Saturday, April 18, 2009

This is the day you have made for us, risen Lord,
a day of happiness and joy!
We pray to you, Lord:
make each day that you give us the most beautiful day of our lives,
because it is the day you have chosen for us to encounter you,
O risen Christ!
Thomas Merton

Happy Easter! I marvel at the glory of God! The past few weeks (Holy Week and the Octave of Easter, last week...) have truly been a blessing.

The Triduum, although the shortest liturgical season of the year, is full of overwhelmingly meaningful symbolism and sacramental practices. On Holy Thursday our community celebrated with the novitiate community of our Marianist brothers. We began with a celebratory meal (complete with lamb) and some time of socializing. Then we had a beautiful liturgy with the washing of the feet and exposition. Good Friday many of our sisters went downtown for the annual Walk for Justice - walking in the city praying the Stations of the Cross at various locations that represent certain injustices. I didn't go this year. It was rainy and cold and I had a terrible sore throat that morning. At 3pm most of us went to UD for the Good Friday services. What an absolutely moving liturgy. Holy Saturday we participated in the Vigil at UD... where two people were baptized by full immersion and two additional people were fully received into the Catholic Church... What a joy to witness!

Since that weekend, the beginning of 50 days of unbounded joy, life has been full, but true to the Easter season.

I spent this past weekend in south Florida for planning meetings for the Marianist LIFE South program which will take place in the summer. We worked very hard, but we also had the opportunity to visit with LIFE-connected folks in the area, pray, and relax together. Hollywood Florida was beautiful... palm trees, cool breezes, warm sun... It's easy for my heart to sing, "The Heavens are telling the glory of God!"

This morning... I awoke to a rising sun and singing birds. My winter clothes are put away now and spring has really begun in Dayton, OH - ALLELUIA!

The semester is also drawing to a close. Students are taking finals this week and graduation is this weekend. It's hard to believe that the academic year is pretty much over. It's bittersweet as it always is. I look forward to next year, but I will certainly miss those students who are graduating and moving on. That includes my very skilled and helpful graduate assistant. I don't know what I would have done without him! But, he will move on to a professional job in ministry for which he is extremely qualified. My new G.A. and I will have lunch this month to start planning for next year. "Time marches on. Time marches on."

Well, I'm off to start this beautiful Monday morning!
Many Easter blessings to all who read this,
Sr. N

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I honor the wisdom of pausing.
A short refreshing pause can enhance my growing awareness
that all work has the potential of becoming love made visible - a blessing.
Macrina Wiedeckehr, OSB

Happy Palm Sunday and entrance to Holy Week! I can't believe it's already been more than a month since the last time I posted. I suppose as of late, that's par for the course, so to speak! However, I am hopeful that I will be back to the blogging world more frequently as the academic year closes out...

This weekend our community took a much needed break. We went on retreat... a silent retreat for the most part. We had prayer together Friday evening, 3 times on Saturday and then this morning we closed with Palm Sunday Eucharist at a parish to which we're connected. Saturday night we also had faith sharing and a social after night prayer... time to enjoy each other's company.

What a fabulous weekend it was. Macrina Wiedeckehr, OSB (quoted above) wrote a book entitled Seven Sacred Pauses about the wisdom in pausing to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. Our time together this weekend focused on these pauses in the day. And for me, this weekend was one long sacred pause... steeped in prayer, enriched by Scripture, shared with my Sisters... a great blessing.

In the first reading for today's Eucharist Isaiah states, "Morning after morning [God] opens my ear that I may hear." While I believe and know this to be true, I also know that one has to have a certain disposition in order to facilitate this. Pausing in the day to recognize God's presence, acknowledge God's goodness and graciousness and to seek wisdom is part of what I see as a necessary disposition before God.

This weekend I brought no work with me... no computer... my cell phone was off... I wanted to be completely attentive to the movement of God. How different this weekend was than some previous weekends with meetings, appointments, cleaning, and writing papers! Granted, there's nothing wrong with what fills my weekends, but too many of those in a row and a person could lose his/her grounding...

I read a quote from Henri Nouwen this weekend that says it very well...
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."
Simple... yet, this was a profound insight for me - the perpetual workaholic.

I pray that your Holy Week gives you much opportunity to take a sacred pause... to encounter God in a deeper and more profound way.

Many blessings to all who read this,
Sr. N