Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
- That "loving one's neighbor as oneself" is not something we can "opt out of" and has very real and practical implications.
- That it's okay and good to disagree with someone's opinion. However, there is a such thing as civil debate and respectful argument.
- Being able to listen, truly listen, to someone is a virtue.
- Being able to work together in finding solutions to societal problems is imperative to the health of our nation.
- All life is sacred - babies in utero, people in prisons, the poor, the rich, people in other countries, our enemies - and all have dignity.
- I believe in "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" - the operative word for me is "one." There is room in our Church for difference in worship styles and political beliefs. Because someone disagrees with another about politics or style of worship doesn't make one "less Catholic" than the other.
- It is awfully difficult to love your enemies if you're plotting to kill them (physically or otherwise).
- The virtues of respect for others, kindness, compassion, and humility are key in any and all communities.
- We are not God. God is God.
- Peace is possible.
- Hate begets hate - violence begets violence.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
- God desires intimacy with us - desires our love in all its forms. Truly meditated upon, that is very strong language...
- Silence is good - solitude is better. They are not synonymous.
- It would save a lot of time each day if someone would invent/create a dual purpose sunscreen/bug repellent - they could call it sun repellent or bug screen...
- Falling in love with the person of Jesus is the beginning of joy and wisdom.
- No matter how good it sounds in your mind, never go bike riding on a summer evening in Southern Louisiana after an afternoon rain... although, it does give one a new appreciation for a cold shower...
- We were created in love, by Love, for love. Love is the most natural, inherent quality of being human. Sometimes it gets buried under junk, though.
- Tchaikovsky and Chopin were geniuses.
- If you feel like dancing - and you're able - for crying out loud, DANCE! God delights in our joy!
- Each morning on retreat I would take an hour long walk. On these walks I often asked 5 women of the New Testament to walk with me - Mary of Nazareth, Elizabeth, Mary of Magdala, and the sisters Martha and Mary of Bethany. Each day I would chat with them (silently, of course!) about faith, intimacy with Jesus, prayer and taking risks. It is a practice I highly recommend...
- Grace comes in unexpected places... pay attention!
- If you're awake when the sun is rising, take some time to watch. Few things are as beautiful - and few things awaken the soul quite so well.
- St. Cunegunda isn't a made up person... who knew?
- Apples stain clothing. Biting into a juicy apple wearing your favorite off-white t-shirt is probably not a good idea.
- After not typing for several days, it's difficult to do it well... but my handwriting has never looked better!
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in a love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
- Let's take a look at the vow of poverty. On a practical level, the vow has to do with the proper use of resources - and deeper, it has to do with the proper relationship to resources. Is it desirable that I should use our resources every 6 weeks for this purpose? Could those resources be better used?
- In relation to the vow of chastity... does vanity have any place here? True, I shouldn't go around looking like I don't take care of myself. However, at what point does it become self-serving vanity? Why should it be important to me what people think about something so unimportant as my hair?
- Obedience to God's movement in my life/our lives... should I really be using our resources for this purpose? What is my obligation to the congregation?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Happy Pentecost! What a glorious feast we celebrate this day! Pentecost is a reminder to me of many things: the great blessing we've been given in the Holy Spirit... the fact that the Spirit is active in our lives and in our world... the way God has empowered us to preach, to love, and to serve... and... the fact that in many ways our world is in need of a "push" from the Spirit...
Evidence of the Spirit's actions have been so apparent to me in the past couple of weeks...
Last weekend I witnessed the first profession of vows of two Marianist Brothers. What a beautiful celebration! It was a not only a moving experience and a reminder of my own vowed commitment to the Marianist mission, but it was also a lively celebration of culture. Brandon is Samoan... born in Hawai'i. Ray is Salvadorean. There were elements of both of their cultural heritages brought into the celebration - from Hawai'ian chants, leis, and shirts in "Aloha print" to Spanish music and Ray being blessed by his parents before professing. I had the pleasure of singing with the choir. The music was fun... a little Hawai'ian, a little Spanish... upbeat and happy. Each of the newly professed brothers professed their vows in their language. What a celebration!
The profession of vows is no doubt a movement of the Holy Spirit within the heart of the person professing and within the congregation.
Monday of last week, Labor Day, our sisters celebrated our Foundation Day. May 25, 1816 our foundress, Venerable Adele de Batz de Trenquelleon, set out with a few young women to journey to their new home and to begin their new life together as religious women dedicated to Mary's mission in the world. The foundation of our congregation and its continuation since then is a clear sign of the Spirit's actions. The Marianist sisters are who we are because of the gentle and ever-present guidance of the Spirit.
We celebrated our foundation in Dayton with Mass with our brothers and then a festive meal and afternoon prayer at our house. Then, Monday afternoon... I, too, set out on a journey like Adele...
I arrived in San Antonio late Monday night. Tuesday I spent time settling in, chatting with our sisters and resting. Wednesday morning I began my summer course work at St. Mary's Univ. I've had bits of time here and there to visit with a few people around and to gather with former co-workers from Central Catholic Marianist High School at their post-graduation celebration. But, I've also been reading/studying.
This weekend I am helping out at an archdiocesan discernment retreat called "Life Awareness." It's a collaborative effort between the archdiocesan vocations office and the local vocations directors of the religious communities in the area. The participants are people 18 years old and up who are considering religious life or diocesan priesthood. There are 45 participants on this retreat. The Spirit is in deed active in their lives and moving in them toward a deepening of their relationship with God. That call to a deepening relationship may be a call to religious life/priesthood or it may not. But their presence at the retreat and their prayerful participation is certainly a visible sign of the Spirit's stirring within them. ... The sessions on the retreat and the times of prayer have been really good and thought provoking - even for those of us in religious life!
A surprise blessing from my presence at the retreat has been the opportunity to meet other young religious women and men. It is always such a blessing to meet younger people from other congregations... to share with them, laugh with them, and dream with them.
In addition to these reminders of the Spirit's presence & action, today's feast also calls to mind the missionary aspect of the Spirit's presence. The Spirit was given to each person for the building up of the Church - so that the mission of Jesus might continue in our world. The Spirit animates, guides, strengthens and encourages. We do, however, need to respond. So, Pentecost causes me to ask... How is the Spirit moving within me? To what is the Spirit calling me? To whom is the Spirit moving me to serve & how? Is there anyting within me blocking the action of the Spirit through me? ... And not only do I ask these questions of myself, but I ask them in light of my community, the congregation, and the Church... What is the Spirit asking of us? To what is the Spirit calling us? .... Important questions, no?
May we have the open hearts and minds necessary to truly listen that we might be guided continually by the Spirit that is so generously given.
Blessings to all who read this!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
- a new ministry in which the hours were completely opposite of my body's natural rhythm. I'm naturally a morning person and have no problem being in bed before 10pm... however, as a residence hall campus minister some gatherings/meetings don't start until 10pm. On many nights, I was just getting home around midnight.- working for an educational institution of this size. When I was teaching, the largest school for which I taught had approx. 520 students and less than 100 faculty/staff members. Contrast this to UD that has a student population of approx. 10000 with 100s of staff just in student development.- this was my first year to live in Dayton for an entire academic year. While winter here would be considered mild compared to other places farther north, it's still significantly different from central Texas.- being back in grad level courses... for credit. During novitiate I audited several grad classes. I benefitted from being in class and reading the material (and writing the occasional paper). This year I took one course each semester... completing all assignments and stressing a little about my ability to do the work.
It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.
Monday, May 11, 2009
The church throughout all of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria was at peace. It was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit it grew in numbers.~ Acts 9:31
Blessings to you on this Monday morning! This morning I am listening to the birds outside my window and watching the morning sky get brighter by the moment... my favorite way to start the day.
A few weeks ago I was asked to share a reflection on the website for Giving Voice. Giving Voice is a national organization for women religious ages 50 and younger. It's somewhat like a think tank, but more. I encourage you to visit their website http://www.giving-voice.org/.
I'd like to share with you the reflection I wrote this morning for Giving Voice...
Each year during the Easter season we reflect on the nascent church as presented in the Acts of the Apostles. We consider missionary efforts, growth, persecution, the power of the Spirit and the ideal community that shares all in common and no one goes without. And although the readings are the same, I find that my reflections are quite different each year.
The quote above comes from Sunday’s first reading. It struck a stronger chord with me this year than in any other year. Consider our world, our Church, our communities. One could hardly say that we are at peace. We live in a violent world. We are a Church divided, mostly along partisan political lines. This was the focus of the homily preached at the university chapel in which our community celebrates Sunday Eucharist.
The post-resurrection Christ says to the disciples and to us continually, “Peace be with you.” How? At times peace seems elusive and idealistic. It depends, however, how one defines peace. The early Church was not without its own in fighting – look at Peter and Paul – or without being misunderstood and persecuted. And yet, we are told they were at peace.
I believe there’s a reason why during this season we have our Gospel readings taken from John. In these readings is found a key to this peace.
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit… will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid…. Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me…. As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love… This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
Let us, then, root ourselves deeply in Christ that we might act in love. Though we may disagree and find very little common ground with some, may we not find ourselves discouraged or afraid of moving forward in love. This is the only path to peace.
Besides this reflection, I have much to share with you all about the goings on in my life... its blessings and lessons. However, that will have to wait for another day. Perhaps later this week?
Many blessings to all who read this,Sr. N
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Sunday, April 05, 2009
I like to think of the spiritual life as the turning of a wagon wheel: when we run along the rim, we can reach only one spoke at a time, but when we start at the hub, we are in touch with all the spokes at once as well as the rim. What does the wheel represent? The hub is communion with God in our heart, connecting with the many spokes of community, on out to the rim of the wheel of ministry. If we are too active in our ministry, it's like we are running around the rim trying to reach everybody at once, all the time. But God says, "Start in the hub; live in the hub. Then you will be connected with all the spokes. And when you get to the rim, you won't have to run so fast."
Monday, March 02, 2009
2 Corinthians 12:9
Monday, February 16, 2009
Friday morning February 13 Marianist sister Christine Marie Stevens passed away in her sleep... peacefully, but quite unexpectantly. She was a sister who lived here in Dayton, but did not live with us in community due to health issues. She lived in a sort of assisted living apartment, but always came home for Mass and supper once a week with the community.
This is our second loss in a month's time. It's never easy to say good-bye to a sister. It's even more difficult when there are more than one in such a short time. Because we, the Marianist sisters, have not been in the US for a long period of time (our province is 60 years old), this is the first sister to pass away in Dayton.
As we are busy about making preparations and phone calls... and going through Sr. Chris's personal effects, we also recall the gift she was to the Marianist family. A wonderfully creative person, she was a stellar artist and musician. She taught for a number of years - both art and band - and served as spiritual companion to many.
Here are some words from her obituary:
Sr. Christine entered the Marianist Sisters on July 16, 1959, professed first vows August 22, 1962, and perpetual vows on August 22, 1965, all in San Antonio, TX. She received a BA in Music in 1956 from The Ohio State University and an MA in Sacred Doctrine from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio in 1969. Sr. Christine taught in Catholic schools in San Antonio and Dayton for 26 years. She began her teaching career at St. James School, San Antonio in 1963 before moving to Dayton where she taught at Alter High School. In the summers, Sr. Christine worked with the Edgemont Community Garden and programs for inner city youth. Sr. Christine moved into pastoral ministry, beginning as a Campus Minister at the University of Dayton, serving on the retreat team at the Marianist Apostolic Center in Glencoe MO and returning to Campus Ministry at Christian Brothers’ College in Memphis Tennessee. For 9 years she was a parish minister at Guardian Angels Parish in Cincinnati, OH. In 1990 Chris returned to Dayton, this time specializing in Band development in the Catholic schools. In 1997, Sr. Christine started teaching art at Ascension Catholic School, the position from which she retired in 2006. In her retirement, Sr. Christine took joy in volunteering at We Care Arts, playing clarinet in the New Horizons Jazz Band at the University of Dayton, and sharing life with the residents of Twin Towers and Huffman Place
May our Sister Christine rest in God.