Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

Expressing love

March 10th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”      

Matthew 25:40 NRSV

MaryLibTerryHow can you tell if you really love God? Is there any way of knowing whether you’re on the road to holiness? Today’s Gospel from Matthew, the story of the Last Judgment, gives us the answers by putting an equal sign between your love for God and your love for your neighbor.

Is your neighbor hungry? Feed him. Is your sibling thirsty? Give her a drink. Do you have relatives who are ill? Visit them. These simple common-sense acts of love toward others equal love of God. Your love for God is measured by the concrete love expressed to your neighbor. Do we take seriously the fact that what we do for one of the least, we do for God? Conversely, do we realize that what you do for God affects ourselves and the rest of the world?

Will someone know God’s compassion today because of me?  The Christian life is one of service; its reward is heaven. Someday we will hear “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”  (Mt. 25:35)

Celebrate discipleship

March 9th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

-party-clipartRemember Levi?  Yes, that one—the tax collector. I really like that guy. He had a profession, a lucrative position, the esteem of his colleagues. Yet when he heard “Follow me,” he left everything. Levi’s decision was a step down the socio-economic ladder, one that took away much of his security. Perhaps his family thought he had gone mad. Yet in the midst of Levi’s decision to let go of everything to follow Jesus, he threw a party. The “great reception” deadened the pain perhaps, or he just wanted to enjoy himself one more time before his money ran out.  For whatever reason, Levi celebrated.

Lord, when you call “Follow me,” help me to respond at least half-heartedly. Then throw a little party. Discipleship is something to celebrate.



Ash Wednesday reflection

March 6th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As ashes were placed on our foreheads, did you hear “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return?” Perhaps we think of ourselves as mere dust, akin to the dust balls under our bed. But what if we heard, “Remember you are stardust, and to the Great Radiance you will return?” Would we come out from under our bed and look to the stars? Would Lent take on a glow?

star_cluster_Everyone and everything was born 13.7 billion years ago at the Big Bang or Great Radiance. The globs of hydrogen clumped together and ignited into stars. All the elements that comprise our bodies came from that stardust. “The original creative light from which the universe was born remains in everything. Science has confirmed the truth of this, with the discovery that every created thing contains photons that are the source of light and literally radiant” (Healing the Future, Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, Matthew Linn).

I’m a star! I’m made from stardust! I’m glowing! I’m vibrating with radiance! I’m light! How will your Lent be different remembering you’re on your way to the Great Radiance, glowing brilliantly the whole way?

Fat Tuesday – March 4, 2014

March 4th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (3 Comments)

PaczkiThis morning I will go downtown to Michael’s Café and Bakery, the best place in the state for the perfect paczki. Although I’m already salivating over the lemon-filled ones, my main purpose is to sing paczki carols, parodies to familiar tunes about the delectable gems baked fresh this morning. Business persons on a mission to pick up dozens for their office personnel are surprised to see and hear a group of us singing away.  They smile broadly and give a little laugh. Sometimes they join the singing while they wait their order. Catching our positive energy, they’re reminded that humor and surprise add to life. Singing paczki carols becomes a little way to bring about the Kingdom so full of life and laughter and good things.  May there be paczki in heaven.

Big Mistakes

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

Olympics,_While watching the Olympics recently, haven’t you heard about the “big mistakes”? Someone was behind .04 seconds! Huge! If a hundredth of a second can have so much meaning with such great or such disastrous results, what about the seconds in our day? On February 3, we at St. Richard Parish buried Deacon Tim Worline, who served the parish over 30 years. The homily spoke about the seconds of his life and how he used each one so well. How true it was: Deacon Tim was a man of integrity in every aspect of his life—family, business, Church. And he really did make use of every second, as he never stopped reading, learning, developing new skills and hobbies. The vote on his life was unanimous: all agreed Tim lived every minute of his life. What about us? The seconds put into needed rest and relaxation are important; however, we need to be careful not to make the big mistake of not pushing ourselves toward the ultimate goal—transformation of ourselves and our world into the Body of Christ.

Spend some seconds today more wisely for the Kingdom.

Humility is Hard to Come By, But God’s a Pro

February 20th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

ExistenceofGodHumility is hard to come by unless you’re God. If anyone has a right to pride, it’s God. God has absolute bragging rights about everything. Yet God—being infinitely good—is infinitely humble. First of all, God is honest, and that’s the basis of humility. Honesty is right relationship with all that exists. It’s that paradoxical unity between detachment and unconditional love. Thomas Keating writes: “This is the way God relates to us: not interested in his own majesty or transcendence, but trying to be nothing—without, of course, much success. It must be fun when you are everything to be nothing. In any case, his disposition to give away everything that he has or is, seems to characterize the divine goodness and compassion.”

Today we are challenged to imitate God’s humility. Can we become “nothing” in a healthy way? In our right relationship with God, other people, and the world, we need to give ourselves away. But—here’s the surprise!—we lose nothing. In opening our hand to give, our hand is ready to receive.

Fully Engaged Means More Energy

February 12th, 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.

?????????? Those 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). To raise that percentage, we need to help 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.

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 7th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The_sun1God said, “Let there be light,” and there it was! This was the Big Bang! This weekend’s Gospel calls us to be light. God’s love exploded in light, and sparks of that light continue in every creature. The light of evolution continues in us in whom love is evolving. Every moment we have an opportunity to continue the light and love that will one day unite every creature in God. Do we let our light and love evolve? Do we look for new ways to express love?  Imagine Jesus inviting you to join with him in transforming the world with the evolutionary power of love and light. We sing the popular song, “Christ, Be Our Light.” Imagine God singing to us, “You, be my light.”

February 3, Feast of Saint Blaise

February 3rd, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

StBlaise Today is the feast of Saint Blaise, a day on which you may have the chance to have your throat blessed. Blessed candles on February 3, ashes on Ash Wednesday, palms on Palm Sunday, along with holy water, relics, statues, and rosaries, are sacramentals. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines sacramentals as “sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments.” Unlike sacraments, however, they do not confer grace but rather prepare us to receive grace. People are sacramentals, too. We are made in the image and likeness of God, we are blessings to one another, and we are united to Jesus Christ, the First Sacrament.

How can we be a sacramental today? Maybe we’ll be holy water, refreshing another with our kind words of affirmation. Maybe we’ll be palm, waving our praises of God.  Maybe we’ll be ashes, letting ourselves be burned up by the fire of the Spirit. Or we may be a candle, lighting the way for someone in darkness.


God Shifts Things Around

January 27th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

puzzleAll of us possess a “once upon a time” in our lives. Then something happened. God shifted things around, and we had a choice.  We could accept and go with God’s flow, or we could say “No way.” If we let God break in, we found the “pearl of great price.” Perhaps at that insightful moment we learned that we need to be continually open to the next intrusion of God. Did we take on a willingness to change? Letting God mess up the jigsaw puzzle of our lives and throw a few pieces away is always a good beginning to letting the reign of God establish itself (actually Himself) in our hearts.