Author Archives: Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider

Accidentally Speaking

October 7th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

kbbrixDuring the ceremony when St. Brigid (500 A.D.) was to become an abbess, the bishop accidentally used the prayers for an ordination of a bishop. Back in June a presider at Mass intended to give a Father’s Day blessing, but accidentally turned to a page with a blessing for catechists. Oops!  Psychologists tell us that sometimes what we say accidentally is what we really mean unconsciously. When praying the Office aloud in community, instead of saying, “When I lie down, I fall peacefully asleep,” a Sister said, “When I fall down, I lie peacefully asleep.” Now that’s an accident I wouldn’t mind!


What Are You Passionate About?

October 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

loveJesus            Most people probably don’t put together these two words: nuns and passion.  Is being a passionate nun an oxymoron? I don’t think so. Actually I get frustrated with people who aren’t passionate.  So did Jesus. Remember his line about the lukewarm?

Perhaps you’ve read Good to Great by Jim Collins. Although he’s writing about the best corporations and how they made their leap to greatness, his principles apply to other areas of life. How do we become the best school, the best parish, the best family, the best community, the best Christian, the best anything?

The main way ingredient in the “best” ____ is passionate people.

.Are you passionate about being a Christian? Passionate people can’t wait to give their time and talent to do the things they love best and make them become the best. Passionate Christians deepen their spiritual lives through prayer and Scripture reading, they work to improve themselves, they serve and look for opportunities to share, they spread the Good News, and they’re usually among the kindest and funniest and warmest people you know.

Where do you stand?

Alone Means All-One

September 29th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

aloneThe word alone looks like the words all one, and perhaps that’s significant. When I lose who I think I am (my ego, my way of doing things, my way of thinking), then I can more easily become one with all, that is, the universe and all it contains. Ironically this can occur most easily when I am alone.

Use your alone times today to be all one.

Picnic Table Prayer

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

hawkWe arrived at church for Mass too early. Rather than finding another church, we decided to sit at one of the church’s picnic tables and talk about our spiritual lives. As we talked about finding God in little events, a hawk came to rest on a nearby fence, his presence proving the point. Perhaps as parishioners started to arrive, they may have wondered what we were doing.  A picnic that early in the morning?  No food or tablecloth? What they couldn’t see was an opportunity to find God anywhere, anytime.

When you have odd moments or times of waiting, do you give that time to God?

Autumn, Transition Time

September 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

???????????????????????????????Today is the first day of autumn, and I notice quite a mix of color: green and yellow soybean fields, red and green tree leaves, tan fields of dry corn next to green lawns. The change of seasons doesn’t come with one big “Aha!” moment, although sometimes our breath is taken away in a moment of Nature’s beauty. Rather the transition comes leaf by leaf, cooler weather degree by degree, another flock flying south.

In our own lives it’s the same. Unless our lives read like Guideposts, we probably have no miracle moment. We have only moment by moment by moment choices and actions. Life is a process figuring out what is the best thing to do now. We take a step toward personal improvement. We resolve to pray more. We sacrifice a little something. We decide upon a good deed. There’s tremendous power in these little pieces that build upon each other.


Take Up Your Cross and Follow

September 12th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Junk mail claims “You’re a winner!” until you read the catch that costs. The gospels also have a catch: “Find life! (But first deny yourself, take up your cross, and let go of life).”

winnerIn Jesus we see in human terms what it means to be God. The gospels are the story of One who came into the world (Incarnation) and loses everything (crucifixion). So where is God found?  With those who lose.

Amid flash floods, earthquakes, riots, and war, people ask “Where is God?” Christians proclaim: God is on the cross. God suffers with us. God does not will or permit suffering. God’s will is simple: God wills love—all the time, and that is all. “So suffering is not an obstacle to the presence of God, suffering is one manifestation of the presence of God” (Michael J. Himes, Doing the Truth in Love).

Himes continues: “The cross is not something that happens to Jesus, it is what Jesus has been aiming at all along.” Jesus predicts the cross all the way: the one who holds onto life loses it; the one who gives life away sees it become everlasting life.

Do I want to give myself away? I am made in the image and likeness of God who is pure self-gift. When I’m pure gift, I’m truly who I really am. If I hold on to my life, I will not have any life. But when I give my life away, it becomes everlasting life, and I’m a winner.

The World Replete with God

September 2nd, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

The wind of God, the Holy Spirit, continues to sweep over the face of the earth. After billions of years God’s creativity is as vibrant as ever. God just can’t stop! Day by day our world is becoming more and more “charged with the grandeur of God” (Gerard Manley Hopkins). The grandeur butterflyPeacock_of a mountain range, a supermoon, a monarch butterfly leaves us breathless. Yet such beauty only hints at the unspeakable awe we would feel if we saw the world replete with God. If our eyes could penetrate rock and fur and skin and bark and mud, we could perhaps see the spiritual potential, the receptivity, of created matter to let God reside within—not in any animistic way like primitive religions’ wood gods—but the expectant potency for the fullness of the Incarnation when all plants and animals and humans and galaxies will reach their goal in Christ. That “day” will come “Because the Holy Ghost over the bent/ World broods with warm breast and with ah!/ bright wings” (Gerard Manley Hopkins).

How is God in process of giving the Godself to you? How can you give yourself to God?





Daily Tedium or Daily Tea?

August 27th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

As a human being, Jesus Christ was as subject to daily tasks as any of us. In the carpenter shop in Nazareth did Jesus wonder about the punishment of Adam and Eve to work, especially the work that is tedious, thankless, mindless and so repetitive that we wonder why we even bother?  (“I’ll need to do it again tomorrow!”)laundry

Day after day we cook meals, wash dishes, make the bed. Season after season we wash windows and weed gardens. How do we respond? With boredom? With creativity? Actually, I appreciate the mindless tasks like cleaning sinks and folding wash and weeding. Though perspiring, I feel holy leisure, an hour without care or planning. Meditative minutes when God seems a little closer. I invite God into these moments. “Dear God, I have time for tea. Won’t you sit down?”

Anniversary Musing

August 18th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (4 Comments)

365-Days-of-Blessings-Today is the anniversary of my promise of fidelity or temporary vows. Great years of community living, productive mission, awesome prayerful moments! Oh yeah–and some terribly catastrophic times. That first promise is truer today than it was years ago. My religious life began in the high drama of youthful romance with my God, and it continues with daily commitment. While anniversaries mark a special day on the calendar, they include 364 other days without which there would be no anniversary. And so today I praise God for the many 364 days I’ve experienced each year and these annual special days. The goodness of God has pervaded each day whether I realized it or not. Now so much for this blog. I need to celebrate this 365th day.

A Trail of Opposites

August 11th, 2014 | Posted by Sr. Mary Valerie Schneider in Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

Oak Openings’ yellow trail is a study in opposites. Hard ground gives way to sandy soil. Sweet smells turn to brackish odors. Shadows part in a shaft of sunshine raining down like wheat from a hopper. A wooded park is a place to contemplate opposites, those paradoxes that are integral to our Christian faith. Emptiness leads to fullness. Absence leads to presence. Death leads to life. socksEarth leads to heaven.

Our day is filled with opposite ends of the spectrum; for example, Kathleen Norris writes of liturgy and laundry, both routines that can lead to worship. Maybe for you it’s taking children to soccer practice. Or sorting socks and organizing agendas for an important meeting. Or taking out the trash and bringing in a friend who’s grieving.

Today bless God for the opposites in your life, and see each circumstance as an opportunity to find Christ in the midst of daily occupations. St. Therese of Lisieux herself said that Christ was most abundantly present not in prayer but in the midst of the ordinary daily occupations.