Tidbits to Inspire

MusicistheLanguageofSoulpromoLast week I took a delightful vacation with my mom. One way we usually enjoy our time together is to pick out great music and listen to it!

Rest and relaxation is an important part of the creative cycle, just as silence is a crucial part of communication. But while I’ve been relaxing, some of the sisters have been quite busy. Check out the following links for fun, inspiration, and info!

YourLoveCarriesMepromoThis issue of our Discover Hope newsletter features our Daughters of Saint Paul’s newest album, Your Love Carries Me. The music is really beautiful. I just started listening to it myself, and at the moment my favorite song is Glorious Day. Enjoy these “behind the curtain” stories of the choir sisters, as well as the music clips!

UnderstandingLoveSpinelloDr. Richard Spinello, author of PBM’s new book, Understanding Love and Responsibility, was a guest on EWTN’s “At Home with Jim and Joy Pinto” on August 15, 2014. Listen in to his remarkably accessible and cogent “take” on Pope St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body in this downloadable podcast.

One of my favorite Pauline blogs, the Pauline Cooperators blog, has relaunched, and will feature a variety of Paulines who will blog, both religious and lay. Check it out and subscribe if you’ve enjoyed the “Pauline twist” of many of my posts here.

SrMargaretKerrySr. Margaret Charles Kerry, fsp, has guest blogged a wonderful post on living the New Evangelization at CatholicMom.com. I enjoyed “We Are Gospel: A Living Evangelization” immensely for its Pauline themes of transformation in Christ and how she links Pope Francis’s integrated way of speaking of Baptism and Evangelization with our Pauline spirituality.

 

Letter of Saint Paul to the World

This year is the 100th anniversary of the entire Pauline Family, and next year, 2015 is the centenary year of the founding of the Daughters of Saint Paul. With all these anniversaries, some of our young sisters in formation have created some wonderful digital presentations about our anniversaries.

The Pauline Family, founded by Blessed James Alberione, is made up of ten institutes. Alberione gave all of us together the mission of being Saint Paul alive today. This video is how one of our sisters envisions the Pauline Family being a letter of Saint Paul to the world:

For more information  about the Pauline Centenary and our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, visit: www.MediaApostle.com.

 

Together we communicate…

IMG_0011Chosen and loved in Christ Jesus, together we communicate the Gospel to everyone (cont’d)

Jesus Way, Truth, and Life, is the center and heart of our lives and vocations as Daughters of Saint Paul. Our prayer together has a wonderful way of uniting us. After prayer, in our day to day living, we sometimes struggle with our differences: of personality, opinions, likes and dislikes, ideas, ways of doing things–even the way of cleaning the kitchen! But no matter what else is going on in our lives, what always brings us together is our mission.

Together we communicate the Gospel to everyone. 

One of the keys to being effective communicators in today’s media culture is the ability to collaborate. I see this lived out frequently in my community, the Daughters of Saint Paul, but I recently witnessed an extraordinary example of collaboration by some other wonderful Catholic communicators.

CathTVlogoPauline Video and Catholic TV are collaborating to create a TV/DVD program, and we recently had a week-long shoot. As with any production, the schedule was demanding, but this program’s was especially so, with many elements that made it much more complex to shoot. Each day required trying something new and often called for new talent, including children.

Despite the long hours, repeated takes, falling behind schedule, and the need to sometimes take a new approach when something wasn’t working, the entire staff at Catholic TV were calm, creative, making suggestions, and working together to make every shot its best. I was so inspired to be there with them and to witness the director’s leadership and the entire team’s generosity and persistence. They encourage me to be a better communicator.

Sometimes “how” we communicate is even more important than “what” we actually say. The love and patience of the staff at Catholic TV will come across in the program itself: not just in the quality shots, but in the creativity, in the focus on the message of Christ, and in the joy visible onscreen. The staff’s very personal witness to the Gospel was not just to the eventual viewers of the program; they also witnessed to me, the other sisters, the talent, and each other.

Cherished Time of Prayer

ConcordRiverFullwTreeHere by the river is one of my cherished prayer-spots during this past week’s retreat, where God made his presence felt.

I was touched to receive prayer intentions from so many of you last week. I dedicated a certain day to each prayer intention, as well as praying for everyone through the week. Some of you offered prayers for me and for the other sisters making retreat–your prayers were certainly answered! Thank you so much for sharing this cherished time of prayer with me–through your intentions and prayers.

It was a profound, beautiful, comforting and challenging week…all the things that retreats should be. Most of all, it was a delight just to be able to focus on the Lord and listen to his loving voice. I know I will continue to “unpack” the spiritual fruits of my retreat in the coming weeks and months. One of the Scripture passage that spoke to me especially was Matthew 6:25-33–that if we set our heart on the Lord, we do not need to worry because he will provide for us.

I also prayed for all the new media initiatives coming up…among many others, especially: my newest book Soul of Christ: Meditations on a Timeless Prayer (November release!), the two upcoming digital magazines that we’re just starting to prepare, several new developing sections for our www.pauline.org website, the new DVDs about Our Lady of Fatima and Pope Francis (releasing in August!), and the soon-to-be released film about our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, Media Apostle. 

My prayer for you

As I begin retreat this evening (Saturday evening, although I’m scheduling this post to go up on Monday), I gather all the intentions you have shared with me, and offer them with you to our loving God. In addition to many specific intentions for others (what generous readers you are!), many of you also asked me to pray for your spiritual growth, and you offered to pray for me. I am honored to make this retreat “with” you in this way. Saint Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians captures well the spirit of my prayer for you and for myself:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:14-21)

Can I Pray for You?

IMG_0101I will be away for my annual eight-day retreat from July 19th-28th, 2014, and it would be my joy to pray for you and your intentions in a particular way! Send me your prayer intention(s) by using the form in this post  or in the comments below. After July 19th I won’t respond by email, but I will continue to check in every day of the retreat for your intentions.

 

Love, foundation of all true communication

Last month (June 18th) I mentioned that, to prepare for our centenary year of the foundation of the Daughters of Saint Paul, I wanted to share a bit more about our communication spirituality and how it’s transformed my life.

IMG_0499Chosen and loved in Christ Jesus, together we communicate the Gospel to everyone.

These words were the theme of one of our recent General Chapters, and they have really stayed with me as a way of understanding and expressing what it means to be a Daughter of Saint Paul. At the same time, in a general way, these words apply to everyone who has been baptized!

Chosen and loved
The basic foundation of life is love. We are created by a God who loves us so much that he chooses to create us (not one of the other countless possibilities God in his infinity could come up with). As Saint Paul uses this phrase, though, it means even more than our being created by Love. “Chosen and loved” also means that we are chosen for a special reason, a unique purpose that only we can fulfill.

In The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien describes creation as God’s beautiful symphony. Each of us has our unique part to play in God’s universe-sized orchestra. Sometimes we carry the melody, sometimes we might play harmony, sometimes we provide back up or “depth” to another instrument, and sometimes we may simply be silent (or turn the page of the score for another player). But always we are interweaving with others, offering our unique “sound” to the symphony of beauty and purpose that God has designed.

Being chosen means that God gives us the joy of being special, of being needed, of having purpose in this world, of making a difference in others’ lives, of giving ourselves fully in love–which is the deepest joy we can experience as human beings.

in Christ Jesus
This phrase totally captures Saint Paul’s spirit, and I hope that someday, it totally captures the whole of my life experience. Because of the gift of my Baptism and God’s grace, all of my life is in Christ, whether I realize it or not.

But it’s not enough for me to simply know this. I want to respond to his loving invitation to “remain in him” (John 15:4) and completely dedicate every moment of my life to Christ. I want all my efforts and motives to be focused on seeking the kingdom of God; I want my every thought, word, feeling and action to be fully his.

I am still far from my goal of belonging completely to Christ, but my comfort is that he knows that my desire for this is growing, and it is his grace that will transform me so that one day–in heaven if not on earth–I will belong completely to him.

This real, passionate, “total” relationship with Christ becomes the foundation of all my actions and choices, as I hope to post about further next week: together we communicate the Gospel to everyone.