At evening prayer today Dominicans (the Order of Preachers) all over the world will begin this year’s celebration of St. Dominic de Guzman founder of the order. Happy Feast Day
Two aspects of Dominic’s life stand out for me. First, he engaged the Word of God in the Scriptures with all that was happening in the lives of the people of his time. His willingness to leave the cathedral where he lived a more monastic life as a canon gave him the opportunities to see the struggles of the people of his time and to take direct actions to make a difference.
As I listened to Sr. Sandra Schneiders, IHM, talk about how Jesus had invited some of his disciples to drop everything and follow Him (like Matthew the tax collector) and other disciples to change how they treated people in the places where they lived (like Zacchaeus), I realized this might be a good way to begin a vocation talk. Jesus needs both itinerant disciples and householder disciples. He himself had no place to call his own. He traveled with his band of followers, both men and women, but they relied on his householder disciples for places to lodge and likely, for food to eat.
Has anyone told you recently, "You are to die for?!"
Recently I heard Associate Larry Vuillemin, relay the words from a plaque on someone's desk which read, "I'm not perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for." This phrase has stayed with me in the few weeks since, and I find myself asking, who or what am I willing to die for? Am I eagerly listening and looking for ways I can put love into action?
In the Gospel from John 15:12-17 for Friday, May 23, we hear Jesus tell his disciples that there is no greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. Am I willing to die for my friends? Am I willing to die for strangers who are victims of injustice and violence? The questions have definitely given me something to ponder.
When was the last time you were in conflict with another person? How did you resolve the issue or did you?
The women in the Leadership for Peace project spent several hours on Saturday, April 5, practicing mediation skills of listening, reframing, identifying conflict issues in a situation, and helping those in conflict to come to some type of acceptable solutions. Even though role playing, the women could easily find themselves able to understand the emotions and walk in the shoes of the persons described in the case studies.
Leadership for Peace is a collaborative project of Dominican Sisters of Peace and Ohio Dominican University in which the students learn peace building skills related to interpersonal negotiation and mediation, addressing injustices, and forgiveness and reconciliation. Professor Julie Hart teaches the three hour credit class.
I am often amazed at what I take for granted in my daily life. Recently, I had the opportunity to see photos and hear experiences of one of our Sisters who traveled to Haiti. Sr. Marguerite Chandler, OP, volunteered for a week with a co-worker as part of a group called Functional Literacy Ministry of Haiti, a Christian nonprofit organization that "empowers Haitians through Christ with education, health care, and hope."
Sr. Marguerite talked about the young children and teens in the classes and how eager they were to learn even though they only have a minimum number of books and supplies. What she remembers more than the poverty is the commitment of children and adults to education as a way to a richer future for themselves, their land and their country.
Do you love running, soccer, biking? Reading? Listening to music? Praying? Dabbling with paints or in photography? Studying? Dancing? Spending time with close friends? Making a difference through service?
Are you aware of the times in your life when you are fully engaged in the moment?
Are you aware of the times when you are wishing you were somewhere else or doing something else?
When was the last time you asked someone for something? When you sought something new? When you knocked on a door to enter a new place? As you imagine those feelings of anticipation, or perhaps are currently experiencing them yourself, think of Ana Gonzalez who will begin her journey with us as a Candidate on Saturday, January 18. She stands at our door and knocks.
Ana's journey and ours to this moment began long ago – at her baptism and ours. What we celebrate on Saturday is the intersection of her holy journey and ours. What a gift to welcome Ana!
Sister Nancy Schreck, OSF, used this question - the same one God had spoken to the man and woman in the garden in Genesis - "Where are you?" to challenge those of us present at the Religious Formation Conference Congress in St. Louis, MO, November 14-17, 2013.
Where are you?
Are you in the Philippines helping to relieve the suffering of the people after the typhoon? Are you in your neighborhood working to help eliminate violence of all kinds? Are you teaching? Are you caring for the sick or the poor or the elderly? Are you spending time in contemplation for the healing of yourself and the world? Are you in the struggle and in the dialogue within the Church and with those in society who continue to deny the gifts of women.
As Dominican Sisters and Associates, preaching is our charism – the gift that we receive and the gift we are called to share. Yet, often I find it challenging to 'preach' about my faith in public circles and prefer sharing quietly how God is active in my life and in the lives of those I love, a way of preaching that each of us often does on a daily basis.
A recent example of how I witnessed God acting in my life and in the lives of others was at the Leadership for Peace orientation weekend in October. Women from Ohio Dominican University who were recommended to participate in this program openly shared how God and their faith have blessed them with strength and guidance. Their willingness to share added depth and meaning to the gathering and became a preaching to me, and I think to the others present, too.