January 2019 Reflection: Jennifer MacNeil
Just before Christmas, I was blessed to spend some time in person with Sister Janet Ruffing, a Sister of Mercy and the author of the book Elisabeth Leseur Selected Writings. Sister Janet was in Pittsburgh to join with the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas in commemorating 175 years of ministry in the United States. It was a wonderful experience to meet the woman who’s book on Elisabeth has had such an impact on my life. Sr. Janet’s book has helped introduce Elisabeth’s spirituality to a whole new generation.
For January’s reflection I selected a small portion of one of my favorite letters between Elisabeth and Sr. Goby that is included in Sr. Janet’s book. These words of Elisabeth help to remind me how connected we all are in prayer and work through our “beloved Master”.
January 12, 1912
It’s been so long since I have chatted with you, and I have decided this….cannot continue. True, we’re never really separated, since we live and work for the same beloved Master and are one with him in front of the tabernacle or at other times of prayer. And yet I experience such a deep calm, truly a consolation, when I am able to open my heart to you, fully one with you in Spirit.
How reassuring it is to feel surrounded and wrapped in divine love, realizing that our all loving Father is bringing us to the eternal shores, letting us occasionally breathe in from a far their life-giving scents. And then, if the path becomes more difficult and our guide less visible, we surrender ourselves blindly to his gentle direction, waiting in self-forgetfulness until God’s presence can be felt once more. Earth is not heaven, after all, and were we always surrounded by spiritual consolations, we might find it difficult to understand the difference. We have been given the grace we need to help us reach the joys of our much desired heaven.