I am sitting on the cusp of a rarity in life in the novitiate... a day off.
You wouldn't think I'd need it from a run down of my weekly schedule as a novice but something of the intensity of this time escapes a simple calendar view. Monday I spend time at our congregation's retirement home, visiting with sisters, starting conversations, engaging women I have never met, and soaking up their wisdom. Tuesday and Wednesday I have classes- Spirituality of Religious Life, Ecclesiology, and Congregational History. They are wonderful and extremely personal. Just think myself, my director, and my teacher. Really, these classes are one-on-one. You do ALL the readings, engage ALL the topics, and try to integrate the material. Thursday, I spend the day in two classes (Human Integration & Discernment) with 11 other novices, men and women, from various congregations around Philadelphia. Friday, I pray. Yeah that's right all day. Throw in a smattering of events at our Motherhouse, Mass each day, morning and evening prayer, and workshops on the weekend. And you have my life...and... I love it... and... it is one of the most exhaustive things I've ever done.
Just imagine, nothing I do is graded. Nothing is for a purpose other than growing in relationship with God and with this community I am now a part of... Nothing.
And that to me is everything.
Yet, it is draining. Everything is connected. The things that I learn make their way into my prayer. My prayer makes its way into every aspect of my life... even the aspects I have consciously and unconsciously tried to keep it out of.
As I said in my last post (way back when), even time is sacred. God works in time and I can surely report that God is working in me.This Jesus fellow that I pledged to follow, who I've loved for so long, he's turning out to be a completely different person/ God than I thought I knew and yet he is completely familiar, taking up residence in my soul, a place he's been for so long... only now he seems to be stretching it out, making more room. I guess that's where the everything comes in.
After jumping around last week to accommodate my prayer day (Friday), which was shifted by my Liturgy class, welcoming a barrage of handy men to our convent/house to fix numerous problems over the last month, and finally picking up and moving for three days to accommodate Hurricane Sandy, it is time for a day off.
And I must admit... I don't know exactly what that means.
Because, we all know that on a day off, time doesn't stop. And if time doesn't stop, well then, the Sacred surely doesn't (you know with that whole "before all time, in all time, beyond all time" thing it's got going). And if the Sacred doesn't stop, it's going to be present to me. And I'm being conditioned to recognize the Divine and commune with it and grow in relationship and let myself be deepened. And that being the case, what I used to define "having a day off" as certainly can't, won't, and shouldn't be the same.
Instead, tomorrow will be a day off of the normal schedule. It will not be out of the ordinary. In fact it will be filled with what I'm coming to realize each of our days are filled with: the Divine just waiting for us to take a moment to look up from our schedule, to lock eyes with the One who loves us, and to witness the altogether standard grace that we make a rarity: God in our midst, woven deep in our lives, no matter if it's a off day or not. And that, my friends, that's extraordinary.