Sunday, October 4, 2009

True and Perfect Joy

On this wonderful Feast of St. Francis...I present you with:


True and Perfect Joy.
A "Fun Nun" modern and witty interpretation of the Parable told by
St. Francis to Brother Leo.

Brother Leo--"Hey, Francis...what's up with the joy thing?"

Francis (in the tone of any good teacher)--"Well, Leo...what do you think joy is?"

Leo (rolling his eyes)--"Seriously? Ok...joy...hmm....world peace, end of poverty, violence, hunger, war, extinction of peas, raisins, and the song kumbaya, Brother Al not snoring so loudly, living the Gospel fully, and Godiva chocolate."

(Francis considers Godiva chocolate as the essence of Joy, but thinks better of it and makes the sound of a game show buzzer...errrr)

Leo (rolling his eyes again)--"Oh great...parable time...I can see it in your face. Here we go..."

Francis (smiling broadly)--"You mentioned Brother Al's snoring and the extinction of peas."

Leo--"Only you..Mr. Dance in the streets would connect snoring and peas. Alright I'm listening."

Francis--"Let's say...you and Brother Al went together to Farmington, Saskatchewan to give a mission talk. You arrive at the Friary and Br. Ivan says when he opens the door, "Oh...geeze...they sent you two," and slams the door in your face.

Leo--"You do remember that I asked about joy right?"

Francis--"Oh yes I do...wait we're not even to the good part yet! So...you and Br. Al ring the bell and Br. Ivan says,

'Oh and your stubborn and don't take not-so-subliminal messages very
well either. I'll show you your room.'

He takes you out to the barn past the stables and shows you two blankets on the ground.

'Good luck with your mission talk, my Brothers, heh heh. Dinner is served at 7."

You look at Br. Al and think, "Last mission talk, we were in a hotel. I sure hope I brought ear plugs. His snoring is going to keep me up all night." And, for all intents and purposes, you can assume that it will.


Br. Leo--"JOY, Francis...JOY stay focused."

Francis--"Are you kidding me? Anyway...you go to the kitchen for dinner and discovered that it was the Regional Franciscan Iron Chef competition with secret ingredient--PEAS. Yep...that's right...6 courses all with peas."

Br. Leo--Gross...I thought the snoring would be the bad part of the story. Do I experience Joy when I muddle through the Pea-fest and come to bed to realize there is Godiva on my hay bale?"

Francis--"NO...this is the best part! True and perfect joy, my dear Brother is when you eat everything offered, offer to do the dishes for Br. Ivan, and sign up for 3 more days in the Friary under the same conditions, and finally...tell Br. Al how grateful you are that the two of you had this experience of deepened community and friendship."

Br. Leo--"Where's the joy?"

Francis--"It's in the accepting, patience, and seeing the bigger picture. You were sent to another fraternity to spread the Good News, Brother. Responding in gratitude and with sincerity...is where you'll experience true and perfect joy."

Br. Leo..."I'm sorry I asked."

Francis--"I'm not. Now, go reflect on that."

Br. Leo (rolls his eyes and walks back to his room)

Francis--"Praised be God...creator of all things good...help me see the true and perfect joy in the 'eye rolls"


(enthusiastic applause)

I'm kinda in a Brother Leo-ish space right now. I'm wanting a big box of Godiva chocolate and I'm being served a 6 course meal of peas. To top that off...I've got all these "Francis'" saying, "Oh Katy...it's True and Perfect Joy". EYE ROLL.

I'm Franciscan, we're all about the conversion, with a giant plateful of JOY to go with it. The conversion part is pretty much the Blobby Yuck that I've talked about in other posts. You resist it, you don't like it, ew...yuck...when do we get the joy? Then you hear stuff like, "Oh...you have to walk through this and you will come out of it with wisdom and joy..." I feel compelled to scrunch face, roll eyes, and change topic.

When I professed my vows...I had learned in "nun school" about poverty, chastity, and obedience. I heard stories, experiences and had some of my own initial lived experiences of how the vows are lived out. So "a journey begun" won (ha ha ha...)...I've begun a spirit-journey, not necessarily on my terms. I professed publicly "I will obey the Spirit speaking in community".

The vow of obedience has snuck up on me in unexpected, challenging, and profound ways. The Spirit finally spoke so strongly, I couldn't even argue. (Pick yourselves up off the floor, stop hyperventilating--think conversion, it can happen to anyone!) Tending my spirit is what I am being called to right now; for me...not easy and kinda scary. But the Spirit (in the form of many of "My People") is saying: time to embrace the peas to get to the chocolate.

So...I'm just sitting down at the table, trying to be open to the fact that I'm about to eat a 6 course meal featuring peas so that I can enjoy a wonderfully raspberry filled, dark chocolate Godiva bar when I am done.

True and Perfect Joy...
Thank you God for calling me to Franciscanism.

So friends in the blogosphere...I am not sure how bloggy I can be in the next month or two...stay tuned...The Adventures of One Fun Nun...has just begun. Until then...


Peas and all Good-iva
(I couldn't resist.)

19 comments:

Jean said...

Good Luck with the Blobby Yuck. Hope the peas aren't too bad and I know the Godiva will be great at the end. Love ya and I know you can do it.

Kelly_SSJ/A said...

Praying along with you....

Dina said...

I am so happy that I found you Sister Katy! I met your mother and younger sister, Molly at a wedding in Raleigh. I too am joining the order. She told me all about you. I am thrilled to find a Sister in the community that is my age. Best of luck to you and God Bless!

- Dina

Tausign said...

Hello Fun Nun; glad I stumbled across your blog. I'm a secular who's been traveling the franciscan road for awhile. I've had the experience of 'rolling my eyes' (with my eyelids shut of course) over the expression 'perfect joy'.

From Francis, a saintly revelation...from the rest of us a worn out cliche. Heck, I've even named my blog 'Perfect Joy', come visit sometime.

Let me know when you start sprinkling ashes on your peas.

Peace and all good.

MikeF said...

Sorry I didn't see this wonderful post - or even find your excellent blog - till after the 4th. Still, better (much better) late than never...

Peas and all manner of good things to you, too, Sister Katy!

Thom Curnutte said...

You're a talented writer. What an excellent blog!

Peace.

Anonymous said...

I'm praying too Katy....you helped me through some "blobby yuck" if I can be of service, or a good ear.....and a shoulder....by the way, I am a member of the Godiva chocolate club....I can get you a free piece! love you! Robbie

Lisa said...

Katy, I totally get it (you). While it might not mean much now, be assured that you are accompanied in thought, prayer, and friendship. Your analogy of the peas rings clear for me and makes me think about how I was on a soft diet for four weeks after my jaw surgery last week. There comes a point at which you can tire of it, but at the same time, you realize it (the soft diet) is also doing good for you. To not get bored with it, I had to (and the people around me did too) think about how to present it differently whether it was how I paired it with something or how I seasoned it. Mashed potatoes being my favorite, I developed a dozen different ways to make them so I hope you find the same with your peas so that can get to savor the raspberry-filled Godiva bar.

Peace and all good things,
Lisa

Brother Vito, OFMCap said...

I love your blog!

I did my postulancy in Milwaukee at St. Ben's, so I'm sure I know some of the sisters in your community.

Peace, and I'll be sure to follow your blog.

Julie said...

Dear Sr. Katy, I just want you to know you are being prayed for and loved from St. Roman School!! Reading the lives of the saints, this condition is common. The Chocolate is waiting for you---best chocolate you've ever had. Love and Prayers, Julie Sarnowski

Sister Carol Jean said...

Sr. Katy, Benedict would say that the peas and snoring are all part of our ascending the ladder of humility. It is in discovering the holiness of where we are that we can appreciate where God will call us to be. Blessings, Sr. Carol Jean, OSB

Sister Juliet said...

Hey, Sister Katy...You've been in my thoughts and prayers lately. I hope all is going well, and I look forward to seeing you again in the blogosphere! Blessings to you.

Faith Imagined said...

I saw your blog title and had to check it out! I love your title! Hope you blog some more soon!!!

Kelly_SSJ/A said...

Hope all is well...or at least getting there. Hope to see you back in the blogsphere soon!

jessy said...

cool post! I must say...........
may you have many more adventures and 'eye roll' moments

jessy said...

cool post,may you have many adventures and 'eye roll'movements

Sr. Bernadette/Bernie/BJ said...

One fun nun... I understand the hard time keeping up the blog... it was to be my way of communicating with many people of my experiences here in Peru. I am leaving this coming Friday, but hope to continue my blog.
"Tolerate the Peas with Joy" and the Godiva with Rasberry will be even better.
Sr. Bernadette/BJ/Bernie

jane said...

Hope you continue your BLOG.
You make Rel Life REAL!!
I am sure it's hard to BLOG and be a Principal at the same time.
Thanks for sharing w/us!
Knew a couple of SSSF's years ago.
GREAT women
jane

Anonymous said...

Sister Katy, I totally get that blog. And, I have to admit, although it has a point, now I want chocolate! You are just too funny...thanks for the laugh!