Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Yesterday I began my transition into novitiate. Step one: sold my car--a little weird I must admit to be carless for the first time since I was sixteen. My every remaining possession, with the exception of a suit case for the week, has been moved into Canticle House where I will officially be a novice with the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia. There is great excitement over this, but the only way to get there is to move on from the goodness, the bounty, that this year has brought into my life through my local community at Corpus Christi.
My heart holds nothing but love, gratitude, and deep sisterhood for sisters Joan, Maureen, and Kathy. Words cannot express the bond that has been created. Relationships can be a funny thing, a year ago these women were not at all a part of my life, and here I stand today unable to imagine my life without them! I cannot think of our time together without shedding tears of joy for all they are to me--and all I hope they continue to be to me!
It's hard to let go of those you love, this is the battle of which I speak. But letting go will free me to love more deeply and will open my life to new relationships that I will look upon next year in the same light as I do my girls at Corpus Christi. And that my friends is a beautiful thing!
Thomas Merton writes in his book, The Ascent to Truth:
Our ordinary waking life is a bare existence in which, most of the time, we seem to be absent from ourselves and from reality because we are involved in the vain preoccupations which dog the steps of every living [person]. But there are times when we seem suddenly to awake and discover the full meaning of our own present reality. Such discoveries are not capable of being contained in formulas or definitions. They are a matter of personal experience, of uncommunicable intuition. In the light of such an experience it is easy to see the futility of all the trifles that occupy our minds. We recapture something of the calm and the balance that ought always to be ours, and we understand that life is far too great a gift to be squandered on anything less than perfection.
This year has been filled with these such "discoveries," and I am eternally grateful for having them.
And now I turn toward the year to come, filled with hope, excitement, and the newness of all that is to be . . . I will mourn my loss, but how beautiful a thing it is to arrive at the "next place" with someone waiting to be my shoulder--not to wipe away my tears but to give me the space to embrace them. This I am discovering is community!
And now for a continued note of thanks, to each of you who have supported me in my discernment, my writing, and my daily life. I hope that reading my reflections on my life and prayer has brought faith, hope, and love into your own life and prayer. As I prepare to fully transition into my novitiate experience I must push the pause button.
July 2006 I drove myself into Ohio, a quaint little state that has forever changed my life. As I drove across the border I read the sign, "Ohio: So Much to Discover." I have entitled my final (for now) post "Discoveries" because this is what fills my life. Every corner, every move, every moment brings us new discoveries. Discoveries that, as Merton expresses, aid us in "recapturing" the important things in life that open our eyes to the beauty that God has placed before us. All we have to do is be open to it!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
It was good to be with her! A little less wonderful, however, was discovering that the checked bag that Pat and I shared didn't quite make it to our final destination. This was the bag that contained my hair mousse! What is a girl to do? We were assured that the likelihood of the bag arriving on the next incoming flight due in later that afternoon was high, and so we made our way to Teresa's home on the range in Ethete.
Much to our delight we received word at 5 pm that night that our bag had indeed finally made it to Wyoming! Bad news? We couldn't pick it up because the airport was "closing for dinner." This is the reality of small town America--a reality of which east coasters are unaware. This meant I was going to go a day without hair mousse.
The simplicity of going a day without my self-proclaimed "necessities" became a freeing experience for the week. On our flight later in the week Pat and I had a very intriguing conversation concerning the vow of poverty, lived as simplicity, which has opened my heart to new possibilities of letting go. While I don't have any desire to give up my hair mousse I do think there are times I could obsess a little less!
These few days in Wyoming have opened my heart to the beauty of creation not often witnessed by the masses. The first full day on the reservation Teresa took me to a home Mass. During the consecration I could not help but be slightly distracted by the clanging of glass in the kitchen where someone engaged in final preparation of the dinner to follow. My distraction, however, quickly melted into reflection. Suddenly the melody of rattling dishes replaced the bells of the altar server and the realization of the reality of the Body of Christ became clear. We the people have become the consecrated Body of Christ, and as I sat pondering this I suddenly felt like Thomas Merton on the street corner of Fourth and Walnut, I "suddenly realized that I loved all the people and that none of them were, or, could be totally alien to me."
We have moved on from buffalo and prairies where cattle were herded to the fast-paced freeways of the city where people are herded. My time in Wyoming will not soon leave me, I just got off the phone with Teresa who called to share that she was going through a little withdraw. I too feel that loss. But the beauty of community is that no matter how many miles span the land between us we are bound by our sisterhood! And it is this thought that keeps a smile on my heart.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
If you are reading this then I suppose you too have been "left behind." It's a little funny to me when I think of those who believed whole-heartedly that today was going to mark the commencement of the end of the world with the rapture. These are people who literally interpret sacred Scriptures, everywhere except two verses that is. The one that says we will know not the day or hour when the Son of Man will return, and the one where Jesus said, "this is my body, this is my blood do this in remembrance of me."
Beginning with the 12 apostles every generation to walk this Earth believed that Jesus would return in their life time. Personally, I think we've got billions of years still ahead. It can't be that easy . . . we've got a lot to learn about peace on Earth. Ending the world now would be like eating half baked chicken . . . ewww. It's just not time!
Nonetheless all of this "end of the world" hoopla has got me thinking. I've been reflecting on that age old question, "am I ready?" I believe that my answer would be most definitely! Am I perfect? No. But God does not ask for perfection, God simply asks us to try. I should not be living my life by the predictions of the end, I should be living it so whenever that day comes I am embraced by God because I have always lived in a way pleasing to God.
Many people lived their life today in anticipation for the rapture. Shortly after the supposed time of the rapture had past I leaned over to Sr. Janet (with whom I was attending Mass) and with my eyes focused on the consecrated host raised above the altar said, "I guess we were left behind." And that was just fine with me, I was already with Jesus. I was reflecting upon this thought today and wondered how many people would be disappointed to be "left." I did not live my day that way. I spent my day celebrating life and sisterhood. Sr. Nora Nash celebrated her Golden Jubilee today, 50 years as a professed Sister of Saint Francis of Philadelphia. Celebrating her beautiful and amazing life ranked much higher on my priority list than biting my nails over the end. And for this I believe Jesus smiled today!
During the homily today it was shared that when we hear God's words, "remain in my love," it implies that we are "already in God's love." It's not about predicting the end, it's about living in the present in such a way that the end does not really matter. We never know what tomorrow will bring and so we do our best with today! After all Jesus himself told us not to worry about tomorrow, it will take care of itself!