Recognize Resurrection

I heard a great homily recently. The question was asked: why do we tend to remember our “Good Friday” experiences more than the Easter ones? People can usually report the wounds and hurts they’ve been dealt in life.  It’s easy to recall every detail of insults or failures or even simple disappointments.  But what about all the Easter moments?

There’s the friend who speaks just the right words of support. And the sun made visible  after days and days of rain! Easter moments are those when our hearts suddenly feel lighter and we know this comes from God within us. They’re the everyday miracles that occur unexpected and in ways we had never imagined.  The awe-inspiring beauty of nature, encounters with people who are deep-down good, and confidence that life can break forth from the tomb of pain and death—-these are flashes of Easter joy that are real.  May we recognize them!

 

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Holy Mystery

Once again, this Holy Week, we come face to face with the meaning of our faith. All we really can do is listen, watch, and remain close to Jesus in his encounter with a suffering and death that ultimately leads all of us to life.  It’s an immersion beyond words in the holy mystery of God.  As the Monica Brown song chants: Holy Mystery, Sacred Presence, All embracing, Most wondrous God, In this moment, In our being, We are one, We are one. Listen here to the song and enjoy images that represent the mystery.  Then gaze at a crucifix and reflect on your own sacred history. When has God been present in struggle and in joy? When have you most needed the support of Jesus? What crosses do you carry now for which you desire God’s help? Stay together with the Crucified One in solidarity with all believers.  Listen and pray in this most holy week.

The Human Fabric of the Peripheries

Spring is sprung and many high school and university students are back in class after spring break.  Once again, I’m in awe of those who gave part or all of their precious leisure time to serve among the poor and underprivileged.  Congratulations to them and the teachers and others who accompanied them.  Perhaps these words that Pope Francis spoke just last week to a service community in Rome  will touch you, too:

Our mission is “to patiently weave together again the human fabric of the peripheries that violence and impoverishment have torn apart;  to communicate the Gospel through personal friendship; to show how life truly becomes human when it is lived beside the poor; to create a society that considers no one a foreigner.  Audaciousness is not the courage of a day, it is the patience of a daily mission in the city and in the world.  Carry on this path; the poor are your treasure!”

From Snow in Rome to Home Sweet Home

On one of my final days in Rome last week, I woke up to quite a surprise when the city was blanketed in snow.  Many took on the delight of children again, making snow “people,” running and laughing with joy.  Everything else seemed to come to a stop. It became for me a good day to pack and prepare to return home.

As my flight took me first to Amsterdam, I had requested a window seat, knowing we would cross the Alps.  Was I ever rewarded! All that new snow shone in a brilliant sun.  Mountains are often used as metaphors for the strength and presence of God, and flying over the tops of them brings one to sheer awe, silence, and humble contemplation.  

Now, it’s truly good to be home.  Ministry among young people is always fun, and I’m glad to be back at it.  A discernment retreat over the weekend for women wanting to learn more about religious life provided great conversation and sharing.  And this week, at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri, we have 27 open and committed university students participating in the Busy Student Retreat. Together, we listen to the Spirit of God, who leads us ever deeper into prayer, faith, and the life journey with Jesus.  What could be better?

 

Deep Listening

Sr. Rita Ann and I are in Rome for an international meeting of our sisters here from every continent. We’re engaged in deep listening, first to the Holy Spirit, and then to one another as we plan for our 2019 General Chapter. It’s always a gift to be with sisters from so many countries and cultures.  We make great effort to listen well, to be sure we understand what others are sharing, often in unfamiliar languages, and to have hearts open to God’s Spirit and the wisdom of the group.

After 6 full days of meetings, we had a little free time, and Sr. Rita and I took off to see some of Rome by night.  St. Peter’s Basilica lit up is a sight to behold, even from a distance.  Trevi Fountain is also beautiful, as people throw coins into the water with hopes of returning to Rome again. The number of selfies taken there is astronomical.

We still have several days of work ahead of us.  I think the listening we do makes even more sense as we become aware of the “cries of the poor” all around us.  Our sisters bring stories of the people of their countries and regions.  And in our walk around Rome the other evening, we saw a  man crawling into his cardboard box at the door of an old building, and a “tent city” for homeless under the porticoes of a beautiful old church.  Speak to us now, Holy Spirit, and teach us your ways!