Thursday, July 31, 2014

Discernment: Following God's Lead

GOD’S DIRECTION: SIMPLE, STRAIGHT-FORWARD, HUMBLE MESSAGES: In the first reading of today’s liturgy (Jer 18: 1-6), God speaks to Jeremiah very plainly, simply and humbly, saying to him: “Rise up, be off to the potter’s house; there I will give you my message.” Jeremiah does not hesitate to do what the Lord asks of him.  Do we miss God’s will because it sounds too mundane, too ordinary, too simple. “That can’t be God speaking to me.” And we go along our merry path paying no attention. What if, like Jeremiah, we followed through on the most mundane of messages: Go there! Do that! Call! Send an email! Check out that religious community! Attend that Come and See. Arrange to spend a few days with Sister-so-and-so for discernment.  Would we, like Jeremiah, hear the message we have been waiting for and which is crucial if we are going to let God lead us?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014



In a few weeks we, the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, will be celebrating many of our Sisters'  jubilees, similar to anniversaries when we speak of married men and women. In religious life, we call “anniversaries” “jubilees.”  This year the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother will be celebrating the jubilees of 20 Sisters, one of whom is celebrating 75 years of religious life, ten 60 years, eight 50 years and one 25 years.  What, you may ask, is it like to have given one’s life to the Lord for 75, 60, 50, and 25 years and having no children, no grandchildren  and having given up the joys of being a devoted wife, experiencing the gift of having a devoted husband and adoring children and grandchildren?  This is a woman religious speaking, of course.  Some husbands, children and grandchildren are not adoring or devoted while others are. Married life is not a bed of roses; it too comes with thorns!
So what are we celebrating? God’s faithfulness. The many times we have come through the turbulence of life and experienced Jesus sleeping in our boats and, at our invitation, calmed the churning waters. We are celebrating the times that Jesus walked through the “wheat fields” of our lives and quenched our hunger with “grains of wheat,” that others felt we had no right to glean.  We are celebrating the many times we sat at Jesus’ feet, as did Mary Magdala, listening to His every word, enjoying an intimacy that no one can take from us, and, “yes” being at the foot of the cross of other’s people’s lives, as Mary stood beneath the cross of Jesus. We have done so when we sat at the bedside of the sick and dying, caressed the handicapped, mentally or physically challenged, or bullied child in our schools; welcomed the drug or alcohol-addicted individual in our treatment centers.  We are celebrating the times we went to "empty tombs," looking for Jesus and when "the gardeners" of life whispered our names and we recognized Jesus and "yes," were sent out by Him to proclaim the resurrection.   We are celebrating the many children God sent us as gifts of His love, examples of courage, pillars of hope. The 75, 60, 50, and 25 years of consecrated life have been an awesome experience of a faithful, loving, caring, forgiving God, to whom we have given everything of ourselves and our lives. The joy of that giving has no bounds here or in eternity. That is why "jubilee" celebrations are so, so special.