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My blog on blogger has been hacked. The Apple technician, with a tendinitis, cannot help me at the moment. So I will attempt to post here and see how it goes.

Paul and I are just back from six weeks in Manresa, Spain, where we were invited to go deeper into Ignatius’ autobiography and spiritual diaries, the sources of his Spiritual Exercises and how they developed over his lifetime; some of his letters; the origins and foundation of the Society of Jesus; its first Companions; its voluminous archives (Monumenta); its Constitutions; and, finally, Ignatian spirituality for today. Add to this daily morning prayers and evening masses, an eight-day silent retreat the second week, and a walking tour of Manresa where Ignatius lived nine months in 1522-23 (there he prayed, fasted, worked, meditated, had visions, and fell sick…), and trips to Montserrat, Loyola, Javier, and Barcelona.

We were thirty-five participants from fourteen different countries (with large contingents from India, the Philippines, Australia, and the U.S.). Our youngest member turned 32 during the Course and the older participant was 76. A majority of men and Jesuits, some religious sisters, a few laypeople and just one couple, Paul and me.

The Course was made of seven modules, the second one being the silent retreat, with one transition day in-between each. Those days were meant to help us process all that had been given to us (e.g. the medieval origins of the Autobiography, connecting the Spiritual Exercises with mysteries in our faith; the personalities of Ignatius’ first companions; the importance of Juan de Polanco in the creation of the Society of Jesus, his importance as well in the writing of the Constitutions and Ignatius’ very unique style of participative management. Finally, the new cosmic theology and new ways of looking at Jesus’ teachings (e.g. table fellowship, inclusiveness and openness to sinners and marginalized folks).

Our lecturers are all University teachers, whether at the University of Barcelona, Javier Melloni SJ (a scholar and writer of many books, involved in inter-denominational dialogues); Jose García de Castro, from Comillas University in Madrid, with an insatiable love for archives and books, able to pass on his passion for old papers and the first Jesuits; Carlos Coupeau, SJ, from both Boston U. and the Gregorian University in Rome, who helped us understand the composition and intent of the Constitutions; and finally George Pattery SJ, from Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth in Pune, India, who introduced us to a cosmic vision of the Spiritual Exercises, bringing together Ignatius’s cosmic experience on the banks of the river Cardoner with Teilhard de Chardin’s very own understanding.

This time out-of-time was made possible thanks to the support and care of Josep Sugranyes SJ, the Director of the Course, Joachi Salord SJ a wonderful patient and ever smiling shepherd to us all, and Asun Puche, the Course’s feminine smile and intelligent presence.

Dear to everyone of us, as well,  were the women in the kitchen who fixed three meals a day and two snacks, making sure we could sustain those brains of ours so heavily taxed at times. Teams of us worked along them, clearing and setting tables, and drying dishes. Our Spanish improved at their side; we even caught a couple of Catalan words.

I come back with my head filled with images of young noble men giving up their wealth and station in life to walk thousands of miles across Europe, begging on the way, their hearts filled with love for Godde and her creation. Finding Godde in all things…

I think of the many women who helped Ignatius all throughout his life, the very first persons who were guided by him through his Spiritual Exercises, those who cared for him when he was on death’s doorsteps, who paid for his studies and his many journeys, many of these women asking him to become a Jesuit themselves.

My heart is filled with the graces of many moments, looking out to the mountains of Montserrat, inspired with a Spirit of openness, adventure, and longing. I catch myself humming songs sung every day or for special moments. I remember holding Ignatius’ begging bowl…

We drove home with boxes of books to read and a list of more to buy, papers and lectures to process and digest, a longing for prayer, quiet times, long walks, and notes to write.

Many times in Manresa I wondered what I had done to deserve such a blessing and grace to be there in the very place where he had prayed, met Mary and Jesus or understood the Trinity. I hope to share some insights received here, because I cannot stand the idea of keeping all this to myself.

Blessings and joy.

Photo: Statue of in Loyola, Ignatius wounded in the Battle of Pamplona, 

30 May 1521.

Anointings in Bethany. Jn 12:1-8

Solemnly, Mary entered the room,

holding high the alabaster jar.

It gleamed in the lamplight as she circled the room,

incensing the disciples, blessing Martha’s banquet.

“A splendid table!” Mary called with her eyes

as she whirled past her sister.

She came to a halt at last before Jesus,

bowed profoundly and knelt at his feet.

Deftly, she filled her right hand with nard,

placed the jar on the floor,

took one foot in her hands

and moved fragrant fingers across his instep.

Over and over she made the journey

from heel to toes, thanking him

for every step he had made

on Judea’s stony hills,

for every stop at their home,

for bringing back Lazarus.

She poured out more nard,

took his other foot in her hands

and started again with strong, rhythmic strokes.

She felt her hands’ heat draw out his tiredness,

take away the rebuffs he had known —

the shut doors, the shut hearts.

Energy flowed like a river between them.

His saturated skin gleamed with oil!

But she had no towel!

In an instant she pulled off her veil,

pulled the pins from her hair,

shook it out till it fell in cascades

and once more cradled each foot,

dried the ankles, the insteps,

drew the strands between his toes.

Without warning, Judas Iscariot

spat out his anger, the words hissing

like lightning above her unveiled head:

“Why was this perfume not sold

for three hundred denarii

and the money given to the poor?”

“Leave her alone!”

Jesus silenced the usurper.

“She bought it so that she might keep

for the day of my burial.”

The words poured like oil,

anointing her from head to foot.

Incarnation: New and Selected Poems for Spiritual Reflection

page 88

Art: Table in Bethany, Refektorium des Aletti-Zentrums, Rom

In an era when women enjoyed little protection under the law and little consideration by church authorities, beguines were claiming their fullest humanity through the eucharist: if God could become human. if Christ was fully present in the eucharist, then women were worthy. Thus beguines ardently believed that Christ’s presence in the eucharist was an act of liberation for them, and in their contemplative devotion they could “bypass” priestly authority — especially in times of corrupt clergy and politically motivated quarrels between popes and kings.

Laura Swan, The Wisdom of the Beguines, 106

Godde gives each one of us a specific vocation, whether we know it or not, believe it or not. One often looks for an answer in a specific religious order, hoping to fit into it. These orders came about over the centuries, each developing a particular charism, each one of the many facets of Godde’s goodness. But Godde’s goodness goes way beyond all that can be imagined.

Why am I saying this?

Well, I have just finished Laura Swan’s book on the Beguines and I have been parabled, turned upside down if you wish. Here are laywomen who, maybe thanks to the Crusades and so many men leaving them to fight, had to fend for themselves. They stepped into the breach and, out of the experience, some discovered a new way of life which fitted them.

Over the centuries, mainly from 1200 on till the 1600s, but continuing nevertheless till the 18th c. and even into the 21st c. (with the last ‘known’ beguine passing away in 2013), the beguines shared a common way of life, usually in communities (from two to a thousand), chaste and simple. The beguines were known for their business sense, their organizational and trading skills, their commitment to God, the poor and the marginalized.

They were lay ‘contemplatives in action’ (to use an Ignatian term). Their way of life went straight against the norms of their times: they were lay, self-supporting, single, or widowed women, living on their income, paying taxes, spiritually and personally independent, preaching in public and debating with select theologians and biblical scholars. (11) Yes, some ended up burning at the stake.

Reading Laura Swan made me realize that the beguines had found a way to emulate Jesus and his first disciples, all the while being remarkably counter-cultural.

It was a women’s movement where rich women helped poor women and together they saved girls and women from prostitution, taught poor women marketable skills, opened schools, ran hospitals, and fed the poor. They offered a safe haven to women, the poor, and the lepers.

The taxes they paid to the towns were they lived protected them from the arbitrariness of the hierarchical church. They were a financial assets to the towns and a spiritual and economic help to the surrounding communities.

In many ways, the beguines remind me of the US religious sisters who go to the margins to help those left behind by both society and church. Beguines experienced “visitations” as well, when the Inquisition tried to rein in these independent women who did more good that the clerics of the times.

I am struck by how the beguines were simultaneous within and outside the Church. They did not depend on the hierarchy, for funds or authorization. They were free women who went about their business, praying and taking care of those in need, copying manuscripts, writing liturgies and hymns, ‘reading souls’ and giving spiritual direction. At a time when Christians were so afraid of God’s judgement, they proclaimed His goodness, compassion, and love, and incarnated those gifts wherever they ministered.
The beguines answered their call, choosing to live it in the world, a continuation of the first women disciples who accompanied Jesus on the dusty roads of Palestine, — before patriarchy reasserted itself.

I would love to read this book with a study group. I suspect that many ideas would come out of it, both exploring all that is already being done and of all that is left to be discovered.

Happy reading!

See also Phyllis Zagano’s article in NCR, Beguines Carried Forward Women’s Ministry

‘Algarete’ is a great word that I discovered in Puerto Rico, shortly after we joined our small CVX (CLC) community. I usually go to the meetings with a small notebook on which I enter new words or expressions. Algarete was one of the first ones I wrote down. It means ‘adrift’, as in a boat going adrift on the sea. Our meetings always start with the best of intentions. We have an agenda, developed over the years. It always begins with an opening prayer, then we move to sharing bits of our life since we last met.

When we introduced the idea of sharing, it came from Adult Children of Alcoholics where I remember everyone started the meeting with one or two sentences on how we each felt at that moment. No comments were expected or allowed even. Today, I feel really angry. Today I feel really sad. Today my life sucks. Today I feel really good. Each one thus had a basic idea how everyone felt and we could move to business, which was the exploration of one of the Twelve Steps.

Our CVX members rarely can fit how they feel into one sentence. We like to elaborate. Some interrupt to comment. Pretty soon, most of the meeting time has been about life sharing, which is heart-warming and truly important. I am sure that Godde is very pleased with it. St Ignatius may be as well, as listening is an art in Ignatian spirituality. At some point, however, someone exclaims, ‘We are algarete. We are adrift.’ And indeed we are.

For a while now, I have been algarete. I usually pray the daily readings. I even look at them the night before so that they can work on me. I come up with an idea or two for a blog. But my mind and life drift to some other activity, which I faithfully relate in my review of the day before I go to sleep.

Apart from the daily readings, two streams of thoughts have been with me these past few days.

This tweet of Fr James Martin has been rolling in both my mind and heart. I could only ‘favorite’ it. I could not pass it on. Why? When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope two years ago, I was filled with joy. My prayers had been answered: our new pope was coming from Latin America. On top of it, he was a Jesuit! Who would have thought?

I remember tweeting that I was praying for someone who came from Liberation Theology. While it may not be the case of Pope Francis, he has not hesitated to beatify Archbishop Oscar Romero which has been a saint for me for many years. Pope Francis stands also for the poor, repeatedly. In my heart, he stands as a prophet, while in some other people’s hearts he is a communist (the last Communist was Leon Trotsky and he was shot decades ago).

When I tweeted my hope for the next Pope, I forgot to mention that I was hoping he would be women-friendly. A bit like when I made a pink bubble for our next home, thirty years ago, I forgot to mention that I wanted a view. I got everything I had asked for; it’s only afterwards that I realized I would have liked a view. Well, it’s only after the fact that I thought of a feminist Pope… Oh well.

Still, I am extremely fond of Pope Francis. When I read today in an article on a speech he made, or an interview he gave, in Mexico that he expected to be Pope for two to five years, I felt a great sadness. I would like him to live much longer. Then I wondered whether in the time he sees allocated to him, he will be able to do all that he wants to do, for he has started so many changes. For his intentions, I pray.

The second stream of consciousness with me these days comes from an article I read in the New Yorker. Break-in at Y-12.

It’s a great piece on the Plowshares movement, Dorothy Day, Phil Berrigan, Elizabeth McAlister, and many other invisible heroes who face jail for the sake of nonviolence and US disarmament. This brought back to my mind an important moment in my thirty day retreat when looking at the world and the Two Standards of Ignatius, I saw that I was part of the problem (i.e. with the rich folks — most white folks are rich, whether they know it or not, compared to those who earn two dollars a day). The question which sprang to my mind then was, “Can I be part of the solution?”. And I have no answer yet.

I mentioned two thoughts, but in fact I would like to add two more:

— one, by the great Ilia Delio, a reflection entitled, Why the earth won’t green without us. It’s really worth reading. Her mind and heart soar above mine, and lifts me up to spheres and concepts which are obvious but so often unseen or unthought of; and

— finally, because I spend so much time on Twitter, sifting through the news for the pearl that will explain it all, here is a short video of Eckhart Tolle, The news is the deepest manifestation of unconscious. This is delightfully true once I give some thought to it.

As you can see, I am indeed algarete, all over the place, adrift on the ocean of life, not doing much, trying to love mainly, floating along in Godde’s arms.

Blessings on your own journey.

Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.

Is. 1:18

It is not easy to imagine my sins crimson red. I cannot be that bad, O Godde. I have a friend who refuses to look at sin in her life. Too much of it has been pushed down her throat over her many years by priests from the pulpit.

I find that in my life sin likes to go unnoticed. It makes itself small, harmless, innocuous. If I look at the span of my life, however, all the small, standard, and serious sins I have accumulated over time, I might as well face the crimson of my sins.

So here I am, Jesus, standing in the midst of my sins, sins that seep in every corner of my life, looking away so as not to face the pain they caused to many, but to You most of all. “Let us set things right,” You tell me. “If you are willing, and obey, they may become white as wool.”

You, Jesus, are on the cross, breathless, with no strength left. Your crimson blood shows the lashes of the whip; pearls of blood bead from your crown of thorns. You, the innocent one.

What have I done for You, Jesus?

What am I doing for You?

What will I do for You?

As I ponder the question, I walk with the Risen Christ on the beach. We talk of sin and love. I ask Him to change my heart, to help me obey, to become more willing. To follow you, O Risen One. Gently, He places his scarred hand on my heart and I feel His warmth, His life, a new life coming into me.

May the crimson of Your love beat in my own veins, Beloved.

Illustration: Autumn Lane, Kassel, Germany photo via fobsta, found on Pinterest.

God makes us ask ourselves questions most often when God intends to resolve them. God gives us needs that God alone can satisfy and awakens capacities that God means to fulfill.
—Thomas Merton

Every day I receive an email from jesuitprayer.org with the daily scripture, an Ignatian reflection, and an Ignatian prayer. Today, the prayer is from Thomas Merton (?!). Of the whole quote, the first sentence impacted me most. Recently, I have been asking myself questions which I cannot answer. I feel lost in transit. The second sentence is not bad either, once I start spending time with it. The whole quote, then, is very much right on time for my life at this point.

The Merton quote allowed me to breathe a huge sigh of relief. I will get an answer to my questions in Godde’s own time.

Talking with Paul about it this morning, a series of thoughts suddenly unfolded. My life is filled with goodness at this time. I am receiving much more than I have ever asked for. And I don’t know how to thank Godde for all this. I would like to respond in kind, which means ‘doing’ something for Godde and Her Creation. My mind scampers all over my daily life trying to find ideas of things ‘to do.’ The final thought that came to me then is that I may just be asked to enjoy Godde’s bountiful love at this point. The ‘doing’ will come later.

After my earlier huge sigh of relief then came a feeling of well-being that rippled through my being. It is not easy to be on the receiving end of goodness. In a way, I am like the bird in the picture above: I am sipping Godde’s goodness and marvel at the ongoing bountifulness…

Part of my challenge is that I can find no reason in my life for deserving such goodness and abundance. Godde’s gratuitous and extravagant love fills me with awe. Silence and gratitude may just be the best way to receive it.

Today my whole being is basking in Godde’s goodness.

Thank you, Godde.

Illustration: jesuitprayer.org

And if the virtuous woman turns from the path of virtue to do evil,
the same kind of abominable things that the wicked woman does,
can she do this and still live?
None of her virtuous deeds shall be remembered,
because she has broken faith and committed sin;
because of this, she shall die.

Ez. 18:21-28

Today’s first reading starts with the promise that the evil woman who turns away from all the sins she committed… will live. I have always liked this part. I could relate to it. After all, had I not changed my ways?

This morning, however, when I looked at the passage, I recognized myself in the virtuous woman who turns from the path of virtue. Oh, turning from the path of virtue is an exaggeration. I am neither on the path of virtue nor off it. Life, this month, has become a river that goes too fast for me. I can hardly keep my head above water. I am fascinated by what I see going by. Every so often I catch a glimpse of Godde; I am reassured that She is still there, close by. But not close enough that I can hang on to Her.

I am not bad; but I am not good either. My heart is in one place; my head is somewhere else. My emotions err in-between.

One reassuring thought this morning: the path is there to go back on. The choice is always available, even though recently I did not even seem to have time to think of choice. I have been like a kid in wonderland, taking in as much as I could, wondering what Godde wants from me.

Find joy, Godde is there, my inner voice whispered. The thought stopped me. Godde hides in the deepest of my desires. I have embarked on a treasure hunt. Finding Godde in my crazy, bountiful life.

Everyone talks of desert these days. My life is a desert when I cannot feel Godde. So I can be standing in the middle of a crowded market, of a busy street: it feels like a desert if I cannot feel Godde’s heart beating in mine.

Oh, the faint call of the Beloved echoing in the depths of my being…

Illustration: here, riverawaken.tumblr.com

We are back from Abidjan, in Côte d’Ivoire, where we visited our daughter, Anne Amanda. She is working there at the moment. The day of our arrival, we were having lunch at the Pâtisserie Abidjanaise when I saw three men crossing the busy street and heading towards mats on the sidewalk. There, their faces turned toward Mecca, they started praying Allah.  I became oblivious of the unfamiliar sights, the people, the cars honking. I felt swept up by the sacredness of their time spent with Godde.

Some days later, as we were walking the streets of Man, I heard (was it the first time ever?) the call of the muezzin at lunchtime. This human voice floated up into the sky with loving words toward the One who creates all. I wondered whether a woman’s voice would ever also be heard one day. From then on, each time I heard the call, wherever I happened to be, my heart leaped with joy, following the song toward the heavens.

Any time spent with Godde becomes sacred. Just as silence can be seen a sacrament, and the Eucharist of course, any time lived in the presence of Godde becomes a sacrament as well.

In a way, Lent is about making daily life a sacred time, a moment of utter closeness with the One who loves us.

This Lent, I hope to give up a few things — judging, mainly, and fear. My heart also longs to spend more time with Godde in prayer, in silence, in communion with others, with Nature, and facing the awful news that come to me through the media. Fighting my own indifference and squeamishness, I will look at them in Godde’s presence.

Each minute of every day is laden with Godde’s presence, love, and gifts. Lent is a time given to slow down, stop even, lift up my hands in praise, and thank Godde for all that makes my life. I am so glad Lent is here.

May you have a blessed Lenten journey.

Photo: A Bangladeshi Hindu devotee folds her hands in prayer at a temple in Narayanganj, near Dhaka, Bangladesh. artofprayer.tumblr.com. Source: the Wall Street Journal

 

This morning I received a poem in an e-mail from our friend Pierre. The poem was written in French by a religious sister, Sr. Odette Prévost, who died in Algiers on November 10, 1995 under the bullets of a terrorist as she was heading to mass. You can read more about her here (in French). She was a Little Sister of the Sacred Heart of Charles de Foucault. Here is the poem:

Live this day today

Live this day today,
God gives it to you, it is yours.
Live it in Him.

Tomorrow belongs to God,
It does not belong to you.
Don’t carry tomorrow’s worry 
today.
Tomorrow belongs to God,
Give it back to Him.

The present moment is 
a frail footbridge.
If you load it with yesterday’s regrets,
with tomorrow’s uncertainty,
the footbridge gives way 
and you lose your footing

The past?  God pardons it.
The future?  God gives it.
Live this day today
in communion with Him

And if there is cause for worry
for a loved one
look at it in the light 
of the risen Christ

© Sister Odette Prévost
little sister of Jesus (Charles de Foucault)
assassinated in Algeria on 10 November 1995

or again in the original French:

Vis le jour d’aujourd’hui

Vis le jour d’aujourd’hui,
Dieu te le donne, il est à toi.
Vis le en Lui.

Le jour de demain est à Dieu
Il ne t’appartient pas.
Ne porte pas sur demain
le souci d’aujourd’hui.
Demain est à Dieu,
remets le lui.

Le moment présent est 
une frêle passerelle.
Si tu le charges des regrets d’hier,
de l’inquiétude de demain,
la passerelle cède
et tu perds pied.

Le passé ? Dieu le pardonne.
L’avenir ? Dieu le donne.
Vis le jour d’aujourd’hui
en communion avec Lui.

Et s’il y a lieu de t’inquiéter 
pour un être aimé,
regarde-le dans la lumière 
du Christ ressuscité.

© Sœur Odette Prévost
petite sœur de Jésus (Charles de Foucault)
assassinée en Algérie le 10 novembre 1995

As her short bio data says it so well, her life was not taken away from her, for she had already profoundly and consciously given it .

A big thank you to Pierre for this morning gift.

Photo: Sr. Odette Prévost

 

I have juxtaposed these two images to convey how my mind feels when it tries to reconcile the various messages I, as a woman, am receiving from Rome.

The Pontifical Council for Culture has recently posted on its site the outline of a document entitled, Women’s Culture: Equality and Difference, in preparation for a meeting in Rome, Feb 4-7, attended by Cardinals and prelates. It is accompanied by Man Ray’s Venere Restaurata (1936).

The choice of Man Ray’s work to illustrate the 12-page document has created a stir, covered by several articles (Crux: Vatican effort to talk about women’s issues stirs controversy; NCR: Sparks fly over choice of image for Vatican document for assembly on women) and blogs (Questions from a Ewe: Happy Irony Week!). Tweets have been flying as well as sparks, comments to various online journals posted.

To tell you the truth, I cannot bring myself to reading this document. The feminist Catholic that I am has a physical reaction to both the style of the content and the illustration: a reaction that brings back memories of bouts of morning sickness which I lived through 40+ years ago.

Pope Francis is doing a great job in Rome. He is, in many ways, an answer to my prayers. The dressing down and reform of the Curia; the reform of the Vatican bank; the beatification of Msgr Romero; his attacks on unjust economy; his defense of the poor; his giving sleeping bags to homeless on his birthday; his daily homilies. What more can I ask of this man?

Well, nobody’s perfect. When it comes to the ‘Women’s Questions” in Rome, Pope Francis is very poorly advised. I would recommend he appoints eight or nine women theologians brought from the five continents, asking them to plan a Synod on Women to be attended by an equal number of women and men.

To be honest with you, when I first saw the Man Ray statue, I was so upset that I was going to suggest to simply close down the Vatican. All hopes were gone. Then, I realized my suggestion was a bit radical and I came up with the idea of the need to have parity in all meetings of the Catholic Roman Church.

I may have odd news for some: the Holy Spirit does not only call and come to ordained men. The Holy Spirit calls, speaks to and through all people, whether Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female, gay or straight, black, white, brown, or yellow, rich or poor, lay or ordained.

Which is why: Women’s voices, women’s points of view, women’s life stories, women’s laughters and women’s tears have to echo finally in the corridors of the Vatican. They need to bring “Life!” into the mausoleum that the Vatican has turned into.

And Pleeeeease remove this illustration which comes out of a weird mind, the one who made it and the one who chose it. It is like a “metaphor” bringing out to this old imagination of mine images that are utterly revolting.

What would Blessed Virgin Mary say about it?

Agh…

Illustration: Immaculate Conception; Man Ray’s already cited work.

Prayers come in all shapes, colors, and styles.

Take these past weeks. Some family members and friends prayed for Paul and me. Thus, some Catholics, Protestants (of various denominations), atheists, New Age-rs, Hindus, and someone believing in fairies (des fées) came to the rescue. They prayed for us, sent us reiki, or light, and one asked a legion of fairies to take us through an unpleasant, uncomfortable time.

I can imagine the Prayer Central Command receiving this influx of prayers of all sorts flooding Heaven for this old couple in France. All together, they looked like prayer flags in Tibet, or like a Ben & Jerry ice-cream assortment. What’s this? asked a dispatcher. I don’t know to whom I should forward them or how to file them… And Godde smiled. She knew better. Prayers have a way of making their way to Her, from wherever they come, whomever happens to say them.

Prayers are goodness incarnate curling upward like the smoke of an incense stick.

I wish we would all pray more. There are so many reasons to pray. So much hardship everywhere, so much injustice, so much violence. We should pray to understand other religions and to love people, believers or not. We should wish the world well. We should trust that Godde’s grace will win whatever comes.

Prayer for others brings out power, energy, a strength that we don’t even know we have. Prayer means standing naked in front of Godde, emotionally naked that is, if this makes you feel more comfortable. Prayer requires honesty, showing Godde what I don’t dare looking at usually when I am alone. But with Godde nothing is impossible: I can look at what I normally prefer to hide.

Today at lunchtime, Paul and I went to mass. To say thank you and pray for all those who prayed for us. The chapel felt like home. Holding hands with a neighbor for the Our Father, someone I had never seen before. Standing in front of Godde, our hearts overflowing with gratitude to have friends who enjoy praying for us when we ask them.

Who can ask for more?

Illustration: Found here

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