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Sr Kathryn's Podcast - Touching the Sunrise
15 minutes | Jun 8, 2022
Horizons of the Heart 3: How to know for sure God loves you
The grace we are asking of God: A deep confidence and a consistent trust in God’s care for us and his nearness to us in every moment, even in the events of our life that are our undoing. Horizons of the Heart: Horizons of the Heart is a weekly retreat-in-life inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, Donec Formetur by Blessed James Alberione, and my own notes from my thirty-day Ignatian retreat in 2022. I love to pray Psalm 103, particularly with the translation of the New Jerusalem Bible: Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths of my being, his holy name; bless Yahweh, my soul, never forget all his acts of kindness. ….Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger and rich in faithful love; his indignation does not last for ever, nor his resentment remain for all time; he does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor repay us as befits our offences. As the height of heaven above earth, so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him. …As tenderly as a father treats his children, so Yahweh treats those who fear him; he knows of what we are made, he remembers that we are dust” (vv. 1-2, 6-11, 13-14). The day I meditated on this passage of Scripture at the beginning of my retreat, my soul was bleeding to know, truly know, that God cared for me, loved me, was near to me. Did you ever ask yourself: What would it look like if God were caring for me? How can I know for sure?
10 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
Horizons of the Heart 2: The Amazing Promise of New Beginnings
Horizons of the Heart: Horizons of the Heart is a weekly retreat-in-life inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, Donec Formetus by Blessed James Alberione, and my own notes from my thirty-day Ignatian retreat in 2022. Beginnings are more important than endings. In fact, beginnings are already woven into every ending. The ending of the life the caterpillar has always known is already integrated into the process of the butterfly’s new beginning. The seeming ending of the Master’s life on Calvary was mysteriously taken up, and gently, in the Father’s hands, it became the stage for the mystery of resurrection beginnings that would be lived again and again and again in Jesus’ disciples' lives. “Why would you look for the living One in a tomb?” said the angels in white, angels of the resurrection whose radiance washed away the black sorrow of the ending of the Lord’s life on Calvary (Luke 24:5 TPT). The women who had come to seek the Lord buried in the tomb, locked behind a giant stone, dead, whom they feared they would see no more, these women faced the darkness of the sepulcher now lit with almost blinding brilliance. “He is not here. He is risen.” “There’s no reason to be afraid” (Mt. 28:5). Pause a moment and think of an ending in your life that was particularly sudden, seemingly absolute. Or an ending you are living through now: termination, loss, failure. Any ending. One as great as the breaking of a relationship or losing a pet, or moving, or retiring. Or one as beautiful as the wedding of a child or the turning of a new leaf in life. Any ending. Don’t endings bring on feelings of fear? “There’s no reason to be afraid,” said the angel to the women. I’m not so sure that the command to not be afraid actually shifted their fear into trust. Nevertheless, it is helpful to remember that amid all our dread, struggle, the anticipation of an uncertain future, the uncertainty about what is happening, there is something permanent that is the reason why we needn’t fear…needn’t fear deep down, needn’t believe the absolute worst, needn’t believe that the ending is, well, an absolute and final and irrevocable end. “I know you’re here looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here—he has risen victoriously, just as he said! Come inside the tomb and see the place where our Lord was lying” (Matthew 28:5-6 TPT).
11 minutes | May 27, 2022
Horizons of the Heart 1: Say a Strong YES to Your Existence
he most difficult thing about being a follower of Jesus Christ is not climbing mountains of virtue or even walking through the valleys of incomprehensible sorrow. No. As difficult as these things may be, there is one thing more difficult still. Strangely, it is something even a child can do. Something we were created to do. Yet we, caught in the complex web of adulthood, we, more sophisticated Christians so far from the simple childlike faith that pleases so much the heart of God, we find this one thing, I dare say, almost impossible. We can talk about it, pray about it, preach about it, encourage others to do it. However, to totally and completely do this ourselves is the most difficult. Though it is the deepest desire of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to see this in us, we’d rather do everything else but this. The first thing to which we are invited—nay rather pushed to risk everything we have in order to do—is this: to trust. To trust that God knows my name. That God cares about me. That Jesus is speaking the truth when he says, “I love a single soul as much as I love all souls together.” To trust that God reveals himself to me daily, even in each moment, in every situation without exception. That I am loved as I am. This love that flows to us from God’s heart is the most basic and secure fact of my life....
17 minutes | Jan 18, 2022
How to sustain prayerful strength in the face of tribulations
Friends, if you are struggling with being still in the arms of the God who walks with you through every event in your life, let these words of Psalm 46 and the example of Blessed Benedetta lead you into the arms of Love. Music used by permission: https://www.fesliyanstudios.com/
15 minutes | Jan 3, 2022
2022: Like Mary and Joseph Let Yourself Be Swept Up Into God’s Purposes
You are an indispensable instrument of God’s plan and in perfectly surrendering to the divine flow of love, as mysterious and incomprehensible as it sometimes appears, you will find your happiness. New Year's Resolutions often target weaknesses in order to increase strengths so we can be who we want to be. Mystery and divine providence often relies specifically on our weaknesses to be the places where the glory of God shines through as we play our part in the drama of the mysterious plan of salvation. In the end, life is Mystery: not perplexing confusion, but the Wisdom that is larger than our strategies, the Future that is greater than our projects, the Love that will encompass all of our potential. Mystery means God has a plan for you that is perfect in every way, a plan that can encompass and save even suffering and disappointment. Mystery means God will use you just as you are for a plan that has existed since before the foundation of the world and will exist into the unending future of the eternal kingdom.
12 minutes | Dec 13, 2021
At Christmas, it‘s okay to feel just the way you do...
I've been missing for 6 months because I've been home caregiving for my parents. What a gift, what a wealth of healing and mercy it has been. Today I share a story from a young mother whom I observed yesterday that was also a moment of healing and grace. As we gather near Jesus this Christmas season, we all have moments of tears, wistful memories of what could have been, empty places in our hearts and at our tables…. We sometimes shed tears, and are unable to explain exactly what they mean or what it is we need. God, like a good mother, says to you, “It’s okay to cry.” God wraps his arms around you, kneels down to look you right in the eye, and whispers, “It’s okay to feel the way you do.” In a season where we are told we should be happy and nostalgic and romantic and excitedly anticipating sleigh rides “over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go….”, it’s more than okay if your heart also carries a weight that is tearing open the veil to eternity from whence comes “the Dawn from on High.” Music from ashamaluevmusic "Heaven"
37 minutes | Jun 5, 2021
Meditation for Corpus Christi: The Inexhaustible Mystery of the Eucharist
O Eucharistic heart of Jesus, In you I find hope and freedom, truth and belonging, forgiveness and healing, friendship and mercy and life! In your Eucharistic heart, O Jesus Christ, I experience the greatest love. You make me worthy of love, you make me capable of loving others as you have loved me. O Jesus, in the Eucharist you rescue me from despair by attaching me to yourself, the Source of all Life. Without you I can do nothing (John 15:5).
14 minutes | May 4, 2021
How the stillness of God can help us be still....
The stillness of humility... Be still. Comforting words that we find in Psalm 46. “Be still and know that I am God.” For me, these words conjure up quiet moments in a sacred space or beautiful place in nature. To do “be still” I could imagine calming myself down and enjoying a heart at peace, a world at peace, relationships at peace… Which they are not. Our world is anything but in peace. Being a fallen human being not every one of my relationships is at peace. And when I try to be quiet my heart struggles to find inner rest, and my mind takes off like wild stallions. Be still. Our hearts are rocked at times with reactive emotions and deep storms of fear and resentment. Our minds filled with useless, cynical, and angry thoughts that like gnats destroy our peace. I can hold my Father’s hand and bow to what I cannot change, determined nonetheless to care compassionately and see others with God’s eyes, confident that I need not prove, finish, or amount to anything to be his beloved daughter.
20 minutes | Apr 28, 2021
When You Wonder How the Pieces Fit Together: A Midlife Reflection
In his unpublished manuscript The Wound of Existence, James Moran talks about the game we adults play, the game of “happy ever endings,” overcoming every challenge, “blasting” through every obstacle. We find our consolations in the crutches of ego, predictable order and reliable control, measurements, outcomes, neat and tidy boxes where we label everything to keep it safe. We are all in this game that is stretched out on the surface of reality and only by remaining on the surface, contrary to every heart’s call to the deep, can we stay in the game. But life’s purpose isn’t fulfilled by games of child’s play. It is that uncontrollable twist of our life’s story that brings shipwreck to the games, casts our hearts into the nothingness of a future that we cannot control, and ultimately puts us into the arms of God. These twists and turns of our life can be dramatic or simple, but they are there to free us from illusion and deepen our joy in life.....
19 minutes | Apr 21, 2021
Let Jesus break open your heart: An Easter meditation
There are times when we have to deal with big questions. And then there are times when big questions sear deeply into our identity, shake our consciousness, tear our hearts with guilt. They toss us about with fear, doubt, and loneliness. The big questions seem to be dealing with us. We might stay up at night wondering where we fit in God’s plan. Questions haunt us: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? How will I go on from here? When we’re haunted by these big questions, we are like the apostles after Calvary’s sorrow and the collapse of their hope, when rumors suddenly swirled around that some of them had seen Jesus alive. How they must have longed to see once again the face of their Beloved Master, and yet also perhaps felt their hearts shrink in the uncertainty of what his eyes would say to them. The forty days of Easter before the Ascension are like an educative process. After the resurrection, Jesus doesn’t engage the apostles on the level of emotion. He becomes their guide through the complexities of their hearts and the events that left them fearing what God’s plan might be. To them, Jesus asserts the authority and gentle power of his presence: Do not be afraid. It is I.
20 minutes | Apr 13, 2021
Jesus meets us at our charcoal fires
The joy of Easter is the joy of the Gospel, the Good News that breaks open our lives with the possibility of mercy and hope. That life could be more than we could ever have dreamed, that our days could be other than what we believe we’ve deserved. Resurrection joy this year has been a time of real grace for me. I like to imagine the apostles after the Resurrection. The Gospel stories leave us with a sense of breathless wonder and excited disbelief. Slowly, though, ever so slowly do our minds change and our hearts reshape their hopes. There must have been such gentleness about the gradual realization that Someone had changed everything about what they thought would be their future. Even Jesus thoughtfully came again and again in different places, in different ways, to help his incredulous followers take in sips the ultimate Reality of his Resurrection and continuous presence in and among them. Slowly is the perfect word to describe this Easter for me. Slowly has my heart warmed to the fact that I am different than who I thought I was. Broken then, still broken now, but loved forever.
21 minutes | Mar 16, 2021
St Patrick: Wisdom on Hospitality and Protection
As we come near the end of the pandemic we realize this St Patrick's Day that it was around this day last year that lockdown's began here in the United States. This great saint can teach us much about hospitality and protection as we emerge from isolation.
18 minutes | Feb 20, 2021
What are you doing for Lent?
Today I invited both Sr Julia Mary and Jeannette de Beauvoir for a conversation about Lent... Lent in a pandemic, doing penance when we feel like we've been doing penance all year, should we make resolutions for Lenten practice or is there something better, what are some secrets for a fruitful and grace-filled Lent. I hope you join us!
12 minutes | Feb 14, 2021
Lent 2021: Jesus says “Come” and “Trust”
Here we are in our second pandemic Lent. Maybe we feel that we have been in Lent all through these twelve virus-riddled months. Maybe we’re dreading a season of greater penance when we’re longing to get loose from restrictions as they are somewhat lifted. Maybe we’re just numb and Lent isn’t registering at all. We’re just too tired to face it. Or perhaps the familiar rituals and practices of Lent offer comfort when we are so in need of something or Someone who understands and can do something. about what’s happening to us. ... I stood beside the leper in Mark’s Gospel who dared to approach Jesus and tell him confidently: “If you will, you can cure me!” Lepers by regulation, as we saw above, were to remain outside the camp so as not to infect others. This leper, however, risked everything by approaching Jesus who no doubt was surrounded by a crowd of people. In the two lines of the Gospel story it seems like it was an ordinary run-of-the-mill request. Leper shows up and makes his request. To his request, Jesus responds, “I do will it, be cured.” End of story. Can you imagine, though, the drama as people realized a leper was standing “inside the community space” right next to them. The leper was a threat to their health and survival. And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched the leper. Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t tell him to leave because he was a danger to him. He didn’t even call attention to how he was breaking the regulations. Instead he heard only the request. He saw only the leper’s heart. He was moved only by his most compassionate love that brought him to earth to save and heal a wounded race.
10 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
Song of Quiet Trust: A Midlife Meditation
These past two weeks I have spent from 3 to 5 hours most evenings or early mornings sitting beside a dear sister-friend who was making her last great ascent. That final walk. The ultimate journey. The loving return. Each breath of hers was precious and on that last night before she died God helped me to realize that in the end, really, that is all we have…our breath…our current breath. We are not promised our next breath. We already have kissed the last breath goodbye. We cannot cling to it, as we cannot hold onto the past. And even that breath is a gift. A gift of total gratuitously glorious love from a divine Lover who is supporting us in his arms even as we breath. On that last ascent, it will not matter what we have created or achieved or known or acquired. The fact that I have written a book, or started a company, or sold an astounding number of widgets, or even loved will not be mine as a monument to me.. I will have only this breath that is a gift to me right now at this moment.
17 minutes | Jan 24, 2021
Blessed be the Lord who has come to us and set us free
The years of midlife. Transitions. Endings. Wanderings. Grieving. But also new beginnings. Surprises. Unexpected redirection. Unsuspected rewrites to your accepted narrative for the “you” that you’ve grown comfortable with. This is the first in a series on the middle years in which we are looking at our midlife transitions, our ultimate yesses to our vocations in the light of the women and men who at midlife responded to God's gift and call. Today we're talking about Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptist.
10 minutes | Dec 26, 2020
How To Bless Your Christmas Tears
This year’s Christmas season is not laden with the expectations of extended family celebrations, festive Christmas meals, and open doors to visitors come to share the joy of the days of rest and peace that fill the Christmas season. Pandemic loss and grief weigh upon these Christmas days and bring shadows to our hearts. Maybe we feel empty. Like the world has stopped. Worry for the future seeps into the celebration of God-with-us who was born among us…. And…where is he for me? Now? Your heart’s cry, whatever it may be, let it blend with the wail of the Infant King that midnight at his birth. Sr Kathryn Hermes, FSP, author of Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach and Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life's Disappointments
17 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
How we know when God is doing something new: A Meditation on St Joseph
As we journey into the new year I’ve been thinking a lot about St Joseph. He is a “star” in the Christmas narrative, leading Mary to Bethlehem for the census. He protected her on that blessed night when the Savior of the world was born in a stable in the midnight dark. Joseph stands out again as he saves the day, whisking Mary and Jesus off to Egypt and safely out of the clutches of Herod, who attempted to kill the baby. Perhaps from the perspective of our eternal reward we’ll see how we too were the amazing actors in a moment of history—large or small—upon which the future of others rested. But as Joseph trudged away from Nazareth I think he wasn’t imagining himself in any saintly celebrity status. He was leaving his plans, his preparations for the Messiah’s birth, his workshop and place in Nazareth as the village carpenter. He was leaving behind his family, his support, his home, his synagogue. He left everything he had known, built, and shared for so many years of his life: the self he knew, the role he played in the community, his place in the larger family. He walked into silence, mystery, glory…
21 minutes | Dec 2, 2020
The Amazing Way God Stoops Down to Us in Advent
This is probably a more difficult Advent than most, a time when we long for the joys of Christmas, even for our own emotional equilibrium. Today we talk about how God stoops to us in our weakness with an amazing love that changes everything.
19 minutes | Nov 17, 2020
The Kingdom of Christ
This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. I've been thinking a lot about the Kingdom of Christ within me, how I surrender to the power of the King, how I turn my life over entirely to the reign of the Kingdom. As we close this year, it is a perfect liturgical Feast to prepare us for Advent and Christmas. Both an end and a beginning.
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