Lenten Reflections

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Called like Francis of Assisi to live the Gospel in joyful servanthood among all people, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, as messengers of peace, commit themselves to works that reverence human dignity, embrace the poor and marginalized, and respect the gift of all creation.

Text of Lenten Reflections

  • Prayers and Reflections for Lent February 13 March 31, 2013

    Written by the Toledo Area Vocation Directors

    Women religious ministering in and around the Diocese of Toledo

    Sister Marilyn Marie Ellerbrock, SND Sisters of Notre Dame

    Sister Julie Myers, OSF/S Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania

    Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP Adrian Dominican Sisters

    Sister Margaret Manion, OSU Ursuline Sisters

    Sister Barbara Jean Miller, OSF/T Tiffin Franciscan Sisters

    Sister Amy Junk, CPPS Sisters of the Precious Blood

    Sister Rose Marie Golembiewski, RSM Sisters of Mercy

    Sister Cecelia Mary Sartorius, lsp Little Sisters of the Poor

  • Right Here, Right Now Sunday, March 3, 2013 Third Sunday of Lent

    Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground Exodus 3: 3

    HOW OFTEN WE WISH we were somewhere else or had other talents or knew other people or. Ive grown up hearing the adage: The grass is always greener on the other side, and in many ways it has subconsciously become part of my belief system. It seems at times that Ill do pretty much anything to escape the present moment in the present place with my present circumstances. And yet, this is precisely where and how God calls me! Just as God reminded Moses that the place where he was standing was holy ground, he reminds me that it is right here and now that I am called to encounter Him. It is who I am with the particular talents and abilities I have that God desires to use in bringing about His kingdom. I need only to allow Him to work in and through me. Perhaps as I take my shoes off tonight I will remember that I am on holy ground. What better place could I be!

    Sister Marilyn Marie Ellerbrock, SND Sisters of Notre Dame Toledo, Ohio

    Exodus 3: 1-8a, 13-15; Psalm 103: 1-4, 6-8, 11; 1 Corinthians 10: 1-6, 10-12; Luke 13: 1-9

  • Why Not? Monday, March 4, 2013 St. Casimir GOD GRACIOUSLY HEALS, as todays first reading reminds us, but it is not always through extraordinary ways. It can be as simple as asking us to let go of our anger or disappointments. During Lent we are asked to repent and believe Remember man you are dust and unto dust you shall return. Through the gift and blessing of today, seek forgiveness, remember the cleansing waters of baptism and trust that God will restore your spiritual growth. Why not do it? Do you look for Gods holy hand only in the extraordinary events of life or do you trust that God will work through the ordinary happenings?

    Sister Margaret Manion, OSU Ursuline Sisters Toledo, Ohio

    2 Kings 5: 1-15; Psalm 42: 2-3, 43: 3-4; Luke 4: 24-30

  • Freedom to Love Tuesday, March 5, 2013 Lenten Weekday Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?

    Matthew 18: 21 MATTHEWS QUESTION INVITED JESUS to give one of his most difficult, but most powerful teachings. According to Jesus the key to happiness in life is the ability to forgive those who hurt us, even those who have hurt us many times. The surprising thing about this teaching is that forgiveness is not so much a gift we give to others, but a gift we give ourselves. When we are able to forgive and forget injuries, we open our hearts to receive and give love. Yet, this is a very difficult thing to do. Sometimes the most we can do in trying to forgive another is to ask for the grace to want to forgive them. It sometimes takes a long time to actually forgive them. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit can this be done. Jesus gave us a beautiful example of this when on the cross he said, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. His ability to forgive right away shows how powerful was his union with the Father. We may experience that this is not humanly possible for us, but with the help of the Holy Spirit we can learn to let go of hurts and be freed to receive and give love. Can you recall a time in your life when you found it hard to forgive someone? What helped you to be able to forgive and forget?

    Sister Carolyn Brink, RSM Sisters of Mercy of the Americas

    Daniel 3: 25, 34-43; Psalm 25: 4-5ab, 6, 7bc, 8-9; Matthew 18: 21-35

  • The Law of Love Wednesday March 6, 2013 Lenten Weekday Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfill.

    Matthew 5: 17

    AT FIRST GLANCE this scripture seems difficult to grasp. What does Jesus mean that he came to not abolish the law, but fulfill it? Jesus is reminding us of the two greatest commandments: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Well this is definitely not what the Pharisees and others wanted to hear. Jesus shows us that he is the fulfillment of the law. He is Love. Recall for yourself some of the beautiful Gospel stories: the blind man of Jericho, or the ten lepers, the prodigal son, or the woman and the Pharisees. In each of these stories, Jesus does not judge or let the other be judged. But through love and forgiveness he brings the individual into the community once again and the person is healed. These stories demonstrate for us how Jesus fulfilled the law of love. May our Lenten practices deepen our personal relationship with Jesus who is love. This Lent, how will you become a more loving person? What do you need to do to fulfill with the great commandments?

    Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP Dominican Sisters of Adrian Adrian, Michigan

    Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9 Psalm 147: 12-13, 15-16, 19-20 Matthew 5: 17-19

  • Pliable Hearts Thursday, March 7, 2013 St. Perpetua & St. Felicity If today you hear Gods voice, harden not your hearts. Psalm 95 MOST OF US DONT WANT TO BELIEVE that we can harden our hearts to Gods voice. Our deepest desire is to listen and to follow in Gods ways. After all, Scripture insures us that God has planted the law of love in our hearts. Another truth from Genesis is that, as humans, we dont always choose Gods ways. It can be hard to take responsibility for misjudgments made on our part or a bias toward another who holds a different point of view. It is difficult to see my part in a conflict even when I didnt start it. It is challenging to forgive, especially when the other hasnt asked for it. At times it is easy to ignore the needs of others when I am so focused on my own tasks. Yet, when we turn to the example of Jesus Christ that are found in the Scripture, we may be graced to see the darkened or hardened areas of our life where we havent heard the voice of Love calling us. Where am I hearing Gods voice today so as not to harden my heart?

    Sister Barbara Jean Miller, OSF/T Sisters of St. Francis Tiffin, Ohio

    Jeremiah 7: 23-28; Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9; Luke 11: 14-23

  • Live the Answers Friday, March 8, 2013 St. John of God One of the scribes came up to Jesus and asked him, Which is the first of all the commandments? Jesus replied: This is the first: Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! Therefore you must

    Mark 12: 28-29

    EXCELLENT, TEACHER!! the Scribe said, Yes, to love God with all our heart, with all our thoughts and with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves is worth more than any burnt offering or sacrifice. The scribe here had great courage to ask Jesus this question because no one else did within this conversation and lesson. Asking questions is a good thing, but we must discern why we ask them. Is it out of love, is it to understand and comprehend, or is it to trip up another so that we look good or smart or better? What is it that truly motivates our questions? Do we question our God for the sake of an answer or for the sake of the question itself? Lent calls us to reflect upon ourselves and our current place and status in life. It also calls us to reflect upon our relationship with God. How is that developing? We must ask ourselves a question or two from time to time, such as: who do I live for? Why do I show kindness to another? What is it that gets me out of bed in the morning? Is it simply for myself or is it for love of the Lord God who is Lord alone? We can do many great things with our heart, with our thoughts, and with our strength and carry out many good deeds for our neighbor, but if it is not done out of love for Godit will fall short, very short of an act of holiness. Today, instead of asking questions, think about how you can live the answers with all your heart, with all your thoughts and with all your strengthand love your neighbor as yourself. May you find God in your midst smiling back at you out of love!

    Sister Julie Myers, OSF/S Sisters of St. Francis Sylvania, Ohio

    Hosea 14: 2-10; Psalm 81: 6c-11b, 14, 17; Mark 12: 28-34

  • Everyone Who Exalts Himself Saturday, March 9, 2013 St. Frances of Rome O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Luke 18: 13

    O GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME, a sinner. These are the words spoken by the humble man in todays Gospel. Jesus told this story so that a lesson would be learned on what to do and how not to judge others. God turns from the proud but showers graces upon the humble. During this Lenten season we are asked to examine our relationship with God and our attitude toward prayer. The tax collectors were shunned by the people. Here we see the Pharisee who represented those who took pride in their rel