Monday, November 19, 2012

Reflecting in the Light

Last Wednesday night I climbed off the hamster wheel I'd been on for the last few weeks (watch these hamsters to get a sense of what it's been like!), the result of a calendar clogged with evening and weekend meetings.  I went from class to office hours to class to a faculty meeting to....giving a reflection on the extravagance of being "unbusy" at a local retreat house.  Yes, I get the irony there.

One of my Jesuit friends says, "first we preach to ourselves" and as I wrote it, I heard in Martha's encounter with Jesus in Luke's gospel, not her whining, or Jesus' remonstrance, but her bone-deep longing for time with God, her almost overwhelming desire to be able to let go her grasp on all the stuff that bustles bossily through our days.  So I tried to preach to myself, and let God take care of the rest.

I felt as if I let go my grasp as I walked through door, from the brisk night air into the warmth and gentle light of the retreat house.  The sisters were warmly welcoming (tea!).  There was no bustling about, just enough direction to get us gathered and centering.

When I laid my notes atop the Gospel and spoke, I was suddenly and deeply aware of God undergirding my work.  God behind me, God before me, God underneath me. The stillness in the chapel was incredible, we sat there, women young and old, and listened to God, enfolded in the warmth and the light and the Word.  The service was short, less than an hour from start to finish, but just right for a midweek night.

I'm talking again on December 12th, but am looking forward to going to the one the week before where I'm not talking, but can just listen.
__________
Upcoming programs at the IHM Conference Center are listed here.  Recording of my talk, coming soon!  If you are in the area, stop in, it's an oasis of stillness on the Main Line...

Photo is of my back step, a place of prayer, set with a cup of tea and my breviary.

7 comments:

  1. I walked by there every day for a summer and a week and never ventured in--I wish I had. Prayers for peace for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll take some photos for you...and next time you come we can go for a visit!

      Delete
  2. Tis the time of year to crave quiet moments... Looking forward to Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a beautiful reflection. There is nothing more amazing to me than what you describe here: "I was suddenly and deeply aware of God undergirding my work." I had that incredible experience last Saturday as I spoke at a retreat for women who have been touched by the justice system. I had been concerned about what to say and how to say it but God spoke for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lynda, that sounds like a wonderful retreat to be giving, and I'm glad that the Spirit could speak with/through you in that moment!

      Delete
  4. One of the most important themes of the "new evangelization" is the idea that we begin by evangelizing ourselves. As you suggest, that may consist of nothing more than becoming aware of ourselves and of God, who is so intimately present to us whether or not we are conscious of it. Gregory Norbet wrote: "May our weary hearts find their calm in listening to the voice of One who stirs within, calling us to hear our lives as song and dance, a people born to rise an rise again."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "God is here, God is everywhere." Abba Doulas in one of my favorite stories of the desert fathers

      Delete