This morning's topic was "Listening to the heartbeat of God and Ourselves". As I mentioned yesterday; we are tapping into the wisdom to learn into the future. We began with a phenomenal PowerPoint presentation with many images of creation. This centered us on our call, religious life, and God's presence. It was mission focused, but not in the sense that we always talk about mission in our congregations. One quote (paraphrased) that made an impact on me was,
Mission is God's initiative, God's activity. The subject of mission is God. Mission is the primary work of God's spirit renewing the face of the earth.
This led us into an introduction of the contemplative discussion process we are using. This process asks us to open ourselves to listen and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We take time to write out our responses and our initial sharing is reading them--with no dialogue. We held each persons reflection and then prepared ourselves to focus on the next person in our circle.
I was a bit skeptical of this process (not being so used to this contemplative stuff and always embracing an opportunity for vulnerability); however, it is a really beautiful process. I appreciate the structure, time and space for reflecting. The initial sharing is thoughtful and really engages us as listeners. We are present to each person and what they are speaking to us. After every one has shared we have the opportunity to raise questions or comment on things that struck us.
I took my 35 mins of space for my reflection; went for a walk with Sr. Erin (an OSU from Cleveland) and then spent the last 20 mins writing. The question we are using is: As women religious, here and now, who must we be, what must we do? The response was from our own experiences.
Ok...usually with these things...I'll make a list, or let things slush around a bit. I sat down, was quiet for a few minutes...and WOOOOSH....the sloshing was spewing onto my paper! It was really powerful! Took me off guard and by surprise totally! This was my reflection:
"Women of God, you are called to live into your "YES". Your "YES" which comes from a place of energy, joy, passion and deep commitment. Your "YES" which will keep you learning.
Your "YES" which will help you to trust the wisdom--wisdom you have and wisdom you will encounter.Live into your "YES". Your "YES voice" will speak your truth; it will speak your heart; it will keep you centered in God. YES, God calls you to this "YES".
God also calls you to unite your YES with others--to listen to their "YES". God asks you to listen for those who are unable to speak their YES. The unspoken YES--you are called to hear it and walk with those whose YES may be buried. Walk with them--hear their voice.
Live into your YES, Learn from the Yes's which surround you, spoken and silent. If YES is uncomfortable or challenging--GOOD. Underneath any YES, is God-embracing you with the Yes of the Divine."
During the sharing....people's reflections and thoughts to answer this question were so moving. There were some similar elements and themes: risk taking, joy, passion, openness, movement, authenticity...just to name a few. Profound and prayerful...very energizing.
I was thinking about my reflection of YESness...there is a Sister who was one of our congregational leaders, Sr. Lauretta. I never met her; she died at a young age. I hear stories about her and read a few things about her...and just felt this connection. It's strange. She inspires me in some ways through these stories. One of her personal quotations is, "Yes to God, all my life." Wow...I guess the stories about her touch me in a deeper way in light of the experiences here. Yes to God...all my life...listen for the Yes's....Thanks Lauretta!
This afternoon we are listening to the heartbeat of our Brothers and Sisters in Latin America! Will update soon....
Peace and all good.....YESSSSS!