Friday, March 22, 2013


In just a couple of days we will begin the solemn journey of Holy Week.  Palm Sunday is a day of Hosannas and the cry of the crowd who turns on Jesus even as they just honored him with hosannas.  As we walk with Jesus on Palm Sunday all the way to the cross, may we open ourselves to the amazing gift we are given in a savior loves us and gives his life for us.

At our monastery on Palm Sunday we usually process outside with the cross, banners and flowers.  We process outside with the music of bells and a drum moving us as we sing Hosanna.  When we enter the chapel the mood becomes more solemn as we prepare to hear the reading of the passion.  At the end of Mass, we leave in silence.

It is a powerful time making us deeply aware of what we are saying yes to as Christians.  We must walk the way to Calvary if we want to rise with Christ.

Reflect on your experiences of Palm Sunday.  Ask God for the grace to enter fully into this powerful liturgy.


Lord jesus, Savior of the world and Redeemer of all, give us the grace to understand more deeply the mystery of the cross.  We need your courage to participate in the work of redemption.  As we stand at the foot of the cross with Mayr, may our fait deepen, our hope be renewed, and our love increase a hundredfold.  Amen.
(Prayer by Bishop Morneau)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Pope Francis gave a wonderful homily on the day of his installation.  I have posted several paragraphs here.

"The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened. Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.

Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment. Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world! But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down! We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!

Pope Francis calls us to not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness.  How do you nurture goodness and tenderness in your life?  Lent is a time of opening our heart to God. Benedict's call to watch over ourselves, our emotions is an important one.  As we nurture goodness in our lives we are able to build up ourselves and others for the Kingdom of God.

Gracious God,
you call us to love you in tenderness and mercy and to share this love with others.
May all we do build up ourselves and others so that we may fully serve you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013


It is hard to believe that Lent is passing by so quickly. How have the last weeks been for you? Ash Wednesday might seem a long time ago. That day when we promised God that we would fast, take more time for prayer and give a little more than we usually do. This morning I will take a little time to reflect on where I am at with all of it. This is not to become a judge of my motivations and actions but to commit to growing closer to Jesus. To commit to walking with him through the rest of Lent in an intentional and powerful way. The goal of all of our commitments is union with Christ. All we do are means to this end. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus and may we look forward to Easter with holy longing.

How has this Lent been for you? Are the commitments you made on Ash Wednesday leading you closer to Jesus? Do you need to make adjustments to get back on the path?

Loving God,
we long for you because you first loved us.
May our Lenten commitments draw us closer to you and may we let go of anything that hold us back.
Be with us as we journey through these last days of Lent. May our love for you be strengthened and deepened.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Today Sr. Heather Jean shares her response to God's call in her life. You are invited to reflect on yours as we move closer to the holy Feast of Easter!

Through the Waters of Baptism
Sr. Heather Jean Foltz

Spring is a time of new beginnings.; creation comes to life after remaining dormant for months, we celebrate Christ’s resurrection and welcome new members into our church.  It is also a time when we are reminded of God’s calling in our life that began on the day of our own baptism.  April 15, 1984 was the day that I was baptized in the name of the trinity into the Christian community of faith and the day that God began calling me to a new way of being.  I have come to realize that God does not call once, but continues to call us throughout our life.  The first piece of our calling begins at baptism and as we enter more fully into our baptismal promise we begin to realize the personalized call that God has for us.  This personalized call has two dimensions.  The first is a more intimate relationship with God and the second is a mission that will help extend God’s love to the world.   God has invited me to my calling as a Benedictine Monastic. 
Monastic life is centered on seeking God.  Prayer is central and all other aspects of life flow from our life of prayer.    It is within those intimate moments of prayer both privately and communally that I am filled with God’s love, which, through grace, helps me to love others in a more substantial way.   Living monastic life involves living as a part of a larger group.  I am one of many called to live out the Rule of Saint Benedict at Our Lady of Grace Monastery.    It is within the context of community that I am able to see both the strengths of the body of Christ and also the division that can be created as a result of our humanity.  Living in community calls me to embrace the beautiful and the broken aspects of human nature found within my sisters and myself.  It is through embracing the human parts of ourselves and others that we learn to love.           
            Monastic life has an impact on the greater community and its presence is needed in the world today.  A life centered on prayer, work, and hospitality is different than the values of our world. Our Monastic presence in our world offers others the opportunity to pray with us, to be prayed for and provides a space for respite for those seeking God.    Our ministries within the greater community also help bring a glimpse of our Benedictine values into the work place.  We are teachers, administrators, nurses, librarians, musicians, and social service providers.  Through each of these ministries we share our values with those we come into contact.  Our co-workers watch to see how we respond to different situations and rely on our prayers for strength and support in their own journey.  God touches others through our acceptance of God’s invitation to live the monastic life.
            On June 9, 2012, deepened my commitment to following God When I made my First Monastic Profession.  On the day of my profession, I stood before God, my community, friends and family to profess to live a life of stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience.  These vows are unique to Benedictines.  Stability is a commitment to live out our monastic vocation in a specific community.  It is a stability of place and heart.   This stability is allows us to be known by those who we live with in a deeper way and calls us to conversion.  Obedience is a commitment to listen to and remain faithful to God, our superiors, one another and to the monastic way of life.  We do not journey alone in monastic life, but together.  It is through a life of mutual obedience that we learn to listen to how God is calling us to grow in love .  Monastic obedience is the process of cultivating a listening heart.  Fidelity to the monastic way of life is a commitment to live faithfully our monastic practices and values as well as to remain open to conversion within our hearts.
            Our calling is not stagnant.  It does not happen at one moment, but it is a continual turning back to God.  We are each called to a specific community and a specific ministry, but the call to continue to love God and others in deeper ways continues throughout our life on earth.  We are called to continue through grace to heal the wounds that keep us from loving God, others, and ourselves.  We are continually called back to the waters of our baptism to enter more deeply into a loving relationship with our Triune God.

Reflect on how God is calling you to follow at this time in your life.  Is there something you need to be about to respond to God’s call ?  As we journey toward Easter, we remember our baptismal call and once again commit ourselves  to God.

Gracious God,
Through our baptism you call each of us to holiness.
Help me to respond to this call by living each day centered in you.
May all I do and say bring me closer to you.  Amen.

Friday, March 8, 2013


In the Gospel for today the scribe asks Jesus which is the first of all the commandments.  Jesus responds, “Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and all your strength.  The second is this:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Well wait a minute!  The scribe asked which is the first of all the commandments so why does Jesus respond with two commandments.   Is it because Jesus want are love to be made real.  We are not to love only in theory but we must love in practice.  If we truly love God, our love will be made real in the concrete ways we reach out in love to others.  Not only those that are easy to love but those that call us to stretch in our understanding of love.  We are called to keep widening the circle to include all of those that God loves.  That’s a mighty big circle!

Where are you called to stretch yourself so that you can widen the circle of your loving?  How does this feel to you?  Take time to pray and ask for God’s grace to help you on this journey in growing in the practice of loving.

Loving God,
You are Love and you call us to love.
Our love for you is made real in the concrete actions
of love in our lives.
Help us to open ourselves to all people
so that we might be stretched in our capacity to love.
May our love for you shine as we reach out to others in love.
We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Snow started falling late afternoon in Beech Grove, Indiana.  It looked liked powdered sugar as it dusted the earth and soon covered it.  It was absolutely beautiful and made me want to get outside and embrace its beauty.  So I did!  Around 9:30 p.m. I put on my coat and boots and stepped outside into God’s wonderland.  The trees were draped with snow and my feet had to push against the snow that was covering the earth.  Since the snow was still coming down, I could feel it in my hair and on my face and it was WONDERFUL! 

You might ask, what does snow have to do with Lent?  I asked myself that question too.  As I walked through God’s creation last night, I was reminded of the call to be fully awake and open to the wonder of God’s creation.  We get so busy with life that we forget to look at what is always right around us.  Wake up, God says!  Look with new eyes!  Yesterday’s snowfall made me look with new eyes.  Through God’s grace may I look at each day in this way.

Lent is a time of stripping away all that hinders us from seeing God more clearly and responding to God more fully. God is always active in our lives and in creation.  May we have eyes to see it.

How are you awake to God’s action in your life?  Take some time today to walk in God’s creation.  Do so fully awake to what God offers you!  Then be thankful for all the many graces God gives.

Gracious God,
Just like the snowfall blankets the earth
your grace covers us and leads us to life.
Open our eyes and hearts to your love and grace
so that we might be made new and live life fully awake to your presence.
We ask this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.     

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Commentary on Luke 13:1-9
March 3, 2013
      The message in this Gospel is everyone gets by with a little help from their friends.  

     Repent, repent, repent, Jesus says, if not you will perish…but then he tells a story of salvation.  God seems to be looking for those who do not “exhaust the soil.”  I’d hate to be thought to be in that category but, essentially, I am…and, so are you.  There are periods in our lives when we do not produce much.  Maybe we are weighted down by illness or fatigue or depression.  Maybe the weight of the world creates in us a dark night of the soul.  Maybe our joys do not balance our afflictions.  Maybe, just maybe, we have decided this life is too hard and there must be an easier way.

     We are like the fig tree barren of fruit, day after day or month after month or even year after year.  But, if we are lucky, someone comes along who is willing to cultivate the ground around us.  A trusted friend, a mentor, an example of kindness and compassion, a circumstance, an experience fertilizes our thirsty, barren soil of a soul and brings us back to life. 

     God puts people in our path like the gardener in today’s Gospel who see in us a grain of hope.  They come to our rescue when we need them the most.  All we need do is trust them.  I’m reminded of the story of a person stranded on the top of a house during a flood with the waters rising.  A canoe comes along and invites him in.  “No, he says, God will save me.”  Then a rowboat offers assistance. “No, he says, God will save me.”  Then a motorboat. “No, he says, God will save me.”  He drowns then chastises God
for not saving him.  To which God replies…“My dear child, I sent you three boats!”

     Our rescuers don’t always come in nice little packages.  Sometimes they have to say hard things and issue challenges we don’t want to hear.  The one necessary thing is that all is done in a spirit of love and true concern.  We don’t get by with a little help from our enemies…we get by with a little help from our friends.

     Cultivate good friends then look to them to help you grow and bear fruit that will last.  They will help you get by.

Sr. Mary Luke Jones, OSB

Friday, March 1, 2013


Sr. Ann Patrice of our community has a beautiful Godchild named Clare.  Clare’s mom, Annie, and Sr. Ann Patrice are lifetime friends.  Annie had told Sr. Ann Patrice that Clare had given up chocolate for Lent.  Sr. Ann Patrice was surprised as Clare LOVES chocolate.  The next time Sr. Ann Patrice saw Clare she said, “Clare, I heard that you have up chocolate for Lent.  I’m so very proud of you.”  Little Clare looked up at Sr. Ann Patrice and said, “A (that’s what she calls her) I want to show God how much I love him.”

Amazing words from a little girl – I WANT TO SHOW GOD HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM.

That’s what Lent is all about!  Making space and taking time for God so that we can grow more deeply in our love for the One who loves us more than we can fathom!

How are you showing God how much you love him?  Where do you need to make space or take more time for God?  Let’s each try to do a little something extra during the third week of Lent.

Loving God,
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for your deep love for us.
We love you and desire to love you even more.
Open our hearts to your grace so that
            Our lives might be filled with desire for you.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.