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November 1st – Children of God; Saints of God

Scripture Reflection . . .

First Reading:Revelation 7: 2 – 14

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24

Second Reading: 1 John 3: 1-3

Gospel: Matthew 5:1 – 12

“For me, to be a saint means to be myself.”  This quote from Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk, is both simple and profound. He goes on to say, “Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.”  It is not so easy to be our  true selves.  Life adds layers of difficult experiences, false messages, ambition, etc.

The readings for the November 1st, All Saints Day, remind us that we are children of God.  As children, for the most part, we were truly ourselves – no pretenses, no inhibitions, little to no fear; full of hope, wonder and trust.  As we grew we learned certain messages through family, experiences, society . . . and we learned about socially acceptable behavior, fear, mistrust, prejudice, self-image, etc.

John writes, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God.  Yet so we are. . . Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we will be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

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Matthew writes of the Beatitiudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Saints weren’t perfect people, but they knew they were loved by God. They embraced the strengths and their weakness so that they could be peacemakers: revealing  the presence and love of God.

In our lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .

So, how did we experience being children, being more ourselves, and more free to love these past days?

We offered a small discernment retreat weekend and enjoyed exploring the presence and call of God through art activities.  On Saturday evening we enjoyed the childhood fun of carving pumpkins and roasting pumpkin seeds.  God’s light shines out of us when we work through the messiness (think pumpkin insides) and discover the seeds of love that have been with us through our lives.

pumpkin carving

pumpkin girls

pumpkin glow

A few of the Sisters then participated in their annual retreat.  This offered the grace-filled time to remember we are children of God who desires to set us free to love and be loved.

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The 2nd Grade students from a local parish school participated in our School Garden for the last time this year.  They enjoyed playing in the soil and discovering worms as they cleared plants and weeds and scattered a nice layer of straw mulch, putting the garden to bed for the winter.  Being in the company of children is a great way to see God’s desire for us:  joyful, wonder-filled, enthusiastic, curious, trusting, open to learning . . .  The students also visited our Chapel to offer a prayer for all the saints in our lives, and of course we asked the intercession of Saint Isadore – the patron saint of farmers and gardeners.

 

carrot kids

straw fun

One Sister traveled to St. Louis to continue her studies.  Like children, we never stop learning to deepen our faith and human abilities.

Finally, two Sisters travel to Germany on Saturday to participate in the life of our Congregation on an international level.  They will journey with the needs of the congregation and the many people “on the way” who seek refuge in our Motherhouse, and like children, have become so dependent on the care and love of others.  We prayer for the safety and wisdom of all.

In you life . . .

“Unless you turn and become like children you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:3). You may wish to reflect on the qualities of a child.  Why does God desire us to be like children?

Jesus  knew himself as the child of God, calling God, “Abba, Father,” giving us our most precious prayer “Our Father,” and hearing God at the time of his baptism speak,” This is my beloved Son.”

You may want to pray the “Our Father” and allow yourself to hear God share these words, “you are my beloved child.”

Go ahead!  Be yourself, be a saint!

Blessings on your week.

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