Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

St. Joseph, the Worker

May 1st, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Except for the time Jesus was asleep in the boat during the storm, Jesus always seems on the go. Even after a long day of teaching, he managed to feed five thousand. Wearied by his itinerant preaching, he still had the energy to bless children.

St._Joseph,_the_CarpenterPerhaps his work ethic came from his foster father. We don’t know much about Joseph, but “worker” is a well merited title. Beyond his labor with hammer and chisel, Joseph must have really worked at attention to God. Otherwise, would he have believed his dream to take Mary for his wife or his dream to flee into Egypt? In his humility, perhaps Joseph had to work at believing that God had actually entrusted Mary and Jesus to him—an unknown, quiet carpenter from a little town. As we go about our work today, we might ask Joseph to help us realize the work God wants us to do.

 

My Own Idea about Jesus

April 25th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

emmausIf Jesus were to ask me, as he asked his disciples, “Who do people say I am?  Who do you say that I am?” I know one thing for sure: Whatever I say will miss the Reality. I’m conditioned by pictures, early education, Scripture studies, life experience, cosmology and its impact of theological expression, and what other people say. I’m sure I could say something! But would Jesus respond as he did to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus:  “How little sense you have”? Or would Jesus say, “Right on!” because who Jesus is for me is who Jesus is for me. That’s the only Jesus I know. And perhaps that’s exactly how Jesus wants to be known by me, because after all God is the one who inspires our faith and our God-picture.

Who is Jesus for you? Where did you get your image or impression?

Family is a blessing

April 24th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

bday_artToday is my youngest sister’s birthday. She and her husband have great plans to celebrate together without other family members, but she is very much in my thought and prayer. Sometimes people think that Sisters have given up their families.  In some ways that’s true. We do place our religious community first in many ways; for example, we spend holidays like Christmas and Easter with other Sisters of Notre Dame. Probably any Sister of Notre Dame was a hostess or guest at another convent this past Sunday. But attachment and care for our families rank high in our ministry. We visit, phone, e-mail and pay attention to Facebook. We help when a sick family member needs a care-giver. We attend anniversary and birthday parties; in turn, our families attend our jubilee celebrations of religious profession. Sometimes we vacation together. We are very blessed to have family.

Has it been a while since you’ve told a family member of your love or gratitude?

Love Betrayed

April 18th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

judasIs there any pain more wounding than that of one whose selfless, unconditional love is rejected? A son or daughter leaves home in anger. A spouse cuts himself off from years of marriage. A teacher tries desperately to reach an unreachable student, only to be lied about and thus losing her reputation. The Holy One selects a disciple named Judas and lavishes three years of comradeship and teaching upon him, to say nothing of His hopes for leadership in His kingdom. Then at one last meal with one last effort:

Go quickly, Judas, go quickly, for I cannot bear the pain of seeing you whom I love smothering in guilt. The crushing agony of empathy for you engulfs me as I offer you this dipped bit of food, the only food that I can offer since you refuse the banquet of my Body. Take this morsel, for I ache for your hunger. Go quickly. If we do not meet again, I want you to be with me this day in paradise.

 

 

Ah, Gethsemani!

April 17th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????On the night of the Last Supper after Jesus and the apostles sang, they went to the Garden of Gethsemani. I imagine that Jesus went to this garden for the comfort it would give him when humans slept in indifference. Perhaps Gethsemani was Jesus’ favorite garden, its olive trees supporting his back as he came there to prepare parables or rest after a hot afternoon of teaching. This was the last night that Jesus would come to this garden. Could he have been thinking:

Ah, Gethsemani! I will know the crush of the olive press as you have known it. I will know as you have often taught me what it is to be life poured out. I will miss you, your fragrance, your gnarled and twisted trunks, your sweet water, your rock on which I now pray. Prostrate, I cling to you. Oh, Gethsemani, support me as I pray, “Abba, Abba! I am afraid, afraid!”

Stealing from the Common Purse

April 16th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

We read with indignation that Judas stole from the common purse. How could he betray the trust of Jesus and the other apostles? We would never do such a thing–or would we?

Running_water_The common purse of Earth’s resources is entrusted to us. How do we use the contents? Do we open the purse strings just a little, surreptitiously taking a small coin when we waste water, answer “plastic” to the grocery store’s ubiquitous “Paper or plastic?” or neglect to unplug appliances? As a developed country, do we just help ourselves to large amounts? Are we betraying our brothers and sisters through our gluttonous use of resources?

Are we remembering that God holds the purse? Earth belongs to God whose Son’s parables demand that we use what we receive and multiply the “talents.”

April 11 – Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent

April 11th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

“He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing earlier, and he remained there.”  John 10:40 NRSV

Jordan_River

Jesus was a marked man. He would have been arrested had he not “escaped from their hands.” Jesus went across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing. Perhaps he went to draw strength at the place where he was anointed by the Spirit and to hear in the water the echo of his Father’s words, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” In a sense, Jesus returned to his origins, the place where his ministry began. It was good to return after all the hassle of teaching, preaching, curing, and in the process upsetting the authorities. For whatever reason, Jesus returned to the water, and we imagine he was rejuvenated by the people who “came to believe in him.”

Sometimes we don’t think of Jesus as someone in need, but, fully human, he was needy. It was good to be believed; it was good for the Son of Man who had nowhere to lay his head to be “home.”

 When you need your spirit rejuvenated, what do you do? What is “home” for you? Lent is a baptismal season. Perhaps reflect on your baptismal promises. How have you lived your original commitment?

Fully Engaged Means More Energy

March 28th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Did you ever notice that when you’re fully engaged in an activity, you rarely lose energy; and if you do, it’s a good kind of tiredness? In your home, in your church, in your everyday activities, are you fully engaged? If so, you’ll find yourself becoming stronger, more energized—actually even more engaged.

gardeningThose who are fully engaged in their faith, allowing it to be involved in every aspect of their lives find satisfaction in life. Belief in religious truths does not automatically make a person spiritually committed. We need to incorporate our beliefs in our daily lives. Statistically only one in seven people are fully spiritually committed (Gallup Poll). Can we raise that percentage by helping people do what they do best? When people are permitted to do what they do best, they are nearly three times more likely to be engaged.

What are your talents and strengths? What are the talents and strengths of your family and friends? What do you and they love to do? Just do it.

Rejection & Acceptance

March 25th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

embraceRejection is the deepest thorn, the longest nail, the heaviest cross. It pushes me toward self-doubt, uncertainty, and fear. I stand on the outside and look in.

I can empathize with Jesus who was rejected repeatedly. He invited a rich young man to follow him, but the call was rejected. His disciples betrayed him, abandoned him, and denied him. Crowds yelled “Crucify him!”  He was called a devil, and he was run out of town. Worst of all, he experienced becoming sin and feeling abandoned by his Father. The rejection that emptied him, that scraped his soul, that exhausted his spirit did not make him bitter or resentful. Rather his response ever was and ever will be unconditional love, unconditional acceptance.

Acceptance is cool water on a hot day, a warm blanket and fire on a winter night, festive food, a meaningful hug. Acceptance allows me to be who I am and want to be more. I feel secure, surrounded by love.

Demonstrate acceptance today. Someone will be glad you did.

Ensuring a Tomorrow

March 17th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

???????????????????????????????An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore and our unusual winter weather suggest that we need to apologize to God and Planet Earth for the misuse of land, water, and air. The dangers of climate change should be a call to prayer and action.

Let us pray:

Creator God, we praise and thank you for creation. Your infinite creativity abounds, and we know only a tiny portion of the numerous species of flowers, plants, insects and animals. Help us preserve every creature, even the tiniest, from extinction. Give us the wisdom to find alternative fuels and resources so as not to deplete the earth’s bounty. Deliver us from the tragic mistakes we’ve made through pollution and waiting too long to stop the ruin of ecology. Forgive us, and help us today to ensure a tomorrow.