As I listened to Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, talk about how Jesus had invited some of his disciples to drop everything and follow Him (like Matthew the tax collector) and other disciples to change how they treated people in the places where they lived (like Zacchaeus), I realized this might be a good way to begin a vocation talk. Jesus needs both itinerant disciples and householder disciples. He himself had no place to call his own. He traveled with his band of followers, both men and women, but they relied on his householder disciples for places to lodge and likely, for food to eat.
I will never forget a bulletin board that one of my teachers put up when I was in high school. I remember walking into the classroom and seeing that there was a new saying on the wall that read, "Not to decide is to decide." At first I didn't know what the sentence meant, and then all at once it hit me! I doubt I heard much of what took place during the rest of the class, because my mind stayed focused on that sentence along with whatever my 'pending decisions' were which promptly flooded into my conscious mind. What was I was putting off? Had I in fact already made some decisions, because I hadn’t actually said “yes” or "no?"
July 4, 2014, will mark the 238th anniversary of the birth of America as an independent nation. Its founding document proclaims the principle that all people are endowed with certain rights that include, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," as written in the document which declared our independence 238 years ago. And whether people came to this country by choice or other circumstances—they were, none the less, immigrants and laborers—who built this nation that became a symbol within the global community as a "land of golden opportunity." But as we prepare to once again celebrate the blessings that we enjoy as Americans, who are a "melting pot" of cultures and ethnicities, I find myself reflecting on our current national immigration crisis.
From Rome, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong, and New Haven, CT to Niskayuna, NY an ancient yet ever new ritual stopped traffic and gathered the faithful in Eucharistic Processions for the Feast of Corpus Christi last Sunday. Were you there?
I was in Niskayuna, NY, at our Dominican Retreat and Conference Center as we watched the procession of men and women walking slowly onto the property with Father carrying a monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament. Attendants with candles walked in front and behind him. Singing and praying they had walked the mile from our parish, St. Kateri to the Retreat House.
"You've Got to Pick a Horse and Ride It!" That was the title of an article I saw recently penned by the famous Dr. Phil, and published in the June 2014 issue of O-The Oprah Magazine. It caught my eye, and I began to guess at what I thought he might be thinking.
The children attending the week-long Peace Camp at Heartland Farm laughed and jostled each other with excitement as they boarded the van. We're going on a field trip! Buckled in with their hands to themselves (essential van-pool rule) we were off to Pawnee Rock, Kansas. To climb the ROCK!
The "Rock" is Pawnee Rock, named for the Pawnee Indians who, along with other tribes, held councils, festivals and other gatherings there along with using it as a reliable landmark on the prairie. The Ar-kansas River is not far away where the Buffalo found water as did the Native American and "White" settlers traveling along the Santa Fe Trail.
During the last mass of the 28th World Youth Day, Pope Francis said to the thousands of young people in attendance: Bringing the gospel is bringing God's power to pluck up and break evil and violence, to destroy and overthrow the barriers of selfishness, intolerance, and hatred, so as to build a new world. Jesus Christ is counting on you, the Church is counting on you, and the pope is counting on you! 'Go and make disciples of all nations!' He reiterated, for these young people and the world, the great commission that Jesus gave to his disciples who witnessed the Ascension event that was the culmination of his earthly life.
Has anyone told you recently, "You are to die for?!"
Recently I heard Associate Larry Vuillemin, relay the words from a plaque on someone's desk which read, "I'm not perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for." This phrase has stayed with me in the few weeks since, and I find myself asking, who or what am I willing to die for? Am I eagerly listening and looking for ways I can put love into action?
In the Gospel from John 15:12-17 for Friday, May 23, we hear Jesus tell his disciples that there is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. Am I willing to die for my friends? Am I willing to die for strangers who are victims of injustice and violence? The questions have definitely given me something to ponder.
May is a time filled with special occasions - graduations, first communions, weddings, and anniversaries of all sorts. This May, I shared in a very special celebration, the 100th Anniversary celebration of St. Andrew Avellino Parish in Flushing, NY, and it was a GRAND day! Five Dominican Sisters of Peace, Srs. Barbara DeCrosta, Carole Hermann, Maryann Lawlor, Pat Thomas (not pictured) and I attended. We felt proud to represent so many of our Sisters who served there over the years - almost 90 years out of the 100!