Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Advent descended on us in a hush, like a soft blanket muffling the harshness of winter. The 3 days of fog in my area was a thick pea soup, sometimes not burning off until 9:am., and it made driving to mass quite an adventure, but... ahh... There's nothing like the soft, quiet mystery of fog; and somehow it seemed a perfect way to enter into the beauty of Advent. A perfect metaphor for the return inward, a return to the silence. Softening the sharp edges of our view, it causes us to search the terrain of our interior. For some reason, I've been drawn to pondering the concept of the anticipatory aspect of Advent, how our whole lives are advent, and to the idea of holding, bearing that attitude of anticipation is our life's purpose. Advent is a way of life.
For my reading this Advent, I've been blessed with coming across a book of sermons and prison writings by the priest and martyr Alfred Delp. Called "Advent of the Heart", it has many deeply moving and profound reflections on life and this aspect of waiting. Here are some selections:
"... the golden threads running between Heaven and earth during this season reach us; the threads that give the world a hint of the abundance to which it is called, the abundance of which it is capable."
"Advent is a time of promise, not yet the fulfillment."
"Advent means a heart that is awake and ready"
Fr. Delp speaks of the longing, yearning we must bear in response to the advent aspect of our lives, how we cannot allow ourselves to be tricked into the false satisfactions of our world, and that we must trust what God has promised. It's pretty poignant stuff, and much of his writing was while awaiting death in a Gestapo prison.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It's truly a sight to behold when the southland's on fire. The sunlight filtered through the smoke casts an orange glow upon the landscape, and ash falls like snow in certain areas. Afterwards, the hillsides look like lunar landscapes; gray with the stark and twisted black shapes of the manzanita and scrub oak the only indication of a former verdancy. But, afterwards the signals of resiliency and rebirth surface, creating Hope and Fortitude. Hope in the new life that will come with the first green flush of spring, and then the realization that Hope will require courage, of which Fortitude is the graced response.
Posted by FreeRangeK at 11:52 AM
Thursday, November 20, 2008
... For the long absence, I could come up with such a long list of distractions that I've succumbed to, but I'll just fess up and tell ya straight... I became a political junkie. That's right, I'll admit it. I couldn't tear myself away from CNN, MSNBC, Blogs, newspapers... You name it, I was probably on it. I was hooked on the minute by minute catastrophes, bank implosions, and all things electoral. Speaking of which, what a horse race! Whew! Now that's over, I can get back to musing on the better things life has to offer: like a full year in the postulancy, ministry, the emergence of a real direction... prayer.
Posted by FreeRangeK at 2:06 PM
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
That I am one of the more conservative and traditional minded members; in church matters; of our community, and the uncomfortable awareness of being in the minority that this brings about. I've found it better to censure my commentary, than to feel the stiffness in conversation after some discussion or another regarding the faults or merits of the older customs and practices for the church or community life. But here's the rub: I've been considering asking for the Habit when I become a novice (our community did away with the habit a while back, although some of the sisters wear the veil on occasion; which I have mixed feelings about). There are some others in our community who are also in formation who feel the same way as I do; but have decided to opt for a simplicity of street dress instead so as not to make waves. I already do this, and I feel it isn't enough. It's just not as recognizable by the lay community. Perhaps I'm not humble enough and should just be content with my interior relationship with God; but I still think it's important to be a witness to our way of life.
It's just that I'm experiencing a growing realization, or an actual grasping if you will, of the real importance of the traditions our Catholic faith and our consecrated way of life. Yeah, I know, I'm a little late to the gate on this, but hey, I'm a late bloomer. And I'm sure that the strident adherence to the traditions of our faith are not what is of most importance to God. Here is where I'm in agreement with the liberals of my community and my faith. After all, the Gospel itself says the sabbath was made for man, and not he other way around. But then if the sabbath was made for man, why? Precisely because man needs rituals to worship God properly. Reminders; so to speak; of the way man is called to behave when in the presence of the Lord. What I've come to see is that the traditions are essential primarily for us, and without them we've quickly disintegrated into a pack of non-believing believers. People who've lost site of the Sacred, in favor of the mundane. I don't know about y'all, but I need all the help I can get and having all the bells and whistles, incense and customs really deepens my faith and the experience of God's presence in my life.
I feel it is the same with the Habit. When I see a sister in a habit I'm instantly reminded that there is another way of living, one centered in Jesus. That visual image alone does it for me. It's that witness thing again. That much needed sign to challenge those of us who so easily forget and become too focused on the things of this world. So I struggle with the tension of my ever deepening need for true witness and a fear of estrangement from my community who may not feel the need for such trivialities as the habit. For them, it's been there, done that.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Of my thoughts the other day about the need of our daily, freely given consent and full acceptance to the gift of faith that God offers us. Today at Mass Father's homily brought up some of these very same thoughts, and that the falling away or lapsing that many Catholics experience is in fact the choosing of other things to place at center stage in their lives. The crowding out of God. These things eventually replace God and the Faith He freely gives to His children, resulting in a suspended and atrophied Faith. The problem isn't that we've outgrown our Faith; as if Faith were just a collection of fairy tales suitable only for children. It is that we've become lazy. And addicted to pleasure seeking. For when we find out our constant care and attention are required to keep our Faith alive in our daily lives, we procrastinate, we postpone; we distract ourselves with something less demanding. Perhaps what we need more than show stopping Broadway style liturgical programming, more than pop rock praise music, more than lay inclusive liturgies (E.M. & lector concelebrations anyone?); perhaps what we really need is a support group in every parish to strengthen us for the long haul. For the dry times. For the times when we rail against God for the misfortunes in our lives. We need people who will get us through the tough spots or notice when we don't come to mass. In short; reassurance that we all experience the times of disillusionment; of feeling far away from God; but never so far away to be forgotten. By God or by our fellow travelers in Faith. We need reminders that God gives freely and without restrictions and that He never revokes the choice he has made in us. As His people. His people of the Faith.
Posted by FreeRangeK at 2:18 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I know that this image is a bit flippant, but it struck me of the need of our "Yes" to God in even in the seemingly obvious act ; but by no means least significant act; of the acceptance of our Faith. What started me on this thread was a pondering on the those of us who have been given the Faith and have either fallen away through a waning of interest or have become disillusioned and disgruntled. I know I have been guilty of both during my own journey of faith and it wasn't until I realized that I had to give and keep giving a daily "Yes" to God that I actually fully accepted the true gift that faith is for my life. Faith itself is an act of will, and must be chosen by us freely if it is to be something that can be fully experienced. And like all choices in life, it comes up for review whenever we're about to change course. Sometimes this can be often: daily, even hourly for those of us who struggle with the strong current of the world. But all I know is that the constant re-affirmation of that "Yes" to Faith in my own life has truly had an effect on how I see the world now. For now my Faith is a pearl of great price, worthy of selling everything for the attainment of it, and truly worthy of the full cherishing of that Gift given to me out of pure Love. Until we can each come to this realization, Faith lies dormant, waiting for the moment, when out of the free will God has given us we respond in kind. In Love.
Posted by FreeRangeK at 2:22 PM
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Well, It's coming up on one year in the convent, summer is upon us and it's been quiet around here as of late. So I've been doing some reflecting, as you can probably imagine. This will be the first in a series of posts on my reflections of the past year. One thing that has been surprising is how many misconceptions I had concerning spiritual growth. I had thought that this process would be more measurable, more tangible. Instead, I'm often left wondering if I'm progressing at all. Take for instance peace of mind, how how easy it is to lose it. You see, one day you're going along just fine, feeling pretty holy and then BAM! You catch yourself being caught up in some relentless interior chatter concerning things like "Why can't we just have some silence, this IS supposed to be a house of prayer!" or "I don't think I can take another day of Sister's enthusiasm!", and so on, Blah, Blah, Blah! You think your moving past all the pettiness and then it comes rushing back, flooding your mind and washing away any sense of peace you've fooled yourself into thinking was your new state of being. It's been a very humbling experience, let me tell you. In fact, one learns that humility is a major lesson to learn if you are to grow at all, and in fact if you're not grappling with it you're probably going nowhere. I really thought I was a pretty humble person, but I think I had it confused with considerate. I wasn't taking into account how fast I can size people up, or how little patience I really do have. But the good news is, it does get better with prayer, practice and the realization that I probably drive people nuts as well! The miracle is that we do make it in community, and with the Lord's grace we come to love each other, warts and all. That is the difference between a community who's focus is on their relationship with God, and a group of people just trying to live together.
Posted by FreeRangeK at 3:49 PM
Friday, May 23, 2008
I've been a fan of blogs for a while now, and have been mulling over whether or not to throw my own hat into the ring. Part of the reluctance has been the fact that I have schoolwork to do as well and was unsure what my commitment level would be (I know how much I rely on daily, even hourly posting from some of my favorite bloggers, so... perhaps I am setting too high a goal). But, despite my misgivings, I've been thinking it might be nice to have a space to ruminate about the formation process and encourage feedback from others who are traveling this path as well. It has been a real trip so far, just the act of separation from my previous life to start with. Each day brings new challenges, try living in community for a start! Wow! So, as I reflect upon these pages of this strange and beautiful journey towards God, I pray that Mary guides my heart to share honestly and with (tasteful) candor so others might feel encouraged to share as well. Until tomorrow!
Posted by FreeRangeK at 4:17 PM