Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."
Thomas Merton

Back from my unintentional blogging hiatus. One may wonder what precipitated such a lengthy hiatus. Sometimes I wonder the same thing! Yes, the spring semester was very busy with travels, meetings and end of the year craziness at school. However, that's really nothing new in my life. And yet, the hiatus lingered. There were times I thought, "I should blog." Then I would reflect and either I had so much to say, I didn't know where to start or I lacked a certain since of inspiration for writing.

The past several weeks have been packed both with incredible challenges and times of great joy. There has been some angst surrounding the current situation of the Church in the US - the relationship of the LCWR and the Vatican, caustic relationship between the Church & civil society (politics), the current events in the Church of Philadelphia, etc. There are struggles in community life - that's typical of community life, really. And this is not to mention the personal struggles of people who are close to me - the mother of my closest friend from high school passed away and I could do nothing for the family except pray, there were friends far away experiencing bouts of depression and challenging situations.... Then there were the moments of joy in celebrating milestones, welcoming a good friend back to the Dayton area, times of prayer and conversations on retreats/weekends away, celebrating first professions...

Through it all - the ups and downs - maintaining a sense of balance became more of a necessity than a preference. Usually when people consider living a balanced life they try to spend equal energy (or sometimes equal time) on the various aspects of life. It's like trying to keep several balls in the air assuming that all the balls are of equal size and weight. For me, however, over the past several weeks I have reaffirmed the primary role that prayer and quiet have - that ball, if you will, is a little bigger and carries more weight. Of course, this is not anything new. I suppose I've been reminded in powerful ways.

Also, I've been reflecting on the role of inspiration in life. I've always said, I cannot write unless I am "inspired." I say that about a lot of things, really. I say I have to "feel" something in order to move or to be moved to respond. The thing is, however, that sometimes things have to be done based on duty, responsibility, or commitment. Again, this is not a new concept. It's part of growing up, of maturing. Perhaps I'm a little slow on the uptake, but reminders of this were of great value these past several weeks.

Balance, order, rhythm, harmony.... These are what allow for peace within even when everything without is going crazy. Stability. With the ups and downs of life and the ins and outs of people, sometimes a sense of stability can be difficult. Prayer and being centered in the person of Christ are the only ways to remain whole and open.

Currently, I am about to begin my second full, silent retreat of the summer. How did that happen, you might ask. Believe me, I asked the same question! The first retreat was with my fellow Marianists in formation. What a time of grace that was! It was just before the first profession of the 4 new temporary professed Marianist Brothers - a weekend packed with deep joy for our Marianist Family and for the Church (for more on that, read the following blog: http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/marianist-brothers-vows-reminder-joy-religious-life). Now, I am with a different set of peers as we reflect on what it means to be called to leadership in the Marianist family - responsibility, commitment, balance, order, stability. I have to admit, entering the summer I didn't like the idea of spending so much time on silent retreats. However, I embrace this time as an opportunity to be centered and listen for that still, small voice.

I hope this marks the end of the blogging hiatus....
Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

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