Saturday, August 8, 2020

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community “The Body of Christ on the table, The Body of Christ around the table” Maura Howl & Michael Rigdon Presiding Joan Meehan & Cheryl Brandi Reading Linda Lee & Rick Miller, Music August 8, 2020

Welcome! (Maura) We warmly welcome you to the inclusive Catholic community of Mary Mother of Jesus in Sarasota, Florida. All are welcome here. Everyone will be muted during the service. We invite you to pray the liturgy where it says, All. And please sing your heart out! Many of you will unmute yourself to read one of the parts marked Voice#, then mute yourself again. Also during the shared homily and prayers of the community, we invite you to unmute yourself to contribute, then mute yourself again. Please have bread and wine/juice with you as we pray the Eucharistic Prayer.

Theme (Michael): The body of Christ on the table, the body of Christ around the table.

Voice1 & All: We celebrate together ✝️ in the name of God our creator, Jesus the Christ, and the Holy Spirit our wisdom within. Amen. Let us welcome one another with a sign of Christ’s peace! ☮️ The peace of Christ be with us all!

Gathering 🎶 All Sing: Everyday God:

Reconciliation Rite. Voice2 & All: We pause now to remember times when false messages of our unworthiness have clouded our vision of the infinite love within us. Let’s imagine our imperfections, the chaos and messes of our lives all brightly lit by a love that heals and transforms us as we evolve and grow in awareness of our divinity and our humanity. (Pause briefly. Then extend arm over your heart.) I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. I forgive you. Thank you. I love you.

Opening Prayer. Voice3 & All: Spirit of the Holy One, we gratefully acknowledge your presence within and among us. You have transformed us into the one Body of Christ, making us the face of Christ’s love in the world. Guide us to be present to those who suffer from the two pandemics afflicting our country—the covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic of racism. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen

Liturgy of the Word
First Reading. (Joan) A reading from Bridget Mary’s Blog.
During this time of pandemic, women priests and inclusive Catholic communities are walking toward the future as we celebrate Eucharistic liturgies on Zoom. Our ordained presiders at Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, my faith community, invite those who gather each week with us on Zoom to have bread and wine/juice in front of them. We invite everyone to pray the words of consecration and to receive Communion.

After participants have received Communion at their own tables, they share their experiences of thanksgiving. I often hear the Christ Presence speaking though them, offering words of comfort, strength and blessing.

In his book The Future Of Eucharist, Bernard Cooke observes that a new understanding of the resurrection in the Vatican II church has broadened the church's understanding of "real presence" and helped people to appreciate Christ's loving presence in the believing community. According to Cooke, while individuals may have specific functions within the gathered assembly, the entire community performs the eucharistic action (p. 32). 

If this is so, then the gathered assembly is the celebrant of Eucharist. It is the community that "does" the Eucharist, not the presider alone. A community encamps, wherever it happens to rest for this moment in time, around the Christ Presence that infuses our communion, vivifying our One Body. Some apply a both/and” theology and say that the Body of Christ is on the table, at the table and around the table.

Historical scholarship supports this conclusion and goes even farther. Gary Macy, chairperson of the Theology and Religious Studies Department at the University of San Diego, concludes from his research in Middle Ages manuscripts that, in the understanding of the medieval mind, regardless of who spoke the words of consecration—man or woman, ordained or community—the Christ Presence became reality in the midst of the assembly. (Adapted from Walking the Prophetic Journey, Introduction, by Bridget Mary Meehan & Mary Beben.)
These are the inspired words of Bridget Mary, and we respond, 

Reader & All: Thanks be to God.

Second Reading. (Cheryl) Continuation of a reading from Bridget Mary’s Blog.
As groups like women priests' inclusive communities gather during this time of pandemic for the sacred meal, they celebrate a vision of faith, share joys and tears, acknowledge a cosmic citizenship as people of God, and model the equal ministry of women and men. They believe, as Paul did, that in the body of Christ there is no Jew, Greek, slave, citizen, male or female. (Gal.3:20). All are welcome at the eucharistic celebrations, not only families, but single parents and children, the divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people. Roman Catholic Women Priests and all those who find themselves on the fringes of the institutional church for whatever reason are walking toward a future of embracing the Christ Presence everywhere in all people, beyond all limitations and imagination.

We are, like a pillar of fire guiding the people of the covenant, the Way of love and justice, and we know that our lives are holy; our lives are blessed and broken in the mystery of God's transforming love in service of others, especially to the poor and marginalized and to all those in need. As a community of believers embraced in love and filled with love, we are walking toward the future that brings us across thousands of miles into one community in a digital age.
(Adapted from Walking the Prophetic Journey, Introduction, Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Beben)
These are the inspired words of Bridget Mary, and we respond:
Reader & All: Thanks be to God!

 🎶 Repeat Alleluia.

Profession of Faith. Voice4 & All:
We believe in the creator of all whose divinity infuses life with the sacred.
We believe in Jesus the Christ who leads us to the fullness of humanity.
We believe in the Spirit of wisdom, the divine breath on earth, who enlightens those living in darkness.
Amen to courage, to hope, to the spirit of truth, to wholeness, to the partnership of all persons in the divine plan.
We believe in justice and peace for all. We surely believe in all this!

Prayers of the Community (Maura) We bring to the table prayers for our community and the world. (Response: Christ, you graciously hear us!)
We bring to the table our MMOJ members who aren’t with us today. In this time of physical distancing may we find ways to remain close and connected to our family, friends, and our community. We pray. R
The covid-19 pandemic continues to rage across the country. We bring to the table government leaders responsible for public health. May they make wise decisions to protect our physical, emotional, and economic health. We pray. R
We bring to the table our fellow citizens who continue their daily protests against the pandemic of racism. May we support their efforts to promote justice for those who suffer the effects of institutional racism. We pray. R
Who and what else shall we bring to the table today?
(Please turn your microphone on to offer a prayer, then mic off.)
(Maura): Christ, we will be your presence in the world today and every day of our lives. All: Amen
We offer our gifts.
🎶 All Sing: Seed Scattered and Sown,

Eucharistic Prayer. (Adapted from communion services in A Wee Worship Book   by Wild Goose Worship Group. The wild goose is a Celtic symbol of the Spirit.)
🎶 We are Holy,

Voice5 & All: Jesus was always the guest.
In the homes of Peter and Jairus,
Martha and Mary, Joanna and Susanna,
he was always the guest.
At the meal tables of the wealthy
where he pled the case of the poor,
he was always the guest.
Upsetting polite company,
Befriending isolated people,
welcoming the stranger,
he was always the guest.

Voice6 & All: But here
at this table,
Jesus is the host.
Those who wish to serve him
must first be served by him,
Those who want to follow him
must first be fed by him,
Those who would wash his feet
must first let him make them clean.

Voice7 & All: For this is the table
where God intends to nourish us;
this is the time when Christ can make us new.
So come, you who hunger and thirst
for a deeper faith,
for a better life,
for a fairer world.
Jesus Christ,
who has sat at our table,
now invites us to be guests at his.

Voice8 & All: For us you were born,
for us you healed,
preached, taught
and showed your way.
You died and rose
to show us the path of transformation.
Jesus Christ, present with us now,
for all that you have done
and all that you have promised,
what have we to offer?

Voice9 & All: Our hands are empty,
our hearts are sometimes full of doubt and fear.
But with you is mercy
and the power to change.

Voice10 & All: So as we do in this place
what you did in an upstairs room,
send down your Spirit
on us
and on these gifts of bread and wine
that they may become for us your body,
healing, forgiving
and making us whole;
and that we may become,
for you,
your body,
loving and caring in the world
until your kindom comes. Amen

(Taking and breaking the bread)
Voice11 & All: Among friends, gathered around the table,
Jesus took bread, broke it and said,
‘This is my body,
It is broken for you.’

(Taking the cup of wine)
Voice12 & All: Later, after they had eaten,
Jesus took a cup of wine and said,
‘This is the new relationship with God,
made possible because of my life and death.
Drink this, all of you, to remember me.’

Prayer of Jesus
Voice13 & All: Let us pray as Jesus taught his companions to pray:
O Holy One, you are within, around, and among us.
We celebrate your many names.
Your wisdom come, your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us.
Each day you give us all we need.
You remind us of our limits, and we let go.
You support us in your power, and we act with courage.
For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us,
And the celebration among us, now and forever. Amen
(Adapted, Miriam Therese Winter, MMS)

Communion. Voice14 & All:
Look: here is Christ coming to us
in bread and wine.
These are the gifts of God
for the people of God.
We are the Body of Christ.
(All receive Communion)

🎶 We Are Called,

(If you want to sing along)
V1. Come! Live in the light!
Shine your joy and the love of our God

We are called to be light for the kindom,
To live in the freedom of the city of God!

Refrain. We are called to act with justice,
We are called to love tenderly,
We are called to serve one another;
To walk humbly with God.

V3. Sing, Sing a new song!
Sing of that great day when all will be one!
God will reign, and we’ll walk with each other
As sisters and brothers united in love! Refrain

Shared homily. (Michael) As the Spirit moves you, now is your opportunity to share your thoughts about the readings, the liturgy, or anything else. Please turn your microphone on to share, then off when you’re finished.

Final prayer. (Maura) May we go out from here full of Christ’s peace, to love and serve one another, in our community and in our wider world. And let us be thankful. All: Amen
Introductions. Thanksgiving. Announcements. (Michael)

Mutual blessing (Michael) Please raise your hand in blessing and sing:           All sing: Rejoice and be glad! Blessed are we, holy are we! Rejoice and be glad! Ours is the kindom of God! x2

Voice15 & All: Let us go in peace. May we be the face of God to those we meet. Alleluia!

🎶 All Sing: Alle, Alle, Alleluia.

MMOJ Liturgy 08-08-20 - Songs

Gathering 🎶 All Sing: Everyday God:

 🎶 Repeat Alleluia.

We offer our gifts.
🎶 All Sing: Seed Scattered and Sown,

🎶 We are Holy,

🎶 We Are Called,

Closing Song: 

🎶 All Sing: Alle, Alle, Alleluia.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Francis names six women to group that oversees Vatican's finances Aug 6, 2020 by Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

My Response: While I rejoice in this small step forward, it is time that Pope Francis appointed women in all the top, decision-making positions in the Vatican. The full equality of women in the Roman Catholic Church must include women priests in a renewed model of priestly ministry in a community of equals. The good news is that  Catholics are being served by women priests in inclusive communities in 13 countries and 34 states. Check out the websites of Roman Catholic Women Priests the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests more information. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP


People walk in St. Peter's Square as Pope Francis gives his weekly general audience livestreamed from the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Aug. 5, 2020. (CNS photo/Remo Casilli, Reuters
ROME — Pope Francis named six women to the high-level group that oversees the Vatican's finances Aug. 6, in what may represent the most senior appointments yet of women among the Catholic Church's exclusively male leadership structure.
The six women, all Europeans with backgrounds in finance, will join eight cardinals and one layman as members of the Council for the Economy, which Francis created in 2014 to supervise the financial activities of both the Vatican city-state and the offices of the Holy See.
The women's appointments come as part of a near-complete remaking of the group's membership, which previously included solely men. Only two of the council's previous 14 members will continue on: German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who serves as its leader, and South African Cardinal Wilfred Napier.
Two of the women, Charlotte Kreuter-Kirchhof and Marija Kolak, come from Germany. Two, Maria Osacar Garaicoechea and Eva Castillo Sanz, come from Spain. And two, Ruth Kelly and Leslie Ferrar, come from the United Kingdom.
Kelly is a former Labour Party politician and served as a minister in the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Ferrar is a former treasurer for the Prince of Wales.
Kelly told NCR in an email that she felt honored by the appointment, adding: "It is wonderful to see the pope's commitment to promoting women to decision-making posts in the Vatican."
Among the cardinals joining Marx and Napier on the council is Newark, N.J. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who replaces Houston Cardinal Daniel Di Nardo as the group's only U.S. prelate. 
In an email to NCR, Tobin praised Francis' selection of the six women to serve as council members.
"I see their nomination as an effort by Pope Francis to ensure greater opportunities for women to offer their gifts in service to the church," said the cardinal. "He clearly considers the academic formation and vast experience of these colleagues as crucial contributions to one of his cherished priorities, the ongoing reform of the financial administration of the Holy See."
Although Francis has spoken at various times in his seven-year papacy about the need to appoint women to serve in more senior roles in the Catholic Church, the pontiff has been relatively slow to make such appointments. Nearly all leadership positions in Vatican offices remain held by priests, who, according to Catholic teaching, must be men.
But there are several prominent exceptions. In 2017, Francis appointed Barbara Jatta, a respected Italian art historian, to lead the Vatican Museums. And earlier this year, the pontiff appointed Francesca Di Giovanni, a diplomat and longtime staffer at the Vatican's Secretariat of State, as an undersecretary in that office.
The Vatican touted the latter appointment as the first time a woman had been given a managerial role at the Secretariat, traditionally considered the Vatican's most powerful office.
The new appointments to the Council for the Economy come as the Vatican is known to be dealing with a budget shortfall. That has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, as the numbers of tourists to the Vatican Museums, usually a key income source, have fallen to a trickle of the normal yearly rate.
The other cardinals now serving on the council are: Hungarian Peter Erdo, Brazilian Odilo Scherer, Canadian Gerald Lacroix, Swede Anders Arborelius, and Italian Giuseppe Petrocchi.
The only layman on the council is now Alberto Minali, a former head of the Generali Group, Italy's largest insurance company.
By statute, the membership of the Council for the Economy must include eight cardinals or bishops and "seven lay experts of various nationalities." 
[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

"First Day of Kindergarten-Answered Prayer" by Regina Madonna Oliver from A Promise of Presence

Unsplash: Note Thanun

When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them. Psalm 91:15 (NRSV)

It was the first day of kindergarten. Every kindergarten teacher begs God for one blessing on that first day of the school year: that the children may adjust to their new environment without crying! If one five-year-old youngster with a quivering lip begins to let the teardrops fall, a whole classroom of wailing babes wanting their mommies will soon erupt.

My classroom was full of spruced-up children with their new backpacks and Mickey Mouse lunch boxes. They were each seated in their special places at the four long tables around the room; each child had a printed name card indicating her or his table space and pint-sized chair.

Then in came Angelica, holding tightly to her mommy's hand. Angelica was four-and-a-half-going-on-five. She was an adorable Asian child with China-doll features-at least she was until Mommy left the classroom. Then began a wailing and sobbing worthy of a dozen banshees. I could hardly break through the noise with my useless efforts at consolation.

Reaching Angelica, I picked her up, sat her in my lap, and began to rock and soothe her, glancing furtively around the room. Paul, at the next table, had been very brave-until now. But as Angelica's yowling increased, his little lip began to quiver. Then Ruthie, across from Paul, started rubbing her eyes. "Oh, no!" I screamed out mentally to God, continuing to rock and croon to Angelica. "Oh, God, h-e-e-e-lp!"

My mind then "heard" two words: Play Dough! Now, playing with clay was not part of my lesson plan for the day. I had a supply of it in the closet, but using it could not have been further from my mind. Still, the words persisted: Play Dough!

"Is this God?" I wondered to myself ... but aloud I heard myself say, "Angelica, would you like to make something out of Play Dough?"

As if l had touched a magic button, little Angelica's outraged screaming abruptly stopped.

"Well, let's get some," I suggested. Eagerly, Angelica slipped off my lap and hurried with me to the closet, all smiles now. Like a child with a new toy, Angelica took the cherished clay to her place at the table and began to teach all the other first-dayers how to mold colorful flowers.

Never have I experienced prayer answered with such speed! The Holy Spirit taught me about immediate communication that day-and had the laugh on me by totally reversing my logically developed lesson plan. A teacher learned more than her children that day!


Think of a time when you were desperate about something and God answered you-maybe not with words but with some intervention in your life. That rock-bottom place of desperation is a good place, because that's when we cry out with our greatest passion. That's when God, like a loving mother, responds immediately to the desperate cry. 

Make this your prayer today: God, mother me today. Hear my cries about (mention your deepest concern). I know I have no control over this situation, so I turn to you. I need you. Answer me!


Make this your prayer today:

Holy One, you promise to hear and answer us in times of distress. I hear this promise of yours, but I have not trusted it to be so- at least not for me. I can go along with expecting miracles some other time, some other place, for someone else- but not now, not here, and not for me. Yet that is not what you say. Your promise is not a limited one. I am included in your promise. With a leap of faith in you, my God, I bring to you this need today: (mention your deepest concern).


Make this your prayer today:

 God of Abundance, the more I think about this, the more I am aware of the many "thank yous" I should have given you for rescuing me in times of need. So often, I didn't recognize you in the words or the actions of the persons you sent me. I am too ready to presume that things happen by coincidence. I have often said, "Lucky for me this happened." I now see your loving hand in what I used to consider coincidences. Thank you, dear God for (mention all Gods interventions in your life).


Make this your prayer today:

Now that I think about it, Holy One, you have needs. You need me to be in tune with your loving heart as you see the tremendous needs in our world. Some of those needs are too much for me with my limited abilities and resources. But they are not too much for me to pray about, as I unite my heart's longings with yours. Today, Holy One, I want to intercede for our world: (consider the events and situations that grieve God's heart, and join your heart with God's as you pray for solutions).


Think about the status of your family and extended family. Who among your kindred is in need of the solution to a crisis? Pray  for that person today. Offer courage to that person with a phone call or a note saying how you are praying for and with her or him.


Think about a person or family in your neighborhood or community who needs to feel the support of a caring friend. In addition to your prayers, how can you offer help? Sometimes, for example, the caregivers are the most in need of care. Is that true of your pastor or perhaps a friend who is stressed because of the constant calls on her or his generosity? Talk to God about this in your prayer today. Be open to how you can be an instrument of loving support for someone in need.


As you are aware of the Holy One's wonderful presence today, use the following mantra or compose one of your own. Let the mantra make you aware of your own needs and the needs of the world around you. Pray or sing it over and over, like the drone of the bagpipe under your prayers of intercession.

Every hour I need you.

Holy One

You are within me.

This meditation is from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"In the Shadow of God's Love : Strength to Endure", from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan

Unspash: Andre i4

I believe that everything works together for the good of those whose hearts are centered in love. In dark times of  suffering and struggle there is a light that endures within our souls that guides us toward  strength to endure. All things work together unto good for those who love God. See Romans 8:28 (Inclusive New Testament)

I was deeply touched as I read the story of Corrie Ten Boom's memories of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps in World War II. The legacy of faith that she recounts can be summed up in her insight that there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still. When I am faced with what appears to be major obstacles in my life, these words flash across my mind and I hear the message of hope that Paul speaks about in his letter to the Romans.

I remember one such occasion, when my dad became ill with a disease that the doctors told us could be fatal. At the time I was teaching in Philadelphia, a three-hour trip from home. On week­ ends I would take the train to visit Dad in the hospital, where he lay hooked up to every machine imaginable, my mother keeping vigil at his bedside. There was little I could do but be present and hold Dad's hand.

As the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned to months, I grew weary. One night I knelt by my bed and cried out, "Why, God?" Then in my heart, I "heard" a voice say, "Do you not know that I love your dad far more than you do, that I will take perfect care of him?" At last I was able to let go of the burden I was carrying and trust that God, no matter what, held Dad in the arms of Divine Love. Several weeks later, Dad recovered.

We all have such experiences in life. Something we consider bad or threatening happens to us or our families, and we grow fearful; we suffer; we endure. Then, when we pray, "God give us strength," the situation seems touched by God. We become aware that we are in the shadow of God's love and whatever happens is a gift from God. On these occasions we see life as it really is, full of mystery and full of grace. Ultimately, as the fourteenth-century English mystic, Julian of Norwich, said: "All shall be well."

DAY  1

Reflect on how God has helped you in difficult circumstances, such as matters of life and death. What good did you find in these situations? Offer a prayer of thanksgiving.


As you go about your day, notice what comes as a gift from God. Before you retire, make a mental list or note in your prayer journal all God's gifts to you throughout the day.


Pray for the "difficult people" that you find challenging to love. Do one act of kindness today for one of these people.


Compose your own psalm for a hurting heart, sharing your feelings of pain and trusting in God, or pray the following:

God, I am at the end of my rope. My friends don't understand, my family is far away, I am alone and lonely, I feel like I'm dying. Where can I turn? Be with me. Cry with me. Hold me close. Love me into hope. Please, I am desperate. I need to rest in the shadow of your love.


Reflect on the people and experiences that have helped you grow in trust with God. Be aware of how the Spirit is working through you at the present time to see yourself and the people in your family,

job and community in new ways. Can it be that it is through the circumstances of your life that God is weaving an amazing tapestry of grace?


Select one word or image that describes your experience of endur­ance. Pray that word over and over, allowing it to open you to a deeper trust in God- even in difficult circumstances.


Make this your prayer today:

I love you, Holy One, my strength, my comfort,

my companion in hard times on life's journey. In your presence may I find 

patience to deal with life's frustrations,

forgiveness for those who hurt me,

compassion for those who also carry heavy burdens, hope to enlighten me,

and wisdom to follow your path that leads to wholeness.

(This meditation was published in A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Fifteen Catholic Women Bishops Hold First Zoom Conversation on Their Ministries During the Pandemic

Top from left to right:Christine Mayr Lumtzberger RCWP, Denise Donato ECC, Patricia Fresen RCWP,  Andrea Johnson RCWP, Jane Kryzanowski  RCWP
Second row: Marie Bouclin RCWP, Jane Via RCWP, Mary Eileen Collingwood ARCWP, Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP, Olivia Doko RCWP, JThird row: Jean Marchant RCWP, Nancy Meyer RCWP, Suzanne Thiel RCWP,
Keddra Keough ECC, Mary Keldermans  bishop -elect RCWP

On Aug. 5th, fifteen Catholic Women bishops met on Zoom to discuss the blessings and challenges of ministry during a time of pandemic.
They plan quarterly meetings in the coming year to offer mutual support and to dialogue on theological and pastoral issues such as  celebrating sacraments  on digital media.

"Total Self-Giving "by Regina Madonna Oliver, from A Promise of Presence

"Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all."
Proverbs, 31:29 (NRSV)
Usplash: Mathis Jrdl

Hing Fa Ho was a wife, mother and grandmother. She had endured much in the struggle to raise a family in China. She spent years playing sole resident parent while her husband worked abroad in the American Merchant Marines to earn enough to maintain his family. Finally, hoping to provide a better life for her family, Hing Fa Ho journeyed with her husband to America to begin a new life in a strange country whose language she was never to master. She and her husband were people of a dream-a dream for a better future for their children and for the generations to come.

By the time her son and his wife and three children emigrated to the United States, Hing and her husband had established themselves in their new country. They were able to provide a stable home for their three grandchildren while their son moved from place to place in an attempt to establish himself in a field of medicine he could practice. In addition to raising their grandchil­dren, Hing and her husband managed to provide them with the financial assistance they needed to pursue their respective interests in college. Unable to speak English herself, Hing raised three totally Americanized young people: two became engineers, one became a lawyer.

For several years Hing Fa Ho had suffered physical depletion due to old age, to the point of being unable to move from her bed. Her daughter-in-law nursed her, but the constant demands of care­ giving were beginning to take a serious toll. The three grandchil­dren consulted and decided to relieve their mother and move their grandmother to northern Virginia where two of them lived. There they would be able to give her constant loving care for as long as God might give her life. She, who had mothered them in their adapting to a new country and been there to nurture them through their growing years, would now receive their care and nurturing.

The grandchildren rented an RV, gently put Grandmother to bed in its ample space, and transported her from Florida to Vir­ginia. For a few days Hing enjoyed the company of her son and daughter-in-law, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, all together with her for the first time. In retrospect, it seems that this is what she struggled to stay alive for-to be reunited with those she had loved and nurtured and to see the results of those developing years in the fruitfulness of their successful lives and in the blossoming of the next generation. After only a few days of experiencing this fulfillment, Hing Fa Ho slipped peacefully into her eternal dream of being in peace and joy with her husband and her ancestors in God's eternity.

Consider the stamina it required, the courage and total self­ giving it took, for this woman to live such a life of dedication to her marriage and the primacy of family. The Holy Spirit of God, whatever one may call it and in whatever idiom or tongue, is the source of every good and holy inspiration in us. This is the Spirit that empowered Hing Fa Ho and that welcomed the good and faithful servant into the eternity of joy and peace she expected. As Hing came to the joyful end of her journey, we were privileged to contemplate a full life well spent. Her journey is also the journey of every person on this globe, in every era, who lives a life of selfless devotion in pursuit of deeply revered principles and sacred values.


Think about God and the Holy One's relationship with humanity. Do you see the universality of God's love reaching out and embracing each and every member of the human race-or are you inclined to think in terms of only your own ethnic or religious background? Do you realize that God's Holy Spirit is inspiring the good in each and every human person, wherever good is to be found-even beyond the narrow confines of classic Christianity? To reflect more on the universality ofJesus' ministry, read Mark 7:24-30. Spend time with Jesus thinking about his open, all-embracing attitude toward every person.


Prayerfully consider the life of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the way she reflected Jesus' compassion in her outreach to any and every dying person, regardless of status or religion. That someone was a fellow human being in need was enough for her, just as it was enough for Jesus. Read of Jesus' compassion in Mark 5:1-20, and talk with him about your present way of viewing others. Are you in tune with Jesus' all-embracing attitude? If so, thank him for this grace in your life. If you find you are not in line with Jesus' values, ask him to change your heart.


Read about Jesus' exchange with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). Talk with Jesus about his compassionate love for every human being. Notice that he does not condemn the Samaritan woman. He sees her as an abused woman, having been spurned by several men in her life-in a society where only a man could give a writ of divorce. He does not spurn her. Rather, he chooses her to be the evangelist and apostle to her townspeople.


Read John 5:19, 37-42. Talk with Jesus about this Scripture. Make this your prayer today:

May I love more broadly and more deeply. Let my love reach out to each and every one, just as your love does. Let me see as you see, Jesus, and love with your own univer­sal, all-embracing love.


Reflect on the lines of this well-known poem, and think of all the wonderful kinds of people who are part of this amazing creation of God. Thank God for their amazing and fascinating differences; for the antiquity and wisdom of their cultures; for the longing God has placed in each human heart to reach out to the Divine.

All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small; All things wise and wonderful; images of  divine abundance! 


Can you think of a person in your life who is like Hing Fa Ho in her or his dedication to principle? Recall noble women and men you've known- or known about-and thank God for their lives.


Spend time with Jesus today reflecting on your life and how you wish to be like the valiant woman described in Proverbs 31:10-29. Some translations begin this Scripture: "Who has seen a valiant woman?" How might you become a "valiant" person?


This meditation is found in A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

"Making Peace a Reality in Your Life " from A Promise of Presence, by Bridget Mary Meehan

Unsplash- Anatoly Anakin 

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you."

John 14:27 (NRSV)

During the history of humankind, people around the world have dreamed of living together in harmony and tranquility.

But through the centuries, conflicts and wars have built walls of division and hostility between people. As a result, we may wonder if peace is just an impossible dream, or is there, in fact, hope for its fulfillment on Earth?

The source of misunderstanding is often our inability to listen to others and to speak truthfully and lovingly to them. To undo the conflicts between family members, communities in society, religious traditions, and nations, we need to commit ourselves to listening deeply to ourselves, others and God's Spirit guiding our hearts.

On one occasion when I experienced job-related stress. I could not sleep and worried constantly. I became physically ill and was diagnosed with a heart problem. I felt like a mouse running through a maze that had no beginning or end. One day as I was driving to church I thought I was going to lose consciousness, so I pulled off the road. I realized then that my condition was serious and that I needed to "get a grip" on myself.

I began working with a spiritual therapist on in-depth meditation that, I believe, saved my life. In this process, I learned how to befriend my painful emotions the way a mother holds her infant when she cries. I did this by breathing in and recognizing my feelings, and by breathing out and calming my feelings. After practicing this mindful meditation for several months, I was able to see the truth about myself and the others involved in my situation.

I was able to calmly place all of it in God's embrace- giving and receiving forgiveness and healing. I was able to deal with the justice issues and at the same time view the people involved with under­ standing. I felt like I was seeing myself and others as Jesus does: with compassion.

The truth is we can all live more peaceful lives. Our world will become more tranquil as individuals, families and nations dissolve prejudices and heal the conflicts that exist among us. The words of Jesus, "Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give to you," are a reminder that the dream of peace in our lives and world can be a powerful reality for us- now.


Do the following breathing prayer for ten to twenty minutes:

Breathing in, I embrace my emotions (anger, anxiety, sadness, guilt, loneliness, etc.) 

Breathing out, I calm my feelings.

Breathing in, I am peaceful. Breathing out, I let go and let God.


Be aware of a relationship in which you need to give or receive forgiveness. Picture yourself in the embrace of God sharing your thoughts and feelings about this relationship with God. Do not censor your feelings; pour them all out. When you are finished, simply rest in God's tender love for you. Listen deeply to anything God may want to reveal to your heart. Now picture the person whom you need to forgive or receive forgiveness from. See this person being held with you in God's embrace. Observe what God does for that person. Listen as God shares the fullness of divine forgiveness and healing with both of you. If there is anything you want to say to this person, say it in the presence of God.


Imagine what the world would be like if we lived Jesus' dream of peace. How would your life be different? What would your family relationships be like? How would communities in society, religious traditions and nations be different? As these thoughts and images come to mind, let this be your prayer:

May the dream of peace in the heart of jesus be a reality in my life and our world.


Pray one of the following mantras, or create your own, that re­

minds you of Jesus' dream of peace:

I see myself and all creation living together in peace. 

Today I am one with everyone and everything.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.


Take a walk. As you walk, be mindful that each step you take creates harmony. Caress the Earth with your feet. Massage creation with your touch. See the beauty of nature all around you: trees, plants, flowers, birds, sky, sun, moon, stars, wind. This is your peace prayer.


Take a step today to work for peace by transforming your preju­dices, fears and ignorance. What can you do to end the cycle of violence, discrimination and frustration in the world? Be aware of something that will make a positive contribution to peace in your family, community, neighborhood or nation.


Make this your prayer today:

God, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi


This meditation is from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver