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Week 2: daily Lenten reflections with Saint Mother Theodore

Join us this second week of Lent in daily spiritual reflections with Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Check the blog each Sunday during Lent for short reflections created by Postulant Emily TeKolste for each day of the coming week.

Sunday, March 5

“Then the devil took Jesus up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, ‘All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.’” – Matthew 4:8-9

“Sad experience teaches us that exterior occupations, even the holiest, dry up the soul and, in separating it from God, make it forget, like Martha, the one thing necessary which Mary had chosen.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

• Like the devil tempted Jesus, what temptations do I struggle with?
• How do even noble aspirations serve to separate me from God?

Monday, March 6

“Nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake.” – Leviticus 19:16

“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?” – Matthew 25:44

“Here again we see how Providence directed the poor exiles; for, had we landed that evening, having no accommodations, we would have been obliged to stay at a hotel. And which one should we have selected without knowing a word of English, in a city where you would have to speak to twenty persons before meeting one who could understand you?” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

• When I think of a time I have served another person, how was God present in that moment?
• When I think of a time another person has served me, how was God present in that moment?

Tuesday, March 7

“Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.” – Isaiah 55:10-11

“Fortified by the saving Mysteries and by the blessing of this good priest, we got into the coach, accompanied by our faithful friends, M. and Mme. Marie, and took the road to Lisieux, thence to Havre.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

The early days of Mother Theodore’s journey were painful to her. She even said she felt her soul had been wrenched from her body. Still, as this quote illustrates in its simplicity, she kept going. We know the end of her story, but she didn’t know how it would end in that moment.

• How has God’s word borne fruit through my willingness to trust, to risk, and to rely on God?

Wednesday, March 8

“The word of God came to Jonah a second time: ‘Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.’ So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to God’s bidding. Now Nineveh was an enormously large city; it took three days to go through it.” – Jonah 3:1-3

“Nothing disturbed the monotony, save the dull sound of the carriage wheels and the broken sobs of the poor exiles, who offered to God in silence the sorrow of their heavy hearts. The first night of our painful journey seemed very long; it ended, however, and at the dawn of day we found ourselves in the city of Le Mans, which we saw without seeing.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

God appears in stories. Jonah’s three-day trip through Nineveh resulted in repentance on the first day. Mother Theodore’s journey took much longer – three months just traveling to her Indiana. We don’t know what the call will demand of us when we undertake it.

• Can I think of a time when God surprised me in regard to the depth or difficulty or ease of my call?

Thursday, March 9

“Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?” – Matthew 7:9

“‘Soon,’ [Dr. Doane] said, ‘you will be surrounded by numerous friends who will be happy to see you.” … Dr. Doane presented us with some beautiful peaches which he himself had gathered, and the other good things he had brought. His words, and his manner of acting – a stranger, a non-Catholic, and an American – surprised us so much that we were almost mute.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

• When has God given me a small surprise such as a peach or a fish?
• When have I trusted God to give me what I needed at the time I needed it? How did that work out for me?

Friday, March 10

“‘Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked?’ says your God. ‘Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?’” – Ezekiel 18:23

“She [Mother Theodore] watched very concerned over a little girl stricken with scarlatina [scarlet fever] that she offered her life for her, although the girl’s mother had seriously injured her and the Community.” – Mother Anastasie Brown

• How have I experienced or witnessed forgiveness that lead to healing in my own life?
• Forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring the harm inflicted. Acknowledging and claiming that wrong can be an integral first step to forgiveness. How can I be a part of this process?

Extra challenge: Watch the documentary Long Night’s Journey into Day, about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Saturday, March 11

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his son rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” – Matthew 5:44-45

“I also received on the 27th of January a letter of ten pages from the Bishop of Vincennes. It is full of accusations and reproaches which are personal, three-fourths of which are palpably untrue. … Notwithstanding, we think here that before taking the final step it would be more according to the spirit of God to renew again our petitions to His Lordship, the Bishop of Vincennes, without mention of the past.” – Saint Mother Theodore Guerin

• Sister Nancy Nolan says, “Only love transforms.” When have I felt loved even though I was hard to love?
• When have I loved even when it was hard to love?

Continuing praying week three of Lent with us here!

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Sister Emily TeKolste

Sister Emily TeKolste is in formation with the Sisters of Providence. She is a native of Indianapolis and has a degree in sociology from Xavier University in Cincinnati. Emily is passionate about justice with special interest in environmentalism and sustainability. You can follow her blog at solongstatusquoblog.wordpress.com. She currently ministers with the NETWORK lobby for Catholic social justice.

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  1. Mary Tomlinson SP on March 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Emily. These reflections both this week and last are just beautiful. Thank you for all the thought and creativity you put into them. S. Mary Tomlinson

  2. Jeannie TeKolste on March 9, 2017 at 6:36 am

    These are thoughtful reflection points. I find myself growing in gratitude each day as I recall, times when God as provided what I need.
    I am grateful for your gift of thoughtful reflection and generosity.

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