Sunday, April 28, 2013

Signs of Spring

The week flew by and there are signs of spring everywhere. Today while walking out of the Mother House the Sister waiting for me was staring at a tree. There were Cedar Wax Wings eating last years berries (the picture is included). Last Sunday one of the Sisters pointed out an owl to me (that picture is also included). Things are warming-up in Wisconsin and from what I understand some people have already begun preparing the gardens. This is the mundane at work, and also the great rhythm of life.

Yesterday I attended my first Adopt-A-Highway clean-up activity. While picking up debris I recalled a time when I was unaware of the environment and the impact I had on it. I was immediately focused on the day that helped me to shift toward stewardship. The transition was slow, yet I owe that initial movement to my younger sister Heather. Her awareness and prodding allowed me to change some habits while recognizing the world is here to be cared for, not destroyed by the mindless activity of humans. Last week we celebrated Earth Day and our planet is in need of our love and care. Yesterday during a meeting we watched a video from the late Thomas Barry and I share that with you as an opportunity to reflect as well. Blessings and have a great week!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thoughts, and Some More Thoughts

My heart goes out to the people in Boston, MA and West, Texas as they deal with the tragedies of last week, and all who continue to work toward justice regarding the gun bill. This has been a heavy week and the news media is filled with images of distress and challenge. I wonder how you find yourself in all of this? I am overwhelmed by the imagery and discussion. When saturated by these things I need to step away and breathe while focusing on the other things in life that matter. In an attempt to stay conscious about what is happening in the world I check-in online and try to avoid the news broadcasts. It is easy to become fixated on the story of the day and not see what is being neglected right before my eyes. This occurs even when there is not a tragic tale to be told. I am always curious how other people deal with media overload, or maybe it is news overload? One of the things I do is read Yahoo! News in an attempt to balance out the serious with the sublime. For the most part this works out pretty well. Sometimes if I really need to read the story I will go to the BBC feed and get that perspective.

Onto a less happening topic: I am attempting to once again wean myself off of caffeine. No headache, just feeling a bit tired, cranky and spacey today. In an attempt to help build my energy I rode my bike for 1/2 an hour this morning in the basement, it is still too cold for me to go outside (Can you believe we have snow flakes falling?). Anyway, my guess is this only woke up the dormant muscles that have not been used on the bike since last fall. Hopefully during this time my internal crab will not be experienced by others. Oh, how I despise these days. Well, that is enough from here for now. Have a blessed week.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Do you love me?

My Mom posted the above video on Facebook the other night (Stand By Me, Playing for Change Band) and a few years ago my community used the same video to open up one of our summer gatherings. It seems to me that this video fits today’s Gospel reading, which has Jesus asking Peter three times if he loves him only to command that he feed his sheep. I sit here wondering what it took for Peter to respond with affirmation to this question about love.  Peter already knew that being a friend to Jesus creates difficulties, and ultimately due to his faithful response in this love he was martyred. Today it is popular for us Christians to claim our stakes in loving Jesus. And still, when we are paying attention this is a difficult response to live out in daily life.  What does it mean when I listen to of Jesus’ call to feed his sheep? This is something that requires tenacity and relationships. I am willing to walk in this mystery with others and recognize I cannot do it alone, every time I think I can it’s a colossal disaster. The love that connects me to Jesus is real, and at this point in my life I need something concrete to help stay the course in my commitment to saying, “Yes!” Up until this point it is people, which when I was young I thought a weakness, today I think it a gift. So, the song fits my experience thus far in relation to discipleship and service. Have a great week! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

May I see your identification?

I heard a fantastic homily today! The Gospel was from John, "But he [Thomas] said to them, 'Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." The message I heard flipped my usual understanding of this Gospel in it's entirety. Rather than focus on belief and the disciples it was about Jesus' transformation and the inability to comprehend him anew (unfortunately this is not doing justice to what I actually heard). After reflecting on the homily I had a memory that put this into perspective from my own experienced. I recall a friend who moved away when I was young and had experienced transformation. There was hope that his life would be different upon returning to those of us who continued on with our usual things. Many people did not believe this was an actual transformation that occurred, and over time it appeared that the renewal was short lived. The sad thing was that we put him in a box and did not allow time for flourishing, and many said it was just an act that there was not change at all. Of course as an adult it is easy to see that moving back into the old routine, without proper supports in place, never is a good mix for a young person to maintain change, or any person for that matter. The difference in our faith is that Jesus did not need the apostles to support his transformation for the purpose of maintaining his resurrection. Rather they needed to experience him in the old in order to see him anew. For the first time I was not so ashamed of the Doubting Thomas that rises up so often, and realize that when honest about that doubt I can be moved to connect and support transformation in myself and others.