At a particularly difficult moment in the noviceship, I found myself at the botanical garden in Encinitas, California, where I was surrounded by desert flora and could see the Pacific Ocean in the distance. The internal work of being a novice at that moment felt too big for me – whatever it was I had discovered in myself could no longer be contained by prayer in my room. It needed instead the openness of ocean and desert.
First Friday Reflections
Through the centuries, the Christian community has consistently tried to capture its developing understanding of Jesus Christ in word and image. This is a never ending challenge – to portray the Mystery of the love of God made visible in the man, Jesus of Nazareth, who went about doing good and eventually laid down his life for us. Each First Friday of the month, the Society of the Sacred Heart sends an email prepared by an RSCJ, colleague or friend of the Society, with a reflection on the meaning of the Sacred Heart in our lives today. To sign up to receive the First Friday emails, click on the words Sign up for e-news here or at the bottom of any page on this site.
In Exodus 35:35 we read that God has filled artists with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan, designer, or embroiderer in blue, purple and crimson yarns, and in fine linen. They are able to do work of all kinds and with such originality. This piece of Scripture reflects something of the skill of this fabric artist. I do not know the artist but the gift that this person offers is a talent, a light, offering compassion, hope and joy to a suffering world.
When I first saw the icon above by Soeur Marie-Paul Farran, OSB, and studied it closely, I was drawn to the six water jars in the lower right hand corner. They are reminiscent of the jugs at the wedding feast of Cana. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the waiters to fill six jugs with water, and then he changes the water into wine for the wedding guests. But before that, his Mother, Mary, tells the waiters, "Do whatever he tells you."
Thus says the Lord God: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the Lord. I have promised, and I will do it, says the Lord.
Unbind him and let him go.
My Own Stone
“The thoughts of His heart are to all generations to rescue them from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” This is the Introit for the Mass of the Feast of the Sacred Heart, and I’ve always loved it as the opening salvo to the Feast and First Fridays. It speaks of the Heart of God being with us, holding us in ever-present consciousness, young and old, all of us, all generations, past and present. And that holding is about “rescuing us from death” and “keeping us alive in famine.” God’s heart knows where we are even when we don’t want to admit it.