Tag Archives: wisdom

Being the presence of love

This past week at the LCWR was awe and wonder filled as close to 700 elected leaders of women’s congregations explored what it means to be the presence of love in our weary world. I am still processing and finding words for the experience.

We used the practice of contemplative dialogue throughout our days. I was invited into the privilege of being one of the designated listeners who paid attention to the movement of the spirit and the wisdom emerging among us.

On Friday, we began our last day with a converation on the stage amkng four of my age peers in leadership. After their sharing, some of the listeners were invited to reflect. This is what I shared as a reflection on what I was hearing and noticing.
We are called to conspire together to disrupt the narrative of diminishment and witness to the emerging narrative of communion.

We are called to widen and overlap our circles, to be BIG together just as we become smaller diverse parts of the holy whole:

… living God’s dream, singing God’s song of love in our hearts, in OUR heart, for the sake of the world

… to be good news in a world longing to hear even the faintest whisper of inclusive love, extravagant love, fierce and diverse love, transformative love.

We are called to be present and accountable to love and each other.

Morning Anticipation – Retreat Notes

It is an interesting fact of my life that most mornings it takes an alarm, or two, to get me out of bed in time for morning prayer with my local community.

Retreat time is a different time, and here I awake with the birds and the rising sun, anticipating the day. No other alarm needed.

On my last morning at Wisdom House, I awoke before the sun, with even greater anticipation. I get to watch the sunrise, I thought gleefully, as I pretty nearly leaped out of bed.

For countless generations God has put on this show for us. Day in and day out, over rolling hills or oceans or deserts or cities, peace or war, poverty or abundance, there is this show of color and light and shadow, no two ever quite the same.

Amazing.




Amen

All this miracle and light – Retreat Notes

One of the most life-giving parts of my year is the time I am lucky enough to spend on retreat.   Most years I get away for a week of sacred silence for a silent directed retreat.  I never cease to be amazed at the gifts God presents us each and every day, especially if we are able to pay attention.

Retreat is a luxury and a responsibility.  Luxury because there is nothing else to do but pay attention to the goodness that comes from God, all around you (except of course for the distractions and worries that hover in the shadows).  As I wake each day on retreat, I give thanks for this opportunity and promise to share the gifts I receive.

It’s also a responsibility because taking this time away from the many things I should be busy about is important.  I/we need to tend to the relationships that matter most, and what is more important than my/our relationship with God?  The regular time I spend each day in prayer with my sisters and on my own is key to this relationship, but so too is particular time away just to nurture that relationship and ourselves. 

 As we say in our CSJP Constitutions:

Personal prayer deepens our desire
to be united with God in faith,
enabling us to see God’s presence and action
in our lives and in the world.
We commit ourselves to daily prayer.

We nurture our life of prayer
by reflective reading, particularly Scripture,
by periods of solitude and silence,
and by an annual retreat. (CSJP Constitutions 29 & 30)

This year I returned to Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT, a retreat center sponsored by the Daughters of Wisdom. I was last here on retreat when I was a novice, and it was a joy to discover things that remain the same and things that have shifted and grown, both at the retreat center and within myself.  Natural beauty abounds here, and I spent some quality meditative time walking around the grounds and nearby sights with my camera.

The result is this video prayer, set to “Magic” by the duo/collective Gungor (the music is a new-to-me discovery and gift of the spirit to match the movement in my heart this week):

20170719_100003

Click the picture or this link to watch the video prayer on YouTube.

The words of the song say it all I think, and with a catchy tune:

All this miracle and light
All this magic
There is nothing left to hide
Bring your sadness
Bring your disbelief
Bring your tambourine
You can dance and sing
Here in the magic

Come breathe the air
Feel your skin
Come play your drum
Feel the beat within
Love everyone
Everything
La lala la la la

Come breathe it in the air
Feel it on your skin
Come play it on your drum
Feel the beat within
Love like a mystic drug
Filling everything
La lala la la la

Amen

 

Mother Evangelista – Wisdom and Faithfulness

evangelistaToday is the 95th anniversary of the death of Mother Evangelista (born Honoria Gaffney), one of the founding Sisters of the Congregation of the Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.  Evangelista was one of the first Sisters to take vows in the new congregation on January 7, 1884 – the date we claim as our founding date and celebrate as our Community Day of Thanksgiving.

When her dear friend Mother Francis Clare (Margaret Anna Cusack) was forced to leave the community due to conflicts with the church hierarchy, Evangelista became the first Mother General.  Her strong leadership helped the community not only to survive, but to thrive. She ministered in all three present day regions of the Congregation.

Part of her strength, it seems, was her humility and faithfulness. Take for example this excerpt from our Lest We Forget book:

To our Sisters she left a wonderful example of sincere humility, generosity, charity and loyalty–all through her life she was loyal to Mother Clare.  On one occasion Mother Evangelista confided to a close friend: ‘of course I know our good Mother’s limitations, but nevertheless she has always been a loving and kind Religious. … Her principal difficulty lies in wanting to make reforms before people are ready to accept them.  Of necessity, progress must be slow.

There is deep wisdom there. Unlike Mother Clare, Evangelista was not a prolific writer. But the words that she does leave us are worthy of much reflection.  Take, for example, her retreat notes from 1897:

Here then is Jesus’ will–that I be poor in spirit, be meek, that I mourn when God is offended, that I hunger and thirst after justice, that I be merciful, that I be pure of heart, that I be a peace-maker and that I may suffer persecution for justice sake.  Take these two beatitudes, two and two, and I have the whole retreat in a nut shell.

Her simple words, written on retreat, are imbued with our community’s charism and the needs of the world and church.

When I was a candidate, I ran across another quote from Evangelista somewhere. I think perhaps it was shared during a community retreat, or I made have read it. In any case, it is something I have carried with me during my time in community and return to again and again.  On this anniversary of Mother Evangelista’s passing, I pass these words of wisdom on to you as something to ponder and act upon as you see fit.

What we will do will follow what we are … humility is the truth about ourselves. Empty yourself of yourself and you will find God.

Peace.