Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

Freedom of Heart

March 1st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Jesus asks us for freedom of heart. As our country faces economic crises, as our Church prays for a new pope, as we start our day with its unknowns, we need freedom of heart.

I feel humbly proud of the response of religious sisters after the apostolic visitation and later assessments, for after prayer they responded with equanimity and freedom of heart. We sisters felt the overwhelming support and alliance of the laity. Together we must move forward to make our Church and world more receptive to the peace Christ promised. This requires freedom of heart, that combination of peace and courage so that nothing outside us can trouble our hearts.

Our future depends on love & caring

February 26th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Ever since Charles Darwin gave us the phrase “survival of the fittest,” we’ve believed that the best, the strongest, the fastest will endure. But is that true? Darwin used the phrase “survival of the fittest” only once in a book that spoke of love 95 times and moral sensitivity 92 times.

Darwin believed the prime mover of human evolution is not natural selection nor survival of the fittest, but rather our capacity for love and caring for one another. If today everyone would start believing that our future depends on love and caring, how different our lives would be. As we go about our day making little choices, let’s be mindful that our future depends upon love and caring.

Take a different look at Lent

February 21st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

Many of us, perhaps, go into Lent with a sense of dread about what we can’t do and can’t have. So let’s approach  Lent differently this year.  How?  Let’s go to Cedar Point until March 28. Explore the rides!

The devil tempted Jesus to be self-serving, self-exulting, a real Power Tower. Isn’t that our Mean Streak, too? Jesus responds to the temptations with Scripture. Do we read the Bible regularly? It teaches us to be like the Frog Hopper.  F-R-O-G:  Fully Rely On God.

Lent leads us into the desert, where we become more aware of our egos and how they’re like the Scrambler that mixes up our thoughts so that our needs and wants are more important than those of others. To free ourselves from our small egos that always are afraid and seek control would be a great Lenten penance—a Matterhorn probably. We’ll be transformed into Christ, the Giant Wheel who turned “the worst thing, the ‘murder of God’ into the very best thing, the redemption of the world” (Richard Rohr).

 Traditionally we pray, fast, and give alms.  Do we? Or do we Dodgem? Most parishes provide a Millennium Force of opportunities, such as the Way of the Cross or parish missions. Don’t be a Maverick.  Be part of these events.

The ultimate purpose of Lent is to lead us to the Super Himalaya of the Church Year:  the Sacred Paschal Triduum (March 28-31). We enter into the very life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, an on-going reality, a Kingdom Carousel of joyous victory. One day we’ll meet the Gate Keeper. Will we be recognized as someone who rode the Corkscrew of the Lenten journey into the death and resurrection of Christ?

Our future depends on love and caring

February 7th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Sr. Bernie volunteers for Double ARC.

Ever since Charles Darwin gave us the phrase “survival of the fittest,” we’ve believed that the best, the strongest, the fastest will endure. But is that true?

Darwin used the phrase “survival of the fittest” only once in a book that spoke of love 95 times and moral sensitivity 92 times. Darwin believed the prime mover of human evolution is not natural selection nor survival of the fittest, but rather our capacity for love and caring for one another. If today everyone would start believing that our future depends on love and caring, how different our lives would be.

As we go about our day making little choices, let’s be mindful that our future depends upon love and caring.

Super Bowl weekend . . . thinking about a victory

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

 

Sr. Mary Bernarda

Are you making plans for the Super Bowl weekend? Although I can be quite excited about high school sports, I’ve never been able to muster interest in professional sports except from a psychological point of view.

I’ve learned that how we play on the field or court is probably how we play out our lives. A study of the personality profiles of 15,000 athletes showed a low interest in receiving support and concern from others, a low need to take care of others.

It may do me well to reflect today on how I play a game, how I have fun. When do I have more fun:  when I compete to win or when I cooperate to make sure we all have fun? When am I at my best: when I develop my skills or help others develop theirs?  Do I want victory for me, or do my relationships grow because I want what’s best for another?

We are all Heirs of the Kingdom – a thought for MLK’s day

January 21st, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Dear Fellow Heirs of the Kingdom,

            I bet you never received a letter with that greeting!
But that is what we are —heirs of the Kingdom.  We’re royalty; we’re princes and princesses in the Kingdom of God. And that’s not far away in a distant heaven. It’s right here, right now. The Kingdom of God is a code word, you might say, for God. God is everywhere, so the Kingdom is everywhere. Don’t look now, but it’s sitting there on your shoulder, and there it is inside you, and in front of you and behind you. What can we do today to make the Kingdom of God more visible in our midst?

Are you involved or fully engaged?

January 15th, 2013 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

This morning Andy was beaming with expectation about the trip to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life.  While working in the pro-life movement is something he’s involved in, it’s much deeper. You can sense his passion. He’s fully engaged in whatever he can do to be a voice for the unborn.

There’s a difference between involvement and engagement.  Certainly we want more persons to be involved in pro-life activities, but the most effective people are those who are fully engaged.

Engagement is what I FEEL. It’s a strong emotional connection. It’s the feeling I get when I’m doing what I do best, using my greatest talents and passions. Even if it’s work or service, it seems a whole lot more like joy–like the huge smile on Andy’s face.

Gallup research has shown that those who are permitted to do what they do BEST are nearly three times more likely to be engaged. Not any job will do. While involvement may lead to burnout, engagement makes me stronger, more energized, and all the more engaged. Don’t let a week go by without being fully engaged in something you’re passionate about.

 What are your talents and strengths?

What do you love to do?

If time and money were no object, what would you do for God?

What will you do this week that solicits your full engagement?

We, like snowflakes are UNIQUE!

December 20th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Snowflake pattern.  Is that an oxymoron?  Isn’t every snowflake unique?  Then why was I given a pattern to follow in second grade when cutting snowflakes and hanging them on a thread?

We are to pattern our lives on the life of Christ. The author of Philippians writes that he wants to know “how to share in his [Christ’s] suffering by being formed into the pattern of his death” (3:10). But is patterning our life on Christ’s life akin to oxymoron?  God made each of us unique. While patterning my life on Christ’s gives God honor, I think I honor God more by being fully who I am created to be—one of a kind.

Love following upon love

December 11th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Today is the Christmas play at the school where I teach, St. Richard, Swanton, Ohio. Its title is Bed, Bethlehem, and Beyond. Although the play opens with Mary and Joseph trying to find a bed for the night, the narrator reminds us that the incarnation began at the Big Bang when God wanted to become one of us. The children perform a choral reading of the Prologue of St. John’s gospel, reminding us that “In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.”

The children echo “love following upon love, upon love, upon love” to let the audience know that the Incarnation continues. The “Beyond” of the play’s title began before time and will continue long after earthly time ceases. There’s more to the celebration of Christmas than a straw bed in Bethlehem. Take time to delve into the big picture of Christmas and discover “love following upon love” for all eternity.

Memory, Majesty & Mystery

December 6th, 2012 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The Church celebrates three major comings of Christ during Advent: the historical coming of Jesus born 2000 years ago (Memory), the Second Coming (Majesty), and his coming in to our lives moment by moment (Mystery).

There are many reminders of Jesus’ historical coming: manger scenes, Christmas trees, Christmas plays, Advent calendars, and more. The Second Coming stays pretty much under our radar.  What should hit us between the eyes is the Mystery of Christ among us in his Word, in the Eucharist, in other people. God can mysteriously sneak up on us is thousands of ways: lyrics of a song, advice of a friend, opportunity for service, collections for the needy, a hug, an idea, a gorgeous sky, a new snowfall. Memory, Majesty, Mystery.  May your Advent be filled with good things because of your goodness!