Saturday, June 16, 2007

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
Jeremiah 1:5

Years ago someone gave me a small desk calendar with Scripture verses for each day and a little thought to ponder under the verse. I used to keep the calendar on the desk in my office so that each morning before people arrived at school (or at the student center) I would have something with which to pray.

Now, since I don’t have an office, I keep the calendar on my bed-side table. Each morning after I turn off my alarm the first thing I do is flip the page to see what the day’s verse and thought are. This morning, it was Jeremiah 1:5 (above). The thought to ponder or pray with today reads,

If You were there even before I was born, then, I know,
You’ll be with me throughout the whole journey ahead.

How appropriate!! Why? Today I celebrate my 32nd birthday…

It’s a beautiful day in Dayton today. We have a porch swing on our back porch here. So this morning I took some time out on the swing to watch the breeze blow through the trees and the sun take its place in the early morning sky. I also took time to reflect.

Each year my birthday is a pretty significant time of reflection. I like to look back on the year – giving thanks for its many blessings, considering the ways in which I’ve grown, and also taking a good look at the ways I could use some growth. My birthday has also been a time for me to consider the year ahead – how will the year be different and how can I be a better person in the coming year than in the one past?

Needless to say, this morning I had A LOT on which to reflect! So much has taken place in my inner life that it’s sometimes difficult to understand that it’s only been a year. There is so much for which I am grateful… my congregation, the two communities of which I’ve been a part, my amazing friends, my family, all the students who have been or are a part of my life… my health… Such blessings! Then, there are the many ways in which I’ve grown over the past 12 months… too much to go into now, but I think you can read through previous blogs to see some of that. And, of course, being who I am, I thought a lot about how I could be a better person in the coming year than the past year.

As I commence my 33rd year of life (yes, you read that correctly - I am 32 today, but this is the beginning of my 33rd year) I also realize that this is my last year as a non-professed woman. Next summer at this time I will be making final preparations for my first vows as a Marianist Sister! That’s an overwhelming reality. Thank goodness I’ve given up on the idea that a person has to be perfect before professing vows…. Otherwise, I would truly be “freaking out” by now. *smile*

Well, today 4 good friends of mine will join our community for lunch, cake & ice cream and just hanging out. I’m excited about that. I’m also excited and ready to see what this next year brings my way. As my “thought for the day” reminded me, God has been with me and will continue to be with me throughout whatever the journey ahead may bring…

The above was written around 10:30am... Now, it is nearly 9pm... and I have to tell you, today has been one of the best birthdays of my recent past. There is much for which I am grateful... I am reminded of a song by Travis Tritt, "It's a Great Day to be Alive"...

And it's a great day to be alive
I know the sun's still shinin' when I close my eyes
There's some hard times in the neighborhood
But why can't every day be just this good?

I was singing that to myself as the group dispersed this evening... It is in deed a great day to be alive...

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

Saturday, June 02, 2007

"... because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us."
Romans 5:5b

What a week it's been! The past several days have been so rich... especially liturgically speaking... and in the world of our Sisters (and therefore the entire Marianist Family)... Last Sunday being Pentecost... Friday the Feast of the Visitation... tomorrow is Trinity Sunday... this weekend we're celebrating the 25th jubilee of one of our Sisters... It is indeed a rich time.

In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, after the Ascension, there is a description of the apostles gathering in the upper room with "some women, and Mary the mother of Jesus" (vs. 13-14). Here it says that they devoted themselves to praying in one accord. It was to this place that the Spirit descended when "the time of Pentecost had been fulfilled." And Mary was there. That's a significant fact for those of us who live inspired by the Marianist charism. I find that is often left out of reflections on Pentecost, but is full of meaning.

The Feast of the Visitation has special significance to the Marianist Sisters - the coming together of two women. Women through whom God was doing great and seemingly impossible things. Women who believed that God's promise would be fulfilled, no matter what the circumstances. Women facing an uncertain future because of the life inside. Women sharing with one another what God was doing in their lives - who undoubtedly shared their fears or anxieties... who shared their joys in the marvelous endeavor. This feast celebrates friendship, family, God's grace... It also celebrates what Mary sings about in her Magnificat. That God, through the life she brought forth, would turn the world around. It's a testament to what God can do when we cooperate with grace.

This reminds me of what our Dayton community is celebrating this weekend - the 25th Jubliee of one of our Sisters. Why am I reminded of that? Because it, too, is a celebration of what God can do when we cooperate with grace. It is a celebration of our family... our community... the coming together of women who share faith, fears, joys, and hope in God's promise. Why wouldn't I see that connection?

Lastly, tomorrow we celebrate Trinity Sunday. What has always struck me about the Trinity is the fact that the Trinity is a community of persons in love... equal, working together, bringing life... And what's always gotten to me is that we are made in the image of this God - the Trinity, a community of love (how Marianist!). This reality presents a challenge to me. Challenging me to connect with others, deeply - to love - to build community, really. And it's a challenge to me because I think I'm pretty good at small talk and superficial relationships, but building true community based on the sharing of faith and grounded in love is something that I am always working towards. But, I suppose it helps to know that since I'm made in the image of a God who is community it is part of my make up as a human being to seek out relationship. The grace is given. It's just a matter of my cooperation with it... Isn't that always the case?

So, I suppose my reflections today have me considering how I cooperate with what God is doing in the world and in my life. Sorry I went a little bit of everywhere to finally come to this. I guess today my mind is somewhat full of different thoughts... each of which could have been it's own blog post, but for some reason I decided I could put them all together here.

Well, I'm off. We began Jubilee celebrations yesterday with a nice dinner with the family of our Sister. And the celebration continues this afternoon and tomorrow morning.

Many blessings to all who will read this!
Sr. N