Weekly Word

Be inspired and encouraged with a weekly reflection on God’s Word and every day life.


Unexpected Gifts

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

The Burren is one of the most desolate looking places in the otherwise lush green landscape of Ireland. Located on the northwest corner of County Clare, the Burren is a limestone (called karst) field, gray and craggy and on the edge of the sea.

The silence is one of the first things you can notice without much coaxing; not too many birds calling or trees rustling from the offshore breezes. Flat as far as the eye can see, there is not much to draw the eyes upward, but downward, well, that is another story.

Obviously one must look down as she walks because of the cracks in the rocks but then…. Looking down also means being surprised. Down between the cracks and the gray stones, something unexpected hits the eye, for growing between the cracks are tiny, beautiful wildflowers of magnificent hues with tender green leaves. They are so small they have to be pointed out to folks or they would just walk over them so as not to trip on the uneven rocks.

The amazement does not stop there. These lovely flowers are harvested, and just down the road and around the bend is a quaint farm place where the flowers are processed and become lovely Irish perfumes. Who would have known? What an unexpected gift from an unlikely looking location.

As the new year of 2020 has begun, what are the unexpected gifts that might come your way? Will they be welcomed or spurned? Will they be fanciful or useful?

God is a God of so many surprises….just keep the eyes of your mind and heart and soul open!

Posted in Weekly Word

Reign Storm

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

With so much wildfire destruction in Australia, it’s difficult to imagine the scope of the damage. Think about the entire East Coast of the USA in flames. We have been asked to pray for rain there. I hope you have been praying too. It feels almost primitive to me, as when the ancient Navajo chief prayed for rain on the dried up grassy plains.  So basic. So practical. So urgent.  It reminded me of a poem I wrote on retreat some years ago that still captures my spirit.  This is what I hope for in Australia:

Reign Storm

I am soaked through
Like the torrents of rain that take over the air
Making everything seem as if it was all made of water.

Drenching, generous,
swimming in mid-air
With the sound of applause from the rain.
An ovation.
An ocean in the sky.
The trees standing with heads bowed
Limbs long and still
Rain running off their fingertips
And roaring on the roof

Our God reigns.

God does indeed reign, even though, in America, we are not attracted to the reign of kings. We fought a war of independence against a king, so we certainly don’t need one now.  More to the point, God reigns as the Word which rains down on us all the time.   Consider this passage from Isaiah 55:10-11:

Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till 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 empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

If we truly believe this scripture, –that the Word of God is as present to us and as drenching on us as rain– then we can ask for help, indeed sometimes plead for help in any situation.  At times, if you are feeling a little desperate, it is not a bad thing. Faith is tied to our feelings, to our desires for good, to our hopes for ourselves and our hopes for the world.  The Word of God goes forth and does not return empty. Listen for it in the rain, in the wind, in the heart of another person. Look at in the puddle in the street. The Word reigns, pervades all things, sustains every creature, every living thing is held in place because the Word of God goes forth. Sometimes other storms take over our attention and we can be overwhelmed by events in our own homes, our country, our world.  God’s Word is a reign storm, it waters the earth, making it fertile, giving seed to those who sow, bread to those who eat.  We believe it, even when we cannot see it.

My prayer today is that God’s reign will be more evident, that I will see it more clearly and that my prayers for the people and country of Australia will be answered soon. May rain come, may God’s reign come.  Amen

Posted in Weekly Word

An Angel Came From Where I am Not Sure

An Angel Came From Where I am Not Sure
December 2017 Anne Lythgoe

This reflection, from 2017, has stayed with me for a long time. I feel that I was led by the Spirit to write it, and my experience was that it was given to me. So I can only give it to you.  I hope you find some insight into Mary’s experience.   Thank you, Anne.

Blog by Sr. Anne Lythgoe, OP

An angel came from where I am not sure, sent to this Nazareth town, to seek an answer in the gray mists of night. What far off starlit kingdom sent him here? How did he know to visit me? Was he on his own? He seemed to know his mission, although I was not at all sure of what his message meant. Who told him to come here and disturb me with his words?

“The Lord is with you”, he said in a whisper that pierced me in my soul. God’s favor? Is not every daughter of Judah special in the eyes of the Lord? Do we not all seek to serve?

An angel came — was sent to me, — from where I am not sure, and I cannot tell you what he looked like, so bathed was he in light and so veiled in mystery.

This visit was an enveloping, a cocooning in light and darkness all at once. I felt swaddled in the power of the Lord, in the angel’s coming, and although I was thrilled and fearful, puzzled and curious all at the same time, all was strangely well. He made nothing clear, no plan, so few details, only that I would bear a son in the same way Elizabeth came to be with child. No more a miracle could there be but that which came to Zachariah and my sweet kinswoman! Elizabeth and I would be co-conspirators with God. Emmanuel, “God with us.” An ancient promise kept.

An angel came, from where I am not sure, but nothing is impossible with God. Nothing is impossible with God, of that I am sure.

Then the angel left vanishing like a whisper in the night, just as I was realizing I had been visited. The angel left. Disappeared like footprints in a puddle, leaving barely a trace of evidence behind. He left no assurances that my family would understand or that Joseph would know what to do or even accept such a story. The angel did not tell me his name, so I’m not sure he actually spoke in words to me. But I know what stirred in my soul, a something or someone came to me in this forsaken place where nothing of consequence ever happens.

What did I say yes to?






Posted in News, Weekly Word

With a Grateful Heart

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

It is hard to say much that is new about giving thanks, and now the time is upon us when that is pretty much all we are hearing about. So, consider all you have; consider your families and friends; consider it all and…….





Posted in News, Weekly Word