Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Mary has many different titles, such as Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Fatima, just as we have our given name and we pick up nick names along the way. Today’s feast focuses particularly on Mary at the foot of the Cross.

The gospel is the brief passage from John 19:25-27, when Jesus gives us his own mother to be our mother. We read:
Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and
his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,and Mary Magdalene.

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there
whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
We can only try to imagine Mary’s sorrow. Her only Son is dying on the Cross and that very Son is asking her…commanding her to open her heart to another and to accept him as her son.

We’d say: “Lord, you’re asking too much of me! I’m so upset–I’m heart-broken! You, my Son, my beloved Son, are dying. How can you ask me to even think about accepting another in your place?”

That’s not what Mary said; that’s not what Mary did. Jesus asked this of Mary, because He knew where her heart was; He knew Mary had one home and that was in His Heart. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Where is our heart? What/Who is at the center? Ourselves? Another?

The challenge is that amid all of the confusion, the noise and the running around to find the time to create a space for peace and quiet. All too often like St. Augustine we search outside of ourselves looking, searching for what we already possess. The challenge is to take the time to sit in the sun and eat our pizza lunch, absorb the quiet, enjoy the sunlight as it enlivens the leaves, and become aware of the presence of Him who loves us. The challenge is to allow God to enlarge our heart, to follow Mary’s lead and to witness John’s example.

Here is a little poem, I wrote a few years ago, pondering John’s experience of hearing Jesus say: Behold, your mother.

May these words draw you closer to the Heart of Him who loves you.

Sr. Cora

Where Do You Live?

John lay his head
To rest on the chest
Of him who had no where
To lay his head.

Behold, behold,
Your mother!
John
Took her into his home.
What home had he?
Save the side
Of him who died?

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Musings on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross!

 In darkness

You were conceived

In Mary’s womb.

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For thirty years

In darkness

You walked–

One among us.

At 3 o’clock

Your dying

On the cross

Darkened earth.

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Darker still

Your rising–

Very early

On the first day

Of the week,

Since none

Witnessed it.

You: Light from Light,

Made yourself dark

With a Light

Darkness could

Never hold.

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Now Eternal Word of God,

More brilliant than the sun,

You shine! Amazingly,

We who walk in darkness

Reflect your Light!

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The Gift of the Sea

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Ann Morrow Lindbergh wrote A Gift from the Sea. I do not intend to rival her insights, but God has given me the Gift of the Sea.  Recently I moved my residence from the mountains to the shoreline. As a young girl, growing up in St. Louis the River always fascinated me. My father would take us down to the levy to watch the boats and go up and down the River, Old Man River, or the Mississippi River, the Father of Waters, as the Native American called him. My brothers and sister and I would eat M&Ms and be captured by a world that was far from any reality we knew or had experienced. The power and the strength of the River is what fascinated me. Huge trees would come floating down stream and be tossed  by the River as easily as my brother skimmed stones on the River. All of this is by way of prelude to say: I have a fascination with water.

This recent move to the shoreline has about it a quality of unreal-ness, even though I’ve spent two nights here. The incomparable beauty is more than anything I could have imaged. I walk down the street from our little house to  steps that take me to another world! The world of the sea! I walk the sea wall, transfixed by the persistent surge of the Sound on the shore. I wonder at the play of light dancing on the water. I hold my breath; I pray.

100_0424.jpgImagine the first time this Midwest girl so the rush of the tide running in, filling up all the nooks and crannies of tidewater pools! What a thrill! What power! What strength!  I am amazed! Isn’t this what God does for us? He fills up all those nooks and crannies in us? He heals all those wounds that we, perhaps, weren’t even aware were there?

I stand and hold my breath the glazed look of the Sound as the sun reflects off of it like ice. Too much! Too much beauty to take in and my soul falls in adoration. My God, I adore, I hope, I love You. I pray for those who do not know You, do not love You and do not serve You. Is this reparation? Filling up the lack of love in the world? I hear the call to fill up, to fill up the lack of love. To bring the love of His Heart to those I meet day in and day out. Is it always easy? Do I always feel like doing it? No, but words uttered so many years ago compel me now as they did them to answer love for love to the One Who is LOVE. This is what it means to be an Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To proclaim the love of the Heart of Jesus, to reach out to those in need, to build up the Kingdom of God!

May God continue to soften our hearts as He washes us daily with His love. May all that keeps us from Him gradually erode away and we are carved out as one great openness, ready to capture the power and strength of His love and share it with others. Peace!

Sr. Cora

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What’s It Like to Be a Sister?

“What’s itr_DSC8256 CORA.jpg like to be a sister?” I asked this question of Sr. Jerome so many years ago, when I was a junior at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis. I don’t remember her answer. I do remember the question. Through that question, God was calling me. That question, that possibility stirred something within me. Through it I recognized the call. Something in me could not resist…something in me was drawn. Quite simply–I fell in love with God!

My first felt memory of this was at Eucharistic Adoration. My eyes were inexorably drawn to the King of Love, contained in the frail host. I refused to utter the sentimental words we were given to pray. In my heart I looked with love on the One who looked with love on me. That was enough.

“What’s it like to be a sister?”
The reflection below captures what is the heart of our life and the heart of our life is Jesus. To enter for any other reason is not just foolish, but a mistake.

Religious Life grows into a spousal relationship. We tease at home–in the convent–“I have the best spouse of all!” And I do. He is always faithful, though I am weak. His love is constant, though I often miss the mark. His love is eternal and all I can do is as St. Therese taught–borrow His love, so I can love as he loves those He loves.

This may or may not answer the question: “What’s it like to be a sister?”, but it gives you a glimpse into our way of life.

Peace be with you!

Sr. Cora

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How great is your love, O Jesus!
Your love’s so strong; it captures some!
Though their feet are planted here;
Their hearts beat in heaven with yours!
No permanent home, no spouse, no children!

“Come, my beloved, my lovely one, come!”
They hear and generously respond,
Like the gospel widow who tossed
Her last two coins into the Temple treasury:
Giving all, holding nothing back!
They give their lives to you with joy:
Their hands, their voices, their hearts are Yours;
Because you have need of it!
You Alone are their all,

Joyfully they pray:
“Do with me what you will!
Just let me know you;
Let me love you; let me follow you!
What sacrifice is too great?
What love can compare with your love?”

Choosing poverty, chastity and obedience,
They bind themselves to you
Who had nowhere to lay your head,
Who emptied yourself to fill us,
Who wedded yourself to a sinful people,
To make of us a Priestly People,
A Holy People, God’s own People!

These our sisters and brothers, ordinary people,
Live hidden with You in God our Father;
Shine joyfully before the world, foreshadowing
A new heavens and a new earth.

You have so captured their hearts!
They trust in You with their all;
They lean not on their own understanding;
And you, the ever Provident, ever Loving,
Make their paths straight.

What words to sing of you,
save what you sing in us:
“Love one another as I have loved you?”
With hearts on fire, they strive to do as you do:
You the First Giver, the First Gift, Fire of Love!
Their gift of enduring love, a tiny drop,
In the Ocean of your Heart!
All they can do is follow you with joy,
The Divine Lamb, wherever you go!
For you call and they are Yours.

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Matrimony: Your Love Revealed in their Pledge of Love

What a great gift we have in the Sacrament of Matrimony! This was revealed to me by the way my parents lived this sacrament. I share this reflection with you that together we may thank God for all the love He pours into our hearts through our families and most of all through the sacrifices and love of those out of love for each other gave life to us.

Together let us pray for our parents as we pray for the strengthening of the family in our world today.

Sr. Cora


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How great is your love, O Jesus!
At the dawn of creation
You and the Eternal Father called
Forth Adam from the dust of the earth.
So great his loneliness,
In compassion, You created Eve
From his side: Flesh of his flesh
And bone of his bone.

Made in your image and likeness;
Called to love as you love:
To be one– A man and a woman
Generously pour themselves out
For their spouse and their family,
Joining together in sacred friendship,
Forming a family with you at the center.
Opening wide the arms of their heart,
They reach out, so all may find a home;
a place at the table. They tell the old stories
And laugh at the old jokes.

You who give yourself to us
In simple gifts of bread and wine at table.
We lowly ones need to see:
Again and again, couple after couple,
Your love revealed in their pledge of love:
I promise to be faithful to you
In good times and in bad,
In sickness and in health,
Till death do us part.

Their gift of enduring love reveals
To us Your face, O Jesus! In them we see You!
Their laughter, echoes your joy;
Their tears, a part of your sorrow.
They are our mothers and fathers,
Our brothers and sisters.
They give life by being who they are.
Plain spoken; they try not to impress.
But bless us with their presence.
They are who they are: Good people, solid people:
The Salt of the earth!
How great is your love, O Jesus!

 

A Eucharistic Congress to be held September 11-12, 2009

All are invited to attend a Eucharistic Congress on September 11-12, 2009 in Washington, DC at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The Congress, entitled Sacrifice of Enduring Love, is sponsored by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). There is no charge for admission to the two-day event that will explore three vocations in depth — the Priesthood, Religious Life, and Marriage. In addition to other displays, a piece of the actual tilma of St. Juan Diego will be exhibited. For more information about the Congress, visit www.cmswr.org or write: P.O. Box 4467, Washington, DC 20017.

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