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Remembering God’s Love Together

“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.” DT 4.9.

I often joke about my memory as I get older. It can be frustrating when things I really want to remember, I somehow forget. I have heard people call this the “Teflon” effect. Other memories seem to be so deeply imprinted on my mind and heart that I have carried them with me throughout my life. My memory has both gifts and gaps.

Recently my daughter reminded me of a sweet childhood memory I had forgotten. She recalled coming to me for a morning hug. I would wrap my cozy bathrobe around both of us, with her little face peeking out and then she would stand on my feet and walk with me around the kitchen. It was a lovely, warm memory, and her retelling it brought it back to me vividly.

The silver lining to the elusive clouding of memory is that I am not alone on this journey. There is beauty and wonder in our collective memory as people who have shared experiences. The gift of memory, shared in our stories is an invitation into something far richer than my solitary life.

Moses spoke to the people and taught them to observe the law which God had commanded him to give to them, but the law had it’s meaning in their shared memory of God freeing them from slavery. This is what he urged them not to forget. They had personally experienced the plagues and first Passover which led to Pharaoh’s reluctant defeat, the terror of being pursued by the Egyptians and the parting of the Red Sea. Finally, they stood together at the theophany at Mount Horeb. They saw the blazing fire and dark clouds, and heard God’s voice declaring the covenant they were to keep. God had dramatically revealed first his powerful love and then the law which would make them like him; just, wise and in the eyes of the world, great. The shared personal experience of God’s love for them was what made the law meaningful.

We know the rest of their story, the ongoing struggle to be faithful to the covenant, because it is the foundation of our faith. In spite of the many ways they tried to remember, with more and more laws, the people often wandered. They got caught up in their day to day life and the novelty of the surrounding cultures. This is our story too.

Perhaps Lent is a time to remind us to “take care and be earnestly on our guard not to forget the things our own eyes have seen.”

What is my personal experience of God’s saving love? How God has revealed his love for you and others with whom you share faith? Christians share personal and communal experience of the God’s gift of Jesus, and his Spirit, both within and among us in our lives and liturgy. We need one another’s help to remember and not to forget.

Remembering and sharing our stories of faith makes our laws and traditions meaningful. Before we can wholeheartedly renew Lenten disciplines of prayer, fasting and charity, our hearts may need to recall God’s saving power and presence among us.

Guest Blogger Jane Phillipson




Weekly Pause & Ponder

You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going.  What you need, is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by this present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.

Thomas Merton.  www.google.ca


We Serve in Ways that are Uniquely Ours  

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” Mt 20:28

Here we are a few weeks into Lent-this holy time of purification when we ask God to call to us, to turn us, to orient us to a life of serving God through our dear neighbour. As we try to listen each day and especially during Lent to orient our hearts to the Sun of compassion, let us ask ourselves, “What does this look like in my life? How do I serve my neighbour? How am I reaching out to those in need as the book of Christian prayer puts it ‘for those who ask and for those who are too needy to ask’. What does this conversion look like? How is it different from how I usually live?”

There is no right answer or one answer. God calls each of us to serve in a way that is uniquely ours, using the gifts given and the graces received.

One Sister I know says that Lent is her favourite season of the year. While I am personally somewhat far from experiencing that sentiment, I do hear what she is saying: this time of purification, service and compassion is a gift to be received, an opportunity offered for us to further nurture the relationships in each of our lives. As we do so, let us consider adopting this as our way of being not just during Lent but throughout the year.

Nancy Sullivan CSJ


Adopting a Bronze Attitude

Considering that life offers us relatively few gold moments, it makes sense to adopt a bronze attitude. CNN reports that there is scientific evidence showing that bronze medalists tend to be happier than silver medalists. Their research on Olympians supports that we would tend to be happier if we adopted the attitude of a bronze medalist in the face of life’s challenges.

Both second and third place winners engage in counterfactual thinking. Counterfactual thinking is, as Wikipedia states, "counter to the facts". Such thoughts consist of the words, "What if?" and the "If I had only..." that occur when thinking of how things could have turned out differently.

“Happiness very much hinges on expectations” says E. Scott Geller, PhD.  Silver medalists have a tendency to gauge themselves as falling short, whereas bronze medalists are inclined to think of what they have achieved and therefore tend to be more content. Based on this research data on medal position, we would do well to focus expectations of ourselves on the achievable. Thus, we can more easily claim our personal goals and proudly stand on life’s podium.

Nancy Wales CSJ


Weekly Pause & Ponder

What comes first in this world …is not “being” but “the union which produces this being.”… Reality is woven through layers of bondedness.  Cosmic life is intrinsically relational. Nothing is itself taken alone. Reality is “being with another,” in a way open to more union and more being I exist in order that I may give of myself, for it is in giving that I am myself. Cosmic life is intrinsically communal. Being is first a “we” before it can become an “I”….The universe is thoroughly relational and in the framework of love.

The Unbearable Wholeness of Being by Ilia Delio, p.45



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