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A beautiful Holy Thursday reflection

and a prayer:

Holy Thursday is all about gathering together in love. Jesus gathered with his disciples to celebrate the traditional Jewish Passover meal. During the meal He
broke bread and passed it to his friends. Then they shared a cup of
wine. Jesus promised that he would be there with them in the bread and
wine each time they gathered to share this special meal. Then He got on
His hands and knees and washed the feet of the disciples. This was a
direct example of how they were to serve each other, an example of what
we are called to do as Christians.

Today we will remember the three days the
church calls the Triduum, that is Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and
Easter. Our words and actions will be those of Jesus, and should serve
to remind us of how important they are in our lives.

Holy God be with us today as we gather as a family to
remember your gift to us, the gift of your Son Jesus. He gave of
himself, showing us how to love with every action of his life. May
today be a reminder to us of Jesus’ commandment to us to love one
another as He has loved us.

from: CTN

In a little over a week, I’m going to be responding to this question. I’m one of three "responders" at a talk given by Michael Crosby, OFM, Cap. here in San Francisco.  I’ve been listening to a talk Michael gave and reading his book of the same name/title.  Here is a flyer to the event:

Download the_heart_of_the_prophet_flyer.pdf

Perhaps you would like to help me out?  Perhaps you could respond to the question from your own perspective?  Can religious life be prophetic?  I’m interested in others’ perspectives.  I’ve been asked to be a responder as a "newer" member of religious life (Catholic vowed life, specifically), and as a "younger" vocation.

Maybe you are a member of revgalblogpals and would like to offer your two cents… maybe a younger religious yourself, maybe thinking of becoming one….  whoever you are, feel free to leave a quote, comment, concern, thought, etc. in the comments. I’d like to hear your initial thoughts on the question.  I’ll be happy to post my "response" after it’s completed, if you’re interested.  Okay, I’ll probably post it even if you are not interested…. tee hee.  Thanks for any feedback. 

[some may need a disclaimer that this is not an invitation to flame me or religious sisters, friars, brothers, priests, etc… – It’s so sad that I have to put that disclaimer in here.]

Susan Rose suggested checking out dotcommonweal blog and the recent discussion sparked by a blogger’s comment that "liberal Catholicism" might be implicated in not generating as many vocations as "conservative Catholicism"  (The author was discussing particularly vocations to the the priesthood and religious life, though some interesting side-talk about vocations to married and single life are present as well in the comments.)
As my community has been hosting a potential candidate these past few days, it seemed likely I wouldn’t be able to keep my mouth shut.  So, I commented.  Here are my two cents (and some change) on the topic. 
These are the thoughts of a Catholic sister in a Dominican congregation, and only hers. They reflect experience with a multitude of Catholic young adults and many women’s religious communities.

It seems to me that much of this discussion assumes shared definitions of: liberal, conservative, traditional, progressive, etc. I am all of those things. Some would call me very traditional; some would call me a lefty-pinko-liberal. Both would be accurate to some degree. My religious vocation was nurtured in a Catholic Newman Center which was both liberal and traditional (our priests were Dominicans.) And I entered a rather liberal community which, relatively speaking, is more traditional than some and more liberal than others. What kind of vocation does that make me?

I’m struck by the assumption that larger numbers is somehow more valuable than smaller ones. Recently I had a discussion with a peer-age sister from a supposedly more traditional congregation of Dominican women who for years was delighted because their congregation was getting "lots of vocations." Mine, arguably was getting far fewer. In my congregation, however, retention from first profession to final has been 100 percent for nearly two decades. In hers, quite frankly, not so much.

Analyzing our time, sociologists might caution, is near to impossible. We likely won’t know for decades to come whether this was a fertile time for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

If you compare todays rates of entrance, say, in women’s religious communites, to those of the 40s, 50s, and early 60s (in the US): well one is likely to be discouraged. Compared, however to *most* other periods of history, the rates are fairly consistent. Like anything else, it follows a cycle (as a Catholic I understand this to be the Paschal mystery – and why should it be otherwise)?

And finally, it was/is the post VCII Church which called me back from agnosticism and which nourished my faith and vocation. That I never was given strong roots in a "more traditionalist" church does give me pause and a deep yearning for roots. It is this, in part, that led me to religious life. It is this that is fed by my "liberal" community.

Just some thoughts.

Love alone can unite living beings so as to complete and
fulfill them… for it alone joins them by what is deepest in
themselves. All we need is to imagine our ability to love developing
until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.

–Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

How is Lent about practicing love?  Lent is for me, among other things, about learning to love God and neighbor more and more.  Intentional practices, traditional practices, new practices – all can help one grow in relationship to God and to the person one has been created to become.  This year’s Lenten theme for me: Giving Up, Giving In, and Giving Over.

Giving Up

SugarEach year at Lent, I practice the giving up of sugar (real and artificial).  This year, as I’ve grown in understanding sugar-addiction, I continue this practice.  It’s not about the "giving up" in the traditionally practice way, however, (though that is a part of it,) it’s about a practice that helps me learn about myself and my relationship to a substance that I use, sometimes, to drown out my feelings. 

So, it’s about feeling.  Or about having them and recognizing that I am having them.  When I’m stifling them, I’m not present to the movement of the Spirit in the most helpful way.  And the first few days, the first week, of Lent is always a challenge because, even though every year I hope to be off sugar for good, it somehow has crept, sauntered, or like this year, barrelled back into my life and my bloodstream.  So, it’s a bit like withdrawal for me.  And my annual plunge to despair can be hard to take.  This year I am more aware of this potential than I was last year.  So, I’m hoping to be attentive to it in a new and perhaps more healthy way.

For me, happiness came from prayer to a kindly God, faith in
a kindly God, love for my fellow man, and doing the very best I could every day
of my life. I had looked for happiness in fast living, but it was not there. I
tried to find it in money, but it was not there, either. But when I placed
myself in tune with what I believe to be fundamental truths of life, when I
began to develop my limited ability, to rid my mind of all kinds of tangled
thoughts, and fill it with zeal and courage and love, when I gave myself a
chance by treating myself decently and sensibly I began to feel the
stimulating, warm glow of happiness, and life for me began to flow like a
stream between smooth banks. 

Andrew Young  (Scottish
schoolmaster & poet, wrote The Scottish Highland & Other Poems,
1876 )

Stay tuned for Giving In and Giving Over


AdsfsealA new Archbishop has been named for the Archdiocese of San Francisco.  Bishop George Niederauer of Salt Lake City, Utah will become the eighth ordinary of the Archdiocese (the first of whom was a Dominican – the same one who brought my community’s founder from France to found a religious community, not that I claim connection, mind you… but, well… um.)

It is not my place to judge, of course, but I’m heartened by the following quote I found online from our new Archbishop.

"There are dark sides to everything," he says, "and there is a dark
side to humor. It can be sarcastic, hurtful and angry. But it can also
be gentle. You can give things a sense of proportion and help keep
things in perspective if you can make a joke about it. One of the
devastating things you can do is take yourself too seriously."

then Bishop Niederauer to desertnews.

There will be those who are in favor of this new Archbish, and those who are opposed from the start (human beings seem to find it easier to see things in dualities).  But, I think we might want to let God be the judge and meanwhile to be open to this "newcomer" to our city.  In his own words,

"I think for us in this city to be bigoted toward newcomers, it’s a
failure of the heart. And imagination."

Let us use our hearts and imaginations to pray for and with our new Archbishop that he may be God’s child and advocate and our good ecclesial shepherd.  Amen.

Some Thoughts on Wombishness—Lorretta Ross-Gotta

The intensity and strain
that many of us bring to Christmas must suggest to some onlookers that, on the
whole, Christians do not seem to have gotten the point of it. Probably few of us have the faith or the
nerve to tamper with hallowed Christmas traditions on a larger scale or with
our other holiday celebrations. But a
small experiment might prove interesting. What if, instead of doing something, we were to be something
special? Be a womb. Be a dwelling for God. Be surprised. 



WillsWhat do these circles have to say about the will of God and ours?  Tom, at Disputations, discusses this, as he does all things, with beautiful, elegant, and, imho, simply truthful articulation.  Also, pretty dots.

First published in National Catholic Reporter, April 16, 1999, this article offers a view of the now Pope Benedict XVI …Interesting dualisms, potentialities, possibilities – I’m ever the optimist. 

Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born
in rural Bavaria on April 16, 1927. Perhaps it is fate that the day was
Holy Saturday and his parents were Joseph and Mary — eerie
foreshadowing for a child who would grow up to become a stark sign of
contradiction in the world’s largest Christian church.

Like so much else about Ratzinger, how far to press that biblical
parallel is contested. Some say his 18 years as prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church’s guardian of
orthodoxy, have been the intellectual salvation of Roman Catholicism in
a time of confusion and compromise.

Others believe Ratzinger will be remembered as the architect of John Paul’s internal Kulturkampf,
intimidating and punishing thinkers in order to restore a model of
church — clerical, dogmatic and rule-bound — many hoped had been
swept away by the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 assembly of
bishops that sought to renew Catholicism and open it to the world.
Ratzinger’s campaign bears comparison to the anti-modernist drive in
the early part of the century or Pius XII’s crackdown in the 1950s,
critics say, but is even more disheartening because it followed a
moment of such optimism and new life.

Read the rest here.

Benedict_xviAnd so it goes… New Pope.  May God bless his soul and the Church and all people.  May God have Mercy on us all and give us courage and peace in our time.  May Pope Benedict XVI be blessed and be holy and be a light for the nations.

cnn story, usccb site

Pope Benedict XV?  And what he had to say about St. Dominic

February 2020
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