Sunday, March 25, 2012

After the Storm

Mumford and Sons - "After the Storm"

Today, in the Sunday scripture readings, we experience Lazarus raised from the dead. This morning I was doing some reading for a paper that I am writing on Henry Giroux and Critical Pedagogy (a quick description - Critical Pedagogy is used in education and beyond...and is focused on emancipation and transformation), while reading my thoughts kept turning to the realities of our world, and again the healing love we need. It is so easy to see the things that are dying, or dead, if we take time and pay attention. It is not so easy to see the things that have the potential for resurrection. 

It is easy for me to critique the "establishment" and the breaking down of institutions. However, I have also experienced those who reminisce about the glory days as if something died and will never be restored. I do not want to put on the lens of illusion that offers the romantic view of the past. I know that things in my lifetime have not been easy and the changes have been hard. There are things in all of our lives that have died (both individually and globally). Sometimes these things need to be let-go. And, sometimes there is a need for resurrection. Jesus knew that it was right to raise Lazarus from the dead.  As I continue to work with the with transformation and emancipation I hope to know when it is time to raise-up that which is needed, and let die those things that will make great fertilizer. Sometimes it seems like a daunting task and impossible to attain. For me it is easier to let a fear and resentment live, rather than raise up hope and if these two things have been swallowed by the abyss. The three verses that come to me are from "After the Storm." Unfortunately, tonight the blog is an adventure in hodgepodge, a stream of consciousness moment possibly: 

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time,
you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart,
but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see
what you find there,
With grace in your heart
and flowers in your hair.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Little People and Vocations

This will be a whole lot of ramble about an exhilarating experience that added a speck of glory to last week. Friday I had the opportunity to talk to grade and middle school students about vocations. The day started with Fifth and Sixth grade and I had no idea what to say. So, I launched into the story of Moses and his call. It was great as we talked about call and what it means in our lives. They shared much and related to the material with ease. By the time I arrived at the First grade room I was loosing steam as the people continued to get younger and less interested in Moses and his schtick. With the First grade students I asked one question and before you knew it I was listening to the miraculous chatter of people who are not confined by my rules. They told me about St. Patrick and the story the teacher read them before my arrival. It was delightful. This one little guy had some snack mashed up and moistened on his desk and just worked with it as if he was the greatest sculptor on the planet. I marvel at the freedom.

There was one point in the day when I was completely stumped by a question. It was a little boy in Fourth grade who looked at me and said, "What if you have a boyfriend and get pregnant. And, then became a Sister and do not know you are pregnant?" felt like a trap so the response was that you would know because it takes longer than nine months to be a Sister. The many layered response would not have been as convincing. Luckily he was satisfied and although this created a string of crazy questions they were all fun and about faith.

These kids were great. I asked how they know God and one little girl said, "God talks to me in my heart." This week I pray that we have the freedom and faith of these young people who have not been jaded by the dailiness of life.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Everyday God

Wow, went on a retreat this weekend with several other women who are also on the God-quest (that sounds kitschy-you get the idea though). The theme was "The Gift of Joy in all Season" and it was fascinating how it all rolled out. Being with these women affords me more reflection about community. I knew about half of them prior to the retreat. I went on a similar retreat in November and let me tell you, these are not my usual retreats. I am accustomed to having eight days of silence (or three if it's my winter retreat) and meeting with a spiritual director once a day. This coming together to share with other women around themes is different, and in some ways unnerving for me.

On the drive to Siena Center (the retreat place) I kept thinking there were many better ways to spend my weekend, and that the only reason I was going was because I was leading an activity and prayer experience. Well, that was what we used to call poppycock when I was a kid. This was exactly where I needed to be and the themes and sharing didn't kill me (as you might have guessed from my ability to continue blogging). I wonder if my resistance could be that when it comes to my relationship with God sometimes there are no words to express how this love grows. Or, maybe there is discomfort in expressing how deeply I feel the connection to God's love in my life. I watch women like Joan Chittister and Joyce Meyer who preach from their own experiences of God and find my insecurity in the comparison. Well, fortunately the retreat did not require their abilities from me, and such comparisons really are silly. Somehow I was able to bring who I am and use that as the starting point for listening and sharing, and this opened me up to the gift of all the women present. I put together an iMovie for our morning prayer and offer this to you for the week. By the way this video upload takes forever. Blessings, Vicki

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Not The First Glow Stick

Top: Joanna, Sharon, Nancy, Joan and Sr. Annette.
Bottom: Sr. Pat, Ellen and Linda
The balance between ministry, studies and relationships continues to be a constant tension as this year continues, and as you might guess this creates imbalance in other areas once again (i.e. exercise and contemplative time). Does anyone else ever feel like they are circling around the karmic wheel of life for the hundred thousandth time dealing with the same-ol-same-ol wondering how they got there?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a gathering of CSA Sisters and Associates in Fond du Lac for a few hours of sharing and dreaming. This lifted my spirit and as I reflect on today's Gospel (the Transfiguration of Jesus) I keep these women in mind. Every time I hear the readings for the Transfiguration I picture Jesus illuminated and glowing. This illumination is not like that of a glow stick, rather like Moses after he witnesses God in the desert and needed to cover his face due to it's radiance (Exodus 34:29-35). I had the opportunity to witness the holy and transfiguring grace of God once again yesterday in the presence of dreaming and vision. In the hustle, bustle and imbalance of it all at the end of the day things are looking pretty good. Unlike Peter, James and John in today's reading I not only can share with you what I witnessed, they let me take a picture for the blog (Whoot!). The Spirit was present in a big way as the passion and purpose of our time together grew. I won't take away the glow by throwing in many details and want to share that it was a day that both humbled and delighted me as a member of CSA, so glad we are experiencing life together.

Well, this week I will be working with the spin cycle of my life and hope that by next Sunday when I write there will be a slight shift in the pattern. Unfortunately, I need to step-up and make a plan for this, blech. Blessings!