The soul craves experiences that offer it the rich depths of God.
Silence, solitude, holy leisure, simplicity, prayer, journaling,
the Eucharist, rituals that touch the space of Mystery,
symbols and images, the Bible,
laughter, delight in the divine Presence, deep encounters with creation,
and the merciful coming together of human hearts.
All these feed the soul, producing energy for living the transformed life.
Sue Monk Kidd
When the Heart Waits
Happy New Year!
Today begins the new semester at the University of Dayton. Students are back... most not exactly ready to start again into the hectic pace of being a student.
This semester I am also a student once again. Unlike many of them, however, I'm ready.... at least I think I am. I'm only taking one class, but I'm very excited about it. It's "Intro to Spiritual Direction" with one of our Marianist priests as professor. We had an assignment over the Christmas break - 2 books and a paper. I finished both books and am nearly finished with the paper... One of the books is the one quoted above by Sue Monk Kidd (yes, the same person who wrote The Secret Life of Bees.
I highly recommend this book. It's not a text book in the classical sense. It was more of a good book for spiritual reading. I laughed a little and cried a little while reading this one. I also contemplated, prayed with it and journaled about it. Now, that's a book I can feel good about recommending!
Class is on Tuesday evenings starting tomorrow. I couldn't be more excited about it. Nerd? When it comes to this, yes!
It'll be good to see the students again and get back into a routine. I've learned about myself that I don't care too much for unstructured time. Sure, it's good to relax and rest. But sometimes if there's absolutely no structure at all, I can get a little bored. One would think that I would create the structure that is best for me if it's not already there. Nope... not so much. Isn't it interesting that sometimes we know what's best, but we do something completely different? Human nature can be such an enigma!
Anyway, the Christmas break was good. It was short, but good. Filled with MANY Marianist parties and gatherings... way too much good (but terribly bad for you) foods... special prayer services and beautiful Masses. I absolutely love liturgy... especially for big Church feasts. Christmas Eve Mass - not midnight, but 10:30 - was wonderful. There's something about the ritual, symbols, Eucharist and a community gathered that is just so moving. I especially enjoy the privilege of singing in the choir at such celebrations.
This was the first year as a resident of Ohio, however, that I did not go down to Texas during the holidays. There was another year that I was visiting Ohio during the holidays... but at that time I actually lived in Texas. I talked with my family in Texas on Christmas day, but it's not really the same. That was difficult... especially since the days between Christmas and New Years were terribly gray and cold.
So, there's a small update in the craziness that is life. I felt it appropriate to begin with the quote above from Sue Monk Kidd. It's a good thing to keep in mind as the new semester kicks off. Sometimes "unproductive" time is the most productive... if one has an openness. I am hopeful that I can keep that in mind as life gets more hectic...
Many blessings to all who read this!