facebook icon twitter icon

Weekly Pause &  Ponder

God will bring people and events into our lives and whatever we may think about them, they are designed for the evolution of [God’s] life in us.

- Thomas Keating



A Father's Day  Reflection

As the father of five and a grandfather of seven (almost eight!) I look forward to Father’s Day.  When I reflect on my role as a father, I think it can be summed up as nurturing the love which is at the heart of our family.

As a husband and father, I think first of all my wife, Clare, who is central to our family.  As a couple we have worked together to create a family which is pretty special – if I do say so myself! As parents, our love is the source of what energizes our family. 

Clare and I have had our share of joys – births (including twins in two generations!), family camping, graduations, weddings, new jobs, etc., etc.

We have also had our share of tribulations – miscarriage, mental illness, death of a newborn grandson, job losses, and especially the death of our Kevin, a victim of drug addiction. The strength that comes to me as a father has certainly helped bear these trials.

The high school I taught at in Peterborough (St. Peter’s) has as its motto “Through Trials to Triumph”, and I have always thought that this sums up our family life and my role as a father.  We have all suffered with and supported each other through various difficulties, and now as a family we enjoy a closeness which is special to us.

A very poignant confirmation of the success Clare’s and my life in creating family came as I followed Kevin’s coffin after his funeral.  As we walked to his grave I had a very strong feeling of joy come upon me and I thought “We’ve done something right!”  Despite the pain and sorrow of the moment, the outpouring of support from a huge variety of people – our friends (some of whom we hadn’t seen in ages) and many more friends of Kevin and of our other children made my spirit soar – "Yes, we've done something right – in the midst of this deep time   of grief for a son whom we supported the best way we knew how."

On this Father’s Day I am very thankful for Clare, for our children and their spouses, and, of course our grandchildren. 

I am blessed indeed!

Joe Keast, Archivist/Librarian for the Peterborough Sisters 


Sources of Wisdom  

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the title says a lot...

Over lunch with a colleague, who happens to be a therapist by profession, she mentioned how she sometimes employs book titles in supporting her clients. She shares the following examples of book title wisdom. However, she offers a disclaimer that she recommends the title not necessarily is she advocating that you add the book to your summer reading list.

Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. 

 This book provides an introduction to the practice of mindfulness and truly being in our own skin each minute of each day. Fighting against the truth of this title keeps us distracted from our lives.



There is Nothing Wrong with You by Cheri Huber. 

Here is a book about challenging all of the little internalized messages that say you have to change in order to be likeable, loveable, or worthy.  The title sums it up nicely. You don't need to listen to these messages at all, and you can absolutely learn a different truth about yourself.





Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. 

Happiness is often closer than we expect ... but our ideas of what we think will make us happy often get in the way.



The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.

This book is an interesting introduction to the idea of neuroplasticity, showing us that the structure of the brain itself can change in remarkable ways.  There is very little that is "stuck" permanently!




Many Roads, One Journey by Charlotte Kasl.  

While this book focuses on alternative paths to recovery from addiction, the title acknowledges that there are a wide range of ways each person could get to their goals. There is not only one "right" path.





The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

The subtitle really captures it nicely: "Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are."



The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. 

 There is something a bit clichéd about the title at this point, but the concept is still valid: there is a lot to be gained by charting our own course rather than trying to follow the herd.



The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. 

 This is book written and illustrated as if for children that still quite nicely describes the illusion many adults carry that they are "missing" something in themselves and need to find it elsewhere.



What book title could you add to our list?

Please post your title with a comment.



Rebecca Machado, the Executive Director of Daya Counselling Centre and Sister Nancy Wales, csj


Weekly Pause &  Ponder

Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path.  It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.  Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.

Barack Obama


The Sacred  Heart


The month of June is dedicated to The Sacred Heart of Jesus as a reminder of the love that God has for us.  When we look upon images of the Sacred Heart, we often see Christ pointing to His heart, a sure sign that He loves us, but only if we see His heart as open.

If I mention the name Bugs Bunny many will smile. We all know this beloved bunny, but if I was to mention Charles Jones, you may wonder why and who he is. Well, he is the one who developed the beloved character, but his own personal favourite was not Bugs, but rather Pepé Le Pew, the romantic skunk who was forever falling in love with someone. Sadly, his love was always rejected because of his smell or often just due to the fear of his potential to smell. However, that did not stop Pepe. He kept right on loving. He just refused to give up. Pepe, like Jesus always was open to love even when it was rejected. The offer would always be there.

Perhaps, like Pepe, you have been rejected. How do you, how do I, react when people reject our love? We may even ask if God loves us, even when we know in our hearts that our God is a God of mercy and compassion. Despite our prayers, our faith may not feel as strong as we thought. So, we need more reassurance and that is why Jesus came, to remind us of God’s presence and love.

Let me share a story which illustrates this beautifully.  A little boy had just gotten his own room. During his first night in his new room, a violent thunderstorm broke out. The boy started screaming, “Daddy, daddy, come quick I am scared.”  “Don’t worry, Bobby” his father called out from his room, “God loves you and will protect you.” The boy yelled back, “I know God loves me and will protect me. But right now, I need someone with skin on!”

That is the reason for celebrating the Feast of the Sacred Heart in early June. It is God coming among us with skin on. It is God revealing God’s self as one of us. It is God reminding us that even if others reject our love, God could not and would not. Scripture shows us that the human Jesus grew tired, wept with and for His friends and foes, was rejected and died in pain on the Cross and yet He always reaches out.  His wounded heart open to love, willing once again to offer hope, to offer mercy, to offer love.

When you meditate and pray from your own heart, what image of Jesus speaks to you as you listen to the Sacred Heart?

 - Fr. Ian Riswick, Chaplain of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in Toronto.


Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.