Sunday, November 27, 2011

God is faithful,
and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Corinthians 1:9

Advent. Wow. It's already Advent. And I find myself completely unprepared for this season... But then again, Advent is all about becoming prepared, so I guess it's appropriate...

The first reading for today's liturgy says it fairly well, "Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags..." I must admit that there are times that I echo this very same line when I am faced with my own personal brokenness and selfishness. But, more often than not I am moved to this sort of prayer when reading the news paper or internet news sources, increasing my awareness of our world's brokenness.

"Watch!" The one word sentence Jesus states emphatically at the end of today's Gospel is part of the answer. "Be watchful! Be alert!" For what, exactly? The presence of Christ...

We say that during Advent we prepare for the coming of Jesus. But, really, Jesus has already come... Jesus is here. Advent, then, is a time to cultivate our awareness of Jesus... an opening of our hearts and our eyes to areas in our lives and in our world that need to be awakened to Jesus' presence within and among us.

To open our eyes to the presence of Jesus and to recognize the areas of our lives and of our world that need to be awakened to the presence of Jesus... should lead us to action. Someone once said that with knowledge comes responsibility. To recognize brokenness in ourselves and/or in our world is not enough. That can lead to bitterness, despair, or self-righteousness among other things. But, we are called to respond. And that seems daunting to me. And it is daunting if I believe it's in my power or control or if I believe that it's all on my shoulders. "... Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.... God is faithful..."

Today our community will have a day of retreat & reflection. It is a wonderful way to enter fully into this season of Advent... cultivating silence opens space within for recognition and ultimately for conversion.

Many blessings to all who read my scattered thoughts this day!
Sr. N

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Rising Sun of joy and justice lights the way that leads to peace.
As the day descends from heaven, so does love that sets us free.
The Rising Sun ~ Tony Alonzo

Yesterday morning I left Dayton before dawn to travel down to San Antonio to lead a women's retreat for St. Mary's University. On the flight from Dayton to Newark I was busy working on presentations and thinking about the retreat.

I sat on the side of the plane with one row of seats, so the window was to my immediate left. It was very dark out. As I was working on my laptop something drew my attention to the opposite set of windows to my right. And as I looked out I was amazed by what I saw. I immediately opened another Word document and started typing...

My flight left Dayton at 6:05am bound for Newark-Liberty Airport… on my way to San Antonio for the St. Mary’s Univ. women’s retreat. I was busy listening to David Kauffman’s version of the Magnificat and preparing my presentations… The window to my left in my immediate vision was darkness… some city lights down below. Then I looked across the isle to the right side of the plane, looking for inspiration, perhaps … I was reflecting on the Annunciation and the ways that God calls to us in life. And I saw an amazing sight… A bright red horizon… fading up into a beautiful orangey-yellow line of light… that became a vivid blue. Out the left side of the plane – darkness… out the right side – bright, beautiful color.

And isn’t that the way life is sometimes. Looking at a situation sometimes we only allow ourselves to see the darkness – the fact that light is absent and we cannot see our way. And then God breaks in, turning our faces in a different direction… and there is light and hope once more.

It was several minutes before light came to the left side. And as the light was spreading all around the plane, the original bright horizon was no less bright for sharing the light.

Now, I know enough about science to know the reasons why the horizon on the right did not dim as light filled the sky… and why the darkness on the left seemed so absolute. However, this morning I choose not to focus on the science, but on the mystery.

How often is it in life that we get stuck with our limited perspective – seeing the darkness of one side… unable to see the beauty of God’s light breaking in… if only we would turn our faces towards it. Or unable to believe that from darkness so deep and absolute, light does eventually shine. No darkness is so absolute as to swallow hope. It just takes a certain perspective. That of Jesus…

Many blessings to all who read this!

Sr. N

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Let your mercy be on us, O Lord,
as we place our trust in you.
Paraphrase of Ps. 33:22

What a strange several weeks it's been since my last post. I've thought often of what I should write when I have the opportunity... and then something comes up... another event... and my thoughts are completely different.

Yesterday in my classes the journal question I assigned to my students was about an area in their lives in which they really need to trust in God. During our brief discussion of the journal topic I heard about divorces, parent illnesses, sibling deaths, serious financial difficulties, tough moral choices... It's unbelievable what some young people are carrying...

In recent weeks it seems I know personally many communities and families confronted with a sudden death... A young Marianist brother killed in a car accident... the younger brother of a Marianist priest in my peer group killed in a car accident... a 31-year old Marianist educator died from lung cancer (whose funeral I will attend today) ... 2 UD students killed in a car accident... 2 Marianist brothers in the same community died within days of each other (one rather unexpected)...

The readings these days call us to reflect on the last days. Yesterday's reading from the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Wisdom was particularly poignant... But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace....

In the midst of sadness and confusion on the part of those who mourn these losses, there have been constant reminders of God's faithfulness and love. From the readings to the celebration of perpetual vows... supportive friends and moments of laughter... beautiful sunsets and fall colors.

Let us, then, continue to trust in the love of God... For we know and believe in God's love for us. (1 John 4:16)

Blessings of peace to all who read this,
Sr. N