Earth Day

Saturday, April 22, 2017

All-powerful God,
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

— Pope Francis, Laudato si'
We invite you to pause in gratitude for God’s gift of our planet home and to savor the beauty of all creation with this Earth Day Prayer, "Show Mercy to Our Common Home."

What satisfies you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

by Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

The lyrics of popular songs are often something that spars a reflection for me. A few weeks back I heard a homily on “satisfaction” and my mind drifted to a song that was a big hit when I was younger. It was called; you guessed it, “Satisfaction.” The same line was repeated over and over. It goes something like this: “I can’t get no satisfaction, and I tried, and I tried, and I tried. Can’t get no satisfaction.”

These words stir up a lot of thoughts for me. As I reflect on life it seems to me that so many people are in constant search of satisfaction. They focus on trying to find what will satisfy and make them happy. They think, “I’ll be happy when I graduate or get married or find that perfect job.” They are always looking for something more.

Some people try all kinds of things to satisfy the deep longing inside them. Some think alcohol and drugs are the answer, but that high is temporary and life hits them right in the face when it wears off. Others look for love in all the wrong places. Accumulating money and all the latest gadgets does not seem to bring much happiness either.

So, what do you think the problem is? What prevents so many from getting satisfaction out of life?

I think I know the answer. I believe genuine happiness comes when we give of ourselves in love. Think of the people in your life who are joyful. They usually go out of themselves to meet the needs of others. Relationships are important to them.

Happy, satisfied people are usually positive and try to say only the good things people need to hear. They don’t drag others down with their constant negativity and gossip. They feel good about life and bring the best out in others.

A good way to fight our feelings of “not enough” is to do something for someone else. You would be amazed how much happiness and satisfaction can come from getting our minds off ourselves and reaching out to others! I think the key is that satisfaction comes only when we don’t spend all our energy looking for it.

Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 16, 2017

by Sister Parboti Gomes, CSC
Scripture passages referenced in this reflection are Acts 10:34a, 37-43, 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 and John 20:1-9.

"The world is at a point of violence, social dissolution and the presence of a gnawing question as to whether or not there is anything that can be done to change the direction set by leaders of governments. This is the world within which we are called to be saints and prophets, that is, to give witness to the possibility of a world of compassion, justice and community through the full and integrated living of our commitment as religious women. We know we do not hold this hope alone nor in vain. It is God who inspires and sustains us in our desires and who also calls individuals and groups from every corner of the Earth to join in solidarity to bring into existence visible examples of God’s reign in our midst."
– Sister Aline Marie (Steuer), CSC
reflection on the 2004 General Chapter
The Easter story: You have heard it before! You experience it in a different way every time you hear the story narrated.
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning while it was still dark. She saw that the stone blocking the tomb had been moved away. In the picture above, you see broken twigs, quite wild looking, but from this “chaos” new life is growing, a sign of hope.
In the quote from the 2004 General Chapter, you read that “the world is at a point of violence, social dissolution and the presence of a gnawing question... .” From this situation we, the Sisters of the Holy Cross, respond to God’s call, and with great hope we are open to see the needs of the Church and the world.

In today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the offering of love, the victory of justice and the birth of peace call to delight you with exuberance for your discipleship. In the Gospel, Mary of Magdala, concerned about moving the stone, took the initiative and went courageously to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away. She did not stop sharing the joy of the resurrection. Sharing moves you to sustain a relationship with others and with God. You share in the fulfillment of hope, the resurrection: You shall rise.

Reflection Questions

Am I allowing myself to move forward, removing the “stones” or blocks in my life, such as anger, gossip, inability to share in community, not spending much time in prayer?

Am I bringing joyful hope to the broken world?

God never leaves us in our pain

Monday, April 10, 2017

by Sister Margie Lavonis, CSC

It can be difficult to get through a day without reading or hearing about some violent or painful situation. War, terror and violence between peoples occur around the globe, demonstrators are beaten or killed for protesting about an unjust situation and homes and lives are destroyed by natural disasters. Closer to home we may experience a job loss or financial setback, a neighbor’s only child is killed or a family member becomes seriously ill.

Many people wonder why there is so much suffering and why a merciful God does not intervene. Our faith in the Resurrection means we believe God brings good out of suffering and evil, and that the way to conquer sin is by love.

As we conclude this Lenten season and celebrate the feast of Easter, it may be good to reflect on our own attitudes. Do we feel justified in wanting to punish hatred with more violence? Do we ever pray for the conversion of our enemies, or even cruel dictators and terrorists? Sometimes it can be easier to forgive people “out there” rather than those who have hurt us personally. We must be willing to go deeper and discover the roots of evil and then use love to conquer it.

We celebrate the feast of Easter believing and proclaiming that, like in the case of Jesus, God can and does bring good out of suffering and that his life conquered sin and evil.

As Christians who believe in the Resurrection, we must strive to be models of love and hope. Our good works during Lent must continue throughout the year. We have a mission to make Christ known by our love. We must express our belief that, even in gloomy and dark times, God will not abandon us — just like he did not abandon his son, Jesus.

Each of us is called to go out to all the people in our own little world and proclaim this good news. Easter tells us that God never leaves us in our pain and often brings good out of evil.

Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 9, 2017

by Sister Jacenta Dkhar, CSC

Scripture passages referenced in this reflection are Isaiah 50:4-7, Philippians 2:6-11 and Matthew 26:14—27:66.

Palm Sunday marks the dramatic entry of Jesus into this paradoxical Holy Week. These events challenge us to reflect upon our attitude in following Christ—how we welcome him one moment and reject him the next moment through our sins. Before the end of this week, the Messiah will be crucified. This is the week when the best of Christ and the worst of humanity are before us.

First, it is a week marked with passion and significance of that great drama, that internal battle, wherein the beautiful and the ugly sides of humanity coincide with God’s bountiful mercy and love.

Second, the passion of Christ reminds us about humanity’s painful journey of life. At times, we are confronted with experiences in which we can only watch and weep helplessly, as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did while watching her beloved son’s agony and death. We are reminded of those moments when we grope for answers, all alone in the dark.

Finally, there are times when, like Simon of Cyrene, a cross is imposed upon our shoulders, and we are asked to carry the burden of others. But when we do so, we, too, share not only in the suffering and passion of Christ, but also in God’s plan of redemption for humanity.

As we enter into this Holy Week, let us pray that our lives will reflect the sacrificial love and mercy of Christ.

Reflection Questions

Which part of the passion of Christ strikes you?

Spend some time in prayer, reflecting upon Christ’s passion and what it means to you. What is God trying to say to you through this experience?

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Sunday, April 2, 2017

by Sister Rose Mary Marngar

Scripture passages referenced in this reflection are Ezekiel 37:12-14, Romans 8:8-11 and John 11:1-45.

Ezekiel, our first reading, challenges us to see ourselves in the grave which sin has dug, waiting for God’s summons to life and for his Spirit which revives and recreates us. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, reminds us that disciples are required to be continually identified with Christ. Turning away from the flesh, we are to live in his Spirit, which brings life.

John’s Gospel recounts another sign, or miracle: the raising of Lazarus. The reading invites us to reflect upon what it means to call Jesus the resurrection and the life. The scene described at Bethany is a sad one. Martha meets Jesus weeping, saying that if Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. Yet, she remains confident that God will do whatever Jesus asks. Martha affirms her belief that there will be a resurrection of the dead on the last day. Then Martha’s sister, Mary, comes to Jesus with the same confidence, saying that Jesus could have cured Lazarus.

Jesus asks to be brought to Lazarus’ burial place, where he prays and calls Lazarus out from the tomb. At this sign, many come to believe in Jesus, but others take word of the miracle to the Jewish authorities, who begin their plans for Jesus’ death. In raising Lazarus, Jesus shows his power over death so that when Jesus dies, those who believe in him might remember that and have hope. Just as Jesus calls for the stone to be rolled away from Lazarus’ tomb, so, too, will the disciples find the stone rolled away from Jesus’ tomb.

Today’s Gospel calls us to reflect on baptism as a dying and rising with Jesus. In baptism, we die to sin’s power over us, rising as children of God. In baptism, we join ourselves with Christ, who conquered death once and for all so that we who believe in him may have eternal life. With Lazarus, Jesus calls loudly to each of us, today and every day, “Come out!” of the darkness of sin and death and “go free.” With Martha and Mary, we are called to profess our belief that Jesus is indeed the resurrection and the life.

Reflection Questions

 As each of the readings is proclaimed, with what character do we associate ourselves?

Where do our sympathies and aspirations lie?

In whom do we find our spiritual posture most reflected?