Sunday, October 29, 2006

I have loved you with an everlasting love.
I have called you and you are mine.
Michael Joncas - "I Have Loved You"
Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.
Mark 10: 49b
Lord, I am not worthy to receive You,
but only say the word and I shall be healed.

Looking back over things I've posted over the past several weeks, I've realized that I don't really say much about the externals of life. Why is that? Well, it's certainly not because nothing's going on, that's for sure! However, when I think about what's significant to me, what's going on internally always seems to "win out," so to speak.

So, today I sit at one of our community's computers and I ponder. What can I say about the last 2 weeks? Today is one of those days that I feel that so much can be said, that I'm not really sure where to start or what to say. I guess that comes from not having written last week.

There are 3 significant things that stand out in my mind concerning the past 2 weeks: 1) my class on mysticism (the Thursday night class at Oblate), 2) my monthly intercommunity novitiate gathering, and 3) a different intercommunity gathering that took place last evening.

However, before I continue I'd like to preface my comments with something. God has a funny way of getting a point across to me sometimes (more often than not). When there's something for me to learn or from which I should grow... I seem to be surrounded by it. I'll hear comments or read articles and/or the readings from the liturgy will all be "saying" the same thing. That's what the past 2 weeks have been...

Let's start with the mysticism class. First of all, the class has gotten much better as we are delving into the real "meat" of mysticism. We've been discussing the mystical journey as described by St. John of the Cross. The past 2 weeks have centered around the kenosis of Christ (emptying... see Phil 2:6-8) purification of one's soul, and the dark night of the soul. In the our class discussions we've talked about the need for purification & self-emptying. We've talked about the suffering that comes from the dark night... and the necessity of the pain. For, as my professor pointed out, "We must embrace the cross. For there lies our salvation."

Last week from Tuesday - Thursday I was with the intercommunity novitiate program. We were 9 novices and 6 directors. Our topic for the gathering? The enneagram. Yes... I know that some people haven't had great experiences with it for whatever reason. However, like the Myers-Briggs personality profiles or "True Colors" I found it to be a helpful tool. But, more than that, the sessions we had were very insightful. In the times given for reflection and conversation I learned a lot about myself. And something that was really helpful was a quote our presenter gave us from St. Teresa of Avila, "Self knowledge is the bread that must be eaten with each meal."

Lastly, there was the gathering last night. I was blessed to be invited over to one of the Ursaline Sisters' communities in town along with other sisters ( 1 Franciscan, 3 School Sisters of Notre Dame, 3 Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, 1 from the Congregation of Divine Providence and 1 Sister of the Holy Spirit). We came together to listen to an address given at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and for discussion. The speaker spoke about getting in touch with and staying connected with what she called the "original fire" - the raison d'etre of our particular congregations and of religious life in general. That "passion for Christ and passion for humanity" (a topic from a previous gathering of women religious) should be our reason for being... for getting up in the morning... for continuing.

So... what's the connection? None other than this... this has been 2 weeks that have called me to take a good look at myself... in humility and in gentleness. And what have I come to realize? Exactly what's at the top of this post... I'm imperfect, but take courage because I'm loved... and I'm called. Yes... I knew that before, but it's always good to have a reminder. And the past 2 weeks it seems that God really wanted to make sure I got the message. *smile*
Many blessings and much peace to you!
Sr. Nicole