We are grateful for a wonderful service week in Laredo, and we pray that all those we’ve met, all we’ve heard, all we’ve seen may be blessed by our compassionate God. It was a week filled with beauty and love. Celebrate with us the joy of the experience by watching this video.
Sr. Jean and I began this Backlit With Joy blog in December 2011. Since then, about 25,000 viewers have read, subscribed to, or commented on it. We want to say a big Thank You to all of you! Each year we receive an annual report from WordPress, our web software host, about how the blog has done. Here are a few highlights from the past year.
Most of our 2014 viewers came from the USA, with France and Slovenia not far behind. Overall, we had visitors from 77 countries! The busiest day of the year was October 21st with 230 views. The post that day was Ten Tips from St. Ursula. Top ten posts for the year were:
- Ten Tips from St. Ursula 6 comments October 2014
- A New Ursuline Saint 5 comments March 2014
- Meet Some Ursulines 4 comments January 2014
- Angela Alive Today 4 comments January 2014
- National Catholic Sisters Week 1 comment March 2014
The top referring sites were:
Once again, we are really grateful to each of you, our readers. As we move into 2015, please keep your comments, questions, and suggestions coming our way!
Tomorrow is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, Mother of Jesus. And in a few more days, we remember her as Sorrowful Mother. Our religious tradition reveres Mary as a model of strength in extreme suffering. She was a refugee, fleeing into Egypt. She lost her child for three days. She watched her Son tortured and unjustly executed, then received his wounded body into her own arms.
Mary is our mother, too, and there to share our sorrows. I read that James Foley, the journalist recently killed by militants in the Middle East, said of an earlier imprisonment that he found strength by praying and counting the Hail Mary on his knuckles. With the comfort of Mary in his heart, he entered the mystery of God, the Great Mystery.
Today, as we remember the tragedies of 9/11, let’s reflect on the suffering we carry in our lives, in our world, and ask Mary to be with us.
This summer seemed to take such a long time to arrive, and now it appears to be rapidly disappearing. How can it already be July? I find myself wanting to cling to every day’s flowers and ripening tomatoes. Perhaps that’s a sign that I need to slow down, not the season. In that spirit, I’ll reiterate some things I said in the June Journeys e-letter.
Sometimes our lives are filled with so much detail that there’s no time to relax. We might all consider ways to bring a more restful way of being into our daily lives. For example:
Laugh. Milton Berle said that laughter is an instant vacation. Enjoy a book or video that really touches your funny bone. Or find friends with whom to share stories that make you laugh together.
Cultivate inner silence. Shut down the inner voices that say you must do one more thing. Let your mind and heart become still. Listen to the birds, the trees, rain.
Live in the present. Don’t be obsessed with past mistakes or fear of the future. Be mindful and aware of the present.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all, true Irish and simply Wearers of the Green! I was in Chicago for meetings last week, and when I caught the Megabus for the ride back to St. Louis, people were pouring into the city for the St. Patrick’s parade and the annual ritual of dyeing the Chicago River green. Costumes were resourceful and amusing, and the sunshine brought Irish warmth to the hearts of people who’ve suffered through 80+ inches of snow this winter.
As we celebrate St. Patrick today, and St. Joseph on Wednesday, let’s remember that these were real people who lived ordinary lives with loving attention to God and generosity toward others. In the routine and sometimes dreariness of our Lenten days, how attentive are we to the God who calls us in our ordinary lives? What choices are we making to grow in charity and generosity? Everything is possible for those who love God.