Saturday, January 17, 2015

Discernment: Loud Protests! Who? Me?

Today’s Gospel presents the call of Levi to follow Jesus. Levi is a tax collector, a person who cheated the people from whom he collected taxes. Levi, an apostle? What is Jesus thinking?  As you hear the call to follow Jesus as a woman religious (men as priests or a members of a religious community), you might say: “Me. No way. I’m too wild! I like partying, nice clothes. I want to make a lot of money. A Nun (a cloistered religious)/a sister (non-cloistered)?  You’ve got to be kidding, Lord.”  Others may respond to the thought of you becoming a nun/woman religious (sister): “You? Are you kidding? You are not the type!”  “You won’t last one week!  Shock sets in!

Perhaps when we protest the loudest, we might be on to something!  Jesus, after all, called tax collectors, persons who later would deny Him and flee the cross, argue about who would be the greatest in His Kingdom, that is, vie for positions of power and control;  try to dismiss children from approaching him, want to use violence against those who did not receive Him. Jesus calls sinners!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Discernment: Recognizing the Voice of God

In Prayer: Our Deepest Longing,  Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, looks at the world in which we live,  a world that bombards us with  noise. Every moment someone/something is calling out to us. Some of those voices are soothing, comforting, challenging, threatening. Some voices calls us into bitterness, hatred; they are hostile voices. Some voices challenge us toward forgiving others and ourselves, loving and caring for others and ourselves. Some voices lead us to humor while others are urgent, heavy, and, yes, even scary.

We know that God is the author of all good and that His voice is not in evil or in the non-good. God's voice is inside of everything that is good and so is in things that are of religion and not of religion.

How do we recognize the voice of God? By training ourselves to hear God's voice, just as a shepherd trains his/her sheep to recognize his/her voice apart from the  voices of other shepherds/shepherdesses.

God's voice, the Scriptures tell us, is recognized in:

  • Whispers
  • Thunder
  • Storms
  • The invitation to do good, to develop the best versions of ourselves, to forgive ourselves and others
  • That which stretches us, challenges us
  • That which ultimately comforts us and brings us to inner peace
  • The poor, the oppressed, the marginalized of this world
  • The artist and the scholars of this world
  • That which invites us to transcend our fears
  • That which inspires us to a holy reverence, a holy fear
  • Suffering united to the sufferings of Christ
  • Genuine enjoyment
  • Gratitude
  • Paradox
  • Mystery
 "The voice of the voice of someone who knows us intimately and calls us by name."

Source: Rolheiser, Ronald, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing, Franciscan Media, 28 W. Liberty St., Cincinnati, OH 45202,  p. 15-17.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Religious Life: Growing into the charism, a lifelong process


     Sr. M. Stefania Sangalli
Region Italy

My vocation arose in Assisi, a place marked by Franciscan Spirituality which connected my experience with St. Francis. Growing in the charism of the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother, I
experienced some important aspects of Franciscan Spirituality.
The constant reference to conversion by St. Francis, the  journey to be humble of heart and to ever more welcome God’s love arises from a special relationship with the Father. My journey to truth is guided by listening to the Word and receiving the Sacraments, daily Eucharist and Adoration. In this my first year of temporary profession I am ministering to the youth in St. Maria degli Angeli. One of the most important aspects that I have experienced in this ministry is the loving and simple welcome, sharing of meals and prayer. The youth are willing and helpful; doing whatever is needed in the house. The simple lifestyle and the Providential support of
friends and benefactors is concrete testimony for the youth. Living in this place full of Franciscan Spirituality allows me to live it more intensely, for example, by participating in important celebrations and being a guide for youth when they visit the holy shrines.