Every two years I have the privilege of meeting with Dominican Justice Promoters from North America and International Co-Promoters. We met at the Divine Word Retreat Center in Techny, Illinois, March 25-27 with a full and challenging agenda.
Ever present on everyone’s agenda—Iraq and its future. Mike Deeb, International Co-Promoter of Justice from South Africa focused on what must happen for Iraq to achieve peace and stability. He emphasized three actions that must happen:
Palm Sunday begins Holy Week when we remember with stark detail the love of Christ poured out in the sufferings and humiliations He endured for us. In today's first reading, the prophet Isaiah describes God's "servant whom I uphold, my chosen with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my Spirit; who shall bring forth justice to the nations..." Believers and disciples of Christ receive Christ's Spirit - as God's servants called like Christ for the victory of justice, grasped by God's hand, formed and set as a light for the nations.
There are many ways that this light shines in our world:
Come to the Water...Taste and See...Plunge into the PEACE of Christ! In Jesus' day his disciples asked, "Lord, teach us to pray." Is it any wonder that Jesus' disciples today, some of whom are feeling the Spirit's nudge towards consecrated life, are voicing this same desire? Dominican Life attracts, and one attractive and important aspect is our prayer that is both personal and liturgical. As faith is handed on, and as we each begin to develop a very personal relationship with God, we are graced with a desire to deepen this connection. We are invited by God into God's very heart!
"Those who surrender to the service of the poor through love of Christ will live like the grain of wheat that dies. It only apparently dies. If it were not to die, it would remain a solitary grain. The harvest comes because of the grain that dies...We know that every effort to improve society, above all when society is so full of injustice and sin, is an effort that God blesses; that God wants; that God demands of us." - Archbishop Oscar Romero
"Behold! I make all things new. Can you perceive it?" - Is 43:19
This past week Sr. Pat Kozak, CSJ, was a guest speaker for the Hear & Proclaim Program at the Akron Motherhouse. Her presentation was "Women in the New Testament and Their Invitation to Us." Sr. Pat focused her theme on Scripture readings in which women encountered Jesus and a transformation happened, a new consciousness began to unfold in the Gospel message. After a few examples of these encounters, she moved to the broader message that there is a difference between 'change' and 'transformation.' "Change involves a strategy or behavior, but post–change awareness remains at the same level as life before the change. Transformation arises from a power or influence outside myself and moves me to an awareness beyond earlier life."
I am putting a hold on finishing up the brickyard until next week because I want to share with you an insight gleaned last evening from a presentation given by Sr. Pat Kozak, CSJ. She addressed a group of us on the women in the New Testament who in-fluenced Jesus, widening and deepening his understanding of his mission. Addressing the call of the gospel to a transformation of consciousness—a profound shift in awareness, she spoke of the difference between change and transformation.
arises from our own initiatives
involves a strategy of behavior
post-change awareness is on the same level as life before the change.
In other words, change fixes things but doesn't resolve issues.
In my 18 years in ministry with the economic poor, I have served persons of many national backgrounds and ethnic groups. Coming from an Anglo-German and Bohemian background I have had much to learn about the differing cultures, world views, family customs and even gestures that are and are not acceptable. There is always more to learn and to adjust about my own thoughts and actions so I can serve God’s people as I am called to do.
We are just past the midpoint of Lent, Laetare Sunday is just behind us, St. Patrick's Day with the wearin' of the green is upon us, the air is warming, snow is melting - SPRING is almost here, and EASTER is fast approaching. Let hearts and feet dance with joy!
"Rabbi, where are you staying?" He said to them, "Come and you will see." - John 1:39
Yes, women and men are still responding to God's Call to Religious Life as Sisters, Brothers, Priests, Monks, and Nuns. This past weekend we welcomed 6 women to our motherhouse for a Discernment retreat. The theme of the retreat was, "God, where is the home you have prepared for Me?"