When we experience union with the Heart of Jesus, we want whatever he wants. – have you ever had the kind of experience that St Madeleine Sophie Barat describes? – where and when have you had a strong sense of God’s goodness? – what helps you to be free enough to want whatever God wants?
Growing closer to God is at the center of prayer for St Madeleine Sophie Barat. – What do you believe ‘growing holy’ means? – What might St Madeleine Sophie Barat have meant by these words? – When you find prayer difficult, what helps you to persist?
Our hearts must grow deep and wide in order to express the depth and breadth of the love of God. – how might humility add depth to our capacity to love? – does charity extend the scope of our love or does the scope of our love extend our charity – or both? – what does it feel like to know that God delights in us?
The power of love to transform us is one of the great themes in literature. Many stories and songs remind us that love calls forth the best in us. In fact, it calls us to be the love of the Heart of God. – have you ever seen love change a person for the better? – how does being loved help you to be a better person? – in what ways does love draw you into union with the Heart of God?
Our culture tends to value having and doing over being. It is not surprising then that we may fall into valuing ourselves according to what we do. Jesus, however, shows us another way. – does this saying from St Madeleine Sophie Barat feel like an unhelpful suggestion that you ‘offer up’ your sufferings? – how might less action help you to be closer to Jesus? – what feeling arise when you can do very little?
We tend to think of ourselves as the protagonists in our lives. However St Madeleine Sophie Barat invites us to a life that is so Jesus-centred that there is nothing but Jesus. – who or what takes centre stage in your life? – how can you be the Heart of God in the heart of the world? – when do you feel the most in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus?
At a time when there is some anxiety about the future of religious life, these words offer comfort. Through them our founder, St Madeleine Sophie Barat, points the way. – what for you is ‘religious spirit’? – how might we express ‘religious spirit’ today? – what might the words ‘upheld’, ‘propagated’ and ‘extended’ mean today?
As people of our time and culture, we may not be very comfortable with the idea that we are nothing. It may seem like a false and unhealthy form of humility. Of course we are each of great value, but our dignity comes from being made in the image and likeness of God. Each of us can reflect the grace and love of God for others. – do you feel humiliated by your limitations? – when are you most conscious of God’s love shinning forth from you? – how comfortable are you placing your trust in God?
At times we have regrets. Upon reflection, we might do things differently if we were to have our time over again. While we cannot change the past, such reflection can help to shape our future. – what would you do differently if you could live your life over again? – how do you listen to the Holy Spirit? – why do you think Sophie saw listening to the Holy Spirit as the one thing needed?
We don’t need to reject the good things of this world in order to encounter God. We do, however, need to be free in our relationship with them rather than enslaved by them. – can our relationships with material things stop us from being free to love and serve God? – do intelligence and knowledge sometimes get in the way of embracing Mystery? – how has God shown him/her self to you?