Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

The Many Images of God

August 27th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

reachSometimes best-sellers portray unusual, even unnerving pictures of God. Could Shay Bourne in Jodi Piccoult’s Change of Heart be Jesus? Is the Holy Spirit Saraya, Keeper of the gardens, in William Young’s The Shack? Does the main character in the Joshua books depict Jesus?  Even the gospels give us four different portraits of Jesus, while  professing that Jesus is the full revelation of God.  Whether gospel or novel, words grope to reveal God.

We struggle with the question “Who is God?” Yet God wants to be known. God even made it easy for us by becoming human. But when we put everything we know about humanity together, we don’t come up with God. On the other hand, when we put everything we know about divinity together, we come up with the human Jesus Christ. The very first creed said it all: “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus is God’s self-communication. Jesus is God saying, “Here I am.”

Living a life of grace

August 20th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Today (August 20) is the anniversary of my baptism. I have no idea whether my baptismal candle and garment are still around, but I do know that the grace of my baptism is still with me.  What have I been doing all these years with my baptismal grace? What am I doing with this precious gift called Christian life?  My life is God is a great gift requiring a great response.  Am I up to the task of living my life of grace? valerie_s

Are we in the chapel?

August 16th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

A group of us used to pray in a friend’s home once a week for five years.  Then some moved out of town, and it has been seven years since we all had met.  As it happened, we all were able to get to St. Rita’s Hospital in Lima on the same Sunday afternoon. Our friend at whose home we met was lying in the bed following a knee replacement. We followed our familiar routine: talk a while, then sing religious songs, then pray spontaneously or read from Scripture. As usual, the praying and singing lasted an hour.

Upon leaving, we commented that this reunion of prayer-friends was truly a miracle. We were saying this as we passed the hospital chapel. As lovely as the chapel was, we had just left a more beautiful chapel back in the hospital room. For where eight friends meet in Christ’s name, there God is in their midst (Mt. 18:20).

Do you pray with your friends?  Do you set aside a regular prayer time? Try it. The commitment is powerful, aiding each friend in ministry.


August 13th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

A crayfish walked me back from the mailbox this morning. A woodchuck comes out from under the deck to chomp on roses, as I snack on pretzels lathered in peanut butter. Chipmunks cavort over the stone wall. These were things I noticed. How much more goes unobserved? If only a big voice would come out of the sky yelling, “Attention!” Then maybe I would become aware. Or maybe I just need to think less of myself to notice everything that is not me.

Pay attention today.

In union with creation

August 8th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

As I sat here looking out the window at the night sky, just still light enough to see cloud formations, I noticed a giant footprint in the sky, but before I could type this sentence, it disappeared. What if I hadn’t looked out at that precise moment?  I would have missed an opportunity to smile at creation—actually in union with creation, because everything in the universe is interrelated.

I had so many opportunities today to smile with creation. As I got into the car this morning I saw five deer running through the meadow. Going out the driveway, I was stopped by three huge wild turkeys. A half mile down the road strutted eight “teenage” wild turkeys, perhaps of the same fowl family. Then I saw what I thought were flares. Instead they were ordinary road signs on which the red sun was beaming.  Awareness of the present moment opens up delight.

Heavenly Sounds

August 5th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Annie, a friend of mine, was singing with some teenagers.  A man questioned why a gray-haired lady would be part of the group and asked her age.  Hearing she was 65, he said, “She has a voice and heart every bit as young as the teens with her.”  Another time Annie was in the choir loft, invisible to the assembly.  Someone said, “That has to be the voice of an angel. There’s no one up there.” Annie is the cantor for funerals, and her voice surrounds the grieving with peace.  Annie’s voice is an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

Today how will you use your voice? Let God sing in your heart. Let God be your song.  And let the world hear through your lips how good God is.

Peace of Pizza

July 31st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

One day during the Sign of Peace at Mass a little girl shook the hands of persons nearby while saying “Peace of Pizza! Peace of Pizza!”  Besides being cute, the words can be interpreted as a blessing. May you experience the Eucharist that you will soon eat as your spiritual nourishment. May you have daily bread, all that you need today for health and happiness. May you have some fun and camaraderie stemming from the joy springing from deep peace.

Share a “peace of pizza” today!

Our Pastor Pope

July 30th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

Pope Francis stamped the trip to Brazil with his signature seal—the world’s pastor. Today’s newspaper described Benedict as the world’s theologian, John Paul II as the world’s philosopher, and Pope Francis as the world’s pastor. Saint Francis de Sales, I believe, claimed that we can catch more souls with a spoonful of honey than a barrel of vinegar. In a similar vein, reaching out with a soft touch may draw many to the Church. There’s a time and a place for every style of leadership and relationship. God has given the Church the right style in Pope Francis. Now is the time for all of us Catholics to extend the soft touch of Jesus and his Vicar Pope Francis.

How will you extend a soft touch today?

Our footprints remain

July 16th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As I was walking along the sand dune trail in Oak Openings, I noticed the great variety of foot prints in the sand.  I walked more slowly to consciously look at my own tennis shoe prints. I reflected on the footprint that I was leaving on earth. How was my carbon footprint trampling the face of Mother Earth? How have I left footprints across people’s hearts? In all the schools where I have taught and in all the churches where I have prepared liturgies or played organ, what still remains for good or ill? There’s a song that claims “I may never pass this way again.”  But my footprints remain.

O most holy and prosaic life!

July 15th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

I got up, unlocked LialRenewal Center, prayed Morning Prayer and meditation, helped prepare three meals for 27 retreatants, prepared liturgies for St. Richard Church, played a card game with the sisters with whom I live after praying Evening Prayer with them, phoned and wrote e-mails, and went to bed.

Although the particulars change, this sounds like everyone else’s day. Work, play, pray, rest. Rather prosaic, I’d say, until I remember that God has been with me through it all in what Elizabeth Johnson calls “unspeakable nearness.” God’s energy flowed through me as I sat at the computer. The beauty of creation smacked me in the face when I brushed entrances free of webs. The relatedness between the living God and me took form when I peeled the carrots. O most holy and prosaic life!