I asked Sr. Pat before I used her photo because, although I know about her reluctance to spend time in the forest and the meadows of Shepherd's Corner, not everyone knows. She agreed and so today I’m writing about going out of our comfort zones. Last Saturday, Sr. Pat went to the fields (and the mud) at Shepherd's Corner in order to participate in a tour with a discerner. Knowing that this was a stretching moment for Sr. Pat, Sr. Margie rushed to take her photo. I didn’t get to see the photos with all the mud after their return to the Barn.
"Do you realize what I have done for you? If I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." (John 13:14-15)
Every good parent and teacher knows that the best way to teach is to teach by example, to model the behavior that you are trying to impart. Almost immediately after we hear in John’s gospel that Jesus is "fully aware" that God has put everything in his power, and that the time had come for him to return to God, Jesus begins the act of washing the feet of his disciples. Fully aware of who he was, Jesus performs an act that could not be required of the lowest servant during his time.
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!
"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?"
This weekend I will have the opportunity to participate with all those who come for the Come and See weekend in Columbus, Ohio. I have been asked to give a personal witness on prayer, especially Dominican prayer as a vehicle for communion with God and neighbor. As I prayed about this talk and worked through the flow of what I hope to share, I also went back to a presentation I had in one of my ForMission (Religious Formation Conference program for persons working in formation ministry in religious congregations) sessions in January of this year. Sr. Colleen Mallon, OP, Ph.D, from Mission San Jose, presented on the topic of Communion/Communal life: Perspectives from Theology and Ecclesiology.
With the end of February 2015 upon us, the celebration of National Black History Month for 2015 is also drawing to a close. The celebration of Black History Month this year provided me with opportunities to discuss with others the difficult topic of "race" in peaceful dialogue. While undeniable progress has been made in the decades since the civil rights movement, regrettably, the racial divide in America is still quite real. Having open and meaningful dialogue around this concern is essential to understanding each perspective and moving toward peaceful unity. Dialogue is a bridge that can lead to peace and unity.
Yesterday, Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of Lent. As a cross of ash was traced on our forehead we heard the sobering words, "Remember, you are dust and unto dust you shall return."
Lent invites us to turn towards God again - taking stock of our lives - checking the coordinates on our life's GPS. Are we blindly following Siri or the voice of Google Maps? Now is the time to get out the "real map" and double check our direction in light of our ultimate end.
To Praise, to Bless, and to Preach is the Mission of the Dominican Order. It is our mission as Dominicans of Peace to do so always and in all ways.
This mission resonated with my heart as I prayed to discern God's call to the Religious Life as a Dominican Sister. I had no idea how it would be played out in my life. To be honest, I didn't think I had the gifts to do it very well. However, over the years God has drawn gifts out of me I did not know that I had in order to praise, bless, and preach. As I reflect on each of these admonitions, I invite you to consider how God may be calling you to embody this mission in some way - especially during Lent.
On the morning of the "big storm" which recently visited the East coast, one of the Sisters with whom I live overslept. While she and I were taking delight in the fact that she had caught a few extra zzzzz's, we realized that she had slept so soundly because it was so QUIET around us. The soft, wet snow had blanketed the Earth, and our yard not only was covered in an ermine cloak of beauty, but also with effective SOUNDPROOFING. The peaceful silence was most welcome.
Recently I had the opportunity to participate via Facetime in a talk presented at our Martin de Porres Center in Columbus. Sr. Lisa Marie Belz, Ursuline Sister from Cleveland spoke on the topic, Growing our Capacity for God: Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross in Prayer.