Some of you are probably too young to remember the TV ad of a bygone era that proclaimed, "When E. F. Hutton speaks, everybody listens!" Well, God's got it all over E.F. Hutton, and it’s inspiring to see the response young women make when they detect within themselves the rumblings of a possible "call" from God to consecrated life. They listen - and are moved to take action. For some, this newly dawning "awareness of call" can be scary, confusing and even anxiety producing. For most, it is recognized as something very important—not to be suppressed or ignored. Whenever possible, it's always good to find others who are feeling similarly so you can reflect together on what you are experiencing, and share to what God may be inviting you.
By now most television watchers have seen the video of Baltimore Ravens player, Ray Rice, hit his girlfriend in an elevator and drag her face down, like a sack of flour, out of the elevator. What was as shocking as this event was the response before the full video appeared. The Ravens owner, general manager, and coach defended Rice. Ravens fans gave Rice a standing ovation when he took the field in a preseason game. Law enforcement officials in New Jersey permitted Rice to begin counseling, and this will result in all charges being erased from his record. Michael Vick received a 19 month prison sentence for engaging in dog fights. Is the message, dogs are more important than women?
I just spent the weekend immersed in Dominican life in Memphis Tennessee. My first activity was to meet several current Memphis Associates – Lynn Lofton, Nancy Ganz, JoAnn Lynn, Amy Moody, Julia Schuster, Gretchen Kirk, Tine Williams, Libba Nance and JoAnne O'Brien-Scott. We gathered in small groups for informal conversations on why they initially committed, have remained Dominican Associates of Peace and what being an Associate means to them.
When I was in Girl Scouts, I learned how make a fire. I collected the tinder, kindling, and large pieces of wood and then constructed and lit the tinder which then lit the kindling and the larger pieces of wood. The fire would leap from the small elements to the larger and the fire would then burn strong and hot.
The Holy Spirit sometimes works in the same way in our own lives. I know that the still small voice inside of me that first began to beckon me to discern my Call – began as a little spark. That spark was tended and fanned into flame by the sisters I met as I discerned my vocation. Perhaps there was a particular sister who did that for you? Perhaps you are a discerner who has a Sister doing that for you now?
Brueggemann, in Chapter 3, decides of all the implied meanings in shalom to focus first on freedom: Jesus Christ frees. God intends freedom. It is clear to us all that our biblical story—our biblical faith—begins in the story of the exodus. Taken historically, that story is about how a band of Israelites were freed one wondrous night long ago. Taken theologically, it is the announcement of how God’s purpose for freedom intruded radically into history and redesigned the direction of history. Now history becomes the story of how God’s purpose for freedom made its powerful way in the affairs of persons and nations. Exodus has given us a model to understand that the key problem in human experience is the problem of oppression, embodied here in the Pharaoh.
When reflecting on 9/11, I remember a time of great pain and great love, a time of faith and testing, of endings and beginnings. The sky was the bluest I can remember, in contrast to the grayness of the events to come.
Soon after the second plane hit the second twin tower I joined members of the Kentucky Council of Churches for a scheduled meeting. The previously planned agenda was ignored. We shared tears, prayers, silence and fears. What happened at that meeting carried on in the days to come—compassion and gentleness with those around us. Wherever I went I heard people on cell phones saying ‘I love you’ to parents, spouses and friends. There was a sense of urgency to reach out and make certain that people knew we cared.
Sometimes there are events in our lives that deeply touch our hearts and engage our minds and we cannot wait to tell the ones we love all about them! Over the Labor Day Weekend, 13 of us had such an experience in San Antonio, Texas, where we prayed, listened, and deliberated with over 130 other Dominican Sisters in our formation cohort from around the country. This event was named - Dominican Women Afire!
In the days ahead, after we have had some more time to reflect on what we experienced, we hope to share more with you about this San Antonio gathering. We will want to solicit your thoughts and glean your wisdom and insights about ideas that surfaced there for how we all may with Spirit-fed vitality continue to offer our "common treasure"—Dominican Life and Mission—as an OP Family in this 21st Century.
At a recent fund raising dinner for Interfaith Paths to Peace I had the privilege of hearing a reflection on "how I go about peacemaking in my daily life." There were many creative examples of furthering peacemaking in one’s everyday life. I would like to share a few.
Widen your circle. No one is a stranger. We are all just branches of the same tree. When I help you, I am helping myself. This is true, but difficult to see unless we are willing to look deeper and see our common roots. Genetically we are 99.5% the same. Let's build on that circle.
Keep a good question in front of you. A good question focuses our attention without closing off discovery. What does compassion want for ______________ (name of your city/town). Sit with that question for a lifetime.