Be open to the “nudge” of God
On November 29, approximately 100 employees, volunteers and other Dehonian collaborators in the United States came together via Zoom for an Advent Hour of Recollection. Led by Sr. Nancy Schreck, OSF, her topic was “The Challenge of Making Room for Jesus During the Busyness of the Holidays.”
“In Catholic tradition we celebrate four weeks of trying to prepare to welcome Christ more deeply in our lives,” said Sr. Nancy. “The theme for this first week of Advent is to stay awake, to be ready to welcome God in our lives. But what does that really mean?”
To “stay awake,” she continued, “is an invitation to be attentive to what is happening in our place and our time. We rarely experience things in big, explosive ways, but instead, in little ‘nudges.’ Take time, MAKE TIME to be attentive to what is happening. If we can really be awake, aware, open to the nudging of the spirit of God, I think that we can point the way to God for others…
“If we have fallen asleep a little bit, it is time to wake up, to look within, to ask what change I might need to make to create a path for the Lord in my heart and in the world.”
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Sr. Nancy is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa (OSF). She has served extensively in formation and leadership, including as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and as a US delegate to the International Union of Superiors General. She is also a past president of the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.
The breath of fresh life
In his letter to province employees last week, Fr. Vien Nguyen, SCJ, extended his thanks to those who were able to take part in the Advent Hour of Recollection.
“I like the Old Testament description of spirit in the creation story in Genesis. Spirit, or “rûaħ” in Hebrew, is described as the breath or wind of God breathing order into chaos as in the depiction of God breathing over cosmic chaos (Genesis 1:2) and life into lifelessness as in the creation of Adam or Humanity out of dust (adamah in Hebrew; Genesis 2:7)…
“I see our ministry as giving “rûaħ” or breathing life into someone’s life, whether through teaching, maintaining property and buildings, preparing and serving food, ministering to those most in need, serving in administrative positions, or accompanying people in our parishes. We give life because we receive life from God and others…
“The Priests of the Sacred Heart in the United States are blessed to have you as our partners. You are a breath of fresh life to us! On behalf of the US Province, I ask you to continue breathing God’s spirit into each SCJ and everyone you encounter and serve in your ministry.”
Click here to read Fr. Vien’s full letter to employees and other collaborators.
The December issue of As a Rule focused on No. 39 of the SCJ Rule of Life: “With the grace of God we would like to bear prophetic witness with our religious life: by involving ourselves without reserve for the coming of a new humanity in Jesus Christ.”
“It has been almost 25 years since I first learned that each Catholic religious congregation has its own Rule of Life written by its founder, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,” wrote FR. RAFAEL QUEROBIN, SCJ, in his reflection on No. 39.
“At the time, I was a 17-year-old computer science student. My mother motivated me to pursue an IT career. Even though she was only able to go to school for four years, my mother had divine wisdom and a prophetic gaze. She always said: “Computers will rule the world!” though she had never used a computer in her life. My mother was a true prophet at that time.
However, I did not follow my mother’s prophecy. Instead, I sought to dedicate my life to another prophet who passed my way: Leo John Dehon.”
FR. PETER MCKENNA, SCJ, began his reflection by noting that “When I was approached to share a few thoughts about Rule of Life No. 39, my gut response was “why me?” Yet this quotation is so important to me that I have it placed in my breviary. I read it each morning before our Act of Oblation, inviting God to allow it to be a guide for how I enter the day. What is also beautiful is that I believe that it is the underlying reason that motivated each of us to join the community: to follow Jesus, to love and serve the poor and to make the world a better place for others. And this, I believe, we all strive to do with each and every encounter.
“However, this simple statement is a living statement. It invites us to return to it over and over again. It is an action statement calling us to MORE: to do so without reserve, with our eyes and heart focused on a new humanity in Jesus Christ.”
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If you haven’t yet seen it…
Last week Frs. Gustave Lulendo, SCJ and Vien Nguyen, SCJ, sent a letter to SCJs in North America encouraging them to view “The Letter.” Several Dehonians joined the North American Migration Committee for a viewing of the documentary during the committee’s meeting at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in November. The film follows a number of leaders as they travel to Rome to speak to Pope Francis about Laudato Si’ and how the climate crisis impacts their own lives and their communities.
The film now has French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian subtitles. They can be accessed by clicking on the “SETTINGS” icon in the bottom, right corner of the YouTube screen. Click on “Subtitles” and/or “Audio Track” to change the language.
CLICK HERE to view the 80-minute film on YouTube.
Santa visits OLG
Fr. Rafael Querobin, SCJ, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston, is pictured above, welcoming Santa to OLG over the weekend. Ho, ho, ho!!
Be attentive to grace
Thursday, December 8, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The following reflection from Fr. Leo John Dehon is taken, in part, from The Year with the Sacred Heart, December 9, “The Incarnation”
“Let us profit from the great example of Mary to submit to grace, from the moment that it presents itself. As soon as God speaks to our soul to inspire a good deed or keep away us from a bad deed, let us follow the attraction of this grace, humble ourselves, and recognize the greatness of God and our lowliness, his authority and our dependence. Let us say with Mary, ‘Let it be done to me according to your Word.’ Let us obey promptly and execute immediately what grace asks of us. This is how we can have our Lord reign in us.
“Therefore, I want always to be attentive to grace: calm, recollected, and prepared to respond, without delay, to divine appeals.”