Examen: Poetry in Motion

Fast-slow, ebb and flow sensing the pace of life,

Thoughts-prayer I find You there amidst the joy and strife,

 

 

In-out without a doubt my every breath You fill,

Start-rest this beating heart lest, peace escape me still.

 

 

Far-near there is no fear for You come when I call,

Doubt-hope a brilliant strobe-light dispelling all.

 

 


Offer-receive your gift and believe your grace is always there,

Hold-release me to please by trusting in your care.

By: Elizabeth A. Reardon


Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


Witness to the Miracle: Bringing Forth Our Giftsbread

(originally published on August 4, 2014)

In discussion of the Gospel Reading of the miracle of loaves and fish, I asked the children gathered at mass what should we do with the gifts that God has given us? What if what we have is thought to be little? Conversely,  if we have acquired much, and have leftovers, what would we do with it? While,  I thought that I was leading them to provide typical answers of the things that they would buy or do with the new wealth they, much like the boy in the Gospel, truly offered gifts of the heart.

The first little girl said, “I would give ten percent to the church”. 

Another boy answered “I would seek to build shelter for the homeless”

Still another profoundly replied,  “I would keep only very little, enough for my family to be able to live and eat”.

Oh, out of the mouths of babes!  I had to smile, as I then asked, “Do you know that this is exactly what Jesus has entrusted us to do as followers, in caring for the needs of our community?”

As a church, and individually as disciples we need to ask ourselves if we are committed fully both to evangelization and service. This is a demanding call to imitate Christ’s love for humanity both in word and deed, in the tasks of “pastoral mission, communion and participation”.[1] While Vatican II reemphasized these, it was Evangelii Nuntiandi that so clearly issued the challenge for us today as a Church. Here, the Christian ‘life of prayer, the Word, teaching, charity’, and “sharing of bread…only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News”.[2] The contextual situations of poverty, oppression, homelessness, and disease particularly prevalent in the Third World do not allow them to adequately provide for themselves.[3]

Today we too are to answer the directive posed to us by Christ.  First, following the model of Christ, we are called to a greater awareness of the material and spiritual need of those within our local and global communities. In order to do so, requires that we are truly transformed by, and a witness to our encounter with Christ present in the Eucharist. Then, bringing our gifts and resources with confidence, we offer them to God to be blessed, multiplied and shared, turning none away. Finally, we are reminded of our task as disciples to gather our surplus, to allocate it appropriately so that none is lost and that all are filled.

May God bless you in your gift of self, service, and love!

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How fitting is the naming and mission of this Massachusetts food pantry..  http://www.loavesfishespantry.org/  Now, do you know of one in your area? 🙂 St. Vincent de Paul


[1] Francis, Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day. July 28, 2013.

[2] Paul VI, Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi. “From Christ to the Church’s Evangelizing”. I (15)

[3] Manus, “John 6:1-15 and its Synoptic Parallels”, 69.

Coffee Date: Quite a Latte Going on!

This week I am linking up with

Dearest Love for “Coffee Date” and 7Quick Takes Conversion Diary.

1. If the title hadn’t given it away already, I would begin by saying how incredibly eventful this week has been… and continues to be!  With something “extra” scheduled every day, I have found myself wanting for another me to complete the monotonous tasks that are important but not necessarily fun. Late nights, prayer and countless cups of coffee have been the norm these last few days. As I write this I am finishing up the last of three loads of laundry, and enjoying this pause in a very busy but blessed week.

Graces and Opportunities//

2. I realize that I can, with the grace of God, take on all my normal commitments and add a few more balls in the air without totally being stressed. As I am nearing the end of my graduate school work, I contemplate life changing once again as I discern my new place in the larger world. My family too has needed to make adjustments in what they contribute to the running of the family household. While change is not always welcomed initially, it is so gratifying it is to see them grow and take on additional responsibilities.

3. With that being said, my middle son Peter now 15 tied his own tie for school today for the first time! Passing by him this morning I offered my services, as is customary, to which he surprisingly replied, “Hold on Mom just a minute, I almost have it! Love it 🙂

Peter before school this morning!

A post shared by Elizabeth Reardon (@theologyisaverb) on

4. On Monday evening I joined in on an existing bible study group and met a fantastic group of ladies. The insight, coffee and conversation flowed so that had we not set an end time, I would not have made it home before 10pm! Thank you to all for a great time!

5.The following night my hubby stepped in to lead Why Catholic for a friend whose husband had surgery. For those unfamiliar with the Why Catholic program, it was created for adults to “foster spiritual renewal, evangelization, catechesis and faith formation through small Christian communities”. What a joy it was to see him prepare and leave to spend that time with others in scripture and prayer.

6. Last night, I attended a seminar on Catechesis and the New Evangelization hosted by Loyola Press and featuring Joe Paprocki author of The Catechist’s Toolbox, and The Bible Blueprint. Paprocki’s books are clear, engaging and filled with humor and parables. In his presentation, he explained that while we as Catholics have seen many leave the Church that there are countless new “opportunities for bringing the Good News” to flourish within hearts and minds. Essential to these opportunities is a new “ardor” or attitude of joy and hope that “things can change”. That change begins with each one of us. We are as a people called to be inviting others into a “transformative” experience of faith. This is accomplished by a living active witness to Christ’s love and mercy in our own lives. Here, Catholic social teaching provide a much needed connection to the realities of our everyday life and the call to “put that faith into action”. If interested in hearing more, this seminar can be accessed in a few days on http://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/ .

7. Tomorrow, I am thrilled to attend the Boston Archdiocesan Social Justice Convention at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. The focus this year will be on making social justice a priority within our communities and interfaith outreach to overcome violence. Not to mention there will be numerous exhibitors such as Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Volunteers on hand to provide more information to serving others in our local communities. Exciting stuff! 😀
Peace,Signature

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Seeking Joy Part 2

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!

Seeking Joy1Seeking Joy Part 2

(originally published on 8/19/14)

1. Seeking the joy of God..

necessitates that we recognize our own unique gifts that God has given us rather than envying the gifts that others might possess.

Each of us has been created for a purpose, though the details of which, we might not be aware of it just yet. When we want that which God has given others, then we fail to appreciate God’s gifts to us. Instead, our aim should be to strengthen the gifts that we have been given, whether it be speaking, listening, teaching, or guiding others in the call to holiness and in the mission and life of the Church. So, too, I would add, God grants additional charisms or gifts, when needed, if we remain open to the Holy Spirit and God’s will in our lives.

2. Making space for God means..

identifying that which seeks to steal our joy, and serves to distance us from God and those we love.

When we shed these things, quite profoundly through reconciliation, we open ourselves up to God at work in our everyday. Then we start seeing God too in the little things that we do that also provide countless joy in the lives of others.

3. This is what God wants for us! We were not created to live in sorrow, though we all experience this at some point in our lives. We all know that with Christ’s birth the heavens rejoiced, so too is God’s joy for each one of us. Yet, the things of this world will bring us but temporary happiness, but God’s joy is eternal. When we surrender our hearts, trust, and allow God to take the lead, we will find true joy at last.

“Let this experience imprinted in the Gospel, be imprinted in our hearts and in our lives. Let the joyous wonder of Easter Sunday radiate through our thoughts , looks, attitudes , gestures and words …” Pope Francis (Regina Coeli address, Apr. 22, 2014.)

Inlinkz Linkup opens on Wednesday..See you then! 😉

Worth Revisiting Wednesday-EXAMEN-ing My Day

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


EXAMEN-ing My Day

http://paperdali.blogspot.com/2010/07/saint-ignatius-of-loyola-san-ignacio-de.html
http://paperdali.blogspot.com/2010/07/saint-ignatius-of-loyola-san-ignacio-de.html

originally posted on 7/24/14

“Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.” St. Ignatius

On July 31st we celebrate the feast day of St. Ignatius, a former Spanish soldier, who experiencing a profound conversion to the centrality of Christ, much like St. Paul, answered the call to follow. St. Ignatius recognized that putting Christ first, means also discovering anew God’s presence and the Holy Spirit at work in the midst of our daily lives. It is a seeking and then an awareness to God within and without- in all that we see, hear, feel and do. So, in a simple, modified form of the Examen I wish to share with you my day.

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

This morning, before I opened my eyes, I felt You there God. Not ready yet to leave my restful state, I said “thank you” for the day to come, and “yes” to what gifts I might be shown to see and do. I saw your beauty in the sunrise, in the dew on the flowers, and in the little white butterfly family that returns each Summer. I heard your joy in the laughter, albeit giggles, of my children. And I felt your peace as joined in the “Our Father” and prepared my heart to receive such blessed communion at mass.  You are here with me now as I enter into this time of contemplation, Spirit lead me.

2. Review the day with gratitude. 

My heavenly Father, I thank you for both the ups and downs of this day, for you were present in every moment. How I praise you for the gift of friendship with you, for those you have placed in my path, and those opportunities for others to see and know you through me. I give praise also for those who you have given to guide me, who listen, support and advise, who reflect your indescribable love. For those moments that were difficult-oh, the strength you have given me, you never let go. You are amazing God!

3. Pay attention to your emotions. 

Initially, I felt reluctance at starting my day so early, for it is the summer and as I had rationalized I had been so busy the last few weeks.  Yet, I realize that I was in fact procrastinating my pressing “to do” lists, and seeing them as tasks rather than invitations to see You at your best. I was also hesitant to answer the phone from  someone who I have felt continually attempts to  confront peace with frustration and aggravation. However, while I still have much to learn, you gave me courage to stand firm in your grace.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. 

Please Lord, be persistent with me and help me to always be loving and forgiving, even when I feel tempted to be less than what you have shown to me.  You see me as I truly am, you know my thoughts and my heart…and you love and forgive. Lord, please strengthen my steps, embolden my spirit, and help me approach each new day with faith, love, peace, and joy.

5. Look toward tomorrow. 

See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/#sthash.DJi24cCQ.dpuf

Currently, catching my breath and the Spirit!

Currently (1)

giving thanks and praise for // A safe journey and the company of good friends with my whirlwind trip to Loyola Chicago’s beautiful Madonna della Strada Chapel on their Lake Shore Campus! Consisting of less than 24 hours, this trip was certainly not long enough to see all of Chicago or to visit with everyone that I had wanted to but it was an incredible experience. 🙂

YUMMY!

Staying with my former roommate while in Rome, I was welcomed with Chicago deep dish pizza, Italian pizzelle cookies, wine and the best of late night conversations. The next morning at 7:30 am we attended mass led by Fr. Mike Solazzo at St. Tarcissus on Ardmore Avenue. The interior of this beautiful church constructed in 1927 is filled with marble, stained glass, statues and pieta. As graduate pastoral studies students, Paula and I both remarked how engaging and on target Fr. Solazzo’s homily was with what we have been studying.

Reminiscing//

the brunch that followed with Paula, her daughter Katie and boyfriend, our friend Art and his wife Madeline at Mia Figlia in the Northside of Chicago. Not only was the food scrumptious, a serving of sunny side eggs and polenta, but once again the conversation was a true joy! What a blessing to be able to meet the family of my two close friends and fellow colleagues, putting faces and embraces to the people I have heard so much about.

Humbled by//

the whole experience of being nominated and selected for inclusion into Alpha Sigma Nu with such an amazing group of students dedicated to both academic excellence and service. Spanning ethnicities, and continents they embody God’s incredible diversity and gifts of the Spirit at work in the world today. Through them, I experience community and recognize the consequences of my faith to work for peace and justice, trusting in the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. How appreciative I am for those who have continually challenged and inspired me to reach deeper and go further in my faith.

Fr. Steve Krupa, S.J. professor of Christian Spirituality and Ignatian Spiritual Direction at Loyola Chicago.
My friends Art Blumberg and Paula Kowalkowski.

Reading//

The Church of Mercy by Pope Francis (Loyola Press Publishing) on my flight to and from Chicago. What a truly engaging and motivating “vision for the Church” is presented in this collection of homilies, addresses, and excerpts taken from Evangelii gaudium, Lumen Fidei and Regina Coeli. Led by a deep sense of mission to care for the poor, welcome the lost, and renew the faithful Pope Francis’s message is a humble but passionate invitation to transformation. This renewal and change is to occur within through attentive listening and “abiding in Jesus”.

Yet, there is also the necessity of “leaving ourselves behind and going out to encounter others” in service with courage and creativity.

This is not accomplished alone, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we as faithful are called to respond to the “cry of justice” and the need for “harmony in our families, parish and communities”. This mission, however, is not reserved for the clergy  but is to be taken up by each one of us in our discipleship. In accepting the unique gifts that God has entrusted to each one of us,  we are compelled to also undertake this mission of evangelization and reconciliation in living out the Good News of the Gospel. This is a must read, I believe, for each Christian seeking to understand the path necessary to move forward as a people of God in our world today.

So, in this busy, messy, beautiful world that we live in..how do you Currently, meet and join the Holy Spirit in your own community and journey of faith? 

                                         In Peace and Joy,

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It’s WORTH REVISITING WEDNESDAY :Seeking Joy!

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


Seeking Joy1“Seeking Joy!”: Making Space for God,  Part 1 

(First posted August 19, 2014)

In preparation for last Saturday’s “Seeking Joy!” retreat, one feeling pervaded, that of anticipation, and one solitary thought kept rushing to the forefront of my mind.. Why do we wait so long? In the course of our busy lives, so often we need to reach out and grasp the opportunity to step away from the rush of life in order to better see what is keeping us from our true enjoyment of it. And still, at the risk of making an overgeneralization, I believe as women we resist taking this time- thinking that the world cannot function without us physically there to oversee and guide its operation. Guess what, that is God’s job! 🙂

How do we do that though…how do we give God the reins to take charge of our lives and that of the world around us? This is the immeasurable gift of retreat- in taking this step away to reexamine our lives, to consider our attachments and disconnections,  we make space for God’s love to reorder and  transform us deep within. For, when we see who we are in Christ, and open our hearts to accept his love and mercy, then this is where the healing begins.

  It is where we discover true joy, a wellspring that cannot ever truly be taken away.  Likewise, God’s love does not only prompt joy for ourselves alone,  but overflows and spills out into the lives of all of our families and communities as they too encounter its beauty in us.

So, wait- taking time for ourselves and God amidst the daily demands of life actually blesses those whom we love? Absolutely, it does! Looking round the room, God had brought together approximately 40 women, all of whom had awoken early this Saturday morning to learn, grow, and share in faith with one another. Through prayer, laughter, reflection, and reconciliation we became more aware of the things in our lives that are needlessly filling the space in our hearts and minds, so that we can truly love ourselves and others the way God loves us. Only then can we fully experience the peace and joy that comes from trusting in God’s promise in spite of the circumstances that so often arise in life.

“Let this experience imprinted in the Gospel, be imprinted in our hearts and in our lives. Let the joyous wonder of Easter Sunday radiate through our thoughts , looks, attitudes , gestures and words …” Pope Francis (Regina Coeli address, Apr. 22, 2014.)

Retreat Joy!

In Peace and Joy,

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Sunday Edition: Synod on the Family

The Holy Family, courtesy of Catholic Culture.org

“May the Wind of Pentecost blow upon the Synod’s work, on the Church, and on all humanity. Undo the knots which prevent people from encountering one another, heal the wounds that bleed, rekindle hope” Pope Francis (Prayer Vigil 10/4/14)

Our family on the occasion of our wedding some 20 years ago!

Today, is the opening of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the  “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. What a beautiful opportunity to affirm both our commitment to our shared tradition, and to those memories still yet to be made in the joys and challenges that lie ahead. It is through a “living Gospel…as testified in the Scriptures, preserved through the example of the martyrs, and witness of ordinary believers” that we best understand our memory and identity as a people called to be church.[1] And yet, this same commitment invites us to dynamically respond to God’s grace in present and future situations which continue to shape and form us as followers of Christ.

Available from John Paul II Institute- Communio: International Catholic Review 2014

Here, we are acknowledging the relationship of the memory of the believing community with that of doctrine, the preserved expressions of faith, and that of the authority of office. Understood in this way, the community of faith is to be foremost in service to the truth of the gospel of Jesus. The doctrine then is to be reflective of the community in its various historical contexts, and the authority of office in service to all of these. It is, as Gaillardetz observes, “ not a monarchy or a democracy but a spiritual communion of persons called to submit themselves to hear God’s word and discern God’s will in the concrete circumstances of community” [2]

So then we come to the situations that have prompted this particular synod on the family, said to be seeking pastoral solutions in light of the Gospel. Specifically, the issues that the Synod is expected to address  are those of the eligibility of divorced Catholics to receive communion, scandals of abuse, same sex marriages, contraception, and cohabitation. As Pope Francis notes, there is a “special need for mercy in the church today” and to listen attentively and “discuss sincerely” with those faithful who have become “frustrated and marginalized”.[4] Here, in reflecting on Vatican II, we glimpse the special role of the bishop within the community as teacher and judge of the faith, guiding us in the truth of the Gospel. Likewise, in light of Lumen Gentium, as laity we see our responsibility, in patience and love  “to express our opinion on matters which concern the good of the church”. [3]

Remarkably, as attested by the synod questionnaire, the communities themselves were consulted somewhat directly on their understandings of and resonance with matters of faith. (http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-asks-parish-level-input-synod-document) According to the latest Catholic News Service, the synod of 250 participants will consist of bishops, cardinals,leaders of Vatican congregations and councils, priests,  and 14 married couples from around the world.[5]   However, as the article also notes, there is a lot of room for how these opinions are considered, with only 26 papally appointed voting members. Still, this upcoming 2015 synod is a time to “assess the reception of the church’s teaching” as “sensus fidei” and then seek how best to address these controversial pastoral issues.[6]

While this synod is unprecedented in its approach, we must consider that the church has always been called upon to respond to the historical circumstances and interests of its time. Likewise, we need look no further than to the additional voices of theologians, historians and biblical scholars, who have continued to shed light on  the issues of the day.  Their fluency with the texts, traditions and practices of the church have been essential in appraising the exercise of church teaching as lived experience. They provide a unique perspective of taking a particular teaching, and understanding how well it has been ‘understood, received, and transformed into something new’.[7]  This is the reality of a living faith that is dynamically responsive to the unparalleled love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness of God. To understand our faith in this way, demands that we listen to the experiences of faith of a people past, give voice to the present and engage the challenges of the future with our hearts, minds and souls.

                                                 Peace, Signature


[1] Richard Gaillardetz  Ecclesiology for a Global Church: A People Called and Sent. (New York, NY. Orbis Books.  2008), p. 211.[2] Richard Gaillardetz, By What Authority?: Primer on Scripture, the Magisterium, and the Sense of the Faithful. (Collegeville, MN. Liturgical Press. 2003) p. 62. [3] ibid., p. 59  [4] http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1402654.htm  [5] http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1403738.htm  [6] ibid., p.78; [7]  Ecclesiology, p.226

Worth Revisiting Wednesday Link-up! {Premiere}

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!

  “Invited to: Work 6 & and Rest One..It’s a Family Thing! “

(First posted July 29, 2014)

eucharist-2“The Eucharist is not something we do simply to commemorate what Jesus did for us. Rather it is something that Christ does for us, filling us with grace and nourishing us with His own life. Let us live the Eucharist, in a spirit of joy and concern for all our brothers and sisters in need”. Pope Francis

This morning, I was thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) about how incredibly busy, but restful and fulfilling my Sunday had been. While it seems odd perhaps to hold these adjectives together I believe that they highlight what it really means, to me, to “work six and rest one” in keeping the Sabbath holy. As so often the case, in anticipation of Sunday, there was an extra spring in my step as I reflected and then prepared for the day ahead. You see, my joy is not solely in going to mass with my immediate family, but is found in joining my larger family in Christ, in sharing communion together. Here, I am graced with brothers and sisters from varied backgrounds, of all ages, and nationalities each praying to the same Father. Each resting the work of their own hands, to bring all that they are- to be blessed and broken and enjoined as one in the beautiful sacrifice of Christ.

As a Eucharistic minister, I witness this so profoundly as each person steps forward to receive Christ. Some hands are soft, others rugged and worn, nonetheless within their eyes, I see God…and what a beautiful sight that is to behold!  At times I sense their sadness, others times their joy and still others their deep appreciation for this moment to pause to recognize Christ present with us.

Yet, what of those in our community, who because of age, illness or injury cannot be with us on Sunday? While many of us were able to experience the beautiful mystery of Christ’s presence this Sunday in the Eucharist, imagine if you could not. So often we might take for granted the ability to come and partake in communion together, yet for so many of our “family” this not an option.So in reading this,  I am asking you to please consider offering your gift of faith, love and service  to bring Christ, made truly present in the Eucharist and in our community, into their lives as well.

I promise, the joy and love that God provides in this ministry is one that can forever change your own life and serve as a continual source of blessing. This has been the experience of my husband and I, who have been serving for the past five years. We feel graced to have been witnesses to the sacred, these moments of profound gratitude, and light of Christ’s love into their lives.

So, what does this gift require? Our time spent in total at a facility is about an hour, although admittedly quite often we choose to spend longer! Perhaps you may be able to go once a week, yet if you can only go every other week, or visit someone home bound, you will be providing an immeasurable gift that might make their reception of the Eucharist possible.

In faith and prayer, I ask that you consider this beautiful ministry. God Bless-