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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!


A friend sent this image, along with a forward that got me thinking. First, I love the image. And the text that was with it talks about letting go of the people who have hurt you, of not bringing those wounds into the new year.

I'm finally home after a week with the sisters for interviews and stuff, and a week with family for Christmas. So tomorrow, New Years Day, is going to be all mine. I need some time to reflect, and I will include this in my reflection.
  • What sorrows and wounds do I need to leave behind for the new year?
  • What are the blessings that I will bring forward with me into the future?
I have so much to be thankful for, and so many people live in my heart. I am looking forward to a beautiful year, full of graces and changes, and challenges as well.

God's grace to you this New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Word




And the Word became flesh

and made his dwelling among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory as of the Father's only Son,

full of grace and truth.


May we always remember the great gift we have received when Christ humbled himself to share in our humanity, to experience our joys and sufferings, our love and our worries. I pray that we can find comfort in the fact that all the hardships and all the blessings we receive were experienced by Jesus also, that we are not alone in our journey.


I pray that we find the Love we need and seek, in our family, friends, and in God. I pray that through love, we each might experience the healing that will make us whole.
Image from antiqueclipart.com.

Monday, December 22, 2008

One Very Long (and Productive) Week




I just returned last night from a full week in St. Louis, completing much of the application to the Society of the Sacred Heart. I'm happy to report that all went well, and that the application is almost finished!

One of the big things about discernment has been self-discovery. I wonder how many people really consider who they are as deeply as someone who is exploring religious life. This last week was yet another opportunity to learn about myself, with a psychologist pointing out both my weaknesses and my strengths. It was a growth-filled experience, though it leaves me with some sadness about my past. I hope that the things I (and the Society) learned will be helpful in formation and community living.

It was a lovely week with the sisters. I stayed in two different houses, and greatly enjoyed being in each one. I am grateful for the brief glimpse at community living! I look forward to having it full time. (Knowing also that full time will be a bit more challenging than a one-week stint!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Five: Window to the Soul

From RevGalBlogPals:

This Friday Five is inspired by my husband's Lasik surgery yesterday....He'd been contemplating it for a while and was pushed over the edge by the fact that we put too much money in our healthcare spending account this year and it would have been gone anyway. (There was only enough for one eye, but the kind people at the eye clinic figured out a way to divvy up the charges between surgery and followup in January=next year's spending account). So please say a little prayer for his safe recovery and share with us your thoughts on eyes and vision.

1. What color are your beautiful eyes? Did you inherit them from or pass them on to anyone in your family?
My eyes are blue. From my mom's side of the family--though most of them have lighter blue eyes than mine. Mine are pretty dark blue. No passing them on--the whole nun thing gets in the way of that! But my brother and sister in law have a good chance at blue-eyed babies.

2. What color eyes would you choose if you could change them?
I love the color of my eyes! I would not change them if I could!

3. Do you wear glasses or contacts? What kind? Like 'em or hate 'em?
I wear Rigid Gas Permeable Contacts. Capitalized because they feel like that on the eyes. I wear them and I like them because they let me see a lot better than glasses do, but they are not terribly pleasant or convenient, though I can usually wear them for most of the day without complaint. Really, it's worth it for the better vision.

4. Ever had, or contemplated, laser surgery? Happy with the results?
Contemplated it. It's a no. But a couple of friends have had it with great results.

5. Do you like to look people in the eye, or are you more eye-shy?
In the eye! But not always.

Bonus question: Share a poem, song, or prayer that relates to eyes and seeing.
"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way." There's so much about sight that is a part of faith--Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe! Yet we also say that those who understand (even by faith), "see." It's just such a useful image.

Much of my dissertation had to do with the image of light as knowledge, knowing things because Light has touched you--that too is about "sight."

I wonder what implications that has when we talk about looking people in the eye, and the eye being the window to the soul.


Thank you, Sophia!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A very silly blog quiz.

So, Sr. Susan did this quiz over at Musings of a Discerning Woman, and I thought I would follow suit. It has the oddest questions, but the outcome is sort of funny.





Your Spiritual Number is Five



You bring adventure and change to people's lives.

You are willing to challenge your friends and push them to grow.



Right now, your life is about figuring out where to direct your energy.

If you're not careful, you can become too unreliable or flighty. You need the perfect project.



You live a free form life - which allows you to be very innovative and a great problem solver.

Rules, schedules, and structure practically destroy you. You have to do things your own way.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

God Acting

I've been thinking a lot about God in action. My spiritual director talks about "God-acting" and this idea has stuck with me.

God never changes, and God created us. So if God once created, then God is always creating, because to stop creating would be to change. The Creator God is Creating God, always acting in every one of his creations to keep us going.

There's a second side to the image, too. God is always making us holy. We are sinful, human, full of mistakes, but God makes us holy, and God is always making us holy.

Perhaps that's good to remember when I feel especially sinful or unworthy of God's love. I'm worthy of God's love because God is making me holy--because God says I am worthy!

With that, I feel humbled by God's greatness.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Advent Friday Five--Simplicity, Light, and Beauty





There is a lovely reflection on Advent at the source for this Friday Five, RevGalBlogPals. I'll quote part of it here:

Advent calls us into the darkness, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting, and re-discovering the wonder of the knowledge that God is with us. Advent's call is to simplicity and not abundance, a time when we wait for glorious light of God to come again...

Christ is with us at this time of advent, in the darkness, and Christ is coming with his light- not the light of the shopping centre, but the light of love and truth and beauty.

What do you long for this advent? What are your hopes and dreams for the future? What is your prayer today?

In the vein of simplicity I ask you to list five advent longings....

My five advent longings:
1. Peace. Above all peace. Peace in our churches, among our churches, in our nation, in every nation on earth. Peace in each person's heart. Peace given to our environment, as we take what we need from the earth. Peace in our dealings with everyone that we meet and in every action that we take. I keep dreaming of a day when peace will reign on earth, and I hope that this dream will continue to unfold in the world.

2. Along with peace goes Love. I am drawn to the phrase from a movie from a few years ago, "Love Actually Is All Around." So it is! God our Creator is Love! And God is with us always and everywhere, loving us into being, creating us constantly and lovingly. It's such a beautiful image of God--that never-stopping love and creation.

I've been thinking lately too, that we see much violence and hatred. But I think if we each consider our everyday encounters with others, we will discover that most people in this world run on love, are ruled by love. Only a few are ruled by hate, and unfortunately they get the attention of the news.

3. An End to Fear. (Yes, I know these are all theological idealisms... but what else can a theologian do??) Would it not be beautiful if each of us could live our lives detached from our possessions and concerns in such a way that we no longer act out of fear? What do we have to be afraid of? In the end, even our greatest fears have been conquered by the Risen Christ. [I say all that knowing that fear is one of those things that haunts my world just as it does everyone else's.]

4. Reducing Materialism. There is a beautiful program to that effect called JustLiving. I can't find the website right now, but I'll figure it out and put it up later today. There are additional benefits to reducing our materialistic tendencies as well: it reduces our usage of the earth's resources, and it reduces our trash.

Update: I found it! Check out the website for Just Living!

5. HOPE! Hope in all the goodness within us and within our world, created by Love. Hope that Christ is coming again to draw us to himself. Hope that love and peace will prevail over fear.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Work of the Mind

There is a great quote from John O'Donohue's Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom:

"I was raised on a farm….. There is great satisfaction in farmwork. Even though it is difficult, you still see a great return for your work. When I left home, I entered the world of thought, writing, and poetry. This work is in the invisible realm. When you work in the territory of mind, you see nothing. Only sometimes are you given the slightest little glimpse of the ripples from your effort. You need great patience and self-trust to sense the invisible harvest in the territory of the mind. You need to train the inner eye for the invisible realms where thoughts can grow, and where feelings put down their roots." (p. 134)

It's so true--the work of academics, of graduate school and beyond is a work that is hard to see, difficult to quantify, and that often seems like it is not progressing.


For all my friends who are dissertating: keep going! You may not see the progress, but you must trust that your work will come to something.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Morning Prayer





Today's morning prayer is the first for Advent, and this, from the reading, caught my eye:

"It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep, for our salvation is closer than when we first accepted the faith. The night is far spent; the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Rom. 13:11-12)

Advent is the time of anticipation--and it is good to feel the anticipation in Paul's writings, to remember that he believed Christ would come again in his own lifetime. There is energy, excitement, and a strong call of repentance wrapped in that expectation.

So, let us turn away from dark deeds, and don the armor of light!

Giving Thanks

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

I am enjoying a long weekend with my brother and his wife. We've explored dinosaur tracks (yes, real ones), and we will see King Tut tomorrow morning. Exciting.

I am thankful for my lovely family. It is great to have the siblings here this weekend, and I'm happy knowing of the wonderful support that I get from them and from the rest of my family as well. I can't imagine how hard it would be if they didn't approve of my choice to enter religious life. I'm grateful that they do.

The last few days have had beautiful weather, everything from rain to sunshine--lots of sunshine. It's beautiful. Thank you, God, for the land that we live on, the beauty of sunshine, rain, and changing leaves. Thank you for the peace in my heart and the joy in my soul.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne




Happy Feast Day!

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, dear friend to the Society of the Sacred Heart's foundress, St. Madeleine Sophie Barat.

Philippine brought the Society to America in 1818, in a daring journey from Paris to New Orleans, and then up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where she established schools and eventually was laid to rest (in St. Charles, just outside St. Louis).

I am in awe of the amazing things that Philippine did during her lifetime. She had a persistent calling to serve the Native Americans from very early in life, which she only realized when she was 72 years old and rather sick. She earned the respect of the Potawatomi, and became known as Woman Who Prays Always.

I want to share a quote from the journal of the voyage from France to New Orleans. The voyage itself was very difficult, and the ship they travelled on was threatened by storms many times. All aboard were quite seasick for much of the time.

This particular quotation was written by one of Philippine's companion sisters on the trip, after they had come to the mouth of the Mississippi.

"After that, the view was sheer delight. Poplars planted along both banks, and during the night the fireflies made a light stronger than glow-worms. We saw several crocodiles from a distance. One of a small species was caught, it was an ell in length and like a lizard with speckled black skin and toad-like paws. The cook told us it was good to eat. The voyage became more interesting from day to day. We were seeing inhabitants, ... herds of cows, charming woods."

The journal goes on to describe the various animals, people, and plants that they encounter. I can only imagine the wonder at such wildlife and wild territory, so different from their home in France.

So, Happy Feast! Philippine died in 1852, and was canonized in 1988.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gratefulness


I am really blessed.

My friends are truly wonderful. It's not that anything happened to me today, I have just been thinking about spending time with friends lately, people I don't often get to see. And I miss them--but I also just feel so loved and blessed, even from afar.

May God always be at their sides!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yes!


I have been approved to continue with my application!

Thank you, God!

What is the nature of woman?

I've had some interesting conversations lately about the nature or essence of a woman.

And now I just have more and more questions about it.

It seems clear that the church wants to distinguish between men and women in order to (1) say that women cannot be ordained and (2) outline particular roles of men and women in society, especially marriage.

I have some issues with this, but my primary issue has to do with the fact that women are considered so different from men. We're not so different. There is much about the human person that is pretty universal.

But I think we also know that there is something that is different between men and women. So, what is it?

This all has to do with theological anthropology--how Christians view the nature of humanity, particularly in relationship with God.

Back to the question: what is it about a woman that makes her a woman?

I think the answer lies in a relational attitude. Unfortunately, this is usually simplified to a mother-child relationship. What about women who never become mothers? My identity as a single Catholic woman is not bound up in my ability to bear children--though I would never deny that that is part of who I am. There is more to me than a womb!

So, my partially formed conclusions so far are that being a woman is uniquely relational, that women are more attuned to human relationships (generally) than men are. This is reflected in motherhood, but also in a tendency to put the needs of others above her own in other circumstances. Does a woman have a greater capacity for unconditional love than a man?

Anyone have any insights? I would love to hear them, either in the comments or by email. This issue is (I believe) fundamental to the church's conception of the human person, and a tad bit neglected (or misrepresented) in theological discussions and church documents.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Has it really been a month and a half??

Time flies.

Especially when life is busy and complicated.

But it is time to "check in" once again, and to fill in my bloggy world with some info.

The biggest news since my last post is the successful beginning to the interview process. I had the first of my interviews for acceptance into the RSCJ at the beginning of October, and it went well. It was a learning experience--recounting many of the relationships I've had throughout my lifetime, and seeking to understand how they shaped me. It was also not easy: to look at myself and my history means acknowledging the bad alongside the good.

But in the end it was a positive and growing experience.

And more on the news front: my application will be on the agenda for a special meeting tomorrow, in which it will be decided whether I should move forward.

So, many prayers for a positive outcome!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Big Announcement Part 2




What 's in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.
Romeo and Juliet, 2. 2


And now....

Now that I have finally announced to my little world that I want to be a nun, I can announce to my virtual nun-friends that I have a name!

My name is --
Juliet

That's right, like "Romeo and Juliet."

Big happy sigh.

Though I might still go by Sophie's Daughter...since that status is my goal after all.

The Big Announcement

Well, I finally did it.

I told my boss that I want to be a nun.

And that I would not be returning for the next school year.

It went well. I am so thankful to finally have that "out of the bag" - and to be able to speak freely about my vocation and my desires. It has been frustrating to have all of that very carefully guarded.

My boss and my co-workers were all very sweet, some excited and some just happy for me. I knew that would be the case, that (since I am in a Catholic environment) the people I work with would be happy about this whole thing.

I have two weeks until my first interview for the application to the Society. I'm not really nervous, but then sometimes it hits me and I am. I am excited for things to get underway.

And I am sooo happy to have the whole announcement thing over with!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

And so we begin once again.

Well, enough about the kitties.

Life is full and busy. The semester started, and my classes are going well. I have a wide assortment of students, anything from those who are well educated in the subjects I teach to those who have never had a theology course in their life.

I will be making a clear distinction between "catechesis" and "theology." I do not teach catechesis to graduate students--you may read your own copy of the Catechism if you need that background. I will be assuming that my students understand generally the basic tenets of the faith, so that we can delve into theological explanations.

On another note, my application is moving through the RSCJ. I just set up my first interview for the beginning of October. Pray for me!

Naming the boys

So, I want to name the kittens, but I'm not sure what they should be called. They are both pure black with greenish eyes, and physically they are impossible to tell apart. Their personalities distinguish them, however.

Thoughts anyone?

My few ideas:
Yin and Yang (though they are both male)
Peter and Paul
Happy and Sleepy (from the 7 dwarfs, which means I'm Sneezy!)
Tick and Tock

I tend to call them my little munchkins!

Kitty update

The boys are growing and filling out. They're a little less skinny (thank heavens), but they still want to nurse. They try to do so on my fingers, my toes, anything they think might provide what they seek!

They also chase each other around the living room, climb on anything that they can, and pounce! It's really fascinating to watch them learn how to live. They are grooming themselves (and each other), and I can tell that one is a little more advanced than the other. He's more likely to pounce and also jumps down from higher things.

So sweet! I know, everyone says that I will become attached and won't want to give them up, but I know that can't happen. Yes, I am becoming attached, but I really cannot keep these little cuties. Aside from the whole preparing for religious life thing (and thus giving up possessions), they make me sneeze!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My sweet boys

I just volunteered to foster two little kitties--only about 4 weeks old! It's hard to tell their size, but the dishes in the background are saucers, for a little reference. They're precious. I don't have names for them yet, but I'm open to suggestions...

And no, I cannot keep them. Aside from the fact that I am allergic to cats, I am also trying my hardest to get rid of stuff, not acquire it! So if any of you readers out there would like to adopt a kitty in a month or so, they will be available. The woman who is "in charge" of their adoption said that they are just too little to be placed in a home alone--they need to be together for now. So, if you want two little kitties, let me know!




Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Week of Accomplishments

At the end of the summer it never fails: about half of the things the list of "things to do this summer" remains. But--the last few weeks are super-productive. So, here's an account of my productivity for the last week.

  • two syllabi are complete
  • two classes have been taught, and two more start soon
  • a translation that I started in May has been turned in
  • the extra readings for my fall class have been scanned and posted for student access
  • recycling was taken out (yay! floor space has returned!)
  • new friends have been invited to dinner next week (which means the apartment will be clean soon)
  • faculty meetings were attended (begrudgingly, I must admit)
  • most of my emails were answered
  • my desk was partially cleared off
Some big things did get done earlier in the summer: I turned in my complete application to the RSCJ over a month ago. That certainly cannot be overlooked! I'm now waiting for an initial interview, which should take place in September.

This week, I also started reading Mother Teresa's Come Be My Light. It's extraordinary--very beautiful, very touching. She was so devoted to the poor and to Jesus from the very beginning of her vocation as a Loreto nun. Her "vocation within a vocation" is an amazing call. I'm enjoying the book very much.

Happy Sunday, All!

Prayers to those in the southeast--especially New Orleans.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A morning in pictures

Today I decided was mine... to do with what I please. I worked all weekend, and I need some time to process everything in my head. So I went, armed with my little camera and a book (Elizabeth Johnson's Quest for the Living God), to the arboretum.


There were few people there, probably because it's Monday, but many lovely flowers.


And some wildlife...

The waters are lovely.


In all it was only a couple of hours, but so refreshing to "escape" the city for a bit. I've only been here a year, and I'm still searching for nice parks with big trees. A place called "arboretum" seemed like a good place to look... and it was.


I didn't get to the book....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's just one of those weeks....

I'm here, I really am!

Classes just started, so the last week has been incredibly busy with preparations and planning.

I've also had some "friend issues" - of my own creation, of course. This week, for me, the hardest part about changing my life and moving toward religious life is the shift in friendships. My best friend is pregnant--which means that her life is changing, too. It also means that our priorities and goals are no longer the same. Though our friendship will not end (we are too close for that) it has to change. I don't like those changes very much right now.

I am thankful for all of my friendships. I have some wonderful people in my life, who help me to understand the sadness in my heart, as well as all the good things about life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Feast of the Assumption of Mary!


Happy Feast!

I have to admit that I have never been particularly devoted to the Blessed Mother. But, as I learn and read more, I am coming to appreciate her more and more.

I was asked to give a talk today on things Marian. I chose to use that invitation as motivation to finish reading Elizabeth Johnson's Truly Our Sister: A Theology of Mary in the Communion of Saints. It's a wonderful book, focusing on Miriam of Nazareth--the human person, living in a particular time and place.

So, I presented some of the material, and then reflected on the Magnificat with Johnson's assertions in mind. I'd like to share some of that reflection here.

The text of the Magnificat that I used is from the People's Companion to the Breviary:


My soul proclaims your greatness, O my God,

and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior.

For your regard has blessed me, poor, and a serving woman.

From this day all generations will call me blessed,

for you, who are mighty, have done great things for me;

and holy is your Name.

Your mercy is on those who fear you, from generation to generation.

You have shown strength with your arm.

You have scattered the proud in their hearts’ conceit.

You have put down the mighty from their thrones,

and have lifted up the lowly.

You have filled the hungry with good things,

and have sent the rich away empty.

You have helped your servant Israel,

remembering your mercy,

as you promised to Abraham and Sarah,

mercy to their children forever. (Luke 1:46-55)



My reflections:

The history of the Hebrew people is bound up in their deliverance from overbearing political leaders, from those who do not believe in Yahweh.

Yet there is a challenge here also, a hope that the world is not going to remain in the oppression that is being experienced.

By remembering God’s acts, the community remembers that God will do this again—God will always lift up the lowly, will always isolate the proud to their own inner dissatisfaction, will always pull the mighty from their powerful positions.


What does that mean for us? Are we the lowly or are we the proud? Certainly, for Mary, the lowly were those who were quite literally at the bottom of society—the slaves, servants, peasants, farm workers, “blue-collar” people who live from paycheck to paycheck.

But what about us? What about me? It is so easy to say that I am one of the “spiritually humble,” one who acknowledges my own lowliness before the God who is all-powerful and all-merciful.
-
But do I recognize the power I have over other people, the opportunities that my socio-economic status has given me that others do not have, through no fault of their own?

What do I do about it?

Am I content to live my comfortable life and ignore the needs of those in my world, my country, my city, my street?

How much am I willing to pull myself down, as God pulls down the mighty from their thrones?

How much am I willing to see what God sees and attempt to remedy the injustice in the world? How have I helped in God’s task of lifting up the lowly?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quote: Imitating Christ's Love

I'm preparing for fall classes, which means choosing reading assignments. Right now, I'm picking sermons from Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs. I came across this lovely passage in Sermon 20:

Christian, learn from Christ how you ought to love Christ. Learn a love that is tender, wise, strong; love with tenderness, not passion, wisdom, not foolishness, and strength, lest you become weary and turn away from the love of the Lord. Do not let the glory of the world or the pleasure of the flesh lead you astray; the wisdom of Christ should become sweeter to you than these. The light of Christ should shine so much for you that the spirit of lies and deceit will not seduce you. Finally, Christ as the strength of God should support you so that you may not be worn down by difficulties. Let love enkindle your zeal, let knowledge inform it, let constancy strengthen it. ... So love the Lord your God with the full and deep affection of your heart, love him with your mind wholly awake and discreet, love him with all your strength, so much so that you would not even fear to die for love of him.

It goes on. What beautiful language. I am always so amazed to think that a holy one who lived centuries ago can still speak the words that my heart needs to hear, the encouragement that seems timeless.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New French Word

Here's my new favorite French word:

vraisemblablement


A sound file of its pronunciation is here.

It means "in all likelyhood" or something along those lines.

Isn't it lovely? Seems to have too many letters, and in all the wrong order.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Five Locked In / Out



From RevGalBlogPals:

The "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.

1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Well, lately my travels have been by myself, so my amusement is in the audiobooks that are my companions. By the way, I mentioned last week that I had five with me--I listened to two. In keeping with the theme, one of them was on when I hit construction (fortunately, there was little of that this trip). The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier was great. I love historical fiction, and this one imagines the creation of those lovely French tapestries that illustrate the story of the lady and the unicorn. It's imaginative, has some historical data (though actually very little) and doesn't go too far in the direction of historical smut, like some of those novels do. I really enjoyed it.

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
Not really. I mean, I've been locked out before, but it wasn't my fault. I lived in a small apartment building, and someone broke their key off in the front door lock. So I had to buzz someone else to let me in. When I called the landlord to tell him that someone else had done it, he didn't believe me! He said, sure, it was someone else. How rude! It really was not me!

3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
Hmm... dissertation takes the cake. And, no, I have never actually cleared a material track-and-field hurdle. Not even one of the little ones. Though in high school I carried them around a lot--I helped with set-up for track meets.

4) What's your approach to a mental block?
It seems that the best way to deal with it is to do something else, to take your mind off it completely. Of course, usually when one has a mental block, that's all one can think about. So this is more theory than actual practice!

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
"News flash! Three men escape from high-security inflexible men's prison. They are wearing yellow plastic, and they may be linked together. If you see any persons fitting this description, call the police."

A new type of prayer

I'm reading all sorts of things in preparation for classes this fall. One of the books is Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue.

Celtic spirituality is quite different from much of the history of western Christian spirituality. A striking difference is the unity of body and soul. Western theology is so hampered by dualism - whether we like it or not, this way of thinking has invaded Christianity.

O'Donohue speaks of how our body is not separate from our soul in any way, but he says that our body resides in our soul. I'm still working that one out, but it is a beautiful image.

He offers a way to pray:

Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light. This recognition suggests a new art of prayer: Close your eyes and relax into your body. Imagine a light all around you, the light of your soul. Then with your breath, draw that light into your body and bring it with your breath through every area of your body.


(p. 49)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five Road Trip



From RevGalBlogPals:
We will be at a chaplain's convention when you all are answering the Friday Five Questions. I'll look forward to reading your answers next week when I get home. At the moment we are trying to get the car loaded so we can hit the road, so this will be a simple F.F. This running around madly in order to leave has me wondering: what are the five things you simply must have when you are away from home? And why? Any history or goofy things, or stories?

Oddly enough, I'm leaving on a road trip this morning too!
So this will be a practical answer version--the things that I have to remember to pack:
  1. The gift for my friend's baby shower. I crocheted her a blanket--it's very pretty! And I put that here trusting that she won't have time to look at my blog between now and tomorrow morning. (Her in-laws are at her house--I think I'm safe!)
  2. Water. Lots of water. It's too d--- hot to forget things to drink.
  3. Traditionally, I forget to pack socks and pajamas. Socks are unnecessary this summer, but I must remember pajamas...
  4. Books on CD. I only have time for two or three, but I always have lots of extras just in case. Today's variety includes two Agatha Christie mysteries (Hallowe'en Party and another that I can't remember), Steve Martin's novel The Pleasure of My Company, The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, and The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier. The Agatha Christie ones are always fun. And Steve Martin is reading his own work, so I'm sure that will be fun too. I'll try to remember to post comments on the books when I get back.
  5. Cell phone. I'm driving by myself through rural Louisiana. It's nice to have a little security.
Everyone, enjoy your weekend!

Pictures of the baby blanket:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Looking Out for Number One

So, becoming a nun is counter-cultural.

Huh. I never would have thought. (Sarcasm drips...)

I've just been visiting some people, and while I had realized how different my mindset is becoming, it was really brought home to me this visit.

I'm a pretty quiet person, and so often I listen more than I speak. Which seems to mean that sometimes I hear lots more than I care to. This weekend, it was stories about sex (not my favorite topic), and a little bit about how "I used to be Catholic, but..." which usually ends in the sex abuse scandal.

And then there is the whole attitude about money and self-promotion. Here's a sample of one conversation:

A friend: So, what do you do about money?
Me: Well, the order takes care of my needs and my salary goes to them.
Friend: So, how does that work, exactly?
Me: I don't really know yet. It's not all that important to me.
Friend: I guess you never really have been focused on getting money.


And also about careers:
Friend: What if they ask you to do something that you don't want to do?
Me: Well, I'm not sure of all the details, but I know that we discuss those sorts of things together.
Friend: So, you can tell them what you want.
Me: Yes and no. It's a conversation, like if you were married, you wouldn't make big career decisions without consulting your spouse. I let them know what I think God is calling me to do, and we discuss the issue. If they need me to serve in a particular way, then I will take on that ministry.

I got the feeling from that conversation that my friend never really understood that I'm not "looking out for number one" anymore, but that my life will be in service to others. {As I write, perhaps it's that I'm looking out for number One? Doing what the Divine One needs?)

It makes me sad for two reasons: that the people I love don't really understand what I'm doing, and that so many people in the world are attached to sex, money, and self-promotion. I want to just shout--does this really make you happy? If it does, then why is it never enough???

But I'm trying to simply patiently explain what happens, and to hope that it starts to make sense to those I care about.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Father Damien to be canonized!


I read a few days ago that Fr. Damien of Molokai was going to be canonized--how exciting! There is an article about it at Catholic World News, here.

I first heard about Father Damien by watching a documentary called An Uncommon Kindness: the Father Damien Story, which came out a few years ago and was narrated by Robin Williams. It's a very well done film--I highly recommend it, and have used it for several different courses on Christianity.

Part of the fascination is that it offers students a greater understanding of leprosy. Leprosy is mentioned so frequently in scripture, yet we generally don't have a clear understanding of what it is. This film includes images and interviews with people who have/had the disease (now called Hansen's Disease), and also those who were exiled because of it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ignatian Spirituality

I just began reading a book by Joseph Tetlow, S.J., called Making Choices in Christ: The Foundations of Ignatian Spirituality. It's very good--a very clear explanation of the Ignatian version (flavor?) of spirituality, especially as it is lived out today. Fr. Tetlow makes the point that Ignatius always intended it to be used among the laity, and that this intention is being lived out very widely, especially since Vatican II.

He says that all traditional spiritualities are ways of life, in addition to ways of relating to God. This is an important point--how we relate to God and understand ourselves ought to influence how we live. It seems to me that this only happens after some self-reflection and consideration of our actions. (Which, by the way, is a particularly strong characteristic of Ignatian spirituality.)

Fr. Tetlow describes the difference between this spirituality and others: "Other spiritualities seek the God of love, or of beautiful order, or of truth. Ignatian spirituality seeks the God who is always at work in the world and in each heart. The purpose of the spirituality is to help us find how we are to work along with God to bring the reign of Christ to human life and good order to the natural world--to the everyday world as it is now." (p. 2) I think about some of the other spiritualities that he is talking about -- ones that speak only of my heart, my relationship with God. It seems that some of them are missing the crucial point of looking to the world and seeing God in it.

I just watched Hotel Rwanda. I am trying to reconcile in my mind the horrors of human hatred with the work of God in the world. But I think one thing Ignatian spirituality teaches me is that I have to look at the world and see the pain and suffering. That is the world, which is where we live, the situation we have to deal with here and now. So then, the question becomes, where is God in all of that suffering? In the aide workers, in all who seek to protect those in danger and comfort those who suffer.

It makes me so sad that we live in world where money is still considered more than people, than human life. But I have to remember that not everyone agrees, that there are many of us who would always stick up for anyone, even if they can bring us nothing more substantial than a smile or a little joy.

How do we change the world? I don't know--I know that I don't have control of the world. But I can change me, and I can show to others the love that God has for them. If enough of us want to do that, the world will change.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Reflection on the World

I've been writing some reflections for my application to the society, and I thought I would share this little bit:

I have never (and still do not) understood how we could separate God from the world, despite the attempt at separating church and state. Even when I took philosophy courses in college, I failed at arguing a position philosophically without making it theological. I very firmly believe that it is all united—body, spirit, World, Spirit. I cannot remove the “God” from my worldview anymore than I can remove my heart from my body.
I'm not sure when I realized it, but this worldview places me at odds with our society. I think this must be the case for many Christians who seek to live out their faith. How do we justify and explain what we do without some reference to God?

This seems most evident when I try to understand how an atheist or agnostic understands morality. For me, it is all wrapped up in the fact that human beings are precious, because they were created by God in God's image and likeness. That's the foundation of all Christian morality, really--that everyone must be respected because every life, every individual is so valuable.

Friday Five: Summer Camp

From Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals:

We're settling into our new new apartment, and after a lifetime at Montessori Katie is having a fantastic summer at YMCA day camp. Meanwhile, Nicholas is packing up for a week at Camp Julian, shared by the Episcopal dioceses of Los Angeles and San Diego. His lists of supplies and rules--except for the ropes course available to the teenagers and the ban on IPODs and cell phones--bring back memories of my own happy times weeks at Y camp Ta Ta Pochon, funded by selling countless cases of butter toffee peanuts. So, in celebration of summer, please share your own memories and preferences about camp.

1. Did you go to sleep away camp, or day camp, as a child? Wish you could? Or sometimes wish you hadn't?
I went to Legendary Lodge, by the Catholic diocese of Helena, Montana. It is a lovely place--on a peninsula in the lake, surrounded on three sides by water, with a mountain at the back. You have to take a boat to get there. Wish I could find a picture.


2. How about camping out? Dream vacation, nightmare, or somewhere in between?
I like camping, but it's been a long time. Camping in my family always meant a tent, sleeping bags, and hard ground. And, of course, campfires and smores. Nom nom nom.


3. Have you ever worked as a camp counselor, or been to a camp for your denomination for either work or pleasure?
I was a "volunteer" camp counselor at Legendary Lodge while in high school. It was a lovely way to escape the long (boring) summer!

4. Most dramatic memory of camp, or camping out?
Two things. The best memory of camp is climbing the mountain at sunrise. So lovely. And of camping: seeing a bear. Fortunately, it was as we were driving away (otherwise camping would have been a little uncomfortable).

5. What is your favorite camp song or songs? Bonus points if you link to a recording or video.
Hmmmm... I think I have to say the girl scout song:
Make new friends
But keep the old,
One is silver
And the other gold.
A circle's round
It has no end
That's how long
I want to be your friend.
Sappy, huh?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wonderful Life



I just watched "It's a Wonderful Life" the other night, and I love this part:

"What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You...you want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey! That's a pretty good idea! I'll give you the moon, Mary. ... Then you can swallow it, and it'll all dissolve see, and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of you hair ... "

I love Jimmie Stewart, and this is such a lovely film.

And then I started thinking... Moonbeams shooting out of fingers... Sounds like a miraculous medal, doesn't it?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Down from the clouds

Well, in my last post, I was still on that just-returned-from-retreat high. I have to say that it has gone away. I am back to normal everyday work, which means teaching summer classes. It's going well (and quickly--the summer session is already half over).

I am also finishing the application for the Society. It is lengthy--about 20 pages of forms and short-answer questions, and then an "autobiography" section. I'm guessing that it is pretty similar to most religious orders nowdays. It also has gone surprisingly well, and I hope to turn it in in a couple of weeks. Just have a few things to collect first...like a baptism certificate, proof that I am actually Catholic! (I really am! I promise!)

I mentioned before that the spirituality conference gave me a new sense of love for God's creation. Several things have caught my eye lately in that regard. I finally started bringing canvas bags to the grocery store after reading (not for the first time) about how many end up in landfills and oceans, and how they come from petroleum.

I was also caught by the post over at Musings of a Discerning Woman, on the Jubilee Act that is going up for vote in the Senate shortly. It concerns debt cancellation for poor countries.

The Legislative Alert Center that she posted is an easy way to contact your senator.

Until later!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Energized


This poor blog is so woefully out of date. Well, here is a brief post to say that all is well!

I just returned from the Sacred Heart Spirituality Forum in Chicago. It was a wonderful experience--one that gave me energy, hope, and peace to continue in my journey of discernment.

I will try to synthesize some of my experience in future blog entries, but for now this will have to be it. Suffice it to say that:
1. I feel profoundly loved.
2. I want to share that love with every person on the planet, and even with Mother Earth and the universe!
3. God is great, and greatly to be praised! Amen! Alleluia!

Photo: my own, from a mountaintop in Montana.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Five - Words

From Singing Owl at RevGalBlogPals:

This post is loosely based on previous "wordy" Friday Fives from Reverend Mother and Songbird. I liked the results, and so we are doing another word association . Theirs were based on words from a lectionary text. Mine comes from the Lovin' Spoonful song, "Summer in the City."

Think summer......are you there? Below you will find five words or phrases. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem, a memory, a recipe, or a story. You get the idea:

1. rooftop
Over my head. Lots of things are over my head lately--my work (too much to do!), my discernment (ack!), and a very powerful summer sun.
(my own picture--rooftops in Paris, from Sacre Coeur)


2. gritty
Nitty Gritty (My mom's phrase). That phrase always makes me think of scrubbing floors on my hands and knees. Not that I ever really did that (at least not more than once or twice). Or of rolling up my sleeves to do a particularly dirty job.


3. hot town (yeah, I know, it's two words)
Yes, it is a hot town... hot, sticky, sweaty in the summer town! Yet in the song, I always thought the phrase was something else...
(Dallas, one hot summer city)
4. night
Stars. I haven't taken time to look at the stars for way too long. I just planned a trip to northern Montana in July, where I'll be camping with my dad. That should be a great opportunity to see more stars than can be seen in the city anyhow.
(Gotta love Van Gogh)

5. dance
in the rain!
(picture shamelessly borrowed from someone else's blog)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Reflecting on religious life

I got out of the habit of blogging, and now it is hard to return! But I am finally back in my own home, and adjusting to a new summer schedule. So here's to blogging, once again!

I had a wonderful 3 weeks of travel, to California (both northern and southern) and to St. Louis, Missouri. I was fortunate to be able to attend the Jesuit ordinations in St. Louis--what a powerful ceremony. It was really a wonderful journey for me, and it helped me to see some things about religious life that I hadn't noticed before.

One of my concerns lately has been the question: how does living as a woman religious in today's world really contribute to the church? If we (women) can't be ordained, then what is the use of becoming part of the institution, so to speak?

I guess I struggle with this because I don't really understand the reasons for keeping women from priesthood to begin with (but that is another story for another time). Yes, I know what the church teaches, and I accept it for the sake of union, but it just doesn't make logical sense to me.

There is a second reason why I struggle with this issue: I believe that I do contribute to the church. I teach Catholic theology, and I feel that this is a gift that God has given to me, that I then share with the church. So, why become a nun? How does that make any difference at all? I mean, I contribute without being a nun, so what does it matter if my lifestyle is different?

I still don't know the answer. But watching the four men who were ordained Jesuits in St. Louis helped me to see that ordination for them does not define their service to the world. These are men who have lived religious life for over a decade each, and ordination (it seems to me) is simply another step of their formation and their life. It's not meaningless, but it also isn't what defines them in their lives as religious. They did not become Jesuits solely to be priests (if they did, they surely would have chosen something with a shorter formation program!), but their priesthood is part of a greater contribution to the Catholic world.

Maybe that's the distinction I need to see also. I do not want to become a nun to serve the church, per se, but to serve the world and the human beings who live in it. It's not about an institution, but rather it's about sharing God's love with people!

So while I don't really have an answer to my question, I have a better understanding of the value of religious life. It offers me a way to live that makes it easier to serve the world in a bigger way than I can on my own. That's certainly not the whole of it, but at least I feel like I've understood another little bit.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Home and Gone Again

I'm only home for a couple of days before travelling again, but a post is long overdue here. My trip to San Francisco was wonderful. I spent about a week in Oakland, and then a couple of days at the nuns' retirement facility before returning home.

Both places were fantastic. In Oakland, I spent lots of time with an international group of RSCJ, learning a little more about their respective cultures, and the international charism of the order. Every sister I met is such a wonderful woman--so loving and self-giving, truly living out the love of God.

I had two days in the school, one working with kids of all ages for their Field Day, and a second tutoring a middle-school boy one-on-one. I'm certainly not experienced in such teaching, but it was a rewarding experience on many levels. It definitely requires one to be patient, but also not to be a push-over!

A couple of days with retired sisters will make anyone a happier person. These women are amazing. I know, I just said that a few paragraphs back! The women in the retirement facility range from in their 70s to 98. Many are over 90. Now, this is not a nursing home, but rather a place for rather independent women! All have served God and the world for so many decades in many different ministries, and their love for God and others radiates so strongly. I had some lovely conversations, and got some very profound advice.

In one conversation, we were talking about the discernment process as sort of "dating" God... The sister I was speaking with said, "Always keep dating God."

Excellent advice, no?

I can certainly tell that she was "dating" God, even after her decades of religious life.

I am very thankful for the time that I spent in California. I learned so much from each of these women. I am truly blessed to be a part of their community, and I look forward to being even more closely united with them.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Going West


I am off to California!

I will be spending the next two weeks with Sisters, working in a school and meeting lots of new people. I'm excited!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

from Psalm 49

Be not afraid to discover the Treasure within,
to seek the gold hidden in the garden of your heart.
For inasmuch as you root out each fear,
will truth and peace and joy become your riches.
You will live in the realm of Love becoming a light,
a beneficial presence in the world.

O Spirit of Truth, You are our strength and our guiding light,
Lead us, O Love, to the eternal Treasure,
the Heart of all hearts.


from Nan Merrill's Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience


I know it's been a while since I posted anything substantive. It's mostly just been so busy--the last week of the semester is upon us (thankfully), and I have papers to grade!

I'm in a good place generally. The good news is that I have been given permission to move forward with my application. I'm so happy! There is a lot of work to do with it, and a lot of discernment still in my path.... But it is work that helps me grow, and so I'm thankful for it.

One of the things on my mind lately is that last vow -- obedience. I've thought a lot about the other two, and I think for now they are settled in my mind. I don't think they will be easy to follow all the time, but I think I can come to terms with them and have started to already. I know that living them is freeing, that it leaves me open to love and to serve more completely.

Obedience is coming up now, as I realize that I want to decide where I go for my candidacy year (God willing that I am accepted). There are certain things I want to do and certain places I would rather spend that year. I am so accustomed to making all the decisions about my life and my job, about where I live and what I am doing, that I think it only just dawned on me that I need to let that go.

I think that the Society generally listens to its members and works with their talents, so I don't imagine that I will be completely excluded from the process. But I want to be in complete control! That is what I need to let go of.

I guess, what I am praying for now, is the freedom in my heart to walk away joyfully from university teaching, if that is where the Spirit blows.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Pentecost Friday Five


Great questions from Presbyterian Gal at RevGalBlogPals:

FOR PENTECOST THIS WEEKEND:
FROM ACTS CHAPTER 2: 14-21 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: " 'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'

(My personal favorite in this passage is how Peter insists the men cannot be drunk because it's only 9:00 a.m.) Hey! Me Too!

Anyway, it's Pentecost and my very first Friday Five! Thinking about all the gifts of the spirit and what Peter said of the "last days"......

Have you or anyone you know

1. ...ever experienced a prophesy (vision or dream) that came true?
No, but I've had some weird dreams. And some moments when I just knew the phone would ring, or I would win in a drawing. I've also had dreams where I had some control over what was happening in them.. but that's probably another story for another time.

2. ...dreamed of a stranger, then actually met them later?
Nope.

3. ...seen a wonder in heaven? (including UFO's)
Mmmm... The greatest wonder I've ever seen in heaven was the plentitude of stars on a dark night in the country. I think the best place to see stars is in Montana during the winter (when nights are really really long). With no clouds and little disturbance from city lights, the skies are absolutely stunning. It's so amazingly vast, and yet imminently close--definitely one of God's greatest wonders.

4. ...seen a "sign" on the earth?
To stretch the question a little... when I was on a retreat a couple of years ago, a vocations retreat, a friend of mine kept saying "it's a sign" about everything. We slept in the old convent dormitory (it's a sign!) over Palm Sunday (it's a sign!). It snowed that night (it's a sign!) and we had to share keys to the front door (it's a sign!). It was pretty funny--anything can be a "sign" if you put your mind to it.
To stretch the question in another direction... I think I have seen signs along the path of discernment that indicate to me that I am moving in the right direction. Two come to mind. Several months into discernment for religious life, I found a short story that I had written in middle school. The heroine was a princess who basically rescued herself from calamity and rejected the prince. She remained single and lived happily ever after with her dog. (I still can't believe that I wrote it--but in retrospect, I never really dreamed about marriage at all as a kid. Though I also never dreamed of becoming a nun.)
The second sign is more recent. This week, I emailed a friend and told him that I was applying to become a sister with the Society of the Sacred Heart. He's a Franciscan friar, and his exact words in response were: "I'm so happy that you have discovered what many already suspected. . . that you have a calling to "religious" life." It made me laugh and cry at the same time. I do wonder who the "many" are.

5. ...experienced knowledge of another language without ever having studied it?
You know, once you've studied a few languages, you can pick up words here and there from many others. But that's really the only experience of language-knowing that I have ever had! It does seem like there are other ways of communicating, such as knowing what someone else needs, even if they won't say. I know that more than once I have called my mom at just the right moment, when she really needed some love and support. Once, she was actually following the ambulance with my grandmother in it to the hospital. Little events like that must be nudgings of the Holy Spirit.

Bonus Question: What would a modern day news coverage of the first Pentecost have sounded like?
Oh, I can't imagine that it would be good. It would probably look a lot like the coverage of cult activity (without the illegal nature of many cults).... lots of sensation and very little substance to the report.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sometimes, prayer's like this:

It's my Saturday!

I just had to say that. While the rest of the world thinks it is Monday, I am taking a day off. Not that I didn't work for it--I worked all weekend in fact, and so I need a day off!

So what's on tap for a non-Saturday Saturday?

Well, it's already afternoon, and I'm still in my pajamas. That's a good start. I think I have to do some cleaning. I'll also take some prayer time. And I'm working on going through my junk and getting rid of some of the things I really don't need. You know, that stuff that I haven't used since I moved almost a year ago? Yep, going to St Vinnies. It's a good feeling to get it out of the closet.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Prayer

From St. Madeleine Sophie:

Be in peace about the state of your soul and your manner of prayer; only love and do what you please. The essential thing and the proof of true love is forgetfulness of self and of one’s own interests to think only of those of the loved one…So what difference does it make how you pray provided that your heart is seeking the one you love.

The last line reminds me of other mystics--prayer as simply loving God. It seems that prayer for me needs to come in many forms--the liturgy of the church, silence in God's presence, contemplating the psalms or readings of the day. Lately for me, prayer comes with tears. Not just tears of sadness, though there are some of those, but also tears of joy, tears of anticipation, tears of fear, tears of remembering. I am thankful for the tears in a way, and I have to remind myself that tears, too, are a gift. Emotions are a part of being human, and so they are another way of expressing who I am and how I deal with the world.

(Many thanks, D, for the quote.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Muppet Personality Blogthing

Oh, I just couldn't resist this one....




You Are Scooter



Brainy and knowledgable, you are the perfect sidekick.

You're always willing to lend a helping hand.

In any big event or party, you're the one who keeps things going.

"15 seconds to showtime!"

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five, just for Fun


From RevGalBlogPals:

Yesterday I had two separate conversations in which people were musing about how much change is occurring. The WW II generation, of which my mom is a part, went from horse and buggy to automobiles, saw the lessening, or even the end of many diseases, went from widespread use of kerosene lamps and outhouses (in the country, and most folks were rural)) to a totally electrified and plumbed society. The fastest means of communication was a telegraph. The second conversation--gulp--was about MY generation and how much change occurred in the last half of the 20th century. The person said his 13 year old had not seen a vinyl record album until a few days before, couldn't remember a time without cell phones, and on and on.

As for the questions!


1. What modern convenience/invention could you absolutely, positively not live
without?
I have to admit that it is hard to live without email. It is so nice to have a message from a friend when you least expect it, at any moment of the day that you happen to check. The disadvantage is that messages you don't want to see are there at any moment of the day as well, and those are often the ones that have to be answered even when I don't want to!


2. What modern convenience/invention do you wish had never seen the light of day?
Why?
My inclination is to say cell phone, but there are too many conveniences included with the annoyances. I might have to say cable television. What a supreme waste of time, and an incredible influence on our society's thoughts and desires. There are certain things that I would rather not be so easily accessible.


3. Do you own a music-playing device older than a CD player? More than one? If
so, do you use it (them)?
Well, my stereo has both a CD player and a cassette player, but I don't really use either of them. Thank you, mp3 player!


4. Do you find the rapid change in our world exciting, scary, a mix...or something
else?
A little bit of everything. There are definitely exciting things happening--like the end of certain diseases (though there are new ones that take their place) and the instant communication we have. But I think it also places a great deal of pressure on each of us to know what is going on and how to use the latest technology (which will, of course, be obsolete in about 30 seconds).


5. What did our forebears have that we have lost and you'd like to regain? Bonus
points if you have a suggestion of how to begin that process.
I think we've lost time and silence. I teach college students: they simply do not know how to be silent, at least not without their ipods and cell phones in their ears. That makes things like prayer, studying, self-reflection really hard. We each need a little more space to figure out who we are, and what will make us happy. How do we begin the process? I'm happy to say that I have given away my tv...that's a start. (Though I still can watch dvds on my computer.). And I think making time each day for silent prayer -- even if it's only 10 minutes at a time. I think everyone also needs to make sure they spend time with other people, in person, every day, not just on the phone or over facebook.


Those are my thoughts. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Great song



Harry Belafonte and the Muppets -- Turn the World Around

My favorite lines:
Do you know who I am?
Do I know who you are?
See we one another clearly
Do we know who we are?

Slacking...

I'd been so consistent for a while, and now it's been over a week since my last post... So what has been in my head lately?
  1. Walking every other day. Except today. Oops.
  2. Rearranging my living room. Not done yet.
  3. Planning classes for the summer and next semester.
  4. Finishing classes--only 2 weeks left!
  5. Making Baby Blanket Number 3 for one of my 9 pregnant friends. Well, there were nine a month ago--now there are 7 plus two babies!
  6. And the big question: how on earth do I detach myself from an entire apartment's worth of belongings???
That last one is the most recent. I'm getting rid of my television soon. That rearrangement of furniture was in part to move a chair to where the TV had been.

So, life is good. Just chugging along.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Love


I was asked, how do I understand the charism of the Society of the Sacred Heart?

My answer:

Knowing that God loves each of us,
and sharing that love to those we encounter.


The Society's official language: "to discover, live, and make known the love of the Heart of Christ."


Feel the Love! Pass it on!

A Homily on Vocations



Today, in the Roman Catholic world, Good Shepherd readings were brought together with vocations awareness.

The homilist at my parish took the opportunity to discuss vocations of the ordained type, completely ignoring all other vocations.

What's a good Catholic woman to do? Well, apparently, my role is to get on my knees and pray that "our children and grandchildren" might hear a call to ordained ministry.

[My inner voice was screaming, "you mean 'our sons and grandsons'"! Now is not the time to use inclusive language!]

The homilist was very passionate about this topic--to the point of tears, in fact. You could tell that he really believed in his message, and that it was very important to him. I understand that. In fact, it was encouraging to hear such passion from a Catholic pulpit. However, he was speaking a message that was meaningful only to a small group of the hundreds who sat in that church.

So, as I left the church today, I was thinking about what I would write in a homily, given the topic of Good Shepherd and vocations. Here are some of the points I would talk about:
  1. Every Christian is called - that's what "vocation" means.
  2. Every Christian is called to follow Christ, to do our best to walk his path and trod in his footsteps. It's not easy, and very few of us feel that we succeed.
  3. So, if Christ is the good shepherd, leading his flock by the sound of his voice, then we too are called to lead others to Christ by what we say and do.
  4. That includes those who are called to full-time church ministry, whether they are ordained, religious, or laity.
  5. That also includes all other Christians, whether they work in business, education, social services, the government, the home, or are retired.
The point is this: an ordained minister might be passionate about his ordination and the responsibility that it brings, but not everyone is called to ordained ministry. In fact, many people are barred from ordained ministry.

So if you are going to stand in front of a congregation and talk about vocations, you might want to think about what message those who listen are going to hear. I heard, "pray - that's all the ministry you need to give."

And that is way off target.