Faith · Religious life

Week of March 15th – The Divine Initiative

Have you seen signs that boldly proclaim JOHN 3:16?  This is a verse so often cited that we may forget how profound it is; how awesome it is!

So here it is, John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,                                                                       so that everyone who believes in him                                                                                                  might not perish but have eternal life.”

Our faith is based in God’s love for us, not something we earned.

Our faith is based in a God of love rather than fear and punishment for our sins

We believe because we are loved.

St. Paul affirms this, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is a gift of God; it is not works . . .” (Ephesians 2:4 – 10).

The Sisters of the Holy Redeemer celebrate this love each day.  Our name reminds us of God who has redeemed the world – not by our works and striving, but because of God’s love and mercy.  This past week we have truly celebrated this love of God:

A warm beginning of the week called forth the gardeners to celebrate the beauty of creation as we enjoyed the first day back in the garden.  There was much comaraderie as we caught up with one another after the long winter.  God’s love made manifest in creation and relationships.

On St. Patrick’s Day, the Sisters joyfully welcomed back their Province Leader from a gathering in Germany – two reasons to celebrate!  God’s love present in the gift of community.

The Sisters celebrated two birthdays this week – our newest canidate and a Sister who has experienced many years in community.  We are blessed by their lives.  God’s love visible in the gift of life.

On March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph the Sisters celebrated one of their Patron Saints and the closing of the Jubilee year – 90 years in America, 200th Birthday of our Foundress, Mother Alphonse Maria Eppinger.  This occasion also provided the opportunity to rededicate the Chapel and to  thank all those who shared their gifts of talent, time, and resources to make the renovations to the Chapel possible.  God’s love shining in the gifts of others and the gift of our Congregation.

St. Joseph Liturgy

At the end of the week, the individuals who work in the Sisters’ ministries at the Provincialate wished the Sisters well during a luncheon as many of the Sisters prepare to transition to a nearby location.  God’s love made visible in the love of others.

The first day of Spring brought a surprise snow storm that still covers the land.  But it didn’t prevent a couple of the Sisters from venturing out to participate in a gathering of other religious, laity and priests as we discern God’s call to be among those on the margins; those living in poverty in our own city.  God’s love in the cry for justice and compassion.spring snowman

spring snow

And in all our experiences God’s love is present if we only notice.

As you enter into this 5th Week of Lent, notice the times you are trying to earn God’s love.  Maybe it is in prayer (“If only I pray a little more, or better.”) or works (“If I stay up a little longer to finish this project then I’ll be a better person . . .” or “If I do this good deed, God will love me more and people will appreciate me . . .”). 

Pause and notice God gazing upon you with love just because of who you are – God’s beloved.