Saturday, January 31, 2015

If The Shoe Fits…Keep Up the Discernment

One of my favorite smells is a pair of new shoes. Whether it’s a pair of sneakers, rubber flip flops or cute little paten leathers; they each have their own unique smell.  My mom and I have been known to walk in to a shoe store just to take a sniff and then keep on walking.  Within a shoe store there are shoes for just about every occasion imaginable.  In order to find just the right shoe for the occasion I usually have to try on a couple of different styles and sizes.  During our time in novitiate we novices have needed try on several pairs of shoes in order to discover if this life is “just the right fit” for each of us. 

Any runner will tell you that a pair of right fitting sneakers is essential to running a good race.  We too have tried on pairs of sneakers in the form of making new habits (contemplation, personal prayer, communal prayer, exercise, spiritual reading, journaling etc) in order to discover and cultivate our own spiritual journey this year.  The end result is not a medal or trophy but the development of our spirituality and relationship with God and one another.

Hiking shoes also come in handy.  The discernment path is filled with twists, turns, hills, valleys, raging rivers, and moments of unsteadiness.  Like the sturdy sole of a hiking shoe so is prayer to our life.  We cannot go hiking with the poor, the sick, the lonely, the vulnerable nor plunge the depths of our own hearts if we are not grounded in prayer.  Prayer is what awaits us at the trailhead and the end of a good hike.

Dancing shoes are essential for any discerner.  When you feel like you have run a marathon in a few short hours or have hiked up and down your inner mountain sometimes you just have to dance.  Sometimes you dance to a funny movie, a high stakes game of spoons or a round of jokes, but however you “dance” you honor that God given JOY within you.

Flip Flops are helpful for those days when you just need to let God carry you along the seashore.  My flip flops have a “beverage opener” on the bottom, but, that’s a metaphor for another time…

Slippers are essential for remembering to THANK God for the gift of each new morning and the completion of another grace filled day.  Whether it was a day of hiking or a day of dancing EVERY moment is a moment of grace when on a discernment journey.

It seems to me though that if we (or anyone) want to discover our call; we must take off our shoes….what we really need are bare feet.  When we come before God with bare feet we open ourselves to trusting God to carry us through those moments of unsteadiness or to mend our calloused feet through a word spoken to our heart in prayer.  When our feet are bare we are better equipped to walk with the poor, the sick, the lonely, the dying, and the forgotten.

So perhaps our call isn’t just  to find what shoe fits but to risk the vulnerability of being barefoot before God in order that God might fill our “sole”.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Life journey – Who am I?

On the Monday afternoon, at X where I am doing ministry this year in St. Louis, when I was passing a sofa on the second floor, there was a lady who sat there. I smiled with her and asked “how you are?” I thought that I only said hi to her and that I would see some other ladies. The reason is I often find that I meet with ladies who are isolating themselves in that home. However this lady asked me in a very gentle voice “Hello Sister”. Her voice stopped my steps. She continued “how are you?” After answering her, I looked more carefully at her eyes, which seemed understanding. I could feel that she wanted me to be with her. Thus I asked “do you want me to sit down with you?” She said “yes” and our conversation began.
            From her sharing, I knew that she was born in X state, which is a neighbor of Missouri state. Her parents had some kind of problems (alcoholic and others). They divorced when she and her younger brother were little children. Neither of their parents took care of her and her younger brother. Her brother was a solder in the Vietnamese war. When she shared this, I could feel it was a hard time, because her soul and her whole person were tied to her brother. She shared with him in the sadness he saw in the war. She was companion to him. She prayed for his safety. She prayed for peace. She was together with him in disagreement about the war. She had him to contact, to love and to care for. However, after some years her brother returned home, and he died. Since there, she has had no relatives or family members.
            What is still in her memory is a name of the village where she was born. She did not know where her parent lived, or how they lived.   How does her village look like? etc.   She was excited to let me to know that she knows a person (a man) in her village. She still keeps contact with him, and she hope she can visit that village next year. She said to me that, “do you know, I am still trying to know who I am? I am still on a journey hum hum hum” (she nodded her head when she said it and her eyes see into toward an empty point far away).
            I was touched by her sharing. She is gentle in her voice and in her acts. She did not blame God or her parents. She was not angry with her life where she did not have as much love, as much care, as many relatives as others.  From her, I felt her peace, she knows to respect, accept and value what she has.  
            I asked her about a picture of our Lady with little Jesus on her neck. She said, I often pray, and then we prayed together. We felt very confident and natural in our prayer. We prayed in loud words.  At that moment, I thought that a hall way became a chapel. We did not care when people came up and down, we focused on our conversation and prayer.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The CDN is Back in Business

Look, I see something!


What is it?



The CDN novices,
back in St. Louis!

That's right, folks:

We bid each other farewell in early December and spent the past month at our respective motherhouses.  We each had full days of catching up with sisters, sharing the experiences of the past few months, celebrating the seasons of Advent and Christmas, and ringing in the New Year.  Now we're back in St. Louis and have already survived our first week of classes.

We will again be sharing our adventures and learnings through weekly blog posts.  Thanks for following along with us, and thanks even more for your prayers.  We often pray in gratitude for your love and support.

Peace and blessings,
-Christin, Kelly, and Chuc