O Lady and Mother
of the One who was and is and is to come,
dawn of the New Jerusalem,
we earnestly beseech you,
bring us by your intercession
so to live in love
that the Church, the Body of Christ,
may stand in this world’s dark
as fiery icon of the New Jerusalem.
We ask you to obtain for us this mercy
through Jesus Christ, your Son and Lord,
who lives and reigns
with the Father in the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.
Prayer composed by the Sisters of the Abbey of Walburga
of Boulder, Colorado
Archive for category: Uncategorized
O Lady and Mother
Oh Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind, whose breath gives life to the world, Hear me! I come to you as one of your many children. May I walk in beauty. Make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things that you have made, and my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know the things that you have taught your children– The lessons that you have hidden in every leaf and rock. Fill my heart with gratitude for the work of your hands. Prayer by Sr. CA Higgins.
And I wanted to thank you. Thank you for loving me. And I wanted to thank and praise you Lord, for joining me as my brother, my God and my friend to the end my Lord. As my brother, my God and my friend Amen.
Refrain: Passion Song SO’C Roussell.
Presence, the Heart of Our Mission
By Carol Higgins, snjm
Mother Marie Rose was, and is, a woman of God’s presence. She walked with her sisters and students and stayed engaged with those with whom she disagreed. She suffered illness, misunderstandings, and persecution yet she remained convinced of God’s love. Her very person manifested the presence of God to her companions. My studies of our history have convinced me that Mother Rose’s great gift was that she educated by intentionally living in God’s presence, a presence that was rooted in her deep faith. “I invite you to meet me in the Heart of Jesus…” Those who met her were immediately attracted to her, because she transparently radiated the loving presence of God. She impacted people because she was truly on fire with God’s love and exemplified God’s mission. We too are called to bring the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary forth, in this time and place, in the day-to-day reality of living a life consecrated to God.
Our Constitutions speak of our “Desire to proclaim by our lives the primacy of the love of God” (3). “The apostolic service of our Congregation involves a threefold
dimension: sharing in the Good News of salvation, revealing Christ by our words, and by
our manner of life, and serving those to whom we are sent” (10). These quotes speak to me of our call to live our lives intentionally. Whether teaching, praying with a patient, or sitting in traffic, we are called to live the Good News of salvation, we are called to be aware of God’s presence and to be God’s presence.
Is it possible that our calls to work for justice, to care for creation, and to care for one another could be a call to be more intentional about God’s presence and love as we go about the ordinary work of living and being? The question I’m asking us to ponder is, “What is at the heart of our shared mission?” Could it be that our mission is to live in such a way that we, by sharing God’s presence, continue Christ’s transformative work? Are we called to cast the fire of Jesus and Mary in the simple interactions of life? Do we have enough faith to believe that it really could be that simple?
“I invite you to meet me in the Heart of Jesus, for it is there that I wish to make my dwelling and where, if you so choose, we shall never be parted.”
Mother Marie Rose Durocher
Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) is one of two Jewish High Holy Days. The first High Holy Day is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year). Yom Kippur falls ten days after Rosh Hashanah on the 10th of Tishrei, which is a Hebrew month that correlates with September-October on the secular calendar. The purpose of Yom Kippur is to bring about reconciliation between people and between individuals and God. According to Jewish tradition, it is also the day when God decides the fate of each human being.
Although Yom Kippur is an intense holiday it is nevertheless viewed as a happy day. Why? Because if one has observed the holiday properly by the end of Yom Kippur they will have made peace with others and with God.
There are three essential components of Yom Kippur:
1. Teshuvah (Repentance)
Yom Kippur is a day of reconciliation, when Jews strive to make amends with people and to draw closer to God through prayer and fasting. The ten days leading up to Yom Kippur are known as the Ten Days of Repentance. During this period Jews are encouraged to seek out anyone they may have offended and to sincerely request forgiveness so that the New Year can begin with a clean slate. If the first request for forgiveness is rebuffed, one should ask for forgiveness at least two more times, at which point the person whose forgiveness is being sought should grant the request. The rabbis thought it was cruel for anyone to withhold their forgiveness for offenses that had not caused irrevocable damage. Learn more about teshuvah.
This process of repentance is called teshuvah and it is a crucial part of Yom Kippur. Although many people think that transgressions from the previous year are forgiven through prayer, fasting and participation in Yom Kippur services, Jewish tradition teaches that only offenses committed against God can be forgiven on Yom Kippur. Hence it is important that people make an effort to reconcile with others before participating in Yom Kippur services…
Yom Kippur is the longest synagogue service in the Jewish year. It begins on the evening before Yom Kippur day with a haunting song called Kol Nidre (All Vows). The words of this melody ask God to forgive any vows people have made to God and not kept.
The service on the day of Yom Kippur lasts from morning until nightfall. Many prayers are said but one is repeated at intervals throughout the service. This prayer is called Al Khet and asks for forgiveness for a variety of sins that may have been committed during the year. The Jewish concept of sin is not like the Christian concept of original sin. Rather, it’s the kind of everyday offenses like hurting those we love, lying to ourselves or using foul language that Judaism views as sinful. You can clearly see examples of these infractions in the Yom Kippur liturgy, for instance in this excerpt from Al Khet:
For the sin that we have committed under stress or through choice;
For the sin that we have committed in stubbornness or in error;
For the sin that we have committed in the evil meditations of the heart;
For the sin that we have committed by word of mouth;
For the sin that we have committed through abuse of power;
For the sin that we have committed by exploitation of neighbors;
For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, bear with us, pardon us, forgive us!
When Al Khet is recited people gently beat their fists against their chests as each sin is mentioned. Sins are mentioned in plural form because even if someone hasn’t committed a particular sin, Jewish tradition teaches that every Jew bears a measure of responsibility for the actions of other Jews.
During the afternoon portion of the Yom Kippur service the Book of Jonah is read to remind people of God’s willingness to forgive those who are sincerely sorry. The last part of the service is called Ne’ilah (Shutting). The name comes from the imagery of Ne’ilah prayers, which talk about gates being shut against us. People pray intensely during this time, hoping to be admitted to God’s presence before the gates have been shut..
Yom Kippur is also marked by 25 hours of fasting. There are other fast days in the Jewish calendar, but this is the only one the Torah specifically commands us to observe. Leviticus 23:27 describes it as “afflicting your souls” and during this time no food or liquid may be consumed.
The fast starts an hour before Yom Kippur begins and ends after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. In addition to food, Jews are also forbidden from engaging in sexual relations, bathing or wearing leather shoes. The prohibition against wearing leather comes from a reluctance to wear the skin of a slaughtered animal while asking God for mercy.
Who Fasts on Yom Kippur
Children under the age of nine are not allowed to fast, while children older than nine are encouraged to eat less. Girls who are 12 years or older and boys who are 13 years or older are required to participate in the full 25-hour fast along with adults. However, pregnant women, women who have recently given birth and anyone suffering from a life-threatening illness are not required to observe the fast. These people need food and drink to keep up their strength and Judaism always values life above the observance of Jewish law.
Many people end the fast with a feeling of deep serenity, which comes from having made peace with others and with God.
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Rosh HaShanah (ראש השנה) is the Jewish New Year. It falls once a year during the month of Tishrei and occurs ten days before Yom Kippur. Together, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Yamim Nora’im, which means the Days of Awe in Hebrew. In English they are often referred to as the High Holy Days.
The Meaning of Rosh HaShanah
Rosh HaShanah literally means “Head of the Year” in Hebrew. It falls in the month of Tishrei, which is the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar. The reason for this is because the Hebrew calendar begins with the month of Nissan (when it’s believed the Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt) but the month of Tishrei is believed to be the month in which God created the world. Hence, another way to think about Rosh HaShanah is as the birthday of the world.
Rosh HaShanah is observed on the first two days of Tishrei. Jewish tradition teaches that during the High Holy Days God decides who will live and who will die during the coming year. As a result, during Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (and in the days leading up to them) Jews embark upon the serious task of examining their lives and repenting for any wrongs they have committed during the previous year. This process of repentance is called teshuvah. Jews are encouraged to make amends with anyone they have wronged and to make plans for improving during the coming year. In this way, Rosh HaShanah is all about making peace in the community and striving to be a better person.
Even though the theme of Rosh HaShanah is life and death, it is a holiday filled with hope for the New Year. Jews believe that God is compassionate and just, and that God will accept their prayers for forgiveness.
Rosh HaShanah Liturgy
The Rosh HaShanah prayer service is one of the longest of the year. Only the Yom Kippur service is longer. Rosh HaShanah service usually runs from early morning until the afternoon and is so unique that it has its own prayer book called the Makhzor. Two of the most well known prayers from Rosh HaShanah liturgy are:
Unetaneh Tohkef – This prayer is about life and death. Part of it reads: “On Rosh HaShanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, how many will leave this world and how many will be born into it, who will live and who will die… But penitence, prayer and good deeds can annul the severity of the decree.”
Avienu Malkeinu – Another famous prayer is Avienu Malkeinu, which means “Our Father Our King” in Hebrew. Usually the entire congregation will sing the last verse of this prayer in unison, which says: “Our Father, our King, answer us as though we have no deed to plead our cause, save us with mercy and loving-kindness.”
Customs and Symbols
On Rosh HaShanah it is customary to greet people with “L’Shanah Tovah,” which is Hebrew that is usually translated as “For a Good Year” or “May you have a good year.” Some people also say “L’shana tovah tikatev v’etahetem,” which means “May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.” (If said to a woman the greeting would be: “L’shanah tovah tikatevi v’tahetemi”). This greeting refers to the belief that a person’s fate for the coming year is decided during the High Holy Days.
The shofar is an important symbol of Rosh HaShanah. It is an instrument often made of a ram’s horn and is blown one hundred times during each of the two days of Rosh HaShanah. The sound of the shofar blast reminds people of the importance of reflection during this important holiday. Learn more about the shofar in this article.
Tashlich is a ceremony that usually takes place during the first day of Rosh HaShanah. “Tashlich” literally means “casting off” and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water. Learn more about tashlich in this article.
Other significant symbols of Rosh HaShanah include apples, honey and round loaves of challah. Apple slices dipped in honey represent our hope for a sweet new year and are traditionally accompanied by a short prayer before eating that goes: “May it by Thy will, O Lord, Our God, to grant us a year that is good and sweet.” Challah, which is usually baked into braids, is shaped into round loaves of bread on Rosh HaShanah. The circular shape symbolizes the continuation of life.
On the second night of Rosh HaShanah it is customary to eat a fruit that is new to us for the season, saying the shehechiyanu blessing as we eat it to thank God for bringing us to this season. Pomegranates are a popular choice because Israel is often praised for its pomegranates and because, according to legend, pomegranates contain 613 seeds – one for each of the 613 mitzvot. Another reason for eating pomegranates on Rosh HaShanah has to do with the symbolic hope that our good deeds in the coming year will be as many as the seeds of the fruit.
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This feast is a counterpart to the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (January 3); both have the possibility of uniting people easily divided on other matters.
The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary began in Spain in 1513 and in 1671 was extended to all of Spain and the Kingdom of Naples. In 1683, John Sobieski, king of Poland, brought an army to the outskirts of Vienna to stop the advance of Muslim armies loyal to Mohammed IV in Constantinople. After Sobieski entrusted himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he and his soldiers thoroughly defeated the Muslims. Pope Innocent XI extended this feast to the entire Church.
Mary always points us to God, reminding us of God’s infinite goodness. She helps us to open our hearts to God’s ways, wherever those may lead us. Honored under the title “Queen of Peace,” Mary encourages us to cooperate with Jesus in building a peace based on justice, a peace that respects the fundamental human rights (including religious rights) of all peoples.
“Lord our God, when your Son was dying on the altar of the cross, he gave us as our mother the one he had chosen to be his own mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant that we who call upon the holy name of Mary, our mother, with confidence in her protection may receive strength and comfort in all our needs” (Marian Sacramentary, Mass for the Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary).
..This entry appears in the print edition of Saint of the Day. Posted by American Catholic.org
To more fully understand our Holy Father’s teachings in CARITAS IN VERITATE we need to see this new letter as part of his overarching set of teachings.
In the years after Vatican II, Cardinal Ratzinger was known for his critique of liberation theologies and his condemnation of what came to be called securer humanism. In Caritasin Veritate, he clarifies his insights on our Christian call to social justice within a radical commitment to the Gospel of Christ. The Holy Father insists that Love, Mercy and Justice are the parameters of the Christian life and what he most essentially describes as “Christian humanism”. (Humanism with Christ at the Center, Justice that flows from the teachings of Jesus and his church)
Our great theologian the late Avery Cardinal Dulles titled the messages of John Paul the Great –“prophetic humanism.” The years of John Paul were influenced greatly and vice versa by the relationship with Cardinal Ratzinger
It’s been said that both John Paul and Cardinal Ratzinger -our present Benedict- have been accused of possessing an optimistic, even idealistic view surrounding the future of our world. John Paul would call it an, “an evangelical optimism” as recognized in the overarching themes Joy and Hope in the Vatican II, document Gaudium et Spes or Church in the modern world.
His first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est—God is love.
His second Spe Salvi—we are saved in hope.
The church and recession
Local conference shows ministers eager to try to meet challenge of tough fiscal times
BY CLIFF NEWELL
The Lake Oswego Review, Aug 6, 2009
VERN UYETAKE / LAKE OSWEGO REVIEW
Dr. Cecilia Ranger served as moderator for “Blessed Are The Poor” at Marylhurst University on July 30. Twenty-four local church representatives talked about how to make their ministries more effective.
Food, clothing, shelter, financial advice, healing of the poor in spirit. Conquering fear.
In ways both basic and unusual, the church community of Lake Oswego and West Linn is rising to meet the demands of economic hardship not seen in the U.S. in 70 years.
This was made quite evident at the conference “Blessed Are The Poor,” held at Marylhurst University last Thursday.
Sister Carol Higgins of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary “called every church I could think of” in Lake Oswego and West Linn, and the response was heartening: 24 representatives of local churches gathered to talk about how they are dealing with the recession.
They did have some sad stories to tell. But the overwhelming feeling that emerged is that this is a time of blessing. The response of the church to the economic emergency has been quick and strong.
“We have a shelter ministry,” said Libby Boatwright, associate pastor of Lake Grove Presbyterian Church. “Homeless people were living in their cars in freezing weather, and we provided them motels, food and help to find housing.”
In some cases, it is simply amazing what some local churches are offering to people suffering from the recession. Boatwright provided two sheets detailing 11 programs now available at Lake Grove Presbyterian, while Julie Messenger, representing Riverwest Church of Lake Oswego, had an elaborate brochure called “the brown book” that details an extraordinary missionary effort right here at home.
It helps not only those in need but those who are giving.
“Our pastor Guy Gray said our outreach to people in poverty has helped us put the current distress in perspective,” Messenger said. “We tend to get inwardly focused, and it helps to reach out to others.
“Our congregation started a donation drive, and donations poured in. People really wanted to help, but they didn’t know how. They want to know, they really do.”
Such programs help eager-to-help church members see the hungry and homeless not as “people way off in the distance.”
The Rev. John Dotson of Lake Bible Church has assembled a 70-member strong team to minister at the Union Gospel Mission in downtown Portland.
“We’re doing more than serving,” Dotson said. “We’re seeing the value of our work to the individual we’re serving. Our volunteers sit down at tables with these people so they can see they are valued.”
Truly opportunities for service are abundant.
Matt Cato, director of the Office of Justice and Peace of the Archdiocese of Portland, said, “Four years ago our food program used to get one guest at the First United Methodist Church. Now it’s packed, and we’ve expanded it to two nights a week. It’s the only place between Beaverton and Hillsboro where you can get a hot meal.”
Hard times can bring churches together.
Mary Brunette of Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Oswego said, “We’re working with six or seven churches to provide houses for families in transition and let moms and kids get back on their feet. It’s a great collaborative effort.”
Perhaps no story at the conference brought home the need of the times like one told by a member of West Linn’s Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, co-pastored by Paul and Cathy Quackenbush.
“We probably would not have had our home in the summer if it hadn’t been for Paul and Cathy,” she said. “I knew we weren’t going to make it. My husband had been trying so hard to find a job and just could not.”
The woman had been interviewed by OPB about her family’s experience, and she vividly expressed the worst aspect of sudden financial crisis.
“Before I hadn’t experienced the type of fear that pours into people,” she said. “It starts in the morning when you brush your teeth. When you’re doing laundry, you ask, ‘How can I buy laundry soap?’ It’s a constant fear all of the time.”
It is a fear that is new to the Lake Oswego and West Linn area. As Father Rick Ganz of the Society of Jesuits, pointed out, these are not the “professional poor” of areas less well off, who know “the agencies and nice places to go.”
This is a condition that makes reaching out to them especially difficult.
“What I’m seeing is families who don’t look like they’re in trouble,” Messenger said.
Boatwright said, “It’s a point of shame for them to say, ‘I have to admit I’m in trouble.’ This experience pours them into a lower strata of society. Part of the problem is they didn’t see it coming.”
“The major challenge in Lake Oswego is that people are in need, but they won’t come forward,” Brunette said. “They’ve been successful, but something has happened to them.
“This is something that is really very hidden. There is more than meets the eye when you’re driving down the street in Lake Oswego. But when you help people who are gun-shy about being helped, it builds on itself.”
“The shame element, the silence,” said Laura Howard, who is seeking a master’s of divinity degree at Marylhurst. “That’s our culture. You don’t let people know you’re in trouble.”…
“This isn’t just physical poverty,” Boatwright said. “It’s poverty of the spirit. People don’t know where to ask for help. But the church is a place of hope. We’re here to do something different. We’re trying to organize a whole new thing. How can we get people away from the humiliation?”
“With people in Lake Oswego and West Linn there are many professionals who have lost jobs,” said Higgins. “The whole issue is shame. Confidence is really critical.”
One thing local people suffering from financial hardship can be confident about is that the church is willing and able to help. In fact, right at the conference tables, plans were made to meet again to talk about ways to make the church more effective.
“My first goal is to bring hope back,” Messenger said. “I want to bring back a fighting spirit.”
“The church might be the last straw for people,” Boatwright said. “Our job is that we’re not going to let you down.”
The Blessed Are The Poor conference was organized by Dr. Sheila O’Connell-Roussell of Marylhurst University Ministry.
Ready to lead Marylhurst University Ministries into a new era are directors, from left, Father Rick Ganz, SJ, Dr. Cecilia Ranger and Dr. Sheila O’Connell-Roussell.
Marylhurst University has made great strides in recent years, and now its ministries program is stepping up to keep pace.
“Marylhurst University has been changing ever since it started,” said Dr. Cecelia Ranger of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, the order that founded Marylhurst. “It has continually evolved to meet the needs of people. The ministries program needs to evolve, too.”
Ranger will be directing this evolution, along with Father Rick Ganz, SJ, and Dr. Sheila O’Connell-Roussell. They are heading up a ministries program that formerly was sort of like Marylhurst campus buildings before they were recently so beautifully renovated – somewhat shabby and worn.
But the blueprints are ready for some great work:
n Major emphasis on interfaith relationships.
n Reaching out to the surrounding community.
n Provide religious instruction to students, no matter what their faith.
n Confront “real world” issues with spiritual insight.
It will be new energy and new methods devoted to a mission that has been the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, from the start.
“The Sisters have always taught anybody who came to their door,” Ranger said. “Whatever their denomination or age. We want to help them develop to their fullest capacity possible.”
Perhaps the most eye-catching aspect of the re-invigorated ministries program is the emphasis on reaching out to other Christian denominations and other religions.
“Things have changed so much already,” said Ganz. “When I was growing up in the 1950s it was considered a sin to even go into a Protestant church.”
Still, if there has been great progress in improving contact and creating empathy between persons of different faiths over the past 50 years, in some ways things have stayed disappointingly the same.
“We have worked so hard over the last 100 years to achieve unity – Anglicans, Lutherans, Greek Orthodox, Catholics,” Ganz said. “But most people don’t know that. We have got to get going to heal our world and not sit back in our camps.”
“Reaching out to others does not obliterate my Catholic calling,” Ranger said. “We aren’t asking people to change their religion. We want to help a Presbyterian be the best Presbyterian he can be.”
To that end, Marylhurst recently has become the scene for some impressive ecumenical gatherings, including “Partners for Peace” on March 15, which attracted Jews, Muslims, Sabeel (a Palestinian Christian group), Catholics, Buddhists, all praying together for peace in the Middle East.
These are efforts that Marylhurst, with its history, seems uniquely qualified to achieve.
However, the main impact of the new ministries program could be in reaching people one-on-one, students who are burdened by the problems of the real world.
O’Connell-Roussell sees them all of the time.
“Twice in my own classroom there have been episodes involving Iraq veterans,” she said. “There have been deaths in families. These are real issues we must deal with.”
It is a unique challenge that the three ministries directors face at Marylhurst. Looking around at the campus on a typical spring day you see some students sunning themselves or throwing a Frisbee.
But most Marylhurst students are “non-typical” college students. As Ranger put it, “They’re not here for summer camp.” They’re at Marylhurst to achieve more education and better their lives.
In meeting Ranger, O’Connell-Roussell and Ganz, you are impressed with their vast credentials. In fact, one of Ranger’s accomplishments was hiring O’Connell-Roussell in 1992 when she was dean of the religious studies department at Marylhurst.
But what really wins you over is their incredible enthusiasm.
With a big smile, Ranger said, “It is an exciting time to be alive and to be here and walk with people down these paths.”
To read more about Marylhurst University Ministry, go to the site http://universityministry.blogspot.com .