Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!
Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God....
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me.
Then the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-6, 9
I pray that each of you is experiencing the grace of this season - 50 days of unbounded joy!
To say that I love Easter - and spring - is a huge understatement. Recently, I was reflecting on new life and hope for the April Giving Voice Newsletter. (note: For those of you who are not familiar with Giving Voice, it is a national network of women religious in their 20s, 30s and 40s. This network of women is a very important part of my life. But, that's a reflection for another time.) In the newsletter I wrote,
Our joy has its source in the love of God poured out so generously in the selflessness of Jesus. Jesus came into this world to give us life, love, and an opportunity to enter into a new relationship with God. We celebrate in this time of Easter the fact that life, love, God always has the last word. The stone was rolled away. Death does not have the final say...Easter is the reason that we can look forward in hope. However, for some reason, I find myself looking back. This Easter I find myself reflective on months gone by. Easter is not a natural time for reflection for me. Perhaps I should clarify. Each day gives me an opportunity to reflect. However, it is typically during the seasons of Advent and Lent that it seems natural to take a step back, consider how things are going, what I've learned, how I've grown or where changes should happen etc. Easter doesn't typically carry the same intention. So far, though, this Easter is different.
It's been just over 10 months since I professed final vows as a Marianist Sister (time flies!). The academic year at the high school in which I teach is coming to a close. The academic year at the university where I staff a vocations office has already ended. Soon the two discerning young women who live with us at Annunciation House of Discernment will be entering the first stage of initial formation with our Province (after they take a fantastic 2-week road trip to do some camping, hiking and backpacking). And my role in our Province will soon take on a few added facets. So, it seems this is an appropriate time to reflect.
This academic year has been a year of transition. If you've followed my blog for any length of time you will see that transition is one of the few constants in my life. It's the paradox of life, I suppose. Transitions...
I am no longer in formation with the Sisters. I am a finally professed Sister - with all the responsibility, stability, freedom, worries and joy that comes with that. My teaching load increased this year, while the amount of time I spend at the high school has decreased. This year was my first year to coordinate vocations efforts at the university... my first year to serve on the core team of Giving Voice... and my first year to serve on a number of committees (a new building at one of our Marianist properties, a planning team for an international Marianist program...). It is my first year to be a part of a Marianist community outside of the home - a group of committed younger adults (all younger than me) who share faith, prayer, hopes and life. Then there is our little community at home (Annunciation House) - We were a community of 2 who became 3 and then 4... will be 5 for several weeks this summer... this community challenges and supports each of us on our journeys of being who God has called us to be.
In the midst of all this, I can say that this year has been one lesson in humility and gratitude after another. I am deeply grateful for the months gone by... with all their ambiguity, failures, laughter, good conversations, growing relationships, prayer and challenges. I am grateful for the grace of God that works through (or in spite of?) my limitations. I am grateful for our little community at Annunciation House - filled with such laughter, trust, prayer, and support. I am grateful for co-workers who support and pray for each other and are deeply committed to the mission of educating youth for service, justice and peace. I am grateful for the friends in my life - the people who listen, advise, commensurate, and pray with/for me.
And this is truly what it means to live the resurrection - to have hope in the midst of challenges, being grateful for the lessons learned, recognizing and trusting in the love of God so generously shared. This is the source of my Easter joy!
Many blessings to all who read this!