Thursday, July 19, 2012


Joy is like a river! I keep hearing the Alleluias sing under the buzz of the world. Yes, I know that evil exists in this world; I have witnessed it and been victimized by it. The institutional Church has been part of it. But, I return to the Church, the People of God, far wiser than when I left it. No Stockholm Syndrome here; if you think there is, you haven't a clue about who I am.

At almost 47, I am simply able to live with the paradoxes. I can live with things that are grey; naturally they are also tinged with purple, orange, torquoise, red, electric blue and green! Change is the only constant; I am at home with that.

To me, if we don't "go and receive our mission" (the real meaning of the words at the end of the Mass) and go out and make for justice and peace, our time in church is a farce. To be able to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we have to be able to be the Body and Blood of Christ to the poor and the marginalized. We have to get lost in serving others in order to find ourselves, to paraphrase Gandhi. We have to both feed the hungry and find out why they are hungry; comfort the oppressed and ask why others are putting them down. We need both to celebrate the Mass and to ask the questions that make for justice!

We need to realize, too, that "the energy of Mass is equal to our willingness to empty our egos" (Why Stay Catholic: Unexpected Answers to a Life-Changing Question, Michael Leach, 97). By emptying ourselves, we allow God to fill us and move us. We become as Christ.

Christ's emerging--incarnation--shows us that matter, matters. We need always to thank God for creation because it reflects God's light and love; it sings God's song. If we look closely enough, we can learn a lot about God by being silent and observing. 

Francis referred to "Brother Sun" and "Sister Moon" and even, "Sister Death." None of these things is God, but they all point to God. He saw that we are all interconnected. Whether it was the leper he kissed or the birds to whom he preached when the people wouldn't listen, Francis knew that all creation gives glory to God. We can do no less.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Radical Verdancy

What joy to be studying St Hildegard, St Bridget of Kildare and St Julian of Norwich, plus the Beguines in this week's class entitled "Mystics, Prophets and Rebels," with Edwina Gateley. She brings them alive!

One thing that God says to Dame Julian in a vision: "Don't worry if you feel nothing in your prayer; it is still precious to me." How easy to make it about myself. It's just what I have been doing for so long--whining and pining for God. All I had to do was pray and God would handle it; all I had to do was hang in there while simultaneously letting go.

When I finally cried out in desperation to God, things changed. I needed to get to the end of my rope, as it were. I needed to be so empty, to have nothing left. Only then could I receive the very God I could not feel. God was in my heart all along.

My fear is that so many get to this point, and then just give up on God not waiting for this receiving. Dame Julian, however, reminds us that "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." 

We are ALL mystics if we allow ourselves the freedom to be just that. We need to get out of the mind and into the verdancy of the heart. When we do that, we look around and realize some things need changing--in Church and society. What we then have to say may alarm the officials; but what of it?

An acquaintance of mine knew a Sister years ago who wore a pin; it said "Religious are DANGEROUS." We go deep into the stuff of life and find God there, right in the chaos; miracles do happen.  We need to listen closely to our hearts to hear God's voice calling us to our special work realizing God's Reign.

We need to get RADICAL--get to the root of things. We need to stir things up, not for the sake of doing so,   but to allow compassion and justice to flow. When we go deep into Godding, we see with different eyes.