Many jack-o-lanterns have smiling faces. I can think of two reasons that this might be so.  The first is the fact that Halloween preludes All Saints Day.  And who are the saints?  The saints are those who imitated Christ the Light of the World, who said to his followers, “You are the light of the world.”  It’s the light in the jack-o-lantern that illumines steps and sidewalks. It’s the light radiating from the saints that illumines our way to Christ.

The second reason comes from the fact that Jesus had the last laugh. On Good Friday the devil laughed in derision: “Jesus is dead. He was just a fake. Now evil will rule.” But Jesus had the last laugh in triumph when he rose from the dead.  Jesus Christ conquered evil and death. And forevermore we are privileged to share in Christ’s last laugh.

Carve space in yourself to let God’s light shine through.

There’s a difference between saying I drive a Ford and I am driving a Ford. The first simply claims that there’s a car sitting in the parking lot. The second is the activity of traveling down the road. In a similar way, we can think of sacraments as past events or events that are ongoing in their effects.

We can say “I am baptized,” the event of our baptism perhaps years ago. But we can say 24/7 I am living out the grace of my baptism, I am cooperating with the grace of my baptism, I am keeping my baptismal promises. Similarly, married persons can say “I am married.” However, the sacrament’s effects continue long after the wedding ceremony. Married persons might say, “I am trying to be the best spouse I can be” or “I am living out my marriage vows.”  A priest can say that he is ordained, but he can also claim that his ministry lies in anointing the sick, forgiving sin, presiding at the Eucharist.

Let’s put more ING into reception of the sacraments!

Recently the lectionary readings focused on the story of Jonah, the reluctant prophet upset because the people of Nineveh converted their ways. Why shouldn’t Jonah have been pleased that such an enormous city would listen to one man’s warning? Was Jonah even acting logically?

We’ve probably all felt anger for little or no reason. And we’ve probably been illogical at times as we bit the hand that fed us, or when we lashed out at the persons who love us most. Eventually Jonah recognizes God as a God of mercy. When we sin in our illogical ways, we can ask God for forgiveness. We know the God of Mercy will pardon us—even though logic says there is no reason to do so.

I love this idea from Richard Rohr’s book The Universal Christ: “Your asking is only seconding the motion. The first motion is always from God.” God plants desires in our hearts and minds. We become aware of these inspired ideas, ruminate on them, and perhaps come to desire what God desires for us. We then pray for the grace to follow “our” desires. However, this is seconding the motion. Then God and I vote, and the vote is unanimous!

I am not an animal lover. I’m afraid of dogs, so I will be far away from the blessing of pets that will occur in my parish on Friday, October 4, the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Will the prayers quiet all the animals, or will the holy water start a dog and cat fight? You can tell me later.

Yet I know I should have more affection for animals. After all, all creatures are children of God. According to Richard Rohr, all creatures bear the DNA of God.  No exceptions.

Through the intercession of Saint Francis may we see Christ in every creature. May we see the incarnation of God’s love in every living being from the aardvark to the zebra. And in case you won’t see an aardvark or zebra today, see the incarnation of God’s love in the persons you meet.

Foundation Day

October 1st, 2019 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

In 1850 the Sisters of Notre Dame came into being as Hilligonde Wolbring became Sister Maria Aloysia and Elisabeth Kuhling became Sister Maria Ignatia, the first novices of the new congregation begun in Coesfeld, Germany. Would our congregation have ever begun without the friendship and shared teaching ministry of Hilligonde and Elisabeth?

Now nearly 170 years later friendship and common ministry are hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame as we celebrate Foundation Day on October 1 and move into new chapters. Over the past few years plans for unification of the four provinces in the United Sates have been underway. On this Foundation Day we know the name of our new united province—Immaculate Conception Province.  We know the names of our new provincial and her council. And we are looking forward to our official unification in July, 2020. Through all these years and throughout the process of unification we have grown in friendship and continue our common ministry to make known the goodness and provident care of God.