Tender words

Spoken by Pope Francis in his address to the U.S. Bishops on September 23, 2015:

Whenever a hand reaches out to do good or to show the love of Christ, to dry a tear or bring comfort to the lonely, to show the way to one who is lost or to console a broken heart, to help the fallen or to teach those thirsting for the truth, to forgive or to offer a new start in God . . . know that the Pope is at your side and supports you.   He puts his hand on your own, a hand wrinkled with age, but by God’s grace still able to support you.

To ‘be perfect’

“The good news about the word ‘perfect’ as used in the New Testament is that it is not a scary word, so much as a scary translation.  The word that has been translated as ‘perfect’ does not mean to set forth an impossible goal, or the perfectionism that would have me strive for it at any cost.  It is taken from a Latin word meaning complete, entire, full-grown.  To those who originally heard it, the word would convey ‘mature’ rather than what we mean today by perfect.

“To ‘be perfect,’ in the sense that Jesus means it, is to make room for growth, for the changes that bring us to maturity, to ripeness.  To mature is to lose adolescent self-consciousness so as to be able to make a gift of oneself…”

“Perfection, in a Christian sense, means becoming mature enough to give ourselves to others.  Whatever we have, no matter how little it seems, is something that can be shared with those who are poorer.  This sort of perfection demands that we become fully ourselves as God would have us: mature, ripe, full, ready for what befalls us, for whatever is to come.”

~Kathleen Norris, Amazing Grace

When there are no windows


A repost from Kristen Strong over at Ann Voskamp’s blog:


I kissed my eight-year-old daughter Faith on the forehead as she drifted off to sleep, wishing like crazy we were in her cozy lavender bedroom rather than this sterile, mint-green operating room.

If only she were drifting off to sleep before a play date with friends instead of drifting off to sleep before a date with a surgeon who would operate on her spine to correct her broken neck.

I continued to whisper, “Jesus is here, Jesus is here,” long after she closed her eyes.

I said it for me as much as for her.

I carefully got off her gurney, thankful the children’s hospital in our town let me ride on it with Faith right through the swinging metal doors to the OR.

After the doctor and nurses gave gentle assurances about my girl’s care, I walked with heavy steps back through the oversized doors into the steady, open arms of my husband David.

We plodded along in a half hug down the hall toward the waiting room of the hospital.

After we arrived and David held the door open for me, I stepped in and quickly scanned the room.

And that’s when my knee-high brown boots stopped dead in their tracks. My eyes darted around the waiting room again, and I stood there slack-jawed while shaking my head back and forth.

David, noticing my frozen posture and expression, came up next to me. “What’s wrong?” he asked, following my eyes around to the room.

“What’s wrong?” I repeated, annoyed he was missing the obvious. “It’s . . . it’s this room, David!” I stammered, whirling in a circle and pointing.

“Just look! There are no windows in this room!”

Read the rest here.

Kintsugi: Gold Repair of Ceramic Faults

Sr. Dorcee:

This is absolutely fascinating and an excellent and true image of how God is with us.

Originally posted on dicklehman:




In 1999 I traveled to Japan to participate in several exhibitions hosted by my dear friend Mr. Shiho Kanzaki.  I arrived with gifts for all the many people that were required to make this amazing opportunity a reality for me.


After I arrived and was unpacking, I discovered that 4 of the side-fired cups that I’d brought as gifts had been broken by the baggage-handling process.  Without a thought I dumped them into the waste basket in my room.  Sometime later that week, someone came to my room and took out the trash.  


After a remarkable 6 weeks in Shigaraki, two exhibitions, travel,  fine food, new friends…my visit came to an end.


As often happens there were some “parting gifts” given by me to my hosts; and some gifts were given to me by my hosts.  Among the parting gifts I received, I discovered…

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Psalms and hymns we know by heart

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

Amy Carmichael starts this piece by asking: “Do you ever find prayer difficult because of tiredness or dryness?”  If your answer is yes, read on.

Ps 31.5  Into Your hands I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.

Do you ever find prayer difficult because of tiredness or dryness?  When that is so, it is an immense help to let the Psalms and hymns we know by heart say themselves or sing themselves inside us.  This is possible anywhere and at any time.

We can’t be mistaken in using this easy, open way of prayer, for our Lord Jesus used it.  His very last prayer, when He was far too tired to pray as He usually did, was Psalm 31.5.  Every Jewish mother used to teach her child to say those words as a good-night prayer.

Hymns, little prayer-songs of our own, even the…

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The Potter’s Clay

Sr. Dorcee:

I’ve always been moved by the comparison of our God to a potter who takes such care to shape–and reshape–us. I think you’ll be moved by this post by Emily Gibson and by the beautiful and fascinating video. Spend some time with it.

Originally posted on Barnstorming:


Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Jeremiah 18:3-4

The best pottery is never perfect, becoming an original handmade and unique piece, infused with the potter’s eye and energy, the pressure of fingers and palm, a design coming from the heart of the potter.

I had the joy this morning of virtually revisiting a special place in Japan that is a potter’s paradise, Mashiko village, thanks to a website by artist and art teacher Bette Vander Haak. The Vander Haaks took us there in 2012, and I was too overwhelmed by…

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A perspective

Something to remember today on 9/11:

“Contrary to the predisposition to believe more easily in evil than in good, Mary bore witness to the truth that God is the good Father in whom each one can put his trust.”  (Simone Trois & Christiana Paccini from Chiara Corbella Petrillo, A Witness to Joy)

“How are you doing?”

Sr. Dorcee:

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. I am resharing this post particularly for those who have suffered the loss of someone to suicide. It seemed to strike a chord when I originally posted it. My hope is that it is a comfort for someone out there.

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my brother Tim’s death.  He would have been 60 this year.  As many of you know, he took his own life and the impact on all of us who loved him was devastating.  What I want to share here is a set of e-mails between me and my spiritual director from three years ago at this time of year.  Fr. Dan, remembering that Tim’s anniversary was coming up, had sent me a short e-mail, simply asking “How are you doing?”  My response is very frank.  I share this with you for a few reasons.

One: it means so much for people to remember, to remember anniversaries.  Every year since she found out, a friend always shows up on my brother’s anniversary with a plant.  I, of course, do not expect her to do that every year for the rest of my life, but she…

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To Notice Each Thing

Sr. Dorcee:

Noticing each other’s beautiful face . . .

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

photo by Joel DeWaarda Mt. Baker photo by Joel DeWaard



The Old Testament book of Micah answers the question of why we are here with another:
“What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly,
and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?”
We are here to abet creation and to witness it,
to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed.
Together we notice not only each mountain shadow
and each stone on the beach
but we notice each other’s beautiful face
and complex nature
so that creation need not play to an empty house.
~Annie Dillard from Life Magazine’s “The Meaning of Life”

I started out a noticer,
at seven tracing ant trails from their hills
branching out to various trees,
watching nests bloom with birds,
sitting as still as the lizard sunning himself on a rock.

Then something called adulthood happened,
and responsibilities and worries…

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