Spirituality

Reflection for the third week of advent

Sunday, December 17, 2017

in News

No Time To Stifle Ourselves

Many will know of the 1970’s television series, All In The Family. The two main characters were Archie Bunker and his wife Edith Bunker. Archie was a crusty, unfiltered blue-collar guy who expressed opinions on race, religion and other social topics in a way that would make people cringe today. Edith, though sometimes ditsy and confused, could take on Archie with surprising wisdom and strength. When Archie didn’t like what he heard from Edith, he would dismiss her with a brusque “Stifle yourself, Edith!”

Edith didn’t always stifle herself. When Archie challenged her most deeply held thoughts and feelings, she let him know he had finally crossed a line and pushed him back into his place.

The Third Sunday of Advent has traditionally been called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoice. In the past when our observance of Advent was more akin to a Lenten discipline, this Sunday was a time to take a breather and celebrate the nearness of Christmas. The scripture selections for this Sunday still reflect the theme of rejoicing, calling us to “rejoice heartily in the Lord.”

Henri Nouwen wrote of joy as an internal orientation that is not dependent on external circumstances, whether they are good or bad. Joy is rooted in the sense of unconditional love—love that comes from God and is experienced in those around us.  

Joy requires confidence and trust that this love is real, reliable and never ending. Reflecting more deeply on the scriptures for the Third Sunday of Advent, we see Isaiah’s confidence at work as he describes his sense of purpose: to bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted and bring release to prisoners. This confidence is rooted in his relationship with God, in what he calls, “the joy of my soul.” Similarly, John the Baptizer knows his place in relationship to Jesus, he says: “I am not the Messiah … I am a voice in the desert crying out: Make straight the way of the Lord!” Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to live from a sense of joy because God’s love for them has been expressed in Christ Jesus.

This week of Advent is less about seeing Christmas near at hand, and more about renewing our sense of purpose and our unique place in the unfolding process of bringing about God’s reign. The work continues and we have a part to play.

We experience pressure from many sources that tell us to stifle ourselves, sometimes draining energy from our unique mission as a health ministry and our own sense of purpose as individuals.

The confidence of Isaiah, Paul and John in their relationship with God and purpose in the world models what a deeply held conviction can do for us.

This week of Advent may be a time for us to guard carefully against those influences that would tell us to “stifle ourselves.” Like Edith Bunker, may we find the right time and place to draw the line. May the examples of Isaiah, Paul and John give us the wisdom to know when that is.

Copyright 2017 Catholic Health Association of the United States. Reposted with permission.

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Spirituality and You: Pray

Monday, November 6, 2017

in News

Every spiritual tradition has its own form of prayer: ways in which we connect our essence with the divine essence as we understand it. There is no one way to pray. We can speak or remain in silence. We can sit or walk or pray lying down. We can be still or dance. We can be alone or with others. It does not matter which prayer form we use, only that we engage it. When we do, our spirit is enduringly connected to the spirit of the universe and to all beings everywhere.

Janice L. Lundy

hands in prayer

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Spirituality and You: Facing Change

Monday, October 23, 2017

It comes at us constantly
sometimes in a whisper
like a falling leaf
sometimes like a river
roaring through a gorge.
It is all we know: change
all we are: ever-evolving
creatures of nature.
Next time you hear
the stubborn bray
of your donkey voice
resisting the horizon ahead
take a lesson from your Mother.
Watch how summer kneels down
when she hears the flutter of fall.
Notice how spring [more…]

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Hospitality: Cultivating Inclusion during Pastoral Care Week

Sunday, October 22, 2017
hands with rosary

October 22-28 is a time to recognize the spiritual needs of those we serve and the spiritual care given through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling within our communities. Chaplains, pastoral care counselors, educators and care providers will share in this year’s theme, “Hospitality: Cultivating Inclusion.”
Regardless of spiritual, religious or cultural background, Pastoral Care Week celebrates [more…]

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Thanking physicians on the Feast of St. Luke

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

We celebrate the feast day of St. Luke, patron saint of physicians, on October 18 and celebrate physicians who continue to provide compassionate care. We are grateful for the physicians that care for individuals at Jennings, as well as the many other doctors and surgeons who touch our lives. St. Luke, care for their gentle [more…]

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Residents pray for end to violence

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Feeling the weight of recent events, Jennings residents sought a way to take action. Sister Valerie Sweeney, Director of Mission and Ministry at Jennings, coordinated a prayer service that offered an activity of unity that also reflects Jennings’ value of compassion. All who wished to participate were invited to join, with residents also taking on [more…]

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Spirituality and You: Consciousness

Monday, October 9, 2017

Examination of Consciousness
Did you say only kind words today?
Did you remember your thoughts become your life?
Did you say thank you as often as you were grateful?
Did you shine your light?
Did you laugh out loud?
Did you sing?
Did you hug anyone?
Did you love your body?
Did you see yourself reflected in anyone?
Were you thankful?
Did you say it?
 
—Jan Phillips

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Spirituality and You: Patience

Monday, September 18, 2017

An affirmation for patience:
Patience is a spiritual practice that is beneficial to cultivate so I can feel more at ease in my life. I grow through every human experience, especially those that I don’t like or plan for. There is divine order woven into the fabric of my days. 
 –by Jan Lundy

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Spirituality and You: The Candle and the Mirror

Monday, September 11, 2017

Edith Wharton has said that there are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Sometimes we are the candle. We shed light of love and hope. We shine encouragement into dark souls, for this is a bleak and cold world for too many people, a frightening [more…]

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Spirituality and You: The “Be”-Attitudes

Monday, August 28, 2017

Be understanding to your enemies. Be loyal to your friends.
Be strong enough to face the world each day. Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.
Be generous to those who need your help. Be frugal with what you need yourself.
Be wise enough to know that you do not know everything. Be foolish enough [more…]

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