The Visit

May 31st, 2019 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The art of visiting has all but disappeared in our society. How regrettable as I think back to the weekly visits with dozens of cousins playing softball or hide-and-seek or singing and playing musical instruments. We are also missing out on the mystical act of finding Christ in one another, as that of the visit between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. We miss the chance to see and celebrate what is hidden and deeply powerful. All that Elizabeth’s neighbors saw was her happiness to see Mary and receive her help. But unseen to them were the cousins’ looking into each other’s eyes and intuiting God’s miraculous power. The three months spent together would be the support that carried Mary and Elizabeth through wonderful moments and the suffering they would endure. Their souls magnified the Lord in unison; the Magnificat became a duet.

The feast of the Visitation is my favorite Marian feast. It’s the Feast of Friendship, a friendship that acknowledges the God-life within. Mary and Elizabeth were companions on the spiritual journey, trading the role of guide according to the needs of the moment. They supported each other over rough inner terrain, giving direction and sharing God.

The next time you visit someone, risk to share yourself and your God.


May 23rd, 2019 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

During the second half of the Easter Season several of the weekday readings from the Acts of the Apostles tell of the early Church’s hesitancy to admit Gentiles. That’s understandable enough, for the Jews had a history of being the Chosen People. Even Peter was reluctant to accept Gentiles until his vision of the sheet containing animals, birds and reptiles and being told “Take and eat!” The Spirit told Peter to not discriminate against anyone. After that, Peter would debate that “God made his choice among you that through my mouth the Gentiles would hear the world of the Gospel and believe,” and Peter proclaimed that God wanted “no distinction between us and them” (Acts 15).

Our Western culture’s mindset is dualistic; it’s either-or; things are right or they are wrong; people are on the right or on the left. This phenomenon describing Western thought patterns Cynthia Bourgeault in her book The Wisdom Jesus calls the “egoic operating system.”

As we strive to let go of our ego, we have more chance of seeing another thought pattern, of understanding another point of view, of creating unity and building community. When we “lose ourselves,” abandoning our silos, we gain access to numerous benefit that comes from community.

Who do you think you are?  God’s gift to the world?  You’re right! Just for a moment, accept that you really are God’s gift to the world. You can make a positive difference in the world. This is what we pray for when we pray “Renew the face of the earth.” Let the Holy Spirit inspire you with a smile or a kind word. These acts are all “bits of hope,” “fragments of salvation.” Remember the words of Dr. Seuss:  “Unless someone like you care a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  So “rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4:4) and let everyone know it, because your face shows it.