memories - Related Content

The Gift of Memories

Sunday, May 15th 2022 6:20 am

Blessings to you from Ascención! Today, I pray for everyone who reads this reflection. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

In my reflections this week, I realized that I have been blessed by the return of memories. I didn't realize I wasn't having them, but once I began to again, it became evident. I wonder why there weren't memories until recently? Was it because everything has been so new? I think that would make sense since things are very different here. I have also been feeling more settled here. Perhaps that has something to do with it. For whatever reason, my memories are bringing me joy as they connect my earlier life with life here.

Last weekend, when I was in Yaguarú, there was a confirmation of over 60 young men and women. It was filled with the Spirit and joy and incredible music. The young people sang so loud it was almost more of a cheer than singing, but their enthusiasm pulled you into the song. The energy in that church was just incredible. It brought me back to the different choirs, groups and churches I have been in where I felt that same energy and Spirit. It reminded me of what faith, love and joy in community feel like, and what a blessing it is. I was also reminded of my own Confirmation when I felt the Holy Spirit ignited in my heart at the moment of my confirmation. It's a beloved spiritual memory in my life. I am very grateful for it.

The second memory of mine is a little bit embarrassing! It was "Completas" (end of the day prayer) here at the convent and there were only four of us praying that night. A little like Mass, there is kneeling, standing and sitting during the prayer. Normally I have it down pretty well, especially because there are people sitting around me to cue me, but not this night. The leader of the prayer stood up to read scripture. I hopped up because she was standing, but I wasn't supposed to. I was totally oblivious until I looked over at the aspirant and saw her motioning for me to sit down. I slowly sat down. All was good until I tried to say a response with the others. Out of my mouth came a loud guffaw! Pretty soon I was trying to hide my face as uncontrollable laughter rippled through me. You know the kind, right? Tears streaming down my face, I kept thinking I had it back under control, only to fall apart as soon as I tried to join in the prayer. What was even worse, is the effect I had on the novice and aspirant. Soon, they were laughing uncontrollably too! Luckily we only had about 5 minutes left, which I spent laughing, and exited as soon as the prayer ended.

The experience brought back a vivid, happy memory of my mom. We used to have experiences like that often. It was a great time, one of us would set the other off and we would laugh so hard we couldn't breathe. I remember standing in the kitchen trying to stay upright as we laughed. What a wonderful time to remember. Considering that Mother's Day in the United States had been just a few days before, I wonder if she might have had something to do with my episode of hilarity in prayer. I wouldn't be surprised. Thanks, Mom!

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Documenting discernment

Thursday, September 29th 2016 12:02 pm
Sister Amy Taylor, FSPA

It is rare that I receive a handwritten note or card in the mail anymore. Such artistry has morphed into emails and text messages in which descriptive stories of elation or frustration are relayed in a series of emojis. “Fast and just the facts” has become the mantra of modern communication.

Social media, it seems, has also replaced the tradition of record keeping. Do proud parents still document baby’s first steps on paper? Do people still write down family stories, tucking them securely in Bibles and memory books? Or do we, more often, widely publicize every trivial moment (and favorite YouTube video) for instant consumption on Facebook? Post tweets that are here one second, gone the next? 

And what about journaling? I’m not talking about a 7th grade “Dear Diary” entry in which you scribbled “Today I ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch.” Instead, intentional journaling can be an opportunity to pray through pen and paper; provide a canvas on which to capture and reflect significant events and ponder the various ways God is present in your day, your life, your discernment.

Some people choose to journal via computer; those more artistically inclined may draw to depict life events, enlightenment. For me, contemplation becomes part of the process when I slow my thoughts and allow the rhythm of my handwriting to set the pace of reflection. The more attention I give to details like the legibility of my handwriting, the further I’m drawn into the depths of reflection. And in the quiet moments of a journaling retreat, communication on paper between myself and God has come out quite clear. But no matter the method documenting discernment—taking the time to record and reflect on life through journaling—reveals to me connections I may ordinarily miss as I live in our fast-paced world of emoticon efficiency.

What is revealed when you slow down, stop texting, and record the words in your thoughts? 

Are you courageous enough to put them in writing? 

Does your discernment become more honest—real—when you see yourself on paper?

Author's note: Watch for journal retreat offerings (among many others) at these FSPA-sponsored spirituality centers: the Franciscan Spirituality Center (La Crosse, Wisconsin), Prairiewoods Franciscan Spirituality Center (Hiawatha, Iowa) and Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center (Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin).

Above image courtesy of

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