Friday, March 23, 2012

What Does It Mean to be "Prophet"?

This week, we spent our third Tuesday evening at Aquinas, listening to Father Mike Demkovich, O.P. share who Meister Eckhart was, and continues to be through his writings.  In this particular week, Father Mike shared excerpts from multiple sermons given by Meister Eckhart, one of which I would like to share with you. 

“Should the soul know when God is coming she would die of joy and if she knew when He was departing, she would die of sadness.  She never knows when He comes or goes but she perfectly grasps Him when He is by her.”

Have you ever been so excited to see God?  Have you ever had the experience of knowing you were where you were meant to be, met who you were meant to meet, and left either feeling such joy you felt like running or even skipping down the street?  Better still, screech with delight?

On the other side of this “knowing”, have you ever been at the bedside of someone you love who is anxiously awaiting, with joy albeit, to meet their God, while you on the other hand, sit in your sadness?  This person is a gift given by God to help you grow in your own relationship with God.  A gift freely given. 

We never know when the face of God will be revealed to us; or when God will ask us to be present in our “aloneness”.  As I reflect on this week during Lent, what comes to mind is Anna, the prophetess who was in the temple when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus.  Luke’s Gospel is the only one of the four who mentions her brief encounter with Jesus.  Luke describes Anna as a widow, who never left the temple.  But it was the line, “coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”

I could just imagine something grabbing Anna’s attention, where joy filled her heart, and she had to run and meet her God.  She knew, and she gave thanks.  In that brief moment, God had fed her with food for the journey, and with that, she left her physical space she shared with God to share the Good News with anyone who would listen.

So I ask myself, during my Lenten journey, how have I shared my own encounter with God? Where have I found God?  Have I missed an opportunity to bring God to someone because it didn’t fit in my schedule and felt the need to ask for forgiveness?  Have I taken my sadness back to God, and found in my heart a desire to try again?


Monday, March 12, 2012


We are taking the concept of Dominican Itinerancy to heart this week as we embark on Spring Break. We were each sent to travel to a different community to live for the week while ministering in the area. Chris and Kelly both journyed north to Chicago to work with the homless population and also some adult literacy tutoring. They are staying with Maryknoll novices, Dominican Volunteers and Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. I also traveled north, but not as far. I am staying with the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL. My ministry includes helping at the Diocesan Youth Conference, Ronald McDonald House and the Faith Coalition for the Common Good.

Of course we will also squeeze in some time for sightseeing and fun around the community and ministry obligations.

There will be many pictures and stories to share when we get back, so stay tuned.


Sunday, March 4, 2012


Once a week we have a Day of Reflection. Each person in the community takes a turn planning this retreat day with a theme, reflection questions, scripture and a bit of input. This past week, Chris offered us a unique opportunity. Below is what she gave us Thursday night. We encourage you to think through the proposed questions and possibly even embark on the journey. Some of our experiences will be posted later this week.

"You have been issued an eviction notice for failure to pay your rent for the last 3 months.  By 10am tomorrow morning, police will be at your door, and your landlord will begin to nail the doors and windows to your home shut.  Tonight is the last night you can sleep in your bed.  You are aware of only one shelter close enough for you to walk, but their doors don’t open until 3:00pm.  It is located at 4928 Washington Avenue. 

In this shelter, there are no lockers, and about 30 bunkbeds in one room for women.  You are expected to be out by 8am the next day, and there is no guarantee there will be a bed available each night.  You have $20 in your pocket, and your SSI (supplemental security income) will not be automatically deposited to your checking account for 3 more weeks.

You know no one in the area who will offer space for you to stay.  You have been through this before, and have overstayed many-a-welcome and have not been able to reimburse your friends for the time they once gave you to stay.  As a result, they have told you not to return.

For the next 17 hours, reflect on the experience of receiving an impersonal note stating simply, “You are being evicted from your home.  You have 24 hours to remove your belongings.  All items that are left will become the property of your landlord.  If you are able to pay your outstanding balance within 72 hours, you will be allowed to return.”

Discern what is most important for you to take on your journey, keeping in mind the miles you will have to walk, and the insecurity of the shelter where you will hopefully stay.  Please pack these items, and take them with you for the day, from 10am (eviction takes effect) until 3:00pm (when the “shelter” opens).  What is most important to you, and why?  Keep in mind you have $20 cash which is to last you 3 weeks.

As you journey through your day, ask yourself the following questions:

     1. How did I perceive people looking at me?
     2. How did I feel as I walked?  Stopped for lunch? 
     3. What were my feelings as I closed the door one last time?
     4. What did I take with me?  After I left, as the day went on, did I wish I had something I chose to leave behind?

When you return, what is the first thing that you do?  Why was this “first thing” so important to you?

Reflect on one of the following readings, or on one God may have put in your heart as your day went along.  When we come together at 4pm, if you feel called to, share why this reading meant something to you, and how you may have read this reading differently based on your experience.

Matthew 26:6-13- Jesus anointed at Bethany
John 6:1-15- Jesus feeds the five thousand
1 Kings 17:7-16- The widow at Zarephath
Luke 16: 19-31- The rich man and Lazarus
Matthew 9:20-21- The hemorrhaging woman