Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Questioning Brings Us Answers

Sometimes I wonder if we are crazy, we talk about these things we believe but they seem so out there beyond our understanding how could they possibly be real? Sometimes I seriously ponder these things, and I'm left baffled. Sometimes it's simply easier to believe it because someone said so than it is to take the time to discern it myself, because in spending too much time mulling it over in my own head I start to question more than believe.

An Oblate of Saint Francis DeSales once asked me if I had questions about my faith. I quickly said I had none, I believed everything and lived my life according to that faith. He shook his head and said, "when we stop questioning, we stop truly believing." There is great wisdom in his words--great wisdom I didn't fully grasp sitting there with him at 18 years old.

Questioning is definitely not the easy path, but in the end I have come to an understanding that it is (as we will hear in this coming Sunday's Gospel) the more solid rock on which we should build our foundation. After wrestling with God, Jacob was henceforth called Israel, which means, "He who struggled with God and prevailed." Faith isn't a business of non-questioning, it's all about questioning!

I share this all to bring you to a pretty amazing story that has unfolded in the past few months of my life. For those who have been reading regularly, you may recall a posting in December entitled, "Sisters of Old, Sisters of the West" in which I spoke about an experience with Sr. Francisetta Linus. I never knew her, in fact she died the year I was born, but one day praying in the cemetery I decided to pray intentionally with one of the sisters (believing that she is a member of the Communion of Saints).

What I am about to share is a solid foundation on which my questioning is supported. The Communion of Saints can be one of those things I spoke of earlier. It can be a concept that is hard to wrap your head around. But my connection with Sr. Francisetta has opened me up to the reality of the Communion of Saints through lived experience.

Shortly after writing about this prayerful experience Sr. Marijane approached me and in one sentence sent holy goosebumps all over my body. She told me that not only had she lived with Sr. Francisetta, but that Sr. Patty had been with her when she died. I have shared many intimate conversations surrounding my discernment with Marijane and Patty together over monthly meals and faith sharing all of which lead up to my finally being able to say "yes." For Sr. Francisetta to be connected to both of them, my "first community," is truly amazing!

Going back to that cold day in early winter, sitting at her grave stone asking for her support and prayers, I know that she spoke to me. It was not I who chose her, but "Nellie" (as I have come to know Francisetta was called) who invited me into her life. And that is only possible because of the Communion of Saints!

Questioning is good because questioning brings us to answers. And this answer I have found continues to affirm my "yes." Thank you Nellie.

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