Grace L. Naessens from "No Time to Pray"
This summer, so far, has been a very interesting one for me. Those of you who know me from years past, know that my summers used to be filled with travel, workshops, retreats, service immersions... so much so that I was only at home for 2-3 days a month. This summer, obviously, has been nothing like that... but in an odd way, it's been just as busy. Good... but busy!
You may wonder what's been going on since I last wrote. Well, really just 2 ongoing "things" (one personal the other community related) and one "event." It seems that I shouldn't be that busy? Well, allow me to briefly explain...
I'll start with the communal. In my last post I wrote about our technology upgrades - a very interesting, but at times frustrating, process. Would you believe that everything is finally connected and working as it should as of Monday night around 9pm? Yes, it took exactly one month. I, honestly, could not be more excited about the completion of this process! Like I said, while it's been interesting (I've learned a lot about wiring, phone connections and digital phones/cable lines), it certainly has been time consuming! It has also had the effect of making me a little more cynical about corporate/consumeristic America... But, that's a topic for a different time.
On a personal note, I've been auditing classes this summer. The Univ. of Dayton houses one of the most famous and complete Marian libraries. In this library the International Marian Research Institute (a pontifical institute affiliated with the Marianum in Rome) offers advanced pontifical degrees with specialization in Mariology: the doctorate in sacred theology (S.T.D.), the licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.), the master's degree in religious studies with a Marian concentration (in conjunction with the religious studies department at the UD) and a certificate in Marian studies guided studies. ANYWAY... the courses offered in the summer are 1 or 2 week intensive courses. Last month I took a 1-week class entitled "Intro to Mariology." That was a great class - it offered a broad overview of the academic study of Mary. This month, I have just completed another 1-week class (Mary and the Old Testament Wisdom Figures) and am about the finish a 2-week class (Mary and the Old Testament).... Both EXCELLENT courses... Neither of them extremely difficult, but the 2-week Old Testament class has been labor intensive & time consuming for me. We have 1-3 page papers due each day, which again, isn't difficult for sure... however, it's been taking me forever to do the prep work to write them! Not because of the difficulty, but because of writing them from home instead of at the library on campus.
Looking back, it would have been wiser to write from the library because of the lack of interruptions and the abundance of resources ... however, living in community, should a person take themselves out of community so much? I suppose that's the question with which I will struggle as I make the transition from canonical novitiate to active, apostolic life. Before I entered religious life I was hardly ever home... ministry was my life. Now, with a commitment to the community, I can not return to that style of ministry... I will have to find the balance. And that's never been an easy thing for me!
The event? Two people that I know (both of them members of a cyber faith-sharing group in the Marianist spirit with me and one of them a colleague in ministry) made a formal commitment and were received as Lay Marianist Affiliates. The service was such a beautiful, relaxed and light-hearted celebration of the entire Marianist family. The Society of Mary (our brothers and priests) were well represented as well as other Lay Marianists and collaborators in the Marianist mission. Because of travel and other commitments, many of our Sisters could not attend... but those of us who could, did. There is something about when the Marianist family gathers... it can really feed the heart.
Now, I'm brought back to the quote at the top of the page. In the midst of the busy-ness of life, I had not been as committed to personal prayer. I've had to remind myself, though, that without the time spent in personal prayer, there is absolutely no energy (or at least, not the right kind of energy) to do anything else... This is not the first time I've had this realization in my life - it always seems to hit me when I'm trying to figure out why my patience is so thin or why I feel "scattered." However, this is the first time that I've had to remind myself of this when I'm not busy with ministry and the demands of a job. It seems, then, that it will be the constant in my life...
Thank you, God, for your continued patience with me... the woman who needs CONSTANT reminders!
Many blessings to all who read this!Sr. N