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:

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?

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


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.)