Sunday, October 04, 2009

Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste
and house will fall against house.
Luke 11:17b-18a

Where does the time go, exactly? I can't believe it's nearly been a month since I posted something! It's OCTOBER! Hard to believe. I wish I could be a little more disciplined in this...

The past month has been great - with lots going on at UD and otherwise. We had our first retreat for first year students. Myself and 2 graduate students worked with a team of 11 sophomores to put on the retreat for what ended up being 36 first years. It was a good weekend. The sophomores did a great job! It was also fun to work with them. I enjoy helping young people develop the skills to do ministry. I spent most of the weekend cooking and just having casual conversations with people. The students on the retreat were a lot of fun to be around!

Last weekend I went to a conference in Chicago put on by Catholics on Call. It was great, really. If you've never heard of Catholics on Call click the link to check out their website. After the conference I stopped to visit my sister and her family in Indianapolis. It's a happy coincidence that I have to drive through Indy to get to and from Chicago from here.

Next weekend I'm off to San Antonio! Woo Hoo! It's time to start working on Marianist LIFE South 2010! That's hard to believe. We have our first planning meeting next weekend. This coming summer will be my last summer to serve as a part of the coordinating team for the LIFE program. It's been part of my ministry life since 2001. It's been an important part of my formation as a Marianist and as a minister in the Church. I'm looking forward to this summer's program, but it'll be odd once it's over.

Ministry in our residence hall is up and running and keeping me busy! We have a spiritual program once a week - Wednesdays at 8:30. That's been good. We also have faith sharing on Thursdays at 7pm with Mass following at 9pm. Tuesdays our residence hall staff has our staff meetings at 9pm. In addition to the residence hall ministry, I meet with the discernment group every other Monday at 9:15pm. And one Tuesday a month at 7:30 we have a catechetical program on campus called "Hungry Hearts." I work with the leadership team of students to make those events happen. Needless to say... it's going to be a full year!

In the midst of all the busyness, though, I have carved out for myself some time for reflection. That brings me to the quote above from Luke's Gospel...

I'm not sure if they do this anymore, but NPR used to have this series called "This I Believe." People would write essays about their core belief systems and their values and then have the opportunity to read them on the radio if they were chosen. I would listen to them when I had the chance. Some of them were very interesting... some moving... some shallow... I would think to myself, "Why don't I write one?" Of course, it never happened.

I've been thinking a lot lately about division and the need for reconciliation of opposing groups of people. Why? Because of conversations I over-hear, articles I read in the local newspaper or news sources on line, and what different people say to me about their concerns. Taking all this in, I've been reflecting on and praying about healing. What does that have to do with "This I Believe"? Well... this is what I believe...
  • 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.
I could go on and on, really. But I'll stop there with the list. I'm reminded now of John Lennon... "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one." Pray for peace & reconciliation - in our world, in our country, and in our Church.

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N