by Sr. Marie Paul Curley
This week I celebrated my birthday. But this year, my birthday joy was mixed with the discomfort of transition and adjustment.
I transferred from Toronto to Boston earlier this month—from a small community of six sisters to a large community of about 80 sisters. The move, the initial settling in, the demands of my new departments, the effort to “catch up” to many projects already started (like our webathon)—all this “newness” has made for a beautiful but challenging couple of weeks. Perhaps because I’m so focused on trying to respond to the newness around me, I’ve been feeling a bit lost interiorly. Even the Lord seemed far away. So on my birthday, I took a step back to consider these past couple weeks.
Although I tried to take stock prayerfully, it wasn’t easy: the homesickness I’ve been too busy to acknowledge roared up; the constant efforts to adjust felt impossible to keep up; the new responsibilities felt overwhelming. Discouraged, I tried to place it all at the feet of Jesus, but my faith just didn’t feel that strong. Am I really offering this to him, or just complaining? I questioned myself. So I prayed for the grace to live this moment of discomfort—whether the moment ends up being days, weeks, or months long—as a time of trust in Jesus Master’s loving plan for me. And I also asked, “Beloved, if my offering is pleasing to you—if this really is part of your plan for me—help me to know that and to keep living it in love and faith.”
Late in the day, I passed by my mailbox and found a couple of birthday cards. Touched by the thoughtfulness of the sisters, I opened them right away. One was from a sister whom I don’t know very well. Inside her card, I found a beautiful reflection about how change is a time for planting seeds, for hidden growth that brings forth new life. Immediately, my prayer of the morning came back to me. Jesus understood that I needed a little help to see my transition as a way to re-offer my life to him—and he offered that help through a sister who doesn’t even know me very well!
Now, as I look ahead to the challenges of the next few months, I count on finding strength in my daily encounters with Jesus, our Eucharistic Master, who so lovingly walks with me. Pope Francis’s encyclical, Lumen Fidei, describes the beauty of building our lives on faith in God’s love:
Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfillment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us (Lumen Fidei, #4).
The touchstone for my prayer is my relationship with Jesus, my beloved Master, a relationship built on his amazing love. Christ’s love is not a warm, fuzzy feeling. Rather, Christ’s love actively seeks the best for us. Because his love is all-powerful, Jesus never fails. Even when the situations we’re in don’t seem that they are “best” for us, God’s love transforms them—from painful to life-giving, from a dead-end to something we can grow from, from the Cross to the Resurrection.
This weekend, I will rejoice as our Boston community celebrates a Pauline feast which you won’t find on any church calendar: the Feast of the Divine Master. In this special feast day—just for the Pauline Family but which I invite you to celebrate with us!—we adore and praise Jesus, our Divine Master, Way, Truth, and Life, who wants to draw each of us into a communion of love with the Most Blessed Trinity. Jesus’s “mastery” is not in woodworking or preaching. Jesus is the Divine Master of Love—he gives himself in love completely to us in the Eucharist, and he teaches us how we can communicate the light of faith in his love to all humanity. As the sisters and I joyfully celebrate Jesus Master’s love for all humanity this weekend, our prayer for you is that you, too, may encounter his love in the Eucharist and be blessed to build your life on his love.
Sr. Marie Paul is an author of books on the saints,
the Eucharist, and self-esteem.
We take this opportunity to let her introduce you to them....
NEW! Saints Alive! by Sr. Marie Paul Curley and Sr. Mary Lea Hill
| "These are my newest books on the saints! I loved co-authoring Saints Alive! because for me, the saints’ lives are each unique tapestries woven from God’s love. With 32 saints in each book, Saints Alive: the Faith Proclaimed and Saints Alive: the Gospel Witnessed are a truly enjoyable and easy way to get to know—and love—saints from all over the world and from all walks of life. Each saint has a chapter that includes: a compelling story about a key moment in their life where they responded to God’s love, a contemporary prayer, a Fact Box, and a 'Lesser Known Facts' box which has unusual and fascinating details about the saint." —Sr. Marie Paul
The Bread of Life: Prayers for Eucharistic Adoration
God's Presence made tangible in today's world
|Eucharistic adoration can be a powerfully transforming experience. The Eucharist is one of the most tangible ways God is present in our world today. If confusion or loneliness weighs too heavily on our hearts, if we struggle with meaninglessness, if we long to step off life's frantic treadmill and slow down to ponder the direction of our lives, Jesus invites us, "Come to me." The Eucharist can become our safest refuge.
The Bread of Life is a beautifully-produced, sturdy, nicely sized volume, and is a perfect companion for Eucharistic adoration. This prayer book, drawn from Scripture, the saints, the wisdom of the Church, contemporary spiritual writers, and the needs of pray-ers today, offers a comprehensive resource for those who would like to enrich their Eucharistic prayer, as well as for those who would like to begin but don't know where to start.
"Jesus’s gift of himself in the Eucharist is so awesome, yet it’s not always easy for us to show our love for Jesus by making an hour of adoration. I put together Bread of Life—Prayers for Eucharistic Adoration to offer people a dynamic way to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, with all my favorite Eucharistic prayers in one place." —Sr. Marie Paul
See Yourself through God's Eyes: 52 Meditations on Self-Esteem
Release from feeling you're not good enough
|"This little book grew out of my own struggles to accept God's love for me and develop a positive self-esteem. Discovering God's love has taken me on an amazing journey from self-hate to a positive self-acceptance. I wish I'd had a resource like this at the beginning of my journey, something that could have helped me cling to the seemingly impossible reality of God's love for me."
-From the Introduction
See Yourself Through God's Eyes will take you on a journey not only of self-discovery but of inner healing through the experience of how much you are cherished by God. These 52 meditations are short enough for daily prayer but profound enough to break open your heart to the grace that saves and rebuilds what has been broken. Indeed you will learn to see yourself through God's eyes!
"In difficult times, many of us struggle to believe in God’s love for us. I wrote See Yourself Through God’s Eyes for the times when I could have used reminders of how very much God’s amazing love can fill us and transform us." —Sr. Marie Paul