Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All In A Day's Work!

“Labor Day is an American Federal Holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.” However I have been reflecting on the meaning, purpose, and spirituality of work. At this time in the United States there has been a rise in the jobless levels over the past three months with a percentage of 8.3 listing for the overall country. These are very hard times. So what can I say about WORK that would lighten the minds and hearts of readers?  So I simply collected a number of quotes, readings, stories, and links that may cause readers to ponder their own lives and notice how to be about one’s “inner work” during this time of uncertainty. There has to be many learnings and great wisdom here!

Golda Meir, a former prime minister of Israel, once visited the Vatican. She was welcomed by the Swiss Guard, colorful banners, music and procession. In awe, she asked, “All this for the daughter of a carpenter?” The response came quickly, “Around here, we think pretty highly of carpenters.”
As the classical philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “The color of one’s thought dyes one’s world.” How can we learn to see work as a productive outlet, a means of support and God’s gift?
“We share responsibility for creating the external world by projecting either a spirit of light or a spirit of shadow on that which is other than us. We project either a spirit of hope or a spirit of despair...We have a choice about what we are going to project, and in that choice we help create the world that is. A leader is a person who has an unusual degree of power to project on other people his/her shadow, or his/her light. A leader must take special responsibility for what's going on inside his/her own self, inside his/her consciousness, lest the act of leadership create more harm than good.” (Conger 24-25).
“For our work to be spiritually enriching it must be personally satisfying. It is tempting to think that those whose jobs are related to their life’s passion, for example, actors, athletes, or artists, can more easily find satisfaction in what they do, but job satisfaction is as much a matter of perspective, meaning, and relationship as it is the use of our talents. We do not have to enjoy the tasks that our jobs entail in order to be enlivened by doing them. What is important is that we are open to the bigger picture wherein we sense that we are a piece of a puzzle and that what we do fits into and contributes to the whole.”  (The God Instinct by Tom Stella)
“Peace.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” (Unknown)
“You can tell more about a monk by the way he uses a broom than by anything he says.” (Thomas Merton)

A Story
Work by Yanki Tauber
Why must everything be so difficult? Couldn't G-d have designed our lives so that we wouldn't need to encounter disappointments, challenges and toil every step of the way?
This must be one of the oldest questions ever asked. The answer--that an "easy" life would also be a meaningless life--is probably just as old. And so is the parable told to illustrate the point:
A wealthy nobleman was once touring his estate and came upon a peasant pitching hay. The nobleman was fascinated by the sight: flowing motions of the peasant's arms and shoulders and the graceful sweep of the pitchfork through the air. He so greatly enjoyed the spectacle that he struck a deal with the peasant: he would give him a gold coin every day if the peasant agreed to come to the mansion and display his hay-pitching technique in the nobleman's drawing room. The next day, the peasant arrived at the mansion, hardly concealing his glee at his new line of "work." After swinging his empty pitchfork for an hour, he collected his gold coin--many times his usual reward for a week of backbreaking labor. But by the following day, his enthusiasm had somewhat waned. Before the week was out, he announced that he was quitting his commission.
"I don't understand," puzzled the nobleman. "Why would you rather swing heavy loads outdoors in the winter cold and the summer heat, when you can perform an effortless task in the comfort of my home and earn many times your usual wages?" "But master," said the man, "I'm not doing anything..."

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Golden Eagle

A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in the nest of a backyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life the eagle did what the backyard chickens did, thinking he was a backyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old.  One day he saw a magnificent bird far above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked. “That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbor. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens.” So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was. (Anthony DeMello, The Song of the Bird)

Today is the feast of St. Monica (323 – 387).  When I first began to review readings about the life of Monica, I was somewhat stunned to read the following title: St. Monica, Widow.  That’s it?  At first I thought, isn’t there more?  She lived into her mid-60’s – quite uncommon for those days. Then I reflected again that she really had lived a very full life. I thought, what if there would be an abundance of descriptive words that would trail behind her name – what they would tell about her story of faith and perseverance? Monica certainly was not a chicken – in my eyes and heart – she was an eagle!! A courageous woman for the time in which she lived. Today, as we celebrate her, I name her who I believe she really was – Monica – Christian, woman of patience, woman of prayer, woman most determined, who believed in potential, woman of authentic voice, woman of fortitude, woman visionary, woman dreamer, woman of integrity, woman of long suffering, wife who endured abuse, faithful mother, and widow.

Monica was born to Christian parents, yet they arranged her marriage to a non-Christian, Patricius. He was a man of a violent temper.  Her mother-in-law lived with them. She was quite verbally abusive to Monica, yet Monica was patient with them and prayed for their openness to be received into the Christian faith.

Eventually both were received into the faith and remained very respectful of Monica’s generosity to the poor, her deep faith and her constant prayer life. However, when she was 40 years old, her husband died.  She had bore three children – the oldest being Augustine.  He was a brilliant student and at the age of 17, he left home for the wild life, and lived recklessly taking on the truths and ideals of the heresies of his day.  He was particularly troubled by the mystery of evil.  Monica followed him to Rome and when she arrived there, Augustine had moved on to Milan, Italy.  So she went to Milan to find him and did so, and lived with him. 

During which time they met up with (St.) Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who eventually became Augustine’s teacher and Monica’s spiritual director.  It was there that Monica lived to see the day that Augustine accepted Christianity and was baptized.  Shortly thereafter, she died.  She had prayed for nearly 18 years for her son to choose Christianity.  Her life and her relationship with her son, Augustine, can be found in his autobiography.

So what is the Good News for us today?  As Joan Chittister once remarked, “The good news is that great women have always walked the earth; that their footprints are still clear; that their presence has changed things both in the church and society.” And in another place it is written: “The purpose of life is not to be happy; the purpose of life is to matter, to have it make a difference that you lived at all.”

And so Monica – your life made a difference in the faith of your husband, children and especially in the life of Augustine.  He mattered to you – and your life has made a difference in the lives of many people throughout the centuries. 

So let us pray the words of Thessalonians in honor of Monica – “The news of your faith in God is celebrated everywhere.  We call to mind how you proved your faith by your actions, laboring in love, and showing constancy of hope in Jesus Christ. We thank you, Monica – Widow, Saint and Golden Eagle!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you . . .”(Coleman Barks)

Once upon a time there was a town that was built just beyond the bend of a large river. One day some of the children from the town were playing beside the river when they noticed three bodies floating in the water. They ran for help and the townsfolk quickly pulled the bodies out of the river. One body was dead so they buried it. One was alive, but quite ill, so they put that person into the hospital. The third turned out to be a healthy child, who they then placed with a family who cared for it and who took it to school.  

From that day on, every day a number of bodies came floating down the river and, every day, the good people of the town would pull them out and tend to them – taking the sick to hospitals, placing the children with families, and burying those who were dead. 

This went on for years; each day brought its quota of bodies, and the townsfolk not only came to expect a number of bodies each day but also worked at developing more elaborate systems for picking them out of the river and tending to them. Some of the townsfolk became quite generous in tending to these bodies and a few extraordinary ones even gave up their jobs so that they could tend to this concern full-time.  And the town itself felt a certain healthy pride in its generosity. However, during all these years and despite all the generosity and effort, nobody thought to go up the river, beyond the bend that hid from their sight what was above them, and find out why, daily, those bodies came floating down the river. 

This story is often used to have the listener reflect on the difference between charity and justice. Author and storyteller, Megan McKenna, would frequently pose the following questions after she told a story: 1) How does the story make you feel? 2) What is disturbing for you in the story?   3) What is true in that story?  I’m sure you are pondering these questions right now! That’s a good thing.

I share this story of The River because this past week I had the opportunity to be in Dubuque, Iowa along the bluffs of the Mississippi River. I often would watch the river traffic which was mostly recreational. On my final day, I observed two barges heading south to the Mississippi Delta. Barges are approximately 200 ft. in length and move 170,000,000 tons of freight each year.  Recently, over 100 barges were literally stuck in the mud due to low water levels at the Delta.

So I thought of this story and pose a few questions for reflection:
• Like the people in the story, when do we become comfortable with certain ways of doing things because we have always done them this way? . . .Or satisfied with the familiar, the routine, the certainty in life, or the “same old” approaches to problems? . . . Or find that we are unbending in perspectives or attitudes or behaviors?  
• Do we ever lose sight of the bigger picture? 
• Are we ever called to consider looking at the justice of certain systems and making a personal choice to change an attitude or behavior in our lives that would affect our community, or country, or planet for the better?

As I thought about the drought from our summer that has affected the Mississippi River (it’s down 14 feet) and the problems now facing the businesses, the farmers, and all who depend on this river – (it is the largest river system in North America and the most fertile agricultural region of the country) I ask - how are we much like the Mississippi River?
• When in our lives have we experienced drought? Or floods? (I’m referring to our inner selves).
• When in our lives have we experienced the “muddy waters” of loss, sadness, grief, depression, challenge, and felt “stuck”?

• Who was there to listen to our souls? Our story? Our joyful and sorrowful mysteries?
• Have we ever sensed the need to courageously venture beyond the bend that hid from our sight to seek new perspectives, solutions, or directions that nudged our creative and innovation center? 
• Do we just “go with the flow” or do we make choices out of our center where the Holy One dwells?

Let us practice this week being aware of the “rivers and droughts” in our lives.  Let us choose daily to do things from our soul.

Barge on Mississippi River

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Circle of Sagacity!

Proverbs 9:1-6 Lady Wisdom Gives a Dinner Party (Translation from The Message)
Lady Wisdom has built and furnished her home; it’s supported by seven hewn timbers. The banquet meal is ready to be served: lamb roasted, wine poured out, table set with silver and flowers. Having dismissed her serving maids, Lady Wisdom goes to town, stands in a prominent place, and invites everyone within sound of her voice. “Are you confused about life, don’t know what’s going on? Come with me, oh come, have dinner with me! I’ve prepared a wonderful spread – fresh-baked bread, roast lamb, carefully selected wines.  Leave your impoverished confusion and live! Walk up the street to a life with meaning.” (First Reading from Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

“The most extended biblical instance of female imagery of the Spirit occurs in the wisdom literature where the Spirit’s functions are depicted as acts of Woman Wisdom . . . The biblical portrait of Wisdom is consistently female, casting her as sister, mother, female beloved, chef and hostess, teacher, preacher, maker of justice and host of other women’s roles.” (Elizabeth A. Johnson)

In our reading, Wisdom is personified as a gracious and wise woman who is a “hostess with the mostest.”  She has built a house, prepared a feast, and invites guests to come and enjoy the party. She even invites them to walk with her up the street, which will in turn give meaning and purpose to their lives.  All are welcome at her dinner party!  Besides, is it not at the kitchen table, the corner table in the pub, the table at the anniversary, wedding or funeral, that the stories, memories, and wise insights are shared between and among one another? 

In the history of Christianity, a number of wisdom women have left their mark upon us – their stories, their songs, and prayers for all generations, so as to invite us to the “wisdom table” to eat our fill of new knowledge, understanding, compassion, and insight about the presence of Holy Mystery – the God Who Is – and to have us continue to seek a life of meaning, and to give it away in service for the least, the last, and the lost!

Over this past month, there has been the preparation for the LCWR gathering.  The news media has filled our TVs and “iScreens” with stories and pictures that made me want to shout TMI!  But the movement to the gathering, much like Lady Wisdom in Proverbs, was one of gentle walking through the streets with a circle of sagacious sisters who once again claimed their truth, their mission, their purpose. They have been the bread of generosity and the wine of authenticity – feeding all who hunger- putting the needs of others before their own - truly women of integrity, women of prophetic voice, and women of deep contemplation.

So let us stand together and be grateful for the grace of Wisdom in our lives, as we pray:
“Holy Wisdom and Creative Mystery - Awaken and attune to Wisdom’s Voice ever with you in the heart-womb; wise are those who hear, who surrender to Her Call.  A question arises: What can I do to render back to Love gratitude beyond words? An answer is heard: Become the bread of Life, kneaded thoroughly until pliant in the Hands of Love: Nourishment for hungry souls waiting to be filled, so that they, too, become the bread of Life for others. . .  And may you ever be blessed by Beauty: the song of Songs within your heart.” (from Lumen Christi – Holy Wisdom by Nan C. Merrill)

The Wisdom of Juliana of Norwich

 The Wisdom of Hildegard of Bingen

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mary's Uplifting! August 15th Feast . . .

The Wise Woman’s Stone
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream.The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him.She did so without any hesitation.

The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a full lifetime. But,a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said. “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Today, we gather to celebrate, to remember and to affirm our belief once again in the passing of Mary into God’s embrace body and soul. We gather to celebrate all that she had within her that enabled her to trust in Mystery, to walk in the holy darkness of questions; to ponder her experiences in the light of faith; to hope in God’s love amidst her joys and sorrows; losses and findings and the deaths and risings she encountered; and to live with courage as she responded moment by moment to the challenges and surprises that resulted from her “Yes, let it be done”.

The Assumption of Mary into heaven is one of the oldest feasts of Mary.  It is easily traced back to at least the 5th century and some historians say it was even celebrated as far back at the 3rd century. The event is not found in Scripture, and there were no witnesses – the feast came before its definition – it came from the belief of the people, the heart of the people. It is written, that in 1946 Pope Pius XII sent an encyclical letter to all the bishops of the world and asked them to confer with their people about the mystery of the Assumption becoming a dogma of the Church. On the strength of their response and the testimony of history he declared the Assumption dogma in 1950. Isn’t this a great model for our Church!

Most of what we know about Mary in Scripture comes from the Gospels of Luke and John. As a young Jewish girl, she grew into womanhood with an extraordinary faith. Oftentimes she did not understand what God was asking of her, but she believed with all her heart that it could and would be done, and she acted accordingly. It was enough for her to be called to move within holy mystery and gently hold the tension of all that was being asked of her. She did not seek answers, clarity or quick results - we are told that “she held all these things in her heart” and treasured them until their meaning was revealed a grace at a time!

In our Gospel today, Mary, a young pregnant woman went with haste about 70 miles south to the hills of Judea to visit her older pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, who has lived the past six months, no longer barren, with a quieted husband. Mary remains there for at least 3 months to be of help and to share the joy of expectation that most mothers-to-be experience. They both embody God’s mercy while sharing their fears, finding courage through one another, expressing their hopes, and learning practical wisdom of body, mind, and spirit together. The mystery of the Incarnation is set in a familiar context – the friendship between pregnant women who await the birth of their children. Luke summarizes for us the deep relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and is the first person to recognize Mary’s child, Jesus, as the long-awaited one.

Elizabeth’s loud cry is translated with the same words used to describe the loud cry of the Hebrews before the Ark of God’s presence when it was brought into their midst.  Mary is now the living Ark of God and the promise to God’s people has begun to be fulfilled in her.

In response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary proclaims a song of liberation for all people; one in which ideals are reversed and the household of God will be peopled by the poor, the hungry, and the ones with no power. Hers is the first proclamation of justice in the New Testament.  Her song is revolutionary – she speaks of a political revolution in which God has shown strength and brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.  She speaks of a social revolution in which God has filled the hungry with good things; and she sings of an economic revolution, in which God has sent the rich away empty, and the poor are filled with good things.

Her message is so subversive that even in our time, it is written that “for a period during the 1980’s the Government of a Latin American country banned its public recitation.”  Her song of courage invites us to identify with the poor, the oppressed and marginalized of our day, to be in solidarity with them, and to dare to engage with God in the liberation of these people, believing, like Mary that this can be done so that we too can build up the kingdom with love and justice.

These women, who stand pregnant in an embrace of joy, laughter, and praise for God’s marvels, will give birth to children of the Magnificat. These children in turn will one day stand together and sing a new song that would be revolutionary as well. John will sing his song of Repentance and ring out the Good News that the Messiah is here. Jesus, will sing his song of Beatitude that will break through to the hearts of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized and beyond the strict laws of purification.

No doubt that after Jesus' Ascension, Mary grew in age, grace and wisdom as well.  She, too, was filled with the Pentecost fire of the Spirit and would have received the same energy and power of the Spirit as the disciples. Legend puts her in Ephesus residing at the home of John the apostle. However, some scholars tend to think that Mary stayed in Jerusalem, the birthplace of the first Christian community. If so, then Mary’s mission was to reach out and speak to Jewish women and to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.  Her ministry was to build up the young community and make known this new faith to other women believers.

So how can this feast speak to us?  How can it encourage us on our journey?  How can it become part of our story?  Mary not only witnesses to the action of God in her life, but she is a woman who was fully human, gifted with grace, truth, mercy, compassion, faithfulness, on fire with the Spirit, generous in ministry, and centered in God.  These are a few of the treasures that she had deep within her that enabled her to be woman, wife, mother, sister, cousin, friend, disciple, prophet, and witness. 

Finally, we ask boldly for all that she had within her that enabled her to be authentic, faithful, and trusting, so that we, too, will sing our prophetic song of faithfulness and proclaim that “God has done great things for us!”

I close with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley,
who reflects on this Gospel . . . .

“Affirmed, loved and comforted,
You stayed with Elizabeth,
Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
 of the older woman,
deepening in your own resolve
to nurture, hold
and mother God.

Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.
Your Yes dares us
to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
and to expect the breaking through of mystery
onto our bleak and level horizons.

The words you heard, Mary,
we will forever remember.
We will not be afraid,
for the life that you birthed
will not be extinguished
in our souls.

And the journey
you took in faithfulness,
we also take.
We the people, women and men, the midwives,
and the healers will also,
like you Mary, our soul sister,
Give birth to God
for our world.”

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scarcity and Abundance!

One Yom Kippur, the Rabbi was eavesdropping on the prayers of his followers when he was captivated by the supplication of a farmer. “Lord God, Master of the Universe, I realize that I have not been faithful this past year. There have been times when I did not unyoke the oxen before sunset marked the beginning of Sabbath, and there have been times when I have said unkind words to my wife . . . and I will admit it, there have been times when I was harsh in correcting my children. But You, Lord God, Master of the Universe, have not been so faithful either. There was that frost right after I planted the potatoes, so I had to start over again. And there was not enough rain for the season, so the spuds are a bit small. So, I tell you what.  If you forgive me, I will forgive you.         (Elie Weisel, Sages and Dreamers)

This past week I have experienced both scarcity and abundance. Scarcity, meaning a shortage; an inadequate amount, less than the needed amount, not enough to satisfy everyone  The scarcity I witnessed was as I traveled from east to west across our State. Sections of our State and nearby States have received less than 3 inches of rain since June. Much like the story, there simply has not been enough rain to cause the crops to grow through their natural stages. Terms such as exceptional, extreme, severe, and moderate are used to describe the drought that has gripped this part of the US. Crops have been damaged, pastures have stopped growing, rivers and lakes are below normal with large amounts of algae and dead fish, and there is the emergence of hidden sandbars, which have minimized water traffic. Furthermore, along with these conditions, there have been elevated fire dangers resulting in a number of barn fires. Also there has been the death of recently planted young trees. I observed a large field of small evergreens that were “French Fried” – all waiting their demise by being turned over by the plow of the farmer’s tractor. So what do we learn from this “new normal”?  What are we to ponder about our environment?  How are we assessing our needs and wants?  How does scarcity become our teacher at times like this?  What can we do as individuals, communities, or global peoples when scarcity becomes a reality for us with our infinite “not enough” demons cajoling our wants and desires? Certainly, this is not about forgiving God – but maybe inviting God into our ponderings and plannings as to how we can be wise stewards of this earth where we all share in the “sorrowful and joyful mysteries” of our planet, and are called forth to carry on the Creator’s gardening skills!! 

Secondly, the abundance I experienced was at the FranciscanSpirituality Center in LaCrosse, WI. Abundance - meaning: a fullness of spirit that overflows!  This past week, 24 people participated in a directed retreat practicum, where they honed their skills of deep listening while companioning a person on a modified silent directed retreat experience.  Here there was the profound sensing of God’s presence as directors “walked” with their directees. Mentors were available to listen at the level of the sacred with these soon-to- be-full-fledged spiritual directors. Both small group and individual conferences were designed for “gazing upon, considering, and contemplating” the movement of the Spirit which truly was overflowing within the halls and walls of this Center.   

When I took leave, I felt filled-up and overflowing much like the “12 baskets of leftovers” in Luke 9: 17. Or maybe much like the 30 gallon water jars in John 2:8-9 that had their contents transformed from water to rich wine. I truly experienced the Holy transforming the waters of anxiety in the participants into the rich wine of a sacred calm and quiet confidence.  I am abundantly blessed!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Turning Points!

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James and John and led them up a high mountain.  His appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes.  His clothes shimmered, glistening white, whiter than any bleach could make them.  Elijah, along with Moses, came into view, in deep conversation with Jesus.  Peter interrupted, “Rabbi, this is a great moment.  Let’s build three shelters – one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah.” He blurted this out without thinking, stunned as they all were by what they were seeing.  Just then a light-radiant cloud enveloped them, and from deep in the cloud, a voice: “This is my Son, marked by my love.  Listen to him.” The next minute the disciples were looking around, rubbing their eyes, seeing nothing but Jesus, only Jesus.  Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy.  “Don’t tell a soul what you saw.  After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you’re free to talk.” (Mark 9:2-10)

August 6 marks the Feast of the Transfiguration – a major turning point in the life of Jesus and his trusty companions.  Smack dab in the middle of Mark’s Gospel, he presents this event which follows upon Jesus’ first foretelling of his passion and death.  What a story of high drama and super special effects!  Former prophets showing up in hologram form, a talking cloud, and Jesus’ clothes turning dazzling white.  However, this turning point is a result of an instant “Feasibility Study.”  God is saying: “Look folks, from here on in it's all downhill.  My Beloved will be rejected, suffer, and die at the hands of the elders and chief priests.”  This is certainly not good news for the disciples.  Sorry, no chance of setting up house at the top of this mountain.  “Moses and Elijah appear to Jesus to encourage him to fulfill this mission of nonviolence, and he turns into bright white light, the biblical sign of martyrdom, and becomes the risen Christ.” His future is now foretold . . . believe it or not.

A turning point is described as an event marking a unique or important historical change of course, or the point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment. This is a decisive moment in the life of Jesus – his support group is going to need to be his “backup singers” and not question why all will unfold in a most terrifying manner. For this moment truly calls for “deep listening” and no one will be the same after this mountain top moment. Turning points do that to all of us.  How many turning points can we name in our lives?  A birth of a child, a death of a child, the loss of a dream-job, or the acquiring of a dream-job, an experience of rejection, a sudden health crisis, financial crisis, an uprising in which a power system is toppled, or a series of natural disasters in which homes, resources, and the lives of many people are destroyed, or a proposal of marriage, or a decision to enter a religious lifestyle!!

So our practice for the week is to ponder the turning points in our own lives. Then I invite you to journal about that one significant event for you and reflect and respond to the questions: What?, When?, Where?, Who? And write out your significant scenario. After that writing, read it aloud, and then list any learnings you took away from that turning point. Then read the entry again, along with your list of learnings, and pray to name the new wisdoms that you hold. 

For example.  When I was just about 8, I almost drowned. See my past posting of April 12, 2012.  I can say that one of my learnings in that turning point is that it is best to know how to swim when you’re going to be in deep water. But a wisdom that I now hold is that when life seems overwhelming, or I feel like I’m “drowning” in tasks or expectations, then it is best that I just “turn over and float.”  That is, I need to take time for quieting, stillness, and contemplation to do deep listening of the challenge and gift that God is offering me.  This then becomes a turning point on my journey of my own transfiguration of love, faith, joy, forgiveness, and hope.

Turning Points
Taking us
Where we would not choose to go
We pass a point
We will never pass again.
Turning points interrupt us . . .
There must be some mistake!
Looking back we see them
For what they are:
Bittersweet raw reality
Breakthrough to beatitude
Bedrock that gives us courage
To give ourselves away.
The less we struggle with turning points
The greater the strength
To return and turn again
(Author unknown)