Friday, September 13, 2013

Coming to Life

One of the greatest gifts I’ve received since entering religious life is self-awareness. BCE (“before convent era”), I had privileged my mind to a large extent. The fact is, we have so many more dimensions to our humanity, so many more faculties from which to draw insight about ourselves and others. There are heart, gut, subconscious, body, soul, and perhaps even more. When I began to pay close attention and to learn their different forms of expression, I found these faculties to be just as vibrant as my mind; and frankly, a lot less apt to deceive me. And as I listened, I also become more keenly aware that I don’t control any of their output. All I can do is choose to listen, and make choices based on what I’ve heard. Christians call this listening awareness and Buddhists call it mindfulness. It is what allows me to feel the life of the earth beneath my bare feet; to know that the joy I feel from seeing deer stems from my soul and its predilection to marvel at all creation; or to discern to which ministry I am being invited. I attribute this awakening to the practice of prayer and solitude, which have quieted my mind and made my inner senses come alive.

Yesterday we had a wonderful workshop on the Enneagram from Sr. Maria Beesing, OP. (I believe we owe this wonderful personality framework to the Sufis, but don’t quote me.) Today we had the privilege of a day’s worth of reflection using what we learned yesterday. I was completely amazed by the depth and breadth of psychological and spiritual insight I received from my reflection, thanks in large part to how deftly Sr. Maria wove Scripture and Christian spirituality into the Enneagram. Totally powerful stuff! The last piece we did was to each draw a mandala to represent the fruits of our reflection. We then shared the story of our mandalas with one another. Without a doubt, everyone was deeply moved, and learned a great deal about themselves, their challenges and their gifts. And our sharing itself was incredibly fruitful.
To be aware is to be more fully alive and free. How to do it is written in our hearts. I believe we are designed for it. St. Irenaeus said that the glory of God is a human fully alive, and life is the vision of God. Today we experienced beatitude. In the immortal words of Katy: Praise God!


  1. Ditto, Christina. I think awareness or mindfulness of ourselves is a very useful stuff: it helps us understanding who we are. One thing I learned, that we can't get rid of the strengths and weaknesses that our personality comes with, but we can learn to live with them. Hm.... I have a quote in my mind from the movie: Keeping the faith. It starts with "I love that I ..." The point there was that except who you are, do it with a style, own it, and embrace it. So, come on, everybody, let's embrace who we are in the present moment.

  2. Hi Christina, i read your blog and found it very enriching. You may be surprised by this reply. I hope to get in touch with you..i am your high school classmate...

  3. I am so glad it was such a wonderful experience for your entire community. I remember how helpful Maria's presentation on the Enneagram was when I was at the CDN. I had read books on it, but was unable to identify my own number until Maria acted it out. Blessings and prayers, Pat