Tag Archives: scripture

Resistance as the Way of Love

Today’s Gospel from Matthew is certainly timely (Matt 5:38-48).

Go read it.

Love your enemies. Resist evil itself, not evildoers. The way of Jesus is not easy my friends, but it is transformative. It can transform our own hearts, our web of relationships, and our world. 

The first reading from Levitivus is also challenging and timely (Lev 19: 1-2, 17-18).

“Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love

Nonviolence

Resistance

The way

Jesus

She Persisted – Praying with Gospel Women

Today’s Gospel tells the story of the syrophoenician woman, whose persistent faith led to the healing of a loved one. I was inspired by the Gospel, and by current events, to create this video reflection praying with persistent Gospel women.

The women speak out and act for healing, for justice, for compassion, and for love.

Grant me justice

Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs

I will be made well.

They have no wine.

May they inspire us, strengthen us, pray for us, be with us.

May be be blamed for persisting as well, for the sake of the Gospel

#ShePersisted

Hoping with St Martha

martha1Today is the Feast of St. Martha. My latest Global Sisters Report column, published today, includes my musings on St. Martha as a model of hope.

Martha was indeed real, living in a world where some things just needed to get done, even if her sister Mary was too busy to help. She also lived in a world where the people she loved were suffering. I suspect there may have been times when she too wanted to hide under the covers.

Martha certainly had her own doubts about what was possible in such a world. When Jesus asked her to roll away the stone from her brother’s tomb, she warned him that the smell would be overpowering given that her brother had been dead for four days.

Yet Martha — worried, anxious and doubting as any real woman would be in the face of such stark realities — also listened to the hope and promise of Jesus. She made a home for hope in her heart. She helped to roll away the stone, and her brother Lazarus came out, ready to be unbound and free. We have a lot to learn from Martha, who in the end engaged in hopeful action in the midst of her own anxiety, worry and grief.

Read the whole column here.

On Trust

trustThis morning, the prayer booklet I use for my morning prayer included a reading from Proverbs 3.  This was one of the readings that I used for my final vows liturgy, and it played quite a role on the retreat I took before requesting to profess my final YES. (The picture is one I took on that retreat, which I then included on the cover of my final vows liturgy program).

Today during my morning prayer, as I sat with this passage, my heart gave me this:

Trust in God with all your heart.
When all your heart is in the mix,
you open yourself to truly loving,
with all the beauty and challenge,
vulnerability and sweetness,
companionship and loss,
wanting so much to hold on
even as we move toward being able to let go.
With all your heart
you open yourself
to God’s love
to God’s plan
to the hope that points beyond itself
to the fullness of time.
Love makes it all possible,
God’s love for us
our love for God and
one another.
Trust in love.

Retreat Prayer – Love is the Way

I found myself in the company of the disciples on this retreat, sometimes caught by their bumbling attempts to get the message of Jesus, as told in the scripture.  For example, Thomas in the Gospel of John when he does not know where Jesus is going, so how can they know the way?

This retreat in many ways was simple, in the gentle ways that God was present to me and the movement of the heart.  Yes I bring my anxieties and worries and wonderings and vulnerabilities and insecurities and challenges and realities and unknowns to the mix. Yes I often do not get it. Yet my loving and persistent and patient God is there. And the answer is simple … Love. Love is the way.

Words again don’t do the movement of the heart justice, hence this video prayer set to “Perpetual Self” by Sufjan Stevens.

Global Sisters Column: Easter People

My latest column on Global Sisters Report has been posted- Help Wanted: Easter People. It is a reflection on being Easter people in a mixed up world, in conversation with Pope Francis, Gustavo Gutierrez,  and the founder of my religious community, Margaret Anna Cusack.

In the face of such suffering, against the backdrop of fear-mongering and terrorism, and with the soundtrack of an oftentimes toxic political debate, we celebrate Easter.

Christ is risen. Alleluia!

If Easter and the Resurrection are to mean anything, then we must be Easter people in such a world. …

As Easter people, we are called to find joy, to create hope, and to build peace.

Through us, the Easter story continues.

Click here to read the whole column.

image
Me, Sister Camillus, and the Easter Bunny

Here and Now with Mary & Martha

MaryMarthaI am back from my visit with our sisters and associates in the United Kingdom. It was a wonderful trip and always so good to be with our community in the various regions where we minister.

Transatlantic travel means I woke up very early this morning. By nature I am not a morning person, although these days I am becoming more so. I am coming to appreciate the quiet of the morning. For one thing it is a good time for prayer.

In the little booklet I use for prayer and reflection, today there was a reflection by Henri Nouwen:

Somehow we don’t fully trust that our God is a God of the present and speaks to us where we are. “This is the day the Lord has made.” When the people of Nineveh heard Jonah speak, they turned back to God. Can we listen to the word that God speaks to us today and do the same? This is a very simple but crucial message: Don’t wait for tomorrow to change your heart. This is the favorable time!

I came back to New Jersey yesterday with a very long running to do list in my mind. It was great to be with our UK community for a few weeks, to sit at the feet of wisdom women and experience the movement of God in their lives and ministry. But my practical side is anxious to get busy about many things.

How fitting then that today we have the Gospel of Mary and Martha, one sitting at the feet of Jesus, the other anxious and busy about many things. If sit in the quiet of the morning and listen to the word that God speaks to me today, I realize it is good to be here, it is good to be in the present moment. It is good to sit and be present to my sisters. It is also good to be about the work I have been called to do for the community. God is here, now, with me. God is with us, always, if we but pay attention!

And so this morning I pray in gratitude for the Mary moments of the past few weeks, even as I get ready to face my to do list and channel Martha for a bit. I also hold the promise of many Mary moments with our Sisters and Associates in our two US regions. I am feeling very blessed for the opportunity to soak in the presence of such amazing faith filled people. Fairly often these days, I give thanks to God who broke through all my resistance to religious life a decade ago and led me to this community of peace. I am all the better for it, and have come to know and love and serve God in a whole new way in the process.

God is good.

Peace.

Morning Star Rising

When I professed my perpetual vows as a Sister of St Joseph of Peace four years ago this November, I felt great joy planning the liturgy and carefully chose  the readings and songs. For the meditation song after communion,  I chose a somewhat unusual song: “We Are” by Sweet Honey in the Rock.

This morning as I prayed with the readings for today’s Feast of the Transfiguration,  I remembered that moment, sitting in the chapel at St. Mary-on-the-lake, surrounded by community and family and friends, after proclaiming my forever yes, after remembering together Jesus as bread broken for us, in the silence, the song played.

“For each child that’s born, a morning star rises and sings to the universe who we are.”

It was a powerful moment of the love of God for me, and I wanted that song to help the moment sink in for all those present, to reflect a bit on the light they bring to the world, that we are called to bring together.

In today’s second reading from Peter we hear about Jesus and the “unique declaration:” This is my son, my beloved,  with whom I am well pleased.

That is powerful enough, especially when we imagine that declaration being proclaimed from the heavens, to the universe,  that each of us is indeed a beloved son or daughter pleasing to God by our very existence!

This morning I spent more time with what follows in the reading. “Moreover we posses the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

God is love, and we are invited into that love by our very existence, pleasing to God. We are called to share in that love, to share that love ever more deeply and widely, that it may rise in our hearts like the morning star.

God’s love is altogether reliable, and we are part of that love.

Prayer on waking

Sometimes like Jacob I wrestle

with my demons, my doubts, my frustrations,

my wondering how it will all work out.

But maybe that is what it takes,

those moments of struggle to make it

through to the other side,

to joy and wonder and awe and light and love.

And laughter. Don’t forget the laughter.

Or the tears.

God is present to us and with us and for us

through it all.

God is present through our friends and family

and community.

Together we struggle. Together we live.

And on waking I am content

in the loving

 (if sometimes mischevious)

presence of God.
Inspired by Genesis 32 and Psalm 17

Rise and Walk

Paralytic (1)Today’s gospel story is both a powerful and perplexing one (Matthew 9:1-8). It is one of many stories of healing by Jesus where he heals in the face of challenges by the powers that be or prevailing wisdom.

It is also quite simple in a way. Friends brought a paralyzed man to Jesus. Jesus knows what is possible. “Courage,” he says to the man. He lifts the weight of sin from the man, telling him that his sins are forgiven. That draws the ire of some scribes, who thought Jesus to be presumptuous at best and blasphemous at worst. So Jesus draws on his practical side and tells the man to do what he knows he can now do. Rise and walk. And he does.

It is a story recorded long ago of a healing from a physical ailment, paralysis. Yet it speaks to me and maybe it speaks to you. My own inner critics doubt whether I am really healed, whether I can really rise and walk into whatever lies ahead. Sometimes it is as if I am paralyzed by my own ailments which weigh me down, anxieties or self doubt or any other mix of worries and woes and wounds. Am I paralyzed by what I am sure is not possible, or do I  choose to live in the light of possibility and hope that is the way to peace?

One key to the story for me is that the man is brought to Jesus by his friends. He is strengthened and supported and brought to new life by community. He also responds to the loving action of Jesus, stepping literally into possibility.

And so I pray for faith, to truly live as if I believe that all things are possible through Jesus. I pray that I may stand with those close to me on their path to freedom, and accept their love and accompaniment on mine.

Rise and walk.