Words matter.  Yep, how many times have we heard that recently?  For that matter, how many times did our parents tell us that?

Also,what words are we hearing lately that cause us to wince or cringe?  Like proverbial water on a proverbial rock, the repetition of words erodes our sensitivity, until we scarcely hear what’s being said.

And yet.  What is being said, or implied? Do we agree, and repeat those words ourselves? Civility, here in Charm City (that’s Baltimore’s other title, which may be new – though not fake – news) used to be a local crusade, championed by a well-known radio host, Ron Smith.  Gracious words were encouraged, even on bumper stickers and by a popular prayer: “O Lord, make my words sweet and tender, for tomorrow I may have to eat them!”

May I suggest we all make an effort to turn up our various hearing devices, tune in to what’s wafting past us in the air, find a way to be sweet and tender even more than usual, and not add our ounce of negative or cynical flavoring to the word-salad spinning around us?  Shift the focus, season that salad with some gracious words, upbuild our sagging spirit: it can’t hurt, and we can hope it will help us!


Sr. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

1st Week of Lent Reflection

Don’t Give Up
A reflection for the first week in Lent

By Sr. M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

Dt 26:4-10
Ps 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15,  
Rom 10:8-13,
Lk 4:1-13

“Lent”— I know it comes from an old English word that means “lengthen,” supposedly because days are lengthening, and that should make us happy. Winter is over (in some places), weather is improving (really?), inevitably (sooner or later) spring will show up (check the tops of trees for buds, even now.)

More encouraging might be this weekend’s (March 9-10) responsorial refrain: “Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble.”  Do you remember the isolating terror of being “in trouble” as a child and wishing for someone to share your fear?  Recall the cold lump in your stomach as you sat in a “time out” chair awaiting your just desserts.  If some kind soul happened by with a warm word – what a boon!

Would that be a good Lenten practice for a change?  Forget giving something up.  Watch for an opportunity to give – a smile, a warm remark, an encouraging observation.  We can’t know when someone might be feeling as besieged as Jesus in the desert at the end of his forty days. We might make a small effort to let that person know “I’m with you!” in some gentle way – and pray that through us they sense God’s presence, “a refuge and a fortress.”

Christmas Reflection 2018

The Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart would like to share the following Christmas reflection with you:

is going away
Bishop Helder Camara (1909-1999)

Going away above all,

going beyond myself

to make the universe the center,

instead of “me” and “myself”;

it is breaking through the crust of egoism

that encloses each one of us as in a prison.

Going away means I cease

putting my little world under a microscope;

I stop turning around myself

as though I were the center of life, of all that is

Going away is not about traveling miles

and reaching supersonic speeds

above all else, it means opening my eyes,

opening myself to others, reaching out to them

Finding someone who walks alongside me,

on the same road, not following me like my shadow

but seeing things I do not see

and pointing them out to me.

This Christmas may we truly experience the awesome gift of God’s very self coming to dwell within and among us!  May we welcome the Light of Christ that dispels the darkness and calls us to be light bearers. Let us celebrate Emmanuel – God with us!

We wish each of you a blessed Christmas and a New Year of peace and joy.  We extend our deepest gratitude to all our dear friends, donors and families who assist and support us in our efforts to give birth to Christ—the true Light of the World! Let us continue to raise our hearts and voices in prayers for Peace.


Sr. Elizabeth Langmead, MHSH