Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Sara Galey c/o Monastery of the Poor Clares
5500 Holly Fork Road
Barhamsville, VA 23011
I may not be able to respond in writing very often, but I will always respond in prayer.
Peace be with you!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Cloistered nuns tend to have one or two causes that are especially important to them. They spend extra time in prayer for these things that God has placed in their hearts. As a Franciscan, I'll be dedicated to the conversion of sinners and the poor, but I think I'm also called to pray for children seeking love and stability through adoption or foster care.
Vocations directors for dioceses and religious orders often remark that a key point in many young people's discernment is someone posing a simple question to them: "Do you think you might be called to religious life/priesthood?" So I guess that's what I'm doing with this video - posing a question and hopefully planting a seed in someone's heart.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, l pray that her intercession will obtain for me this fidelity of love.
When Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: The disciples went back home, and it adds: but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.
- St. Gregory the Great, Pope
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The question "Can I love if I am broken?" is asked by our deeply troubled world in so many ways. We look at Mary's pierced and bleeding heart and answer with an enthusiastic "Yes!" When Christ gave her to us to be our own mother, she didn't say "Now wait a minute, I need some time to heal before I can take something like this on. I have to work through this pain - there's no way I could be of any use to someone else until I've gotten past all this." She lived the "yes" she had been living from the first moment of her existence and trusted God to not only show her how, knowing that He is the how.
In our suffering, we learn to love with the Love of God - not the superficial affection and lust the world offers as a cheap substitute. We're hesitant to love the way God loves. Who wants to be broken, vulnerable, raw, exposed? We try to fix ourselves and promise that once we get our own lives in order we'll be ready to take care of other people. It's an absolute lie - the oldest lie ever told - that we can fix ourselves, that we don't have to entrust ourselves to God, that we can be our own gods. We cannot heal ourselves - we will never get there - and in trying to do so, we cut ourselves off from the source of the very healing that we seek. Our attempts focus our energy and attention on ourselves and close us off from others. But God's presence, His Love, is mediated through those other people! We need to come together in our brokenness and let the love of God flow through us into others and through others into us. This is the same love that poured out of Christ as he hung on the cross - the Unbroken giving Himself to the broken, to be broken so that we can be healed. Dearest friends, I consecrated myself and all of you to this Love this morning because in entrusting ourselves to God, we are empowered to truly love!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
"The blink of an eye in itself is nothing, but the eye that blinks - that is something. A span of life in itself is nothing, but the man that lives that span - he is something."
- Chaim Potok The Chosen
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
To You, O most loving Heart of Jesus, do I commend all these souls, and for them I offer all Your merits, together with the merits of the most Blessed Mother and of all the saints and angels, and also together with all the Sacrifices of the Mass, the Holy Communions, the prayers and good works that are made today throughout the entire Christian world. Amen.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.
- St. Irenaeus
This is what we have received. What is our response?
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
- Kathleen Norris
When I first read this quote in Dakota, I thought to myself, "But we don't surrender to circumstances, we surrender to God." But then I realized than surrendering to God means accepting the way in which He is with us - circumstances, reality. If God's presence is mediated through our circumstances, then we must be meant to respond in the same way. God comes to us in reality and we respond by embracing our circumstances and living them with love, always mindful of His Presence.
P.S. I'm only 23 pages into Dakota, but I already feel confident recommending it highly.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Four years ago today, a Mormon coworker ran up to me (I was Episcopalian at the time) and exclaimed "Habemus Papam!" I replied, "I don't have a Pope, and you certainly don't have a Pope." In my head, I smugly thought "Stupid Catholics, they've got this old white guy who tells them what to do, and they actually listen! Not me! I love being Episcopalian because I get to decide what's true for me." Over the next year or so, I watched Pope Benedict's papacy unfold, and I ranted over and over again about how uncompromising I thought he was. The Holy Father's stance on issues like women's ordination or homosexuality could send me into an ironic tirade about "just being nice." At the time, I thought that's what Christianity boiled down to - just being nice. And of course, at this point I had only read what the media wrote about the Pope, not anything he'd written himself.
Four years later, I'm grateful and proud to be included in the "we" of "Habemus Papam!" What changed? At some point, I realized that truth is objective - it's not about what's right for me or right for you, it's about what's true. I came to understand that Christianity is about love (not simply being nice) and when you truly love someone, you're willing to call them out on the things they think and say and do that aren't good for them - even if it means that they don't like you anymore, even when the popular culture turns against you, even (and especially) when it means suffering with someone that you love when it would be so much easier and less painful to just let them do whatever they want to do. I started reading what Pope Benedict had to say about controversial issues, and it made sense - rational, logical sense! I had spent so much time trying to justify what I wanted to be true that I'd started to confuse argument with discernment. The idea of starting at Truth and building my life - our life - around it (instead of deciding what I wanted to do and then contorting and reducing Truth to fit it where it was convenient) was revolutionary to me. I'd never thought this way before, and I'd certainly never lived this way.
I wanted to though. When I thought about what had brought me to Christianity in the first place, I realized that this is the only rational way to live. I had had a sense that there was more to life and more to me than what I could comprehend. That sense led me to seek this "More." Although I didn't realize it at the time, that seeking was mostly in inner process of opening myself to a Presence that was right in front of me (actually, at the deepest part of me) the whole time. When I encountered this Presence I knew right away that This is what I had been longing for, This is why nothing else had ever satisfied me. So why did I almost immediately start twisting my new faith into something that fit into my old life? Original sin? Selfishness? The need to control my life even if that means forcefully reducing it to something tiny enough to hold when it should be bigger than I can grasp and that's part of what makes it so beautiful? Probably a combination of those things and many others. My anger at Pope Benedict was one of the major factors that shook me out of that closed, distorted complacency. It opened me to the idea that maybe there was more to God than what I thought I understood. The Pope is uncompromising on matters of Truth because Truth cannot be compromised - any attempt to do so ends badly for everyone involved. If God is Truth and God is Love, then Love and Truth are one and the same. Reducing Truth means reducing Love - why did I ever think that was a good idea? What I came to to understand and am now trying to put into practice is that it's me that has to conform to Truth and that in doing so I become my true self - the person God created me to be, sharing His divine life of love.
Holy Father, thank you for your witness! Thank you for loving us (like any good parent) enough to not diminish the Truth that we are called to know! Alles Gute zum Jubilaum!
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.
*Our Lord's original words here were "the pagans." Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"Tell us, Mary, what did you see upon the way?"
"I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ; I saw the glory of the Risen One. I saw the angels, His witnesses, the shroud and the garments. Christ, my hope, is risen; He will go before His own into Galilee."
We know that Christ is truly risen from the dead; O Victorious King, have mercy on us.
- The Easter Sequence
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Divine Mercy novena days two and three
Friday, April 10, 2009
- Saint John Chrysostom
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
What I love about Faith is the exact this that used to frustrate me about it when I was an atheist: every answer leads to another question! It wasn't until I encountered God and came to know Him that I understood why this is so: it's because the answer to all our questions is a Who, not a what. Things can be known thoroughly and absolutely. People can't. Can you ever fully know another person? I don't think so. You can know them better and better and better, but never completely. God is a divine, infinite, eternal Person so it would be ever more impossible to know Him completely. At first this may seem sad, but it's actually beautiful because it means that we get to spend the rest of eternity being drawn deeper and deeper into communion with Love Himself! There's always more!
And now I really must go because it's 10:30 and I have to be up at 5:00 and I haven't even prayed evening prayer yet!
Monday, April 6, 2009
This year, I asked myself "why?" Why do I say that I love God above all things and then fail to live that out in my life outside of Mass? Here's what I've got so far. I don't understand the meaning of love. Almost every time I tell God I love Him, it's a warm fuzzy feeling that I'm talking about. This is not love. It's consolation - nothing more or less. Consolations remind us that we are loved - they are not love in and of themselves. If I never felt another consolation, if for the rest of my life I felt nothing while I prayed, felt nothing at Mass, felt nothing after receiving Christ in the Eucharist, does that mean that God doesn't love me? No! I should be reminded of His love every time I look at a crucifix. True love is an act of will. True love intentionally places another's good before my own, even when it's difficult, even if it means a total emptying of myself.
This is why we cannot love without God. This is how the death of Christ gives life to us. In a broken world, love and suffering can't be separated. Pouring ourselves out for others often feels like pouring water into a broken jar - pointless and never ending. We need God, who is Love Himself, inside of our souls. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) We need to remain in the source of love and we need Him to remain in us. In the person of Jesus Christ, true Love and eternal Life entered this world as one of us, fully embraced suffering and death, and rose to show Himself victorious. United to Him in baptism, confirmed by Him in our identity as children of God and members of His Body, continuously nourished by Him in the Eucharist, healed by Him in reconciliation, we are victorious too!
The Jewish people wanted a Messiah and King to come in and set everything right, and they had a certain idea of what that would look like. We also have many ideas about what God should be doing to set things right in the world - no more war, poverty, abortion, pollution, whatever. What we all fail to see is that none of these things will be fixed until we are fixed, and that is what Christ's life, death and resurrection is accomplishing - to the degree that each of us allows in our own hearts and lives. I think, for the rest of Holy Week, when I feel a consolation, I'll offer it back to God and ask for the grace to love as He loves.
P.S. Back in January, Suzanne of Come to See wrote this post. It moved me deeply and I've been wanting to link to it ever since. Now is the time - it's a beautiful reflection for Holy Week.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Have you ever noticed that, often, questions of "how?" can be answered by asking "why?"? It's very true with the question "How can I stay engaged in the present while looking forward to the future?" If I asked "Why should I stay engaged in the present?" the answer would be "Because Christ is there. The present is where Eternity meets time. (that's the C.S. Lewis)" So I can answer my original question by looking for Christ in every situation, asking Him to reveal Himself to me, asking His mother to help me see Him, being led by friends/witnesses who show Him to me. I think asking "why?" gets to the core issues - isn't "why?" what we're really asking with our whole lives? Any other question focuses on what we do - "why?" focuses on who we are.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
The details of my visit aren't too interesting because most of the important stuff happened in my heart and I have a hard time putting those things into words. You know how Mary "pondered these things in her heart"? That's what I'm doing. There are a few highlights I can mention though:
-I got to meet a few of the other Sisters. Until this visit I'd only met the Mother Superior and the two Portresses. This time I got to spend some time with the Mother Vicoress and a few of the other nuns. It was nice to get to know them and very encouraging to see how truly happy they are. It really is possible to live this way!
-Mother Clare asked if I thought I could learn to play the organ... in five months... unless Saint Cecilia wants to pray up a miracle for me I don't think it's going to happen, but I'm still committed to learning as much as I can in the time I have.
-I had the first part of my psychological testing evaluated, and I'm not crazy!
I haven't been posting since I got back because I've just been too busy. That's probably not going to change anytime soon so I won't be blogging much until after Easter. Speaking of Easter, please remember to pray for our soon to be brothers and sister who are preparing to receive the Easter sacraments! God bless you in this holy season of Lent.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
1.) No eating out. Save the money I would have spent and donate it to Catholic Relief Services and the Good Samaritan Program at my parish.
2.) No gossiping or bitching - that's right, I said bitching, because when I'm really cranky, the word "complaining" doesn't adequately describe what comes out of my mouth. Instead, I'm going to find something positive and encouraging to say. If that's not an option, I'm going to keep quiet and pray. Dear friends, please hold me to this one!
3.) Morning and Evening prayer everyday - this happens pretty often, but it needs to be the focus of my routine, not something I just fit in.
I'll probably add a few more thing once I've had a little more time for prayer and reflection on the subject.
24 hours from now, my alarm will be going off for Matins!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
2.) My dear friend Barbara is training to do her first triathlon! She's faced some difficult challenges over the last year or so, and I think finishing this event successfully would mean a lot to her.
3.) Your prayers for my continuing discernment are such a blessing to me - sometimes they almost feel like a physical embrace. I'd especially appreciate your prayers next week, when I'll be visiting my convent again - I hope to return as an aspirant!
Monday, February 16, 2009
1.) My best friend Meghann's husband Raul was sent back to Mexico a few months ago. They're having problems with his green card application. This left Meghann to care for and support their one year old daughter on her own. Meghann was recently laid off and hasn't been able to find a new job.
2.) My friend Holly's father Al suffered two heart attacks a few days ago. He seems to be doing well, but we still don't know if he'll have to undergo open heart surgery. More information here on Scott's blog (Holly is his wife).
3.) Suzanne's mom is battling cancer again. More information on her blog here.
4.) Annie is in need of a new job as well.
5.) Jennifer of Conversion Diary is getting ready to be induced in about two weeks. This baby will make four children under five years old! Jennifer has difficult pregnancies to to a clotting disorder. Read more in this post from August where she announces baby number four.
6.) My mother is a respiratory therapist. She often works in the ER taking care of trauma patients. Recently a man was brought in who had tried to end his life by shooting himself in the head. He didn't die, but his face is almost completely gone.
7.) Michelle and her husband are seeking a deeper relationship with God.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
My mom's partner is a therapist. When one of her clients tells her a quality they'd like to posess, Deb asks "What would that look like?" I guess that's what I've been asking myself. What would it be like to be poor in spirit? How would I live that everyday?