A Birthday Reflection

Thanks

“Before I formed you in the womb,
I knew you…
(Jeremiah 5:1)


On this, your birthday, God says to you:

Of all the myriad gifts of my creation,
this is the day I made you.
Rest in that thought.
I made you –
For this time in history,
to be in the world with these people,
to live in this place,
to know these times,
these cultures,
this evolution of my creation.

butterflies

On the day I made you,
I made thousands of other creatures.
Human beings, each reflecting some facet of my infinite image.
Beautiful birds, riotous monkeys, infinitesimal ants.
My lava broke through earth’s crusts to form new islands.
I folded unseen mountains into yet undiscovered gorges,
bent rivers into surprise journeys,
washed entire beaches onto new shores.
I was busy the day I made you.
War raged and I welcomed its many victims into heaven.
More creatures died on your birthday than were born.
More came home to me than went out to begin their journey.



egg 

But you were one who went out.
When I opened my hand and breathed your journey into you,
I smiled.
I saw the wonders that could bless the world because of you.
I saw a rainbow of love, generosity, mutuality, happiness, encouragement,
and faith gathered like an unhatched egg in your heart.
I saw the storms and winds that would release that prism in your soul.
I saw it spread across a wide sky
because of all the years and experiences that I would give you.

 I saw the hint of sunrise in you.
Its name was mercy.
It was a gift fired by the energy of My own heart.
I looked beyond you to the cold and shadowed world
that you would comfort with its light and warmth.

sunrise 

I was happy on the day I made you.
I was filled with hope for the blessing you would be.
I am still filled with joy, hope and love for you
on this your long-after birthday.
You have tried to live my sacred dream for you.

Mercy word

As the sun rises glorious in the eastern sky,
I promise you a future full of love.
Notice that the western sky reflects the brilliance of the sunrise,
just as all the years now past assure you
of my presence at the core of your life.
You have been and are infinitely loved.
Be love in return.
Your days are replete with mercy.
Be mercy in return.
Be born again this day!

 

 

 

Be Born Again

Monday, April 29, 2019
Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church

Click here for readings

Jn.3_5JPG

Today, in Mercy, we move out of the intense blessings of Easter’s Octave into a time called “Eastertide”. For the next six weeks, we will continue to pray with Acts and John’s Gospel.

Eastertide is a time of great joy in the Church. This joy takes voice in special prayers used only, or with greater frequency, during this time, for example:

Vidi Aquam


Te Deum


Regina Caeli


and a proliferation of Alleluias

We, as Church, are celebrating our rebirth in Christ. It is a miracle even to have been given the gift of life. But, as Jesus tells Nicodemus in today’s Gospel, it is a gift beyond description to be reborn in the Spirit of God:

What is born of flesh is flesh
and what is born of spirit is spirit.
Do not be amazed that I told you,
“You must be born from above”.

Let’s pray in thanksgiving today for the gift of life for ourselves and all those we love. Let us pray for the continual rebirth of our spirits in the abundant Easter grace of the Risen Christ. (Below the music is a Birthday Prayer that you might save for your own birthday celebration.)

Music: Gradual and Alleluia – Catholic Songs, Gregorian Chant


“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you… (Jeremiah 5:1)

 On this, the day of your birth, God says to you:

Of all the myriad gifts of my creation, this is the day I made you. Rest in that thought. I made you –  For this time in history, to be in the world with these people, to live in this place, to know these times, these cultures, this evolution of my creation.

 On the day I made you, I made thousands of other creatures. Human beings, each reflecting some facet of my infinite image. Beautiful birds, riotous monkeys, infinitesimal ants. My lava broke through earth’s crusts to form new islands. I folded unseen mountains into yet undiscovered gorges, bent rivers into surprise journeys, washed entire beaches onto new shores. I was busy the day I made you. War raged and I welcomed its many victims into heaven. More creatures died on your birthday than were born. More came home to me than went out to begin their journey.

 But you were one who went out. When I opened my hand and breathed your journey into you, I smiled. I saw the wonders that could bless the world because of you. I saw a rainbow of love, generosity, mutuality, happiness, encouragement, and faith gathered like an unhatched egg in your heart. I saw the storms and winds that would release that prism in your soul. I saw it spread across a wide sky because of all the years and experiences that I would give you.

 I saw the hint of sunrise in you. Its name was mercy. It was a gift fired by the energy of My own heart. I looked beyond you to the cold and shadowed world that you would comfort with its light and warmth.

 I was happy on the day I made you. I was filled with hope for the blessing you would be. I am still filled with joy, hope and love for you on this your long-after birthday. You have tried to live my sacred dream for you.

As the sun rises glorious in the eastern sky, I promise you a future full of love.  Notice that the western sky reflects the brilliance of the sunrise, just as all the years now past assure you of my presence at the core of your life. You have been and are infinitely loved. Be love in return.  Your days are replete with mercy. Be mercy in return. Be born again this day!

©Renee Yann, RSM

 

 

The Gift of Years

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/100718.cfm

Today, in Mercy, we read how Job’s elder years were blessed with peace and prosperity. We want this serenity and peace for all of our dear elders. They have traveled the road ahead of us, often showing us the way.

Job42_12

Today, I have the joy of celebrating, with my dearest friend, her 90th birthday. What a gift those years have been to her and all who love her! By her simple, steady faith and her inclusive, unconditional love of others, she has allowed God’s Mercy to shine in her. Those who gather to celebrate her today cherish her and will surround her with their appreciation.

All of our beloved elders need and deserve this kind of love and respect from us. Tell your parents, grandparents and older friends what a blessing they are to you. Let them know they have shone a light on your path.

When Job sat with his children in the midst of his latter riches, he had found a deep friendship with God through all the challenges of his life. His household had been blessed with the same friendship by learning from Job’s ardent faith.

May we never take for granted what we have been given by the ones who go before us, on whose shoulders we stand.

Music: A favorite hymn of my 90-year old friend: To God Be the Glory – André Crouch

Profession of Faith

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/080918.cfm

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel reading offers us Peter’s magnificent profession of faith. 

profession Mt16

This profession might cause us to consider our own faith and how we profess it in our daily lives.

I think about that today in the context of my father’s life. Today is his birthday.

My father, gone to God nearly forty years ago, would have been 103 years old today.

He was born in the midst of the World War — called only that, because we never expected a second one.

His 28- year-old mother died when he was just two years old.

He grew up into a Depression which caused  him to cease his schooling at 7th grade and work the farm with the uncle who raised him.

Dad

By the tragic Second World War, he had grown to a man and  would fight in the fields and cities of Europe. He came home with pictures in his head that he would never talk about. And he never traveled again, at least not beyond Wildwood, New Jersey.

With not even a grade school diploma, he was a self-educated man in the skills of plumbing, electricity, painting, paper-hanging, and cement work.  Don’t undervalue this unless you have attempted these tasks yourself!

He was a hard-working, blue collar, salt-of-the-earth man who never owned his home but raised a family whose hearts he owned completely.

He suffered a heart injury at work when he was in his 50s and eventually – despite a valiant struggle – became disabled. After several heart attacks, he died a relatively early death at age sixty-six. In the intervening years, he read, prayed, and loved my mother, brother and me without reservation. He never missed a Sunday or Holy Day at Church. He prayed his devotions and novenas every day. He never put a single person down by his words or actions.

Some may read this short synopsis of his life and think it a little tragic. I read it and remember an everyday saint. He was made so by his resolute faith and trust in God; by his honest, inclusive patriotism, by his immense selflessness, and by his abundant kindness. These traits characterized many of “The Greatest Generation”.  We should never underestimate the contribution of their character to our national historical wealth.

My Dad died completely fulfilled and happy, leaving a heritage of faith, loyalty, generosity and love. That was his profession of faith, and I take great joy in it today. I think in many ways, Dad was a lot like Peter and I like to think of him that way as I pray this morning .

My dear readers, in your own family trees, I hope you are blessed to have such people- rough, tender-hearted heroes who carried you into the fullness of your life. Think of them, learn from them, and bless them today. Be them – if you have the courage.

Dad loved music. Toward the end of his life, this free and beautiful melody was one of his favorites. You might enjoy it as you pray this morning.

Verde ~ Guido and Maurizio DeAngelis

How Can I Say Thanks

Thursday, April 19, 2018:
Readings: Acts 8:26-40; Ps. 66:8-20; John 6:44-51

Today, in Mercy, we pray with the Ethiopian eunuch (an alliterative and lyrical phrase with its own fascination). Philip finds this man reading Isaiah and asks if he understands the Scripture he is reading.  The man replies, “How can I, unless someone show me?”

Indeed, how do we learn to believe without the witness of our many teachers in the faith?

Today, on my 73rd birthday, (in a rare personal departure from my usual pattern of reflections), I count the faithful witnesses in my own life who have shown me the way to God:

  • my faith-filled parents, whose well-worn devotionals I can still picture, set in silent witness beside their chairs
  • my devout only-brother who, with his loving wife, are living witnesses to faithful marriage, parenthood, and family
  • their dear children, grandchildren, and in-law children who faithfully reflect the miraculously recurring love of this family to which they have been born or wed
  • my extended Catholic family, some who lived centuries before me, who carried the faith to my cradle
  • the Sisters who taught me in my initial twelve years of Catholic education, each of whose names I can still repeat in grateful prayer
  • my own dear Sisters of Mercy who share covenanted life with me, in an awesome hymn to the presence of God in our humble yet glorious lives
  • my many companions in ministry, friendship, hope, service, and labor for these many years
  • the kind people who have allowed me to serve them so that I might learn the face of God
  • my precious, loving friends – beyond price, beyond description

Perhaps you, dear readers, may wish to join me in thanksgiving for those who have nourished your lives by the gift of their faithful witness. And whenever your birthday falls, may you be blessed with happiness.

old-books-bible-candle-600x239

This song is a great way to pray your thanksgiving.