year-old extravert this hour seemed like an eternity. I operated under the notion that “good” prayer happened only when you were focused totally on God and God alone.

In my feeble attempts to meditate during this hour, I found myself fighting many distractions. I would spend a lot of time chasing “other” thoughts from my mind. I got discouraged and thought I was not growing in my spiritual life.

After a few years of what I thought to be an impossible exercise, a wise spiritual director suggested that when distractions invaded my consciousness I should hold them in prayer. His advice was liberating.

God has a way of putting certain people and events in our minds for a reason. When our minds drift off and we continue to think about someone or something, perhaps we are being encouraged to pray for that person or event.

Also, if our thoughts are about our “to do” lists or what we going to have for supper, it often helps to write those distractions down in a notebook or on a piece of paper so we can deal with them at another time. Otherwise, it is hard to focus on the Lord.

It also is good to remember that we are whole persons — creatures with bodies and souls that cannot be separated. Our person is integrated with our spirit. We must not divide our “prayer life” from the rest of life. Our relationship with God touches our whole life, not just when we say prayers or go to church. What is important to us in our daily lives is also important to God, and we should discuss our lives with him.

Prayer is not meant to be a discipline or a dirge. I sometimes hear people say, “I have to go say my prayers” or “I must get my prayers in,” as if their prayer is merely an obligation. The idea is to integrate our prayer with our lives. God is interested in everything about us. I think he would rather hear about us rather than always receiving a recitation of formal, written prayers.

So, the next time your mind wanders during Mass or when you sit down to pray, bring your distraction to your prayer. That is one way God speaks to us. Listen to him.

Building a society of justice, love

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Immersed in a world of violence that is destroying human dignity and creation, it is our responsibility as Sisters of the Holy Cross to work to implement a culture of peace and nonviolence.

Core Values
Compassion compels us to stand with and embrace others in their suffering, that together we may experience God’s liberating and healing presence.

Faith impels us to trust God ever more radically and to risk responding as disciples of Jesus.

Prayer, personal and communal, grounds us in God’s unconditional love, calls us to integrity in discernment, and animates us in our work of building a society of justice and love.

Community commits us to seek ways to journey together which energize and sustain us to live our mission in solidarity with one another.

Satisfy your spiritual hunger

Thursday, October 1, 2015

by Sister Margie Lavonis

Most of us think of food in connection with the concept of hunger. Sometimes our stomachs growl and then all we can think about is supper or a trip to the closest McDonald’s or Taco Bell. Each of us has been famished for food sometime or another, but eating does not satisfy all our hungers. We also have spiritual hungers that need to be satisfied if we are to become mature adults.

In the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. Jesus was not talking about food in this prayer but about satisfying the spiritual hungers or desires that every human being experiences in life.

One spiritual hunger or desire is to believe that life is meaningful and has a purpose. It is that deep, inner longing that cannot be fully satisfied with material goods, possessions or superficial relationships. How sad for those who never find meaning in their lives, who never discover God’s love, or who try to find happiness only by acquiring more and more money or possessions.

Another hunger, and one which all people crave, is community. None of us is meant to be alone. We need others to help us become who God wants us to be. Human growth and maturity happen in an atmosphere of belonging and acceptance.

Each person also hungers to be heard. We all have a need to share ourselves with others who will listen. We are affirmed when someone hears what we say and takes us seriously. When we sense we are not heard, we can feel discounted or that our words do not matter. We must learn how to be good listeners so we can help satisfy this hunger in others. It is a skill that is sorely needed in our world today.

Prayer also can help alleviate this hunger to be heard. Christians believe in a personal God who is involved in each person’s life. We believe God cares about each of us individually and listens to us and knows the desires of our hearts.

Each person also longs to be appreciated and loved. Almost every day we see what happens when people have not experienced love in their lives. Often they get into trouble or cause harm to others. Many have difficulty loving others. Those deprived of love may cease to love themselves and can suffer from low self-esteem. As Christians who are called to love, we have the responsibility to help satisfy this deep hunger we all share.

Lastly, we all hunger for acceptance. It is a wonderful gift when we are accepted for who we are and not for what we do. We all need to matter to someone. People who are not accepted by others suffer a great deal. Perhaps we could be more mindful of these people and reach out to include them periodically in our lives.

At times it is helpful to look at our lives, reflect upon our own unsatisfied hungers and discover the deepest longing of our hearts. Let us go to God and ask for the daily bread we need, and recognize how we can share our bread with others.