"Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them 'What are you looking for?'" - John 1:38
When we are asked the question in John's Gospel, there are many ways to answer it. We can google it, check for an app, send a Facebook message or sit in the solitude of a quiet moment alone and ask the question to ourselves. What am I looking for?
The Winter 2014-15 issue of the Notre Dame Magazine built a clever theme on "we like it when things come in numbers." The Editor, Kerry Temple, began by describing the fact that professors can wax eloquent on topics and students will listen politely without lifting a pen or a click on an iPad. But just say "there are really 10 things you should know about__________" and they instantly prepare to take notes on those 10 things. Temple says "we like it when things come in numbers. Definite, concise, nailed down."
The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits in order to proclaim that God is love. (Jn 4: 8,16) - Pope Francis, September 2014 World Day of Migrants and Refugees
The Pope's New Year's Eve message “"invited believers to a personal 'examination of conscience' about sins both personal and communal during the past year, especially whether the poor, weak and marginalized are the center of our thoughts and daily actions." (John Allen, Covering All Things Catholic, 12.31.14)
How significant and essential it is that the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates claim two corporate stances, i.e. comprehensive immigration reform and ending human trafficking which state without equivocation that we want the poor, weak and marginalized to be at the center of our thoughts and daily actions.
As 2014 ends and the world prepares to say 'happy new year,' what is it within us that challenges us to optimism and hope and the conviction that 2015 will be a 'happy new year?' With the unresolved horrors of this current year, how can the hope of a new year emerge within us and within our world?
I recently read Jim Wallis' online blog entitled "Campfires of Hope." He began by saying that "Hope is not a feeling. It is a decision and that decision to hope is what always has changed the world." He then used a Garrison Keillor image of "campfires of gentle people" which burn in our workplaces, congregations and communities. Campfires of hope are people who make decisions to bring hope to hopeless situations. (Jim Wallis, Sojourners, God's Politics Blog, 12.24.14)
This morning at our Clarissa House Community Morning Prayer we listened and watched Francesca Bettisteli's song "Be Born in Me" on YouTube. It was a powerful reflection on what she imagined to be Mary of Nazareth's feelings and prayer as she realized the impact of saying "Yes" to be mother to the Son of God, the Divine Word Made Flesh through her. In her prayer Mary expresses being both terrified and full of wonder and awe, yet still willing to offer herself to do God's will.
This song brought to my mind Sr. Diana Culbertson's preaching a few weeks ago, which struck a deep chord in me. As I reflected on her words it seemed a very good immediate preparation of our minds and hearts for Christmas. So with her permission I share it with you here:
Spiritually Nourished by Associate Marybeth Auletto, OPA Forty-seven Sisters and Associates attended this year's Advent service in Columbus, OH, prepared by new Associates Kathy Kehnast and Rose Deffet. In keeping with the liturgical theme, we prayed, sang, and reflected on readings that spoke of Jesus' coming...and coming again. Each time I attend one of these events, I come away more relaxed and spiritually nourished. I also enjoy meeting and reconnecting with Associates and Sisters. We are blessed to be in a community that values spirituality through small group study and reflection. Thank you again to all who planned and participated in this peaceful event.
"Then Jesus stopped and ordered that he be brought to him; and when he came near, Jesus asked him,'What do you want me to do for you?' He replied, 'Lord, please let me see.' Jesus told him, 'Have sight; your faith has saved you.'" - Luke 18:35-43
This morning I woke to the first full snow fall of 2014. I was surprised at the wave of joy that overtook me when I opened the blinds and saw trees draped in their finest white; a blackbird burrowed in its self made snow fortress waiting for the wind to blow the last piece of seed from the feeder; an upended basketball hoop once an eyesore now a layered sculpture witness to the silenced memories of piercing screams of joy and defeat.
Participation in the School of the Americas Watch is all about truth - veritas - that most fundamental of values at the core of Dominican spirituality. First comes the recognition of the truth, hard as it may appear and grievously as it may hurt; that, through our taxes, we have been supporting the School of the Americas (SOA). This is the institution that trained the military men who led the murders of Archbishop Romero, the Jesuit martyrs, their housekeeper and her daughter, the four American churchwomen who were raped and killed, and the killings, the disappearances, and the torture of hundreds of thousands of poor and often nameless men, women, and children in Latin America.
As I was listening to music this morning, a song came on with heavy lyrics about the cross. I clicked ahead, saying to myself, "This is almost Advent – they'll be time for that during Lent." However, for many, this will not be a season of joy:
"I admit, this is the time of year I used to love. Snuggling with my boys under blankets on the couch while we watched holiday movies, baking gingerbread cookies, and hoping for snow. Now, I approach this time of year with a level of dread."
Each year for the past 50-60 years, as hunters head to Kansas for the opening of Pheasant Season on the second Saturday of November, other cars head to the Great Bend Dominican Motherhouse for our Annual Mission Bazaar. Throughout the year across the country Dominican Sisters and Associates of Peace, many of their family members, and friends work on colorful and creative handmade items to be sold there to benefit our Daughter Congregation--the Nigerian Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine, and their missions, as well as to assist persons in need among us here at home.