Sunday, March 31, 2013

Say Hallelujah

Happy Easter as together we experience the risen Christ. This morning I was reflecting on two things. First, how do I experience Christ in creation? And Second, how do I reveal Christ in the world? Okay, this is a big agenda and, you must know I am writing early so I can get with my family for Easter celebrations. So far the snares of negativity have already entered into my mind and out of my mouth a couple of times with notice. In the moment it seem the reflection needs to continue with an action plan. I have a friend that gave me three criteria for sharing information a couple of years ago, and I add these to this Easter season. They allow for a start in reflecting Christ to others and are easy enough to employ.

1. Is it true?
2. Is it kind?
3. Is it necessary?

Enjoy the video this week, it is one of my Easter favorites by Tracy Chapman!!!!! Blessings!!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Romero: A 20th Century Martyr

Today, Palm Sunday, marks the 33rd anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's assassination. I recall the first time I learned about Romero and the inspiration of his story. He stood with the people of El Salvador as a man who came to espouse the Gospel while attempting to help his Church find peace. Recently I read somewhere that he would not be considered a Christian martyr, rather he died due to his politics. This perplexed is perplexing and there are layers to this that I will not go into, yet everything I have read about Oscar Romero points to his faith as the guide to his voice. He was witnessed the massacre of El Salvadoran's by the thousands and was moved to speak to the powerful who blocked human rights. There are risks in being a disciple of Jesus Christ and he became a bold force throughout his life. I cannot do justice to his story and am attaching two videos to this feed. The first is a voice-over of speeches from the 1989 film Romero with clips from his actual life (I chose the voice-over because it is in English, Romero spoke in Spanish). The second is a BBC clip that gives a history of who Oscar Romero was, and is to the many people of El Salvador and beyond who love him still and believe in the Gospel he preached (this includes the speech before he was assassinated with translation).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Resistance to Change: Personal and Pope Francis

We will be entering Spring in the next week and this causes me to think of change. It has been a weekend of meeting with others at the Motherhouse and I am toast. Not much going on in my head that feels blog-worthy. So, why not go with the theme of change for the sake of the upcoming season?Change is difficult on the personal level, and even more complex when dealing with systems (I am going to leave systems alone for now, much of this can be translated though). We resist change, even when we initiate least this is my experience. For instance, when I get my bike out in a couple of weeks and begin a riding routine it will be fun for the first outing and maybe even the second. There is a guarantee that by the third time I plan on riding my thinking and commitment will become sketchy. I know the pattern and have lived with it since I can remember. This resistance is like attempting to walk through a concrete wall, and I am very skilled at getting myself off course. It usually takes me another week before the third and fourth ride occur. And then eventually, something clicks and I begin riding at a reasonable rate and look forward to the experience again. I always feel awful for giving into the resistance, and still manage to play this little game with myself. Over the years I have become more gentle about this pattern, partly because I see the pattern and know I will follow through with a little coaxing.

Now my thoughts are shifting to the resistance experienced when attempting to deal with the action of systemic change. This is a much bigger deal than getting on a bike. This is about transformation beyond the scope of an individual and it takes dedication and work from a body of people to make it happen. The thing that amazes me is that systems can and do change at an unpredictable pace when we are willing to work through the discord with one another. Resistance occurs on so many levels. This week we experienced the election of Pope Francis. This is a major shift in the Church while we welcome the first Pope from the America's, the first Pope Francis, and many other first's including he has represented himself to the world. My guess is he is experiencing much resistance from insiders at the Vatican, as well as many of us Catholics who believe and work for change in our faith. Sometimes it seems like we want changes based on conditions that they will be what we want, when we want them. Many of us our excited in the mystery of this moment in Church history, and my guess is there will be much support for Pope Francis as he finds his place among us. This does not mean it will be easy for him or any of us, and that is where we will meet our own resistance. So, my hope is that this is similar to the pattern of getting on the bike for the third ride and we are gentle in how we find ourselves in the resistance. This is an exciting time as we witness the changes of our times and I pray for Pope Francis.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Auto-motive Spirituality

The title of the blog mirrors what I was pondering while thinking about spirituality in preparation for a meeting with Young Adults this morning. I don't know how to express the reflection in blog format as it seems long and tedious in writing. However, the analogy that kept coming to me was that spirituality is like purchasing or driving a car. Until you are in the drivers seat and really operating the vehicle you have no idea how it is going to work. Manuals can help, yet until you get behind the wheel the power and danger is not quite understood. Cars allow for speed and precision when we in good shape, and we are not impaired. I received an inattentive driving ticked after my first accident (which occurred three months after getting my license). Being Christian has qualities similar to this, and unless I am in the drivers seat and paying attention to others on the road it can be a clueless journey at times.

Another pertinent connection is that before owning my first vehicle I did not notice how many of these cars were around. Suddenly, the world was opened-up in a new way as I noticed how many people drove this make and model (1976 1/2 Oldsmobile, Cutlass Supreme - 13 years old). Plus, like that car there are things in my spiritual life that need to be tuned-up and changed at times, all part of the maintenance plan, and growth cycle. The first car I owned was well used and did not last long. Similar to my spiritual path as I entered adulthood. I have dabbled and searched for the right fit while always attempting to be true to the best things to have while on the road, and yes this includes making sure the tank is appropriately filled. So many more connections than I can write about, yet I think you get the point. So, my final thought was that if there are things that need to happen explore a new maintenance plan and know that even when you want to skip that oil change it impacts the engine negatively. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Moses Meets God

“There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire our of a bush; he looked and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.”                        -Exodus 3:2

Srs. Mary Ann, Nancy & Cyndi
In January I had the opportunity to give a vocation talk to the Middle and High School catechism classes at my nephew’s parish.  I used the call of Moses as an introduction to the talk and, spent some time reflecting on what it means to experience God in ways similar to Moses, ways that seem contrary to what we expect from God. I imagine coming across the cool flame of a bush that is burning yet not consumed, and am left in a state of wonder. I asked them to think about the unexpected ways they find God’s beauty and mystery in their lives. I never tire of Moses, his eventual relationship with God inspires me even more than this initial moment…maybe that is for another day.

Srs. Sue, Johana, Clare & Edie
A simple way that I experience the beauty of God today is in the completion of a weekend with sisters in my community who were born after 1950.  Seventeen of us gathered Thursday evening at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago, IL.  One of our intentions was deepening our relationship with one another. It was difficult to drag myself to the weekend, my usual pattern of skepticism when doing something new is pretty predictable and I was right on target. Moses initial encounter with God begins a journey of intimacy and friendship that I see as unparalleled in scripture with another human being (you might read my bias in this and see my Moses banner flying hight). I realized while sitting among my sisters this weekend that this reflects opportunity to recognize in each of them the opportunity to take off my sandals and reverence the wonder of God in ways not so different than Moses coming upon the burning bush. In some ways I am refreshed and renewed, while struggling with sleep deprivation at this very moment. The week will provide opportunity to further reflect on what this encounter provided, and for this I am grateful.