"Show me your friends, and I'll tell you who you are!" My mother was a treasure trove of such sayings, and while I cannot remember the particular circumstances that prompted her proclaiming this one to me, it obviously made an impression. Kids have a new "best friend" every week to be sure, and parents fear their kids will fall in with the "wrong crowd." Perhaps that's why my mom was exhorting me. I find that my mom's 'sayings' still influence my life and ministry and come back to me when I least expect them. I can’t call them up cold, but they pop into my head at opportune times, and this saying is on my mind today. There is something true in it - our friends do reveal something about us—something about who we are at our core, and about what we value.
"The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you: they are unique manifestations of the human spirit." - Wade Davis
As I watch the news these days, I am touched by the pain of so many in our country and in our world. Differences in perspectives and differences in realities can often lead to destructive and violent behaviors toward those who do not share the same model of reality. Even in my personal relationships, I can sometimes be less patient with those who share an opinion different from my own.
Really! He has sent each of us a friend request with his letter proclaiming the beginning of the Year of Consecrated Life. He even signed it like a friend would, "Francis." That was all. With real friends their name is enough. In this simple act, he has drawn us all into his circle of friends.
"It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our life time only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work." (Excerpt from "A Future Not Our Own" by Bishop Ken Untener)
This past week, the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) held its Convocation in Chicago where this professional organization for Vocation Ministers began 25 years ago. Happy Jubilee, NRVC! The Transfiguration of Jesus was echoed in the convocation theme: It Is Good that We Are Here. Rise and Have No Fear!
Dominicans were very much 'there' sharing the fruits of their contemplation. Dominican Sisters of Peace attended along with Dominicans of Adrian, Amityville, Blauvelt, Mission San Jose, Sinsinawa, Sparkill, Springfield and St. Albert Province of Dominican Friars.
Sisters and Associates, are you willing to welcome our new candidate, Margaret, support her with prayer, share your knowledge and experience with her, and receive her gifts? Margaret, are you willing to participate in the prayer life of the Church with us?
Margaret, are you willing to enter into a study of Sacred Truth and our Dominican heritage?
Margaret, are you willing to share in the life of our community?
In the context of the Liturgy of the Hours these questions formed the basis of the agreement that our newest candidate, Margaret Uche, made with us and we with her. Her discernment continues as she now lives with us in community with three of our Sisters and another candidate.
Sister? Brother? Priest? Deacon? Hermit? Consecrated Virgin? Monk? Nun? God's on a recruiting mission and God wants YOU! National Vocation Awareness Week, November 2-8, 2014
We've all heard or seen the advertisements for the Dairy Industry that boldly ask, "Got Milk?" Floating above this question is usually a picture of someone with a "milk-mustache" smiling broadly and holding up a glass of milk. Now, think of Vocation advertisements. How do we represent Religious Life in advertisements? With a smiling person, seemingly well adjusted, happy, and prayerfully walking along a path, jumping with excitement, kneeling in prayer, or caught in the act of ministering. The caption boldly asks, "God calling?" How do you respond? Do you smile and turn the page or does it touch a chord in your heart causing you to pause and ask yourself, "Well, what if?"
It feels like, to me, such a while ago since our meeting together in San Antonio, TX. Living in Columbus, I have been witnessing the autumn leaves combust into various beautiful colors. All of this is such a fabulous grace and gift to us from God. Sometimes I/we may take for granted this blushing wonder. So too, our ministries, various Community activities, family and friends, fittingly encroach on our already rationed time. But I wish to prompt us to keep our Flames Afire time in our hearts and the core of our being; like a steady campfire which reflects our love for God as well as God’ love for us. We need to keep talking, to rehearse collaboration, even if it only begins in many smaller ways, until we can again forge ahead as Dominican Sisters Afire!
Now what does mentoring young women and men as leaders for PEACE have to do with fishing?
I am an unlikely one to ask or answer this question because I’m not much for catching fish—the kind found in ponds. I admire those who can do it, and I respect the connection they have with nature and the contemplative time they find in the process, but truth be told, it’s just too hard for me to bait a hook with a live worm, and then actually touch the fish once caught, not to mention scaling and filleting! (My apologies to all ‘fisher people’ out there--I am such a wimp!)
I am in awe of people who know what to say in any circumstance. They always remember people’s names, the names of all of their children and where they last went on vacation. They are also able to pull various topics out of their hat (whether or not they have a hat) and can be sought out as scintillating conversationalists. I've met people like this and try to learn from them through observation and also direct interrogation.
Recently I was at a dinner for young women who are discerning their call to religious life. I met a Sister there who is the epitome of the expert conversationalist. What I saw was someone who was genuinely interested in meeting and getting to know the other at the event. She made eye contact, greeted each person warmly and when she talked to you it was as if there was no one else in the room. It is what I think meeting Jesus would be like.