“It is certainly a gift to know how to arrange one’s time and use it well.” Madeleine Sophie Barat
Feast of St Madeleine Sophie Barat “Madeleine Sophie wanted each person to become aware of truth, of love and of freedom. Educating for compassion, awakening compassion in children, adolescents and adults: this is our duty and our mission.” Helen McLaughlan, RSCJ
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?
St Madeleine Sophie Barat encouraged gratitude to God long before gratitude journal and gratitude posts became a social media trend. – have you ever kept a gratitude journal or accepted a gratitude post challenge? – what do you feel grateful to God for today? – in your experience, how does gratitude increase love?
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?