Monday, December 23, 2013

Adventing Christ

Part of the blessing of being in Chicago is the opportunity to be with wonderful sisters from throughout the country. Every few weeks a different presenter joins us for a specific topic, be it charism, congregational history, Ignatian spirituality, or any number of other things.  These classes are more like workshops than formal presentations; they encourage reflection and bring one's life to bear on the subject matter. 

In early December, we were blessed to be led by Kathy Sherman, CSJ and Pat Bergen, CSJ through a day of reflection on Advent and new cosmology.  The result was a day filled with song and sharing.  As I reflected through the day on the topic of Adventing Christ- transformation in my own life and a deep experience of silence/ stillness rose within me. The result is the poem that follows. May it speak to the work of Advent in each of us- the anticipation within and the becoming that is constantly drawing us forth to a world filled with Emmanuel. 

Peace and Advent blessings to you all.

In the the becoming is everything.

They took the Light and hung it upon a tree.
In the becoming, in the becoming is everything

As I waited in the stillness
of that house it began
through the slats of the wooden walls
and rising through the floor boards
transformation oozed forth.

It was not quick
it gave moment for pause
for panic if you so desired.
You could see it coming
You could choose to stop it.

Instead I feel my hands reach
I run my fingers through it
It sticks.
The tacky touch of what transforms.
What binds us together.

It surrounds the building I am in
it must
to enter as it does

Did I build this hideaway
or was it built for me?
No matter,
It is here that transformation seeps in.

It is sticky like glue
It coats me and
makes me take notice

In the becoming is everything.
    Christ is in who and how I am becoming
He binds me up; we run together
    His being and mine.

That cold chapel in Plainsboro.
Its choir stalls and pitched ceiling.
My belly on the hard stone floor
I look up.

I can not remember what I saw
but I remember how I felt.
The Stillness
The silence
The union.

We muttered aloud
that we wished we could stay there

My soul seized.
Caught by the very act of being.
This One I knew, I knew knew me
and in that knowing new love.
Ever ancient, ever new

Perhaps it's in that moment
I knew I'd never be the same

That I knew that I'd never leave that place
Even though my feet traveled down
the long empty hallways
I was filled.

With something unknown
and yet known
Trusting the mystery
Knowing I was sticking to it, but never stuck.

Transformation doesn't allow for stuck.
It is motion
in the becoming.
It infiltrates, pervades
and before caution can rise
you find yourself captured-coated-changed.

You have become.
You are becoming.
And that, that is everything.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wanderings Beyond the Blog

I am happy to report that I am back in Philadelphia for a little Christmas break after my first four months at the Federation Novitiate Program of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in Chicago.  The next few weeks will be filled with time to catch up with friends, family, and community before I journey back to the Windy City. In the meantime, I hope that I'll be able to post some pieces that have been ruminating in me over the last few months, but for now I wanted to clue you all into two pieces that I've written in other places:

1) The Beauty of the Human Spirit at LiveQuestions...  LQ is a project of a few friends of mine here in Philadelphia (and beyond) that looks at key questions around the topics of vocation, community, solidarity, and beauty. It's a wonderful project and I'm excited to be able to offer what I can to it.  This post features my own photographs and reflections from my time in the Philippines and what the Filipino people taught me over five years ago as a college student doing service/immersion work and continue to teach me now in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  The human spirit is a beautiful thing and it is my hope that this musing speaks to a beauty inherent in each of us and our humanity.

2) 'A Faith that Could Be Our Own' for Commonweal Magazine... This is my response to Commonweal's series on raising kids Catholic- the how and why (or why not) of passing on the faith to the next generation.  The truth is I speak from my own experience and upbringing; passing on the faith is a process steeped more in mystery and grace than standard practice and easy answers- the best we can do, not only parents but all people of faith, is live a life that reeks of faith- real, live faith, not beyond questions or doubts, but full of life and the challenge of living one's beliefs and truth authentically.

OK all, that's it for now and for my random wanderings... happy reading & blessed Advent!