2018 Daily Lenten Reflections

Daily Lenten Reflections from the Loretto Community’s Mission Activities Team
A printable copy of all the reflections is available here.

Friday, February 16

Peace is always more elusive than conflict. Or is it? Perhaps we can build more peace by a refocus of our attention. Where does peace already exist in our world?
– From Karel Disponett, for the Loretto Committee for Peace

Saturday, February 17

“The boundary to who we include in our heart is the boundary to our freedom.” – Tara Brach.

Today we summon the courage to extend the boundaries of our compassion and love. We visualize our love moving out further into the world, inch by inch, person by person, creature by creature. We call in the most vulnerable and forgotten peoples: undocumented migrants traveling on foot to new lands, uninsured mothers, trans folkx of color, DACA recipients, refugees, laborers, and more. Our peace and love is with them, and we will continue to struggle for justice until they are free.
– From Coordinator Mallory Daily, for the Loretto Volunteers

First Sunday of Lent, February 18

“You have seen many things but not observed them; your ears are open but you do not hear.” Is 42:20
Yes, seen many things in decades of living but only through a glass darkly. A whole host of things parading before me half-seen.
Life half-lived then. What a pity! I would focus my vision, pierce through surfaces to see the dear freshness deep down in things. I would gather myself together, center down and in, move to the deepest layers of myself and all else that is.
The second half of life is for observing and really seeing. I have gotten the general lay of the land with what I have lived until now. But there is so much more to the whole universe than the general lay of the land. Do you think your eyes will hold out, carry you through this more intense viewing? I will use more than my eyes. I will use my whole being and make contact with the whole universe. Run it by me again. This time I will really see it.
And sounds. You wouldn’t believe all the sounds I’ve heard but not really heard or understood. Sounds of joy, elation, fright, anger, anguish, cries of hunger – hunger for all manner of things. Mysterious sounds, magnificent sounds, crescendos, off-beat sounds, nature sounds containing all the possible sounds and uttering them in varied combinations. All those utterances wanting to be heard more deeply in me and I have not understood them or even begun to grasp their meaning.
Meaning – that’s what I want more of. Understanding that which I most profoundly experience and turning it into me. Experiencing all that I experience more profoundly. Inner realities touching inner realities. Breaking through shells, whatever is hidden, breaking through barriers of all kinds.
Walking thoughtfully through a new heaven and a new Earth with a new me. Helping to build the new heaven, the new Earth, the new me. Being deeply present to all that I see and hear. Taking it all in. Breathing with it. Making it mine and then giving it all away. Gathering so as to scatter with a great lavishness. It is beginning yo create a magnificent rhythm for my life. I will try to follow it wherever it goes.
– From Maureen McCormack, SL for the Loretto Earth Network (LEN)

Monday, February 19


Come, O Life-giving Creator,
and rattle the door latch
of my slumbering heart.
Awaken me as you breathe upon
a winter-wrapped earth,
gently calling to life virgin Spring.

Awaken in these fortified days
of Lenten prayer and discipline
my youthful dream of holiness.
Call me forth from the prison camp
of my numerous past defeats
and my narrow patterns of being
to make my ordinary life extra-ordinarily alive,
through the passion of my love.

Show to me during these Lenten days
how to take the daily things of life
and by submerging them in the sacred,
to infuse them with a great love
for you, O God, and for others.
Guide me to perform simple acts of love and prayer,
the real works of reform and renewal
of this overture to the spring of the Spirit.

O Father of Jesus, Mother of Christ,
help me not to waste
these precious Lenten days
of my soul’s spiritual springtime.

Prayers for a Plenetary Pilgrim
By Edward Hays
– From Nancy Wittwer, for LEN

Tuesday, February 20

On Gratitude

I find that the practice of Gratitude helps me to be more fully present, and much more appreciative of all of the abundance in my life. I’ve recently learned that gratitude is associated with high levels of vitality, optimism and life satisfaction. Gratitude increases physical and mental well being, which in turn increases energy levels.

Here’s a quick and easy gratitude practice: Think of the letters www and ask What Went Well? Challenge yourself to do it daily and increase your list of things that are going well – for example, start by thinking of 3 things and writing them down in your journal. Increase your numbers each day so that you’re soon reflecting on over a dozen things that are going well in your life and in the world.

If you’d like to read more about Gratitude, you can check out the article “The 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life,” at http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/
– From Beth Blissman, for Loretto at the UN

Wednesday, February 21

It’s night upon the river, mid-February. Venus shines out of the wintry sky. From the distance, the Palisades loom starkly over the world. Such a night sends the mind back into those billion years it took to frame all this, the Great Red Oak itself a newcomer here by the embedded rock with its long glacial striations. It’s all here, too overwhelming for human endurance, were it not for radiant memories of the willows, seen earlier today . . . yellowing in the late evening sunlight.
“Valentine’s Eve” by Thomas Berry
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Thursday, February 22

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” Thich Nhat Hanh
– From Paulette Peterson, for the Loretto Committee for Peace

Friday, February 23

“Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Saturday, February 24

“Today, one of the single most fundamental determinants of the capacity of individuals to realize their full potential and rights is their place of birth.” – From the UN Secretary-General’s Report, Making Migration Work For All. Here “place” means country of origin, but I think it can also be applied to ethnicity, gender identity, economic participation, etc. Let 2018, and this Lenten season, be used as a time for us to confront our privileges. Let us confront them in a way that will help us do the work of Loretto and her justice mission effectively and humbly.
– From Mary Louise Pabello, LoVo at the UN and Nerinx Hall Alumna

Second Sunday of Lent, February 25

“Life on this planet is the very crucible of Divine love. To be here cannot be called an honor or a privilege – these words don’t do it justice. It is sacramental to be here. If we take the incarnation seriously, we know that this is where the action of Love is concentrated. So let’s get into the flow of this beautiful concentration and care for our planet, care for our bodies, care for our world. … I believe we need to go back to those principles that Teilhard laid out so profoundly that show how at higher levels of unity, deep differentiation and deep unity go hand in hand in the dynamic equilibrium.”
LCWR Occasional Papers, December 2017, “Shaping the Planet with Transformed Love” by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault.

– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Monday, February 26

Today and every day, let us remember, “Every time we sit at a table at night or in the morning to enjoy the fruits and grain and vegetables from our good earth, remember that they come from the work of men and women and children who have been exploited for generations…” Cesar Chavez
– From Rox Monterastelli, for LACC

Tuesday, February 27

Prayer for Migrants and Refugees
Lord Jesus, when you multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus, today you call us to welcome the members of God’s family who come to our land to escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.

Lord Jesus, help us by your grace,

To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people. We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
– From the Mission Activities Team

Wednesday, February 28

We can see a way forward in the wonderful Sufi saying, “Two stones can’t occupy the same place, but two fragrances can.” So when we blend this imaginal sphere, or as Rupert Sheldrake calls it, the morphogenic field, with the sincerity of our hearts and the virtues that accrue from consciousness work, we create a more circular relationality in which positive action occurs. Having people hold concerns together in prayer and hope over a wide field is a very, very valid channel of social interaction that brings matters to a tipping point where people begin to feel and act differently. When enough people see things differently, then something changes almost miraculously.
LCWR Occasional Papers, December 2017, “Shaping the Planet with Transformed Love” by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault.
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Thursday, March 1

I am sorry
if I
ever contributed
to the
of your heart.

Let us take a moment today to remind ourselves of our common love of humanity; to remember to love those who make our hearts suffer when we think of the violence and uncertainty they face. Let us reflect on how we can open our hearts to love one another. May we allow those suffering to take refuge in our loving embrace.
– From Jocelyn Trainer, LoVo at The Quixote Center, for the Loretto Volunteers

Friday, March 2

“We have to walk in a way that we only print peace and serenity on the Earth. Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh
– From Paulette Peterson, for the Loretto Committee for Peace

Saturday, March 3

Thank you for our Sister in Christ here, Katherine, thank you for the ministry you have called her to, as a scientist, as a physicist, and as a communicator, with people around the world about climate change. Lord, I believe that you have put her in this place, like Esther in the Bible, for such a time as this, and Lord we pray for your protection on her, particularly from the attacks that she receives for doing this work. Lord, may she continue to know that she need have no fear, for fear does not come from You. Lord, may you continue to strengthen her, And Lord we pray that You would change the tide of public opinion, not just in Texas, not just in the United States, but across the world in this area (of public concern). Change not just opinion, but change people’s hearts, so that they will respond, and be willing to care for their neighbor, to care for Your creation, to recognize that this is Your world, Lord. So Lord please bless Katherine, bless her in her remaining time here in the UK, and as she travels back to the US, and bless each of us as we go home. And may we take action on the basis of what we’ve heard tonight. In Jesus’ name, Amen. Prayer by Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, after John Stott London Lecture 2017 “Climate and Faith in the Public Sector – Katherine Hayhoe”
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Third Sunday of Lent, March 4

March 4 is the only day of the year that is also a command – here are some marching orders for us to reflect upon and share:
“Violence against women is learned. Each of us must examine – and change – the ways in which our own behavior might contribute to, enable, ignore or excuse all such forms of violence. I promise to do so, and to invite other men and allies to do the same.” — Patrick Stewart
The renowned actor Patrick Stewart has been a longtime outspoken advocate for survivors of domestic violence. He grew up in a home where his mother suffered frequent abuse from his father and has called violence against women the “single greatest human rights violation of our generation.”
Check out stories and resources available on the Mighty Girl website: http://www.amightygirl.com/
For an excellent resource for older teens and adults, we recommend “Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” (http://www.amightygirl.com/wh y-does-he-do-that)
– From Beth Blissman, for Loretto at the UN

Monday, March 5

“My fellow Americans: we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.” Barack Obama
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Tuesday, March 6

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” Rachel Carson
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Wednesday, March 7

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Thursday, March 8

“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.” – Mary Oliver. Today, call upon yourself. How will you use your imagination this Lenten season? Imagine your hopes and dreams. Imagine liberation and justice for all. And then keep going. Reach for your hopes and dreams. Persist in the struggle for justice, and never forget the places your imagination will take you.
– From Hannah Dorfman, LoVo at WATER in Washington, D.C., for the Loretto Volunteers

Friday, March 9

“When the mind is separated from the heart and trying to figure things out, it tends to run everything through a binary operating system which is skewed toward differentiation. I am me because I am not you. I feel I have to define, name, and protect my story which is different from your story. Using the mechanism of differentiation to organize our playing field results in a sense of scarcity. But when the mind is in the heart – and not the heart as a center of emotion, but the heart as a center of clear perception – the coherent field comes back together. With the heart and mind processing together neurologically, it is possible to see from a different place, to see from wholeness.”
LCWR Occasional Papers, December 2017, “Shaping the Planet with Transformed Love” by Rev. Dr. Cynthia Bourgeault.
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Saturday, March 10

“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.” Thich Nhat Hanh
– From Paulette Peterson, for the Loretto Committee for Peace

Fourth Sunday of Lent, March 11

“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.” – Dorothy Day. During this Lenten season, let us push aside the distractions, indulgences, and frustrations of our everyday lives in order to focus more sharply on the one thing that truly belongs to us, and that we belong to: community. Without the love of others, we truly have nothing. So today I urge you to take the time to connect more deeply to those around you, and by extension, God.

– From Melissa Feito, LoVo at Interfaith Voices, for the Loretto Volunteers

Monday, March 12

Let this life in you burst open
Seek first the reign of God, the realm of God,
The place where God resides, where God abides:
In the open places or in the field hidden,
The priceless jewel redeemed, the smallest seed
Sown, grown to great height. It spreads
Its sheltering branches upward to gladden
The hearts of all who seek its refuge. Good
Rises from root to branch to blossoming stem.
That fruitful tree seeded in you, seek first:
That space, that place, that realm, the soil of God
The holy ground within, wherein is come
Your God to dwell. Let this life in you burst
Open, let yourself become the very food
Of the feast you seek. Seek first the reign of God.
Ann Manganero, SL
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Tuesday, March 13

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, then the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Wednesday, March 14

“Nothing will work unless you do.” Maya Angelou
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Thursday, March 15

To believe firmly in God’s love requires the ability to receive a gift, to make a decision and to trust in human beings, both oneself and others. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Friday, March 16

We are trying to realize on a small scale the larger community of the church, which itself exists to announce and prepare the ultimate community of all people. We acknowledge with faith and gladness, in our attitudes and in our actions, our solidarity with one another and with the entire human family. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Saturday, March 17

“Come Faeries, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.” William Butler Yeats
– A break from serious Lenten reflections, for St. Patrick’s Day, from Loretto Mission Activities

Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 18

It is important, therefore, that nothing in our lives cuts us off from other human beings. Rather, we try to live so that everything about us, our words and works and manner of living, promotes understanding and peace among ourselves and others. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Monday, March 19

To be such a power of reconciliation demands that we deeply respect diversity of being and diversity of gifts. It further demands that we collaborate with all those, whoever they may be, who seek to break down barriers between people and to build up human communion. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Tuesday, March 20

Community in this present time is for mission. Rejoicing in and strengthened by our mutual love, we go forth to meet our farther neighbors in their human needs and aspirations. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Wednesday, March 21

We work for justice and act for peace because the Gospel urges us. We commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression and deprivation of dignity. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Thursday, March 22

The Spirit of God is not bound; it reveals itself in the lives of everyone. Even as we strive to give to others, we acknowledge our need to learn from those to whom we are sent. I am the Way
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Friday, March 23

“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.” Alice Walker
-From Loretto Mission Activities

Saturday, March 24

“Aspire not to have more, but to be more.” Archbishop Oscar Romero
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Palm Sunday, March 25

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Monday, March 26

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Tuesday, March 27


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye

– From Loretto Mission Activities

Wednesday, March 28

God made this beautiful world for us and what have we done to it? We all are very much aware of the damage we humans have done to this world. This lent let us encourage each other and find ways to opt for an eco-fast. Often in lent we are more sensitive to the needs of other humans who are not as blessed as we are and we become more charitable. But now our earth, environment is in dire need of charity so let us start there.
Wishing all happy and holy lent.
– From Nasreen Daniel, for the Loretto Pakistan Committee

Holy Thursday, March 29

“To be seen in her loveliness, to be tasted in her delicious fruits, to be listened to in her teaching, to be endured in the severity of her discipline, to be experienced as the maternal source whence we came, the destiny to which we return.” “Earth’s Desire” by Thomas Berry.
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Good Friday, March 30

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Holy Saturday, March 31

Morningside Cathedral
By Thomas Berry

We have heard in this Cathedral
Bach’s Passion
The Lamentations of Jeremiah
Ancient experiences of darkness over the earth
Light born anew
But now, darkness deeper than even God
Can reach with a quick healing power
What sound,
What song,
What cry appropriate
What cry can bring a healing
When a million year rainfall
Can hardly wash away the life destroying stain?
What sound?
Listen — earth sound
Listen — the wind through the hemlock
Listen — the owl’s soft hooting
in the winter night
Listen — the wolf — wolf song
Cry of distant meanings
woven into a seamless sound
Never before has the cry of the wolf expressed such meaning
On the winter mountainside
This cry our revelation
As the sun sinks lower in the sky
Over our wounded world
The meaning of the moment
And the healing of the wound
Are there in a single cry
A throat open wide
For the wild sacred sound
Of some Great Spirit
A Gothic sound — come down from the beginning of time
If only humans could hear
How see the wolf as guardian spirit
As saviour guide?
Our Jeremiah, telling us,
not about the destruction of
Jerusalem or its temple
Our Augustine, telling us,
not about the destruction of Rome and civilization
Our Bach,
telling us not about the Passion of Christ in ancient times,
But about the Passion of Earth in our times?
Wolf — our earth, our Christ, ourselves.
The arch of the Cathedral itself takes on the shape
Of the uplifted throat of the wolf
Lamenting out present destiny
Beseeching humankind
To bring back the sun
To let the flowers bloom in the meadows,
The rivers run through the hills
And let the Earth
And all its living creatures
Live their
And Abundant life.
– From Libby Comieux, for LEN

Easter Sunday, April 1

“Friends: Go out now into the world, in peace. Have courage. Hold on to what is good. Return no one evil for evil. Strengthen the fainthearted. Support the weak. Help the suffering. Honor all people and all living things. Love and serve the Lord with gladness, rejoicing only in the power of the Holy Spirit. Alleluia! Amen!” Charge to the Congregation, Southside Presbyterian Church, Tucson, AZ
– From Loretto Mission Activities

Ash Wednesday, February 14

“As we stand with Mary at the foot of the cross, we strive to bring the healing spirit of God into our world and we commit ourselves to improve the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and the deprivation of dignity. “ IATW

We are known as Loretto today, but our first, most precious name was Friends of Mary. Our early sisters committed themselves to stand beside the mother of Jesus, friend to friend. Theirs was a womanly commitment, to keep Mary company in her sorrows, and to learn from her the ways of standing with sorrow.

Just as Mary’s faithful heart was opened time and again by the events in her child’s life, so our pioneering sisters let their hearts be opened time and again by the crying needs, the aching longings and the physical sufferings of their neighbors, particularly women and children.

On this Valentine’s Day at the beginning of Lent, may we join our hearts with the hearts of our first sisters and with one another, reflecting on what it means to “stand beside” and “let our hearts be opened.”
– From Eleanor Craig, for the Loretto Heritage Center Team

Thursday, February 15

Today we pray
For all those who see “home” and all it means
Disappear behind them;
For all those who cannot see a home in
In the days ahead of them;
For all those who dwell in
Daily insecurity;
For all those who are weary and
Without a safe place to rest their heads;
For all families in migration.
And each night as we are blessed
With returning to a home,
We pray for those
Still weary, still seeking,
Still with so far to go. inspired by Jane Deren
– From Rox Monterastelli, for the Loretto Latin American/Caribbean Committee (LACC)


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