United States Conference of Secular institutes

2018 Spring Mountaineer

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Secular Institutes

Dear friends,
This year Lent began on Valentine’s Day and thus is a vivid reminder that
Lent should be a time to grow in love. We look with gratitude at all Jesus
went through for love of the Father and love for us in his passion and death.
It is a season set aside to prepare for the great event of the resurrection,
not only recalling and reliving Jesus’ rising, but also one day our own. It is a
time to focus on the Father’s great love as Jesus did, and in return to show
him that he is number one in our lives. We examine our consciences to see
where our love is lukewarm, and work to rekindle the fire through increased prayer, that is, spending more time or perhaps more quality time
with the Lord. We also try to dismantle the walls that we put up through
our inordinate attachments so that the Father may reach into our lives with
greater ease.
Holy Mass can be for us a school of humility, when we bring ourselves in all
our smallness and lay them on the paten. We also can use the liturgy as the
occasion for offering to the Father all our storms, trials, successes and
failures. Then the priest can speak the words of consecration, and as the
bread is transformed into Christ, we are transformed more and more into
his image. At Mass we re-live Jesus’ act of obedience to the Father, and join
him in circling around the Father and – in our case – attempting to fulfill the
Father’s will. I love to look at the host and meditate on how small and simple
Christ makes himself for us. He even gives us himself to be consumed. And
in this act of taking Jesus, and with him the Father, into ourselves, we
actually are lifted into the heart of the Father. This is the mystery of the
unity between the Heavenly Father and his children
At the end of January the executive committee met in Scottsdale, Arizona,
where USCSI will hold its Annual Meeting September 28-30, 2018. The
Franciscan Renewal Center is a beautiful refuge surrounded by the city, but
so calm and peaceful. In the distance one can see the mountains which seem
to embrace the area. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with dessert
plants and cacti, with ample places for meditation. The food is top-notch and
the staff exceedingly friendly and helpful. Just last October a new church
dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels was dedicated. It is gorgeous with lots
of natural light and magnificent stained glass windows. We will have a guided
tour to explain their significance. Of course, you can count on warm
weather which sounds really good to those of us living in winter areas at
present. Please, do try to schedule this event into your calendars.
Now I wish you much grace for the season of Lent and a holy expectation
for the Feast of the Resurrection.
Marcia Vinje, President


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