Monday, July 16, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 7

"We had a Eucharistic Vigil last night in preparation for today's feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On this day, 49 years ago, our SOLT community was founded by Fr. James Flanagan.

It occurred to me once again last night that Jesus made us a certain promise. He promised He would be with us always, even until the end of time. This promise is fulfilled in many ways, but it is especially fulfilled in the Eucharist.

As I sat there in the chapel while the sun set and the crickets began to sing, I gazed at the monstrance and pondered some of the stories of Jesus from the Gospel. Jesus in the Eucharist who poured out His grace here in New Mexico last night is the same Jesus who calmed the storm for the disciples. It is the same Jesus who healed the woman suffering dreadfully from a hemmorage. It is the same Jesus who forgave the woman caught in adultery, healed the blind who wanted to see and taught the people with authority. He is one and the same.

St. Teresa of Avila commented once that people told her they would believe in Jesus more readily if they had lived in the time while He walked upon this earth. She replied that it isn't so. Just as believing in Jesus now is an act of faith, so it was back then.

Jesus looked like a regular man. He had a regular job (for a time) and an apparently regular family. When He performed miracles and healings, many people still had a difficult time believing that He was the Son of God. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If we just go to Church on Sunday, or even weekdays, because we feel that we have to "fulfill our obligation" or of a superstitious reason that something bad will happen to us if we don't go, we aren't living as full a life as Jesus came to give. Our life isn't an obligation or a "should". Our life is a "yes". Like Christopher West says, "Don't empty the Cross of its' power." God has gifts to give us that we can't even imagine. He is truly here with us, even until the end of time.

So ask God for that grace of a deeper, livelier faith. If you have trouble believing Him or find it a drudgery to attend Mass, tell Him so. Go to Confession often. Ask God to heal your blindness so you can truly see. So you can see that He is truly with you at every moment of your life, even the most sorrowful moments that you'd rather forget. Jesus is here with us. The same Man who calmed the storm 2,000 years ago speaks the same words in our hearts today.

Til then..."

Monday, July 09, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 6

I spent a little time on a silent retreat this past weekend which was a nice thing. Nothing like a little silence to make things in life clear, which is perhaps why the world abhors silence and does all it can to intrude upon the serenity of our minds.

I finished another book, well ok, three more books. Oddly enough they all had to do with the subject of international conflict, more commonly known as war. One of the books was about child soldiers in Sierra Leone. It was really heartbreaking to me to read about mere children being forced into war, high on drugs, with semi-automatic weapons. Wow. It's hard to even imagine something like that, much less live through it.

There was this quote by Mother Teresa on a little calendar that I have and she said (I am paraphrasing here) that war doesn't begin outside ourselves but it begins in our hearts. It begins with conflict and hatred in our own hearts and spreads outward. The best way to counteract war is to love our neighbors.

It sounds simple, doesn't it? But it's true. If I have hatred in my heart and I spread that hatred around, the hatred grows. However, if I have the love of God in my heart and seek to understand others instead of condemn them, then that too will grow.

So I guess the choice is really ours.

Till then...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tales from the desert...part 5

"Something I have been pondering these days in the desert is the will of God. Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Many people talk about the will of God as in, "Sister, I just want to do the will of God" or "I don't know what the will of God is for me." Well, what is the will of God? And how does one go about discovering it in his or her own life?

Perhaps it would help us if we could keep in mind that nothing in our life is coincidental. Nothing. Every person that crosses your path, everything that happens to you during the day is providential, not coincidental. Now, perhaps we don't understand all of what happens to us but that's not really the point. That point is that God is doing something in and with our lives. The experiences we have in our ordinary, routine day are gifts from God. Notice that even in a like environment such as an office, or a school or a religious community wherein people have a similar daily structure, they don't have the exact same types of experiences every day. God is teaching all of us different things. Our life is tailored to us. We aren't generic prototypes or repeats of some cookie-cutter model (okay, so nuns dress the same, but I promise you that we are all very different!).

God loves us so much that everyday, at every moment, He showers us with gifts. These are the experiences that happen in our lives. These are the gifts He has to give us. Perhaps we don't like the wrapping of some of the gifts, for they can come cloaked in humiliation, sorrow, defeat and disappointment, but underneath that wrapping is a gift from God, if we can only see it as such.

I believe that these gifts that come to us everyday make up the larger "will of God" that many people speak of. Sometimes I think we are waiting for some voice to come out of the sky and tell us what to do, while all along we miss the whispers that permeate our daily lives.

If we are faithful to the small things in life, bigger things will be given to us. Jesus exhorted this to His apostles. Perhaps it is in our human nature to want to run before we can crawl. The disciples swore they would never forsake Jesus and then ran away that very night. And we all do the same. So that's when we come to our senses and come back to God, where we belong. Conversion is a daily process. Holiness is a journey of becoming. We are on a mission.

That's the will of God!

Til then..."