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Third Sunday of Lent

Sr. Mary Ann Rossi

Third Sunday of Lent

Sr. Mary Ann Rossi lives in Norwalk, CT and has a long history with Associates in Rhode Island and presently with Associates in Stamford, CT. In her reflection, she emphasizes the central scriptural teaching of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, foundress of the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal.

The Ten Commandments? Jesus’s anger in the Temple? OH NO! I was hoping for nice passages the comforting kind of readings that seems to lead me into prayer, not these! Then I remembered a faith-sharing experience with CND’s when I lived in Providence. A Sister reminded us that as Marguerite’s people we were surrounded by a reminder to live the GREAT Commandment to love God and to love one another. How blessed we were, she said, not only to be able to read the words of Scripture, but also to find the words in the Writings of Marguerite, AND to have them PUT TO MUSIC! but also to be able to SING them, well at least to listen to them put to music. (Visualize the cover of Sr. Kathleen Deignan’s album, AVE: SONGS OF THE Congregation of Notre Dame. It’s the fourth song!! “All that I have ever desired...”).

Jesus and Marguerite did not give us a pie in the sky command. Remember when we were taught the TEN? Learning that the first three had to do with loving God and the last seven spelled out how to love the neighbor? On days when my time at prayer is distracted, dry, meandering, I try to remember that the whole day lies before me to live this “bottom line” theology. It is not how I pray, but how I live! God in the Sinai Covenant, Jesus in the Gospels and Marguerite in her life and Writings, remind us where we will find the direction for our day. Our day will be filled with so many calls to love; the way of life pleasing to God is there in every encounter.

If you get to the CND Mother House in Montreal, be sure to stop in to pray in the little room where Marguerite’s heart is preserved. (Her body is in Bon Secours Chapel in old Montreal) But her great heart, which beat for more than eighty years, is there. In the four languages of the Community (French, English, Japanese and Spanish) are her words to us:

It is true that all I have ever desired most deeply and what I still most ardently wish

is that the great precept of the love of God above all things and of neighbor as oneself

be written in every heart.

Let us revive at least among us the true spirit of cordiality and love which formed the glory and the beatitude of the first Christians.


How practical a way lived by a woman who lived her spirituality in the wilderness of the new world!

In the Gospel, Jesus cleanses the Temple of all that does not speak of true worship, all the ways that people are making money, mostly from the poor who come to purchase their sacrificial animals. I think there are times when Jesus tries to cleanse my heart, my “spirituality” by telling me to “keep it simple.” Love me by loving the other person. That’s the BOTTOM LINE!


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