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

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.