These words of advice are coming alive for me in new ways. I’m going through a period of transition in my ministry — from 2 part-time positions to full-time leadership for our province. Some of the other Sisters in our office are also experiencing transition. It’s part and parcel of our lives. Just today as I’m trying to write, desk top computers are being switched, Sisters are boxing up books and files and readying their offices for the next occupants, the vacuum is running, and somehow all that still needs to get done gets done. With any transition there are unknowns. This post-it reminds me that I don’t have to have everything figured out today. Or even tomorrow! I recall what Jesus told his disciples: “Seek first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” Mt. 6:34
I came across this park bench while visiting a local Earth Day festival last month. While others passed by, I was drawn to pause. Perhaps more than any of the booths I visited or people I spoke with, this simple message echoed in me. I do respect the land. Do I actually make a difference?
As Ursulines, respect for the land is in our DNA. As a young, single woman, St. Angela worked the fields of her family farm in Italy. She knew the care and work required to tend the earth with respect in order to reap the harvest. As a lay Franciscan, Angela was deeply influenced by St. Francis and his respect for “our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us.” As her daughters, Ursulines around the world work hand in hand with others to show and teach respect for the land, making a difference by caring for our common home. Click here to read about the initiatives our French Ursuline Sisters are promoting to save the planet.
May is a month when many parishes celebrate First Holy Communion. The sanctuary is adorned with wheat and grapes and beautiful Easter flowers. Little girls in white dresses and little boys in suits come forward to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time.
Last week I was in church for daily Mass the day after First Communion. As I knelt and prayed before Mass began, an image of St. Angela’s came to mind. In one of her prayers she refers to “the dazzling face of Jesus.” Yes, we receive Jesus in the form of bread and wine, but in my mind’s eye, I see his dazzling face. How often at Mass we hear the prayer May we become what we eat. This means that all of us wear that dazzling face and are signs of the living Christ to the world. Join me in praying that all new (and longtime!) communicants may live fully into a growing awareness of the dazzling face of Jesus.
As I reflect on the many greetings I’ve received and bestowed for the New Year, I’m struck by how many mention peace—wishes for a peace-filled New Year . . . hopes that 2017 may be a year of greater peace, and so on. We are only three days into the new year. It’s impossible not to be aware of the rampant brokenness, violence and death that exists. But what about peace?
As the song proclaims: Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Here are 2 resources to consider at the start of 2017 for thoughtful prayer and reflection on peace-making and non-violence. The first is Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Day of Peace. The second is an article by Sr. Susan Rose Francois, CSJP entitled Nonviolence: A New Year’s Resolution. I think you will find inspiration here for how to be an artisan of peace in the places where you live, work, study, and worship.
We wish all of our Backlit readers a blessed and peace-filled New Year!
During these days before Thanksgiving, I find myself intentionally trying to slow down—not just my pace, but my thoughts, activities, desires and expectations. In the Big Scheme of things, not much of it really matters anyway. For me, life is about living with an open heart. The more I practice this (and it takes a LOT of practice!), the more I find myself overwhelmed by gratitude. I catch glimpses of myself and all of creation with new eyes. It is pure gift. Is there a practice you have for living with an attitude of gratitude? We’d love to hear it.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. -Melody Beattie