Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Call...Quite Literally/Communion...Come Union

"The captain has indicated that you must fasten your seat belts, we are experiencing some turbulence." It's one of "those" blog entries...Yes there are two titles; you'll understand why in a moment.

Without further adieu...The "fun nun" presents something fun:

"The Call...Quite Literally"

I begin with a moment of hilarity and spiritual irony (betcha didn't learn that one in middle school language arts!!) which actually occurred today and would be more appropriately placed in the middle of this entry:

[from my interior prayer monologue--yes all true; the double negatives and even the quoting of an educational theorist--my brain works in strange ways]:

So...what is it? What is the "it" that I'm still wondering about? How/where do I fit? Where am I doing? I understand the bigger picture of where I'm called; no it's more than that. Um...I am totally content with the bigger picture of call. Ok, yes, it kinda weirds me out sometimes because there is no other area that I don't worry or question about; but it's mostly freeing. So, it's not the big picture. It's the little one. It's the now. It's the Bronfrenbrenner hierarchy: with the concentric circle design--except "most people" (according to the model) start with the inner circle and move outward. Oh no...not me...let's get the big picture down and then move inward. Makes perfect sense...NOT. I'm not struggling with where am I called for LIFE or forever or with whom. NO...I'm thinking about where am I called in myself, in my day-to-day...Call it's always about CALL...

No lies...absolute truth--at that very moment THE PHONE RANG. Now...that may not seem like such a big deal EXCEPT for one little detail:
It was your typical, non-digitalized, non cell, hang on the wall with a cord...RING of a PHONE; in our CHAPEL. I NEVER in my LIFE have heard a phone (like that) RING in our CHAPEL. Who calls the chapel? Where is the phone in the chapel? And all of this at the same time I'm trying to have another one of my arguments with the divine about call?? Nice...really nice sense of humor SPIRIT.

I burst out laughing...and this "phone" didn't stop ringing. (I was in the choir loft) So I soon as I get up it will stop. I got up, started walking back toward the relic chapel...and got in the room...Stopped. Didn't see a phone anywhere. Hilarity...I thought I better blog this story just because it was so unbelievable.
Now that I have your attention....

The nun, who is also fun, now presents (something less humorous, albeit hopefully just as intriguing):

"Communion...Come Union"

(I'm throwing some random pictures in this part because it helps break up all of the text and I can't figure out the formatting rules of blogger--so there, blogger!)

Today after I slept LATE and knew I just had some time to chill, I knew I needed some uninterrupted quiet. There are 6 of us living in our house...uninterrupted quiet is difficult to achieve sometimes and when I'm in my bedroom there are too many "distractions". So I thought I'd go hang at the MamaCasa in the chapel for a while. (yeah...I don't really do this much at all)

I grabbed my "Saturday-I get to take my time today" coffee mug, filled it up, grabbed the ol' journal and mosyed on down the hill to the big house. I actually was drawn to the adoration side of the chapel (that was weird to me), but couldn't quite bring myself to bring my coffee in there and hang. So I settled on my favorite spot...up, up, and away in the choir loft on the director's stand. Spent some time in quiet, drinking my coffee, thinking, praying...[insert story above here]. There was not a sound and no one was just what I needed.
Then I took out the journal and started writing. I go in journal spurts...sometimes I write, sometimes I don't. I know that if I really want to get somewhere with my journaling...I need to write down what comes without editing. I also am learning that when I have time to write, it takes me a little while to get out of the head; I'm not a fan, but big stuff comes out then. Here's where my reflections led me today:

Every year we have this liturgy for All Saints (the eve before) called Candles of Love. This is my 2nd favorite liturgical custom we have in my community. (The 1st changes--it's usually St. Francis Day) We celebrate the people who have walked with us in mission, our benefactors, friends of the community... We also celebrate the lives of those who have died this past year who have a connection with the SSSFs--family, friends, our Sisters, etc. People are invited to send in "Candles of Love" cards with the names of people to remember at this liturgy. The cards are presented at the offertory and then placed in the Adoration chapel for the Sisters to pray for this month. We get hundreds of cards each year!

We always have a litany during the liturgy; in typical SSSF fashion, it's not your run-of-the-mill litany of Saints, proper. Names are read of people, living and deceased, who have walked paths which coincide with our mission. We pray for/with those who give of themselves in order to partner with us in mission. We pray for our loved ones...we pray for justice and the pain around the world. It's always so powerful to hear those names; some of whom are often unspoken.

On the dome of the sanctuary there are these little gold crosses "floating" on a sky like backdrop. One of my Sisters, when I was having a really rough time in the novitiate, sat with me in chapel and told me to think about those crosses as our Sisters who have gone before us, watching over me. Every time I'm in chapel since then, I look up at that dome. Last evening, I was very aware of their presence among us.

Then the litany came...I was so moved; not so much by the names like usual, but what/whom they represented; commitments of people who minister to those who are or have been: poor, marginalized, afflicted with AIDS, terrorized, victimized by natural disasters, and all who have been affected. Those who work for peace and justice, in a profound way. People who have lost their life because of efforts toward a just and peaceful world. We prayed by name those who are often not prayed for: those recently executed and those who are incarcerated.

There was a presence in the space; I never experienced before. Maybe it was the space I was in? Who knows? The themes were quintessentially our charism and our mission to be present in the world. There was a connectedness...a unity present. This is pretty hokey...but it was real and profound: It was almost like you could imagine (see? dare I say feel?) the prayers being turned over to the spirit. It was another one of those "God moments" for me...hard to describe in words; even hard to figure out why. we talk about the "Communion of Saints". I talk about it with the kiddos. I think we have no real way of knowing who is a saint and who isn't...but that "they" are up there and walk with us. I rely much more on the Saints I can connect with or "know" ( some of our Sisters, friends, etc) much more than your official"Saint-a-day" "Patron Saint of XXX" variety...but they are cool too; especially Francis and Clare!
But last night (and this morning), I was like, "WOAH...back that truck up!" What does this mean? We talk about being in communion. Or receiving communion. Or the Communion of it's this existential, out-there, don't try to touch it, just do it, concept. Is it?
I thought, communion...hmmm. It struck me that communion implies some more action: being and receiving. Even those "saints"...whomever they are (living, dead, "official", not...) Being a part of the communion, implies that they've done something. Staying in communion with others requires something of you. Receiving "communion" is a commitment we make to be a member of the "body of Christ". It's the "do" part that gets this communion stuff rolling and then the "be" part that follows (like BE aware, BE connected...) is what creates the space for the communion to sustain.
So... Last night, I was listening to those names being read, aware of the spirit's presence, and the communion of people with whom we are connected through prayer, commitment, sharing of life and resources, world view, justice, ministry, and mission.
And then this morning...sitting back in chapel, with my coffee, looking up at the dome and thinking about the communion of people who walk with me in spirit and love...and realized that when I hear communion, I hear the invitation of come union. Union in love and mission. Listening those who are in need and those who speak to your heart saying, "come".
*Sigh*...reflecting and connecting is exhausting...LOL! :)
The captain has now turned off the fasten seat belts sign, please feel free to move about as you wish...